No. 1 game-changing life hack from 2020

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I know, I know: the calendar professes 2021. And that means the proverbial clean slate. Yet, I continue to marvel at the lessons I learned in 2020. One of the best—and I dare say “game-changing life hacks”—happens to be my “discovery” of the podcast. OK, I realize podcasts date back to 2004. (I never promised I’m a quick learner—just that you can teach old dogs new tricks). But when the catch phrases work from home, curfews and self-isolation served to shrink our respective corners of the world last year, my introduction to podcasts provided a way out, so to speak. Podcasts, for me, became an open door to expand my knowledge base on such topics as tips and techniques for authors, writing as a business, online “church” and more. And the best part? You can subscribe—for free—to any and all subject matter that piques your interest. My favorite this week? Write Now podcast with Sarah Werner.

What’s your game-changing life hack from 2020?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

From manic to magical: ‘Funday Monday’

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Dread Mondays? Need to modify your mindset? I can relate. With that conundrum in mind, I arrived at an idea to transition from weekends into the work week by experimenting with something I call Funday Monday. Yes, you heard right. For me, weekends equate to “hustle” and “R&R.” On Saturdays, I cram as much to-dos as I can into the day. Although I realize that may not work for everyone, I like knowing that Sundays represent rest, recreation, reconnection and reset. And, although Mondays mean “day job,” I’ve started sprinkling—throughout—a bit of weekend fun. This might look like an early morning trek through the mountains or include a mid-day walk to McDonald’s for an iced mocha; or maybe a mani-pedi and/or movie marathon to round out the day. You might choose to meditate, meet a friend, schedule a massage or crank up your favorite music. With just a tiny amount of imagination, you can transform Mondays from manic to magical.

How do you feel about Mondays?

Image courtesy of IamTaew at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Imposter syndrome: 3 tips to flip the script

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In the Bucket List Journey, the author asks: “If you had to teach something, what would you teach?” I’ve considered this question often, first upon graduating from ASU as a non-traditional (aka middle-aged) student, followed by earning extra cash as a substitute teacher, while interning and job hunting. And, lately, as I’ve considered ways to expand my reach as a writer. One topic that I struggle with on a regular basis—imposter syndrome, or self-doubt and insecurity—informs my answer to the question. I would teach others how to break through a mindset of limiting beliefs. My limiting beliefs revolve around #allthings writing. Maybe you wonder if you’re cut out to homeschool your children, manage a team of employees or return to school in your 50s. If so, I encourage you to 1) acknowledge your thoughts, 2) put them into perspective and 3) reframe them by focusing on your accomplishments, reflecting on your growth and realizing that your. Dreams. Matter.

How does imposter syndrome show up for you?

What are you reading? Top 5 from 2020

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Assuming you agree 2020 proved to be a year like no other—at least in our lifetime—you might find yourself in one of two camps: during the past 12 months, you read more than ever (whether to escape reality or to preserve your mental health or all of the above); or, you remained unable to read anything other than your pervading news feeds (understandable). Regardless of which camp you reside, if one of your New Year’s goals includes reading [more], check out my Top 5 from 2020:

  1. Greg Olsen’s “Lying Next to Me“—for fans of suspense
  2. Gay Hendricks’ “The Big Leap”—addresses limiting beliefs & finding your “zone of genius”
  3. Scott Allan’s “Do it Scared”—shares techniques to charge forward with confidence
  4. Alice Feeney’s “Sometimes I Lie”—takes readers on a psychological thrill ride (eked into 2021)
  5. Tina Radcliffe’s “Finding the Road Home“—for lovers of stories with heart, humor & faith

What book did you read last year and recommend?

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Happiness is… losing track of time

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In my post “…starting over in 2021,” I mention embarking on a Bucket List Journey by Annette as a way to embrace possibility for the new year. If you’ve yet to check it out, give it a whirl. Each day provides thought-provoking questions that force you—in a good way—to reflect on what inspires you, what challenges you to pinpoint areas in your life that need to change and what activities you desire to incorporate more of on a regular basis. Try this prompt on for size: Which activities cause me to lose track of time? For me, this includes hiking, writing, reading and playing games. The list can be as short or as long as you like—but consider those instances when an hour or more flies by unnoticed because you were consumed with whatever captured your attention. And then take it a step further: How can I add more of those moments into my daily life?

Which activities cause you to lose track of time?

Love is in the air: a sweet romance

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Honest truth? I’m still learning I have a lot more to learn about author brand and identity, content marketing, web development and self-promotion; in other words: #allthethings. Consequently, when—not if—I miss the mark [just last week I pulled “Starting out strong…” and revised after posting], means I get to practice what I preach here: that it’s #alwaysthewritetime to learn something new. With that said, happy inaugural self-promo day. While my novel remains in all its rough-draft glory, I’d like to share news that my first published fiction piece—a 5-minute sweet romance—will run in the Valentine’s Day issue of Woman’s World magazine. To read this story, you can order the digital issue here, or pick up your copy on sale at grocery and retail stores and booksellers Feb. 4-10. I hope readers enjoy “A special sign on Valentine’s Day” and how a botched order from the florist delivers a promising invitation to the lonely widow’s heart.

Let me know your thoughts about this “budding” romance.

Starting out strong: face meets brick wall

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The title of this post pretty much describes how 2021 started out in my world. Running (okay, power walking) on a full tank and starting out strong. And then face planting. Nothing says “new year” like a boatload of resolutions, goals and aspirations, right? Herein lies the struggle: tackling #allthethings and maintaining momentum. I remember my excitement while planning out my goals for the year—divided into quarters, broken down into months and weeks—with each month comprising categories, such as personal growth, work/vocation, health & fitness, etc. But here’s where face meets brick wall: expecting (and doing) too much (too soon!). Once again, that requires taking my own advice. As listed in goal-setting tips + trips, a good rule of thumb can be found by practicing SMART planning. However, it also means setting no more than 1-3 important goals each morning—and then tackling the task(s) likely to have the biggest positive impact on your life—or “eating the frog.”

How does your year look thus far?

Image courtesy of gubgib at freedigitalphotos.net.

Goal-setting tips + tricks for 2021

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If you’re like me, you might be looking at the calendar and thinking: “How can it already be mid-January?” Granted, while it’s a new year, the weight of 2020’s baggage nevertheless lingers. Also, I’m still trying to establish my goals for the next 12 months. For those who might need a little extra push, I’ve compiled a list of “Top 10” links (in no particular order) that focus on goal-setting tips and tricks for 2021. And, if you wonder about the worth of goal setting, according to Forbes: people with goals prove 10 times more likely to succeed. Good odds in my opinion.

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2020/12/10/become-a-pro-at-setting-business-goals-in-the-new-year-with-these-6-tips/?sh=3894eeb83900: be specific + celebrate milestones
  2. https://www.greeleytribune.com/2020/12/29/tips-and-tricks-to-goal-setting-for-a-successful-2021/: get support + embrace failure
  3. https://rdicorp.com/4-tips-on-goal-setting-set-yourself-up-for-success-in-2021/: be SMART
  4. https://medium.com/@KellySchuknecht/7-goal-setting-tips-to-make-2021-the-best-year-ever-17926e76127c: think outside the box
  5. https://www.coaching-online.org/goals-for-2021/: think about the “why”
  6. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/smart-goal-setting: make it measurable
  7. https://dirtybootsandmessyhair.com/a-guide-to-effective-goal-setting/: make it relevant
  8. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm: create an action plan
  9. https://benjaminhardy.com/if-you-dont-believe-in-setting-goals-its-because-you-dont-know-how-to-do-it/: adopt a growth mindset
  10. https://alwaysthewritetime.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/setting-goals-isnt-brain-surgery/: stick to it

What’s your favorite goal-setting link, tip and/or trick?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The key to a successful year ahead: resiliency at work

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Happy New Year! I wager it’s safe to say the vast majority of the world shared a collective sigh of relief as we bid adieu to all things 2020. And now, as we enter 2021 with cautious optimism, we must gird ourselves with something called resilience. But before I dive into today’s post, I have a favor to ask: If you find my ramblings encouraging and/or thought-provoking, I invite you to sign up to follow my blog—if you aren’t already—by visiting https://alwaysthewritetime.wordpress.com/contact-me/. This ensures you receive updates about my new website and eNewsletter (under construction), and opportunities for free giveaways. Now let’s talk about the key to a successful year ahead: practicing resilience, or the ability to bounce back when knocked down; to “pivot” or change course. Here’s a peek into resiliency at work in my life: I wrote five short stories before selling a first. And when Christmas “plan A” failed, 25 letters still remained in the alphabet.

What does resilience look like to you?

Image source: http://www.betterup.com. 

Advent of a new year: choosing your ‘word’

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Throughout a year loaded with more change than ever, my word for 2020—growth—continues to stretch and mold me. Yet, when I reflect on the past 12 months, I’m encouraged by the countless ways in which I’ve given my word a good workout. Perhaps it’s my age—reaching the halfway point in Club 50 membership can do that to a girl—or maybe it’s the date on the calendar that sparks possibility and expectation as we await the advent of shiny new beginnings. In either case, excitement stirs in my belly as I meditate on my word for 2021: a theme, of sorts, or call to action that captures the spirit of what I’m drawn to most, in this moment—a life of surrender. For me, this looks like creating a plan, but releasing attachment to future outcomes. And, instead, approaching each day with playful curiosity, while practicing resilience in the face of whatever comes.

What word or theme will you focus on in the new year?

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