Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: goals

Three Ways You Can Improve Your Life This Year

(contributed article)

The start of the new year means endless possibilities and opportunities- the chance to reflect on the past and then make a change for the better. Often life is “fine”; there’s nothing that’s bad about it, but we can find ourselves in a bit of a rut. If you’re determined to make a change and make 2018 your year, here are just three ways you can achieve that.

Travel

The world is a colossal, beautiful place- and when you stay in one spot you miss out on so much. If you get the opportunity, it’s always worth travelling; perhaps you have a bucket list of places you want to go or maybe you’re flexible and happy to go just about anywhere. Travel can be expensive, so it’s worth getting your finances in order before you go. If you have adverse credit, you could look into debt consolidation loans for bad credit and put the money you save each month into an account for your travels. Otherwise you could always look into budget options, such as backpacking and road trips. It might be in your budget to rent an RV, and you get transport and accommodation in one then. Fill a cooler with food from the grocery store, and you save when it comes to eating as well. There are loads of great road trip routes out there, so decide what you want to see on your trip and do what you can to make it happen.

Learn Something New

Maybe you’ve always wanted to go back to school; if you fancy an entire career change, why not go back and study full time? Otherwise you could study part-time evenings and weekends around your job and work towards a degree or diploma. Choose a subject that really interests you or will help you to improve your career; it’s hard work but very fulfilling. However, learning something new doesn’t necessarily have to be formal education like this. You could go to a dance or cooking class, buy some paints and follow painting tutorials on Youtube, or learn a musical instrument. It will keep you productive in your spare time while keeping your brain sharp, plus you will meet like-minded people, too.

Volunteer

It’s easy to take all we have for granted. We have a home, somewhere to sleep, food in our pantries, and luxuries like smartphones, computers and TVs. We have our good health, and our friends and family. Others aren’t so lucky. By volunteering, you get a new perspective on life and have the opportunity to genuinely help those less fortunate. You could volunteer in a soup kitchen, at a hospital, hospice, children’s home, animal shelter, women’s refuge- have a look at what’s local to you. Whether it’s two hours a month, or a whole summer spent building orphanages in a third world country, your time is valuable and you can make a difference.

What will you be doing to make 2018 your year?

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The Thing About Change and Not Giving Up

Most of us want to change something in our lives–whether we want to be more patient with our kids, not engage with someone abusive in our lives, lose weight, exercise and sleep more, or clean and organize our lives. And we expect these things to happen immediately, and I don’t know about you–but I am very hard on myself when I have a “relapse.”

This past spring, I was in a 6-week book study course called Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa has a great sense of humor and shares all the ways she still can sometimes come unglued–and she is the one leading us in trying to do better! This is why I liked her and her book. It was realistic and practical. The best thing I learned in this course was imperfect progress.

Imperfect progress is what most of us make when we are trying to change. We take three steps forward, and then we take a step back (sometimes a giant leap backwards unfortunately), and this backwards step is the turning point. This moment is when you decide if you are going to make imperfect progress and get back on your plan to the life you want (diet/training program/break from a bad relationship), or you are going to give up with the negative thinking of: What’s the point anyway?

There are a lot of things I need to change. And I am the textbook definition of imperfect progress, but here’s what I realized about myself and my progress after a brief encounter with a difficult person: I am finally starting to realize when I’m falling into the trap of what I usually say when faced with confrontation and also what I usually do. I also noticed I don’t have the same feelings or reactions as I did even if my behavior is the same, and  I am thinking about what to do differently next time.

Do you realize how big this is? It’s big. It’s big because before this year, an encounter with a difficult person like this would have left me for hours or maybe even an entire day upset and blaming myself, wondering why I am the way I am, and a lot of other terribly self-pitying behavior.

How about you? Did you cheat on your diet? Don’t beat yourself up! Did you eat healthy for five days before that? Then focus on those five days because you are making imperfect progress. Did you yell at your kids instead of using love and logic? Okay, you might have been tired or hungry, and next time you will realize that and won’t yell.

This is the thing about change–don’t give up. We all deserve the life we want. 

By the way, I’m currently having an Editor 911 sale and a writing coaching sale. Here are the details: Now through June 30, 2017, I am running a sale on my Editor 911 and writing coaching services. Regular price for a content edit OR proofread is $3.00 a page (250-275 words).SALE price $2.25 a page.FULL edit  (content and proofreading) regular price $5.00 a page, sale price $4.00 a page. If you pay your total bill upfront with Paypal, receive a 10 % discount on top of the sale price. If you don’t have a project ready, but want me to work on it this summer or fall, you can pay a $100 deposit before June 30 to keep the sale price and use it anytime.

For writing coaching, regular price is $25 for 30 min. or $40 for 60 min. If you pay beforeJune 30, 2017, you can get a package deal and use the minutes however you want (including splitting it with a friend)! SALE package price is…300 minutes for $150 (savings of $50). You don’t have to use these minutes this summer; but you must purchase them by 6/30/2017. Writing coaching can be used to complete projects, define goals, discuss plot, etc. and in person (if you live within 15 miles of Margo) or by phone or Skype.

EMAIL ME FOR DETAILS: margolynndill (at) gmail.com

 

 

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Word of the Year (Part One)

A couple years ago, my writing friend, Sarah, told us about a New Year’s resolution-type thing called: ONE WORD. I wrote about it pretty extensively on WOW!’s blog last year, where I explained my word of the year for 2016 would be Organization; and I wasn’t making any specific resolutions or goals because my life was chaotic and changing, and I didn’t think I could stick to anything too specific. This One Word theme really worked for me. I did get more organized in 2016. Here are some ways:

  • Cleaned out several closets and drawers and donated loads of stuff to charity
  • Got all of my retirement money from teaching and my new job in order with my financial adviser
  • Created this blog for writing and a separate one for Editor 911 (although still in progress)
  • Realized Katie and I need to follow a nightly routine MOST nights in order to have a successful week
  • Followed through on a system to remember to take my medicine (hormones from hysterectomy, which need to be taken twice a day)

I’m sure there are more, but for now, that gives you an idea of how one word helped me in many areas of my life. I also managed to buy a new car and set up my insurance payment and car payment to pay automatically out of my bank account. I count all of this as organization. Because I did have some female health issues this year, I lost huge chunks of time, and so I am keeping Organization for 2017 AND adding one more word. I am still contemplating 2017’s additional word and plan to decide next week. The ones I am thinking about are. . .

  • Peace
  • Practical
  • Boundaries

I probably need all 3! 🙂

I’m hoping some of you reading this post will share a word or two of the year that you would like to consider. Just because you write it down HERE does not mean that you HAVE to do this word of the year. But it might get people thinking about words they could adopt. Also if you are explaining yourself when typing a comment, it may make you think about your hopes and dreams for 2017.

 

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