Goal Setting 20/20

We are 80% of the way done with the first month of the New Year….many of you have taken time to reflect on how you want this year to look for you, but some of you (i.e. me) are just getting started.  Here are some things to consider as you set goals and adjust them along the way….

(1) Break your goals down into categories….Some examples include mental, physical, spiritual, and financial.  How will you have a healthier body? How much money do you want to make this year?  What mental blocks are hindering you in life?  How can you spend more time with God?  It is easier to not become overwhelmed when you have a place for each goal.  As the year moves on, you are able to reflect on what you have accomplished and the things that you wish to adjust.

(2) Do a brain vomit…in other words, let it all out.  Think of the wildest, most extravagant, healthiest version of yourself and your life…then write it down.  Oversimplify it if you have too. There is no limit to what your mind can create.  If you can think it, you can achieve it.

(3) Set your goals how you want to set them.  If you are better with typing on a computer, then do that.  If you are into vision boards, create one.  If you are a pen-and-paper person, then write your list(s).  I’m one for creating a list and scratching things off as I trudge along.  Do what works for you.

(4) Create a strategy for each goal you set.  It’s easy to say that you want to make more money this year, but if you don’t work harder or strategize a rational plan, it’s unlikely to happen.  How will you make more friends?  How will you get in shape? How will you stop worrying so much? Be intentional.  Make a plan.

(5) Take the time to pray and reflect over your goals as the year moves along.  What good is it to set a goal and then just leave it there?  Don’t let this year be like your other years (for those of us who set “resolutions”).

(6) Stay focused….There’s a delicate balance between putting your energy into the things you care about and not beating yourself up when those things are taking a long time to happen.  Keep focus.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

(7) Your goals are just that…YOUR goals.  Set goals that are important to you…regardless of what that looks like for anyone else.

(7) Remember, there is no need to wait for a new year, new month, or new day to create a new you.  You can decide to do that right now.

Cheers to a new year and a better you!!!

 

2019 Lessons (1)

You can read as many books as you want, meditate for 30 minutes a day, post fancy quotes on your timeline but it doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t actually practicing and fighting the “mental battle”….after that quote is posted, after that book is read, after meditation ends.  So here are some truths I have been learning and identifying with more and more this year….some from my daily musings and some from others that have taught me…some are reflections that resonate with me…

1) Being happy is your responsibility.  You are responsible for your feelings.  When others provoke you, it doesn’t take away your choice (different from being a pushover…or a robot)

2) Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t.  What’s for you is yours.   Work hard, pray on it, and believe in yourself

3) Just ask…shoot your shot

4) Being yourself is a key to confidence…accept the weird parts, the introverted parts, the outgoing parts, the goofy parts, the parts that wanna be left alone…all of it

5) At the end of your life, will it matter?

6) Exercise and drinking water is important but so is nutrition

7) Nobody cares, work harder and make moves in silence

8) Make the money while you can and please save some…it helps…A LOT

9) Drink at home…and responsibly

10) Overspending is seriously not wise if you really can’t afford it.  Don’t try to impress your friends, family, or strangers because they don’t pay your bills or know your finances like you do

11) Life is what you make it….thanks dad

12) Express gratitude even in the not-so-good circumstances

13) Be patient with yourself but don’t be lazy

14) What you speak in the atmosphere and believe in your mind is what your life will manifest

15) Let go of what makes you sad and embrace what makes you happy

16) Don’t devote so much of your energy to people who aren’t treating you well…don’t keep repeating yourself because they heard you the first time and if they wanted to then they would

17) Some women are lost in the fire, some women are built from it…I’m the latter….and you can be too.

18) When someone really shows you who they are, adjust accordingly…don’t be loud or rude about it…just adjust…and if it’s in a positive direction then congratulations

19) Don’t let external forces and things you absolutely cannot control disturb your internal peace aka mind your business…heavy

20) I’m mixed…you’ll catch that later

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BONUS: Never ever ever give up on yourself.  Do what you gotta do.  When life hits you where it hurts, you fight back even harder.  Remember the battles you have already won.  When you fail, try it again. And don’t ever give up.

thank you to those who have helped me fight the battles that I couldn’t fight alone, thank you for holding me up when I was too weak, thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable and never leaving me, thank you for being my teachers and friends, thank you for carrying my heart. Thank You.

 

ATHENS

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Now that I’ve been home for a few weeks, I thought I’d share a little about my final travel assignment for 2018: Athens, GA.

Athens, GA is a cute college town with lots of local eateries and friendly people.  This assignment was definitely my favorite.  It was centrally located being only 1.5 hours from Atlanta and within only 3 or 4 hours of other major cities and beaches.  It was clean, there were a lot of food options (hence my recent weight gain), and my coworkers were the best ever.  If you ever happen to visit Athens (and I hope you do), these are a list of things that I got to check out.  Of course there’s things like shopping and the movies, but these treasures are unique to Athens:

  1. Take pics with the GA Bulldogs around town.  Athens is known for UGA sports/the GA bulldogs.  Pretty much any business you go to will have a statue of a bulldog right next to the building (even at the hospital I worked for).  Snapping it up with a GA bulldog or two is a must! When else will you get this opportunity?
  2. Weaver D’s.  This is a black owned family restaurant close to downtown.  They have some of the best soul food I’ve ever had (let’s face it, grandma’s will always be the best).  I am definitely a fan of supporting the locals.
  3. White Tiger Gourmet.  This place feels like you’re at a family barbecue…there is literally a large barbecue grill right outside the restaurant where customers eat at picnic tables.  They also have vegetarian options 🙂
  4. Visit UGA campus or go to a game during football season.  Again, another must.  Unfortunately, my assignment ended in July before the season began, but trust, I will return.
  5. The State Botanical Gardens.  Gorgeous landscape with a cafe on site.  AND it’s free but for the love of the city,  go during the cooler times.
  6. Bonus: I never had a chance to partake in this but Athens also has water sports that locals and visitors can partake in.

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Fun fact: these are actual photos of Athens.  I stayed very close to this area when I lived there.  My apt was like a minute or two away!

I am so glad that Athens, GA was the place I got to travel before I’m back home for the next few years.  Things ended on a great note!

 

20.18.

As I sit here in bed, finishing up my fancy breakfast consisting of cereal and OJ I’m in a very reflective mood….and I have been for the past few days now.  We are a few weeks into the new year and so many of those resolutions we’ve made in 2017 are already starting to fade.  Over the past few years, I haven’t been big on resolutions.  Why wait until a new year when you can start today?  Instead of focusing on a resolution, I have some visions of what I want 2018 to look like.  The number 18 in Hebrew signifies life or living.  And I believe many of us are going to come alive and really start living in this new year….whatever that may look like for you.  Maybe it’s consistently exercising, growing closer to God, traveling more, picking up a hobby that you are passionate about….whatever “living” looks like…whatever makes us come alive is different for each person.  We are definitely going to have to be intentional about things like that.  Life is active, engaging, and intentional.  It’s not passive and in order for us to grow more and live more, we have to be more of those things.

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So after saying all that, I have some visions for myself this year. (1) I’d like to be more fit…spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially….all those ally’s 🙂  (2) I’d like to read more (and I’m not talking about social media posts) but books.  Books on finances, love, travel, prayer, spirituality.  Less screen time and more time reading things that will mature me. (3) Become a better cook/eat healthier.  Being on the road traveling makes it much harder to cook for myself and I didn’t realize it until I really start living the “nomad” life.  So needless to say my first vision of being physically fit ain’t going too well (there’s always today to start over!).   (4) Ties into number 3 and that is to be more grateful, which is huge.  I didn’t realize how much I appreciated a stove and oven until I didn’t have one.  I didn’t realize how much I complained until I was more mindful of my gratitude.  I try to practice this in my daily life and think about things I’m grateful for instead of what I don’t have.  When I’m having a difficult day, instead of complaining and getting upset, I remind myself to be grateful.  That doesn’t mean I will ever be perfect or that I’m superhuman or that I don’t have a right too or won’t ever get upset again.  I’ve failed at this many times and I will continue to do so but practice makes perfect.  So I’ll keep practicing.  I have more visions for myself this year, all of which I won’t share.  I hope in this new year, we are all more joyful, healthier, more forgiving, and compare ourselves less.  I hope that the meaning of the number 18 (life,living,alive) is the meaning of your life this year.  Whatever 2018 will look like for you, I hope it’s good.

Health…and the Holidays

Pie….cake….dressing….greens…..these are a few of my favorite things.  As I sit here finishing up my second helping of meatless ball pasta (made with vegan “meatballs” from Publix), I can’t pretend that I am a guru on health.  I have never been the most active or the healthiest eater, but the older I get the more important health is to me even around the holidays.  Many people assume that because I was vegetarian for a few years (and now pescatarian), that my diet is super healthy, but it’s not….*please read second sentence again*.  I, too, have to be conscious of what I put into my body and make sure I stay as active as I can.  There are just a few things that I have been doing to maintain my health even the more as the end of the year approaches.

One is getting a personal trainer….and my personal trainer is a beast.  I knew that I was interested in personal training when I took my travel assignment in Georgia, but I was about 4 weeks in when I decided to get serious.  There are many benefits to personal training, but one of the main things is accountability.  Most days I go to the gym to train, I don’t want too…I’d rather stay in bed or lounge around the house but knowing that my trainer is there (and I’ve paid my dues) makes me get up out the bed.  And I feel so much better afterwards.  She gives me tips and advice, motivates me and pushes me past what I think my limits are.  Another benefit of training is learning exercises and how to properly perform them.  If you don’t know what you’re doing at the gym like me, not only does a trainer teach you an exercise, but they correct your posture so you can strengthen those weaker muscles and not injure yourself.  If you can’t afford training, I would seek out accountability with someone you know is serious about staying active.

Secondly, I’ve been drinking a lot more water.  With training, I need it but it also helps me avoid not drinking sugary juices and drinks as much.  I hardly ever buy juice/drink for my home/apt/hotel unless I’m making a smoothie.  Out of sight, out of mind?  Water really does help me stay fuller for longer.  Except it’s a little annoying having to use the restroom all the time.

Lastly I have been cooking at home more….even if it is a large pot of pasta for one…yikes! Anyway.  Many times I’ll even add veggies into my meals or drinks too.  If I make pasta or a soup, I’ll throw some spinach in there.  Same for blending my smoothies.  I try to avoid eating out too much especially with fried/greasy foods.  If I go out to eat, I’ll occasionally tell them to not put the dressings on there….like the mayo that comes on a veggie burger.  Now, doing these things doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge every now and again.  I am definitely going to eat me a slice or two (or three) of pie this holiday.  I don’t always deny my cravings or my feelings, but these small changes really do make a difference.

Save money and have fun

The clubbing, partying, and drinking are not the only things available to do on a Friday or Saturday evening.  And, some people like myself are not big shoppers.  I don’t need retail therapy every weekend.  That’s fine for whoever does, we are made to like different things but I’m just not big on it.  We can eat out or head to the movies but there’s also other options available that require little to no money:

  • Spa night. This can be time consuming, but the next day, I am feeling, smelling, and looking good.  Take a bubble bath.  Wash/condition/fix your hair.  Paint your nails.  Give yourself a facial.  Meditate.  You have to put work/time into yourself in order to look and feel good.  Yes, it may take 3-4 hours to get everything just right, but once you’re done you’ll be very glad you did it.
  • Netflix binge. I don’t watch much tv, but I do have a few series that I like on Netflix [and HULU].  Even picking a good movie on there.  They may not be new releases, but both Netflix and Hulu have some good stuff.  Aaaaaand it’s cheaper than going to an actual theatre plus you can watch them at home and get super….duper…..uper comfortable.
  • Read.  I have been reading a lot more this summer than I normally do.  If you find an interesting read, you can get lost in it.  The book that I am currently reading is “The five love languages” by Gary Chapman.  Even though it’s catered more towards married couples, I believe this book can do some good for every person even if you’re single.
  • Talk a walk/bike ride or spend some time outdoors. I am not a gym person necessarily, but I really enjoy going to the park and taking walks.  Sometimes I can stay out there for almost 2 hours.  I get to surround myself with community but I’m also getting some fresh air and getting my blood pumping.
  • Watch funny YouTube videos.  There is absolutely nothing in this world like a good long laugh.

The good thing about these options are that you can enjoy them alone or invite other people to join you, and have a great time either way.  HAPPY WEEKEND!

Speaking of funny, check out this video by KevOnStage.  He’s a comedian who knows how to have good, clean fun.

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Living in fear

There are so many things in this world to be fearful about….so many excuses/reasons why we can’t do the things we want to do.  We can refuse to talk to that person or group because we are scared they may reject us.  We can refuse to travel the world because we are scared to fly on planes.  We can refuse to eat good food and indulge because we are scared we might gain an inch or ten.  Fear is a nasty little thing that no one wants to associate with yet so many of us let it control our lives.  It can cripple us, leave us lying in our beds, afraid of the outside world. It can stress us out and drive us crazy.  I have been a cautious person ever since I can remember.  I always had to have a plan.  But if I’m not careful that caution can easily turn into fear and/or anxiety.  And it quite often does if I allow it to consume my thoughts.  What will happen if I eat this piece of cake? Or talk to that person that I would like to get to know? Or simply go outside?  If we think about all the evil that is happening around us on a daily basis, we can become entangled in the lie that everyone is out to get us and no place is safe.  Fear can entangle our minds.  It can entangle our hearts.  We can even begin to fear those closest to us.  Is he/she for me or against me?  Do they REALLY love me?  While it is very wise to be cautious and discerning, we cannot allow fear to control our lives.  It cannot control our actions.  It cannot control our emotions and our thoughts.  We need to speak the Word over us that God did not give us that spirit of fear, so if He didn’t give it to us then who did? …..ok.  Combating fear is so much harder than just saying it.  With all the access we have to the news and social media, we are taking in so many unspoken messages that we SHOULD be afraid.  Combating fear is proactive.  You have to affirm yourself and say that you’re not a wimp, but you are bold and positive.  And not just one time, we have to continue to reaffirm ourselves. Yes, there’s a lot of evil things going on out there, but there are also many positive things going on in our world.  There are so many kind, positive, and compassionate people out there.  We need to have an expectation of kindness and compassion throughout the day.  Each day. There are days where I succumb to that fear, but I am learning and growing even then. Don’t let it control you.

5 things I’ve learned from my first month traveling

I made it out of my first month as a travel nurse! Here’s 5 things I’ve learned or words of advice I’d give to anyone considering travel nursing or even just moving to a new state:

(1)    Be honest and unapologetic about your emotions.  One of my best friends told me that on my way from work after a rough night. It’s a new city and the things that were once my routine were snatched up from me.  Acknowledge that you will be happy and sad and sometimes lonely.  Allow yourself to be those things and don’t apologize for it.

(2)    Don’t close yourself off from people.  Being away from home, away from my friends and family, away from my church.  A lot of us choose to run from that internal conflict of having to adjust to a new lifestyle; and while some of us may thrive in those environments, others do not *raises hand*.  Attend a local church, hang out in groups that cater to your interests, attend events.  Just put yourself out there even if it is a little (or a lot) uncomfortable.  Also, do not forget about your friends and family at home.  Stay in contact with them as you’re on your new adventure.

(3)    Don’t overspend on furniture.  Initially, I was going to rent furniture but I am happy that didn’t work out now because I saved about $500 (and much more in the long run) by buying simple pieces that I get to keep for my next location.  I don’t really mind my home not looking all fancy being that this is short term; I didn’t want to have to haul furniture to my next destination. Plus, I enjoy the benefits of living a minimal lifestyle.

(4)    Explore safely and wisely.  Being in a new city, I want to get out there and see all the fun and different things that were not available in my hometown.  Be sure you are still budgeting your money wisely and make sure you learn about the area that you are wanting to explore (especially if going alone/at night).

(5)    Be thankful for the journey that you’re on.  Some days are plain hard and I want to quit and go home.  Then, I realize I am doing exactly what I aimed to do almost 2 years ago when I graduated nursing school.  I am living my life as a travel nurse.  I am not sure this is where I’ll be five years from now, but for now I am grateful to be where I am