Sunday, January 15, 2017

Is alcohol really serving you?

Over 5 years ago I made the choice to give up alcohol for good. It was no longer serving me. I'd had a long journey to this decision, mind you. I'd taken as much as a year off from drinking here and there, and often times, even throughout my long bartending career, I'd go days, even weeks, without a drink. It wasn't something that called to me, beckoned me, taunted me. I wasn't addicted. So my disclaimer here is if you feel that alcohol is something that has a hold on you, seek professional help for that, because you deserve it, you'll need it, and it's out there for you.

But if you're one of those people who like me wondered why you bothered after you had a few - especially the next day when your body was angry - then I urge you to take a look at whether it serves you, your health, your vitality, your relationships, your mind.

Even if you're one of those people who drinks "just a glass" of wine per night because you like the taste of wine, or because it's what your friends do after work, or because you were told it was good for you, reconsider.

I'm not saying this from a soapbox. I'm saying this because our society has a social connection to alcohol that's worth looking at. And if it's no longer serving you, I urge you to have the courage to give it up. Even for a week, or specific days of the week, or better, a month or even as long as Lent (March 1 to April 13, 2017). Because anything we do out of habit or because someone else does it or because someone said it's good for you shouldn't be the reason you do it. And getting in touch with your inner knowing, your body, and your mind are more important that happy hour. Think about why you do go for that drink (or two) a day - is it stress? Can something else be changed in your life as well to help alleviate that need for the drink?

You know there are many things that happen to the body, mind and spirit when we drink. It has long term negative affects on the mind, the liver (and therefore the skin), even the heart (although we are told that a glass of wine helps the heart, a bowl of vineyard fruits would be better) and it oxidizes the body faster (potentially causing cancer).

But do you know what happens to the body when you quit drinking? You sleep more soundly, you eat less at meals, you crave better foods and less sugar, (and subsequently you lose weight), your skin clears up, your savings account increases, your relationships improve, and your connection to source energy sharpens.

So if any of those reasons appeal to you, try it. You might like it.

I know many of my friends have said that it would be too hard to go out and watch everyone else drink and not have one. But I find that just isn't so. I have tea, or a mocktail, and don't care if everyone else is having gin and juice or a microbrew - at the brewery I always order their root beer and several people always want to try it. So throw out those social excuses and tell your friends you're turning a new leaf. And true, a lot of those friends who at first gave me shit for not drinking are no longer in my weekly circles, I gradually found friends to do healthier things with like hiking and snowshoeing and afternoon tea.

It's not hard. If you want to make this one simple change this year, do. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The quest for the perfect 2017 planner

I have taken this quest very seriously - the quest for the perfect 2017 planner.  It has been a serious matter because of the purpose - no, focus, of this planner and the intentions around it this year....  but let me back track. I have been a Google Calendar convert (from Outlook) for over 10 years; I live by this organizational genius on computer, phone, and tablets. Before that, I used a written planner for most of my life, and I've scoffed at the idea of going back to one.

But that shifted for me in April last year when a millionaire told me that's how she made her fortune, and why it worked for her (perhaps I'll tell you that story another time). That encounter got my wheels turning.  And it took me all summer to marinate on this major switch - what, to me, almost seemed like a regression backwards, against technology and convenience and simplification.

But I have locked in on a vision to go big and I need a different organizational tool to get me there. One that helps me not only track and organize my at-home work week, but to hone in on discipline, focus, and persistence to achieve what I want to this year - to be promoted to National Marketing Director with the Juice Plus Company. I need something inspiring, organizing, on-track-helping. I need the perfect planner. So allow me to share my quest to find one...

For starters, the network marketing industry is far different from my previous lines of work - I've worked both at home and at an office over the last 15 years, and I'm far better about staying on task at home these days than I used to be. But in this industry, my "daily method of operation" is multi-faceted, so I can easily get distracted if I let myself, and I need a planner that is a little bit of a lot of things:

  • Spiral, so it's flexible, open, mobile, and lays flat 
  • Smaller than 8.5x11, like 7x9 is ideal to fit into any bag but big enough for a page of notes
  • Has both a week view for daily planning, and a month view for bigger events and tracking
  • Has spots for those multi-facets: goals, lists, meetings, calls, notes, mantras, you name it
  • Creative and inspiring, not just a lined notebook or just black and white,but with alternates, like lined pages, no lines, grid lines for varying ideas and tracking and inspiration

So on to what's out there (in the order of which I found them, not preference):

Erin Condren: Many of my friends swear by this line, so I looked at this line first. The plus is that these are very customizable (any size, any cover, spiral vs. bound, monogrammed, stickers, inserts, etc.), the downside is it's the highest sticker on the market ($55 and above). It's a mix between professional and creative, with inspiring, motivational quotes and colorful inserts. If I were to go with this line, the Life Planner would be the one for this quest. But let me continue...

Rituals for Living Dreambook: When it comes to goal-casting and intention-setting, this one seems to take the cake. The imagery is inspiring, has simple black and white pages, with a lot of thought-provoking text (too much?), and may be more for goal setting than business but it's very cool with sections for the true life-balance intentions.  It's bound, and of smaller size I believe (no where does it say size, except the printables, which are 8.5x11), and the lotus's for dream casting are quite unique. Prices start at $17 to print your own, and go up to $45 for the bound version. 

Your Freedom Planner: Created by a fellow Network Marketing woman, this planner has a lot of the right sections I needed, is spiral, it's of the smaller size (I think - the website says 8.5x11 but when you see it in her hand you know it's smaller?), and it's got lines for inspiration as well as sales tracking. But it's pretty basic for the cost - $45 for just 90 undated days (yes that means you'd need 4/year).

Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte: Are you familiar with this woman? I wasn't, but what an inspiring website and mission she has. Her planner is no different. This one has monthly intentions, is sustainably wood free (a perk to me), weekly or daily editions, spiral bound, with fun pockets, is 9.5x7.5, has to-do lists and a gratitude section and a cool "soul prompt" section as well as "new habits", and the inside is colorful. There are also very organizing habit tracker worksheets to print, an app to download, journals, sermons sign up, and even an audio selection to listen to. This could be your one stop shop for changing your world this year. $44, 2 cover choices.

Tools for Wisdom Planner: The covers felt very Condren-esque to me, colorful, and inspiring.  The inside is black and white, but has a lot of sections - from monthly to weekly normal planner pages to the more mindful stuff - Mindmap, personal growth, goal pages, to do lists, it's spiral bound, it's 6x9", and you get "77 printable planners" with purchase, which could be a nice addition if you don't mind printing your own. This one also has a really affordable price, at $22.97. 

Inkwell: These are classy to say the least, with a higher-end price tag ($50+), but a lot of great features, flexibility, and style. All are 9x7", with two "classical" (vertical) or "flex" (horizontal) styles, with quality heavy paper, a variety of inspiring covers and 4 inside pastel themes to choose from. Pages include months, weeks, goals, habit trackers, pockets, grids, even a bill tracking section. This one definitely will get your entire life in order if that's what you want. The other journals offered at Inkwell are great too - meal planner, exercise planner, journal, and quarterly planners too. And if you really want to get it together, there are video tools for a Live Well, Eat Well, Be Well kind of shift. 

Passion Planner: This one has a simple leather bound cover - 4 solid colors to choose from, two choices of size (8.5x11" or 5.5x8.5") and dated or undated option  which is nice, if you happen upon this post or choosing to start planning mid-year or are using it for academic purposes.  It has pages for week and month planning, goal planning, a positive-focused gratitude section,  as well as blank and grid lined pages. This one has a reasonable $35 tag to it as well. 

Uncalendar & Franklin Covey: If all of this is simply too much for you, these two are the primo of the basic, plan-everything kind of write-in planner. The former has a simple cover, the latter has a variety of very professional, fancy, re-usable leather covers. 

I've seen several images on Pintrest I like too - grids for tasks, inspiring drawings, others' blogs, etc., that might inspire you either print your own or design your own. Here are some of those crafty images: 

My Pintrest board for Biz Savvy might be helpful for you.

And... drumroll please!  What journal do YOU think I landed on, based on my preference? Comments welcome... I'll share with you after I've gotten it in my hot little hands!

May you create the best this year - I wish that for you!