Browsing Category:

2018 Word – Clarify

2018 Year-End Review

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post. As with every year, Open Enrollment was nearly all-consuming. And in the interest of maintaining my mental health, I elected not to worry about updating the blog.

I’m happy to report that this year’s enrollment season was the most productive year-to-date; my agency sold nearly $1 million worth of annualized premium over the course of 8 weeks. And I did not get sick or burned out, which is ultimately more important than the level of production.

[Want to know how? Check out my post on maintaining energy levels during a busy season.]

After wrapping up the enrollment season, the Mister and I had a 10-day vacation through the holidays; we elected to stay home this year. Having a block of time dedicated to rest was exactly what I needed to recharge before the new year.

And here we are on New Year’s Eve. Like many of you, I’ve been reflecting on how 2018 went and what I want to change for 2019…

2018 in review

My 2018 word of the year was Clarify. I really wanted to cook my commitments down to just my essential priorities: improving relationships, growing my business, improving my health/fitness abilities, and improving our financial position. There were tied 4 major goals for the year:

  • Hire an employee in the business — ACCOMPLISHED
  • Pass my massage/healing exam — ACCOMPLISHED
  • Hit my goal weight of 135 lbs. — UNFINISHED
  • Pay off our credit card debt — UNFINISHED

What went right

  • I let go of several board/committee positions that weren’t moving me toward my vision statement. This allowed more time to focus on growing the income of the business.
  • The Mister and I started the year strong by completing the January Whole30 challenge, which helped me determine several dietary triggers that cause my body to drag.
  • My 2-hour solution scheduling system has become way more streamlined to accommodate the massage classes, homework & studying.
  • I stretched myself in fitness by participating in a national judo tournament as well assisting with teaching the children’s classes at the dojo.

What needs improvement

  • We fell off our budgeting game mid-year and never quite got back on track. Between that and a hospital visit for food poisoning, our debt snowball hasn’t changed much since the start of 2018.
  • I had set myself a significant income goal in the business that I didn’t come anywhere near meeting (mostly because I didn’t sell the amount of life insurance I intended to). Upon evaluation, I realized I have some imposter syndrome and fear to work through when it comes to making prospecting calls.
  • When it comes to my goal weight, in the year that I decided to eliminate the goal to focus on my income goal and hiring an assistant. That said, in the last 3 months of the year, I could have done much better with eating at home and avoiding food triggers (and alcohol).
  • Our church attendance this year was almost non-existent. The Mister and I have discussed how much we need fellowship in our lives. The biggest thing is just getting up in time to attend services so that we can be a part of the community that we value.
"Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible." - Claire Goldburg Moses

2018 Year-End Review

What I want to start in 2019

I have several intentions for next year, but the biggest is that I want this to be the year I get in the best “health” of my life — physically, mentally, spiritually and financially.

The Mister and I are ready to start a family. Since I’m already in my late 30s, improving my health is going to increase the chances of that without complications. And getting our financial house in order is one of the best ways that I can think to provide a stable, loving home for future children.

Looking at specifics, I want to establish the following habits/behaviors next year (though I recognize that I can’t try to start them all tomorrow):

  • Daily time reading my Bible
  • Journaling regularly if not daily
  • Meditation as part of my morning and evening routines
  • Always eat at the table (not in my car or at my desk)
  • Starting my workweek with prospecting calls
  • Go back to using cash envelopes for all retail budget categorie

I’d love to hear how your 2018 year-end review has gone. What did you learn? What do you want to change or start for next year?

2018 was a year of big goals and clarifying priorities. Here's my 2018 year-end review of what went right and what needed improvement.

Check back tomorrow for my 2019 Word of the Year and Goals.

Power of Community: Growing Together

Friendship has been on my mind lately. What do I need from a friendship? What am I willing to give in a friendship? When is it time to give a friendship up? I’ve been examining the power of community.

How does community nurture or stunt our growth? We are designed to be creatures of community; we crave it. We need friends and want people to like us – we can’t help it.

Community for Survival

The need for community is prehistorically ingrained in us. Literally.

The survival of an individual used to depend on his ability to fit in and be accepted by his tribe. If the tribe didn’t accept a person, they were alone in an environment full of danger and predators. Being an outcast was tantamount to death.

Because of this need, we find ourselves emulating and changing our behaviors and way of speaking to match those around us. We are seeking the approval of our tribe.

Finding a Tribe

“Tribe” is a buzzword on the internet and especially among bloggers these last few years that I’ve mostly ignored. But the idea of finding a tribe of people with the same values and direction is solid.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

I find when I spend time with someone who has a victim mentality, I expect bad things to start happening. When I spend time around people who set goals and work hard toward them, I’m more motivated.

In the last few years, I have been more selective about who I spend time with. If I choose to be focused on excellence, it only makes sense to spend time with people who are also focused on excellence. I need to spend time with people who elevate those around them, people who want to improve their lives and accomplish great things.

Community = Bigger Potential

The reality is that we accomplish more things when we work together and encourage each other. This idea was reaffirmed for me this week when listening to the Entreleadership podcast with Shawn Achor, author of the book Big Potential.


In this episode, Shawn discusses a research study where people stand at the bottom of a tall hill they have to climb. Those who had to climb it alone perceived the steepness to be 20% more than those who had a friend standing there and ready to climb with them.


Power of Community

That’s the kind of community I’m seeking in my life – a community where we pursue excellence together. By supporting each other and holding each other accountable, we all grow and increase odds of success and positive change.

If you’d like to join me in pursuit of that type of community, I encourage you to join my private Facebook community: Good Vibes Only. Let’s light up the world around us.

The Power of Community


January Whole30 | Week 1 Thoughts

If you read my 2018 goals earlier this week, then you know that I have a big weight loss goals for the year. As I said in that post, I’m not unhappy with my body right now, but I do want to turn around the slow creep of weight that I’ve been seeing over the last few years. So, I’ve set two January goals in relation to this: take my dogs for a walk every day and complete the January Whole30 challenge.

What is the January Whole30?

If you’re unfamiliar the Whole30 challenge, you can read more about it at

The high-level overview is that for 30 days, I am cutting sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and a number of preservatives out of my diet. During the challenge, I will be eating high-quality proteins, vegetables, fruit, and herbs & spices.

By participating in the January Whole30 challenge, I want to allow my body time to rest and reset from foods that have shown to cause reactions for other people. After 30 days, I slowly re-introduce these food categories one at a time, taking note of how my body responds so I know what foods don’t work well for my metabolism and health.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

―Luciano Pavarotti

Why take the Whole30 challenge?

  • Last year, I started loosely following the Paleo diet, and I was really pleased with how my body responded to the changes in my food habits. I found that during my busiest season of the year, I had more energy and felt full longer. I was also seeing changes on the scale and in how my clothes fit. Then, the holidays happened, and I decided to relax my diet while traveling and spending time with family. Participating the January Whole30 challenge is a good way for me reset and get back to eating a Paleo diet afterward.
  • The Mister and I have decided to take this challenge together. For years we’ve been talking about how we need to eat at home more often. We know it will save us money, and we would make healthier choices. And since it’s easier to stay Whole30 compliant when eating at home, we’re using January to establish that habit.
  • I have a community. Several other bloggers that I follow and local friends are also taking their Whole30 challenge in January. It’s always nice when you have others to look to for inspiration and motivation.

I'm doing the January Whole30 reset

My Whole30 Resources

  • The first tool might seem pretty obvious. I signed up for the Whole30 Newsletter. We also purchased the founder Melissa Hartwig’s daily field guide:  Whole30 Day by Day because it’s good to have a journal to track our progress.
  • I use a meal-planning service. Planning ahead is key for Whole30 success. Luckily, we’ve been using Prep Dish by Allison Schaaf since November. Her meal plan is already gluten-free or Paleo, so it has been easy to adapt to our January Whole 30 challenge. I simply leave out the ingredients that aren’t compliant when possible. If the meal itself isn’t compliant, I just don’t make it.
  • I pulled out my Paleo cookbooks. Again, I don’t choose meals that aren’t compliant with Whole30, but many Paleo recipes work within the challenge. Since Prep Dish provides four dinners each week, there’s still room for a few other meals from my cookbooks. Currently, my two favorite cookbooks are Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo’s Food for Humans and Ready or Not. (Michelle is also blogging every day this month at Nom Nom Paleo to support her readers taking the January Whole30 challenge.)
  • I’m using Social Media for accountability. My Instagram profile and stories have been full of discussion of the wins and challenges so far. And as mentioned earlier, there are many other accounts to visit for inspiration. Check out @honeybewell, @bitesizedpaleo, @sunnysweetdays, and @pretend_its_a_donut.

January Whole30 Instagram community
I totally fangirled all over when Michelle from NomNom Paleo commented on one of my Instagram posts last weekend.

Observations About the Challenge

Yesterday, marked our first week of the January Whole30 challenge, and this is what I’ve observed so far. Because we’re eating at home, staying compliant hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be.

I thought it would be difficult to give up creamer in my coffee, but it hasn’t been a big deal. I think this is because the Mister makes our coffee every morning via Chemex; the slow pour method brings out a lot of the coffee’s flavor.

For me, the hardest part is not having a glass of wine in the evenings after work. That’s definitely part of my process of unwinding at the end of the workday. (Not on jujitsu days, mind you.) It was especially hard on our date night. but we’ve been substituting kombucha and sparkling water for our “happy hour” treats.

The Mister has had a really hard time with snacking. He has a physically active job, and he snacks a lot during the day at work. He said that for the first week, he was hyper-aware of how much candy and sugar is around the shop.

I love that nearly every evening the Mister and I are sitting down in the dining room for dinner. We’ve also been squeezing in a lot of lunch dates at home. It’s been a great way to spend some quality time with each other.

One of the rules of Whole30 is you aren’t allowed to weigh or measure yourself once you start the challenge, but I am seeing changes. My body definitely tells me when it’s time to eat. I’m noticing that my skin is clearer. My stomach looks flatter. And my energy levels have been high.

If you’re doing the January Whole30, let’s encourage each other. Drop me a comment and let me know how things are going for you. Share one non-scale victory and one difficulty. Let’s do this together.

2018 Goals

I’m so glad you decided to visit today. Since it’s the first full week of the year, I thought we’d kick this Monday morning off by taking a look at my 2018 goals. Also, if you didn’t see my post last week about my word of the year, go check it out.

Setting year-long goals has been really helpful because I can then break them down into smaller quarterly and monthly goals. If you’d like to see what I’ve been working the last couple years, be sure to check out these posts:

My 2018 Goals

I feel that part of the reason I’ve accomplished so much the last few years is that I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in that calendar year and writing my goals down. For 2018, I’m working toward the following goals:

Hire an employee in my business.

I’m fairly certain that this employee will start out part-time, but I am definitely at the point where I need help in my company. At this point, it’s a matter of finishing up some budget reviews and spending some time with my accountant to nail down my timetable. But I’m aiming to hire no later than the end of quarter 2.

Pass my massage/healing exam.

The Mister and I are currently taking a year-long massage/healing course through our martial arts school. The exam will be held at our dojo’s annual clinic in October.

I’m feeling really good about passing this course. Our class is actually moving ahead of schedule with the coursework, and a few of us have created a study group to meet twice a month from now until September.

Hit my goal weight of 135 pounds.

This is the big goal that I didn’t meet last year. In fact, I finished the year five pounds heavier than I started the year.

So, the weight loss goal is a tricky bird for me. I’m not unhappy with my current appearance, but there is a reality that women tend continue to put on weight as they get older. And let’s be real here, this year’s birthday will put me squarely into my late 30s. So, I want to turn that trend of putting weight around.

As far as how I arrived at my goal weight – that is simply about what I weighed the last time I felt really smoking hot and comfortable in my own skin. And I want to finish the year feeling smoking hot again.

Pay off our credit cards.

I’m a little embarrassed that I’m even writing this goal again. It feels like we’ve been working on our debt snowball for forever, but the Mister and I are committed to getting debt-free. And this has to happen.

I’ll talk more about what our current debt looks like, but let’s just say to be done with the credit cards will really require us to push really hard, and we’re going to do it.

Okay, there you have my 2018 goals. I want to hear about your goals and resolutions for this new year. Tell me if you set them and what you’re working on.

2018 Word of the Year

Since I left the office for our Christmas vacation, I’ve been rolling around the question of what my 2018 word of the year should be. In 2017, my word of the year was “Start.” And the year before that, I chose “Achieve” as my word for 2016.

For 2018, I had a concept in mind, but couldn’t quite pin down my word. After some thinking and reading cookbooks (strangely enough), I picked a word, but I wanted to test it aloud with some friends and my coach before sharing it here on the blog.

So, I talked it over when I had coffee with my friend Danielle the other day, and she liked it. Then I shared my potential word of the year with my business coach and the Mister; they both gave me a thumbs up. So, now I’m ready to share with y’all.

My 2018 Word of the Year: Clarify

For me, I’m using the cooking concept of clarifying to remove impurities. I’m clarifying down to essentials as my guiding principle for 2018. I want to put my energy into the things that are really important to me and discard the distractions from my life and schedule.

The longer that I have sat with “Clarify,” the more excited I am about it as my word of the year. I feel that this vision is a great extension of the work that my business coach and I did in 2017 to prioritize where I spend my time. I’ll be using the word Clarify to help me identify what to let go, where to put my energy and when to accept or decline new opportunities.

So far, I’ve identified these areas are essentials:

  • My Marriage & Family Relationships
  • Our Financials and our Debt-Free Journey
  • Self-Care and Work-Life Harmony
  • My Jujitsu and Healing Arts Practice
  • Nurturing My Creative Side
  • Staying in Touch with Friends

And these topics likely to be what I’ll be sharing on that blog this year. Also, be sure to check out how my word of the year helped me clarify my 2018 goals.

Talk to me about your intentions for the year. Have you picked a word? What are you planning to focus on?