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The next thing I knew, I was running a half marathon…

2019 Recap

Well, my friends, I cannot believe that last year is over.

And somehow, I didn’t publish a blog post in nearly a year. I started last year with big goals. Just the other day, I was reviewing them, and it turns out that I didn’t actually check too many of those goals off, but that doesn’t mean that nothing happened.

2019 was quite a year. Looking back I did the following:

I started running.

After years of stopping and starting the C25K app without much-lasting success, I decided to try a different method and enrolled ina 5K running class through Not Your Average Runner.

Aubrey Shaw at the Woman's Club of Cayce 2019 Hot Flash 5K

The 5K class fed into a 10K class. And the 10K class fed into a half marathon class. And the next thing I knew, I was running a half marathon.

Aubrey Shaw at the Savannah 2019 Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I completed my first half marathon in Savannah on November 2, 2019. And I’ve already picked out two more to complete this year.

My business became debt-free.

2019 is the year we paid my insurance agency and. I wrote last year that taking out a loan through the Small Business Administration is a financial decision I would change if I had it to do again.

Aubrey Shaw, owner of LifeTime Insurance Agency in Cayce SC
October 2019

Paying this loan off has created a lot of breathing room in my business’s cash flow, and since then, I have paid off my car as well.

Want to get your business debt-free? I recommend reading & implementing Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.

Aubrey Shaw receiving the NAIFA-SC 2019 award for Young Advisor of the Year.

Last year, I was named as the 2019 Young Advisor of the Year by NAIFA South Carolina and was nominated for the national NAIFA Young Advisor of the Year award.

One final business win to share is that I had my first Open Enrollment season where I sold more than $1 million in insurance premiums.

Jujitsu travels took me all over the country.

Last year, I was lucky enough to travel to California, Florida, Chicago, and Atlanta for jujitsu and judo classes and events.

2019 AJJF National Judo Tournament in Atlanta
2019 AJJF National Judo Tournament

Our dojo judo team went to three tournaments. I chose to participate in the South Carolina State Judo tournament and the AJJF National Judo tournament; in each tournament, I brought home a silver medal in my division. I also tried my hand at the AJJF National Freestyle contest and placed third in my division.

I continue to find blessings in our martial arts school by helping teach the children’s judo classes. We now have more than 20 kids regularly attending class, which amazes me.

I hate that I didn’t find time to update this blog with last year’s adventures. This recap of the year doesn’t seem nearly complete enough, but I can say that 2019 was quite a year. Looking forward to the next decade (!!), I can’t wait to see where 2020 brings me.

2019 Word of the Year & Goals

Over the last few years, I have found that choosing a word of the year to help me focus on what I want to add to my life. Keeping that word in front of me can help me make decisions in line with my priorities, know when to say “no” to opportunities that don’t align with my vision, and motivate me to take action when it’s time to move.

Want to see what my previous words of the year have been, check them out:

  • 2018 Word of the Year was CLARIFY
  • 2017 Word of the Year was START
  • 2016 Word of the Year was ACHIEVE

As part of my 2018 year-end review yesterday, I discussed that in 2019 I want to get in the best physical, mental, spiritual and financial shape of my life.

Every goal that I’m setting is with this in mind. Several of them are goals that I have set in years past. So, what is the right word to give me the right amount of oomph to push me toward achieving these goals?

2019 Word of the Year: COURAGE

Courage also happens to be one of my core values. For me, the definition of courage is “taking action in difficult situations by choosing to follow my intuition and logic.”

In 2019, I want to use this word to keep me moving even when the pathway seems steep, in spite of imposter syndrome, and on those days where it seems easier to stay in my comfort zone.

Over the last few years, I have found that choosing a word of the year to help me focus as I set my annual goals. My 2019 word of the year is COURAGE.

Goals for the 2019

Pay off our debt snowball.

The Mister and I took Financial Peace University in 2015, which makes this the fourth calendar year that I’ve written this goal out. I wish we had knocked this goal out sooner, but I haven’t had the courage in year’s past to really cut back our lifestyle and stay committed to living on a written budget.

This is the last year that I’m declaring it, “2019 will be the year that we become debt-free.

Since I primarily handle the budget and bills, I need to have the courage to tell myself “no” my brain tries to sway me to immediate gratification rather than staying on plan. We CAN do this, and we will.

Increase my business income by 20 percent

This goal is a stretch goal for me, just typing the words gives me flutters in my stomach. It’s going to take courage to make the calls. It’s going to take courage to believe that sales will come. It’s going to take courage to push through the imposter syndrome.

I know that I didn’t hit my 2018 goal because I didn’t believe in myself enough to try. That HAS to change…because how do we get debt-free if I don’t grow my income? It’s not fair to rely on the Mister to do all the overtime.

Hit my goal weight of 135 lbs

And work toward this goal while still having the courage to love my current body and cherish its abilities. In the last 5 years, I’ve watched the number on the scale creep upward and upward, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not comfortable in my skin anymore.

I know what to eat that helps me feel my best energetically. I’ve just allowed convenience and comfort get in the way of living/eating that lifestyle. I know that weight is just one measure of a healthy body, but this is where I’m starting. This is the year that I change that I get back to loving the reflection in the mirror while fueling my body and mind well.

Pass my second-degree black belt exam.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been eligible to test for this rank since October, but I’ve held myself back. I need to learn only 25 more techniques than I needed for my first-degree exam, and the truth is that again I’ve let fear get in my way of learning them.

Just like with my business income goal, getting ready for my exam (and learning those last few techniques) involves the courage to believe that I can do this. I have to take ownership asking for the instruction and getting the practice to feel ready.

Live my faith more visibly

Of all my goals, this one is probably the most nebulous and hardest to measure. I have come to realize that I rarely discuss my faith among my friends — never mind share about it on this blog or via social media.

I want to have the courage to embrace my love for Jesus more publicly. So I’m giving myself two challenges this year:

  1. Get back to attending church on a weekly basis with my husband.
  2. Participate in reading the entire Bible this year with my husband.

In addition to strengthening my walk with God, completing these challenges are going to help my life in so many areas:

  • feeling more at peace with life’s challenges
  • relying more on God than myself and reducing worry
  • bringing me closer to the Mister and strengthening our marriage
  • preparing me to be a better parent for future children.

2019 is my year of courage.

I’m looking forward to the challenges in front of me. I can’t wait until December when I’ll be sharing with you how I’ve grown and what I’ve accomplished. Future Aubrey is going to be so proud of the daily acts of courage.

What goals are you setting for 2019? Do you use a word of the year to stay focused?

Why Setting Quarterly Goals in Important

I’m so excited that we’re starting not just a new month but a new quarter. One of the biggest changes that I’ve made in my business and life since I started working with my business coach last year is setting quarterly goals in addition to annual and monthly goals.

I love having some really big annual goals to work toward, but setting those alone can be a little overwhelming. Setting quarterly goals has been a key component in success for me. They help me break a big goal into a more manageable chunk.

[Related reading: Check out my big goals for 2018]

A quarter a long enough period of time that I can really pick up some momentum but no so long that I get burnt out or distracted.

Setting quarterly goals helps me not lose sight of the finish line at the beginning of a marathon.

Quarter 2 Goals

  • Keystone: Pay our personal loan to a $0 balance
    Generate $4500 in life/long-term care/disability income
    Hire part-time admin assistant
    Update photography and SEO on all Etsy shop listings
    Go on a weekend trip for the Mister’s birthday
    Complete 12 massage treatments outside of class

Once I’ve broken down my annual goals into quarterly-sized chunks, I can break those down into more bite-sized monthly goals, which helps me clarify what activities and habits will move me toward achieving my goals.

April goals

  • Complete Yoga with Adriene’s April calendar
  • Generate $1500 in life/long-term care/disability income
  • Generate $400 in side-hustle income
  • List 2 new products in Etsy shop
  • Cook special occasion dinner for our anniversary
  • Publish a minimum of one blog post per week
  • Send a minimum of two newsletters to my mailing list

Want to learn more about setting goals that will move you toward success?


Come join my private Facebook community – Aubrey E. Shaw Good Vibes Only – I’ll be sharing a video later this week about how to set goals that will fire you up.

March goals

Happy Friday, my friends!

I don’t know what it was about last month, but mentally I somehow felt like I was at the end of February all month long, which had me sweating my February goals and feeling like I wasn’t making progress. I sure hope that feeling has passed, but I want to rock my March goals.

February goals

  • Identify and contact at least five new life/disability prospects per week. – Partial success: This will be an ongoing commitment, and I need to be better at tracking my contacts
  • Generate $1500 life/disability insurance income – Success
  • Attend two massage study group sessions. – Success
  • Give a minimum of four treatments outside of massage class. – Success, but I need to make a point to receive treatments as well.
  • List at least one new product in my Etsy shop. [Check out my shop: Chasing Blue Jays.] – Fail. I did finish a couple of overdue gifts, but I haven’t completed any new products.
  • Complete Love Yo’Self yoga challenge from Yoga with Adriene – Fail.
  • Gather and turn in all personal income tax info to the accountant. – Success. Now we wait to see what we’ll owe Uncle Sam.

Clearly, I need to be kinder to myself because I accomplished more than I thought I had as the month went along. But I am disappointed with the yoga goal. I really want to make that a part of my daily routine; I think I need to find a local accountability partner (or get the Mister to participate with me like he did the Stretch Project a few years ago.)

Moving on.

Let’s talk about March goals. Since I have such a big work goal this year, I’m relaxing a little on the personal side of things.

March goals

  • Spend at least 1 hour per week reviewing client files to identify cross-sale opportunities.
  • Contact at least 3 cross-sale prospects per week.
  • Generate at least $1500 in life/disability income
  • Complete a minimum of 4 massage treatments outside of class
  • Publish 4 blog posts
  • List 2 new products in Etsy shop

I feel like I have a lot to get done this month. What are you working on?

January Whole30 Results

I’m having a hard time believing that our January Whole30 is already over. It feels like I was just writing my thoughts and observations after Week 1, and obviously, the month went by so quickly that I didn’t find time write any more on the blog about the journey. And now, here we are in February, it’s time to share how my January Whole30 Results.

January Whole30 Results

While I certainly didn’t start Whole30 just to lose weight, I said all along that I wouldn’t complain if that happened along the way. So, let’s get some numbers out of the way:

Results By the Numbers

Pre-Whole30
  • Weight: 175 pounds
  • Waistline: 37.5 inches
  • Pant Size: 8, and they fit snugly
Post-Whole30
  • Weight: 161 pound
  • Waistline: 34 inches
  • Pant Size: 6, and I’m almost to the point sizing down

To say that I’m not pleased with the visual results of my January Whole30 would be a lie. I have a body confidence that I haven’t felt since my early 20s. It just feels good to like what I see in the mirror and to have other friends and family compliment my appearance. However, I have more wins from my first Whole30 to share.

[By the way, the Mister also lost 12 pounds by completing the January Whole30 with me.]

Results By How I’m Feeling

Feeling good in my skin is a huge win. Other non-scale victories include that my skin is clearer than it’s been in years. I feel a lot more energetic and just positive in general.

I’ve been trying to put my finger on the feeling, and the best expression is that I feel like I’m running on high-octane fuel. My life-energy just feels cleaner. My sensei said that he can simply tell from the way I’m moving on the mat what a difference these dietary changes have made.

I did notice that my sleep schedule seemed to be disrupted by the change in eating habits, and I don’t think that’s quite normalized, but since I feel more energetic throughout the day, I am finding that I can tolerate a little less sleep.

The Mister and I are still really enjoying eating at home together. I was a confident cook before we started this challenge, but I’d say that confidence has deepened.  We are still using Prep Dish as the core of our meal planning (I wouldn’t waste a year-long subscription), but I don’t have any hesitation about tweaking those meals to suit our taste or putting together a healthy and delicious meal from scratch.

Food Re-Introduction

One part of Whole30 that I’d like to be more deliberate about for the next time is our re-introduction period. I’d like to take it more slowly than we did with this first Whole30. Thus far, I have found that I can tolerate the following in moderation:

  • Wine and liquors
  • Limited dairy (I’ve really only tested cheese and half-n-half in coffee)
  • Limited sugar (mostly just want comes in having a cocktail)
  • Peanuts and green beans
  • White rice and white potatoes in moderation

What’s not working for me? Too much gluten or soy. I’m good with a hamburger bun, but I found that if I had gluten in multiple meals in a row, my skin broke out and my energy levels dipped. Soy seems to make me congested.

I expected to go back to cream in my coffee, but I’ve found that I prefer my coconut/almond milk. And while I didn’t have a huge sweet tooth before I did the Whole30, I am happy with how little I seem to want sugar now. Fruit salad is a perfectly sufficient dessert if we need to have one.

January Whole30 Results and Wrap-Up

What’s after Whole30?

I definitely want to try the Whole30 again at some point in the future, but I’d like to finish reading the original Whole30 book and Food Freedom Forever before embarking on the journey again. If you read my Week 1 post, you know that I used the Whole30 Day by Day handbook as our primary resource for January. There were a few references in the book that would have made more sense if I’d read Melissa Hartwig’s initial book before starting our journey.

For now, I’m following a Paleo diet about 85 percent of the time. The Mister has re-introduced more sugar and carbs than I have, but his metabolism is way more active than mine. We are definitely enjoying go out to our favorite restaurants now and then, but we’ll likely continue to eat the majority of our meals at home. Let’s face it; it’s expensive to eat out and really hard to be mindful of the ingredients and quantity when eating in a restaurant.

For my friends who completed the Whole30 last month, won’t you share your January Whole30 results in the comments? What were you surprised about during your food re-introduction? Would you join in another Whole30 challenge?

February goals

Am I the only who feels like we blinked straight into February? I don’t know how we flew through January so quickly, and here we are ready to set new goals for the month. I’m excited to share my February goals, but first I want to talk about January.

“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” ― Ornette Coleman

January Goals

I know that I didn’t get around to writing an actual January goals post, but I did set goals last month. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Turn in all business tax info to the accountant. – I actually ran everything over to the accountant’s office this morning, but I’m counting this as a success.
  • Set up Profit First accounts with the bank for February implementation. – This is almost complete. I have an appointment with the bank for tomorrow morning. [Related book: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz]
  • Complete the January Whole30 challenge with the Mister. – Success! Check out my thoughts after Week 1.
  • Earn $250 side hustle income to pay down debt. – In January, we earned $165 in side hustle income, but didn’t reach our goal of $250.
  • Have four date nights with the Mister. – Success!
  • Set up and attend two study group sessions for massage class. – Success! We’ve set up our tentative schedule for the remainder of the class.
  • Complete a minimum of four treatments outside of massage class. – Success! I completed six treatments.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how January turned out. Nearly every goal was accomplished, and the one that we fell short on is a work in progress toward one of our major goals for the year.

You increase the probability of accomplishing your goals if they are written down. Have you written out your February goals? Let's work together toward accomplishing them.

February Goals

Since I have two significant business goals for 2018, a number of my monthly goals will relate toward moving toward those. I know I don’t share a lot of my day job on the blog, but I need these written out for personal accountability.

  • Identify and contact at least five new life/disability prospects per week. [20 total for February]
  • Generate $1500 life/disability insurance income
  • Attend two massage study group sessions.
  • Give a minimum of four treatments outside of massage class.
  • List at least one new product in my Etsy shop. [Check out my shop: Chasing Blue Jays.]
  • Complete Love Yo’Self yoga challenge from Yoga with Adriene
  • Gather and turn in all personal income tax info to the accountant.

So, here’s the question of the day? Have you written out your goals for the month? I firmly believe that writing your goals down increases the likelihood that you’ll meet them. So, get them on paper. Then tell me in the comments about February goals and what you think of my goals.