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A Morning with Darren Hardy

To kick off a monthly blog series (“A Morning With”), I’m extremely excited to share my most recent morning with one of what will be a long list of amazing influencers.

January 17, 2018 will probably go down in the history books. Or at the very least a highlight from 2018.

I always feel very blessed to work for a company that encourages growth, self improvement, and at least once a year (if not 2 or 3 times a year) brings a kick ass speaker to a company meeting. Over the past few years we’ve had the privilege to hear from a wide range of influential speakers and mentors, including Bryan Harsin (head coach of the Boise State football team), Tom Flick (former NFL quarterback), and Andy Andrews (author of The Traveler’s Gift) – I promise you’ll get to hear all about them in other months.

Until that day, I never thought I would meet Darren Hardy. He seemed a little out of my league when it comes to speakers and opportunities.

Just in case this is the first you’ve heard of Darren Hardy, he is the former publisher of Success Magazine, author of the books The Compound Effect and The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster (both I’ve read and highly recommend), motivational speaker, and you can wake up with him every day courtesy of the Darren Daily email video series (which I also highly recommend you sign up for).

After an hour and a half pep talk based off his amazing book The Compound Effect and an hour photo and signing session, it’s safe to say I would hang with this guy on a regular basis if I had the choice. Since I can’t, here’s a slice of Darren Hardy wisdom that we can all embrace each day on our way to becoming amazing humans, creatives, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs.

The big question – WHY AREN’T YOU MORE SUCCESSFUL?

SUCCESS is only earned by … HARD WORK. So, then we might ask – “how do you get there?”

“You cannot own success. The rent is due every day.”
– Darren Hardy

CHOICES

I came for discipline, not for fun. – Darren Hardy

Small choices compounded over time “add up to big results”. We are each 100% responsible for our lives, our actions, our choices … basically, EVERYTHING. No more placing the blame on our childhood, our poor eating, our lack of time, the people we surround ourself with, and more.

BEHAVIOR

95% unconscious. – Darren Hardy

Time to change our awareness, define what we really want, who we really are, and what we need to do in order to get there. Start small – like tracking every penny you spend or every piece of food you put in your mouth. Over time, we don’t even realize we are doing it.

HABITS

Good habits are hard to create, easy to lose. Will power won’t work. – Darren Hardy

We need to start building a success system with our key behaviors, our “big, hairy, audacious goals”, and then we need to TRACK IT. Hold yourself accountable, find a buddy, audit yourself daily, repeat.

TIME

The key to success is massive failure. – Thomas Watson of IBM

Be consistently consistent. Face the wall of fear and tear it down. Track your failures and turn it into fun. For every rejection post it on the wall, collect them like trophies, see how many you can get. The YES will be that much sweeter in the end.

What’s your action plan look like, aside from going to buy his book today and creating your best year ever?

WANT MORE?

For more details on Darren’s key components to the compound effect, pick up a copy of his book … The Compound Effect. There are so many goodies inside, I definitely couldn’t share them all, and it would spoil all the fun for you.

In the meantime, happy learning, growing, doing, reading, and kicking fear to the curb!

<3,
Lauren

 

 

Creating a Library Shrine

 

If you are a follower of Gretchen Rubin, like myself, then you’ve most likely read Happier at Home, her second book that, among many topics, discusses cultivating a shine (or two or five) in your home to something that you love. It’s a place you can pass by and feel “happier at home” because it is there.

I never realized until I read her book that I was already doing this in my home. Recently, I became more intentional with the idea of shrines in my home, more specifically with my library.

There are multiple great things about creating shrines in your library (and your home). Here are just a few ways my library brings me happiness, especially at the start of a new reading year.

Easily find books from a favorite author

If you collect every book from a favorite author, putting them all on the same shelf or same location makes it easy to find them to read, share, or take inventory of what might be missing.

I have two shelves dedicated to Jane Austen. The top shelf has books that I have read yet while the bottom shelf stores all the books I haven’t read that relate to Austen. I also included some fun knick knacks I’ve acquired over the years.

I also have a small section in my bedroom library for the James Patterson books I have yet to read, plus Janet Evanovich, J.D. Robb, and my full Nancy Drew collection on one shelf.

Display collector items

If you have non-book items or collectables that relate to an author, dedicating a shelf to display those items and include the books by the author is another great way to bring happiness to your library or home, not to mention a creative way to spice up your shelves.

My most recent shrine came about after I received a wooden Shakespeare sign for Christmas. I needed a place to display it and what better location than the library. I cleared off a shelf to include the sign and all my Shakespeare related books (most being older, collector editions).

Prioritize reading and tracking

This might be one of the most important shrines for me and anyone else obsessed with books. Designating a shelf to books you have borrowed (from the library or friends) can help you prioritize what to read next.

I finally had to organize a couple shelves to hold not just the books I have borrowed from friends and keep forgetting to read, but also books I’ve started but haven’t finished. In addition, it houses the books I most want to read so I’m not wondering what to pick up next.

Now every time I catch a glimpse of my growing library, I find joy and happiness in the organization and reminders of why I love books so much.

What shrines do you have in your library or what shrines do you want to create? 2018 is the perfect time to start a new tradition, or dust off the old shelves and refresh them with a new look.

Happy reading!

<3,
Lauren

 

 

10 Best Read Books From 2017

10 Best Read Books From 2017

 

2017 was an interesting reading year. I listened to more audiobooks than read physical books (I’m pretty sure). I was on the hunt to focus on reading more books that I own and less that I borrowed. At my last estimate I owned over 600 books I have not read. EEK! And somehow, I think I read more at the end of the year than any other time.

What I found was that I spent a lot of time reading and listening to pleasure fiction that was still enjoyable but not overall standout or award winning. I’m a huge mystery fiction reader (Patterson, Grafton, etc.), so when you look at my reading from 2017 you’ll find a big majority of those authors – mainly getting caught up on series while reading books I own. I still loved them all!

The other thing I found was that I read a lot of really awesome growth books – non fiction that inspired me to do more and be more. That boils down to a pretty amazing 2018 coming up outside of reading.

In the meantime, of all 100 books I read this year, here are the ones I recommend the most for any reader:

Fiction

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins // From the best selling author of The Girl on the TrainInto the Water is equally as riveting as it’s predecessor. Into the Water follows the story of a small town haunted by its history while struggling to solve the mystery behind the death of a woman named Nel. The who, what, why, and how behind every turn keeps you guessing as to what really happened – was it an accident, suicide, or murder? Once I started, I couldn’t put it down until the very end.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid // I’ve been a fan of Reid’s other books and her latest definitely does not disappoint. As my first Book of the Month subscription book, it easily hooked me from page one and I finished within 24 hours. To read a full review, click here.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo // A recommendation from my reading buddy, this book will definitely pull at your feelers. Every relationship has it’s beginning, but what happens when you beginning is the end for many. Following the lives of a new couple thrust into the unthinkable on September 11, 2001, The Light We Lost takes you back and forth in time, through the journey of discovery, love, acceptance, happiness, sadness, and tough choices. It’s self discovery, self love, patience, and heartbreak. This story is a journey through all our emotions, all our feelings, and you feel right along with the characters as they find their way through a changed world after tragedy.

Non Fiction

The Magnolia Story by Chip and JoJo // I’m so glad I picked up this book as my first Audible subscription because it was pure joy to listen to Chip & JoJo read their own story, comment, and entertain. I felt more like I was having a conversation with them vs. listening to them read the book they wrote. The Magnolia Story takes you on a journey through the life of Chip, JoJo, Fixer Upper, Magnolia, and more. There is so much goodness, hitting the pause button was almost nonexistent.

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy // I’ve been a huge fan of Darren Hardy over the past few years, subscribing to his Darren Daily morning videos, Success Magazine, and picking up a couple of his other books. I’m super stoked that I had the opportunity to read The Compound Effect a couple months before I will be hearing him speak live for the first time. The Compound Effect could easily be read in one sitting, but I highly recommend taking some time to read each chapter, follow the action items, and then move onto the next chapter. Each chapter focuses on one habit or concept that when compounded over time and together, helps you to achieve the best life ever. January is the perfect time to pick up his book and start new habits an traditions.

You Go First by Ronda Conger // Written by an amazing leader that I work with day in and day out. You Go First is Conger’s third book and her first on leadership. Chocked full of personal stories and experience, you learn all the great leadership qualities that you can embody now whether you are in a leadership position or just starting your career. The journey is inspirational, motivating, and straight up fun for everyone. And if you enjoy her book and you’re in the Boise area, you can definitely find Ronda speaking at local events around town. You Go First is also another book that is easy to read in one sitting and perfect for the first of the year or when you’re ready for a jump start or pick me up in your life.

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins // All artists can relate to Goins’ latest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve. Take your time digesting or if you’re like me, you’ll fly through in a day highlighting and taking notes from page one. I now refuse to believe that I can’t be creative and make a living. To read a full review, click here.

Finish by Jon Acuff // I was really on a kick and screaming through motivational books that could be read in an afternoon – and most left me with so many action items I’m still playing catch up. Finish inspired me to do more than just create and I could definitely relate to the primary focus of the book – it wasn’t to just start something great, but also to finish it. I’m still learning and this great read might be something I refer back to every year. To read a full review, click here. | Buy on Amazon

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book // Some may not agree with where this book landed on my list, and some may consider it cheating, however, this short read if extremely effective, easy to read in a few short minutes, enjoyable for all ages, and a blast from the past that reminded me some of the most valuable lessons in life. I keep this book on my nightstand and in my line of sight because we all need reminders about the little things in life that go a long way. | Buy on Amazon

The Three Squirrels’ Alphabet Book of Manners by Stephanie Sorensen, Amy Wilkins, and Carrie Hastriter // If I was going to give the book before this a sequel, it would be The Three Squirrels Alphabet Book of Manners. Written by very dear friends of mine, the three squirrels (Stephanie, Amy, and Carrie) takes you, your littles, and anyone you want to share the book with, through the alphabet with 26 manner moment reminders that we all need in our lives. Whether you’re reading to refresh yourself on the importance of manners, teaching your littles over time great skills for life, or you just love squirrels, this book is perfect for littles big and small. It’s also fun to see the creativity on those tough letters like X and Z. Manners, now, more than ever.

What were your favorite reads of 2017? My shelves can never have too many books to read.

Happy reading in 2018!

<3,
Lauren

Give Thanks.

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Turkey Day is nearing and over the past couple months I have been working on being more grateful in my life. It’s always something that I think about, but I don’t always practice it or say it out loud.

Usually I’m writing down my grateful’s when the struggle is strong, not when everything is amazing.

In reality, we should be tracking what we are grateful for daily – regardless of the good and bad in our lives.

Darren Hardy issues an annual THANKS-giving challenge to his followers and when August 28th, 2017 rolled around – with 90 days left in the year – I challenged myself to play along, to daily write down something I was grateful for.

On November 1st, 2017, the company I work for handed out lists and challenged us to write one work item and one personal item each day in the month of November that we are grateful for. It’s in the moments when you feel beat up and broke down, that it’s okay to be grateful just for a listening ear, the delete key in Gmail, a roof over your head, and a hot cup of tea. In moments of great happiness, the list is longer and we see so many things to be thankful for.

When I look back over my list, I’m reminded of all the good times and not the frustrating ones. The bad disappeared and was forgotten. It was replaced with only good memories. I couldn’t remember what it was on a specific day that made me grateful for the simple act of holding hands (was it a disagreement?) or for a check in the mail for a freelance project (over credit card debt).

Each year, I usually create a list of things to challenge myself with in the coming year – my bucket list, my new years resolutions, whatever you want to call them. In addition, I try to think of my ONE WORD to represent the coming year.

It’s too early for me to decide on a theme for the next year, but being grateful is high on the list. Not just being grateful for other people, but for myself and the things I have accomplished and will accomplish.

For now, focus on some actionable items to embrace gratitude in the remaining days of the year and beyond:

  • Set a calendar reminder on your phone to write your grateful list each day
  • Find a good gratitude app to track – Gratitude Journal 365 allows you to upload a photo with your daily list and export it
  • Have a gratitude buddy to hold you accountable
  • Keep your list handy (in your phone, notebook in your purse, day planner, etc.)
  • Share grateful’s with your family – at breakfast, driving to work/school, or at dinner
  • On Thanksgiving, hand write 5, 10, or more thank you notes to unsuspecting recipients thanking them for something they did for you during the year.
  • Have a small white board at your desk you update each morning with your grateful list

It may be small, it may be big, it may be insignificant, it may be life changing. Whatever you are grateful for today, write it down. Whoever you are grateful for today, tell them.

I know following Darren Hardy’s simple challenge has changed my mentality, changed my perspective, and changed how the past few months have evolved. I find the good, the positive, in every situation. When I’m down, I’m not there long.

Gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving. It’s not just for the people around you. It’s for you, too.

Don’t be afraid of NaNoWriMo

Don’t be afraid of NaNoWriMo

*originally posted on Medium.com 11.2.17 / photo source: pixabay.com

It’s November 1st — the first official day of NaNoWriMo and I don’t have an idea. Empty page, cursor idling and haunting me as the minutes ticked on.

That was me yesterday. Struggling in the days leading up to National Novel Writing Month for some sort of story idea that I’d been harvesting and saving for this very moment.

And then the panic started to set it knowing I already had a busy couple weeks coming up, which meant I was wondering how in the world was I going to fit in time to write 1,667 words each day for the next 30 days.

Two years ago when I finished my first NaNoWriMo with a double whammy of writing the entire book on a typewriter, hand counting my words each day.

But I conquered day 1, then 2, and the habit became addictive. My day was not complete if I hadn’t tried to write a few words on the page.

If I can do it, so can you!

Here is my 2 cents into a successful NaNoWriMo experience.

Just Write

Any idea is an idea, even a brain dump and a ramble. Just start typing and see where it takes you. 1,667 words for me is about 5 pages. I started this year telling an adventure I had with my boyfriend recently. I don’t know how it will play out but it started spawning more ideas and before I knew it I was mid sentence and over the word count and I wanted to keep writing.

You don’t have to write it all at once

There’s no rule that says you have to write all your words in one sitting. Today I wrote in my Google Drive document while sitting at stoplights and if I had a sentence pop into my head, I quickly typed it out while at work. While I was waiting for a program or file to load, I wrote a couple more sentences.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Write for five minutes when you first get up
  • Write during your lunch break
  • Stay at work a few minutes late after you clock off and write
  • Carry a notepad with you and write while waiting for an appointment (or on a notepad app on your phone)
  • Voice dictate your pages on your phone while you drive and use a program to create a transcript (you do this on your phone notepad or Google as well)
  • Write before you go to bed
  • Plan family writing or quiet time each day

There are plenty more options, but mix it up. If you need a rigid routine, pick a time and place that works best. I can’t always get up and write and I can’t always write before bed. The variety helps my creativity.

Find a buddy

While I’ve only completed one NaNoWriMo, I’ve participated multiple years, and this is the first year I have a local buddy who I work with. Day 1 I asked if she had signed up yet and when I finished writing I texted her. We plan to share stories as well along the way. Even without her knowing, she was holding me accountable for putting words down. And I ended up motivating her with my text to sit down and write even a bit.

Whether your buddy is someone you know or from the NaNoWriMo online community or a FB group, the encouragement is amazing.

Power Through

Most of the time we start of strong, we are oozing creative genius, everyone is posting about their success, we hit our goal every day.

And then suddenly life throws a curve ball and you only managed to write a half your words, thinking the next few days you would make up for it, and all of a sudden you see you tracker bar dip below the goal line.

You feel defeated. You’re already behind. You might as well stop and try again next year.

NOPE!

I speak from experience. The year I finished I got behind. Writing on a typewriter took almost twice as long, I had to swap pages, I had to manually count words. I had to carve out almost 2 hours each day when I wasn’t fully juiced with ideas to finish.

But I was determined because I put it out there and I wanted that badge that said I was a NaNoWriMo Winner!

So the last day of the month I cleared my calendar and I started typing. And I typed. And I typed, typed, typed. I’m sure I had some blisters. My feet hurt from standing at my desk for hours.

And by 9pm I had written over 5,000 to catch myself up to 50,000. It never felt so good!

And even better, my story was still going so I came back after I recovered from the marathon and finished it up.

Have Fun

That’s the point in my opinion. If it’s not fun, then we shouldn’t do it.

Yes, writing can be stressful and we writers are constantly challenging ourselves and rewriting and never feel like our work is perfect. We write because we love it.

If you’re happy writing 500 words a day on week days, and blocking a huge chunk of time shutting out the world to write on the weekends, then do it.

If you just want to use NaNoWriMo to start the habit of writing daily, then do it.

If trying to hit the goal every day causes more anxiety than getting a tooth pulled, create your own goal. Challenge yourself to do a 1/2 NaNoWriMo or a NaNoWriMo Sprint vs a Beast (little reference to the Spartan race series).

It’s your book, it’s your challenge, you get to call the shots.

Conclusion

Take a deep breath, find your zone, create your happy place, and just enjoy the journey that is NaNoWriMo. Your story is calling your name. It wants to be told, it wants to be read.

If you want to connect as NaNoWriMo buddies, you can follow me HERE.

Happy NaNoWriMo’ing.

❤,
Lauren

PS … to catch up on Season One of the Alter Egos podcast, swing over HERE.

October Shenanigans No. 6

October was a busy month and it’s only getting busier with the holidays coming up. We made it through dressing up, and the weather starting to change finally, and now we’re gearing up for some insane creative time while we’re staying inside where it’s warm.

1. I’ve been getting together with a group of nerdy friends to combine our collective creativity to create a new multimedia company. We all come from different backgrounds, we all are different personalities, and we all have different skills. It’s a trifecta. We’re three weeks in with planning, the website is in progress, and I’m stoked to soon be able to share it with you all. Here’s a hint: they call me “North“. Launch date is only a couple weeks away.

2. The Keto lifestyle is begging for me to make dinner more. You might start seeing some great recipes popping up here and there with a twist or two on the original. If you’ve never made homemade cauliflower mac & cheese and cauliflower mashed potatoes – you’re going to want to try it. I’ll never go back to Kraft. And Keto Fried Chicken isn’t too bad either.

3. Who knew wedding planning could be so fun? Not my wedding but I jumped on board helping a bestie plan her wedding and it’s amazing, and fun, and I’m getting all sorts of ideas and goodies that I hope to share once the adventure has reached wedding time.

4. NaNoWriMo starts today! That means I need to come up with a substantial story idea, time block every day to write, and get motivated! I also found my first accountability buddy that I know and see regularly so hopefully that will help.

5. We took a hike up to Tablerock in Boise on a whim one evening. I’ve never hiked it at night, plenty of times during the morning and a couple times drove to the top to save time, but the man friend has never been up there so it was great to share the experience with someone knew. It is about a 30 minute hike up (with a couple steep inclines and had our legs burning for days). However, it’s so worth it when you get this view!

6. November Book of the Month selections are out and I wish I could read them all. I recently joined as an affiliate and still playing catch up on past BOTM selections. November we’re talking a Tom Hanks debut book of short stories, a new Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic), and a new Andy Weir (The Martian) – to name a few. Join today and get a free book with code FREEBIE.

7. Halloween was killer this year! I tagged along with a steampunk crew for two nights of live music and dancing, did it all again for work, and even through in an early 80s rocker for a pre-Halloween gathering. 13 Gears knocked it out of the park with my original and locally made goggles.

October Reads:

  1. July by Audrey Carlan
  2. Private Down Under by James Patterson
  3. Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
  4. O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
  5. Come and Get Me by James Patterson
  6. The House Husband by James Patterson
  7. Alert by James Patterson
  8. French Kiss by James Patterson
  9. The Writer’s Roadmap by Jeff Goins
  10. The Christmas Mystery by James Patterson
  11. French Twist by James Patterson
  12. Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
  13. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
  14. Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini

Coming up in November:

  • Alter Egos Reboot
  • Launching new creative endeavor with friends
  • Catch up on my reading – 75/100 books read this year – 25 to goal
  • NaNoWriMo adventures
  • Create a couple ebooks
  • Launch my vlog

What are you creating? What adventures are you going on?

<3,
Lauren

 

REVIEW: The Power of Positive Leadership

REVIEW: The Power of Positive Leadership

Title: The Power of Positive Leadership | Author: Jon Gordon | Published: 2017

To begin, I could read this book once a year and come away with new concepts and motivation I missed the first time. There was so much amazing content that I couldn’t put it down.

Until I read this book, and began discussing with friends and co-workers, I never really thought myself to be a leader. Leaders are a manager, the boss, the VP, the captain. Leaders are not the girl who does data entry or assists the team with their requests.

Jon Gordon changed my mind and I felt it in full force this past weekend. Back to that in a minute.

The Power of Positive Leadership is a book that everyone, EVERYONE, needs to read. The motivation, inspiration, and empowerment you will receive will take you to new heights not only in your personal life but your professional life.

While the focus of the book is obviously on positive over negative, there are some keys points and takeaways that impacted many, including myself, in the leadership journey.

We are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard.

Creating a culture in your community, your office, your life all stems from the leadership you choose to bring to the table. By creating a culture, you are bringing together like minds and new views. Each of us is unique and one alone cannot create everything.

To be a great leader, you have to empower yourself, to lead first, to be the one living the life you speak for your culture, your team, your tribe.

If you want the fruit, you must invest in the root. If you invest in the root, you will always receive a great supply of fruit.

Part of what I love about Jon Gordon is that he manages to deliver a message that inspires advanced leaders but also speaks to the novice who is still trying to figure it out. I can’t remember how many times I had an “AHA” moment while reading and realizing that I was already starting to embody the leadership mentality without realizing it.

Even in a team of 1, you are empowering yourself to move forward and the tribe around you starts to notice. This comes back to how recently I found myself at an event with many people I don’t see very often but I feel like belong to my tribe.

Many times over the course of the night I was humbled (and shocked) by their compliments of great things they saw me doing, and how inspirational that was. And, they encouraged me to keep going. These people were not always commenting or giving feedback in the moment. They were passive observers. But those conversations made me realize that even if I didn’t see the results first hand, choices I was making were leading the trail and the positive feedback was amazing.

God doesn’t say oops. God doesn’t make mistakes. There is a bigger plan. Trust in it.

  • Dabo Swinney

Negativity is a fact of life. We each face it. It’s how we approach it and how we address it that change us from a negative leader to a positive leader. The positive force can transform a team, can recreate one player. Often times we don’t realize how just a simple smile can change the course of a day or a life. It seems so simple, yet that is the key.

Possibly one of the best parts of Gordon’s book, was towards the end when he gave us the real examples of names we recognize who went from failure to success, focused on the positive, embraced the GRIT that kept them going, and went on to do powerful things. They persevered under the most strenuous circumstances. Which means we can too.

By embracing positivity in our lives, leading first, talking the talk, and encouraging others, we can create a tribe of positive leaders who will go onto to create great things!

How are you going to change the world?

<3,
Lauren

How I crossed off 30 bucket list items in 365 days.

How I crossed off 30 bucket list items in 365 days.

It was a crazy adventure where I learned a lot. It was a test to see if not only I could accomplish my goals, but an experiment in how sharing my journey with people empowered and motivated me more than I ever expected.

Here are 6 things I learned by challenging myself to cross off 30 items from my bucket list in 365 days.

#1. Fall In Love

This is always important in life but also in any goal setting scenario. If you’re not loving what you’re doing, then you need to stop. If it doesn’t bring you joy, then move on. Life should be full of love.

Example: One of my bucket list items was to “fall in love”. Typically, most would think that meant falling in love with a human, but I found at the end of my year, I fell more in love with adventure, accomplishment, and I learned to love myself just the way I am.

#2. Be okay with change

Give yourself permission to change your list and adjust your goals (see #1). Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t happen just the way you expected or planned. This is your list and you get to decide what stays and what goes. My goal was to finish 30 things regardless of what they were.

Example: I purchased an entrance ticket to the Tough Mudder and all my friends backed out or were unable to attend. I substituted it with something else. Same with sky diving — it just didn’t come to fruition and it wasn’t fun putting the pressure on myself to complete or schedule something and force it.

#3Think outside the box and add as you go

My bucket list and life lists are long. Most of it hasn’t made it onto my website for everyone to see. Some things might be personal. But I found by thinking outside the box for ideas and not stick with typical goals made it more fun and a challenge. It’s also fun to add to your list as you go if that helps ensure that you succeed in the end.

Example: It wasn’t on my original list or something that I thought I would ever want to do, but I was asked to film a wedding and create the official wedding video. I also ended up participating in a Flash Mob and on a whim in Belize I tried Flyboarding, swimming with sharks, and going on a jungle cruise.

#4. It’s okay to have a general goal

Coming up with 30 items may sound easy, but it’s harder than you think. When you google bucket lists, you find a lot of the same things and I had already checked a lot of the standard bucket list items off (ie. read 100 books, ride a horse, run a half marathon). Give yourself a general goal (or two) and see how it evolves — much like falling in love.

Example: I’m a planner but I added “be spontaneous” to my list and on a whim signed up for Jeff Goins Tribe Writer’s online writing course.

#5. Give yourself some easy goals

It’s your list right? So, give yourself some easy goals that help you cross items off when it feels like you’ve stalled out. At the beginning of a challenge, like new years resolutions, we all start off strong, but slowly our previous habits get the better of us and suddenly we find ourselves dwindling or losing steam. Having some quick and easy goals will help you build momentum back up. These items can be accomplished at any time, anywhere, and even be FREE.

Example: A couple of my easy bucket list items included getting a bikini wax (yes, I had never had one), host a tea party, and stay up to watch the sunrise.

#6. Ask for help and enlist your friends

Sometimes our bucket list items and goals are personal and only yours truly can accomplish them (ie. no one can read 109 books for me), but for many things we want to do in our lives, we need a little assistance. It’s okay to ask your friends and family for help, and even more so to help hold you accountable.

Example: I needed a police connection in order to do my first ride-a-long, a photographer friend for my boudoir photo shoot, and a slew of all my favorite people to help me celebrate 30 in style. I wouldn’t want to experience the Hemingway Suite all alone and I wasn’t quite bold enough to leave the country for the first time to Belize by myself. I wanted to learn a new language and seeing it on my list, my stepdad helped set up private Italian lessons with one of his friends (which came in handy when we traveled to Italy the next year).

Conclusion

You’re the boss. You’re in charge. Goals, bucket lists, and adventures should be fun and amazing and challenge us. They shouldn’t drag us down, stress us out, or make us feel like we failed.

Comment below with your favorite bucket list items or challenge posts. We can inspire each other to have fun while creating amazing adventures and memories.

To read the full original list of 30 in 30, click here.

REVIEW: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

REVIEW: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Author: Taylor Reid Jenkins | Published: 2017
Book of the Month (July)

This was my first Book of the Month club book that I had a chance to read and if I wasn’t a fan of this monthly subscription, I was definitely hooked.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the story of Monique, a magazine writer, who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to do the one and only interview with movie star Evelyn Hugo, who was infamous for her seven husbands. It’s not only a shock to Monique but her boss who doesn’t feel she is qualified to do the job.

Once the agreement is made, Monique starts her journey with Evelyn starting from day 1, husband 1, and continuing through her life story – a story that no one could have ever imagined. I was captivated from the moment I started reading. The characterization was amazing and I immediately felt drawn to Monique as well as Evelyn as she weaved the tale of each husband, the romance, the drama, and told the absolute truth through the whole process.

I’ve read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels before and her writing style is easy to follow and captivates from page one to the end. You can feel through each page that there is a twist coming that is unexpected and for the first time in a very long time, by the last page I was gasping out loud in surprise and felt like I lost a friend when I closed the book.

Did I mentioned I finished this book in less than 24 hours?

You’re turn. What did you think?

REVIEW: Finish

REVIEW: Finish

Title: Finish | Author: Jon Acuff | Published: 2017

Give yourself the gift of done.

I’m proud to say I finished Finish which was not a hard thing to do because this book was AMAZING. I flew through it in about 24 hours give or tack.

For starters, I haven’t read the “prequel” as you might call it to Finish called Start which Jon kicks off the book discussing (but now it’s on my list and I’m very intrigued).

Finish is the perfect book for anyone and everyone, no matter what you do or where you are at this point in your life. If you’re looking to start something new or struggling to keep your to-do list in check, whether at home or at work or your side hustle, I found so many benefits from reading Finish in all areas of my life.

I LOVE how Jon focuses on this need we have in society to be “perfect” and how that influences who we are and how much we might punish ourselves for not succeeding at our goals and dreams. How can we possibly finish something if it’s not perfect?

My favorite takeaways that I am starting to implement in my life at this point are:

  • Cut your goal in half – instead of wanting to lose 5 lbs a week I say 2.5 lbs and I’m actually succeeding and less disappointed by the higher goal (I like to be an overachiever)
  • Choose what to bomb – even though I’m trying to save money, I gave up mowing my own lawn (an example Jon uses) to pay someone else so it’s one less thing I have to worry about; I stopped watching TV shows out of obligation and only watch what I want when the moments strikes (if at all)
  • Make it fun, weird, and my own – I’m working on finding my own flow and system and when it works best in my schedule to work on projects. #ElleTeaReadsBooks is my new favorite hashtag to track and share all my fun reads, a book doesn’t have to be 700 pages to be add to my overall yearly book count (some are 30 page ebooks)
  • Create rewards and don’t start a new project until you finish – I want to create an vlog/podcast but I won’t let myself until I get my email campaigns set up. I want to plan a trip out of the country, but I refuse to start planning until I pay off my debt
  • Create a list of next goals – I’ve already been doing this but it’s grown a lot since I finished this book. I don’t want to forget an idea.
  • We all need data – Measure specifics to goals to see where you are at. Some of the data I plan to measure are time invested, money earned, debt paid, pounds lost, words written, blogs posted, thank you notes sent, and books read. Note – Jon says don’t overdo it and choose three points to start off with. A couple of these items I already do so I’m really adding to my list.

Now that I’ve “finished” this review, it’s time to go finish more of my goals and projects. Find a way to make it fun, to challenge yourself, and watch all the things you accomplish. What will you finish today?

<3,
Lauren