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Hi all!

Sorry, I’ve been away for a while. I took a trip to visit with my brother in Phoenix and got to hang out with my sister for a few days. When I’m with family I spend time with them and avoid online activities for the most part, including this blog, to really enjoy my time with my friends and family without distraction.

I’ve made a few adjustments to my life this year that have proven to be tremendous. I’d like to share these with you. The first change was my journaling practice. Toward the end of last year, I had a gratitude journal, a dream journal, the 5-minute journal, and the Bestself journal. Journaling is awesome, but all of these separate journals became too complex and started eating away at the benefit of journaling itself. So, when things get too complex I simplify. I now have one journal, a simple, 6-dollar journal by Amazon that I use for everything. I use it for my gratitude 3 (morning and evening) where I write down three things I’m grateful for. I do an affirmation exercise writing out what “I AM” fifteen times. I also locate and write down a meaningful quote each day.

The second change was the calendar system I was using. I used to use the Bestself calendar and Google calendar. Again, this was too complex, duplicating my efforts, and causing me to update two different calendars. The solution: Simplify. I now only use Google Calendar to track my important appointments and events that I will attend.

The third change was social media. I was predominantly on LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter. Well, a week ago, I discovered my Twitter account had been hacked. I decided to dump all of my social media to save myself time, lower my stress levels, and just simplify my life. I’ll tell you something. I don’t miss this at all. My phone is actually a phone again. When I spend time with someone I spend time with them. I am not constantly checking my phone for the next update on one of these huge “time bandits” to see if someone liked one of my postings. I may revive Facebook at some point, but for now, social media is gone and I’m not going back in the near future.

The fourth change was in my workout routines. I love the gym. I love to exercise. I love the feeling of satisfaction you get when you complete your workout routine. I adjusted my workout routine to a 7-day schedule and work one body part per day. Back, Chest, Legs, Shoulders, Arms and forearms, and abs and lower back. Day 7 is a day off with cardio only. Right now I only do the strength training for each body part, but will slowly integrate cardio into these workouts as I begin this routine in earnest. I normally workout in my home during the months of December and January because of the bad weather we get in Michigan and because I don’t like to deal with the big crowds in the gym at the first of the year. By late February early March, the New Year’s resolution crowds are gone and the gym is a great haven for health and stress relief.

The last change is my pursuit of publishing a book. I’m currently in a Master’s degree program pursuing a degree in Education, with an emphasis in Special Education. I’ve discovered that it is just too much work to work on a book and try to negotiate a Master’s degree simultaneously. The solution: Simplify. I will finish the degree, then pick up my book writing afterward.

Now that you know all of the changes I’ve made, let’s take a look at my priorities this year. First, I always seek improvement in 4 areas of life. These areas are physical, intellectual, spiritual, and social.

Intellectual -I learn something new every day (I do this by my schooling and free courses I find online). Right now I’m taking a free course on the Constitution offered by Hillsdale College, located right here in my state of Michigan. I also read a lot of blog articles and other articles recommended by the app Pocket.

Physical – I eat right, get plenty of sleep, exercise daily, and use beneficial supplements, the primary one being a good multivitamin. I currently take Opti-men by ON (Optimal Nutrition). I have memberships at two gyms. Planet Fitness so I can go to the gym wherever I find myself; the second is Cutting Edge gym for my weight training.

Spiritual – I journal my dreams, my gratitude, and reflect on my day. I read my bible daily, and pray twice daily (am when I rise and pm before I go to bed). I try to contribute to others by doing a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward. (paying it forward at the drive-through, paying for someone’s groceries, being friendly to people, picking up a mess when I find it, or volunteer at a local food kitchen or something along these lines.

Social – When I spend time with friends and family, my phone is away or off. Since I dumped social media, my phone is rarely a distraction and I can really focus and pay attention to the people I am with. I’m still amazed at all of the people on their phones in a restaurant or other public place when they are with their loved ones. When people are gopping at their phones, it’s like their company isn’t even there. I also took note of all of the social media leaders out there who refuse to let their kids get on social media (big ah-ha for me). If the creators of all of these social media engines refuse to let their kids participate, how good is it for you and me?

So, simplification and minimalism are the watchwords for this year.

I hope some of these ideas help you. The key to all of this is simplicity. Look for the BIG things you can do daily that will contribute the most to you. Look for areas you are doing the same thing two or more times using different things, reexamine your social media, reexamine your priorities, and reset your schedule and rituals. You’ll find you’ll achieve more, you’ll feel better, and you will accomplish a lot more. Most importantly, the important people in your life will take a priority over your phone.

Take care of yourself.

Until next time…