Autumn: Like January 1st, but better!

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leaves

Every January 1st, folks around the world set lofty resolutions. They usually sound something like this:

“I’m going to lose 50 pounds!”

“I’m going to become debt free!”

“I’m going to finally be the awesome person I wish I was!”

Approximately 36 days later, these resolutions are forgotten and life returns to normal. The same resolutions will be re-attempted next year. It’s not a perfect system, but I’m a big fan of goals and dreams so I really dig the attempt.

While I will be making the usual goals on January 1st (in S.M.A.R.T. format, because I would like a chance in hell at achieving them), I consider Autumn the true beginning of a new year. Besides the fact that it is my absolute favorite season, it is also back-to-school!

Let’s celebrate fall with new goals

I might not be headed back to school each August/September anymore, but the habit of creating new goals in line with the school year has never left me. Each year was a fresh start, and this was the year you were going to be on the honor roll, make a ton of new friends, and avoid any and all awkward situations. Like many New Year’s resolutions, these didn’t necessarily happen (especially the “not being awkward” one). But there’s something about the feeling of starting fresh that makes everything seem possible.

I talked about my lack of life direction in a recent post. I believe the best way to start dealing with this is to write down what I do know I want to accomplish and how I plan on getting there. Ideally, my goals in some areas of my life will eventually reveal what I want in other areas of my life.

Making a goal list keeps you accountable

I’m in the process of getting these goals out on paper, as well as evaluating what I currently believe I want long-term. It’s eye opening to say the least. Plans may change. In fact, I’m almost positive they will. But as my favorite season begins and brings with it a feeling of newness, it feels wonderful to create goals in the hopes that this year, it will be different.

When does your “new year” start? Would you like to share some of your goals with me?

Peace, Love, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes,

Erin

Photo by sponselli


Never Eat Shredded Wheat

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In life, we are often faced with big questions. Why am I here? What is my purpose? How can I convince my body that carrots are as delicious as kettle-cooked salt and pepper chips? But one that has been bothering me lately is — what do I want? Okay, it’s tied with the chip thing because c’mon they’re delicious.

What do I want?

There are several areas of my life where I have this figured out. I know what I want in my relationships and I know what I want in regards to my health. The question is — what do I want out of myself? Or more specifically, what are my goals career-wise and experience-wise? When do I want to start a family? Where do I see myself in 5, 10, or 30 years? I am having a hard time answering these questions. I just don’t know.

At the ripe old age of 24 *cue Liz Lemon style eye roll*, I feel like I should have things figured out by now. I’m enjoying freelancing and I’m enjoying where I’m living right now, but I’m not convinced that either deserves “forever status”. And while it seems silly that I’m worried about this, I wonder if I’ll ever know exactly what I want out of life. My five year plan is non-existent because I have absolutely no idea what I want in 5 years.

Never Eat Shredded Wheat

I lack direction (get the title now?). Without direction, I cannot set goals because they won’t be leading to anything bigger. It was so easy in school. Graduation was a direction. As an adult, I haven’t found anything to work towards. What do I do? How can I find the sense of purpose and direction I so desperately crave (not unlike those chips that are currently consuming my thoughts, damn you diet!).

Perhaps I’m scared of what I want, or perhaps I really don’t know what it is. Either way, I need to get out of limbo. Actions without purpose seem pointless. So that’s my challenge — figure out what I want and how to get there. In other words, I need a life GPS pronto or else I’m going to end up reading The Secret. *shudders*

Do you know what you want out of life? Have you ever had a time in your life where you didn’t have direction?

Peace, Love, & Kettle-Cooked Salt & Pepper Chips,

Erin

Photo by Steve Snodgrass


My 2013 Goals: Freelance Writing, $20K & 120 lbs

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Good Morning Loves. Last week I published a post about the one thing that I am not going to do this year and it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t tell everyone about my personal goals and resolutions for 2013.

I have vowed not to wake up early and make the most out of my mornings in 2013 because I truly believe that there is nothing you can do at 8 am that you can’t do at 2 pm.

I received some emails and Twitter comments wondering why I am only setting personal goals of things that I don’t want to do in 2013 instead of listing all the things that I want to accomplish this year.

If you read My Diary Entry on a regular basis you know that I am a huge planner (some may even say OCD) and I am a big fan of lists.

So here it is…my list of things to do in 2013.

Money Goals:

1. Save $15,000: That’s $1250 per month and so far I am on track

2. Earn $20,000 from my freelance writing income: That’s $1667 per month but the problem is that freelance writing does not always provide a steady income. Just to give you an idea of my freelance writing income from past years I earned $7,800 in 2011 and $14,500 in 2012. More to come next week on how I am going to achieve my freelance writing income goal this year.

Career Goals:

1. Start a professional website for my freelance writing services: This is my current priority, I am deciding between tahnyakristina.com or Pen and Paper Communications –what do you think?

2. Become an active member of an online blogging network: A network will help promote and grow this blog to be the best that it can be. I am leaning towards BlogHer, Yakezie or Clever Member – are you a member of a blog network?

3. Find a publisher for my first book A Better You and get it in stores:  I want to travel and speak at schools, workshops and conferences to help people find their dream job, earn more income, become debt free and find personal happiness. I did it and I want to help people do it too.

Fitness Goals:

1. Reach my goal weight by July 31: This year I started exercising on a regular basis and I absolutely love it.  My entire outlook on life has changed and I am a happier person.

2. Join an online fitness community: The only way to keep fit and have fun is to have a support system. I am leaning towards Fit Fluential – any other suggestions?

What are your goals for 2013?

Love Always,

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This is one thing that I will not do this New Year…

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It’s the end of January and all month long I have been reading about New Year’s resolutions.  I love the idea of people trying to better themselves and I definitely believe in setting personal goals – after all my new book is called “A Better You”.  I set two personal goals for myself this year – the first goal is to save $15,000 by December 31 and the second goal is to lose 20 pounds by the end of July.  After 30 days I am proud to say that I am on my way to achieving both goals and I hope to keep the momentum going over the next 11 months.

Why do people make crazy New Year’s resolutions?

A New Year’s resolution should be a challenge yet still a realistic goal.  My personal goals this year are not super extra-ordinary, actually losing weight and exercising on a regular basis seem to be very common New Year’s resolutions. My savings and losing weight goals will definitely take a big commitment and an effort on my part but I don’t think that they will dramatically change my life.

I have been reading a lot about New Year’s resolutions and let me tell you, I have discovered some crazy changes that people are making in 2013.  I don’t know if making drastic changes in our lives all at one time is such a good idea because if our personal goal is too much of a change and if it takes too much of an effort we won’t stick with it.

I did not make a personal resolution to get more out of my mornings!

Anyone who has ever lived with me or who has been on vacation with me knows that I am not a morning person. I read an article in SELF Magazine about a woman who wants to get all of her personal errands done before noon.  She wants to wake up at 5 a.m., go to the gym and clean her house all before lunchtime so that she can relax all afternoon and evening.

This is definitely not on my list of things to do in 2013, I love waking up on the weekends without an alarm clock.  I stay in my pyjamas as long as I want to and some days I get back into bed after eating breakfast.  I wouldn’t change my mornings for the world.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

Love Always,

Photo by comedy nose

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Bye Bye 2012 and Happy New Year!

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In a few hours 2012 will be over and the New Year will begin.  I don’t have big plans tonight but in 2 days I am off to awesome Las Vegas – I can’t wait to get out of this cold/snowy weather. I have just about had it with winter and it’s only December.

I have to admit that I am extremely sad to see 2012 go because it was a great year for me.  I finally finished my first book (A Better You is on sale now!) and I am only a few days away from getting my dream job (more to come on that).  I was also fortunate enough to travel several times this year – I went to NYC twice, I travelled to Denver and most recently I went to Boston.  All and all 2012 was a great year and I am looking forward to 2013.

As a Christmas gift from my BF I got a one year subscription to SELF Magazine and after only 1 issue I am totally loving it (Did you get the JT/Mc Donald’s reference?).  I can’t believe that I lived 32 years without ever reading SELF Magazine, it’s ok because now I am totally hooked and I am going to make up for lost time.

In the December issue SELF Magazine published a year-in-review article that I think is great.  It’s kind of like a diary entry to reflect on all of the great things (or not so great things) that happened to you this year.  Since I am a big fan of diary entries (hint hint wink wink) I felt the need to share.

So check it out, fill in the blanks and tell me…how was your 2012? My answers are below in bold.

- In 2012, I finally chucked my silver necklace that was so old it was changing colour. I’ll never tell youhow long I had it.

- The most delicious thing I ate in 2012 was Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago.

- Last year, my best friends were my biggest fan. Thanks, boo! (you know who you are ladies)

- Because I rocked and published my first book last year, in 2013 I wil treat myself to a week in Las Vegas.

- Too bad the song Diva by Beyonce can’t start playing when I walk into a room.

- The nicest thing someone said to me last year was “your butt looks awesome in those jeans”.

- I was scared when I went to get my annual check up at the doctor. But I did it anyway.

- This year I will reserve more time for exercise.

Love Always,

 

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No Pizza For A Year: 2 months down 10 to go

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English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...

I am proud to say that during the last two months I have only eaten pizza three times. I know that eating pizza three times in two months is not the same as completely giving up pizza all together, but it’s definitely an improvement.  Not eating pizza is not as hard as I originally thought it would be; this just confirms that I made the right decision. Eating pizza three times a week is not a necessity, it’s an obsession and it definitely had to stop.

The response from my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter has been very encouraging. Some people have joined me in giving up something they love in order to become a happier person and eliminate anything unnecessary or unhealthy from their lives.

Check out what other people are saying about not eating pizza for one year:

Facebook Comments:

 Patricia - Shocking…on the bright side, you can just eat m&m’s….btw, I’ve had pizza in Chicago and its totally worth the give up you’re doing!!!

 John-Michael – Really? Not all pizza is bad for you, so I wouldnt give it up!

 

 Ron - I think I could last 11 days…maybe.  It depends whether there’s dipping sauce or not.

Twitter Responses:

Kamara Kroeker @KamaraKroeker I would consider giving up bagels.  I’ve given up wheat products and dairy for some time now so I’ll commit! Should be easier after day 21. Supposedly it takes that long to break or form a habit.

Briana Myricks @howsmarriedlife A whole year? I don’t know how good my will power is. I’ll try to figure out what I can give up for a year.

Love Always,

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It’s Never Too Late For Change

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Welcome to the new (but still under construction) My Diary Entry.  I still have a few tweaks to make and a few kinks to iron out, but this is basically the new and improved look of My Diary Entry.  I would love to get your thoughts on the new look, the new info, and the new links I have added.  If you know me then you know I’m chatty, so hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and let me know what you think about the new My Diary Entry.

This is the fourth look for My Diary Entry since I started the blog a year and a half ago.  It’s never too late for change because people and their personalities are always evolving.  If Madonna can reinvent herself in Madge and Sean Combs can reinvent himself into Puff Daddy and then into P.Diddy, we can also make changes to our image any time that we feel a change is necessary.

The main reason why people don’t make changes in their lives is because they are afraid to take a risk.  People have a fear of the unknown and this can prevent us from trying new things and sharing new experiences.

Many months ago I decided that 2012 was going to be the year to make changes in my life.  I am trying to focus on the good, get rid of the bad, and try lots of new things.  This is definitely a challenge for me because I do not adapt well to change; but at the same time I have to stop complaining about the bad things in my life and start making some positive changes to become a happier person.

Here are some changes that I am working on:

Personal Habits

- I switched my bagels for english muffins. 120 Calories and 20 grams of Carbohydrates saved.

- I now buy my breakfast sandwich from Subway instead of Tim Horton’s.  It has fewer calories, less fat, and I can add veggies for extra nutrition.

- I now drink a protein shake once a day, usually to replace my dinner.

- I gave up pizza until next summer when I visit Chicago and eat the best deep-dish pizza in the world.

- I am trying to let go of the negativity in my life, but that is easier said than done.

Professional Habits

- I am back in school working towards a diploma in Journalism.

- I will attend at least 2 professional conferences per year to help promote myself and grow my business as a writer. This year I attended BlogHer12 in NYC and FinCon12 in Denver.

- I am making contacts with other bloggers and learning from other writers about how they built their business and achieved their dreams.

- I will have my first e-book published by December 31, 2012 and my second my December 31, 2013.

What changes are you making in your life?

Love Always,

Photo by woodleywonderworks

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Just Give It Up Already!

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Have you ever wanted to do take a risk on something but you don’t do it because you are too afraid of the uncertain outcome? Have you ever wanted to make a change to something in your life but you don’t take action because you are too afraid to leave your comfort zone?

I for one am always trying to better myself and make positive changes in my life, trying is the key word in that sentence.  Making changes and taking risks are definitely easier said than done.  I don’t always take a lot of risks in my daily life, but I do try and work towards my personal goals.  If I want to travel somewhere or do something in my life I try to do it as soon as possible (hence my Life List) because I don’t want to wake up in 20 years with regrets. The only way to make changes in our lives is to stop talking about making changes and actually start doing something about it.

In honour of next year’s BlogHer Conference being held in the great city of Chicago, I have decided to give up the one thing in the world that I love the most…Pizza.  For the next 12 months I am going to give up eating Pizza in anticipation of eating some of the best Deep Dish Pizza next summer in Chicago.  I have always wanted to visit Chicago and I eat way too much Pizza, so in an effort to make a personal sacrifice (just to prove that I can do it) and lose a few pounds at the same time, I am going to give up eating Pizza until next summer.

Will you join me and give up something over the next year?

Love Always,

Photo by BarelyFitz

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Afraid of Having It All

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Dear Diary,

It seems like we are always trying to improve something in our lives. If you are single you want to be married, if you have credit card balances you want to be debt free, and if you are overweight you want to be skinny.  The changes that you may want to make in your life can be as simple as wanting a new hair colour. Or it is very possible that you may want to improve more complex aspects of your lives such as always trying to earn more money and wanting to advance in our career. But if you are like me you are always trying to be happy, become a better person, and achieve your personal goals.

But what happens when you finally have it all?

I am definitely working towards achieving my personal goals and trying to have a more positive attitude every day, but I am a little bit nervous about what may happen when all of my dreams come true.  I have always been working towards improving some aspect of my life and I honestly do know what I will do with my life if I am no longer working towards achieving my goals because all of my dreams have already come true? And the thing that scares me the most is what if all of my dreams come true and I am still unhappy?

There is a difference between making mistakes and working towards goals.  If you have a job that you don’t like your goal may be to search for a new job or go back to school, but working towards the goal of getting a new (or better) job is completely different than having no job at all.  Self improvement and learning from our past mistakes sometimes go hand in hand, but they are actually two completely different things.  Are you currently working towards a personal goal or are you trying to improve yourself by learning from your mistakes? If your life is a little bit uncertain right now we have to get back on a clear path before we can start improving certain aspects of our life.

Another thing that worries me about achieving my goals and “having it all” is the fact that the last two people in my life who got their lives back on the right track both passed away.  My Step Brother overcame some personal demons to find true love and my best friend Kevin finally found a career that he cared enough about to become a mature young man.

Maybe life is a journey towards finding our personal happiness. This brings up the old age question of whether it’s better to die young in our prime or live to be older and watch our past life pass us by.  Some of us may live our entire lives never truly knowing how true personal happiness feels, and some of us may take comfort in knowing that we have passed away (maybe at a young age) having achieved all of our personal goals.

Does this sound completely irrational?

Love Always,


What are your plans this summer?

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Dear Diary,

My relationship with with my family is reasonably stable for the moment and now the one main thing that is stressing me out is my weight. I know that it’s so cliché for young women to be self conscious about their body image, but unfortunately I am not the exception to this rule.

For the millionth time in my life I am going to try and lose weight.  I am going to try and lose 1.5 pounds per week over the next 10 weeks for a total of a 15 pound weight loss by September 1st.   In the past I have tried losing weight by temporarily committing to various diets, counting my daily calorie intake, and even making a Twitter Promise with my virtual friends to exercise on a daily basis. I have also tried to lose weight with short term two week goals, but so far nothing has really worked out over the long term.  Lately it seems like I am always talking about losing weight, but not really doing anything about it.

I believe that the reason I have been so unsuccessful at weight loss in the past is that I start to slack off every time that I achieve some success.  I decide to eat healthy and then before I know it I am indulging in chocolate ice cream; it’s safe to say that my personal will power is very weak. The schedules of exercising and the stress of watching what foods we eat is a lot of pressure and it’s not very much fun. No one wants to feel burdened with extra pressure in their lives (or at least I don’t) and if exercising isn’t fun I won’t stick to it and I won’t lose weight.

They key to successful weight loss is to do it on my own terms. The pressure of having to eat the right foods and having to exercise on certain days at certain times is not fun. I am going to lose weight how I want to and not how I should, because being told what to do and how to do it is definitely not fun.

I am going to think twice about all of the foods that I eat and hopefully I will make smart and healthy food choices.  I am going to exercise at least three times a week, and I hope that losing weight will be enough motivation for me to want to exercise.  When I exercise regularly my skin looks better and I feel a lot happier, I am going to try and keep this in mind whenever I am unmotivated to get moving.

I know that I have picked a hell of a time to start working out considering the current hot and humid weather, so wish me luck as I try to lose weight from now until September 1st.

Love Always,