Achieving Your Goals – A Free Make it Happen Worksheet

WE CAN DO THIS!!

Almost two weeks into the new year and, if you’ve joined me in setting resolutions, it’s time to check our progress.

I’m happy with where I am at this point, but find I need to dig a little deeper into each goal so that I can set more realistic action steps. As part of that process, I’ve created a worksheet that has really helped.

Here’s a sample…

Draft Goal Setting

My goal:

To encourage and inspire others through my writing and photography

Key components of that goal include: 

Identifying and engaging an audience
Having the right platform or outlet
Improving my writing
Improving my photography
Finding the time (that’s a big one)
Marketing my efforts

Action steps:

Under each of the components, I’ve listed action steps. Some of these steps are probably large enough to be goals on their own, so I may create a separate worksheet for several of them.

Here’s a blank worksheet for you to use, if you’d like. Feel free to print and share it. I’d love to get feedback on how you’ve used it and any suggestions for improvement. I’ll be adding more resources as time goes on. This is just the beginning.

Make It Happen Worksheet

 

 

Dreaming of a Million Dollars

turning over the money in the hands

This week I was asked what I would do if I had a million dollars. That’s a tough question. After paying off my house and taking my extended family on a memorable vacation, I’d try to make a difference.

There are so many charities and other organizations that are focused on encouraging and inspiring people. Since that’s what I’m passionate about, I would begin here:

  • Contribute to The Giving Lens, an organization supporting international non-profits and impacting children through photography: I’m hoping to join them on a trip later this year or in early 2015.
  • Create a program similar to The Giving Lens, but in my own community: As I travel, I’m very aware that the majority of young people will never have the same opportunity. I’d love to give students the chance to see the world in a new way through photography and trips to places where they have never been.
  • Support the Wounded Warrior Project and similar charities: There is not much I can do for members of our military and their families that would make up for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of me and my family. WWP is an organization I have contributed to in the past and plan to support in the future.

What I found interesting about this thought process was the recognition that I don’t have to wait for a cash windfall to contribute to incredible causes. It may not be a million dollars, but even a small amount of money or my time can make a difference.

Now, back at ‘cha! What would you do?

Whoever Invented Bun Warmers Deserves the Nobel Prize

Mad scientist conducts chemistry experiment in his lab

Whoever invented bun warmers should be awarded the Nobel Prize.

Polar vortex?

Sub-zero weather?

Temperature at all time record lows?

No problem.

Push that little button and…instant heat. No drama, no noise, just quiet radiating heat. No waiting for the car to heat up or the windshield to defrost for the warmth to flow.

I bought a new car last summer and semi-retired my 18 year old Camry. There are lots of gadgets on the new car. You mean I don’t have to put the key in the door to unlock it? I can talk on my phone through the car sound system? Amazing. But, the best thing is…HEATED SEATS.

During the cold weather this winter, heated seats help cooler heads prevail. Who wants to leave their car because of an accident or potential road rage incident if we are sitting in the warm cradle of our car seat? A traffic jam just means more time with happy cheeks.

Thank you, whoever you are. You’ve improved my quality of life.

I hope everyone stays safe and warm this winter and, to my friends in Australia, stay cool!

 

Finding my Twitter Twin

The conversation on Twitter last night:

My @jennifersteck tweet: Follow @JSteckWTOL_FOX to see what Jennifer Steck says. I keep looking at her tweets wondering why I posted that. Hi Jennifer!

And this happened:

TwitterJennifer

How fun is that? I occasionally do a google search on my name to see what people are saying and this Jennifer comes up, so I decided to follow her. She has an interesting life in the media. I’m a fan. You go girl!!

If you aren’t following me on Twitter yet, I’d love to connect. Just look me up @jennifersteck.

Multi Frigging Tasking

The annoying beeping begins at 5:30am.

I hit the snooze button.

Ten minutes later it starts quietly then increases in volume.

beep…beep…beep…Beep…Beep…Beep…BEep…BEep…BEep…BEEp…BEEp…BEEp…BEEP…BEEP…BEEP!!!!

(Extreme cussing in the background)

Translation: wake up…wake up…Get Up…Get Up…WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED!

My alarm has gone off at 5:30am on work days for years. I used to hit the snooze button until 6:30am. Then I’d drag myself out of bed. Some days, I’d turn on the light at 5:30am, grab my laptop and browse until it was time to get ready. My third option was to turn on the television and watch the news until, you got it, I needed to get ready for work. A lot of wasted time.

Since one of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to lose 15 pounds of my 75 pound 5 year goal, I’m working my plan. Knowing how quickly I give up BIG lifestyle changes, I’ve started at a reasonable, more likely to succeed, pace. I plan to average at least a mile each day of movement over and above my normal activity.

So, I’m multitasking. The alarm goes off at 5:30am (normal), I hit the snooze button (normal), I don’t hit the snooze button again, (abnormal), I get up (semi-normal), I turn on the television (normal), then I get on the treadmill and watch television (semi-normal), when I’m done, I grab my laptop and browse or work on my blog (semi-normal). That’s three normals, three semi-normal and one abnormal. I know, weird way to measure, but I’m just convincing myself that my multitasking plan is doable.

Only 7 days into the new year, it hasn’t been too bad.

(I know the pictures aren’t top of the line, but I don’t do real photography until I’ve had my coffee.)

calendarexercise1

Here’s my progress report:

  • 6.5 miles in 7 days
  • back to pre-holiday weight

How are you doing with your resolutions, goals or desires?

Don’t Wait for Something to Happen First Before You Fulfill Your Dreams

dreams

“After I __________, I’ll ____________.”

Fill in the blanks.

“After I get married, we’ll buy a house.”

“After I retire, I’m going to travel.”

We’ve all done it. But tomorrow is not guaranteed.

My brother-in-law, John, taught me not to wait to fulfill my dreams. John worked out almost every day and had a very physical job. He was one of the healthiest people I knew. Then the headaches started. Like most guys, he didn’t like to visit the doctor, but my sister insisted. The doctor put him on headache medication.

When medication didn’t solve the problem, he went back. The diagnosis? Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer. John was 48 when he was diagnosed and died about 18 months later. That’s when my philosophy changed. I kept putting things I dreamed of doing off until….whatever. That was about 10 years ago. The following year, I traveled to Africa.

The time to live life is now. That doesn’t mean I don’t take care of paying my bills or saving for retirement. It means that if my dream is to travel, I begin going to places I can reasonably afford. The next city, the next state, the next country.

A lot has changed in the last 10 years. My sister is remarried to a wonderful man. John’s grandsons, who he never met, are playing basketball and will soon attend middle school. I’ve traveled to a number of countries and visited several continents, including Antarctica.

I think of him often. John changed my life in a number of ways, but most importantly, inspired me not to put off living my life. I miss you, John.

Are there dreams you are putting off until you can fill in the blanks? In some small way, can you take a few steps forward?

Just Keep Writing

Laptopoutside

In the early 1990’s, my two sisters and I created an encouragement newsletter called Crosswinds. The publication ran its course and we moved on with life. Blogging entered my life when I got my real estate license as a second job and was looking for additional marketing opportunities. That site was called Central Denver Blog and it lived for about five years.

One constant in these adventures has been my love of writing and creating. In early 2010, A Brief Pause was born. The vision was, and still is, to encourage, inspire and entertain those who visit. The blog began as a joint adventure, but never really blossomed. It has come alive again over the last few months, starting as a place to journal about my trip to see the polar bears. It continues as I work toward getting my head, heart and finances in place for a happy and healthy retirement in January 2019 and other topics that catch my fancy.

Many of my blogging friends have incredible goals for their blogs, mine are fairly basic.

  • Improve my writings skills: I have signed up for a local writing class. The class is not specific to bloggers, but will speak to all areas of writing. I’m also traveling to my first blogging conference. I want to learn from the masters.
  • Just keep writing: As Dory, my favorite character in Finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” I need to just keep writing. It’s been somewhat easy while I’ve been on vacation, but it will get much harder once time is at a premium and the weeks and months wear on. My plan is to still be writing in December of 2014, including journaling my travel to Namibia in May.
  • Incorporate my love of photography: Part of my 2014 journey is to focus on doing things that I love. So you’ll be seeing more of my photos as time goes on.

I hope you’ll visit me from time to time and find something that will make you laugh, encourage you in your journey or inspire you to try something new. 

Investing with the Big Dogs

coins in apple

I did it! I’m in!

Watch out Warren Buffett!

I bought two shares of BRK-B. What the hell is BRK-B, you ask? It is Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. stock. Not the $118,000+ shares, but the shares for regular folks, Class B shares. Now when Warren Buffett makes his moves, I’ll be sharing in the success. WooHoo!

A number of years ago, right after the stock market tanked, I joined an online trading site and began investing on my own. I automatically deposit $25.00 a month in my account and as it builds up, I purchase stock in what I think are pretty good companies. I own Apple, Smuckers, Coke and now part of Berkshire Hathaway.  My portfolio is up 69% since I started. It couldn’t hurt that last year was a banner year on the stock exchange.

Professionals manage my IRA funds, but I enjoy doing my own research and reading up on how to best invest my money in this small account.

What are my rules regarding my online account?

  • Never invest more than I can afford to lose: If tomorrow, all the companies I invest in go out of business, I will be fine. No losing my house or inability to pay my bills.
  • Long term investments: Other priorities in my life are more important than sitting at the computer monitoring the market, just waiting to make the right move at the right minute. I let it ride.
  • Regular automatic deposits: Money is automatically deposited each month and in a small enough amount that I don’t miss it. It builds up until I’m ready to make a decision on what investment is next.
  • Large reputable companies: If a company has been in business a long time and I can look at ten years or more of decent average annual growth, I will consider purchasing their stock. It helps if I buy their products and like them, too. Every time I purchase from the company, I feel like I’m helping my bottom line a bit.

I enjoy playing the investment game on a very small scale. I don’t know how to intelligently read a business’ financial report yet. Learning more is part of my plan. There is one thing that business reports all seem to have in common, the disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER: Do not rely on my advice or experience in your investment journey. I have no clue what the hell I’m doing, so move forward at your own risk.

Happy investing!!