Challenges | Prep for 2015

One thing I wish I had done for 2014, which I will be doing for 2015, is get myself a couple of challenges.  These are different from goals or resolutions (which I don’t really make) because they have concrete steps built into them.  My challenge for 2013 was to graduate from college.

This doesn't have much to do with the post, but that's my planner for next year.

This doesn’t have much to do with the post, but that’s my planner for next year.

 

Decide on an area of your life where you want a challenge, first.  Do you want a fitness challenge?  A travel challenge?  A career change challenge?  Maybe you’re struggling to fit your hobbies in with your job and school and family.  A hobby challenge (maybe photo a day?) will help you keep them in your life.  Maybe you’ve moved to a new city and haven’t seen much of it yet.  With a little searching you can easily find a list of the best sites to see, and make that into a challenge, or maybe there’s already a challenge for your city!

For 2015, I will be participating in the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge.  (You can find the Pop Sugar post here, and I will be uploading a video about it too!)  This amounts to 50 books (or 52 depending on how you interpret the trilogy point) to read during 2015, but it’s more limited than that.  This challenge presents 50 specific types of books, including a graphic novel, a book by a female author, and a book more than 100 years old.  For a different reading challenge you could choose the Rory Gilmore reading list, but that is 335 books long so you may want to choose one season or an arbitrary number of books from Rory’s list.  If you’re not into being restricted in your reading, you could try a GoodReads 50 book challenge.  You can actually personalize that to any number of books that works for you, so if 50 seems too high or too low, you can change it up.  (This year I said 40, but I didn’t take it very seriously, and I didn’t reach it).

A fellow Creampuff on Tumblr, Juli, made this incredible 2015 TV & Movie Challenge, if that’s more your speed.  Much like the 2015 Reading Challenge above, this has different categories, and requirements for completion.  (Sidenote, don’t know what a creampuff is?  You need to watch Carmilla).

 

If you’d prefer a fitness related challenge, you could try Couch to 5k.  Or doing a certain number of 30 Day Shred cycles.  If you’re into swimming set a concrete time goal and write out the steps.

 

Writing an entire novel is a great challenge, if it’s something you’re into.  Nanowrimo and the Office of Letters and Light could get you started.  Rachel Hawkins (author of one of my favorite series) and Victoria Schwab (author of the incredible Near Witch) have a system involving stickers and a calendar which you could adopt.

 

I recently adopted Rosianna Halse Rojas’ 100 Jobs Challenge from 2012 but have since given up because I got a job (actually, since I wrote the draft of this post, I got two!  more info to come).  I’ll probably pick that back up when my seasonal job ends, though.  If you’re in need of a career change, or just a career in general, this would be a great one.  For a career change, though, I’d recommend getting some clear steps in mind before you attack applications.  For more about career searching, keep your eyes open for Job Interview Week next month.  January is all about that Job Search for many of us.

 

I’d recommend picking a couple of challenges to keep yourself motivated.  I’ll probably pick a fitness challenge as well, but I haven’t decided what yet.  If you want something more long term, create a 25 By 25 style list of goals.  I recently-ish revised mine to reflect my current priorities.

Maybe I just prefer challenges to resolutions because I’m competitive.  I am both a Leo and a younger sister, after all.

 

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Planners | Prep For 2015

Let’s talk about planners. I am the ultimate planner nerd. I’ve had planners since I was like 10, although I’ve only consistently used them in college and since. Bring me your planner questions!

 

First, let’s decide what kind of planner works for you. Do you want a ring bound? A wire bound? A regular bound? I’ve used all of the above. Generally my favorite is the ring bound, because you can always add pages, but for 2015 I’m using a bound planner from Target. (In fact, it’s this one). Do you need to have your notes in the same place as your planner? Then a ring bound might be for you. I usually ended up carrying a separate notebook anyway, so I didn’t use the notes section of my ring bound planner as much as I theoretically should have.

2015 Planner

Get at me 2015!

Next we need to decide is what size planner you’ll need. I’ve used tiny planners, but I don’t like the lack of space. I’ve used big A5 planners, but they’re hard to carry around everywhere. Usually I default to something about the size of a personal Filofax – 3.7×6.7 inches. For a ring bound planner, keep in mind that your actual binder will be larger, which is part of what makes them even bulkier. If you always carry an enormous purse, I suppose it won’t make much difference, but I also like to be able to grab a small one and just go do my errands. Maybe stop by the bookstore or the library. So I like medium sized planners. If you’re responsible for multiple people, especially kids, you might want a larger planner than I do.

 

Once you’ve decided what size planner you need, and what kind you want, the fun part happens. You get to shop for a planner. I used three different planners in 2014, and none of them were quite perfect. I like to shop online a bit for planners before I go and actually buy one in a store. Target has a great selection, both from the Sugar Paper LA line and from their regular line. (I honestly debated whether I should spend the $8 on my new planner for a really long time, but I love it so much I decided it was worthwhile). Barnes & Noble also has a good selection, as does Staples. If you’re in the Filofax game, you should look around online first because buying from their website is very expensive.

I recently came across the Passion Planner. If I didn’t already have my 2015 planner, I might have bought the Passion Planner. It was created by a young woman who felt lost for years, and then created the planner to work herself out of that lost feeling. I think it looks gorgeous, and fascinating, and incredibly useful. You can even try it out for free!

 

If you’re like me, though, you’re too nervous to buy a planner without reading a bunch of blog posts about different types and different specific planners. One of the best planner blogs is Plannerisms. For Filofax planners specifically, there’s Philofaxy. If you like the look of a Filofax, but also think it looks a little boring, check out Gala Darling’s guide to Filofaxes. Trust me, Gala never does anything boring.

 

This year I chose a bound, pretty, Sugar Paper LA planner from Target because I kept coming back to it. I’ll probably bring a small notebook with me everywhere so I can make notes and have an overall to do list from which I choose that day’s tasks. I know I’ll need that notebook because I’ve tried all different kinds of planners before, and I know myself. Try different kinds of planners, you’ll learn something even if you hate that particular planner.

For more about prepping for 2015, watch this space.

Revised (again) 25 By 25

Don’t worry, I’ve only added my twenty-fifth goal, finally.  I’ve had only 24 for a month and change, and I finally figured out my twenty-fifth a few days ago.  And then I achieved it.  (I’m making a video about this soon, so keep an eye on my channel).

25 By 25

  1. Move into my own apartment not with an immediate family member.  (Roommates are cool).
  2. Get a tattoo.
  3. Run a 5k.
  4. Attend a group meditation.
  5. Visit 2 new US cities.
  6. Visit Europe.
  7. Finish writing a novel.
  8. Buy a subscription to Evernote Prime.
  9. Buy a subscription to Spotify Premium.  (Student is just $5/month!) (There’s a sale now for $0.99 for three months but it’s only available until December 31!)
  10. Adopt an animal.
  11. Attend a Phi Sigma Pi conference.
  12. Try out a notebook planner.  (March 2013, I don’t like it).
  13. Complete my master’s degree.  (Enrolled at SEMO for Secondary Education).
  14. Visit Canada
  15. Buy stock.
  16. Learn basic French.
  17. Build my own website.  (Not just a mockup).
  18. Learn basic Spanish.
  19. Get a driver’s license.  (June 2013!)
  20. Give thank you cards to all my professors at AU in my final semester. (December 2013!)
  21. Start sharing short stories on my blog. (November 2014)
  22. Share poetry on my youtube channel. (November 2014)
  23. Purchase a DSLR camera. (November 2014)
  24. Instead of birthday gifts, ask for donations to charity.
  25. Have a job I’m proud to display on LinkedIn. (December 2014)

To be clear about that last goal, everyone’s pride is different.  Mine is definitely one of my biggest weaknesses, and I see why it’s considered a cardinal sin when I think of how proud I can be.  So getting a job that I’m proud of enough to put it on my LinkedIn page and display it to the world, not just mentioned in text messages where I’m always qualifying why I have it, is a really nice feeling.

It seems like the last couple of months I’ve been achieving goal after goal, and taking steps toward other goals, like making a plan for moving out, or creating a savings goal spreadsheet, or deciding on what my first tattoo will be when I finally find an artist I’m comfortable with putting needles and ink to my body.  Have you been meeting your goals?  Tell me all about your goals in the comments!  Let’s chat.

Last Revision | Original 25 By 25 List

Adulting

Slightly off-topic from my usual topics, but I recently made a video about being an adult and what it means, and I want to share.  I think I’m doing adulthood fairly well for my circumstances.  I have a job (and potentially more than one).  I have grad school.  I’m about to finish a beautiful internship at the Missouri History Museum.  I live with my family, and it’s a very long drive to the nearest city, so I feel very disconnected from everything, but I’m beginning to get a better grip on life again.  I’m beginning to feel like a real adult, and I like it.

What makes you feel like an adult?  Let’s chat about it in the comments!

How Easy Is It To Get Ordained?

As of next week (November 19) I will have been ordained through American Marriage Ministries for two years.  Weird, huh?  I’m one of the least religious people I know, and yet technically I’m an ordained minister.  Why?  I was curious.  At the time, I was in an ehtnography class, so I spent a lot of time talking about, and thinking about, the ways different cultures recognize milestones and ceremonies.  One of those was marriages.

 

Being a non-religious person, I’ve always wondered how non-religious people handled weddings, funerals, and the like, because all of those I’ve ever been to have had a distinctly religious bent.  Whether that’s a 3-hour wedding mass when a friend’s aunt got married, or the touching but very religious funeral service for my grandfather, all of these ceremonies, in my experience, have been tinged with religion.  Then, I read about getting ordained online, almost instantly.  It really is almost instant.

I became an ordained marriage minister through them!

 

I logged onto the American Marriage Ministries website, filled out a few forms, and was confirmed as a member of their ranks.  There are plenty of licensing “ministries” out there, including Universal Life Church, another biggie.  Personally, I love that it is so easy for someone who matters to the couple getting married to officiate their wedding.  I love that there are options for the non-religious other than the relatively impersonal city hall/justice of the peace route.  While that totally works for some people, it’s always good to have options.  So far, I haven’t performed any marriages, and I don’t know if I ever actually will.  I got ordained mostly out of curiosity.  But I definitely would if someone asked me to.

 

The thing about being non-religious in America is that in almost everything it makes no real difference (except that people are going to assume you’re religious, especially in this area) but when it comes to celebrating milestones and having ceremonies, your options become instantly limited.  But I honestly think that the ease of online ordination for officiating weddings is indicative of a shift in our cultural opinions about these ceremonies.  It’s a shift to accepting that there are many different ways to celebrate a milestone – be it a wedding, or a funeral, or a sweet 16.  American culture, as a rule, tends to sit back on Christian traditions, which can be a problem for the many Americans who aren’t Christian.  Be they Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Atheist, or simply non-religious with no opinion one way or another about the existence of a deity, there are millions of people who don’t want to have the traditional church wedding.  Instead, with this kind of easy ordination, they could have a friend or family member, a person who has been important to both parties, officiate and make their wedding day truly special.  I’m all for it (obviously) because I’m all for anything that expands people’s freedoms and possibilities, even in a small way.

 

Holiday Strife: Families

The holidays can be incredibly painful for a lot of people.  They bring up feelings of anger, sadness, and pain.  As much as I wish they were, holidays are rarely as beautiful as sappy movies make them out to be.  If you’re feeling complicated and painful things this holiday season, your feelings are valid.  This is actually such an important topic to me that I made a video about it.

What is There to Change?

My fraternity brother Hancie wrote this wonderful piece about body image and being comfortable in your own skin. In place of my own thoughts today, please read it and give yourself some love.

Ferocity & Curiosity

When we last left off we were looking at whose pictures influence thoughts about body image. If we know that our minds have been influences, then we should look at how they have been. A short video has recently been released by Jubilee Project where they asked fifty people, adults and children, one question: What would you change about your body?

The video opens with the responses from adults, all of whom don’t think very long before giving their answers. These include changing their foreheads, ears, and feet. One response that particularly stood out to me was a mother saying, “Stretch marks after having a kid,” as she held her son in her arms. The things that these adults are wishing to change about themselves are aspects of their bodies they are born with. With the exception of plastic surgery, these elements are impossible to change. People are walking…

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