18 thoughts of encouragement for 2018

File Jan 05, 4 00 52 PMA friend of mine shared thoughts recently that to build courage in others, we should be more focused on encouragement.  It was the right message at the right time for me.  Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I theme my years (and I’ve been doing it since 2003), and focus on improving my life in a key area for the whole year.

I’d been struggling with what to have as my focus for 2018, too much on my mind and the thoughts running through my head, “Does anyone really need my help? What do I have to offer?”

And then I’m reminded that each of us has unique talents and gifts.  My strengths include organization and communication – and I love sharing what I’ve learned with you.  I know it’s helpful to be reminded what you do well and get tips for making improvements.

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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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How to make progress when you have zero time

I’ve been waking up at 4am regularly again.  This means that I don’t have enough time during the day and my mind wakes me up thinking of everything I need to get done. Our schedule is too packed, I’m too busy and I’ve noticed things are starting to pile up because I don’t have time to make the progress that I normally do.  I’m too busy, have zero time and it’s stressing me out.

I bet you’ve felt like this too – your schedule is full, your place is a mess and your stress level is rising.  I encourage you to take time to make necessary adjustments to continue making progress, even if you have zero time.  If you do this now, you’ll have a better chance of improving your schedule, your stress level and your sanity.

Remove things from your life.

When you look at your schedule, what do you see? I’ve got a packed work schedule and a packed free-time schedule. And it isn’t working for me.  I don’t have time to think if I’m running from one meeting to the next. It made me realize that I needed to start removing some things from my schedule, from my thoughts and from my life.  After taking a long look at what I’ve been doing, I started to make changes.  I’ve removed important, valuable things from my schedule.  Some of them weren’t easy to remove.  All of them were necessary to remove.  I could tell it made a difference as my stress level decreased with each removal.

I encourage you to look at your schedule right now.  How can you get others to help you? What can you remove? What adjustments can you make? The more you choose to focus on the most important things, the more you’ll start to realize how your schedule shouldn’t be filled up with the other things.

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Why micro-goals may just change your life

I read an article recently that talked about Micro-Resolutions and how instead of hoping for good intentions to work out, you could use these micro-goals to shrink down and reach big goals one at a time.  I love this.  I’m often setting enormous goals and excitedly thinking of how to break them down into smaller pieces – but I love the idea of starting with the smaller goal from the very beginning.


I had to make many changes this year for my goals.  After a year of aggressive goals that failed, I needed to re-focus and make goals that would actually work and micro-goals have served me well.  Here’s what I learned:

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The Year You Improve Everything #YouDeserveThis

You can change your life in a year. I’ve tested it multiple times and accomplished many goals – If I can do it, I know you can too. It’s going to take work, but it’s worth it.  What do you want to accomplish?


Improve your health dramatically.  A few years ago, a scary health screening showed my cholesterol was dangerously high.  I reviewed common causes and the only thing I could improve were my eating habits (which were already pretty good).  So I spent a year figuring out how to boost my health results.  I reduced a few favorites – sugar, eggs and peanut butter.  I added in a few new items – bulgur, brown rice and dry beans.  And after a year of steady dedication, my health screening showed that my cholesterol was back to a normal range.  If you have a health issue, consider small, daily changes that you can make to help improve your health.

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#OrganizeYourLife Share Your Skills & Success

You may not think organization is a strength that you have, but you can #OrganizeYourLife by sharing the skills and successes you possess with others.  Remember, your skills are important and using them to help others makes your skills invaluable.


Master Learner Status.  When you share your skills with others, it improves your learning in the area as well.  By teaching others, it forces you to know your topic well enough that you can share it, defend your rationale and encourage others to learn what you’ve discovered.  Do you have an organizing solution that has worked for you? Share it with a friend – it’s not being pompous, it’s being helpful.  We all improve when we learn together and share ourselves with each other.

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#OrganizeYourLife Being the Beginner

Learning new things is tough.  You’re uncomfortable, you get worn out quickly and you’re frustrated.  But do you remember that glorious moment when things start to make sense and you begin to feel like you’ve grasped the enormity of the concept and you can begin to move forward.

I’m here to tell you – you need to get uncomfortable; it will be better for you than you’ve imagined.


Being the beginner stretches your skills. This summer, I was in a period of transition.  Many of my current responsibilities were ending and I had a choice.  I decided what I needed was a new, fresh experience.  So I signed up for a new volunteer experience that was a familiar concept – social media – but had a different focus and needs.  Working through this volunteer position and balancing my job, my hobbies and my personal life has stretched me to master organization like I’ve never seen before.  And I really enjoy it – I’m getting better at organizing, because I have to use these skills to keep up with my responsibilities.

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