So you want to start a book club?

It has been a hot minute since my last blog post (341 days to be exact). Life has been pretty heavy lately so I’ve decided to ‘choose joy’ & focus some of my energy on writing again.

One of my biggest hobbies (especially in 2020) is curling up with a new book & getting lost in a story. Since 2014, I’ve been a part of a book club and it has honestly been one of my life’s greatest treasures. I’ve cultivated tremendous friendships, read books I would have otherwise never considered, & supported every local eatery along the way πŸ™‚

If you’ve ever been slightly curious about how to go about starting your own book club, here are my best tips!

#1: Establish a virtual space

Yes, I know you are probably already in 101 other Facebook groups right now, but listen: your book club needs a Facebook group. When my friend Nicole started our book club in January 2014, she created a small little Facebook group and invited a few of her closest friends & co-workers. Establishing a virtual space to keep all things book club related is a smart idea. We use our group to choose the next book, discuss location/date of our meetings, and plan other fun book club events (*see my bonus tip below*). Creating a FB group also allows you to easily invite new members to check out your book club.

#2: Book Choice

I’ve read a lot about different book club set ups & they can all vary quite a bit. Some book clubs choose a ‘theme’ for the year or have a predetermined list of books that they will read. I love my book club because I’ve never once felt that we were stuck in a certain genre. Our philosophy has always been that the host chooses 3 or 4 books and the group votes on which one they’d like to read. On rare occasions the host has just picked the book outright, but our preferred method of choice is to vote!

#3: Time & Location

Once you’ve established the book choice, think about picking a date/time + location for your meeting. We prefer to put up a poll in our Facebook group to find the best time for everyone (or at least the majority).

When it comes to location, spice it up! I highly recommend switching up book club venues often.

  • Dine at a local restaurant
  • Cozy up in the host’s living room
  • Meet at a quaint coffee shop
  • Find an open spot at a park & have a picnic (bonus points if food trucks are involved)

#4: Discussion Points

Despite popular belief, our book club actually discusses the book. I know, crazy right?! Yes, we do love a good bottle of wine and pitchers of blood orange mimosas, but we also enjoy sharing our thoughts & opinions with one another. When it comes to discussion points, here are a few things to try:

  • A lot of books these days have discussion questions either included in the back of the book or guides that are easily accessible online
  • Have members come up with one question they’d like to ask the group–put it on a sticky note, toss it in a bag, and pull out questions at random.
  • Do you picture your book becoming a full length feature film? Write down which actor/actress you’d want to play each of the main characters. Have the host save the lists & maybe years down the road you’ll have predicted the cast!
  • Share connections you made with the book: either personal or with other texts.
  • How did the book rate? We always share a 1-5 rating at the end.

#5: Just keep going

Your biggest challenge will likely be how to keep your book club going. It’s easy for people to get busy & caught up in the daily grind. If you can establish the next host at the end of each meeting, it will go a long way! We have a core group of 5 or 6 of us who rotate turns hosting: any new members who join us get the chance to host next (if they want).

Within a few days after your meeting, have the next host pick (or vote on) the next book & throw out a general timeline of the next meet-up. If you can get into this habit, it will help you to keep the momentum going!

*Bonus Tips*

The five tips that I’ve included above are a great place to start if you are wanting to begin your own book club. If you happen to already be a book club member, here are some additional ideas for taking your group to a whole new level πŸ™‚

  • Plan a movie date together — It seems like every other movie being released is based on a popular novel. If you’ve read it in book club, go see the movie! One of the first books we ever read was Gone Girl, so it was extra special to watch that madness go down on the big screen together.
  • Don’t be afraid to try personal development — While most of our selections have been fiction, we’ve also dived into the world of personal development together. I’m a super big fan of this genre & it was extra special to read a book like Girl, Wash Your Face with some of my favorite ladies. I even hosted a Made for More movie night at my house complete with personalized notebooks, pens, & White Claws for all πŸ™‚
  • Reach out to the author, you never know what they can offer you — A few years back we read an amazing book called Maude. The host got in touch with the author and she actually called us during our meeting & did her own little book talk with us. That was probably one of my favorite book club moments by far!
  • Local library author talks — On a similar note, we’ve found authors who have scheduled visits to local libraries and chosen our selection based on the opportunity to meet them. In 2014 we read Finding Amy by Kate Flora and participated in her book talk (complete with a group photo at the end).
  • And sometimes you might have a friend with a celebrity connection….. — My friend Nicole, who started our book club, is the niece of Patrick Dempsey. At our very first book club meeting , we read The Art of Racing in the Rain and got to talk to “Uncle Pat” about the Hollywood side of making a book into a movie. Yeah, she set the bar REAL high for the rest of our meetings πŸ™‚
  • Get on Goodreads — If you don’t already have the Goodreads app, go download it STAT! Most of us use it to keep track of books we want to read, our progress on current books, and it’s a great way to keep tabs on who is reading the book club pick.

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A hard reset.

A teacher’s summer vacation is untouchable: a necessity that only those who teach truly understand. During the winter, I made a promise to myself that I would take this summer off. It wasn’t an easy decision, being the people pleaser that I am, but I was thankful to get 100% support for my decision. Coming off my most trying school year yet, if I didn’t have the opportunity to start taking care of myself, I was fully prepared to not come back to my job in the fall.

Prior to the start of 2019, I set my intentions and worked really hard to focus on my mental and physical health. For the first three months of the new year, I was proud of the habits I had created. Nevertheless, the last three months of the school year derailed my feelings of success and I felt like I was back at square one. It was super defeating and once those thoughts of failure creep into your head, it’s hard to push them out.

As I began my first true summer off just a few weeks ago, I delved head first back into a few key habits that I had lost touch with. Today I will share a few daily habits and overarching thoughts that I’ve been intentional about recently. Perhaps something will resonate with you. Perhaps nothing will. Nonetheless, thanks for reading up to this point.

Have a plan.

Cringy, right? Danielle, it’s summer vacation, why do you need a plan? Girlfriend, just RELAX!

The truth is: I’m lost without a plan or some level of organization in my life. During the school year, everything is regimented. When I have a plan going into the day, I am at my best.

I began using my 30-day Push Journal again and truly believe it is one of the best ways to start my day. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back and read on of my first blog posts and purchase your own here. Essentially, I write down three tasks that I want to achieve that day. Anything else I get done is bonus! I’ve also found that time blocking has been huge for me. When I set aside dedicated time each day to work towards a specific goal or task (i.e. grad class, blogging, fitness, etc), I can get so much more accomplished.

I think the biggest mistake we make when taking a ‘vacation’ is throwing aside all our normal habits. Some level of planning [at least for me] keeps me sane and feeling on track.

Move your dang body.

I’ve always had a hard time openly talking about my exercise habits with people. I don’t do it to lose weight, but after the year I’ve had I’ve realized that movement is the only way I can generate energy.

I was SO exhausted every. single. day. My mind would run a mile a minute during the school day and wouldn’t shut off at night. I physically felt weak and lame. I’ve had huge gut health issues [likely attributed somewhat to anxiety of the job] that have only added additional worry to my already full plate.

Brendan Burchard [one of my favorite personal development gurus] says, “the power plant does not have the energy, it generates it.” This is SO true. No wonder I was in such a ragged mental and physical state, I couldn’t take care of my body or mind. Energy wasn’t going to magical appear at my doorstep each morning. Deep down, I know that part of my fatigue was working at job that I didn’t enjoy anymore.

My promise to myself this summer was to find a way to move my body every single day. I once ran a half marathon [I don’t consider myself a runner at all]. That has been one of my single greatest accomplishments and a reminder to myself that I can go from NOTHING to something big in a short amount of time. This summer I’ve picked up running again and have fell in love with the Peloton app. I feel most alive when I’ve completed my morning workout. The secret is to get it out of the way early in the day, it truly sets the tone for how your day will go.

So if you aren’t moving your body, just do it. It won’t be fun all the time, but it is the cheapest therapy that exists.

Learn something new everyday.

While I’m technically not working at my school this summer [I’m still doing some private tutoring on the side], my desire to learn is always present. I’ve found so much enjoyment and satisfaction in doing lots of reading and podcast listening this summer. I even read a book the other day about the importance of starting your 401(k)….I know, exhilarating πŸ™‚ Regardless of what I’m reading or listening to, I take a few minutes each night to reflect on what new things I’ve learned and find it even more helpful if I can talk with someone, like my husband, about it.

What is my ONE thing?

So this isn’t really a habit, but it’s something that has been on my mind and heart a lot lately. I’ve always been notorious for working myself to the ground. A self-proclaimed workaholic and YES [wo]man. I’ve juggled a lot in the last decade: professional teaching career, part-time Ph.D student, small business owner, tennis instructor. I could go on. The point is, I’ve come to learn that I can’t maintain a high level with every little thing I do. I put on a good show for people, but it’s tough living up to other people’s expectations [along with your own].

Last week I read Gary Keller’s book The ONE Thing. For those who haven’t read it, he basically poses the question: what is your one thing? What is the most important thing in your career, business, life, etc? Keller convinces his readers to ‘go-all-in’ on your ONE thing and realign your priorities based on it.

Teaching is for sure my ONE thing. And it takes on many forms for me. Whether it be working with my middle schoolers, graduate students, or helping women to feel more confident by teaching them easy beauty tips, I know that teaching is what I’m meant to do. With that being said, I’m aggressively becoming more open to my ONE thing looking different for me within the next few years. There are many ways I can use my teaching talents to build up and to empower others. I guess I will leave it at, this journey is ‘to be continued’…..

Life is too short to spend it at war with yourself.

Guilty Pleasures [minus the guilt]

I’m back! And ready to lighten the mood a bit.

I’ve been obsessing about a few things lately and have been itching to get back into a blogging rhythm. When you are smack dab in the middle of a tough season in life, it’s wicked easy to focus all of your time on the negative. I’ve been pretty stellar at that as of late.

Well, it’s time to disrupt the cycle and share some goodness. Let’s chat about five of my latest guilty pleasures. If you follow me on social media, you’ll recognize a few πŸ™‚

1. Queer Eye

Ok, ok. My sister and I were HUGE fans of the original Queer Eye on Bravo, so I was hesitant to watch the Netflix reboot. So hesitant that it took me a year to watch the pilot episode. I mean, Carson Kressley was my spirit animal.

YASSSS QUEEN! Umm, what took me so long? David and I binged all three seasons in a matter of weeks. I won’t let him leave the house now without a French Tuck.

Can you guess who my fave is?

2. A historic Jeopardy winning streak

Alex Trebek is my favorite game show host [and second favorite Canadian].

I’ve been watching Jeopardy since before I could tie my shoes and I’ve never been more been obsessed with it until now. Watching James Holzhauer absolutely demolish the competition every single night is super fun [although I feel really bad for those poor, poor opponents….a lifetime dream dashed in mere minutes].

The man rarely gets any question wrong. Plus, given his professional gambling background, he ain’t afraid to go all-in.

How far will he go? He’s already surpassed $1,000,000 and [I think] could easily beat Ken Jennings’ record-breaking cash out.

I’ll continue to be glued to my television set every weeknight until further notice. Major FOMO here….and that painful grin, it’s kinda fun.

3. All Black Clothing

Oh man, I love fashion so much. Nothing makes me feel more confident than an amazing outfit.

Well, for the last year I’ve been completely obsessed with the When in Black Online Boutique. My girl Heather picks out the most gorgeous pieces and even better keeps prices affordable for her customers.

Black clothing is flattering on everyone! Seriously. And so easy to accessorize. My current work and weekend wardrobe is almost exclusively from the boutique.

Heather carries tops, bottoms, dresses, earrings [FYI…the middle school girls LOVE them] and even sunglasses. I guarantee that you will find something you love! Heather knows that I love her shop so much that she’s given all my friends a 15% discount when they use code DANIELLE15 at checkout!

Here are just a few of my favorite pieces….

4. Personal Development

The start of 2019 has been a season of personal development. For several years now, I’ve been a fan of self help and various personal development books, but I’ve gone pretty hardcore over the last few months.

If you know me, you know that I love to learn. And part of learning is having a deep desire for constant growth. I’ve gone a step further and have even enrolled in a life coaching series with one of my favorite personal development gurus.

I’ve got a stack of books going right now….here are a few on my list: The Urban Monk , The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, Dare to Lead, High Performance Habits, and Lean Out.

My husband is a BIG fan of podcasts [I think he’d listen to them all day if he could]. I frequent several as well, but my two favorites are The Chalene Show and Rise podcast.

Whether you are in a season of change or not, I think it is so important to ALWAYS be working on yourself. Making self development a priority has been my greatest success this year.

5. Buffalo Cauliflower

Ha, kind of random but for real. This is David & I’s new favorite dish to make. I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade and, in general, I’m a super picky eater. I hate most food and never venture to try anything new.

Well, cauliflower baked in Frank’s Red Hot and honey is surprisingly tasty. Who knew?

This just might be my gateway drug to other foreign food choices.

Now I want to know, what are your guilty pleasures?

The Ripple: My year of dissociation, shame, & hypervigilance.

Perhaps you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.

Sometimes, it is difficult to remember Before.

When you are confronted with the unexpected, it is hard to predict the end result. More importantly, you must consider that some things will never be tied together in a pretty bow; reassembled and fit to put back on the shelf.

I felt much less anxiety Before.

I knew my self worth Before.

I thought I was the perfect judge of character Before.

I never felt so lost After.

Some of you are familiar with my story. It is inaccurate to say that it is ‘my story’, for I am merely one piece of the narration.

But, it is accurate to say that it remains the single most impactful event in my life. And as I reflect back on that phone call with the detective, exactly one year ago today, I thought I’d have it all tied up in a little bow by now. I was a confident person who knew my worth. I could overcome this. No one was going to make me feel inferior.

365 days ago, I wouldn’t have predicted the silent suffering that would still be occurring 365 days later.

Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance takes the form of mental discomfort: when the beliefs you’ve held in your mind run parallel to contradictory information, tension occurs. We’ve all experienced moments of dissonance. For example, if you’ve grown to idolize someone in mainstream media and suddenly learn of a terrible act that they’ve committed, you are likely to feel uncomfortable. Better yet, you may begin to speak to yourself a series of comforting lies. I just can’t believe it. They would never do something like that!

We compartmentalize in hopes of avoiding the impending cognitive discomfort.

When I first received the news that a co-worker and friend had taken videos of me in my classroom, positioning his cellphone between my legs, beneath my dress, I experienced immediate dissonance. What I was being told that had occurred was in total misalignment with my memory bank. How could it be true? It couldn’t be.

Why didn’t I see it coming?

And that is when shame takes over.

Shame

I am a victim. I will carry no blame.

I repeated those words over and over again.

It won’t come as a surprise that my thoughts kept coming back to my outfit that day. Sitting alone, in a sterile interview room at the local PD, being shown cropped still images of my upper half, I couldn’t help but begin the self shaming. In my head, of course, because those aren’t thoughts you say aloud to a stranger.

Those who stepped up to comfort me during the aftermath all had the same message–you are not to blame for this, don’t even think for a moment that you are at fault.

Was wearing a dress to work ‘asking for it’? Of course not. Unfortunately though, I know there were people who read this story in the news and dismissed its severity. Some people reading this are likely to have their own thoughts–their own judgements about me as well.

People find it hard to sympathize with someone who has been called ‘skinny’ all their life. I hesitated to even write that sentence because I can see the eye rolls now. But, those who truly know me know that I’ve always hated that label. For someone to address me first by my outward appearance has forever made me uncomfortable. Despite my noticeable discomfort, it hasn’t yet deterred people. The simple fact that I’m a tall girl with a thin build would be enough to justify, in some people’s minds, that I was predisposed. And if we’d like to take this one step further, there are some people out there who would suggest I take it as a compliment.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that has conditioned the masses to believe that women are just ‘asking for it’ and that ‘boys will be boys.’ That sentiment is too often used to normalize men being aggressive, predatory, and sexist. Women are routinely told that they need to just accept this as factβ€”once again, pedaling the subversive agenda of our current society. We need look no further than to the President of the United States.

I wish I could write this post and tell you that shame has not been my burden to carry, but indeed it has lived as a tiny, pestering voice in my head for the last 365 days.

Hypervigilance

I was not prepared to cope with hyper-arousal.

Days and weeks following the revelation, I was experiencing night terrors. I would wake up in the middle of the night to soaked sheets. I’ve had recurring nightmares, as recent as last week.

Symptoms of anxiety kicked into high gear. In the midst of an already challenging year at my job, it was sometimes just too much. But again, I chose, in part, to suffer in silence: so as not to drag anyone down into my metaphorical trench. I’d lock myself in the staff bathroom for minutes at a time, trying to compose myself. I came to work everyday, because in our society, that is the expectation. Mental health stigma is a real.

You know that instant panic you’ve felt, for example, when you’ve left the house and thought you had left the stove on? Or maybe you’ve slammed your brakes suddenly for an unexpected pedestrian? Your heart starts palpating and your underarms start to sweat?

I get this exact feeling every time I see someone who looks like Him.

It happens all the time at the gym. Sometimes at the grocery store. Once in a while I do a double take when I visit with other schools. It is a symptom of my trauma that will likely never go away, but will hopefully become more manageable.  

Hope

What once were some of my fondest moments in my teaching career are now muddied.

I examine more closely people’s intentions.

Trust does not come easily.

When I pictured writing this composition a year ago, I had a different vision, a different hope for myself. I had hoped to free myself from the feelings of betrayal and shame. I had wished for clarity.

I’ve taken measures to ensure some self care this year. I know that I need to be better and I know that I will get better. I don’t subscribe to the saying, ‘everything happens for a reason.’ I think that is a comforting lie that I could tell myself.

What I do know is that I have a lot of amazing things going for me in my life. I am forever grateful to my family and friends who have lent to me their shoulders and their ears.

I have the potential to empower those around me by not silencing my narrative.

I will continue to heal and I will continue to share my story, because it is not just for me. I am not unique. There is a collective message waiting to be told by so many other, brave, beautiful souls.

With all my love,

Danielle xoxo

Flotation Therapy: First Impressions

For Valentine’s Day, David & I gifted each other the same thing: a float chamber session at a new local spot. We’d both been interested for a while and were totally intrigued by the possible benefits. In a world of technology and constant stimulation, who wouldn’t want a a 90-minute break from it all?

Pre-Float

Upon arrival at our local spot, we checked in and listened to the “first-timer” instructions. A sign on the counter directed us to take off our shoes [and of course, I was wearing mismatched socks] and get comfy in the waiting area. As we sat awaiting our appointment time, we perused some coffee table readings.


When our room was ready, we were given additional instructions about how to work the tank and what to do before preparing to float. I’ll mention this: we booked a Deluxe Float for Two. I was a little skeptical about trying this together for the first time, but alas we were here. The room was actually pretty spacious and was equipped with a shower head and space to change. Pre-float, we were asked to rinse off in cool water and enter the floatation chamber. Inside the chamber were buttons to control the lighting and sound. At the reception desk we had chosen the “blue” light and “white noise” soundtrack. We were both actually curious to do this experience with no sound and no light, but decided to start with both features on.

Float

There are two chamber sizes: standard and deluxe. For two people, you have to use the deluxe chamber which is about 6’11” wide. My biggest apprehension about floating was: is the water going to be too cold?? I hate swimming in pools for that reason…if I’m cold, I’m immediately uncomfortable.

The first toe touch of water was actually really nice. As we allowed ourselves to lay back and float, I was happy to say that I wouldn’t be cold. The water is advertised to be about 93.5 degrees–which I guess is skin receptor neutral. With 1200+ pounds of Epson Salt, anyone can float: no matter your shape or size.

Two people could comfortably fit in the tank, but we did at times graze the other. My head immediately felt weird (as we were told it probably would). There was tension in my neck and I stupidly held it in for 20 minutes before asking David to grab me a floaty head support. It was immediate relief, and now I could begin total relaxation……

or not.

First off, 90 minutes to float is a long, long time. Let me give you some points of reference:

(1) A feature length comedy film is about 90 minutes long.

(2) teaching two middle school class periods takes 90 minutes of my day.

(3) the four episodes of Wrecked we watched last night took the same amount of time as this flotation experience.

Second, being in the tank with two people was just beyond awkward for me. In an instance of complete silence, I cannot help but start laughing. I’m glad we were both wearing earplugs because perhaps David didn’t have to listen to my muffled laughter on repeat. I literally kept telling myself to take this seriously, Danielle and frequent gentle reminders to breathe in, breathe out.

I would say that it took me a good 50-60 minutes to truly begin to relax. My mind was racing and although I wasn’t feeling claustrophobic, I still couldn’t settle myself. After about an hour in, I told David we could try the lights completely off (when he tried this earlier, I actually freaked out). It was super strange to be floating with open eyes in the pitch dark. I will say, at this point I started getting sleepy and would have loved to just have fallen asleep right then and there.

After the longest 90 minutes of my lifetime, a gentle feminine voice came over a loud speaker and announced that the float was over and to begin exiting the tank. The lights were slowly raised and I stepped out of the tank feeling a little bit lighter and really tired.

Post-Float

David’s first remark was, “that went by really fast.” To that, I gave a wide-eyed look and passively disagreed.

A quick rinse off is necessary after a salty float. They provide shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and bath towels. While it is a 90 minute float, you actually get the room for two hours to allow for pre/post activities.

We were the last appointment of the night and left after 10PM.

So, the question you [all] want the answer to: will I go back? The answer is YES, I will for sure be going back….by myself πŸ™‚ I want to give sensory deprivation a chance [that sounds so bad] and feel like it is an experience best had with just you & your own thoughts. While it was fun to experience this together for the first time, I think both of us would agree that the next trip will be a solo one.

A 30-Day Journal? Yes, it’s worth it.

I’ve been a longtime follower of Chalene Johnson and just recently bit the bullet and bought her Push Journal. I’d been on the fence about it for a while and wasn’t sure if the $$ was worth spending. After some thought (and a flash sale), I bought a set of 3, kept one and then gifted two of them this Christmas.

At heart, I’ve always preferred a paper-based planner system. I keep a hardbound yearly planner already and wondered if this Push Journal would be duplicating what I’m already using. Well, I am writing this on day 54 of using the journal system (yes, I bought a second journal) and I can honestly say that I’ve started 2019 in the best way possible. Let me share with you just what it’s all about.

Journals are available in lots of fun colors!

First off, this is a 30-day journal system. This was my biggest hesitation prior to purchasing. Why would I spend $20+ for a journal I can only use for a month? Needless to say, the Push Journal is much more than a journal or a planner. Having already read Chalene’s book Push, I was well-versed in her goal setting, habit creating methods. You don’t need to have read the book to use the journal though! The Push Journal has its own website and Chalene has created user-friendly videos to guide you in using the journal.

While the Push Journal is designed to be used for only 30 days, you can buy a pack of 3 and be ready to crush some big goals in just 90 days (this is her recommendation…and mine!).

What exactly makes this journal different than the rest?

My current key priority is _______________________.

Before you begin with Day One of your journal, there are some really important steps you must take (but don’t worry, they are all outlined in the journal). First, you’ll identify areas in your life that need your immediate attention. Using a scale of 1 to 10, you score twelve different important areas of your life and hone-in on the lowest scored area. For me, my Mental Wellbeing easily became my key priority. If that was an area I could improve upon in the next 90 days, I knew I could feel an incredible sense of relief.

After identifying your key priority, the next step is to brainstorm goals for the next 90 days. I tried to focus all of my goals on my key priority, but she suggests that you focus three goals on improving your key priority. So, for example, the first three goals I listed that would [hopefully] improve my overall mental state were:

(1) Exercise at least four times per week for at least 30 minutes.

(2) Set boundaries/work-life balance: Stop checking work email after 7PM each day.

(3) Commit to 15-minutes/day of personal development.

My remaining smaller goals focused on other areas of my life, such as environment/surroundings and physical health. In reality, these ten goals that you’ve set for yourself are ones that can be reached/maintained in a well-planned out 90 days. To “push” yourself forward with these new goals, Chalene teaches you to set one ‘push goal’ that will essentially get the ball rolling for all your other goals.

Creating my ‘push goal’ was more challenging, but honestly you can’t go wrong. I settled on intentional screentime as my push goal. I figured that having written it down, it might be easier to follow through with. When I say intentional I really just wanted to better separate myself from my phone and random social media scrolling. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m slowly developing better habits πŸ™‚

Daily Tracker! My favorite way to plan out my day!

Phew! Now that we’ve gone through the goal setting process, it is time to show you all the daily trackers! This journal is undated, so you can start at any time! Every morning (or the night before) I fill out the daily tracker and do a “brain dump” of all the things that I’d like to get done for that day. Everyday, at the top of your journal, you are rewriting that push goal and choosing just three tasks related to that push goal that can be accomplished in less than 15 minutes each. Essentially, if you get just those three tasks done in the day, you should feel amazing because, on the daily, you are working towards those goals of yours! I reuse my three goals often: usually they relate to some kind of intentional screen time with my business, time spent on personal development, or decluttering my house.

There is a space each day for you to plan out your day and make note of any work, appointments, or other commitments (aka…schedule that gym time!). I prefer to write in my journal the night before, but if not then I try really hard to make it the first thing I do in the mornings.

Need an easy place to keep track of food & fitness? The journal does that too!

Included in each Day of your journal is also a Health Tracker. I’ve been pretty good about using this as well! I try to log what I’ve eaten each day and record my water intake (that’s one of my goals, too). I use the fitness log to track my time at the gym–each journal actually comes with a handy bookmark that you can easily mark off if you’ve reached your goals each day (i.e., check off Day One if you exercised for 30 minutes, check off Day One if you drank at least ___ounces of water).

If I still have your attention…

…..what do you think?

While many of you may feel like you wouldn’t get the bang for your buck with this journal, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! I am on journal number two and after 54 days of this system, I am proud to say that I have been able to maintain all three of my big goals [listed above]! I think that there is such power in writing down your goals and your plans for the day. In a technology-driven world, I know that I have lost touch with some of my old-school ways. By taking a little bit of time to reflect on what’s going well/not going well and then setting some intentional goals, I’ve seen a big improvement in my ability to manage my busy life.

I am slowly making myself a priority again—and not feeling bad about it!

Purchase a 3-pack here (that’s the best deal for sure), but if you want to try just one you can! For those on a budget, you could purchase one and then create your own using a blank journal!

But think of it this way, would you be willing to spend less than just $1/day to crush your goals and live a more intentional existence? That’s my plan.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Would you consider this journal? Comments are welcome and appreciated!

~ Danielle

Just get over yourself.

Where are my perfectionists at?!

It is basically a Christmas miracle that you are reading this. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to start a blog? Can you guess how many other things ‘got in my way’ until this very day? When I set out to do anything in my life, I want to do it right and do it really well.

That’s actually a very big problem.

For the longest time I took so much pride in being a self-proclaimed workaholic. I’ve always held multiple jobs while balancing my own educational interests. My pursuit of happiness has heavily relied upon my own sense of accomplishment. If I wasn’t busy and wasn’t doing all the things, then I could very easily become discouraged. To give anything less than 100% is just not my jam.

Which again, is a not so good thing.

I’m slowly learning that I need to just get over myself. And I say that in the nicest way. If I truly want to get ahead and live the life I envision, I need to change my mindset. And my stubborn ways [thanks, dad].

I’m deathly scared of not being my best.

Not being good enough. To even make the decision to start this blog has caused some slight anxiety. After spending [too] much time figuring out the layout, header image, content, etc., I sit stagnant, waiting for just the right words to suddenly materialize. The delete button is a friend and my wandering mind is desperately trying to focus on the finish line.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

I’m always saying this to my own students. If you only ever do things within your comfort zone, how can you ever grow? It’s probably about time I take my own advice. So here goes nothing.

Welcome.

I’m excited to write for you. Let’s see where this takes us. 

~ Danielle