2016 Goals Update #7 LL

This time next week I will be on a plane to SouthEast Asia and basically taking a break from the day to day life. Not that life stops or goals stop just that I’ll be enjoying life without the interruptions of what’s due now?

Before I go here’s what I’m getting done:

Health: Typing up a card of my food allergies in each language that I will encounter on my trip

Personal: Setting up my schedule for after my return so I don’t have to think about it as I return back from honeymoon bliss

JobLove: double checking Social media schedule is set up and all my website links work so the business runs without me. Thank you tech.

Sometimes you have to go further ahead to take a break

xx~LL

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Goals Update 2016 #6 Clare

You guys. I’ve fallen off the wagon it’s only the of February and I feel like I’ve slowly become unfocused on Ev. Ry. Thing. Ugh. (I’m not looking for pity, in fact it’s taking a lot for me to write this because I feel I’m failing you readers. But in every hero’s journey…and RomCom… someone always takes a divergent path into trouble. So…here I am. 

Fitness:
I thought about doing push-ups. I blame my sickness…but I cough maybe 5 times a day…so I’m not sick enough not to work out. (Charlie Brown type of head to the table with a growl of self-disgust and frustration as my head falls). 

Although I signed up to be on a Cycle for Survival team to help raise money to cure rare cancers….

Organizing/ Cleaning:

I sat on my bed looking at the pile that I started the year looking at that made me “inspired” to organize. The pile, still there, maybe got bigger. 

I also looked at my stuffed drawers of clothing, knowing that about half of the items in EVERY drawer I don’t wear. I thought about clearing stuff out.

I got discouraged and left my room and picked up a book. 

Financial:

Not only did I not write anything down this week, but I went on a legging and tunic shopping spree-this made the full drawer issue even worse. 

Book:

Wrote emails to my cover artist and my copy editor…both are backed up. Maybe it’s not just me in a slump/packed life. 

Agent

Went out to dinner with a friend who told me I needed to get an agent. I said I was trying. He said: yeah, but you need to get one. Yeah. Yup. Great. I’ll just do that. 

6 steps to NOT achieve perfection. 

Perfection–We continually strive for it, reach for it, hope for it, sacrifice for it, and sometimes even die still in pursuit of perfection.

It’s one of those words that has a definition, but everyone defines perfection in a different, personal way. Everyone strives for a bar, for that ever dangling carrot–but why? If perfection is a continually receding horizon, why do we chase after it?

Maybe we continually search for it because we had it for a short while, and it felt so good and we felt so complete. Not because it’s expected or the bar set by others, but because we know the possibility of what we can be.
I’m not saying that we should stop striving for perfection, instead we shouldn’t let it cripple us.


LL and I just read and did our first Book Club podcast on Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert–in a section of the book she talks about writing and rewriting her book The Shape of All Things, and how there is a flaw in it, but that if she went back and fixed it, the entire book would change. So she just left it. The book wasn’t perfect, but she would hope in her next project she would achieve something better. She didn’t let it stop her from publishing. Liz Gilbert didn’t let perfection cripple her.

Perfection is irritating because it is so illusive, and once achieved its fleeting. It is either only a moment, or once your own personal perfection is achieved, people look at you and ask what you’re doing next–so a new goal with a new level of perfection is set. My dad models trains. He has had several different layouts–to his defense, he has lived in several different houses. But he continues to build and paint and model…and then after a few years, reconstructs. He achieved an end, and it was perfect or not, but either way he got bored with it and rebuilt. It’s like the pursuit of the perfect train layout is more important–and in a way it is. Dad continues to hone his hobby. His painting skills and details keep getting better, because he is learning new skills or he is finding better products to make perfection.


This scenario makes me wonder if we actually like chasing perfection. We set a goal to reach so we have a reason to keep doing something. We want to become better, have better results. But more importantly we want to fill our lives with something in between the goal setting and the goal achieving. Reaching the goal is great because once there, we realize that we could reach the goal, so we enjoy our moment of perfection and then realize we are capable, or we like the feeling of perfect, and we set another goal.


I work for an event planner and my goal is always to have a “perfect” event. Although, honestly I don’t know what that means. I guess I mean “smoothly run and enjoyed by guests.” Which, in the 11 months I’ve been on the job seems to be the general consensus after each event. However, I always want to do better the next time. I want to have a better script to run by. I want to have more answers to more questions, in case they arise. No matter how perfect an event goes, I want to be better at running them.
This is part of my personality. I do the same thing in acting. When I perform a show, I’m rarely satisfied. Sometimes I when I’m really upset with a performance, I don’t hear the applause at the end, and I feel like I’ve failed. This used to be crippling. I used to think that I couldn’t go do something else until I got this project correct, or figured out everything that didn’t work. But that was stupid–it kept me from continuing my actual growth that I got by DOING.
Life is the pursuit of perfection. No…wait. Life is the pursuit of HAPPINESS. Perfection doesn’t always equate to happiness. So why are we all constantly struggling for perfection?!? Trying to reach a goal is one thing; being perfect is another.

Going back to Liz Gilbert–she just continued through her book and put it out in the world. I do each play, each performance as best I can in the moment and move on to the next. The work, the passion, the filler to get to the goal is the good part, the life, the achievement.
Here are some steps to let go of your need to be perfect:
1) Breathe. Yeah. This is my go to step one, but a really good deep cleansing breath is healing and will assist in refocusing.
2) Ask yourself if you’re trying to achieve a better you or perfection. If it’s perfection, you’ll never get there. Tell yourself perfection doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. Let go of your need to be perfect.
3) Focus on the steps to achieve the goal–how can you do each one brilliantly or to the best of your ability now. With the knowledge you currently have. With the abilities you currently have. With the time and resources you currently have.

4) Research. What did you do differently last time that worked? What didn’t work? If this is your first time, ask around or Google! What products are out there that can help you do better/grow more/ get more done? Knowledge is power. It allows you to face any challenge better. The more you know, the better.
5) Fail. One of my FAVORITE quotes is Samuel Beckett: Ever Tried? Ever Failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

In other words, we get so much out of failure. We understand what can’t be, what isn’t right, what doesn’t work so much better when we fail than when we succeed. Thomas Edison…blah blah, 10,000 tries to make a light bulb, blah blah. Yeah, I’ve heard that one ad nauseam as well. But there is a reason for that: it’s true.
6) Give up the the need to be perfect. Life is messy. Dive into it. Realize perfection isn’t what matters. Because it’s fleeting. Because it’s an ever receding horizon. Because it doesn’t matter.

At the end, there may be a ribbon or trophy or certificate to award your achievements, but those things don’t matter. It’s who you’ve become that matters. Beautiful, snowflake, imperfect you.

Clare

2016 Goals Update #6 LL

Geez…life is flying by! It’s a busy month but I am seeing the signs that my hardwork and todo lists are keeping me on track.

Health: I have been working towards eating cleaner. This may seem like a surprise as I mostly talk about my workouts. I have some food allergies and working on figuring out why I feel ill is an important part of 2016. I have now fully eliminated oil, dairy and gluten. I am feeling great!

One more week until my mat pilates assessment. Stay tuned to see if I pass

Personal: Get all my bill pays set up for March so nothing to worry about while traveling. Also, evaluate my savings plan for retirement

JobLove: Getting more savvy with my youtube videos.

Face Fears my friends! I hate tech and I am diving in.

xx~LL

2016 Goals update #5 Clare

Fitness:

Still feeling yucky this week–and we are getting lots of cold weather back east–but I got out the yoga mat twice this week, and I’ve been trying to stretch every morning.

Financial:

I forgot to say this at the beginning of the year, but I’m putting $30 a week away for vacation.  So even though I’m terrified at my spending, I AM saving money so I can go somewhere tropical again for the holidays–and I’m on track!

Book:

MY COVER ART IS SO PRETTY!!!  I can’t wait to share it!  For spoilers–check out the Facebook page for The Time Turner

Agent:

Signed up for two more classes, and had the second part of my class from last week.  I’m feeling good about this!

 

Date your Jeans

It’s always been hard for me to see my friends sad about dating. Either they are sad because no one in particular is calling, no one is calling at all, the one they really want to call isn’t calling, or the wrong one is calling them…it’s a tough battle. On one hand dating can be so fun. On the other dating can become mundane, tiring and like digging a ditch. When have you dug “enough?”

First, I would like to say that if you are not having fun dating STOP! Take a break. Fill your calendar with things that feed your soul. Spend time with friends who make you laugh. Go dancing, workout, hit the spa. Spend time alone. Love being alone. Seriously, find a way to love your freedom. Then, get back out there and date. You’ll probably be asked out along your journey of loving the single life. People are always attracted to someone whose living fancy free.


Second, remind yourself that you are not dating to settle. You’re not looking to say “yeah this one will do.” When you are shopping for furniture a couch or chair “will do.” You don’t want to say “yeah, it’s ok, it’s nice.” My dear readers wall paper is nice! Yes, I have said that before and I will say it again. You get one life. Don’t spend it with wall paper. Spend it being your whole awesome self. Doing the things you love. Your first dates with a new person should feel as exciting as finding the perfect jeans. Not the ones that are too tight, or stretch out into shapes that don’t match yours. No, I’m talking that perfect pair of jeans that no matter dirty or clean they just feel wonderful. If you don’t know what I am talking about, stop dating. Go jeans shopping. Try them all on! The bell bottoms and high waist ones too. Go to vintage shops, go to bloomingdales. Seriously find the perfect pair. The jeans that make you stand taller. When you have those jeans then get back out their. You now know what you’re looking for in your partner. Someone who excites you so much you can’t wait to put them on.


Already have these jeans then go put them on and then make a date with your friends. Do not talk about dating at all. Talk about life, dreams, trips desires and see how much lighter you feel. Enjoy talking about the positive in your life. Then you can go back out on dates.

Because if you are not happy in your life, if you are not happy in your jeans, then every date, even a good one will feel bleh.


Lastly, if you are not freaking excited about the thought of them calling or texting you then let it go. Don’t wallow over a bad date you don’t care about. Who cares if the person you only liked a little doesn’t call. That’s a bullet dodged, my friends. I know you want to have a partner in crime. But, you should really want that partner. Don’t waste your time with jeans that don’t fit. Donate them. They are perfect fit for someone else. And that’s a great thing!

Enjoy your perfect jeans, readers.


xx~LL

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2016 Goals Update #5 LL

I am literally weeks away from my honeymoon and using this 2 week vacation to really get ahead. My thinking is after I get back I can take a clear look back at how my plans are going.

Health: Still doing my mat pilates everyday to get ready for my assessment. Focusing on the transitions between the exercises this week. No rushing!

Personal: Finishing up book 2 of 12 for the year. The School of Greatness for our LiveClareLesley bookclub podcast

JobLove: Filmed workshop #2 of 4 and interviewing experts to help me advertise (this is a big step for me).

Keep on Keeping on!

xx~LL

2016 Goals update #4 Clare

This week I got the coughing cold that everyone seems to be getting–stay healthy folks!–And I had a really busy week at work, so its excuses week… I made a little progress, though.

Fitness:

I did a workout this week… but it was in hopes that I could push my cold through my body faster.  It just made me tired.

Organizing/ Cleaning:

I’ve convinced myself that I need to clear out and get rid of more of my things… so I can have room… actually doing it will be another day. But, honestly, I’m a “stuff person” so just changing my mindset to get rid of things is a huge step.   I’ll update when I actually do this–it will definitely be after I’m feeling better.

Financial:

I was failing at writing down ALL purchases by the end of January.  I need to sit down and analyze purchases with my friend.  I think I’ll make notes of February purchases as well–looking back at January, I feel like this wasn’t my normal purchasing routine… so I want to look at a second month.

Book:

I’m told I’ll have my cover art by next week!!!!!!  So exciting.  Now I just need to raise more money and get the manuscript back from the copy editor!

Agent:

I took an acting class this week with a prominent casting agent… so baby steps.

14 Ways Brownies Make You a Better Person

Screw Valentines! Let’s celebrate a holiday that will never make you feel lonely or less than–figuratively or Literally! HAPPY HAVE A BROWNIE DAY!! (And if you really want a Valentines Blog–check out my Survival Guide from last year). And if you feel self loathing go check out Love the skin you’re in now.
Instead of hearts and flowers, lets discuss 14 ways a brownie makes you a better person.

1) Chocolate triggers the same neurons in the brain that sex does–in other words chocolate wakes up your serotonin, which is the body’s natural antidepressant. So: eat more brownies and you’ll be happier. And probably nicer.

2) Cocoa/chocolate has a higher flavanol content per weight than most foods according to Health Herbal’s Website so it’s a better antioxidant than a glass of wine or an apple, according to the site. Get your antioxidants on by eating brownies!


3) The act of baking brownies allows you feel organized while slowing you down  When you bake you have to read directions, be organized, do one thing at a time–doing a recipe makes you go step by step and slow your life down.

4) Inversely–the waiting for the brownies to come out of the oven returns you to a state of childlike innocence–which we all should have. Waiting in anticipation for the ooey-gooey chocolatey goodness to come of the oven makes me feel like I’m 10 again. I liked being 10.

5) No one really wants to eat an entire pan of brownies by themselves–so brownies encourage fellowship. Here’s 52 ways to make new friends from

The Food Network: 50 Brownie Recipes

Black Bean (Vegan) Brownie by Happy Herbivore

And. A grain free Black Forrest Brownie by my friend Tamika at She Flew The Coop


6) A brownie can also make for good alone time. If you don’t want to make friends–or want to be sensible about calorie consumption here is a recipe for “brownie in a mug”
1/4 c flour

1/4 c sugar–plain white, not big chunky sugar

2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

3 TBSP water

2 TBSP oil–I suggest vegetable or coconut oil. (Olive tastes a little weird)

Pinch of salt. (Optional)

Pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Put dry ingredients in a cup and mix. Add wet ingredients. Mix. Put in microwave for 2ish min. Let cool a little–it will be molten lava hot. Add ice cream or whipped cream if desired and eat!!

7) Making brownies make you you in touch with your creative/artistic side. No one needs to make brownies–they are a want. A desire. Anything that isn’t just a fuel food, and even those, I recommend you slow down and take the time to–without trying to sound overly hokey or new-agey–be in touch with the food. It really does taste better. I’ve stopped making food when I’m not in a creative mindset when I start. Especially baking. It always comes out better and it’s not as stressful a process for me.

8) It makes your house smell good. Which makes you happier. (Is it cheating to go back to “happier”?)  Seriously–who ever walked into a house and said, “Yuck, your house smells like brownies”? Happy, yummy smelling homes are always lovely. Sometimes I put a pot on the stove with lots of water and I sprinkle cinnamon and cloves in the water and put it on to boil…


9) Brownies make you smarter–or at least after you read a few facts on Brownies, you can wow people at parties. Like the origin of brownies according to Sweet Tooth Design, The Brownie came from a chef at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel during the late 19th century. It all started when Bertha Palmer wanted to requested a special dessert for ladies attending the Chicago 1893 World Fair. What she wanted was a dessert that is smaller than a piece of cake, though still retaining cake-like characteristics and easily eaten from boxed lunches. Eventually the first brownie was made, specially topped with walnuts and an apricot glaze. It was an instant hit at that time and this same recipe still remained and served today at “The Palmer House Hilton” in Chicago. If you want to be a super nerd–go to your favorite search engine and look up brownie facts–it’s a black hole of chocolatey goodness.

10) Sugar is energy and energy is good! (Ok, so you’ll probably sugar crash…but hey, after eating a brownie or 6, you might be motivated to write that novel or clean out the garage or practice your OCD!)

11) Make yourself a brownie conversationalist! It brings out friendly debate: nuts or no nuts? Chewy or cakey? Corner or center piece?  Which mix is the best (Ghirardelli double chocolate is my fave, but Munchkin is chiming in and likes Duncan Hines)? Everyone has an opinion–go ahead, next time you’re with people, start a brownie conversation!

12) They make you smile. It’s impossible to say “brownie” without smiling…. Well you can. But the “eeee” sound at the end of the word lifts the corners of your mouth.  Go ahead–try it… especially in front of a mirror or your phone in selfie mode… Its fun!

13) They remind you to have options!  Some days you feel like double chocolate. Some days: nuts. Some days: chips. Some days: Classic standard.  Make your days or your hours, your dinners or your lunches, your clothing or your routine different–give yourself different options each day!


14) Fill your life like brownies fill a pan. It might have starts out a whole lot of different things, but it melds together into a magical yummy treat.

Ok. So some of these were a stretch and some of these just made you hungry. But too many people take certain holidays seriously… I just wanted to remind you that it doesn’t have to be.  Go out and celebrate all of the February holidays and Live ClareLesley!
Clare

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2016 Goals Update #4 LL

After 4 weeks of 2016 I took the time to “check in” with where I was at and what I wanted. I am happy to say I still love the desires I have maps towards. I am also still on track in my plans.

I am gearing up for my Honeymoon so lots of “extra” stuff to do before I take 2 weeks off from work and well my normal day to day life.

Health: Doing my Mat Pilates everyday to get ready for my assessment at the end of Feb.

Personal: Taxes are off to my CPA

JobLove: Taught a Workshop and filmed it. Two birds One Stone! I need 4 workshops filmed this month for my website. Why do something twice when you can do it once.

Until next week my loves.

xx~LL