Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thursday Thoughts: Quarterly Goals 2017, #1

You guys already know I love and follow several different YouTubers. You know that I do it for different reasons too - there are some that I follow for laughs, some that I follow for inspiration, some that I follow because they give me hope or teach me something. One of the ones I love learning from is Jenna Moreci. Jenna is an author too, and although she doesn't write specifically romance novels, I love her character and her energy, her sense of humor, and the honest vibe that rolls off of her when she's making fun of herself. I love the way she and her boyfriend Cliff play together, and the way she looks at him when he shows up on her videos with her. And his eyes. Wow, his eyes, you guys. Seriously.

The photo to the left is a screenshot of Cliff, taken from right around the 1:20 mark on this video that he appeared in with Jenna. Horrible quality as far as photos go, but I really didn't want you to miss out on the eyes.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. One of the things I love most about Jenna and her videos - besides the easy and fun way she talks about her writing process - is her Quarterly Goals videos. Every quarter, she gets on-camera and reads off her list of goals for the previous quarter, disclosing whether she accomplished the goals or not. After that, she reads the next set of goals, sharing them with her viewers in advance so that she has a sense of accountability going forward.

For a while now, I've been thinking I wanted to jump in on the quarterly goals concept, but I hadn't yet because my life was totally insane and I was having a hard enough time just getting from day to day without adding something scary (like yet another a goal I might not accomplish). Then I looked back at my goals for last year and saw that I had come closer than I thought. Sure, I fell short in some places, but that's to be understood in even the best of circumstances - and I am currently not living in the best of circumstances.

So, in the effort to get things looking up again, and with the idea that you can't go wrong with accountability to kick you into gear, here are my goals for the first quarter of 2017, the categories for which I found here:

SPIRITUAL:
Last year, I made myself a beaded rosary that I was very proud of, and I even made a smaller bracelet version that I could keep handy in my pocket or purse, or even on my wrist when I felt like wearing jewelry. I'm not Catholic though, and something felt very wrong in saying 8 thousand recitations of the Hail Mary - so I adapted the concept of the rosary (which isn't original to Catholics, by the way) in a way that worked for me, incorporating the Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and a few other small prayers that helped me get my heart in the right place before I reached out to God each day. It helped me a lot, and I'm not honestly sure why I got out of the habit - but I did. This quarter, my goal is to pray with my beads often enough to finally memorize my rosary prayer patterns.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT:
This one's sort of an easy one, depending on how you look at it. Therapy sessions are hard, and out of the many I've already gone to in the last few months, I haven't gone yet without crying - though I was very proud of myself the two times I didn't actually ugly cry (even though one of those times was Monday and I didn't cry because I was really too sick to do as much talking as usual). These sessions are always emotionally draining though, and when I come home from them I'm basically useless for the rest of the day - I don't want to cook, or clean, or work, or do anything. I usually push through on the cooking and cleaning parts because as a single mom, there's no one else to pick up the slack ... but I'm tired, and it's rough. My therapist offered several weeks ago to see me twice a week, and the mere suggestion of doing twice as much of what I'm doing in that space filled me with panic. I had to tell her no, that I don't think I can do this twice a week, and that once is hard enough. So this quarter, I'm going to keep going to weekly therapy sessions. I'm going to keep investing in myself in this way.

HEALTH:
As a mother, it isn't uncommon for me to let my own health go in favor of looking out for my kids, especially as evidenced by the fact that I've been sick since Thanksgiving. Wanna guess how many times I've been to the doctor in over a month of being sick? (Hint: it's none.)

Between my two kids, we have so many specialists and doctors that it often gets overwhelming just managing their stuff, which sometimes results in us getting behind. Between just the girls, we have one pediatrician, one dentist, two eye doctors, an endocrinologist, a podiatrist, a neurologist, a cardiologist. I feel like I'm forgetting something, just listing them out like that. So you can imagine how busy things get for us sometimes, and without an active father in the picture, it's not exactly uncommon for me to drop a ball here and there. Usually this comes in the form of my own health - it's not unusual for me to sit back and realize that I haven't had a pap smear in who-knows-how-long, or to keep putting off the chronic back pain I've been living with for years that may or may not be gallbladder related. For the moment though, I just want to focus on the little things that I've gotten out of the habit of watching. This quarter, I'm going to lay off the coffee and focus more on drinking enough water. It'll be a slow build, but by the end of the quarter, I hope to be back to drinking at least 100 ounces of water a day.

ROMANCE:
Right now my life is busy enough that I'm not sure I'm open to a romantic relationship - and while I try to repair the damage done by the last relationship I was in, I think it's best to keep my focus inward for now. Still, I'm including this category for anyone who might want to use this list for their own quarterly goal-setting - and because it'll be a good reminder for me to reassess where I am and how I'm feeling in regards to romance when it's time for the next quarterly goals.

FAMILY:
This one's easy - my goal here is to stay focused on the well-being of my daughters. They've been feeling the strain lately and both have been dealing with abandonment issues. Eden now has separation anxiety, and ... well, my girls could really use a little extra TLC, even if they're getting it from an exhausted and overwhelmed mom. They've both been having nightmares lately too, so in addition to everything else, we're all running on interrupted, low-quality sleep. But kids are tough, especially mine. So I'm just going to keep telling them that I love them and I'm here for them every single day - and I'm also going make a point of complimenting them on something each day. Being abandoned often leaves kids with confidence and guilt issues, and I want my girls to internalize the knowledge that they are loved, that they are beautiful, that they are smart, and that above all, they are worthy of all the best this world has to offer.

BUSINESS/CAREER:
With all the change in my life recently, I've had to take a break from writing, but this quarter I'm taking the bull by the horns. Through January, I'll be blogging daily (except for Sundays), and I'll be setting a 60-minute fiction writing timer each day too. Once January is over, I'll reassess my writing schedule and go from there - but the end result is that I plan to get back into regular writing. It helps me deal with things, and I need to write just as much as readers need to read. So I'm going to write more; hopefully, this will grow my blog following and my manuscript, so that by the end of this quarter I'll have more readers and a new book to offer them. Which connects to ...

FINANCES:
Separating from my kids's dad left the girls and I in a lurch. I was a stay home mom from 2004 to 2012, when I published my first novel, and from then on I was a work-at-home-mom. But always being right there for my kids carried a financial sacrifice, and this split left my girls and I struggling to make ends meet. Without saying too much about the direct process that brought us here, I'll just point out a few ways in which I hope my writing will grow to support my family.

First, I'm sure some of you have noticed that this site has been connected to Google Adsense for some time now. Second, you may also have noticed an Amazon Affiliate disclosure at the bottoms of some of my recent posts. (It's also in the sidebar.) Together, I'm hoping that these small income streams will grow to become something I can use to help support my writing and my family. In addition to these things, I've set up a Patreon account where readers can support my writing directly by pledging $1 a month. For that dollar, Patrons receive access to an exclusive page on which I post a brand new short story once a month.

And of course, I'm still marketing my books. This quarter, my goal is ... arbitrary. At this point, even the smallest of goals can look intimidating - but I do have goals nonetheless. Many of them I won't share here, due to my family's need for privacy, but I will share these:

    • increase my monthly page views on this site to 1500. I've hit that goal one time in the past - I'd like to do it twice this quarter. (Want to help? Share my posts with your friends. Leave comments. If you like it here, spread the word to others who might like it here too.)
    • double my affiliate sales commission with Amazon. (Want to help with this one, too? When you see a product linked on my site, it's probably an affiliate link. If that's a product you think you'd like for yourself, buy it through my links. It doesn't cost you anything extra, and my family receives a small blessing commission.)
    • double my Google Adsense pay. (Just like with the Amazon affiliate links, you can help me with this by clicking ads on this page - IF and WHEN they relate to you and your family. Don't do it just to do it, but if you see something you like, click on it. Another way you can help is just by being here to read my posts, and sharing them with your friends to help me increase my traffic.)
    • Attract new readers to my Patreon account, in hopes of reaching my first Patreon goal. As I mentioned before, this is a new creative outlet for me, and I've really enjoyed working in the short story format. Some of you who have been with me for a long time might remember the PicPrompts I used to post here every week. My Patreon stories are just like those; each story has a photographic inspiration, which I'll share with the story. The stories are usually around 2000 words - quick enough to read while relaxing in the bath, waiting for dinner to cook, sitting in the parent pickup line, etc. And for just a dollar a month, this is a big help to me while staying super inexpensive for you. (You can help with this one, if you so choose, by signing up here.)

FUN/RECREATION:
Losing a decade-old relationship isn't fun regardless of said relationship's quality, and neither is watching my kids struggle with the associated sense of loss. Add to that the emotional burden of keeping up with therapy, empowering myself after being stunned by my PTSD diagnosis, and being a single mother with all that that entails ... and I don't really have a lot of time for fun. But all work and no play makes Brandi depressed, so I'm aiming to increase my focus on self-care.

In recent weeks, life got to be too much, and I was really just going through the motions - if you know me well or have been following me on social media, you could probably tell. My interaction is down; I'm not posting as much. But beyond that, I stopped writing, and I stopped being able to enjoy reading. Some days, even music was too much for me. So this quarter, I'm going to focus on healing. I'm going to listen to music that encourages and empowers me, I'm going to spend time every day reading, I'm going to pamper myself with lotion. I'm going to let myself enjoy things, and I'm going to try not to stress so much about things that are outside of my control. This in itself should bring fun back into my life, and then we'll reassess next quarter.

SOCIAL:
This one is two-fold for me. I love my friends dearly, but with the craziness of my personal life, sometimes I just can't bring myself to reach out to people. Sometimes I feel like I look around at my life, and I have very little positive to say, so I say nothing. I have blessings, yes, but I have problems, too, and plenty of them. I don't want to bring my friends down, and sometimes I allow that to silence me. I allow it to isolate me. And sometimes I even embrace the sense of loneliness. But this quarter, I'm going to make a better effort to nurture my friendships. I'm not sure how I'll go about it exactly, but I think making a point to reach out to my loved ones each day in a positive way is a good start. So I'll be doing that - and when reaching out individually looks too overwhelming, there's always a Facebook status, right?

Wow, that's quite a list, huh? I think maybe I'm going to need to revive my daily bullet-journal-slash-to-do-list just to keep up with all this! Then again ... maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

What are your goals this quarter?


36 comments:

  1. This is such a GREAT post. It really holds you accountable and gives you something to look forward to. It really makes me stop and think about my simple goals. We all have things to work on and I really hope you achieve your goals. Maybe I can help a little? All you have to do is ask...which I know is hard for you. Keep up the good work and can't wait to read your book you write this year!

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    1. Thanks! I'm super excited to see what things look like when I reasses in the second quarter of 2017.

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  2. This is a great way to keep track of your goals and make sure you are working towards achieving them.

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    1. I hope so! I'm already anxious to see what the next report will look like, and how I'll adjust when choosing new goals for the next quarter.

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  3. I love this!!! It's so important to have our goals clearly defined and written out ❤ great post and you are awesome!!!

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  4. I agree as a mom we definitely forget about ourselves and our health. I am being more purposeful about taking care of me this year

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    1. Sometimes that's hard to do, but you have to remember - you can't pour out what you no longer have. We need to allow ourselves some care, too.

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  5. This is an excellent way to keep your goals defined. I guess I'll do the same!! Great post :) xoxo

    Adriana Gil
    www.makemereadmoreofthis.blogspot.pt

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  6. I don't really follow any youtubers but 1 and it is because she teaches free yogas classes. Cliff does have nice eyes but I personally prefer my husband's hazel green eyes :) My sister used to be a single mother and it was so hard for her but she finally met the man of her dreams and got married last year. Sorry to hear about your PTSD diagnosis.

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    1. I'm glad you prefer your husband's eyes! You're supposed to!

      Thanks for telling me about your sister - sometimes I think maybe it's never going to work out that way for me. And for the most part I'm okay with it because I like my own company just fine ... but there are times when it would just be nice to have someone to lean on.

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  7. Your goals are very similar to mine. Especially the therapy one, that one helps my mental health which helps my family. Also, go to the doctor! I know being a mom (especially a single working mom) can be overwhelming, but you got to take care of you so you can take care of the little ones!

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    1. I know, and I know that I need to go. But it's a process for me - it took me almost a year just to go to a therapist - doctor's offices and their general personalities tend to be very cold and standoffish, so they make me seriously uncomfortable.

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  8. Such a good way to remember what you are working on and keep your goals in mind without feeling overwhelmed!

    Al

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    1. That's the idea. I'm hoping it helps me accomplish a lot this year and move closer to some of my personal dreams.

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  9. We always make sure to take time to write out our goals. We also set a timer and spend 20 minutes every few months thinking of new goals. Writing it all down helps keep yourself accountable. We should really make them public like this.

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    1. I have found it to be effective already. I'm dreading having to report on some of these, but totally thrilled to report on others!

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  10. I guess you've had it all planned out! I am happy for you! Good luck with all your goals!

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    1. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans. We'll see how it all works out soon - at the end of this quarter, I intend to report back and also list my goals for the next quarter.

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  11. Good luck with your goals. I really need to do something like this.

    I also make it a point to compliment my kids daily. I think it's important to do.

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    1. I agree. Kids grow up hearing everything that's bad about themselves from their body shape and size to their hair style and clothing choices. And don't even get me started on people who will tell them their jokes aren't funny or that what they have to say isn't important.

      I think it's desperately important that while we discipline and raise our children, we also work to foster their confidence in themselves.

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  12. You've got so much to look forward with these goals! I love that you've split them off into different areas.
    Good luck with them and I'm sure you'll smash them!
    Amanda :)

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  13. Great way to keep your goals on track ... thanx for inspiring:)

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  14. Great ways to achieve and reaches our goals , Interesting post, thank you for sharing

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  15. It's really important to keep track our goals, goals are deserve to achieve.

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  16. Wow, I admire you for achieving your goals! I think this is a great way to be motivated. Now I am thinking of doing this for myself as well.

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    1. Well, we'll see if I achieve them or not at the end of this quarter. I know I've already gotten a couple of them completed,but some others I'm not too sure about.

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  17. Wow. I'm wishing I could be as specific and as organized as you are. Thanks for setting this example for us.

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    1. Actually, it's nothing of my own doing - like I said in the post, the idea for quarterly goals came to me through Jenna Moreci. But having the different categories to work with really inspired me to think about my life in terms of the various aspects that make it up, and how I can make each area of my life stronger, better, healthier. I know I probably won't meet all of my goals every time and that's okay too - but having them really has inspired me to work harder and stay consistent.

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  18. I plan to analyze the stats on my blog more this month. There is so much info that I am not taking advantage of to make better content and advertising decisions.

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    1. That's something I've been watching more myself lately. I'm trying to learn to optimize.

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