She’s a Goal Digger

I read an article somewhere (BuzzFeed? Mashable? FastCo?) about all these apps that will help you organize your life in 2015. There were the typical scheduling apps, diet apps, fitness apps, and whatever else apps. But one that I actually downloaded was called Coach.me. (I’m not paid to support these people; I just wanted to tell you about it.)

Coach.me is an app where you set goals, how frequently you’d like to achieve them (daily, weekly), and reminders. You choose from a huge set of pre-entered goals, but pretty much everything has been thought of for you to add to your list. You choose how often you want to achieve that goal, and then you set a reminder from the app. Then, you go out and achieve the goalz.

Goal Digger

It’s hard to write, “Launch my start-up” on an app like this. But, if you know the steps it takes to get to your bigger goal (launching a business, a better marriage, losing weight, writing a book), then you can make incremental, regular mini-goals to help achieve those bigger ones (put in 2 hours toward start-up every day, say “I love you” and mean it every morning, pack my lunch 5 times a week, write 2 pages every day).

My current goals on the app include the following:

  • Read before bed: Sean and I have been reading “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up” by Harriet Lerner little by little every night before bed. It’s broken up into 1-2 page snippets of thoughtful commentary on how to listen, how to speak to one another (or not speak, if the situation doesn’t call for it), what serves as effective criticism, etc.
  • Homework for 1 hour: I set this one to be achieved every day. Small steps toward larger goals. Last semester, I spent too much time worrying during the week, and then flooding my weekends with homework. I didn’t want this semester to be the same stress mess. By making myself do at least 1 hour of homework every day (sometimes at work at lunch, sometimes when I get home from work on nights when I don’t have class), I feel less stressed even if I know there’s still the bulk to do on the weekends.
  • Eat a vegetable: I am usually ok about this (except maybe on a weekend when I binge on Gushers and waffles), but I feel accomplished marking off a health goal every day. It’s a sort of self-confirmation thing, an e-high five for doing something I know I should do. The check on the app when I mark it off is the mini-reward for treating my body the way I should.
  • Tell Sean I love him: Sean and I are actually really good at saying “I love you,” but I wanted to remind myself to take the time to STOP. Look him in the eyes. And say “I love you.” And really mean it. Not just the habitual “Iloveyou” in passing and at the end of phone calls.
  • Write 3 positive things about today: In essence, to practice purposeful gratitude.

Grateful

There have been many studies that prove that actually writing down positive thoughts or things you’re thankful for perpetuates more thankfulness.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Thankfulness begets thankfulness. And, also, I’ve reasoned that when I have a bad day or just have a bad attitude, I can look through all the positive things I’ve written to remind myself that things really aren’t as bad as they may feel in that moment.

I admit, that by the end of the day, it’s sometimes a little hard for me to think back on the positive things that happened (especially if I’m just out of traffic). Other times, I feel like writing the same thing over and over. But I try to find positivity in both the big (Having a job with a great company and working with funny, laid back people who also like me and my work) and the small things (mac and cheese when you’re starving).

So, I encourage you to take the extra 5 minutes it takes to sit and think about the GOOD that happened in your day. You can write it in a notebook, or even on the notes app of your phone for a time when things don’t seem to go 100% awesome.

Nonfiction Avalanche

More audiobook reviews: here and here.

All the Truth is Out by Matt Bai

All The Truth Is OutI first heard about this book in an interview on Fresh Air one night heading home from class. The concept seemed super interesting, and a few months later I finally looked it up on Audible. The book talks about how media and politics have changed over the past 30ish years. What’s become commonplace in media today (Find the dirt on anyone and everyone! Ask people about their personal lives! Bring up things they did 30 years ago!) wasn’t always the case. It discusses this case with the story of Gary Hart, who ran for president in 1987. Hart was the first case of a politician being “caught” in an affair. Before this, the media knew that politicians weren’t faithful, and didn’t care. But for some reason started caring RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT. The story tells of, essentially, the first public media-gossip-lynching of a politician for transgressions, and how that instance changed the way politics and media work. It’s really eye-opening to know that a lot of people who might be great leaders for our communities, states, and country refuse to go into office because they don’t want to be harangued by media gossip hounds.

 

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

#GIRLBOSSI was willing to suspend my usual personal standards for this book. I really wanted to like it. I want to be the HBIC one day, and the title of this book spoke to me. It’s an autobiography of sorts from Sophia Amoruso, the creator and founder of NastyGal, an online and now brick and mortar retail chain. She started from humble beginnings, high school dropout picking through thrift stores for “vintage” finds and selling them on eBay. Sure, I know nothing (and care nothing) about fashion, but she was a something-from-nothing story that I WANTED really badly to be inspired by. I was following along fine to the annoying vocal-fry narrator, listening to one woman talk about what a special snowflake she was to start a bazillion dollar retail company from her bed, thinking, “I can dig this…” UNTIL. She had a chapter directed toward millennials about how we’re not the special snowflakes we think we are regardless of how much our parents told us we were and how many trophies we got in school. I am so tired of people waxing poetic about how lazy and self-indulgent people my age are, especially in a book they wrote about themselves. Bitch, please. No one makes me bleed my own blood. For reference, The Super Secret Trick to Connecting with Millennials: It’s not actually that complicated. I’m going to write an article about how old people need to learn technology on their own and stop being so resistant to their inevitable takeover by me and my gang of spoiled-ass friends called, “The Snowflake Gang.” /rant (Please note this is sarcasm.)

 

Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton

Hard ChoicesI’m really surprised at the number of people who turned up their noses and scoffed when I said I was reading Clinton’s book. For starters, I really like a lady in power who proves she’s competent, smart, and invested in what she’s doing (see book choice above). Aside from that, I was really interested in learning about what it’s like to be the Secretary of State. In this book, Clinton details her tenure as Secretary of State all the way back from when she was running for the presidential nomination against Obama, her loss of that nomination (a pretty humbling blow for anyone), and him asking her repeatedly to please consider the high profile job. She wrote about personal and professional experiences: a glimpse into what international diplomacy is like (it sounds like a slow and tedious process sometimes), dealing with the deaths of her parents, and even the attacks on Benghazi. I’d definitely recommend it, if you can get over yourself and get past the politics part.

If my nonfiction reading this round has taught me anything, these might be a few takeaways:

  • It’s hard to be in public office. Regardless of your agreement with someone’s politics, they’re still people with lives and families and emotions. Get over yourself and try to imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes. Stop being so mean to everyone.
  • There is no “right time” for things. There’s no right time to start your own business. There’s no right time for the perfect job to pop up. There’s no right time for anything. So make the best of what you have and don’t wait too long to do what you want.
  • Don’t blame people when you don’t know all the facts. Always check for more than one source. Don’t trust sources that cite other news media as their sources. Don’t get sucked into the gossip mill. Not everything the internet/media/TV says is true.
  • Nonfiction can be interesting too. :)

Schedule of an “Ambitious” Millennial

Hey. Welcome to 2015. Long time, no write. So, let’s just dive right in.

I read this article yesterday about the “The Morning Routines of 13 Ambitious Millennial Women” and was struck at how utterly un-ambitious they seemed. Putting aside the pervasive notion that all millennials are lazy assholes and the idea that “busy-ness does not equal success,” there are a lot of eye-opening aspects to these women’s morning routines.

Here are a few elements that caught my attention:

  • 9:00 am – get showered and dressed for work.
  • 9:30 am – on the subway and headed to the office! Listening to music and setting the tone for the day!
  • 10:00 am – Finally make it in.

That was for a Managing Producer at some place I don’t know (HRDCVR ???). But, “Finally make it in.” at 10AM?! What world do you live in? Most people have done 2-3 hours of work by then. Jeez.

  • 7:25 am – Shower/Get ready.
  • 8:15 am - Think to myself.
  • 8:20 am - Run out my house because I wasted 5 minutes thinking to myself.

“Think to myself?” Can you imagine someone sitting on the edge of the bed for however many minutes to “think to themselves?” That’s what a commute it for.

  • 10:40 am - Sad attempt at cleaning the house. Remind myself it’s only 7 more days before the cleaning lady comes back, so no big deal.
  • 10:55 am - Walk out the door, only about an hour or so late, but I have a baby, so leave me alone!

1. I wish I had time to think about cleaning the house in the morning before work.

2. I wish someone else cleaned my house.

3. Walk out the door an hour late?!

  • 2 am - Force myself to turn off Netflix.
  • 7 am - Alarm goes off and I hit snooze.

5 hours of sleep?! Treat yo self, girl, to some shut eye.

  • 8:25 am - Make a cup of coffee and relax on the couch while watching GMA. I usually spend the next 40 minutes scrolling through Twitter to see what happened over night and start looking for newsy items I might cover that day, checking Tumblr, scrolling through Instagram, etc.
  • 9:05 am - Get dressed for work and usually finish up my hair.
  • 9:20 am - Head to the subway.
  • 9:45 am - Arrive at work, grab a banana from our snack room for breakfast and get another cup of coffee.

40 minutes of morning TV watching and Instagram scrolling? Then getting to work at almost 10am again?

I’m also astonished at the number of women who 1. press snooze! and 2. don’t eat breakfast! Wake up on time and eat, people!

I know it’s not right to compare yourself to anyone else for better or for worse. According to Amy Poehler, I should say, “Good for her. Not for me.” But, please, allow me to complain about a typical Monday.

  • 4:30am – Alarm goes off. Drag myself out of bed immediately–no snooze!. Head to closet to put on workout clothes/check the WOD & weather.
  • 4:40am – Head downstairs to feed cats, brew coffee, fill water bottles, & snack on a Clif bar before heading to the gym.
  • 4:50am – Go back upstairs to brush teeth (this is the only time I have for this task in the AM).
  • 4:55am – Prep coffee in thermos & kiss Sean goodbye.
  • 5:00am – Head to gym.
  • 5:07am – Start warm up early, work out.
  • 6:15am – Leave gym, head back home for quick breakfast (2 bacons, 2 eggs, my coffee) that Sean made. Take breakfast upstairs to bathroom sink to wash face/get dressed while eating.
  • 6:40am – Head downstairs, feed cats again, fill up water bottles, pack work & school stuff into backpack, etc. Leave for work. Curse Atlanta traffic.
  • 6:40 to 7:50am – Listen to audiobook or NPR while sitting in that dumb Atlanta traffic to get to work. (Hate wasting time, should at least be learning something while sitting.)
  • 8:00am to 12:00 or 1:00pm – Work/meetings.
  • Lunchtime – Eat lunch while doing homework.
  • 12:00 or 1:00pm to 5:00pm – Work/meetings.
  • 5:00 pm – Head out to go to class; curse Atlanta traffic.
  • 5:30 to 5:45 pm – Eat random stuff from my lunchbox in my car in a dark parking garage.
  • 6:00 to 9:00pm – Sit in class, try to stay awake.
  • 9:00pm – Drive home. Try to stay awake.
  • 9:30pm – Eat random stuff, get ready for bed. Write 3 positive things about today & read for about 4 minutes with Sean while trying to stay awake.
  • 10:15pm – Pass out in bed and hope the 4:30 alarm doesn’t come soon.

I’m not the only one who has such a crazy schedule, I know. Tons of people my age, older, and younger are rocking these tight, busy schedules and getting no credit for them. No one writes articles about these kinds of people, I guess because we’re not busy founding start ups or other high-profile jobs at such a young age.

So if you’re an “ambitious” millennial that gets up early, goes to work on time, doesn’t have the free time to watch TV or “think to yourself” for 5 minutes in the morning, keep on keeping on. You’ve got this. They may not write an article about you, but at least you know you’re working for something.