Thursday, January 29, 2015

How To Better Myself In 2015 - Part 2

It took me a bit to figure out my next couple of goals for 2015. Part 1 of this post included the two major goals I've had for quite a while, so I had to dig a little deeper to figure out what exactly I wanted from this year.

3) Improve My Skills
Now, this is a very broad goal but overall I would like to improve some skills that I have. Most of them are work related and involve taking a class. All of them will probably involve buying a book because I have a bit of an addiction. Regardless, at the end of 2015 I would like to be able to say that "This year I improved on _____ by doing/taking _____."

4) Maintain a Blog
Am I the only one that finds it funny that I am posting this goal on a blog? Yes? Well I can handle that. Since about 2011 I've started and stopped blogs, but my goal this year is to keep one running for the entire year. It doesn't have to make money, it doesn't have to be good and it doesn't need to have any followers. But I want to prove to myself that I CAN keep a blog going.

Bonus points: I will master time management and discipline. And by master I mean learn some at all.

5) Work On a Hobby
Right now my hobbies include reading and playing xbox. Although reading is not a waste of time, it doesn't take much effort from me. I want to do something creative with my hands. A couple of months ago I took up soap making, which seems to be a pretty big hit with the people I've given the soap to. And I love it. It's fun to stand around the kitchen mixing things and seeing different concoctions come together. Soap will probably be the hobby I focus on. My next step is to learn the cold soap processing method, but I'm having a hard time finding a course close to me.

So, this is what my 2015 (hopefully) has in store for me. And yes, I am aware they aren't SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) but I am working on that. The first goal of all these goals was to decide on my top goals (yes that sentence was on purpose). So now that I have that out of the way, let's focus on a great 2015!

Gosh I am way to cheery sometimes.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Damn Fine Words Contest Entry

The Damn Fine Words contest is as follows: Explain why writing is important to your business success and you could win a scholarship for their February course.

So, here it goes. No pressure or anything!

Right now it would help me with my current job. I'm at the beginning of my marketing career and I'm hungry for skills. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do for the next 60 years of my life, and everything inside of me points to writing. The first step is to learn the basics of copywriting so I can lay a foundation for future success. I'd be able to write those monthly newsletters, update the company blog, without second guessing if what I am writing is good enough.

After scouring the internet for weeks, I came upon Damn Fine Words and realized how well suited it is to the writing goals I want to accomplish and the issues I want to fix. I immediately wrote a list of the top things I always have an issue with when writing.

1) Writing On Command - When the boss says "I need an article written by the end of the week," how do I create a routine to ensure it gets written? I can't afford to spend two days staring at a blank screen. 

2) Using Specific Voices - How do I figure out the voice of a certain brand? And when I do, how do I make sure my writing is in line with that voice?

3) Focusing On A Target - Okay, so he's a 40 year old man but how does that help me write to his needs? I want to be able to dive deeper into the market.

4) Engaging Headlines - This is one of my biggest struggles. I have a hard time figuring out what would get people to open an email or read my blog posts. Do I use "10 Tricks to..." or "How-To..." or "Free Bananas with....". I'm always unsure what the best approach is, and considering it's the first impression, I want to get it right. 

Just looking at what Damn Fine Words has to offer gave me motivation to look further into the future because it made me feel like I could actually write for a living. Heck, I started thinking up business names while lying in bed the night after I read the syllabus. 

One of my goals for 2015 is to figure out everything I need to start going freelance. I've already looked up the how-to's and needs of running my own business, but I don't feel comfortable enough with my skills to charge people for my time. Personally, I need that little piece of validation that confirms for me (and clients, if they ask) that I know what I'm talking about.

Damn Fine Words would give me the confidence and know-how to get my ass in gear. I'd walk away from the course ready to get my hands dirty with real life clients. And in terms of personal growth, I think it would be an amazing step forward for where I want to go with my life. 


Ps. If you've never heard of Damn Fine Words or Men With Pens, check them out! Beyond their advice, their web design is killer :) 

Friday, January 16, 2015

How To Better Myself In 2015 - Part 1

As promised, I have dug into the depths of my soul and pulled out some goals I would like to accomplish this year. I had a hard time narrowing them down, but I think most of them are just subcategories of major ones (is that cheating?). Below are the first 2. I ramble a lot so I figured I'd split them up. (Also I didn't plan this well enough so my other goals aren't fully flushed out ;) 

1. Write More
From an early age, when people asked me to define myself, the word that always came out of my mouth was "writer". I'm a words person. Every day I have ideas spinning around in my head that never make it to paper, or ideas that make it to paper but never get finished. My goal this year is to write as much as I possibly can. This will probably include building a schedule since I suck at discipline.

Fun fact: Contributing to this goal is the phrase "You promised me a published piece of work before I die" that my father casually throws at me when I haven't written in awhile.

2. Take better care of myself
This falls into two main categories: health and stress management. Both are huge factors in me maintaining a certain level of happiness (which has been a bit off lately).

The health side gets broken down into two main subcategories: eat better and exercise regularly. I'm sure you hear this from a lot of people, but I'm working towards it. Mostly I'm just lazy so I sit on the couch and I eat fastfood (like how much of North America?). I've already joined a gym. Check. I have a best friend/personal trainer making me go. Check. Now all I have to do is starting eating better, which does kind of happen after you start exercising. You start to WANT to eat the salad instead of the fries. Eating better, for me, comes down to planning. I am a horrible on-the-spot chef, so I need to plan my meals to make sure I know what I have.

The stress management part of all of this will be hard for me. I am the first person to admit that I am high strung. I like routine and I like plans and when shit doesn't go according to plan it stresses me out. Then I stress out about stressing out because stressing out about stressing out is stupid. On and on. I also don't know how to say no to people, which adds unnecessary stress to myself. The solutions here: learning to stand up for myself and learning meditation.

So those are the first two goals. I guess because they were the first to make themselves known, I'll consider them the most important. 

Stay tuned next week for part 2. And feel free to post your goals as we go! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

It's a New Year Already?

Holy bejesus, it's been two months since I posted! Well almost. I guess just over a month. But really, who other than me was keeping track.

So like every human being when the dawn of a new year shows over the cusp of the horizon, I panic and think about how much time I've wasted doing absolutely NOTHING. Except sit on the couch and read, which I actually don't mind. But in the overall grand scheme of things, that only helps me accomplish one or two of my goals.

I've decided to take the next couple of weeks and write out a mindmap of what I want to accomplish this year. Then I will break it down into edible chunks. Then I will eat all of those chunks until I am a better, chunkier person. One of those chunks will be what I want to do with this blog.

What are the chunks you guys will be trying to force feed yourself this year? Do they revolve around health, skills, family, fun, friends?

I challenge you to write down 5 of your top goals for 2015. I challenge you to achieve them. I challenge you to track your progress so you can look back and go "Shit, I really did that?!". Go write them down!

Next week I'll share with you my top 5 goals. Let's see if I can achieve them.

Oh, look at that, a possible reason to keep a blog!