Tag Archives: vision board

Looking for some luck

Unlike Stormy, resolutions are not something I ever have prepared as the New Year rolls in. Usually, it isn’t until the vision board party is planned that it even crosses my mind. And still then, actually thinking through my resolutions doesn’t usually start until I am driving to the party … heart racing as I search for an idea meaningful enough for the year.

Don’t get me wrong. There is more than enough for me to work on, hope for and aspire to. It is just that resolution picking, narrowing it all down to a few key items, is hard. Watch me freeze every New Year’s Eve night when I am asked. The vision board collage gives me the room to wander through a web of topics, specific goals, broad themes, and—sometimes—contradictory thoughts. It works more like my mind.

The beginning of this year has forced a few resolutions to already start unfolding in my mind, prior to the party (which is still in the stage of figuring out a date that works in a group of busy calendars).

One came from an article I read. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just do one simple thing to check it off your list. It breaks the “too much to do anyway freeze” and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Now the lists littering my house and office also have the simple tasks added. It seems to work. Even being able to cross off things such as “schedule the doctor appointment” or “add a post to the company Linked In page,” reminds me how good it feels to cross something off and gives me the momentum to get started on the bigger items.

Along with that specific goal or plan, a broader theme is also circling in my mind: Find my luck again. So far this year has rolled in with a lot of hits. The car saga has continued—no clean slate for me. Lack of sleep due to my son’s painful tooth infection that we can’t get under control—which always seems to magnify on the weekend when the dentist office is closed! A broken dryer, which has meant multiple photoLaundromat trips as we wait two weeks for the new one. Followed by the washer breaking down the same day the new dryer is delivered. The list goes on. I definitely need to find a lucky charm. Or make my own luck. Which is easier said than done.

But taking note of Stormy’s resolutions, I can make my own happy. Such as enjoying the cuddling of a ten-year-old boy, who if not in pain would not allow so much mom mush. Appreciating the magic a six-year-old girl brings to the Laundromat by seeing it as a wonderful adventure.

Plus you never know where some of these smaller struggles will lead.

So until I can see the big picture of some of these struggles, I will try to find, or make, some smaller moments.  So Happy New Year’s, readers—I wish us all a great year, strength in our struggles, and special moments … many shared with great friends and good wine.

P.S. I actually might have just gotten some luck. Having actual printed photos for my children was another item I planned to start this year. (I still love looking through my parents and grandparents’ photos.) Shark Tank was playing in the background as I wrote this, and I just downloaded the  GrooveBook app that was featured. Could this actually be a simple way to take care of that big item? Ill let you know how it goes!

Just Breathe

True to form, it is about a month away from the end of the year and I finally decide to check out my progress on accomplishing my vision board. Not exactly true to the philosophy behind it, but that’s exactly the way I work: Procrastinate and then excel in crisis mode.

KitKat's vision for 2013

KitKat’s vision for 2013

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised how well I had done … maybe there is something to this envisioning. My board’s subliminal messages seemed to have seeped into my life.  In fact, I didn’t even remember having “Needing Las Vegas” on it and I just booked a girls trip to Vegas. Check!

On the downside, I didn’t quite create the ass and stomach I envisioned. And, even with my talent of getting shit done when the pressure’s on, at age 44 that goal is going to take time and work. If I wanted to be realistic, perhaps it is a vision that might not be attainable past the age of 30. But I refuse to give up on all of my dreams just yet.

Well, back to the board … one thing that seemed like a big miss and easy to do was yoga. I used to be a die hard. I loved how it made me look,  how I felt and what  could do. It’s why I put it on my board, yet 11 months later I still have not reinvested myself.

This I know I could do. And, it is probably the perfect time for it. Between being insanely busy at work, the holidays, and my “hockey mom” role starting up again, I could use some “me time.” Add on having had two cars totaled in the past two months (one just a few days ago and thankfully escaping with only bruises and repeat car shopping torture), I obviously need some focus. Plus with the weather turning cold, the thought of escape to a heated room has its own appeal.

So the past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time at yoga. It is addicting. One hour of sweating and contorting into poses I almost forgot my body could do is my new release. I also forgot how wonderful it was to have someone reminding me to breathe. Seems like that should be natural, but for me it’s like I have been holding my breath ’til I walk into that room and then I can finally let go.

Also as a competitive girl, even with myself, I was impressed with how quickly it all came back. My body could contort into ways I had forgotten. My mind is so quiet when I am challenging myself into poses. This may sound simple. Especially if you’re a true yogi, since isn’t yoga about a quiet mind and focus? But for me it doesn’t happen. My racing mind only quiets when my body is pushed into an extreme. And even then just for a moment.  Once I accomplish the challenge my mind starts congratulating myself. Next I start thinking about what else I could do that I haven’t tried and should add to my list … and the race goes on. No I will never become a true yogi. It just is not natural to my nature. As much as I wish it was.

Then there is also the added benefit of focused time at the end of each class to get my list organized in my head. This is supposed to be the time to completely quiet my mind and let all go. My best move during savasana was realizing that’s impossible and to stop fighting it. (The more I am told to relax, the worse it is.) Instead, I embrace the chance to lay in a lovely position with no other demands on me except sorting out the list in my head. I have no problem twisting that into reasoning that I am following the advice given to me each class: It is  your own practice and do what your body feels. Listen to yourself.

By the way, why is breathing so hard? … Or is it just me?

Where did all my visions go?

Well, this year’s vision board was not as smooth of a process as last time. Perhaps it was a bit of the first-time novelty wearing off. Or, since I threw out to the online world that I would share it, I knew/I felt like everything I selected would be scrutinized by any followers (since there are only a handful of you at this point, this probably was a bit silly, but I have never been one who likes to look like an under performer).

Now don’t get me wrong. The swilling-of-wine and laughing-with-friends part of this project was a blast. But, I could not find the right pictures. Actually, I had no idea what to put on my board. Instead of inspiring, it had turned into a to-do list project. Witnessing others easily pull theirs together did not help matters.

So there my board sat empty, except for the smiling girl in the rain brought over from last year. I did find a photo of a kid blowing bubbles forming the word dream. That seemed like an obvious one since I had no big aspirations for 2013 – I might as well prepare for 2014.

“Knock off a few easy ones,” a friend suggested, “don’t just think big.” That got me on a bit of a roll…take better care of my nails, try wearing my hair in different styles, a clock to remind me of stricter time-outs with the kids along with adding a “drop everything to read” ritual to try to get control over my children (spurred by a turn off-the-electronics battle as I left the house).

Other easy ones to add an were photos representing getting into better shape. With finding-the-perfect-stomach-and-butt-photo a common search for everyone, the Yoga and Shape magazines were very popular. And soon a drinking game was created: Toast and drink every time someone calls out a spotting of the “It’s a Yeast Party” advertisement. Yes, I am serious that is an actual ad (and placed enough to create a game out of it).

By the end of the night, I had a board put together.  It was fine. (Anyone who knows me knows fine is not a word I like or aspire to in any aspect of my life.)

This weekend I decided to head up to the cabin to “clean” with a girlfriend (a post later on that). I decided to grab my board, thinking maybe I would be able to add something. I wasn’t quite ready to give up.

Well, flipping through magazines I happened upon a photo of a girl. (Is it more proper to say woman? Sorry if I offend anyone, but I am still in denial about my age and prefer girl.) Now I can’t explain what I liked about the photo. Sure she was attractive, but she also  just seemed put together in an eclectic way. Confident. Interesting. Not perfect. I don’t know exactly what it was, but something clicked. I tore off my last year’s spokesperson and put on the new girl. That was it. I finally looked at my board and felt inspired.

KitKat's vision for 2013

KitKat’s vision for 2013

I didn’t achieve that pure happiness of the blonde in the rain from last year’s board. And, I didn’t feel compelled to achieve it this time. This is a different year and I am different. I still want to settle my mind, teach myself to live in the present, and embrace contentment. But, maybe I want pieces of my weirdness, craziness, longing for more to also stay part of me. Be confident to be me  … temperamental, quirky, goofy, stubborn, spontaneous … the whole mishmash of stuff (naughty and nice) that—as a whole—people hired me, befriended me and married me for. I want to improve me without losing me – the good as well as the not-ideal. In this business of life, marriage, kids, career, I have already given up enough of me.

And I’ll tell you … sounds a bit silly, but a few times when I’ve felt my head judging myself, worrying or over-analyzing, I have focused on that picture, stopped myself and switched gears. (Well, and a few times I went down my crazy rabbit hole – but the girl in the photo I picked would give herself a break for an occasional slip up!)

I won’t bore you with what all the photos and words stand for (I will refer to them here and there in other posts) – but I’d love to hear some things others would put on their board. Remember, don’t just think big. I actually got the nail polish out and did my nails after walking by my board and being reminded. Maybe these things really do work. Heck, even Oprah.com promotes doing one.

Visions for what is ahead

Unlike Stormy, I usually forget about setting resolutions. By the time January 1st passes, I am still catching up on my normal tasks such as scheduling a mammogram (could the postcard reminder I received in September be right – didn’t I just have one?) and getting my oil changed. (Yes, I realize oil should be changed more often – baby steps.) It is usually not until someone asks me about my resolutions that I quickly throw some out to the world….umm, eat healthier, start a budget, don’t over-schedule myself…basically the same things I have been saying and not doing for years.

Well last year, I was convinced by a group of girlfriends to try a vision board. If you don’t know what this is, it means creating a collage of photos and placing it where you will see it daily to inspire you to achieve your goals. Sounded a bit hokie to me but I decided sitting around with girlfriends, having wine and giggling over silly wishes would make up for the crafty, spiritual part of the assignment. What did I have to lose?

It was a great night of flipping through magazines together looking for just the right imagery clearly emulating our goals for 2012. Even more fun as the evening progressed and the wine bottles emptied. And, you can always count on girlfriends to see you clearly and provide some honest suggestions you hadn’t even thought of. I came home excited, lighthearted from a night with the girls and ready to give it a whole-hearted try. And true to form, the first couple weeks I looked at it every day. I even knocked off a couple of goals right away. Create some play lists on my phone – check! Organize my closet – check again! January hadn’t even ended and I was rolling through my goals.

And then also true to form, it lost my attention as I was side-tracked by other things. That is until two days ago when I got the email that it was time to meet, share what came true, and make a board for 2013.  Yikes! I couldn’t even remember what was on mine. I also knew some of the other girls really nailed theirs. (It is a bad sign when you remember other’s goals more than your own.) For example, one girl had visions of meeting someone, falling in love and getting married. I remember thinking, shouldn’t she just start with the meeting someone this year? Well I was proven wrong. She got married a month ago. The pressure was on. Especially since, I seem to look at even vision boards as a competitive sport. I dug through my closet and pulled out my board to see how I did.

KitKat's 2012 Vision Board

KitKat’s 2012 Vision Board

  1.  Tennis – check! I took two lessons with Stormy.
  2. Concentrate on career – big check! I got a new, higher-level job.
  3. Yoga – check! I took a few classes.
  4. Start writing – Now that’s interesting, I totally forgot about putting that on. The blog has to count. Check again!
  5. Girlfriends – check! It has been an amazing year of building even stronger bonds with my friends. (More on that in later posts.)
  6. Kids  – Work in progress. If I remember correctly my intention was to do more things with them, enjoy them while they are young, and be a better mom. (Does forgetting this goal make me a bad mom?)
  7. Make time for my Grandmas – check! I haven’t visited them but I have been calling and emailing much more. (Love that one of my grandma’s discovered email, even if her caps lock always seems to be turned on.)
  8. “Stop” – unaccomplished. A word I get told once in awhile when my mind is whirling and over analyzing (when I am caught in a loop) to remind me it is all in my head. That one may need to move to this year’s board, along with the stomach I wanted and haven’t achieved. Actually, I don’t like that word and my head won’t stop – I am who I am. That one won’t move forward to a new year. I don’t need to fail two years in a row.

Overall, I was a bit shocked to discover how many of the forgotten things on the board had actually become part of my year. Perhaps it is like a horoscope that you can always twist to make things mentally fit your scenario.

This year, I am not sure what to put on my board (besides the perfect stomach). Maybe, simply the picture of the woman smiling in the rain. I put her on last year’s board because she looked so happy. Not just content, but joyful. Perhaps this year it is as simple as figuring out what things bring that joy to me. And finding ways to fully enjoy those things (and STOP continuing, worrying about or analyzing those that don’t).

I’ll share my 2013 board next week. If you have some good ideas for my board I’d love to hear them, especially a few that I can knock off quick. I also just snatched up a Living Social coupon for a private horseback lesson giving me one more check for my 2012 board. I have always worked best under pressure!