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Posts Tagged ‘gretchen rubin’

Happy New Year! It feels wonderful welcoming in a new year after living through a year of disappointment, turmoil, and unpredictability. While there were aspects of 2020 that I am grateful for, I am happy with moving on from that chapter of my life and currently focusing on the next chapter with the anticipation of new opportunities to learn, grow, and increase my joy factor.

FOCUS is my word for 2021. I’m choosing to focus on my health, my home, my happiness as it relates to my career (focusing on creating a new career I have wanted for many years), and my hobbies. My 21 for 2021 list will FOCUS on these four areas.

Kat’s 21 for 2021 List

  1. Manage time.
  2. Maintain a regular fitness regimen.
  3. Create weekly meal plans.
  4. Eat more vegetables.
  5. Try intermittent fasting for one month (Clean & Lean).
  6. Declutter and organize each room in my house.
  7. Write a will.
  8. Try one NO spend month.
  9. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.
  10. Complete The Four Tendencies course (Gretchen Rubin).
  11. Read Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  12. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
  13. Create a vision board.
  14. Take a WordPress Blogging course.
  15. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.
  16. Purchase podcasting equipment.
  17. Complete Write a Bestseller course (Jeff Goins).
  18. Try 12 new restaurants (one per month).
  19. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.
  20. Scrapbook at least two times per month.
  21. Learn how to use my Cricut Maker.

During the month of January, I will focus on managing my time. I want to establish a better daily routine, create schedules for decluttering, housekeeping, working on my courses, and self care, as well as continuing to participate in improv and RCIA. Essentially, I want to use my weekly 168 hours more effectively. I also want to try to break down the remaining 20 items on my list into the four quarters of the year to make accomplishing them more manageable. Naturally, several of my items are designed to run throughout the entire course of the year which is also totally fine. I’m excited about all the possibilities this new year has to offer and look forward to the journey through 2021.

Other Plans for 2021:

  1. On Goodreads, I joined the 2021 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. 
  2. I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Read21for21 challenge. Basically, you read for 21 minutes every day in 2021. While I do read a great deal, I don’t necessarily read for pleasure every day. I’ve also decided to read specific books during my daily 21 minutes to see how many books I read throughout the year just in that daily timeframe. According to Gretchen Rubin, “If you read for 21 minutes per day for 365 days, that’s 7,665 minutes, or almost 128 hours of reading. You can read a lot of books in 128 hours!” 
  3. This year, I also plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2021. Many times I accomplish goals that are not included on my list, and I should be celebrating those accomplishments, too. 
  4. Hopefully, I will be attending my annual scrapbooking convention with my gal pals in June. We didn’t get to attend last year because of the pandemic, so I REALLY hope and pray we can get together this summer. 

What do you have planned in 2021, dear reader? Have you made some resolutions or a 21 for 2021 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? Let me know what your plans are for 2021. Happiness!

“Focus is the key to accomplish what is necessary – easy word to spell, it contains only five letters but it is probably one of the most powerful words there are in order to move forward with confidence and with the expected results.” ~ Bryan Pulsifer

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Reading is my favorite way to pass time, so I added a new reading goal for 2020 inspired by Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. In 2019, as part of her yearly Design Your Summer and 19 for 2019, she took a literary adventure with Summer of Proust. After reading her blog post “Reflections on My ‘Summer of Proust'” and seeing how much she enjoyed reading all the works of Marcel Proust, I decided I wanted a “Summer of Poe” and put it on my 20 for 2020 list (#16). What a fantastic idea!

Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite American authors. My love affair with Poe’s work began in the 8th grade when I chose to recite the poem “Annabel Lee” for my Reading class. Throughout high school and college, Poe was assigned literature for English classes which always brought me considerable joy. As a junior high English teacher, I felt it was only fitting to impart my love for Poe to my students. For years, my students and I read and discussed “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Raven.” Therefore, choosing to spend the summer reading one author’s work was a no-brainer. 

PoeUnlike Rubin, I did no preparation prior to reading Poe’s work like she did for Proust. In hindsight, I probably should have done a smidge before starting my own literary adventure. From the beginning, I knew the odds of me reading everything written by Poe in one summer would be impossible. One reason, his writing is challenging. I personally cannot read his work quickly. Another reason, because his writing requires so much concentration on my part, I knew I would also need to read other books written by other authors that did not require so much mental effort. Therefore, I chose to read The Edgar Allan Poe: Anthology of Classic Tales since it did not contain a complete collection of Poe’s stories and poems, and it was given to me as a gift from Andrew. To my dismay, while perusing the table of contents, I soon discovered that over my lifetime I had only read six of his short stories and two of his poems. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

I chose to read all of the short stories, poems, and the one novel, which were organized by genre, in the order presented in the anthology.  It was wonderful to revisit tales that I was familiar with like “The Fall of the House of Usher” (still scary after all these years), “William Wilson,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death” (haunting), “The Tell-Tale Heart” (never gets old), “The Black Cat,” “The Raven” (nevermore), and “Annabel Lee” (beautifully written poem about death). If you notice, dear reader, the tales of Poe that I have previously read over the years are included in the horror genre. And, I must confess, his short stories and poems in this category are quite riveting and are probably my most preferred of his writing. Of my new horror favorites, two are revenge stories, “The Cask of Amontillado” (confirms that I will never visit catacombs) and “Hop-Frog” (never underestimate a jester). “Morella” and “Ligeia” are equally creepy and best read during the day. 

My leisurely excursion through this treasury revealed to me that Poe was so much more than a horror writer. He is credited with inventing the detective story, and the two stories in this collection, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” are suspenseful and quite enjoyable. There are seven short stories and his only completed novel under Adventures of Sea and Sky. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the short stories, especially “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall,” “The Gold-Bug,” and “The Oblong Box.” “Mellonta Tauta,” which is set in the far future seems to eerily parallel our current societal times with the past of the narrator who is writing letters while on a balloon flight.  His novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, is about the adventures and misadventures of Arthur Gordon Pym on the high seas. While it took me a long time to read, this novel is interesting and entertaining. At some point in my lifetime, I will revisit it. Surprisingly to me, until I read this compilation, I was unaware that Poe wrote humorous and satirical stories. There are only three of those types of stories in this book; however, in my other book Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, there are a total of 25 stories. Of the three that I read, I adore “The Spectacles” and “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether.” Both are incredibly amusing. I cannot wait to read his other stories in this genre. Finally, there are only four poems in this collection, and I fancy all four of them. When checking my other book, Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, it revealed a total of 55 poems. All gems, I’m sure. 

My “Summer of Poe” was a huge happiness boost and has made living through a pandemic more bearable. Clearly, I still have so many more stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe that I must read, so another “season” of Poe is necessary. In the meantime, I will delight in the stories and the poems that I have read by Mr. Poe as I venture into a realm of other books by other authors awaiting my discovery. Have you, dear reader, ever devoted a period of time to reading a certain author or genre? If not, would you consider it, and which author or which genre would you consider? Happiness!

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe Collection

 

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BromeliadSpring has sprung! Daylight Saving Time is in full swing. Plants are springing up and are abloom. The sun is making more of an appearance, and temperatures are getting warmer. This season should be a time of celebration and new beginnings after encountering dreary weather and limited daylight hours. Instead, our world has been exposed to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and is facing an uncertain future. Understandably, this is leading to fearfulness and anxiety. Stress levels are rising with the temperature. And, this is only the beginning. What is the new normal, and how long will it last? For starters, social distancing has been strongly recommended by government officials to limit the spread of this disease.

My household has completed its first week of social distancing. My school closed on Friday, 13 March. The faculty, staff, and administration met throughout the day on Monday, 16 March to discuss the plan for continuing to educate our students during the time we are closed. Hence, remote learning. The educators at HGCS have all stepped up and are doing a phenomenal job. My job is to help the teachers and administration. Thankfully, I can work the majority of the time from home.

As for the rest of my family, they continue to navigate through their obligations, taking one day at a time. Son #1 came home safely from Singapore on Saturday, 14 March. He had been working there since 22 February. He had to report to work (locally) on Thursday. He does not currently live at my house; however, we remain in touch via text messaging and phone calls. My hubby drives a chemical truck for a living. He works out of town during the week. Thankfully, this past week he was able to find accommodations and places to purchase food. I expect as the weeks progress, this will be more challenging for him and other truck drivers. Andrew and his roommate were notified on Wednesday that they could no longer stay in their dorm at SLU, and they officially checked out yesterday afternoon. Therefore, Andrew is back at home, and I’m relieved. He will continue the spring semester remotely. My parents and my mother-in-law are doing well and are in good spirits, and they remain in contact with us daily.

Love LeafSo, what is next, and how am I handling this new normal? Basically, I am following my regular routine with a few adjustments. While I enjoy going out and socializing, I also like being at home. Many of the activities that I enjoy happen at home: praying, reading, scrapbooking, writing, organizing, watching television, listening to podcasts, talking on the phone, computer games, social media, coloring, puzzles, cuddling with Puar and Tooty. I can also go outside to garden, play with my dogs, or go for a walk. During the work week, I will stay in touch with the faculty and staff at HGCS and help them in any way that I can. I will do my part and stay home, only going out when absolutely necessary. I’m hopeful that this is a temporary situation and pray continuously for everyone affected by this virus.

With that being said, I’m extremely grateful for the men and women who must be out working in our community and pray for them daily: medical personnel, grocery store/gas station/restaurant employees, truck drivers, law enforcement, military, and sanitation workers. I’m grateful that my family, friends, and myself are feeling well. I’m grateful for our government leaders who are trying to keep us safe. I’m grateful for running water, electricity, food, shelter, and the ability to communicate with others.

Dear reader, I will be praying daily for your safety and well-being. How are you handling this difficult situation? Keep in touch and let me know what you are up to while engaging in social distancing. If you want to add a happiness boost to your day, check out Gretchen Rubin’s website. Try to remain calm, hopeful, positive and grateful during this uncertainty. Happiness!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”     ~ Isaiah 41:10

 

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PandemoniumMy life is pandemonium right now, and I’m surprisingly happier because of it. I have a bunch of irons in the fire. Some are way more enjoyable than others. I’m working on making my dreams a reality. It is awesome to set goals; however, I must remind myself that the satisfaction of achieving those goals comes from the journey or the process in fulfilling them.

I’ve started rehearsing for the 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee show. I’m taking an Acting for Film and Television Workshop on Saturdays. I’m working full-time as an instructional coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School. I’m blogging. And, I’m trying to lose 19 pounds by December 31st, all while taking care of my fur babies and meeting the other demands of my personal life. No two days are alike which makes trying to successfully balance it all interesting at times.

Last week was challenging because I had a work commitment every day (except Friday) after school. Needless to say, I did not get in any extra exercise. I had to choose between exercise and rest. I chose rest, so that I could be my best during rehearsal and at Saturday’s class. Thankfully, eating clean and being active at work is helping to keep my weight in check. I am currently in the reemergence period of The Clean 20 program which will last another two weeks. At the end of that period, I will post an update. I do want to share that I am down another 1/2 pound which puts me at a total loss of 7.5 pounds since September 2nd. Woot-Woot!

In Other News:
Four Tendencies#8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. This month I read The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve always been fascinated by personality assessments and learning how personality influences decision making, job performance, etc. While those assessments share some specific aspect of human nature, Rubin’s framework is based solely on meeting inner and outer expectations and how people respond to them when making decisions, reaching goals, and handling relationships. A variety of personality types can share a tendency. As I have mentioned previously on my blog, I am a Questioner. According to Rubin, “Questioners question all expectations; they meet an expectation only if they believe its justified, so in effect they respond only to inner expectations” (6). Finding out my tendency has been helpful to me. It has helped me understand why I am unable at times to complete a task or make a decision, or it explains my resistance to meeting someone else’s requests. If you, dear reader, are interested in finding out your tendency, visit Gretchen Rubin’s website to take the Four Tendencies Quiz. Let me know your tendency if you decide to take it!

My life feels like a whirlwind at the moment. Unlike a season of sacrifice, it is challenging in a way that is both energizing and exciting. I love learning, and I’m beginning to love getting myself out of my comfort zone and seeing how far I can push myself creatively. At times, it feels exhilarating, and other times it feels terrifying. The one constant, though, is the support and encouragement that I receive from you, dear reader, along with my awesome friends and family. Happiness!

“When we understand ourselves and how our Tendency shapes our perspective on the world, we can adapt our circumstances to suit our own nature – and when we understand how other people’s Tendencies shape their perspectives, we can engage with them more effectively.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

 

 

 

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A few months ago I purchased A Happier 2017 Page-A-Day Calendar. I’ve always been a bit fascinated with these kinds of calendars, but never wanted to spend the money on one because I already have a wall calendar, a dry erase calendar, and a planner. What would be the point of owning another calendar? Well, I bought this one since I’m a fan of Gretchen Rubin, and I want to be happier.

renewal-christian

The first page of the calendar suggested choosing a one-word theme to guide your thoughts and actions throughout the year. I chose RENEWAL. I want to resume some of the activities that I enjoy participating in to improve my overall physical and mental health. I also want to raise my level of happiness and change my perspective on life to a more positive one. Therefore, I am going to attempt another happiness project (my last attempt was in 08/2011).  Each month I will designate some area in my life where I want to experience a renewal. Of course, I am probably biting off more than I can chew, so to speak; however, I want to try. It should be fun!

Naturally, day 2 of my happier calendar pertains to happiness and habits and focuses on healthy eating. As a result, I choose renewing healthy habits for January of my happiness project. I have not ironed out all of the details, yet. I just made the decision to do my happiness project after listening to Gretchen’s podcast episode on Friday. However, it will involve steps to eating better and exercising more regularly. In order for changes to be successful, they cannot be made too quickly or all at once.

My resolutions for this week are simple:

  • Move more
  • Think about food and drink choices
  • Incorporate some functional exercises – at least 3 days (flexibility exercises-stretches, abdominal crunches, back and shoulder exercises, lower leg exercise)

Today was just the first day; however, I drank more water and Andrew and I went to the gym. I walked for 35 minutes on the treadmill while listening to another podcast episode, did some strength training (legs), and stretched. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes since I return to school tomorrow after being off for two weeks. It will be tough, especially with having to get up so early. I am more of a night owl than a lark. Nonetheless, dear reader, I’m excited about a new year and its possibilities. I hope you are, too. Happiness!

If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? 

“Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling.” ~ Deborah Day

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I had a busy weekend despite the rain. Barry and I attended a wedding Saturday night in Mandeville. My hubby is friends with the groom. I should have taken a picture of myself. I wore a dress and heels. It is rare for me to wear a dress. I don’t even own the dress I wore. Thank goodness my BFF from the 3rd grade has a well-stocked wardrobe. And, since I have lost weight, I can actually fit in more of her clothes. Hee Hee! As for the heels, they actually do belong to me. I bought them for a scene I did for a showcase for one of my acting classes. I managed to not break an ankle. Anyway, we had a terrific time socializing. The bride was gorgeous, the music was rockin’, and the food was yummy. I did eat a little something healthy before the wedding, so I would not be tempted to overeat. It also allowed me to eat the delicious wedding cake cupcake. The bride and groom did not have a traditional wedding cake with multiple tiers. They had one standard size cake at the top followed by four to five steps lined with giant cupcakes to make it look like a huge wedding cake.  They were so big, Barry and I had to split one. YUM!

On Sunday, I spent the day with my parents. We went to the movies to see End of Watch. It’s a movie about two young cops whose lives are changed after making a bust involving money and guns belonging to a notorious cartel. The three of us enjoyed it. Afterwards, we had lunch at Applebee’s. Before leaving my house that morning, I made a list of acceptable dishes I could eat to stay on the right course. I ordered the Weight Watchers Cabernet Mushroom Sirloin. It included steamed broccoli and new potatoes (15g fat/460 calories).  If I wasn’t so disciplined and could afford to SUPER splurge, I would have ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad. Ready for this…the regular (crispy chicken) with salad dressing is 98g fat and 1,390 calories. OOOF! Now, you can order a half-size, which would bring it down to 49g fat and 690 calories. Unfortunately, that is still too much, especially for a salad.

I have completed my 11th week of eating clean and exercising on a regular basis. Due to eating salty fried appetizers and a bowl of gumbo at the wedding, as well as nature NOT calling before my weekly weigh-in, I am back to 136 pounds. I know it is just a pound, and I know it isn’t a fat pound; however, I dislike not seeing a loss. It’s expectation. I’ve only had one other time on my weight loss journey where I gained, and again it was water weight. Never fear, I’m already over it. It’s a new week with lots of potential. My run/walk schedule for this week: Walk 10 minutes, run 9 minutes. Walk 1 minute, run 9 minutes (repeat twice). I’m so close to running a full 30 minutes.

Hope you have many wonderful blessings this week. Try to be as PRESENT as possible. It helps to keep stress away, and allows more room for happiness. Currently, I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book called Happier at Home. Rubin decided to dedicate a year to another happiness project, but this time focused on her home. I have a feeling my happiness project will be resurfacing after reading this book. Happiness!

“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.”            ~ Maya Angelou

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     I’m sitting here having a déjà vu moment, except I’m eating grapes (planned snack…explain later). I’m at the start of a new school year without a job. Sound familiar. Yes, last school year I decided to leave the teaching profession with my family’s blessing to pursue other things. And, I did. I was suppose to blog about my year. And, I didn’t. I was kind of busy going in a few different directions trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up.  However, there is a slightly different plan for this year. I will not be returning to the teaching profession as a full-time teacher; however, I am planning to return to the teaching profession as a substitute teacher. My thinking…it will provide me with a much needed paycheck, while giving me much needed flexibility to continue to pursue other things. One year was not quite enough. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. This year I will blog more about my year. This year I will arm myself with monthly resolutions in the name of “happiness.” Hopefully, with a more planned approach, I will not flounder as much as I did last year. I have no regrets concerning how I spent my time last year. It gave me a much needed mental break, and I was able to explore different avenues of interest, while being more active in the role of mother. I know what I don’t want for my life, so this year I must find out what I do want for my life. I do want to be happier, and for me I must dust off all the areas of my life and make some much needed improvements.

     Last month I read the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and I am obsessed with doing my very own happiness project. It really is kind of insane considering school is about to start, as well as scouts and working full-time. My resolutions are designed to gain back more control over my life, and provide me happiness at the same time. I also will set some goals throughout the year as I work on these resolutions. Making this public gives me some added motivation to work harder. I need to be held accountable in order to succeed.

     Yesterday, I started my own happiness project. I do not have my chart created, yet…plan to do it today. One of these months, I have to tackle TIME MANAGEMENT. Below are my resolutions for August. Now, some resolutions I can do everyday, others are throughout the month. I basically get a gold star for each resolution I keep during the month. Then next month, I have new resolutions PLUS the previous ones. We’ll see how well I do all year. If I can gain some more control over my life, it will ultimately make me happy. These reolutions are all about gaining control and making my life happier in the process. Gretchen Rubin started off her happiness project with Vitality (boost energy) for her first month, so I thought I would do something similiar. It makes sense. The more energy you have, the happier you are and the better equipped you are to tackle other areas of your life that need improvement. I decided to concentrate on health and fitness.
 
So here goes:

August: Health and Fitness
 
• Eat Better: In order to do this I have four resolutions.
 
1) stop mindless snacking throughout the day (if I do have a designated snack, they need to be healthy-fruit/veggies/yogurt, etc. (no M & M’s). Hence, the grapes I was eating earlier during my déjà vu moment.
2) keep a food journal
3) eat more fruits and veggies (fruit is not hard for me, veggies much harder)
4) plan my meals ahead of time
 
• Exercise: I have three resolutions under this category.
 
1) Move everyday.
2) Run at least three days per week.
3) Strength Train at least two days per week.

• Drink more water (at least 6 glasses). 
 
• Get up Earlier (no hanging out in the bed unless I’m sick).
 
• Go to bed ON TIME (no staying up late to read).
 
Then I have some activities each month to challenge myself (learn something new).
 
1) Make one NEW recipe per month.
2) Take an Improv class (acting) – two classes in August (last two classes in September).
3) Take a Scene Study class (acting) – three classes in August (16 hours of instruction).

August Goal: Weigh in at 135 on 8/29.
 
Anyway, as you can see…NO MORE EXCUSES. Pardon me now as I go strength train.

 

“To excuse by definition means “to regard with indulgence; to view leniently or to overlook; to pardon.” So I ask you, what would happen if you couldn’t use even one excuse this year?” ~ Debbie Ford

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