AND SO IT BEGINS…

Today is the first day of the year 2022. With the celebrations now in the past, it’s time to look to the future and appreciate the present. The past year and it’s challenges and successes is now in the rear view mirror. We can’t change what happened but we can appreciate the success we have enjoyed and learn from the challenges of the past.

In the moment, nothing changes, nothing becomes new. Look back on the past twelve months and see where you moved closer to your goals. See how a tiny step in January put you in a position to see a synchronicity in June that moved the needle on your progress and in December maybe it paid off.

It happened with me in the last year and brought me closer to my goal of replacing my new become. I’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s important to recognize that progress has been made, one tiny step at a time. Opportunities and synchronicities are all around and with experience we can learn to recognize them. It doesn’t help when we focus on what we feel is a lack of progress. All movement brings progress. Sure there are setbacks, that doesn’t mean a lack of progress, it’s part of the process. Remember that progress isn’t linear, it ebbs and flows.

This isn’t to say that we must have aspirations to do great things. Maybe you want to do small things in a great way. That’s for you to decide. Maybe you want to be happier this year. One day more with a feeling of happiness means progress. Remember, there is no time limit on getting to your destination. Keep your goal in the back of your mind while you enjoy the journey.

2022 is going to be a year of both great success and challenges, just as 2021 and every year before has been. According to some reports, our work led is in great turmoil and civilization is on the brink of destruction. Not to downplay any challenges that we, as a world, face but there has to be something good that happened in the past year. You will always find what you are looking for.

I’m committed to starting 2022 looking for opportunities to be happy. I will look for the good in people and situations. I will find the light at the end of the tunnel. I will see opportunities everywhere I go and in the very situation. I will turn my creative mind on and follow my inspiration wherever it may lead.

Maybe if more people would look for the good in their lives and in other people, including and especially those who disagree with them, they will realize how truly blessed they are and this will lead to more “good finding”.

May you be blessed with good fortune and prosperity in 2022 and beyond

STARTING OVER

Keeping with the theme of the fast approaching new year, I want to talk about starting over. Maybe it’s not as difficult as we make it out to be.

A friend commented about having an empty bank account and starting the new year with a clean slate. With a clean slate, the possibilities are endless. New year, time to replenish the resources and move in the direction that we intend to go. Without that focus, we float around without a sail to guide us in the direction we want to go.

Often, we treat a goal like a task and something to Che k off of our list. It’s more of a guide, like a sail. It keeps us moving in the direction we want to go. For instance if the ultimate destination is to retire then we set goals such as “I’ll save X amount each month.,” that will move us in that direction.

My vision is to earn income as a writer, in order to do that I have to change moldered certain steps. I have to understand that it’s not going to happen overnight. I don’t know how the income will come to me, but I know if I do nothing, nothing happens. I’ve set goals to move me toward my vision.

One goal is to complete the second draft of the novel I’m working on. Next is to edit it, then publish it. Once the book is on the market, there is no guarantee that one copy will sell. I can set the goal and complete the steps to attain it but I can’t control the outcome so it’s better that I work on the things I can control and stick with my plan.

Who knows if any books will sell? I don’t have that answer, but I know if it isn’t written no one can read it. There’s no sense in giving up before trying. No matter the outcome, it won’t be a failure because the only failure is not trying.

Go ahead and start with a clean slate. Remember, nature abhors a vacuum. Wipe the old year clean and full your new year with all the good things that life has to offer. If you don’t pick the fruit it will die on the vine and your storehouse will sit empty until nature fills it with something you may not want.

ANOTHER YEAR COMES TO A CLOSE

That’s right, 2021 is almost over and a new year is on the horizon. I’m sure we all have our reasons for wanting the current year to end. I’m not here to lament over the problems I faced over the past year, though. I had my own struggles just as I’m sure everyone else did.

There are many things that went right for me too. I managed to stay employed. I had several weeks off in September for a family vacation and recharged my batteries. I made measurable progress toward finishing a book. I educated myself in ways that will enable me to lead a healthier lifestyle through understanding more about my challenges with nutrition.

By way of writing this article, I am reflecting on my experiences this past year and thinking about what I can do to move toward the things I want to do. I have been writing books several years now and I would like to get those books in front of readers. In order to do that it takes more than just writing a few words on paper. I found out last year when I re-published my first novel that a lot of work goes into a book before it even goes up for sale.

I took a course on planning and I took a course on publishing. Through the planning course I was able to keep myself on track to finish editing and get the book ready. Through the publishing course I was able to publish the book on several different platforms. That doesn’t mean that the book gained many sales. That’s the part where I had the most challenges.

Being creative is the easy part it seems. Being an author is a business and I haven’t been treating it as such. If I want the success that I claim to want in this endeavor it will take a lot more than just some words on a blank paper. I’m getting closer to the five-year mark that I set for myself on earning a solid income through writing and maybe this year I’ll hit my stride. I don’t know. I do know that without a plan I’m just living a pipe dream.

If this past year proved anything, it proved that planning works. Actually, what works is executing the plan. I would say that I executed 30-40 percent of the plan that I had. I learned more about how to plan effectively and how to set my plan up to make it simple to follow and execute.

Honestly, when the time came for me to plan Quarter 1 I didn’t feel like it. I had been frustrated with my progress and hadn’t worked on writing since October. As I went through the motions of planning I had to review what I did in the past and saw that I did make progress and overall my year was a success. It helped pull me out of the doldrums and excited me for the next quarter where I was able to utilize some of the methods that I used.

I ended up writing a plan for Quarter 1 and looks so simple that even I can do it. I only have to execute consistently and realize that every step I take in the plan leads me closer to the ultimate goal. I am closer to my goal now than before in terms of writing. For 2022 I will need to work on the marketing aspect of authorship so that when I reflect at the end of 2022 I will be writing about my experiences in marketing and hopefully explaining what worked for me.

WHAT STRESSES YOU OUT?

This was yesterday’s question of the day. It was a random question that popped up an I thought I’d put it out there. I’d forgotten that I asked, and when I looked at the responses, I was happy to see that it got quite a few answers.

Lots of people were willing to share what bugs them, and they are all everyday things that everyone sees different. There were some things I read that don’t bother me at all and some that I think are funny; you never can tell what stresses other people.

It’s a bit of a synchronicity that I asked that question yesterday and had a visit with my doctor in which he explained some things to me. I’ve been dealing with some symptoms that are caused by something with my hormones. Well it turns out that when we have stress, any kind of stress, good or bad, it affects our hormones.

We all know what bad stress is, but good stress could be watching an exciting game or an intense movie. All of those things cause our hormones to shift. When the doctor was talking I thought about work. I have worked 60 plus hours a week for most of my career, and though when I work, I have fun, it is a stressor. It’s not that I take my job home or that I worry and fret over things, but, as the doctor explained, it’s the act of it.

I wake up at 3 AM every morning, I read, write, then go to work for a ten hour, or more, shift. Add in a trip to the gym three or four times a week, and my constant goal-setting, and you have someone who is under constant hormonal stress. No wonder my body is sending me these messages.

This is not the type of stress where I’m stuck in traffic or I’m worried about the job. It’s stress where I’m constantly doing something, which includes demanding physical exercise, which I enjoy. It seems that even doing the things I enjoy I need to step beck from and learn to slow down.

The slowing down part has not been as easy as one might think. I had a seven week vacation and went back to a forty hour shift. It’s taking my mind some time to slow down after pulling the loaded cart for so many years. I guess this is good practice for retirement that will begin in a few years.

Now, as I slowly get back to the business of living, I need to look for new ways to exercise. Slow down and do something low impact. I need to take care of the body differently, so it lasts longer and I can enjoy everything I’ve worked so hard for, and that means giving up something’s I thought were pleasurable in the past.

HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?

I woke up this morning wanting, no, needing, a cup of coffee. I’ve been drinking it since about the age of ten, seriously. There haven’t been too many days that I didn’t drink it, except for the few times I attempted to give it up.

I’m giving it up again and am now dealing with the constant headache and lethargy. Coffee is the greatest beverage in the world and also the biggest ball and chain. Coffee doesn’t care where I’m at, at home, in a hotel, on the road, it comes calling every morning demanding that I consume it.

The taste of a good, strong cup of this addictive bean is exquisite. Did I say addictive? Oh yes, that’s because it is. Everyone knows it. Caffeine is the one socially acceptable addictive substance. The one whose virtues are constantly extolled. I decided to quit the daily habit, it was out of control and my body needed a rest. I normally drink 32 ounces or more every day. Most days I drink more coffee than water, to be honest.

Anyone who drinks coffee on the regular knows that if you miss a dose, the headache soon follows, the the fatigue, aches and pains. I found a way to ease the withdrawal symptoms; tapering. I started with my regular serving, the water filled to line six on the coffee pot with six scoops of grounds. Every couple days I replaced one scoop with on scoop of decaf. I brought green tea into the mix and drank that for a few days.

After two weeks I was ready to give it up and drink no caffeine. Sunday was that day. I did fine until mid afternoon , that’s when the headache arrived. It would have been much worse if I hadn’t tapered off. I took ibuprofen and it kept it at bay.

Monday came and the headache returned around the same time. This time, no ibuprofen and it dissipated in the evening. I still feel a little shaky and lethargic but I’m hoping that passes soon. This morning I’m starting my third day caffeine free and I’d like to see how many days I can go; it would be nice to make a week.