Monday, July 12, 2010

Destination #3 - Progress Update

My husband and I try to get together once a month and have a finance 'date'.  We talk about our finances, where we are, our goals, and keep each other motivated and on track to complete the goals we have together.  Of course, we don't always make it once a month, but we finally had a finance date a few weeks ago.  At the meeting before I thought we had set some concrete goals and mapped out a plan, so that was what I had been working on.  At our most recent meeting, I learned that was not the case.

It seems I pushed my own goals and values on my husband and he agreed only to make me happy.  I learned he wasn't 100% on board and that I hadn't listened to him.

I did much better at our most recent meeting.  I listened to him, discovered his goals and we worked together to come up with a new plan.  We are communicating more (and better) since then and I am so glad that we got together.

It turned in to much more than just a financial date.  I learned so much more about him, myself and our relationship.  Not all of the meeting was pretty, there was the occasional raised voice (it was mine, I admit it), but by the end were were closer and are now working together.

I am so lucky to have a patient, kind and loving huband.  I want him to know how much he means to me and that his dreams are important to me too.  I hope that I will be able to show him through word and deed how I feel.  Communication is so necessary to a healthy relationship and it's not something that I am really good at.  So, I will continue working on my communication skills!

We've already planned our next date and I think it will be great!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Destination #2 - Progress Update

I feel pretty good about the progress I've made with Destination #2.  In my original post I briefly mentioned participating in a family Biggest Loser Competition.  We weighed in for the final time recently and I was the Biggest Loser!  By eating healthy and occasionally exercising I lost 26.6 pounds.

Some family members are interested in doing a watered-down version of our competition for the summer.  So, we will take 2 weeks off (I am planning on eating chips, macaroni and cheese and drinking a lot of coke) before starting over.  I don't want to undo any of the hard work I've put in, but there have been some things I've missed.  I am hoping that I will be able to balance some of the foods I've pretty much avoided for the past 5 months and maintain my current weight (or lose some more). 

I still have a long way to go towards a healthier me, but at my journey's end I would like to be able to not avoid foods and eat what I enjoy (in moderation, of course) and maintain a healthy weight.  I think a 2 week hiatus will be a good test to see if the new habits I've developed are easy to maintain and find out what I still need to work on.  I view this as a practice period, and when I get to my goal weight I'll be able to stay there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Destination #1 - Progress Update

I've been on this journey for a few months now and am a bit disheartened by my lack of progress.  I have not attempted to practice the guitar or voice at all and did not do much with the violin.  The only thing I've done on a regular basis is the piano and even those attempts have been spotty since I returned from my vacation

I find myself making excuses as to why I can't make time to practice; and like all excuses - they are lame.  I'm fighting an internal battle right now.  This is something that's important to me, yet I can't - or won't - make time for it.

So, I am making a renewed promise to myself.  I will make time to do at least one thing I love everyday!  It is time to recapture my dreams and pursue them with passion!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How Tow Accomplish Destination #4

Destination 4 is by far the most expensive goal on my list.  This is also the only goal that I have been working on for quite a long time.  For almost 2 years I have put 10% of my net paycheck directly in to a savings account, and I only take money out of this account for travel.

I have this deduction scheduled to happen automatically and I've learned to live on 10% less.  Setting this money aside is such a relief, I know no matter what or when a trip is in order I can afford it.  (I include traveling to funerals, graduations, etc here as well, so somtimes my travel plans can be a bit sudden.)  This also enables me to jump on travel opportunities I might otherwise miss or have a tough time financing.

If one of your goals is costly, set up an automatic transfer of any amount you can afford directly in to a completely separate account.  It may be 10% or 20% of your paycheck, it may be $10-$20 a week  Whatever you can comfortably afford.  Over time this will grow to an amount you can really do something with and you'll be glad you did!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Forgotten Destination

I have always loved traveling and it's something I would love to do often.  I have decided to add a goal to my list of destinations.  However, the goal of 'traveling' is pretty ambiguous - I need to define my path.

Destination #4:  Travel
  • Visit Greece.  I love Greek mythology, art and architecture.  I need to go to Greece and see everything!
  • Go to Europe.  There are many European countries I want to visit:  England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany....just to name a few.
  • I want to go on an African Safari.
  • I want to go to Egypt.  Again, the art and architecture are what draw me in.  I also need to see the pyramids.
  • I want to visit every states in the U.S.  If I'm going to Europe, I might as well see the U.S. too!
  • I want to go to Australia and New Zealand.  Surfing and snorkeling - woo hoo!
  • I want to go to Japan.
  • I want to visit our neighbors to the North and South.
  • I want to see the Amazon River.
  • I want to cruise around the world.  This will hit most of what I want to do and see and I love cruises, so why not?
Really, this list could go on forever.  I want to go everywhere and see everything!

Monday, June 7, 2010


You know what they say...hindsight is 20/20.  I recently went on a much needed week-long vacation.  It was wonderful and I had a great time, but now that I'm home I realize how many opportunities I missed to focus on my goals.  Let me share with you what I did and did not do so you can learn from my mistakes!

I did not eat healthy and I could have.  My excuse was "I'm on vacation and I am going to indulge myself."  Now don't get me wrong, it is perfectly acceptable to indulge yourself on vacation, but don't let your common sense fly out the window...use good judgement!  Moderation is key.  Looking back on it, I am most ashamed of not eating better because it was so easy to make good food choices.  Many menus had low calorie options that I just turned my nose at.  Oh self, so young, so foolish.  If you - like me - simply must have Chocolate Melting Cake every night for dessert, do it, but get one of the 390 calorie entrees!

I did not practice any instruments.  I really don't feel guilty about this.  Who takes their piano on vacation?!  If I had a more portable talent - say writing or drawing - I could have done that by bringing a pad of paper and a pencil.  So, if you can take your goal with you do it, but if you can't don't feel bad.  After're on vacation!

I did not work on any music theory.  This is another goal that I feel bad about not doing, because I took my theory book with me!  I just didn't open it.  There were many hours spent in the car that I could have pulled this out and worked on it.  I could have done much better here.  If you do take your goals with you, make sure you do it!

However, I did do a lot of walking.  I did not take advantage of the gym that was available, so again improvements to my vacationing self are needed, but I am happy with what I did accomplish.

Most importantly I spent a lot of time with my husband.  This is the goal that I most want to excel in.  Despite all my failings this past week I have succeeded overall, because I was able to be with him with no pressure to keep the house clean, dinner on the table and no work concerns stealing my focus from him.  We had many conversations and talked to each other a lot.  He also shared a podcast (Stuff You Should Know) that he really enjoys with me.  I learned something new about him, and we both got to enjoy listening to several old podcasts he had on his Zune.  Sharing something you enjoy or are passionate about with your spouse is a wonderful way to bond and grow together.

You do not need to accomplish everything everyday or even most things most days.  If you only accomplish one thing a week you have succeeded.

What tips and tricks for success do you have while vacationing?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Music Theory

I recently finished my 1st theory book Fundamentals of Piano Theory - Level 1 by Keith Snell and Martha Ashleigh.

I reviewed:
  • Note names
  • Time signatures and rythms
  • Accidentals
  • Intervals
  • Whole and Half Steps
  • Key signatures
  • Form
  • Ear training
  • Sight reading
I actually learned:
  • 5 finger patterns and triads
  • Tetra chords
  • Primary triads
  • Inversions
  • Accompanying with I and V Tetra chords
  • Transposing
  • A bit about the 4 periods of music history
It's amazing how much you discover you don't know.  When I picked up this book in the store I thought "I know this stuff, maybe I should start with book 2 or 3."  Then, I figured a review would be good, so I bought book 1.  I am so glad I chose to start at the beginning!  There was obviously so much that I didn't know.  It was a bit of a humbling experience.  I have 12+ years of musical background, and yet there were so many things I didn't know at a beginner level.  Things I chose not to learn or pay attention to, which really set me back.

My piano teacher tried to get me to learn these things years ago, but I was not interested.  Now that I'm old enough to appreciate the lessons she tried to teach me, I am much more confident that I will accomplish my goal of becoming a better musician.  I am also grateful for her initial attempts, as much of the lessons did sink in.  So, a heart-felt "Thank you" to Suzi!  (Also, thank you mom for assisting me with the ear training portion!)

What lessons surprised you when you discovered you didn't know them?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


A few weeks ago I wrote down a few places I was interested in volunteering.  Eventually I whittled down my list to one - I want to volunteer in the Emergency Room at the local hospital.  However, since that decision was made, my mom asked me to help her with a large scrapbooking project.

I've decided that for now I will use the time I'm helping my mom as my volunteer time.  Additionally, once this project is over, I'll already have this time carved out of my schedule.  Transitioning from one project (helping my mom) to another (the hospital) will be pretty seamless - time wise at least.

So far we have been through 3 boxes of pictures and papers, etc and separated them in to 5 other boxes.  Each box is for a different scrapbook.  We still have so many boxes to go through and separate out.  It's amazing how much stuff there is!  A few more weeks (no, really!) of sorting, then we get to organize each box into a time line.

Honestly scrapbooking is not my thing; but I am looking forward to spending time with my mom and learning more about my family.  Not to mention, she can occassionally assist me with my piano, so it's kind of a win-win situation.  I'm really excited to continue this project - even if I don't find the actual activity all that thrilling.

There are so many skills that I will be able to develop while doingt his project.  Patience comes first to mind.  I am not a very patient person, but working on something that overal doesn't light my fire will definitely help me practice this.  This will also help boost my creativity and organizational skills.  All three of these skills will help me no matter what I do in life.  I've quickly discovered that volunteering isn't just about improving another person's life; it's about improving yourself as well.

What projects do you do that increase your skills?  And please share any scrapbooking tips/ideas in the comments too!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing

During one of my recent self-induced piano lessons I decided that I had given myself too much to practice in a 30 minute time frame.  Actually, I realized this during my practice sessions, but during my lesson I made the decision to decrease the amount of things I practice during the week.  I also decided that I needed to re-do a few of the pieces that I didn't get to practice as much during the week.

There's something to be learned here.  Don't bite off more than you can chew.  You'll only frustrate yourself if you try to accomplish too much in a single day.  You'll also find that you won't make as much progress if you try to do too much than if you break down your efforts in to manageable chunks.

I feel that if I work on practicing well (taking things slow, correcting mistakes instead of playing through them, etc) I will get better faster and I've seen evidens in this pretty quickly.  My sight reading has improved quite a bit and I make fewer mistakes, even on new pieces.

Hearing yourself improve is a great boost!  If possible, record yourself so you can hear your progression over time.  Recording yourself and listening back on it will also help you correct your mistakes.

If you find yourself not making the kind of progress you hoped for, take a deep breath and step back.  Have you tried to accomplish too much too quickly?  Pare down your project into smaller tasks and focus on one thing at a time.  Really hone in on improving one skill at a time.  It may seem small and tedious at first, but as you get better, you'll get faster and when you move on, preforming that skill well by rote will save you huundreds of hours later.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Eating Healthy

I used to eat a lot of potato chips, pizza, macaroni and cheese, McDonald's and drink tons of soda.  You'll notice that there weren't a lot of fruits or vegetables in my previous diet.  Fast forward a few months, and now I try to eat several servings of fruit and veggies a day.

A typical day now is:

Breakfast:  yogurt or applesauce (I sometimes add 10-15 almonds to my yogurt)
Snack:  carrots and/or apple slices
Lunch:  salad (with light or fat free dressing), a sandwich (with cheese, mustard and spinach - no mayo!), carrots and/or apple slices
Snack:  light or fat free cottage cheese with tomatoes and salt and pepper, or a snack size bag of microwave popcorn
Dinner:  chicken, brown rice, and vegetables, or stirfry, always a salad and sometimes more carrots and/or apple slices (can you tell what fruits and vegetables I do like?)
Desert:  Weight Watchers or Skinny Cow ice cream snacks - so far every treat I've tried is delicious

I also drink a LOT of water.  I decided when I changed my eating habits that I wanted to eat my calories, not drink them, and I happen to like water so this is not hard for me.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, I do eat a lot - and there are several things I could do even better in regards to my eating habits, but trust me when I tell you that I am eating so much better now than I was 4-5 months ago.  Not only am I eating better, but I feel better as well.  I still occassionally have a burger and fries from McDonald's, but that is an exception rather than the norm, and I can tell the difference when I do. 

I have found that what is easiest for me is to have my snacks ready to at.  So, yes, I spend more on pre-sliced apples than a person should - but if all I have to do is reach my hand in the bag and pull out an apple slice, that's just as easing as reaching in and pulling out a potato chip, but it's better and much more filling.  I have tried to make healthy eating as convenient as possible for myself so that I'm more likely to stick with it. 

What do you do to make healthy eating a habit for you?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Achieving Your Goals

I came across a really great article recently.  It is from Trent Hamm's personal finance blog The Simple Dollar, titled Eight Simple Tactics for Achieving Your Big Goal.  This article reflects exactly what I'm trying to do in my own life.  I've bolded Trent's main ideas, but please check out his site to see what he has to say.

Stop Thinking about Failure - This is such a great and oft overlooked idea.  Who cares if I never become a concert pianist or run a marathon?  Just trying to accomplis these goals will be worthwhile, because it's the journey that's important.  Even if I never make the ultimate goal, I'll still become pretty darn good.

Keep Your Goal Within the Realm of Reality - I really tried to do this when I set these goals.  I know that not everyone is going to be a concert pianist, but I believe I have the potential.  Am I right?  I honestly don't know, and as I progress, I may have to tweak some of my goals to better reflect my capabilities.  But how will I know if I don't try?

Take Small Bites Every Day - What if you have a lot of goals?  Even if you're taking small bites there may not be enough time in the day even for that.  Do you have any goals that you could multi-taks?  If you want to get in better shape, and be a better spouse like I do, why not take a walk with your spouse?  Or use some alone time to clean the hous and really work out while doing it (do squats while waiting for the pasta water to boil when making dinner, mop the floor with a rag and bucket not a mop, take the laundry up and down the stairs 2 or 3 times before putting it away) so you don't have to clean when your spouse is home.  Despite multi-tasking I have found that I still don't have enough time in the day to do everything.  Some things I can only do every other day or only once or twice a week.  If you're in the same boat, don't get discouraged.  Just do your best with the time you have available. 

Find a Mentor - Trent suggests using your doctor, social network and your work environment as a starting place for finding a mentor. This is a great idea, one that I have started to implement a tiny bit.

Find Positive Support - I think you can go to your social network and work environment to find this as well.  Friends and family are pretty supportive of anything that makes you happy.

Shred Your Routine - This is something I definitely need to do. I really need to do better about getting things done before work and watching T.V. so much.  Making these kinds of changes will really help me to accomplish more and take more small bites on a daily basis.

Share Your Goal Widely - Hello blogosphere! :)

Know Your Motivation - This is another point I need to work on, and keep my focus on others.  Trent really hits the nail on the head when he says "Learning something new because it fulfills you is an easy thing to put off.  Learning something new because it brings value to others is much more urgent."  It would be easy to put off practicing if I'm only doing it for myself, but if I change my focus to the people I want to perform for, it makes practicing much more urgent.  The sooner I get better, the sooner I will be able to share with others and bring them beauty and joy.

Good luck and don't give up!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Feeling Productive

Today was a giant leap forward for me.  I woke up earlier than normal and instead of rolling over and going back to sleep like I usually do, I stayed up.  I ate a little bit of breakfast, got on the treadmill for 30 minutes (working towards Destination #2 - being healthy and active), took out all the trash in the house (working towards Destination #3 - being a better spouse), got ready for the day, and went to the music store to pick up a D string for my violin (working towards Destination #1 - gathering tools to become a better musician) before coming to work.

Accomplishing these things has really given me a boost today.  I feel more productive overall, have been more productive at work, have been in a better mood and I know that all of these small steps are getting me closer to the person I want to be.

I hope that you have also been able to revel in your successes (whether they be big or small) today!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I have practiced the piano every day for a minimum of 30 minutes.  I finally feel confident enough with the fingering on the C Major scale that I have progressed on to G Major.  I am almost halfway through 3 beginner books and have learned a lot of theory.  1st and 2nd inversions are finally making sense to me!

Additionally I have played for my mother (she has been playing the piano since she was 4 - my mother is my piano expert), who tells me that my technique and posture are very good.  So far I am not practicing any bad habits and my mom is quite proud of me.  (Thanks Mom!)  I am pround of me too.  Lastly, I have memorized Prelude No. 1 in G minor by Catherin Rollin.

I have done all of this in less than two weeks.  I am so pleased with the progress I have made thus far.  I know that in the beginning I will move pretty quickly with the piano, and I am confident that these small successes in the beginning will propel me forward as things become more challenging.

What successes have you had thus far?

Monday, April 26, 2010


We all have obstacles in our path.  Some obstacles are small and can easily be maneuvered around.  Others are giant mountains.  It's important to keep in mind that even the highest mountain can be climbed one step at a time.

Quite a few of my destinations have obstacles in the way, namely money and physical ability.  At this time I don't have the financial resources to take Tae Kwon Do classes or take 4 different music lessons.  I don't have the physical stamina to run a marathon, or up and down a soccer or football field multiple times.  Yet, there are things I can do to prepare myself for these things.  I can save money.  I can start living more frugally.  I can walk on a treadmill or around the block and build my stamina.

Life changing goals cannot be accomplished in a day.  It's important that you not get discouraged when things don't change immediately.  Each day you need to make a concentrated effort to follow your dreams.  Take it one step at a time and don't get discouraged by setbacks.  Keep a positive attitude and keep trying.  Some days will be easier than others, but don't let that keep you from doing more tomorrow.

As I briefly touched on the other day, it's difficult for me to do everything I want to do everyday. However, I feel great about everything that I am able to accomplish.  Perhaps, like me, you have many goals.  Don't try and do everything everyday, especially if you also have an issue with time.  Pick one or maybe two goals to work on each day instead of trying to do all of them every day.

Taking small steps everyday will bread down those obstacles, no matter how big they seem today.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Things I Have Learned So Far

In the past few weeks I have learned:

  • Piano is the easiest for me to practice every daily.
  • Guitar strings are not very expensive - if you get the cheap ones.
  • Violin strings are expensive - even if you get the cheap ones.
  • Waking up early to accomplish everything is difficult.
  • I do not accomplish everything every day.
  • Fingering for piano scales.  (Ok, I relearned this.)
  • I do not go in the kitchen as much as I thought.  (Apparently my husband did the dishes on Monday, I did not notice until Wednesday.)
  • 30 minutes goes by quickly when you're pursuing your dreams.
  • I can spend as much time at the music store as I can in the book store.
  • The music store closes at 6.
  • If you stay until 6:15, they are still nice about it.
  • I am happier now than I was 2 weeks ago.
  • I feel like I am already improving my life.
  • I am not a terribly great writer.  (My apologies to my readers!  I hope you stick around anyway!)
  • None of my posts have reflected my sense of humor, yet.
  • I am not so serious in real life.
Please share what you have learned in the comments!  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gathering Supplies

There sure seems to be a lot of prep work involved in following your dreams!  By now, we have a goal, a path and a plan, now we need supplies.  In order to progress, one must have the proper tools for success.  If you want to play an instrument you need to have access to the instrument, as well as accessories: a guitar pick, rosin for the bow, music books, etc.

Take a few minutes and determine what tools you need to get started.  If you don't have everything on hand to immediately get started, look for substitutions, or try your social network.  If you want to paint, you don't need canvas and oils, you can start with water colors on paper.  If you're just starting out, maybe just start with pencil and paper.  Practice shading, form, dimensions.  Save your money over time, so that when you're good at the small things, spending money on canvas and oil paints won't hurt your pocketbook, and you'll have a head start on the basics.

Above all, time is your most precious resource and the most important accessory you need to pursue your dreams.  You need to carve out time in your schedule to devote to your dream.  Sure, it's easy to come home after a long day, kick off your shoes and turn on the T.V., but is that really what you want to do with your life?  It will take some patience, but you really need to look at your day and figure out when you can focus on the things that bring you joy.  If your schedule is too full, what can you cut out?  What activities do you currently spend time on that do not reflect your goals?  Eliminate the activities that do not bring joy or enhance your quality of life.

If what you're doing isn't following your dreams, why are you doing it at all?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Making A Plan

Now that I have my destination chosen and my paths laid out for me, I need to make a plan so I can continually move forward.

To become a better musician I will need to practice each instrument 30 minutes a day, learn music theory and find resources to help teach me.  I will be teaching myself how to play these instruments in the beginning, so focusing on fundamentals, theory and technique will be important.  There are people in my life that play each instrument, so I can go to them for help so long as I don't abuse their generosity.

To be healthy and active I need to devote a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week to exercise.  Proper form and technique are very important so I do not injure myself.  There are a plethora of resources on the internet that can be used to teach myself the right way to exercise.

In addition to exercise, if I want to be truly healthy, I need to eat well.  Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase nutrition without adding a ton of calories.  Also, I can make healthy substitutions to my daily meals.  For example, I can replace ground beef with ground turkey.  This is possible with almost any recipe, and I don't sacrifice flavor.  (Please consult a physician before embarking on any exercise and/or dietary changes.)

Lastly, to be more giving of myself.  I said before I don't know where I want to volunteer just yet.  Step number 1 is to write a list of organizations that I would like to give my time to.  Step number 2 is to research these organizations and find out what volunteer opportunities they have available.  If their needs meet my needs and capabilities I can then get a schedule and start.

As for being a better spouse, the first thing I think I should do is increase the frequency of housekeeping tasks when our schedules keep us apart so that when we are together we can focus on each other and not the dishes in the sink.

If you are in a situation where you are unable to finance lessons or tutors, etc to help you reach your goals, seek out your social network.  Perhaps you know someone that is talented in the area you are working on that would be willing to help you, or that would be willing to trade their talents and expertise for yours.  For example, if you are interested in writing perhaps you have a friend that is a writer or a teacher and could help edit and give pointers, in exchange for you helping them with a website, planting a garden or painting their fence.

Please share what plans and ideas you have in the comments.  We can all learn from each other!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Defining the Path: Destination 3

Destination #3:  Be More Giving Of Myself

  • I want to volunteer.  I honestly don't know where I want to volunteer yet.  There are a lot of charities and places that interest me.  What I need to do here is find out what would be the best fit for me.  I would love to volunteer in every organization that I found worthwhile, but there isn't enough time in my life.  My goal is to start slow; write a list of pros and cons; pick the organization that best fits my needs and capabilities, and provides me the the most fulfillment; then volunteer four hours a week.
  • I want to be a better spouse.  I tell my husband that I love him everyday, but there is so much more I could do for him.  I want to listen to him more, talk to him more often and spend more time being with him.  He works a lot and I'd love to spend his off hours relaxing and having fun with him instead of cleaning the house or giving him a huge "Honey-Do" List, or running errands.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Defining the Path: Destination 2

Destination #2:  Be Healthy And Active

  • I want to maintain my healthy eating habits.  I have been eating extremely well since January 4, 2010.  Some of my in-laws started a Biggest Loser Competition and that was enough motivation for me to change the way I eat.  I would like to continue eating as well as I have been since January, even after my family competition ends.
  • I want to run a marathon.  My family's Biggest Loser Competition has helped motivate me to be more active, but I definitely could be doing a lot better in this area.  I do enjoy running and would like to be able to do so for an extended distance without needing to use my inhaler. 
  • I want to join an indoor sports league.  I really like to play soccer and football, although I have never played in an organized setting before.  I think that this would be fun and interesting, as well as a great way to meet new people. 
  • I want to take Tae Kwon Do.  I took Tae Kwon Do for a while in junior high.  I really enjoyed it at the time, but I was always too shy to take the test to advance to the next belt.  As a result I never got past a high yellow belt.  As this was another activity I really enjoyed, not to mention a very active sport, I'd love to take this up again.  It also wouldn't hurt to be able to protect myself, though I hope I am never in a position where I would need to. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Defining the Path: Destination 1

The definition of your goal depends entirely upon you.  No one else.  After all, we're here to live our own lives, so it is up to each of us to define what that means to us.  Your spouse can't tell you, your parents can't tell you, your friends can't tell you, only you can say what the difference between living and existing is.

What does becoming a better musician mean to me?  Here are the specific goals I have for this area.

Destination #1:  Become A Better Musician

  • I want to play the guitar reasonably well.  I want to be able to pick up a guitar and play a variety of songs for my own amusement and to entertain others.  The object here is not to be the next Carlos Santana, it's just for fun.
  • I want to play the violin amazingly well.  I played the violin for 6 years; however that was a long time ago.  I was once extremely talented in this area, and I am hoping that all the talent I once had is not gone forever.  I want to be good enough to play first chair in the orchestra/symphony of my choosing or to be a solo performer.  (The goal is not to play first chair or be a professional soloist, but I want to be good enough that I could be.)
  • I want to play the piano amazingly well.  I played the piano for 6 years, and like the violin that was a long time ago.  Unlike the violin I was never extremely talented in this area; however I wasn't a complete dunce at it.  The end goal here is to be able to play at a concert pianist level.
  • I want to sing amazingly well.  Music is obviously something that I love, and like the other instruments, I have been singing for quite a long time.  At this time I don't have the self confidence to say that I want to be a soloist, but I love singing in a choir and would love to be good enough to join an elite choral group.
What specific goals do you have in mind?  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finding Your Destination(s)

Finding your destination(s) may be easy for you, or perhaps it will be difficult.  Maybe you've never dared to think about it before.  Dare now!  Take 10-20 minutes to write a list of all the things you enjoy and want to accomplish in life.  Don't think about anything else except what you want to accomplish, and what brings you joy.  These don't have to be fleshed out ideas right away; we'll work on defining them and how to reach them later.  Now is not the time to worry about how you're going to get there, now is the the time to figure out where there is

Now that you've made your list, go through it and decide which areas really matter to you.  What areas truly reflect your core values?  You can have as many or as few destinations as you wish; this is your recipe for happiness.

Next, go through your list and group them in to common themes if there are any.  Those themes are your destinations; the groupings are a bit of detail on which paths to follow to get to your destination.

Here is a list of my destinations as an example:

1)  Become a better musician.
2)  Be healthy and active.
3)  Be more giving of myself.

Perhaps you will find that I have similar destinations to yours or perhaps you will find that your destinations and mine differ greatly, but we can still learn from each other.  With just a bit of tweaking you may be able to adjust my steps to become your own no matter what our differing end goals may be.

What destinations are you seeking?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Journey Begins

How many of us wake up one day to discover that we are not living the life we dreamed of living?  How many of us realize that we have stopped living and are only existing?  There are so many people in this world that want a change, but don't actively pursue it.  I don't want to be that type of person any longer, I want a change and I am going to make one.  It's time to improve the quality of my life!

Now that I have decided to live instead of merely exist, what's next?  What needs to be done to improve the quality of my life?  I believe what I need to do is let my life reflect my core values, do what I love and pursue my dreams until they become reality.  If you feel the same, then let's get started!  It's a long process, but if you're actively pursuing your passions, the journey will be worth it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I imagine that this first post will be atypical for the plans I have for this blog.  I am not a very religious person, although I feel blessed to have grown up in a relatively religious family.  I still hold many beliefs that were instilled in me by my parents and church leaders; however I am not the best example of a member of my religion.

There are many areas of my life that I am unhappy with, and I wish to make several changes in the direction that my life is going.  It would be foolish of me to think I could make this journey alone.  I know that only through God will these positive and worthwhile changes stick.

I want my first post to be a declaration that I know God loves me and wants what is best for me.  I know that God listens to me, even though I don't talk to him as often as I should.

I look forward to turning this new leaf and am honored that He will be with me every step of the way.

God bless you on your journey too!