4 Ways To Read Like a Grown Up

I have always been a big reader, ever since I was a child. I have my mother to thank for this for all the hours she spent reading to me through the years. Now, while I love to revisit some of my old favorite books now and again, reading as an adult is and should be much different than it was 15 odd years ago.

After looking back at what I’ve read in 2015, I decided to be a bit more intentional next year. I want to be more mature about my reading habits. How is that done, you ask? Oh, let me tell you the ways! Well let me tell you the 4 ways I’ve come up with to read like a grown up ;). 

4 Ways to Read Like a Grown Up

Read Broadly

We all like our comfort zones–even as readers. But you never get anywhere in life by remaining comfortable–even as readers. Do you lean toward the same genre or two and never venture out to read more challenging books? Step out and try titles that will that will challenge your intellect, your thought process and opinions. Try something that will inspire your creativity or boost your faith. Don’t cage yourself in with only one kind of book. If you’re not hooked right away, that’s fine but don’t give up! Put the book away for a bit and then come back and try again. Some books take a few tries before your mind settles in.

Reading outside of your comfort zone is like traveling to a new place. You’ll never know all the wonderful things there are to discover if you never embark on an adventure.       

Schedule Your Reading Time

‘I don’t have time to read’ is rarely a legitimate excuse not to crack open a book. Sure there are busy seasons in life but it’s rarely about not having time as much as it is about making time. Let me tell you something: if you’ve got time to watch TV, then you’ve got time to read. If you have time to surf the net, check Twitter, post on Instagram, scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, and binge watch YouTube, then honey, you have got time to read. If you don’t have time to engage in those time-suckers, then yeah, I can believe you don’t have time to read. 

If you really want to read more, then schedule a time. Can you work 20 minutes into your morning routine? Maybe tuck a book into your bag for a read during lunch? Or 30 minutes before bed (great way to relax and decompress FYI)? Replace Netflix with a paperback? Being intentional about setting a specific reading time will get you into a comfortable groove and you’ll be knocking titles off that reading list in no time!  

Take Notes

I don’t mean to make reading sound like a chore but taking notes is a great way to retain more of what you read. We all know it from school. Those note taking skills you mastered can come in handy when reading something you want to learn from. And if you weren’t a great note taker in class then this is a good way to brush up. Some people like to keep a notebook while others write in the margins of the book. It can be as simple or as intense as you’d like but either way, if you’re reading for a little more than just pleasure, get out a pencil and put your own words on paper. 

Set Goals

One book a week. Two books a month. One hundred books a year. Decide what’s realistic for you and set some goals. I like to make a list of books I want to read for a month. I don’t always finish all of them, sometimes I’m in the mood to read something totally different. But because I’m the kind of reader who reads, like, 20 books at the same time, it keeps me somewhat organized. And there’s nothing like the satisfaction of checking off that box when you’ve reached that goal!

 


Whether you’re a bookworm or one in the making, reading is an important enough activity to treat it with intention–like a grown up. If you need a place to start, check out my challenge for 2016: 

Challenge yourself next year to read differently than you did this year. Your creativity & intellect will thank you ;).

2016. 20 books. Challenge yourself next year to read differently than you did this year. Your creativity & intellect will thank you 😉

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!

How To Stay on Top of Your Game When You’ve Lost Motivation

With two and a half months away from the end of my degree, and I kid you not it’s a wonderful thing to be so close I can almost taste it but it’s also hard to keep myself motivated these last few miles.  You know how it is when you’re working out and you’ve only got a few more reps, a few more seconds, a few more steps to the finish line and if you can…just…keep…moving…just.a bit…..longer,…you’ll *panting, catching breath*…make it!  Yeah, that’s pretty much where I’m at at the moment.  Motivation to keep up the pace is slowly ebbing away and I do more daydreaming about being done than I do actually doing the work to ensure I finish well!

No matter if you’re nearing a particular finish line, you’re trying to stay afloat in a daily grind that doesn’t seem to have a definable game plan, or your gearing up for a new project or adventure, staying on top of your game can be super difficult sometimes.  Too often, motivation requires motivation.  That’s like a whole other brand of energy and where are you supposed to get that??  As I near my educational finish line and gear up for life after college, I’ve recently tucked a phrase into the pocket of my adulthood to keep me pressing forward –

Want it. Claim it. Do it.

I uttered these words during a conversation with the BF a while ago and liked the way they sounded.  I wrote them down and liked the way they looked too.  Motivation to get or stay motivated requires a starting point.  These words have since become a way to find that starting point and run with it.  Here’s how I break it down and apply them now.

How to Stay Motivated

WANT IT 

First, you’ve got to decide what exactly you want to do.  Are you trying to shift gears into a new wake up/work out routine?  Are you trying to find ways to boost productivity at work?  Maybe you’ve got ideas for a new start up or you’ve got a business plan to rework.  Are you trying to make time for a new hobby or take up an old one?  Are you trying to stick to a study schedule to ensure that you turn in your work on time and never have to race to meet a deadline? (Oh, me! Me! That’s meeeee!)  Write it down. Make a list.  Write down what you need to do in order to finish a project.  Think about what’s necessary and what may be extraneous or unneeded.

When I was planning my new blog and a couple of the other projects I’ve got simmering at the moment, I spent a lot of time sketching out my ideas on big white poster boards in different colored markers.  I scrapped poster after poster until it looked the way I wanted it to.  Physically writing things down and mapping them in bright colors is how I plan things out.  You may do just as well with a legal pad and a No. 2 pencil or a stylus on a smartphone app.  Do whatever works for you in order to get your thoughts out of your head and in front of your eyes.  But definitely WRITE IT DOWN. Want it in print.The more you see something, the more you’re apt to pay attention to it.

When it comes to plans for our lives, always pray and ask God if this is something you should pursue.  We may want something that He may not want for us.  Make sure that you’re following His lead and not just grasping at things that don’t have a place in your life. You may need to get someone else’s trusted opinion.  Depending on what ‘it’ is, you’re going to need varying degrees of counsel on the matter.  There’s an obvious difference between changing up your morning routine and choosing whether or not to accept a new job offer.  Whatever the case may be, take the matter up with God and seek His wisdom and leading.

CLAIM IT

Here’s where I usually fall off the wagon.  I want a lot of things in my life but I don’t claim them.  I don’t talk about my goals.  I don’t think through the action steps that are necessary to make ‘it’ happen.  I don’t plan, strategize, or make time.  Sometimes I don’t think enough of my wishes to make them come alive in my everyday.  After years of wanting and wishing, I finally decided that this kind of lax behavior wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

When I settled on Purple Ink Studios, I started talking about it like it already existed.  I treated it like it was already a part of my life.  I revved up my blogging research, wrote down my ideas, and made plans to make changes to my social media.  Purple Ink Studios existed to me way before the blog went live.  It was scary cause I didn’t know what I was doing some of the time, but I knew it’s what I wanted to do, so I claimed it.

Once you’ve decided you want something, treat it like it’s already  important even if you’re still at the drawing board.  You don’t have to know what you’re doing for it to be meaningful.  Do your research.  Create space to make ‘it’ happen.  It may require giving up something else or reprioritizing.  This is where you evaluate if this is something you really want to do.  We make time for things that are important to us.  If you want it badly enough, you’ll claim it as your project, goal, or lifestyle change.

DO IT

Now you just have to do it.  Easy peasy, right?  Nope.  This is the hard part.  Now you have to put everything into action.  It means changing up your schedule, acquiring a new skill, breaking a bad habit, taking on a new one.  Whatever ‘it’ is that you’re trying to do, if it’s something new, it’s going to take time to get a rhythm going.  You’re probably going to fail once or twice or ten times before you get where you need to be but don’t give up.  Just keep doing it.

One thing that’s so important to remember and it’s something I wrote about in my post, What 2015 Has Taught Me So Far, you have to allow yourself some grace for when you goof up.  Mistakes are a part of life.  We don’t have control over everything so we do the best we can with what we’ve got and when we fall, we pick ourselves up and keep going.  There’s no shame in failure or missteps, but there is shame in giving up simply because ‘it’ was too hard.  You’re better than that.  The path to success isn’t lined with daisies or *insert preferred flower here*, it’s lined with hard work, discipline, and experimentation until we find what works best.

Remember, if you want something badly enough, you’ll claim it and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

If you want something -CTT

So, have you got some goals floating around in your brain but you haven’t quite committed yet?  Or maybe you just need a push to keep going down the path you’re already on.  Start doodling to figure out what exactly what you want.  Do your research, ask around, talk about it, pray about it.  We all need change every once and again.  If something’s tugging at you and you want to make a move toward life improvement, go ahead and really want it.  Then claim it.

Then do it.

Happy Tuesday afternoon!!