Asrai Devin- the Maven of Mischief

Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

Tag Archives: goals

#Row80 Checkin January 22

I’m changing my goals this week. I’ve realized somethings I set are not working for me, and since they are my goals I’m changing them. I felt better immediately after I decided to do so earlier in the week.

Writing goals:

Edit 5 days a week, 1 hour a day  After editing is done, write 250 words 5 days a week or 1250 words per week.

I’m barely getting my editing in never mind my writing, so I dropped the writing goal. And I’m dropping the hour goal, as long as I get at least one chapter edited, I’m calling it success. So far I’ve been successful since our furnace came back to life.

The change was to protect my new bedtime of 11 PM, I need to get my son up earlier so bedtime for me has to get earlier.

Blog goals:

More guest posting: both getting and giving. Going to aim for 2 a month for Jan and Feb, one a week for March.

Dumping this goal. I hate reaching out to people. I’m stressed over just keeping up with my blog. So I’m just going to blog, connect via Twitter and do my mash-ups and call it good.

Working out a schedule in a spreadsheet, because I’m a geek.

I want back to this but it’s not really working for me. Maybe when the boy-child is off antibiotics and I’m sleeping at night.


Get outside 5 days a week.

Haha. It was below -20 all week. I had to drive my daughter to school, we live 3 blocks away. There was no recess, buses didn’t run most of the week. And then my son wound up with a chest infection. Someday it will warm up and we won’t be sick. Before we moved to oiltown, we NEVER got sick. Since we got here, we’ve been sick constantly. It might be all the damned wind. I so want to move back to Central Alberta.

Exercise with EA active

I missed one work-out last week. 4 days on, 3 days off. But I’m less excited about exercising, but I have noticed a change in my endurance and muscle strength. I’m not trying to lose weight (I’m sadly underweight) but I have to exercise to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Plan meals (gotta get our budget under control).

Doing well. Been using up some freezer stuff since I didn’t get to shop on my usual day, Tuesday thanks to furnace-gate.

Read one book and watch one movie a week as per the fifty-fifty challenge.

Lord, I have to get a list of these. I lost my notebook. I had a bunch of late books from the library so I got banned from borrowing E-books as well. But I fixed that. I read “Write Good or Die” edited by Scott Nicholson but it was written before the e-book boom so half of it was related to making pitches, which I skipped. When I finish The Indie Journey, I will count the two of them as one book.

Oh I did finish The Happiness Project.

And I immediately thought “I should start my own project” and then I thought of all the other things I had going on and how crappy I was feeling about not keeping up, and I ditched the idea. I didn’t watch a movie, unless you count the last half hour of  the second Star Wars movie, which was on when I got up the other morning. My husband had fallen asleep on the sofa while watching and it went on repeat. My son was excited to see “bain-bain” or airplanes so early in the day.

Happy birthday to my mom.

Tomorrow I will watch a movie. Not sure what yet, something child-friendly. Or with pretty guys in it.

The other goal I’m adding, which I’m not really tracking, is just keeping my sink shiny again. I’ve been slacking on routines once again after the holidays and illness and furnace-gate. So, I’m doing minimalism and just doing the shiny sink thing, and it’s working. I’m getting dishes done consistently before bed.

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Change your habits: the emotional side

Welcome to a quick 4 week, change your habit help line based on Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s book Switch.

Week one

Week Two

This week is about the emotional side of changing habits, which is probably what most of us struggle with when we try to change. And yelling at yourself or getting tough are not the answers.

1. I gotta feeling. This is best summed up as SHOW don’t tell. We are creatures of immediate gratification. It makes me happier right now if I play Farmville then if I do the hard work of writing. Except tomorrow I will feel crappy that I wrote nothing and made no progress on my goal to becoming a best selling author (or even to write 500 words a day). Besides, writing those 500 words will make me happier in both the short and long term.

2. Break it down. This is basically the same as think small from last week. When we have a monumental task before us like write novel, we get freaked out. If we break it down until we are no longer scared to take that first step, we can do that. So if you can’t commit to writing 500 words today, how about 100 or 50 or writing for just one minute. You can build on it tomorrow.

3. Learn to do better. This might be learning specific skills, but most of the time it’s just cultivating the mindset of “I can do it.” There are two types of people: those who believe abilities are innate and unchanging and those who believe that abilities can be learned.

Guess who are more succesful?

Those who believe they can learn skills. Believing you can do something or that you can change is the first step.

Do you need to work on the emotional side of change? Can you see steps here that might help you make a switch?

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Change your habits: dealing with the rational

I recently read the book Switch by Dan Heath and Chip Heath, which gives tips about smoothing change in your life and making them stick (made to stick is their first book).

You can read my introduction from last week.

The first part is dealing with the rational part of yourself. Sometimes this part of us gets bogged down in researching and recording data, there are some ways you can get around this.

1. Look for what works. This could be habits you’ve instilled yourself over the years, how did you manage to keep those habits. But more than likely you need to look outside yourself. Talk to people you know or search the internet. The world wide web is full of blogs by people who have made any number of changes in their lives, and they are dying to help someone make the change.

Not everything everyone else has done will work for you, but you can try out any number of ideas.

2. Think small. Too often we see the big picture when we are making changes. What exact change are you going to make? This step is similar to making goals that are trackable.

In my life, my goal is to write more. That’s a HUGE goal and if I stuck with just that ideal I would write occasionally and generally feel like a failure. So instead my goal is to write 500 words, 5 days a week. That is trackable. At the end of the day I can look at my word count tally sheet and see that I wrote 523 words more than yesterday.

3. What is the end result? Why are you trying to get the end result?

Again with my “write more” goal, that’s not the real result I want. I want to finish a novel, or X number of short stories. Why? Because once I have a novel I can move one step closer to being published, or self-publishing.

I know many of my blog readers and people’s whose blogs I follow are doing Row80 this round. I know Row80 follows many of the ideas in Switch.

How are your resolutions going this year? Could these ideas help you make a big change this year?

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Keeping your resolutions

It’s that time of the year when we make our resolutions. And then most of the time fail to do the work to change. Because, face it, changing is hard. If it were easy to change we wouldn’t have to make resolutions, we’d wake up, decide to change and do it.

I wish change were that easy. According to Chip Heath and Dan Heath, it can be easier if you tap into a few keys that make changing easier. They explore these ideas in their book Switch. I’m going to spend my Monday’s in January following up on the ideas in the book and hopefully give people a little boost in making the necessary changes in their lives to keep their 2012 goals.

To simplify and begin, we all have two parts of our brain when we make our choices.

We have the rational side who wants us to change and get up every morning to exercise before we sit down and write two thousand words of the next great novel, and then head in and put in our best day of work ever.  Heath’s call this the Rider part of our brain.

We have the emotional side who hits the snooze button six more times and pulls the blanket up a little higher because it’s cold out and decide we’ll write later, because our writing isn’t that good anyway. The Heath’s call this the Elephant part of our brain, a good term since if we were sitting on an Elephant and it didn’t want to listen, it would just run us over, which is what our emotional side often does.

I love Switch because it’s universal, it can be stretched or shrunk to apply to any situation and any size. It can work on a personal level and also for big corporations (one of the stories in the books is how one guy made some spending changes within the US government).

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Goals, goals, goals

Leo Babuta from Zen Habits doesn’t believe in them.

But most motivational self-help, life coach gurus will tell you they are necessary.

Cecil Alec Mace was the first to study and document goal setting. It was Edwin A. Locke who developed the goal setting theory we all use today.

If you’ve read any self-help goal setting books you may have seen that goals need to be SMART.

specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted.

I recently was reading through Michael Neil’s blog of coaching tips and I stumbled across a post about our inability to judge how long it will take us to do something (and I submit: or how much effort it will take us).

Once George pointed out this “hidden factor” to me, I began to see it everywhere. Actors who give up on their dreams after not becoming stars in their first 6 months in Hollywood. Coaches who can’t understand why they’re not making 6 figure incomes in their first two years in the business. Employees who aren’t getting promoted on their time schedule and entrepreneurs who think if the world hasn’t beaten a path to their door the day they opened it they must be doing something wrong.

I have also read somewhere or heard him say (but I could not find a link) that people who strive for what they want are more likely to get what they want then people who strive for what they think they can get. Which makes the saying “Reach for the moon, if you miss at least you’ll land amoung the stars,” to be very sage advice.
Reaching your goals  might also depend on why you set them. The Preacher’s Pen warns against setting goals for other people.
People set goals based on someone else’s expectations – Some will set goals based on what others think they should do. There are many people who have lived their life because someone else thought they needed a certain career. For instance, I know people who were told they should be engineers and they are, but everyday the hate their job. They are only there because someone else said it would be good for them. Are the goals you are setting for yourself, your goals?
On the side of goal setting we have Jack Canfield who wrote many of my first self-help motivational books, Dare to Win and Aladdin Factor. He’s also one of the giants behind Chicken Soup for the Soul.
In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people really foul up at this crucial first step because they simply can’t see how it’s possible to get what they want — so they don’t even let themselves want it.
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Back to your regularly scheduled ROW80.

I won NaNoWrimo last night. The story has a maybe 10K left in it, so I’ll wrap that up in December.

– Write 5 days a week.

I took one day off, when we went to my dad’s for the day and I was wiped when we got back and got the kids in bed.

– Blog 3 times a week. I only have a few scheduled posts left so I better stock back up now that NaNo is over.

– Working social media. Doing it less everyday. I dunno why. I try to post links every few days and congratulate or encourage people. I am not on daily.

– Routines to keep the house under control.

By Saturday I was done cleaning the house and Sunday DH and I got in a huge fight about it. The house was a disaster, and I admit it. But I spent all week picking up after everyone. I’m trying really hard to apply the Work on this one, but damn it I want to be right on this one.

Play Dragon ages II a lot and dream about Anders.

No wait that wasn’t a goal. But I am obsessed you guys. I need an intervention. Okay my husband has played through once and is at the same point I am on my first play through. IT”S NOT FAIR.

I’m now dying to write a romance with mages in it. Not fan fiction, I want to have magical characters of my own. With nightclubs. I just don’t know if I can write a mystery the way it’s shaping in my head.

Motivator - They Took My Kitty

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Row 80 11-27 Check In

Write 5 days a week.

I read this awesome post via the Passive Guy about how to write more. And I’ve been putting number 1 and 3 into action, can’t do much about number 2 right now but so far in few days of test runs, it has been helping. I haven’t been writing out on paper what I’m going to write about, but I spend time outside of my writing time thinking about the upcoming scenes.

– Blog 3 times a week

going very well.

Personal goals:

– Working social media during nap times 

I am saving good posts for my link mashup and Tweeting them as I find them. As I get more comfortable with blogging I find myself on Twitter less. But I find myself on the computer less in general in the past few months.

Flylady-type routines in the house to keep the house under control

It always amazes me how little time the things I put off (stacking the dishwasher, wiping up the countertops) actually takes me. Jobs that I dread doing only take 15-20 minutes. If I just did them in the first place they wouldnt’ weigh on my mind so bloody much.

I am amazed I am getting any writing done. Susan Bischoff got me hooked on Dragon Ages. Now her post talks about Dragon Ages Origins. We got Dragon Ages II. I didn’t pay that much attention until I found out how AWESOME these games are. So much better than Final Fantasy (sorry FF I love you, but your story lines are too linear and you do not have the hilarious dialogue).

“Could we perhaps do battle with a pack of pretty flowers and soft bunnies next time? I’d do much better.” – Merrill

What I love most about DA2, is the romance option. My poor mage girl flirts with everyone she can, but I ended up in a relationship with Anders, moved in with him and then I lost a battle. So I had to do the whole relationship again. Second time, I went to a main quest by accident and I had to reload.

So Anders says “I love you, I’ve waited so long to tell you” and instead of the nice option I ask him if he wants a sandwich.

Romance at it’s best. Doing the Anders romance thing three times however ruined Carly Rae Jepsen’s new song “Call me Maybe”. My daughter was listening to it on repeat and now I cannot hear the song without thinking of Anders.

Okay I’m a sucker for a good love story.

Here’s one more quote for you.

  • Varric: Blondie, I don’t mean to sound critical, but have you considered a new line of work?
  • Anders: Such as?
  • Varric: Pretty much anything? I don’t think “renegade mage” has a bright future. Or any retirement plan.


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Row 80 11-23 Check In

Write 5 days a week.

Since I’m doing NaNoWrimo this one is pretty moot. I write everyday. Even if I fall asleep while writing as I did on Monday night. I kept having to pry my eyes open but I think I got 2 K in. yahoo.

– Blog 3 times a week

I have a bunch of posts lined up in advance.  I’m working on my first guest post for someone, hopefully I don’t screw that one up. I want to work on it now instead of blogging my Row, but I think that writing when I’m this tired is a bad idea.

Personal goals:

– Working social media during nap times 

I am getting retweets and having conversations and meeting people and sharing links from other people. There are so many great blogs I’ve had to start treating my feed reader more like Twitter, I just can’t read every blog I follow anymore.

Flylady-type routines in the house to keep the house under control

Came to the conclusion that if I want a clean house then I actually have to get off my fanny and clean it. It’s been hit or miss. The zone is the master bedroom and I always slack on this zone. Maybe tomorrow I’ll focus on master bedroom laundry.


I love psychology studies. I stumbled onto a post on You are Not So Smart blog about the Benjamin Franklin effect which had content about psychological studies.

Okay, all this stuff is fascinating, but I also read an essay by Malcom Gladwell about why profiling doesn’t actually work. Because similar behaviours in different people are motivated by different things.

So I really sometimes wonder how much confidence we should put into generalized psychology. I still like to think these “experts” know what they are talking about when they tell me why I was so addicted to Farmville for far too long.

Can you really generalize a group  of people?

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I fail at plotting Row80 Checkin 11-20

check in stuff:

Write 5 days a week.

Since I’m doing NaNoWrimo this one is pretty moot. I write everyday until I hit that magic 50 K or I run out of novel.

– Blog 3 times a week

I have a bunch of posts lined up in advance. I am getting lots of comments and hits and retweets and tweets and conversation. And I’m often posting more than 3 times a week. I don’t have set days. I would like to, but you know I keep coming up with things, so I’m going with more frequent over posting in advance. But I do have things scheduled as well.

Personal goals:

– Working social media during nap times 

I am getting retweets and having conversations and meeting people and not playing Farmville.

Flylady-type routines in the house to keep the house under control

Came to the conclusion that if I want a clean house then I actually have to get off my fanny and clean it. So far this week was a good one for the house.

Plotting vs. pantsing.

I’ve discovered I like plotting out my novels. I was a die-hard pantser. I like knowing what scene I’ll be working on next.

Except that as I write, I end up changing the some other scene in my plot. Tonight I came up with a better ending, but then I had to change the last seven or so scenes, which took some time out of the actual writing.

So I have no idea if I can even call myself a plotter since I find that I am beginning to suspect I spend more time changing my plot outline than I do actually writing the damn novel. (And no I couldn’t possibly stick with the original plot).

Are you a plotter (outline person as James Scott Bell would say) or a pantser (no outline person: NOP)? Or are you some combination?

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October 26 Row80 Checkin

If you aren’t familiar with Round of Word in 80 days check out the link.

Here are my goals:

Write 5 days a week.

I went to bed early two nights so far this week, so I might not make 5 days this week. But, I did get a cold which lingers on with a cough so I needed the sleep and I get a free pass.

– Finish edits on Hockey Novel #4

Done the read aloud read through. Have to go through another round with Editor  from Serenity software. But first I am working on the book that precedes this one.

The preceding book was originally Corey’s story. And I wrote the entire novel. And then as I was working on edits, it came to me that Corey needed a woman with children. Complications Over Coffee was much better. But, I still like the heroine I had set up. So, she got a new hero and the book is getting a make-over for the new happy couple. I’m half done already, because a lot of it has been written.

– write Hockey Short Story #2 (possible)

Right after I release the above.

– Blog as per course from Kirsten Lamb on Blogging

So far, there are some video posts I have lined up. I need to get on the guest post thing. I’ve been nervous about putting myself out there or asking people to write for my rather unvisited blog.

Personal goals:

– Working social media during nap times as per We Are Not Alone

*Waving at all my twitter friends*. Except today, i was grumpy and wanted to be something other than Mom and writerlady and I said Fuck everything and I searched for crafts to do with paperback novels that are unusable.

– Flylady-type routines in the house to keep the house under control

The cold and now grumpiness killed my desire to clean the house. Monday I was tired. Today, I thought, who gives a rat’s behind. The children and husband are just going to mess it up again and they don’t even care if they live in hell.  Maybe tomorrow will be better on this front.

Thanks to my horrid cold, I didn’t get much done in the early part of this week.

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