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That Feeling

Do you know that feeling when your heart breaks because you’re so joyfully heartbroken? Maybe not. One of my closest friends just marveled at my ability to not only feel it, but express it.

I just read two short stories I need to share because of how many feels there are. And you may be hesitant because I mentioned some negative emotions in that paragraph above, and sometimes it’s hard to want to take a risk on something amazing if there’s a chance it can be sad in any way.

But if you’re willing to take my word for it, I point you to Zen Cho, fantasy author. She offers up to us not only a novelette she wrote last year titled If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again, but also the coda to that work, a slightly shorter (but no less impactful) Head of a Snake, Tail of a Dragon.

Read, and I hope you enjoy.

Birthday skies

First

I’m going to be doing the Blog All About It blog challenge by herding cats & burning soup because I stumbled on it through another author’s blog and it sounds like a lot of fun!

January’s topic is First. There are a lot of Firsts I can talk about today, which makes today a great day to make this post.

Today is the First day of my new year because it is my birthday! I turned 41 today, and I’m almost as excited about 41 as I was about 40. I’m really hoping this year will be better for me personally than last year. Last year was rough in so many ways that I am going to purposely try not to go into. This year I intend to push myself to grow in both writing and fitness, to make uncomfortable decisions that I know are good for me, and to…do other positive things I haven’t thought about enough yet to include here!

As a slightly related side note, I was also the First baby born in the small Iowa town my parents lived in at the time. Sometimes New Year’s Baby’s are determined in minutes or hours instead of days, but it was a very small town.

Anyway!

Today also starts my First vacation from work for the year. I’ve taken two days off because I didn’t plan to take any time over the Christmas/New Year holidays (although I did end up with both Eve’s off), and today is the First day of that vacation! I intend on trying to take one day every month off of work, not necessarily to do something special, but to have a day which goes by at my own pace, with my own choices, and to do things I want to do. I will try to make them days the kids are at school, but if they aren’t, I can take advantage of the fact that my children are both teenagers and can manage without my constant mothering for a day.

I am the Firstborn child of my parents! I am also the youngest child because I am the only child. This was something that irritated me when I was little, but then I stopped caring about it, and lately, I’m very grateful for it. My parents both have siblings, my husband has more than 7 (but less than 9) siblings, my cousins all have siblings or step-siblings. It’s not that I crave being alone (okay, I do, but that’s not entirely related to this), but when the time comes, I believe I will have an advantage in being the only person who will need to make decisions. No arguments, just me.

This one is a stretch, but I just got my First pair of new glasses in four years today! They’re gorgeously pink on the edges, and more of a black-pink on the front, so as not to scare the other humans at my workplace. 😉

This is the First year that I’ve set goals or resolutions for the new year that I don’t particularly care if I mess up on. I mean, of course I will try to keep the daily goals I’ve set for myself, but I am going into this year realizing that I will not have ruined everything if I make a mistake. I’m going to get back on the horse/wagon/bicycle/blazing, sparkly, rainbow unicorn that farts candy and pick back up the next day! (I really like the unicorn image I have now. I wish I could draw.)

I think that’s all my Firsts today! I may have occasion to do more posts this month, but since I only set one reminder per month, probably not. But this was fun!

Thank you! <3

Goal 01R:2019 – Write More Words

Oh, hello there! I’m so glad you came back to read more – or that you found my blog and decided to start here!

It’s officially 2019! And with a bit of hemming and hawing; researching and borrowing of ideas; thought and letting the wine think for me; I have decided on how to make progress with my Write More Words goal for the year.

In the process of deciding what my goal should be now, I also came up with some ideas for future goals, such as daily word count goals, writing X novels in X days, and writing X short stories in X days.

But since my 2018 was fairly wordless, I am going to start simply in 2019 to get myself back on track. So for the first 31 days of 2019, my goal is to:

write for 30 minutes each day and end up with one publishable piece of any length.

January 1-31, 2019

Which I think is 1) very reasonable, 2) pushing myself to develop a daily habit, and 3) provides ample space to expand and do more.

Staying Accountable

To stay accountable, I will be posting on Twitter once I get my 30 minutes accomplished, maybe with an actual time written and a word count for the session. Cheers would be lovely, as well as check-ins to see how I’m doing, if you’re feeling so inclined.

Falling Off Track

So what happens if I fail and miss a day of writing, or don’t make time for the full 30 minutes?

I try again the next day.

I think about why I didn’t get 30 minutes of time – was I “just not into it”? Poor time management? Not waking early enough? And once I can pin down what happened, I work to eliminate that as an excuse the next day.

I don’t scratch the entire goal as a failure. I don’t beat myself up. I don’t delete the blog and go into hiding. (I’ve done these things, and they don’t help anything.)

So that is the plan! Help keep me on track, if you’d like, on my twitter – @nivixious. I’ll probably end up making a progress post or two here, as I really, really like blogging. Oh! And 30 minutes of blogging is not going to cut it, by the way. I’ve tracked my blog and fiction words in the past, and it felt like blogging “counted”. But since part of the goal is to end up with a publishable piece, nope. No blogging toward the goal.

I’m going to follow up on my Move More goal in a separate post, maybe tomorrow, so feel free to check in for that!

Thank you! <3

Goal 01F:2019 – Move More

I just finished my first goal for Write More Words post, and decided it was a good time to dive into the same post for Move More.

Hi! Welcome!

So exercise is something I have done successfully in the past. I’ve been able to lose some weight by following Body for Life and Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds, I’ve kept regular trips to the gym in my schedule, and I’ve gone for morning walks.

But…okay, so maybe “successfully” is an overstatement. And “regular” would be for a couple months, and then not.

So I have exercised in the past, is what I’m getting at.

But since I really want to move more, I need an actual “regular” habit, and since I have very little habit going right now in movement, for this first goal I’m starting there.

Move for 20 minutes each day

January 1-31, 2019

I had on there “and end up with a daily habit”, but there’s really not any bonus content here. I just really want to move for 20 minutes. And I’m not going to limit myself to a particular exercise, since I really just need to start moving. Most likely my exercise will be walking, but it could also include yoga. I’m not shucking out any money for this right now, so I will not be renewing any gym memberships or buying new anything. I’ll be doing everything in the jeans and yoga pants and hole-riddled sneakers that I already own.

So if you read my Write More Words goal post for January, then you’ve seen the ways in which I’ll keep myself accountable already, and please forgive me for repeating them.

Staying Accountable

Again, Twitter – @nivixious. Also, since I love taking photos, I’ll try to get a good photo to post there from my walk or whatever way I decide to move. Maybe a YouTube link if that’s what ends up happening.

Falling Off Track

And again, there’s no beating myself up if I miss a day, especially since I know that if I miss an outside walk, or if it’s cold, I can do it inside in front of my TV while watching a video. But even if that doesn’t happen, I just pick up and start again the next day. I may not even keep track of my failures in terms of “I missed X days this month” because focusing on the negative is a really great way to get me to give up on things. (I am a bit of a perfectionist. You may not have known that.)

It’s a pretty simple plan because I want it to be so easy that there’s no way I can avoid doing it.

An interesting side note

I was talking about this goal with my kids before I went out to actually accomplish my goal for the day. I was saying how I’d done the Walk Away the Pounds program, and I still had the book. I actually pulled the book off the shelves, and then was bummed that the DVD wasn’t inside. (For some reason I expected the book to be in a paper envelope stuck to the back cover.) I thought about trying to order another copy of the DVD, but then went for my walk and forgot about that urge (thankfully).

And then I got back from my walk (which was chilly and my ears got cold, but it was otherwise nice), and I went back to YouTube (because I’m on a kick lately to consume as much creator content as possible for some reason) to finish the video I’d started about a woman who’d lost a bunch of weight, and then I started looking for other things to watch, and do you know what I found?

Leslie Sansone of Walk Away the Pounds has a YouTube channel.

What you focus on expands.

Ninja Selling

Thank you! <3

Beauty-full

My parents recently had their anniversary, and my dad found a place that sells roses at a reasonable price, and he got my mom one rose for every year they’ve been married. They’ve blossomed well.

One for every year

There is a leaf on the ground near their home that is on fire, and I grabbed a photo of it today after looking at it there for the past week. The fact that nobody picked it up to save it yet was startling. I hope other people notice it.

In the mulch by the sidewalk
In the mulch by the sidewalk

Things I Want

I wrote down on a piece of paper (that I cannot find) my two overriding goals that will govern my 2019. I hesitate to call them goals specifically for 2019 because these goals go farther than that. “They” – and by that I mean the people who encourage abundance mindsets whose messages I tend to resonate with – say you can have whatever you want, and you shouldn’t limit yourself to what you think you can have.

However, I find it useful to have a bit more realistic expectations, so my goals are lifetime goals.

Be Rich, and Be Fit

Money might not buy happiness, but it pays the bills. And when bills are causing most of my stress, money sure as fuck seems like happiness. I would like to be the kind of rich that has a year’s worth of expenses in a saving’s account. I would like to be the kind of rich that has enough money to not need to worry about retirement. I would like to be the kind of rich that can donate to causes that make people in my financial position right now fall off the rails and lose everything because yes – choosing between health insurance and food and rent is real and can ruin your life.

I used to want to be skinny. I wanted to be thigh-gap model skinny, flat stomach at all times skinny, popular girl skinny. It’s not that my goals have changed, exactly, but I’m 40, and turning 41 in a few days. I might yet get to be all of those things, but today I want to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. I want to walk 10,000 steps per day. I want to enjoy 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity. (I want people at the office to stop asking me if I’m all right because my face is beet red and I’m sweating after helping to set up an event. Yes, I’m fine – right now, I’m just fat.)

So – how am I going to accomplish these two goals? I’m so glad you asked.

To become Rich, I need to bring more money into our household. There are a couple ways that can be done – sell stuff (goods or services), or win the lottery. Since I don’t play the lottery, that second method isn’t valid. But I can sell goods and services.

I’ve worked for a transcription company in the past year, and that’s an option, but what I’d rather do is sell stories. To sell stories, I need to write stories. I need to stop worrying about whether what I’m writing is meeting the rules I have in my head that other people want to read or with think is worthy, and start writing things I like to write. I really believe that there is an audience for whatever I enjoy writing – there are simply too many readers in the world to have me be the only person who enjoys reading about sentient cats.

So the first task on my list for 2019 is: write more words.

Then offer the words for sale. And then hope people buy them. But basically, write the words.

To become Fit, I have several options which include moving more, eating less, making better food and beverage choices, and restricting calories. Of all of these options, I think moving more is my best bet, although portion control and better choices will have to play a part eventually.

This makes the second task on my list for 2019: move more.

“Write more words” and “move more” = goals/resolutions for next year!

Now that I’ve set them, I have to nail down exactly how to accomplish them.

Thank you! <3

Outdoors

This morning I walked outside and wished I could take a picture of the sound of the leaves rustling on a tree nearby. It struck me that it was a bit late in the season for there to still be leaves. I wonder if that’s because of the type of tree it is? I’ve not noticed it before.

I did find two things to take photos of. One seems almost unreal, like a silk plant. They look like mulberries, although quite out of season in late December. The other is a favorite type of photo of mine to take – branches against the sky. I’m not sure why I take so many of this kind of photo, but I tend to. I hope you enjoy!

Berries in the winter
Sunlit branches against the sky

Goal-ing

I really wanted to have a well-written, researched, and sound post about my 2019 goals. It turns out, however, that I blog like I write fiction – from the seat of my pants. Everything else ends up feeling forced and fake. So, having done quite a bit of prep for this, I’m going to keep what stuck in my brain, and the rest…

Oops.

So this is about setting my 2019 goals. There are plenty of blog posts by others on how to do it, there are workbooks walking you through what you should pay attention to, and so on and so forth. I’ve been saturated with information for several weeks now, and I’ve made some progress on my own.

Knowing where I stand has been pretty important for me. If I want to improve things, I ought to know where the starting line is. I’ve collected some of that information in workbooks, notebooks, and my brain, but since I want visitors to the blog to hold me accountable, I’ll be laying it out here in just a moment.

Knowing where I want to go is also kind of critical. Clearly the definition of a goal is to have a finish line, but it has to be more than “lose weight”, “write more”, and “parent better”. Measurable goals are critical for success – that’s something everyone is saying. And I’m totally guilty of setting New Year’s Resolutions that don’t do that, so I’m going to fix that.

Knowing how to get it done, or creating a plan, will help me succeed. I’m trying to remind myself that it doesn’t need to be so strict that missing a day or approaching something from a different angle shouldn’t completely derail me. That’s a bad habit of mine, too. I need to allow for mistakes, slow starts, and also for over-achievement moments.

Most importantly, knowing why I want to achieve my goals is going to help keep me on track. Goals are super easy to set. “I’m going to go to the gym every day this year” is not only a goal I’ve made (more than once), but also one I’ve failed every single time. There was never a Why glaring at me when I hit snooze on the alarm that was persuasive enough to get me out of bed anyway.

So that’s the plan. Figure out where I stand currently, set measurable goals, create a plan to accomplish the goals, and making sure there’s a “why am I doing this” for each one that’s meaningful and personal to me to keep me motivated.

Technically, setting goals for 2019 is in itself a goal. Let’s just buzz through the process quickly, eh?

Where do I stand?

I have no current goals, so I guess this is kind of a null entry. I have those vague things in my head – I need to write more, I need to move more, I need to make more money – but no real action items to get them accomplished aside from “Make better plans for 2019.” Which I’m working on right now, actually!

Where do I want to go?

I want to have a list of measureable goals with due dates and processes to get them each accomplished. I want to include goals for my health and for my business. I don’t want to overwhelm myself with goals that I think I should set but don’t actually feel like I need. There will be no guilting myself into doing something because I “should”. And I want to have a plan that feels acceptable set up by the first weekend in January.

How am I going to get it done?

I’m going to post the plans here on my blog. I am going to take a bit of time every day to make progress. I’m not going to beat myself up if there’s not time to work on it when I ought to be doing something else (family or work obligations), which means I need to make time for it in the mornings (like now!) when I have some time to myself.

Why?

Because I like the idea of having goals to govern my decisions and choices. Because I like to start a new year with new plans. Because I want to set a good example for my kids. Because I want to live the next four years with purpose and increased income.

So that’s it, I think! I’ll come back with more details soon.

Thank you! <3

*frantic waving* (a form of greeting)

Hi. I’m trying really hard not to look too eager over here, and I’m pretty sure I’m failing.

Do I know you? Do you know me? You might. I’m an ultra-low-level blogger and writer who has a (really bad) habit of creating, maintaining, and deleting blogs. I started with Ubiquitous.nu, moved to DieselNights.net, had OffTheBeatenPlan.com for a bit, then Nickified.com, and then a WordPress.com hosted blog for a little while earlier this year because Finances and Life.

And now I’m back. My name is Nicki, and I love to blog. I love being silly and I love to write and I love to just have a home online to be that’s mine. I am determined to keep this blog going for the next three years, through the end of 2021. I have the hosting all paid up, so there should be no excuses.

What kind of stuff are you going to find here? Why, that’s a really good question. The tagline under the site name kind of covers it. I’ll be sharing writing I do, not only blogging but also fiction. I’ll be sharing things I create, because I love creating – photography, coloring books, handmade things, whatever floats my boat. I design for my day job as the head of a marketing department for a real estate company, and I learn neat things from other blogs that come in super handy in my daily work – I’d like to share some of that as well. I’m a self-published author, so when I have new work up for sale, I’ll probably gush about that for a while.

And most importantly, I need a place to be held accountable for the goals I create for myself. I am one of those New Year’s Resolutions people whose goals last a day or so. Maybe five. I want to be in the habit of setting goals regularly, and not just at the start of a week, a month, or a new year. I want to be in the habit of checking in with my progress or lack thereof and have people around who are willing to help keep me accountable.

So that’s it! That’s a bit about me and a bit about the blog, and maybe I’m just shouting into the void, but maybe I don’t mind that right now.

Thank you! <3