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[photo credit: powerofpositivity.com]

I’ve been in an odd funk since June. The last few months have been unusually busy. My agenda has been loaded with to-dos, places to go, people to see. In the midst of all of that, my workout motivation has suffered. Not because I don’t want to, but because by the time the day is through I am too physically and mentally exhausted that I simply cannot muster the strength. Even the “it’s only 30 minutes” pep-talk does not work on most days. And, yes, I’ve tried the morning workout concept, but I simply can’t…

The only saving grace in this is the change of seasons which I think is a natural motivator for many.

My tasks lately have been getting the house in order. A few months ago I read the ever popular “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and truthfully, I gave it a rather harsh review then. I found so much of it to be ridiculous and unrealistic especially when you live with others and have other peoples’ stuff to consider. I think that was the biggest reason for my less-than-positive review for it.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book cover

However, after this weekend I started to read it again. I skipped the introductory chapters and went right for the “plan.” I think for me, I find motivation through following along with someone on following a step-by-step plan. When I was in school, I loved me a good syllabus and following along with it, crossing out each day or assignment made me feel like I was accomplishing and working toward something. These days, I am missing that goal.

When I went to the “meat” of the Life Changing Magic book, I read a part about seriously considering how you want your life to be. She uses a young woman as an example who wanted to live a more “feminine lifestyle” and asked her to break down exactly what that meant. It got me thinking: I’ve heard that question before but never thought about it seriously, let alone writing it out. I grabbed my journal (one of many) and wrote out a few ideas. The overarching theme was to have my home be a sanctuary and not a place for work. My “work” at home is mostly cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, putting things away, throwing things out, cooking this, clearing that. I want my home to be a place where I can come home and read, create, relax and enjoy my family and the “work” is secondary. Not a place that I come home to after 8 hours of doing and giving for others, but a place to do and give for myself and my family that goes beyond keeping the place clean and clutter free. Sharing a space with someone else who isn’t as organized as I am is challenging, but together I know we can come to happy medium.

While I was very cruel to this cute little book that so many people love, I am giving it a second go. That little section redirected my thoughts and put me on a different path. Sometimes it takes a second look to find what you were looking for during the first look.

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I feel like every one who blogs (or vlogs) toward the end of the month always say something like, “I can’t believe it is already the end of [Insert month].” I won’t do that. I’ll simply say that this year August to August has been loaded with lots of changes, growth, and a serious look at who I am and how I live.

First things first; I am approaching one year of being a wife. One year on September 26th (although legally by the state on September 14th. But that’s a story for another day). To keep with the title, a lot of my inward work has been how I manage my time, my home, my work, my fitness, and stress.

I’ve always used agendas to keep track of appointments or parties, but I never really knew how to keep one with a to-do list until I began planning my wedding. More specifically: the last 3 months of planning where everything snow balls and it’s hurry up, go, go, go time. Since my wedding last year, my daily planning has taken on a whole new level. I discovered Alejandra.tv and signed up for and finished the Power Productivity online course. And from there, everything fell into place. Exactly what I needed as the next step to get myself together appeared effortlessly.

With the Power Productivity Program, I got way ahead of myself and bought a lot of unnecessary stuff (which she cautions against in module 4!). I just was so excited about everything I learned I would buy organizing gadgets and boxes without thinking what I would use it for. I just bought it because I’d figure out a use for it. Or I’d get it and it wouldn’t fit – again module 4. I did not follow directions…

From there it lead me to learning how to declutter. I was so overwhelmed with crap: clothes I didn’t like/didn’t fit, cooking tools I never used, books I knew I would never read, and countless cosmetics I just had to try or have. The stuff I use on a daily basis is relatively small, but the “extra” was too much. One day, my mom brought over two huge totes of my stuff from storage. I couldn’t believe the amount of junk I had in the world: there was nail polish sets from the late 90s, floppy discs, old school papers, photos of people I can’t even remember their names, and random scraps of paper and notebooks.

Those totes were a turning point. As I searched how to declutter, I discovered many vloggers/bloggers who did just that. I learned so much about what to get rid of and, more importantly, what NOT to bring in. Which leads me back to planning.

I started to use my planner to track goals and my workouts. It also acts as my to-do list (there are additional pages after the calendar with lines). It feels good to look back at the month and see what goals I was able to accomplish.

  1. to work out at least four days a week: I set that goal because I had a very busy June and needed to get back on track. Not perfect this month, but I got back into more of a routine.
  2. to be “meatless” at least 2 days a week: I wanted to cut back on eating meat for various reasons but I can say I exceeding that goal. Average 4 days per week is pretty awesome. I’m not sure I’ll never be full vegetarian. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me, but setting aside days feels like a great balance for me. I don’t plan it – my body just tells me which days it doesn’t need meat and which days it does.

To track in September:

  1. meditation, journaling and yoga: I need to SERIOUSLY get myself together when it comes to stress management. I want to meditate everyday and do yoga at least one day a week. My goal for journaling is to fill at least one page every day.
  2. headache and migraine: Going with above, this month I’ve pretty much had a headache every single day and at least 2 or 3 migraines with the most recent one being yesterday. Right now, I just have it marked with H in a circle for headache and M for migraine. They certainly are not the same. I wake up at least 1 day a week with a headache and it can last a few days. Some days I have to go into work late because they are so bad. Thankfully, my migraines are very rare, but I want to track it.
  3. Mood: You can sense a theme here. September is going to be a jump-start to some massive self-care. Yesterday’s migraine was an intervention by my body. It was a massive wake-up call on just how much I let build on a regular basis. Just not myself, but the people around me as well. I want to track my mood and see how it relates to the two above.

 

In the next post, I will write about my budget notebook which I use in another tracker. The budget book is Bullet Journal style which I love. It will go through many changes as I fine-tune it to meet what I need, but all of the things I track this coming month is about my emotional, mental, and physical well-being. I’m not just dabbling either — this is going to be real.

 

What do you want to track next month?

Find me:

Instagram; amanda11762

youTube: amanda11762

Yes, my friends, I am 22 days off You Tube. I thought it was going to be hard and I’d be bored, but honestly… I’m feeling pretty damn good.

The first week, though, was weird. The first full week I had no “desires.” After that first week, that little voice started to chime in. “Just watch one little video… it won’t hurt anything!”, “Instead of 30 days, let’s do a week.  A week is enough.”, “But I’m booorrreeddd!” I say about 2 of these 22 days I ALMOST gave in. But I stayed strong and willing and said, “No. I committed to 30 days and I am doing a full 30 days.” I am not doing this alone. I downloaded this cool app called AppDetox which allows you to set up a period of time to block opening an app or limiting the number of launches. I added the app to both my phone and tablet and blocked You Tube. Voila!

The only time I’ve used You Tube is to pull up my workout videos.I follow Tracy Anderson pretty religiously, but sometimes a girl just wants to grab heavier dumbbells and do some basic squats and dumbbell curls.

Why am I doing this detox? Well, there’s a lot of noise in the world and even louder noise in the internet world. From the moment we get in our cars until we turn off the lights for bed, we are slammed with ads, opinions, selfies, photoshopped images, instructions, and rules. For me, I was getting the usual daily dose but compounded by the opinions and rules of YouTubers. It’s not their faults either! I adore the few people I follow (all 8 of them) and I get a lot of value out of what they share. It’s just how my brain interprets their content that caused reason for a pause.

I needed to recalibrate my internal filter and hear my own voice and opinion again.

A few days into my “fast” I stopped doing a lot of the things I unconsciously picked up from bloggers and vloggers.

I stopped tracking certain things that frankly I do not need to be tracking or obsessing over. I won’t go into detail, but tracking something for the sake of tracking it based on someone else’s life or goals without establishing goals yourself is well… pointless and, quite frankly, stressful. For example, I love BlondeonaBudget’s blog. She is fantastic, but my finances are completely different from hers but I found myself trying to follow her example to the letter rather than pulling some great ideas and applying to the things I already do and know. I spent the first part of 2016 tracking every single penny, putting myself on a shopping ban and for what?

I don’t know? I don’t have any debt to pay off and solid in my savings because I already know how to manage my cash flow and I have for years. It was unnecessary. Sure, I loved creating my charts but it became yet another way for me to praise or punish myself. So, I stopped.

I stopped tracking a lot of things that I don’t need to track.

When I started the fast, I was not sure exactly what would come of it. I just wanted to stop wasting so much time and get back to ME. But when the 30 days is up, I doubt I’ll dive back in and chain watch every single video of my precious 8 (one of whom is my husband but I see those “live.”). Another 1 is a yoga instructor. So of the 8, there are 6 that fall within my no-watch category. Those 6 are like friends. But no matter how long I go without them, they’ll always be there for my viewing pleasure.

 

 

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There is something about March that sparks hope in me. Perhaps it is the coming of spring and the slow emerging from the darkness of winter. January 1st has nothing on March 1st; this is the real Happy New Year!  In fact, each month is like a brand new year, a blank sheet of paper ready for fresh ideas and fresh ink.

This month I am keeping it simple. I set 3 goals this month. I appreciate goals that require simple and daily right actions that hold a huge pay off once in the flow. My goals are not usually about saving up to buy a fancy gadget, rather, I love things that make me happier on a daily basis and therefore a better and well-rounded person.

 

Please let me know what your goals are this month. I’d love to know!

1. Meditation :: I need to get my you-know-what in gear and commit to meditation on a daily basis. Not some days, or once a week, but every single day. In January I was successful in 20 days straight of morning meditation, but fell off that wagon. I’ve been reading The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching and meditation is imperative.

2. Spending Freeze :: This one isn’t as fun. Let’s be honest… but it is necessary. For the month of March my plan is to spend only on groceries, gas, and obvious bills/payments. I have a bad habit of money burning a hole in my pocket and I tend to get very liberal with spending after payday hits. Above is my fresh daily spending sheet that I developed back in January. I’m still finding the perfect way to use it, adding and removing categories for each month. It’s not a perfect system, but I’m sure I will have it down in a few months. For the month of March, I’m keeping it to the bare necessities and focus on “free” fun such as reading, drawing, and spending time with my husband and dog! *More on this to come!

3. Creativity :: I love to draw and paint with water colors. I haven’t been inspired much the last month or two as being wrapped up in layers is not conducive for comfort while working on art projects. Each day my goal is to spend at least 30 minutes on a drawing. I do not need to finish anything, but 30 fun-filled, meditative minutes of drawing will get me back into a groove.