Wednesday, December 30, 2015

So how did you do on your goals for 2015…

It feels like only yesterday I was writing out my goals for 2015.  There is just something about starting a new year that inspires us to make goals.  A new year beginning just seems like a great time to make positive changes.  The challenge is to actually stick with those goals.  Some years I do much better than others.

With 2016 only days away, I began cleaning off my desk and opened up a notebook with my list of 2015 goals:
1.    Read 100 books
2.    Blog post at east two times a week
3.    Publish two fiction books
4.    Organize and scan Mom’s photos
5.    Drink more water
6.    Make an inspiration board

It’s a pretty good list, ambitious but not extreme.  I can happily report that I made pretty good progress, some items were much more successful than others. 

1.    I didn’t quite make it to 100 books, so far I am at 82 books, and I do have a couple more days to read but I doubt I will get all the way to 100.  I am still very impressed that I made it all the way to 82 books. If you aren't on Goodreads yet, you really should be.  Their reading challenge is a fun way to keep track of your reading.  

2.    Regarding my blog I am amazed to say that I have published 94 blog posts this past year.  A few of those were guest posts, but I came very close to my goal of two blog posts a week – and I am incredibly proud of that. 

3.    I did not manage to publish two fiction book so I didn't  get nearly as far with this goal.  On the bright side, I did publish one short story, The Locket, in February.  I have one fiction story that I began during Nano of last year (2014) but I am still not happy with it, so I have not published that one yet.  I started a fun chick lit book, but I am not sure if that is really the genre for me, and I still have two young adult historical fiction stories that I have begun, but not finished.  I feel like I am close to a big writing breakthrough – so maybe 2016 will be my big year. 

4.    I spent a great deal of time going through my mom’s old photos, and I did manage to scan a large portion of them, but there are still several albums and boxes to go through.  It is a big task, but it is also fun.  I made good progress, but it's still a goal, and once I scan all the photos – I need to organize them and add info that I can (names and dates). I have enjoyed sharing some of the photos on social media.  

5.    I still have a challenge of drinking enough water, but this year I gave myself permission to drink flavored water without guilt.  Yes, I know plain water is better, but I am just not good at drinking water so I had to find something that worked for me.  I prefer drinking Propel, and I have made a conscious effort to keep my fridge stocked with plenty so I stay adequately hydrated.  I still need to work on increasing, but I am doing better.  Giving myself the gift of drinking Propel guilt-free was a big step.

6.    Despite my good intentions, I did not manage to make that inspiration board last year.  I still think it’s a really good idea, so I think I’ll just roll that into this years goal list.I like the idea of getting an old picture frame from Goodwill and using that.  

Overall I feel like I did fairly well, especially considering the fact that this year; my husband had surgery, my daughter got married and I broke my foot.  Somehow we all survived and I was even able to accomplish at least some of my goals. I wonder what 2016 will hold in store.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Shine On – a fun adventure for all of us Forty-to-Forever gals

Ever since I wandered into a bookstore several years ago and picked up a copy of The Wildwater Walking Club, I have enjoyed reading books by Claire Cook.  I liked that first book so much that I began to look for other books that Claire Cook wrote, and one by one I read them all. 

Claire Cook is the queen of reinvention, and her optimistic and slightly sarcastic humor is always a fun escape for me, so I am excited that she has released a new book, and I am even more excited that she asked me to read and review it. 

Shine On: How to grow Awesome Instead of Old  is the second non-fiction book by Claire Cook.  Reading this book feels more like a conversation with a good friend.  Full of tips and practical advice on dealing with midlife, this book also shares stories; some funny and some very personal. From make-up and diets to setting priorities and achieving your goals, Claire Cook is open and honest as she shares what she has learned and offers encouragement for her readers to ‘shine on’ too.  

As a big fan of Claire Cook, I always enjoy her stories full of women with spunk, who are ready to challenge whatever is the next step in their life, and it is clear after reading this book that Claire Cook is not just writing about reinvention - she is living it.  

I had so much fun visualizing Claire walking her tape balance beam down the hall. I giggled as she described Kayaking down the river, only to realize that she was in water only a few inches deep.  I love how Claire confronts challenges head on, and if she realizes that something isn't for her, she is able to simply move on.  At times while reading this book, I felt like we were so much alike, from a tendency to walk around barefoot, to the struggles of trying to appreciate yoga, and failing to enjoy the experience, it often feels like she is describing me and my life.  

Full of inspirational quotes as well as practical suggestions, this is a perfect book to begin a new year on the right foot. 

Download a copy and start your own ‘Shine On’ notebook, let's grow Awesome instead of Old together.