Building Your Routine (Harnessing the Power of Habit) | Summer Boot Camp

Good evening! It’s Monday!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know two things:

  1. my fam moved into a new house
  2. I went on a mini vacation to Chicago to visit some friends this past weekend.

And if you read the blog, you’ll also know that I’m behind in my boot camp. I reeaally wanted to just quit since I’m already behind BUT! there is still time so I’m pressing forward. This third post in my experiment is about building a routine.

3 Building Your Daily Routine

So when I was planning to do this boot camp, I didn’t really factor in moving from one dwelling to another and how much that would impact this process. Oh goodness, have I so quickly forgotten what it’s like to load up your life in boxes and not be able to find anything for days? I own more stuff than I’ve owned in a very long time finding my groove again is slow in coming. This is going to be a difficult week to build a routine.

However, on the flip side, with this move comes a shorter commute to work, more space to work at home if I want to, and more room to do early morning things without disturbing the rest of the house which is a huge plus!

One thing that I’m working on this summer is my morning routine. I wrote about this in my post, The Ultimate War Room Game Changer as well as My 5 Simple Rules for the Best Morning Ever. Mornings are such a great time to get things done if you carve out the time. It’s much easier to roll out of bed just in time to take a quick shower, maybe grab something to eat and rush out the door to my job. It’s much more challenging to wake up early enough to have my quiet time, get in a work out, do some writing, drink water, eat breakfast, and get ready for work.

The benefits are huge but the habit is hard to come by.

This week, I’m going to start building my morning routine again. Now that my life and circumstances have changed, I need to tweak what I’d been doing before. The process is simple:

  1. list the activities I want to get done in the morning
  2. address the trade offs–what needs to be done, given up, or rescheduled in order for me to accomplish these tasks?
  3. plot them out on a schedule
  4. try it out for a set amount of days
  5. tweak as necessary
  6. Don’t give up. Work at it until it’s a habit.

That is my assignment for the next week, maybe two. My family is going out of town for the 4th of July weekend so I’m going to need a little extra time…

As far as habits are concerned, I’ve got a couple of books on my list that deal with early morning as well as habits.

5 AM Miracle

The 5 AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders {Amazon}

I actually started this book earlier this year but haven’t finished it. Sanders also has a podcast by the same name that I’ve listened to for awhile and definitely recommend as well. I’m going to revisit this one during this process :).

better-than-beforeBetter Than Before by Gretchen Rubin {Amazon}

I’ve had my eye on this book for a long time but haven’t pulled the trigger and purchased it yet. But I love Rubin’s podcast, Happier, which she co-hosts with her sister Elizabeth Craft and it’s high time I check this book out. In it, Rubin talks about what she calls the 4 Tendencies and how they relate to habits and living a happy life. You can take the 4 Tendencies quiz HERE on her website. Check out her site, her books and her podcast, she’s got great stuff! I plan to purchase this book before the week is over.

Trade-offs, schedules, and lists. This is some of the stuff of productivity and project and life management. Fun. Hard but fun.

On that note, I’ve got to prep to hit the sack. It’s 8:30 and I need to be in bed in the next half hour if I’m going to get up in time to start re-building my routine. Here we go!

Good night!


The blogger at Purple Ink Studios is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Embracing the Quarterly Season (Setting Smarter Goals) | Summer Boot Camp

Good Evening! It’s Monday!!

This is supposed to be a morning post but I didn’t have enough time to finish and post before leaving for work. However, it is a Monday post and even though it’s been a looooooong day and I was seriously considering skipping this post, a deadline is a deadline so press forward I shall!

This week, I’m tackling setting smarter goals.

2 Embracing the Quartely Season

Last Monday, I wrote about writing a mission statement and redefining resolutions. I have written my personal mission statement and while I’m still working on my resolutions, I did write my goals for the remainder of the year. With six months left in the year, there is still plenty of time to get a lot done.

In the past, I would just write a list at the beginning of the year with all the goals I wanted to accomplish. Something like this:

  • Exercise every day
  • Learn how to drive a stick shift
  • Learn how to play the guitar
  • Sleep more
  • Read the Bible everyday
  • Blog 3 times a week

Does this look familiar? By the end of the year, I’d maaaybe have one or two things done. The thing about goals is that you can’t just write them down. Goals have to turn into task lists. You have to break them down into actionable items, otherwise they’re just going to sit there and collect dust. So for instance, for exercising, a task list could look something like:

  • Get a gym membership
  • Schedule days during the week to go to the gym
  • By work out clothes and new gym shoes
  • Make a list of pre and post workout shakes
  • Set a fitness goal (weight loss, strength training, etc.)
  • Find a work out buddy
  • Lose 50 pounds
  • Buy new wardrobe when desired goal is reached

You get the idea. But instead of creating task lists for the entire year, break it up into the quarterly seasons (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec). Identify what needs to be done for each of your goals and plot those items in the quarter you want to get them done. Don’t try and do everything at once, spread activities out so you’re not overwhelming yourself. Maybe a goal spans en entire year, maybe just one or two seasons. A first quarter schedule could look like this:

January:

  • Set fitness goal
  • Get gym membership
  • Figure out which days work best for working out. Coordinate with work schedule, family responsibilities, social engagements, sleep schedule, etc. (Allow at least two weeks to find a good rhythm)
  • Buy new work out clothes

February

  • Research pre and post workout shakes
  • Find a work out buddy
  • Track progress through this month

March

  • Lose 5 pounds this month
  • Research healthy lunches to bring to work and cut out sugary drinks this month and track progress

I’m just throwing out examples, not suggesting any particular order necessarily. You get what I’m saying though. Quarters are good chunks of time to divvy up a task list–not too long to lose steam and not to short that you can’t get a lot done.

The reality of goals is we probably won’t get everything done on a list and that’s okay. Life happens, plans change, you tweak and adjust and move on. The point is to have a good starting point and a framework for planning things out.

There are 2 quarters left in the year–July through Sept and October through December–so this week, I will be writing out my goals some task lists for the next quarter at least.

My to-do list for this week is short and sweet:

  • Write my task lists for the goals I wrote last week.

Right now though, it is way past my bed time and I have a staff meeting at work I have to leave a bit early for!

Good night y’all!

Writing Your Personal Mission Statement (Redefining Your Resolutions) | Summer Boot Camp

Good Morning! It’s Monday!!!

It’s also June. Can you believe how fast this year is flying? Not too long ago, I sat and reviewed the past few months and compared them to the things I want to accomplish this year, I couldn’t help feeling a tad overwhelmed.

“How in the world am I going to get all of this done?!”

“Forget it, I’ll never get any of this done.”

Does this happen to you? You get to the middle of the year and feel like those resolutions you wrote in January are now so unachievable and maybe even a tad bit ridiculous. You didn’t exercise the way you wanted to, you’re still eating junk food, and you’re not getting enough rest. You’re still glued to those bad habits and your desire to be more patient flies out the window when that stupid driver cuts you off on the way to work. Yeeeah, I know, me too.

After looking at my list a second time, I decided that my goals are not ridiculous and I should give it another go. When you’ve failed at your new years resolutions, you don’t despair, you just revisit and redefine them.

What to do When You've Failed at Your New Years Resolutions

So this month I’m doing a summer bootcamp for myself. I did a bootcamp in December to prep for the upcoming resolutions I was going to make (you can check out that post here.) It was a rather successful attempt at setting myself up for the new year but now it’s June and it’s time to go back to the drawing board. It’s time for another bootcamp.

This is totally experimental–I’m not writing from expertise. Over the next several weeks, on Monday morning, I’m going to write about an aspect of goal setting that I want to address in my life this summer. At the end of each post, I’ll write my goal(s) for the week.

Part of this personal bootcamp is making myself publicly accountable so I’m going to share my 4 topics right here:

  1. Writing a Personal Mission Statement
  2. Embracing the Quarterly Seasons
  3. Building Your Daily Routine
  4. Getting in Gear for the Next Season

Okay, enough of the prologue, let’s talk about mission statements and redefining resolutions!

1 Writing Your Personal Mission Statement

First of all, what is a mission statement?  Well, in a company or an organization, a mission statement explains why the organization exists and its focus. This is important for decision making. When you know what your focus is, you can better filter opportunities. You know better when to say yes and when to say no. For some example mission statements, check out this article.

A personal mission statement is the same. It also states a focus. When you’re able to express your life focus, you can better filter your opportunities. You also know how to better respond to unexpected situations. You know when to say yes and no. This doesn’t mean you never make mistakes, but it does give you a home base to start from and come back to when you’ve veered off course.

This statement doesn’t have to be profound or fancy, it just has to be you. It has to reflect your passions, your priorities, your beliefs, and your direction.

Now, what does a mission statement have to do with resolutions? Well, what does the word resolve mean? Resolve means to determine to do something. When you know what your life focus is, in the form of a mission statement, you can break that down or expound on it in the form of resolutions. What are you determined to accomplish? What do you want people to remember you by? What chances do you want to take? What you need less of? More of? What changes do you need to make? All of this is reflected in your resolutions.

Here’s where it’s important to not confuse resolutions with goal setting. They seem similar but I like to think that resolutions are big picture and goal setting is more detailed work. What do I mean by that? For instance,

Resolution: Commit to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Goal: Drink 8 glasses of water every day. 

Goal: Work out at least 3 times a week.

Resolution: Spend quality time with my family

Goal: Plan family vacation

Goal: Have family fun night once a week

Goal: Eat dinner together at least 3 times a week

See the difference? And from goals, you build tasks lists:

  • Bring water bottle to work
  • Check off bottles finished as I drink

 

  • Set out workout clothes every night before bed
  • Make after-workout smoothie

 

  • Don’t schedule anymore Thursday afternoon meetings
  • Start family vacation fund

Goals & tasks sometimes ‘look alike’ and there’s no right or wrong, the point is to break things down into actionable items so they get done. It can be easy to get something on paper but action can be a totally different story!

So as you go through and review your failed resolutions, consider starting with the bigger picture–your life. Instead of writing another list of resolutions, write a life mission statement. After that, follow it up with a life resolution list. From there, write down the goals you want to accomplish to fulfill those resolutions. From there, you can construct your daily, weekly, monthly task lists.

For some example mission statements, check out this article

LifeMission Statement

My goals for this week are to:

  • Write my personal mission statement
  • Write my life resolutions
  • Write my goal list for the rest of the year

I’ll report my progress next Monday on my next post about using the quarterly seasons to organize and plan your goals rather than having them scattered haphazardly across an entire year.

If you’d like to explore mission statements, resolutions, and life planning further, then I HIGHLY recommend Michael Hyatt’s new book Living Forward (Amazon). I just finished the audiobook recently and it’s very good!

Living Forward Book

Have a great Monday y’all!

How to Jumpstart Your New Year’s Resolutions | December Boot Camp

The year is quickly coming to a close. In the midst of all the wonderful holiday bustle, something else is jumping around the corners of our minds: New Year’s resolutions. *Dun dun dun*

In past years, my resolutions came as sort of an after thought. On January 1st, I’d make a list of the things I wanted to accomplish and change in my life and then, well, that was pretty much it. By the time February or March rolled around, I had either forgotten my list or hadn’t made any real changes that turned into progress. I had good intentions but no real action. This year, I decided something had to change or 2016 would just be a pathetic repeat of the past. My solution was to do a boot camp.

What is a boot camp?
In episode 33 of one of my favorite podcasts, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth discuss the benefits of tackling a project in the form of a boot camp. The idea is to set up a specific amount of time to tackle something that may be difficult or not necessarily enjoyable and have some fun with it in order to get it done. It’s a short amount of intensive concentration on a particular project. I love this concept! You can make anything into a boot camp from cleaning the hall closet to potty training your child. In my case, I decided on a December boot camp. 

How does it work?
First, you have to define the problem you want to solve or the task you want to complete and then work out a process to solve the problem or get the job done.

I have 2 problems to address:
  1. Not having a plan for taking intentional, actionable steps toward my goals.
  2. Bad habits hindering my progress.
So I need 2 solutions:
  1. Figure out the ways I best engage with a project or task and then use those things to thoroughly engage with my goals and tasks.
  2. Tackle the bad habits that are keeping me from getting things done, thus jumpstarting the new year.
Now that we know the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a boot camp, let’s set set up.
new year's resolutions

1. Decide How You Best Engage with Tasks

As a paper addict and nerdy planner girl, it’s a no-brainer that planners and notebooks are the key to keeping me on track. The acts of writing things down and being crafty keeps me engaged and helps me keep lists and priorities in check. If you’re not the creative type, decide how you best engage with task completion. Maybe it’s a simple to do list and reward system. Maybe you need an accountability partner or a buddy to work alongside with. If you’re not sure what your tendencies and preferences are, then you can use the boot camp to experiment with different ways to get things done. 

2. Create a Dashboard

Lister extraordinaire, Corie, The Reset Girl, did an awesome scope where she showed her master planner list (your can watch the replay on katch.me/theresetgirl). My mind was blown and something inside me clicked–I needed to create a planner system. I’ll go into detail about my master planner system in another post but basically it is my dashboard from which I operate. Again, you don’t have to be into planners and all the bells and whistles for this to work but I HIGHLY recommend getting a simple notebook and calendar to keep track of your objectives and progress throughout the boot camp.

3. Determine Resolution Objectives
Since I’m tackling my New year’s goals and resolutions,  I need to know what my goals are. What do I want to accomplish next year? What are my short term projects? What are my long term lifestyle changes? You don’t have to figure out everything now, you just need to figure out what direction you’re going in so you can determine how to get started.

4. Determine Bootcamp Objectives
Now that you know where you want to go, now you have to decide what you want your boot camp to accomplish. I want my boot camp to lock down the necessary habits I’ll need to accomplish my goals. Things like tracking health and fitness, sticking to a sleep schedule and committing to regular prayer and Bible study require good, healthy habits. During my boot camp, I’m going to experiment,  research and practice the things that will help me lock down those habits, giving me a jump start for the new year.

5. Set a Time Frame
I’m doing my boot camp for the 31 Days of December. Yeah, it’s kind of the craziest time to be doing this but it’s also the perfect time because when January 1st comes, I’ll have a running start! If you want to do a December Boot Camp but your schedule is super jam packed, then try a week or 10 days. 

6. Do Your Research
Read. Watch YouTube videos. Ask questions. Do what you have to do to know what you want to know. And then…

7. Take Good Notes
Track your progress, note what didn’t work so you know to try something different. Keep tabs on what you responded well to and what made you tick. You’re going to want this information later on, believe me!

8. Give Yourself Some Grace
This is a time for practice and progress, NOT perfection. So if you skip something or a plan doesn’t work out the way you want it to, don’t stress, just keep going.


A new year means new goals & new challenges. As you think about your new year’s resolutions for 2016, be intentional about finding the best ways to keep yourself on track! Make it a boot camp and jumpstart your resolution success!

Happy planning!

Confessions of a Homeschool Veteran: Would I Do It Over Again?

I’m a homeschool veteran.

Almost two decades after my parents took me out of the traditional, private school system, I can look back and say that I’m blessed with a great academic story.
CONFESSIONS OF A Homeschool Veteran 2

In my last post, I addressed the myth of socialization when it comes to homeschooling. As an adult, rarely ever get the socialization question anymore (thank goodness!) but I do get this question quite often:

Did you like being homeschooled?

In a word – yes.

I’m so glad my parents decided to homeschool the Bro and me. In my opinion, I think it’s one of the best things they did for us and I am forever grateful!

However…

there were days when I hated it ><.

Oh my goodness, there were days when my Bro got on my nerves, my parents got on my nerves, and when I most certainly got on all of theirs. Days weren’t perfect, circumstances weren’t always ideal, there were annoyances, irritations, and messes. It’s the stuff of life and we certainly had our share.

I’m not completely sure but I feel like there may be a misconception that if a family is homeschooling then they must have their act together and get along all the time. This is simply not the case. I don’t know every homeschool family but I’ll bet you that even though they most definitely love each other, there are Mondays, late days, rainy days, sick days, grumpy days, won’t-shut-up days, bad hair days, and every other day in-between. Every family has their struggles, pet peeves, arguments, and challenges, and homeschooling families are right there in the trenches with everyone else. The difference with homeschooling families is that they have to figure out how to spend a whole lot of time learning, playing, and working together through the messy stuff that is called family life. There isn’t an escape to traditional school or day job – you’re stuck with one another all day long. I’m not going to lie, it was a drag sometimes.

BUT! There were so many more wonderful days! Lots of experimenting in the kitchen, inventing games, dressing up and putting on shows, reading stacks of library books, bike riding, painting, sewing, music lessons, story writing…. these were sweet, sweet years. I’m not saying that traditionally schooled kids don’t get to do fun stuff, but I will argue that homeschooled kids have more time to dig into their hobbies and passions – a fact for which I am grateful!

Of course, homeschooling isn’t all fun and games. We had to work hard too. And here’s where the essence of home education comes out. Everybody learns differently, no two students are alike. When done right, homeschooling gives students the freedom to work at their own pace, excel in the subjects they are naturally good at and hone in on those they find more challenging. I’ll talk about this a little more in my next post.    


So, if given the chance, I would do it all over again. Are there things we wish we had done better? Of course! Who doesn’t wish that? No one can look back and say that they’re satisfied with every single thing they’ve done, that they handled every situation well, that they made all the right decisions or took advantage of every opportunity. Homeschoolers are no exception.

I’m thankful to have been homeschooled with all the ups, downs, twists, turns, and bad days. It’s an adventure I wouldn’t trade for the world and it’s given me the freedom to grow into the person I am today.

If you homeschooled your kids or were homeschooled yourself, would you do it over again? What would you have done differently? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Confessions of a Homeschool Veteran: The Myth About Socialization

I’m a homeschool veteran.

I can say that because my mother started homeschooling me and the Bro when I began the second grade. I’m so glad she did. Granted, this was back in the mid-nineties and my little, second-grade self didn’t know what homeschooling even was and the thought of leaving my friends was quite alarming. But I quickly settled into it and grew to love my new lifestyle.

Now, I’m about to finish my BA and starting to think back on my educational journey.  What do I have to say now that I’m reaching this landmark in my life?

A lot.

This will be a series of posts about my experiences as a homeschooled student. Yes, there are misconceptions that I’ll address but there are also points of interest that I can share now that I’m an adult and have been through it.   

This is Confessions of a Homeschool Veteran.

CONFESSIONS OF A Homeschool Veteran 1 (1)

You can guess from the graphic what topic I’m going to address first. Yes, I’d like to bust a myth:

Homeschoolers and socialization.  

This has got to be the most popular myth about homeschooling. All my life my parents were asked all kinds of questions like, “But do your kids socialize?”,  “Aren’t you worried your kids won’t be socialized?”, “Do they have a social life?”

In one word – YES!  Yes to all of those questions.

Let me explain something that I think people who ask these questions seem to forget. You ready for this?

Everybody worries about socialization. Period. 

I don’t think there is a parent on this planet with a school-aged child that doesn’t worry about their child’s social life no matter their schooling situation. I mean c’mon, you remember what it was like to be a kid, right?  It’s hard to make friends. It’s hard to keep a stiff upper lip when no one wants to sit next to you at lunch. It’s hard to find your place in a group. Guess what? Traditionally schooled kids have socialization issues too. In fact, let me be so bold as to say that traditionally schooled kids have potentially more socialization issues than do homeschooled kids. There are a lot of reasons for that but this isn’t the post. I think we all know enough about peer pressure, bullying, cliques, and battered self-worth to get the picture.

Just because a child doesn’t go to a traditional school doesn’t mean they can’t be socialized.  And by the same token, just because a child goes to a traditional school doesn’t mean they’re properly socialized either. I mean, heck, adults have socialization issues! We learn a thing or two about communicating as we age but we can be just as socially awkward as we were when we were adolescents. We’re all different and our educational situations don’t necessarily determine our social comfort levels. It’s something we all have to learn and some of us are naturally better at it than others. 

Having said all that, I’ll admit it, there are some socially awkward homeschoolers out there. But just because you may have come across one of them, doesn’t mean that’s how the rest of us are.  Don’t lump us together, please. Homeschoolers come in all stripes and types and I know that as human beings we naturally stereotype cultures and sub-cultures, but just like not all black people like fried chicken, (yes, I went there and yes, I’m half black) not all homeschoolers are socially awkward. Back off the stereotypes, don’t be so quick to make assumptions, and get to know a homeschooled student before you make a judgement call.  


Whenever I hear the socialization myth, I laugh cause I think it’s so ridiculous. Let me just say, I have never once been told that I have a problem socializing. The Bro and I were involved in extracurricular activities as kids, we’ve always been active at church and have never lacked friends. I grew up being able to have conversations with people my parents’ age and older and liking it! And while homeschoolers are quick to say that the average, traditionally schooled child isn’t capable of doing this, I’m slower to make that judgement call because everyone is different. There are great communicators from every educational background and I don’t think anyone really wants to be negatively defined by their education anymore than I do. 

We should be defined by what we do with our education, not by how we got it. 

EducationDefinition

So, next time you meet a homeschooled student, don’t let the question of socialization be the first thing to pop out of your mouth. Do like everyone else and ask them about their favorite subject. Believe me, they’ll tell you!