Focus On What You Want Most

Lately, I’ve been focusing on what I want most.  It seems a little selfish at first blush, but it’s not.  This thought method helps align my focus with my values and makes me realize when I have a decision to make – I can think about what I want or what I want most.  I can’t always have both options, so I have to make decisions based on what is most important to me. It’s added incredible clarity and made me step out of my comfort zone even more.

I encourage you to stop and think about what you want most and let that guide you as you move forward.  Here is the organized strategy that has worked for me:

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Start Small (and crush your goals just for you)

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It’s been a while since I’ve focused on what I enjoy.  Life seems to keep getting in the way. And I’ve had my focus in other places – growing family, life goals and work. I’ve come up with excuse after excuse and labeled them reason after reason – everything seemed valid for pushing what was important to me aside to get other things done.

But no more! I’m proud to say, I’ve made great progress this year in many areas and the goal I’ve been working toward is within my grasp.  Even when you feel like you’re at the starting line, I encourage you to make a plan to make progress. Here is what I did:

Focus on small goals.  

I had a baby in December and I gained a lot of weight (ok, it was a normal amount, but it felt like a lot).  I’ve been working steadily since then to lose weight, build muscle and eat clean.  In the last 6 months, I’ve lost all the baby weight (hooray!).  It wasn’t easy, but it certainly was doable.  I will write about the details later, but the short story is – I focused on a small goal to make it happen.  I watched each meal and each day with a goal of losing 2 oz to 4 oz.  It didn’t seem like much, but it adds up to about 6 lbs per month and over time, that makes a big difference!

When you have a major goal that you need to accomplish, break it down into tiny pieces. Seriously, tiny bite-sized (like 1 oz) pieces.  The smaller your goal, the more realistic it seems and the closer you get to your overall achievement.

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15 minute Junk Drawer Rescue

We have 96 intervals of 15 minutes every day, meaning you have many opportunities to make a difference.  Each day this month, I’m giving you a 15-minute project idea. Pick your favorites to improve your day, yourself or your world. I promise you have time for this.

We all have one. The Junk Drawer. And that’s OK! They have a purpose and can serve you well; a very useful space in your house that will help you when you’re dealing with Junk and need the random tool or item that will help solve your problem.  Use this simple strategy to set up the Junk Drawer you’ve always wanted.

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Get the right supplies. You don’t need to purchase new supplies to organize your Junk Drawer, you already have the supplies you need in your house.  But they do need to fit in the drawer (both height and width).  You’ll usually need to have low containers, but they can be varied shapes and sizes–whatever works for you. Here are a few of my favorite repurposed container ideas:

  • I always use pottery I purchase at university-student project/class fundraisers to organize in my home and office. Looks cool, supports college students and I own tons of it–so I want to put it to good use.
  • I also like coffee mugs and use them creatively for everything (cheaper toothbrush holders than the official toothbrush holder and easier to clean in the DW).  We don’t drink coffee and get tons of these as gifts, so we make use of what we have.
  • And I love the little, inexpensive bins (photo above) you can purchase at your local big box store, usually in the kitchen/home section.
  • My mom also uses boxes: cereal or food boxes (cut to fit–your cereal will survive in the plastic bag), shoe boxes, checkbook boxes or small gift boxes.

Any of these items work, use what you have available! Right now, find about 10 containers of varied shapes and sizes to use for this project.  You’ll also need one XL storage box (to use for 10 more minutes).

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Growing Generosity

It seems like an easy concept, “be more generous.” But what does that really mean? By accomplishing these small improvements, you can build your generous spirit and help improve the world around you.

Take the smallest piece (of what you love–for me dessert).  

At a birthday party. At an office meeting. At family dinner. Why does this matter? When you let go of your need to have the biggest and the best of everything, you’re releasing greed from your life. Think of it as giving away the biggest piece. The more you let go of your need to take care of yourself first, you begin to see the joy that others have and are less worried about getting what is yours. And after you’ve made taking the smallest piece into a lifestyle, try not taking anything at all. I promise, that delicious dessert gives you more lasting enjoyment when you give it to someone else.

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Let others go in front of you.

You have unlimited possibilities to accomplish this goal. At the grocery store, give someone your cart. On the road, let them out first. In the buffet line, sit down until you’re in the last group. When you begin to happily and graciously let people go in front of you, it calms your desire to hurry, reduces anxiousness and gives you a small, valuable lesson in peace.

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Change the way you think about money

Innovation and ideas are everywhere; you have to be ready to look–even in the most unexpected places.  I’m sharing some of my many innovative ideas you can use to save yourself money this year.  Try some of the ideas listed here or adjust them slightly to fit your needs.

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When you’re about to throw something in the trash, try to convert what you’re throwing away into its cost.

You’re more likely to find ways to save and reuse items when you think about throwing money away.  Ten chips or two apples don’t seem like much, but if you figure the cost ($1.30 total) and think about a year worth of trashing or saving it, you’re more likely to save these items.

Recognize the value of reuse. 

There are many simple ways to make the most of the items you use on a regular basis.  Our family saves our kids leftover applesauce and milk, freezing them both and then using the ingredients for cakes and breads.

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