4 of My Top Books For Self Improvement

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There seems to be a lot of self-improvement books out there this days-no matter what kind of self-improvement you are looking for!  But, what about those of us who sometimes have a hard time staying motivated?  Or, what about those of us that are easily distracted?  No fear, there is hope for us too!

Self-Improvement Books

All the books on my list are books that I have personally read and feel strongly about.  I have not incorporated every idea they present, but I always take a lot away from them.  And trust me, some of the books here are effective even if you only take only one thing away from it and incorporate it into your life!  I have taken only one idea from one of these books in particular, but HOLLY COW has it made a difference in how I do things!  Can you take a guess which one it is?  Ps-These books are not in any certain order 🙂

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How To Make A Vision Board For Goal Setting

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At the end of January, many people feel frustrated with the lack of progress on their goals.  I know I am one. But, what if we are approaching it wrong?

These are the things that many people say you need in order to be successful in reaching your goals.  I do believe that all of them play an important role and the top 3 I found were:

  • Find an accountability partner
  • Write your goals down on paper
  • Do frequent check-ins

Again, all these things are important for many reasons, but they are missing the visual effect…

vision board

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Getting Back On Track With Goals & Resolutions

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You know that feeling-the one wondering what happened?

You were so excited and ready to challenge yourself with your new goals.

Well, life happened.  Maybe you ate chocolate and your diet was done for.  Or, maybe you decided not to get up one morning to work out and that same thing happened every single morning after that.

Sound Familiar?

If so, you are not alone, I fell off the boat too.

goalsandresolutions

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My Own Happiness Project-Themes

My Own Happiness Project-Themes

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Every few years I find myself going through a rut in my life where something(or many things) need to change.  The last time I went through this, I felt as though I was going through a mid-life crisis.  (If you want to check that out, I talk about that here.)  When going through these ruts, I find myself always wondering if I am happy and what I am doing to be happy?  When I start doing this refection, I find that I am coming up short on what I consider being happy.  Then comes the part where I need to do some digging, what am I doing that is perhaps causing my unhappiness?  What leads me to happiness?  What things could I do to change it?  These are deep questions that take some time to ponder.  During this time of when I was thinking(this last time), I started reading books of others journeys to happiness. My two favorite books have been(click on for more info):

Both books have helped me self-reflect and make a change for the better.  Many years ago Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia was very inspirational as I was needing a drastic change in my life.  Currently, I need a change, but not as big of one that was needed many years ago.  The change I needed now is more of a lifestyle change.  After reading The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. I knew it was something I wanted to do not only for myself but everyone around me.

What Next?

After deciding to pursue my own Happiness Project, I needed to come up with a name for it-something to make it my own. I had a name immediately and it was quite obvious.  “A New Ending”  would be the name of this new project of making a lifestyle change.

The next important step was picking out my theme and goals for every month.  In the Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin works on a new theme every month with “bite-sized” resolutions.  I personally think this is why I resonated with this book so much because I can do that!  If it isn’t working after a month, I do not need to do it anymore, but at least I tried it.

My 12 Themes were:

  1. Gain My Sanity Back
  2. Learning To Be Better With Money
  3. Love My Significant Other More
  4. Work-Focus On Me
  5. Steps To Be a Better Mom
  6. Don’t Take Myself So Seriously
  7. Be a Better Friend
  8. What Religion and Spirituality Means To Me
  9. Do Something I Love
  10. Take An Interest In Others Around Me
  11. Have an Attitude Others Want
  12. Reflect

    Happiness Project-A New Ending
    My Partial List

Setting Up a Plan

Now that I had set my themes, I knew some resolutions that I wanted to complete in some months, so I wrote them down under the appropriate title. Overall, I did not want to put down too many resolutions so I had room for “growth” for my everchanging life!

After all this thinking about my themes for each month, it was was time for a mental break.  I knew it was important to take a mini break to let myself reflect on my ideas so I did not feel so overwhelmed.

Then it was on to the next step, the “Rules To Live By.”

Stay tuned…

~Jessi

How Having Kids Changed My Thinking

I was the kid that wasn’t supposed to have kids-because I wanted it that way…

Then, life gets thrown at you.  The person I was dating already had a child and I became an instant mom.  Walking the fine line of being a part-time Step-Mom went to full-time Step-Mom.  (This a has been a challenge and a blessing, for many more reasons than what you are thinking).  Then, a positive pregnancy test comes along when I wasn’t expecting it, even though I was well aware of what can happen.  I still remember my moms confused reaction when I told her I was pregnant…

Before having kids, I was completely career driven(and even for a little while after).  Why would someone sacrifice themselves for kids?  Even if they did, use daycare, grandparents, and babysitters so they do not become a huge distraction.  I used to wonder why more people didn’t do this, but I think it is a hard one to answer for some until they have children and are able to reflect on it-if they ever do.

I know people who have not let children slow down their careers or social lives.  But, after having a few hills to climb, I have found that is not the path for me.  It is not always the most “fun” way to spend my time, but I am a big girl that also has to be a mom.

Having kids has changed my thoughts on life.  My focus has changed-and for the better.  I no longer want to jump in a rat race to have the largest house, the best cars, and the prettiest clothes- in other words, I no longer feel the need to keep up with society.  Why would I?  Is the sacrifice of not knowing my children worth it?  No.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot have these things, or that you should completely sacrifice yourself for your child.  I DO NOT believe in that either.


Here is what I challenge you to:

  • Yes, we all need some time away from the kids, BUT, maybe only allow one time a week or month to go out without your kids. It is important to have some time with your significant other.
  • If funds do not allow you to go out, do things that you could do is find a way to include the kids-maybe do a family game night. After the kids go to bed, continue to play the game with your significant other.
  • Spend time with another couple that has kids around the age of your own.  Or, trade off babysitting the kids so they can go out one night and them you another.

Let’s face it-did you want to hang out with your parents when you were a teenager?  I bet most of you would say a…um, well, NO(ugh, so embarrassing)!  Enjoy the time with your kids when they still WANT to hang out with you!  Use that time to bond and build a good foundation for the (sometimes difficult) years ahead.  Do not completely sacrifice yourself for your children.  That is not healthy for anyone, plus what will you have when your children leave? You may be viewed as a clingy parent and a child-in-laws worst nightmare.

Maybe you do not agree with my thoughts, and I am no expert!  I am just a parent trying to figure it out…

If you had to challenge yourself as a parent to do something different with your children, what would that be?

~Jessi