Spanish Saturday – The End

DuolingoOwlAccording to Doulingo I am now 35% fluent in Spanish! I have also earned enough Lingots to give my owl some sweet new digs! The rest of my action plan has not fared so well…

Action Plan Progress:

  • DONE – 70/66 days of practicing Spanish
  • 0/1 Pimsleur Spanish audio-book completed
  • DONE – 2/2 Spanish movies watched
  • 6/10 Spanish children’s books read
  • DONE – 3/1 Spanish podcasts reviewed
  • 0/1 Spanish meet ups attended

Grade: F

Incentive: I have NOT earned my News in Slow subscription yet.

Lessons Learned: I am still learning that summer is a rough time for personal development. I am proud of the progress I have made, and love the Duolingo app on my phone. But I do know that I could have done much better. Rather than focusing on my lack of progress I am going to redouble my efforts and continue improving my Spanish language skills.

One Month Goals: Complete the rest of my existing action plan!

Any words of encouragement are certainly welcome in the comments I as I work to achieve my goals!

Spanish Saturday – The Start

Hola amigos! I have become increasingly interested in learning a new language, and it’s time to turn that wish into a goal!

Habit: Practice Spanish on Duolingo for 30 minutes every day for 66 days.

Start Date: 04/17/2016

Projected End Date: 06/22/2016

Action Plan:

  • Practice on Duolingo
  • Listen to a Pimsleur Spanish audio-book
  • Watch 2 Spanish movies
  • Read 10 Spanish children’s books
  • Find a good Spanish podcast or radio show
  • Attend a meet up or find people willing to converse with me in Spanish

Incentive: A weekend trip to a fun locale where we can immerse ourselves in a Spanish-speaking community.

Lofty Goal: Attain enlightenment!

I took 4 years of Spanish in high school and some of my family members have a passing fluency. I figured my background with Spanish would make it an easier habit to dive into. I never gave learning a second language a shot in school, but I’m ready to take it more seriously this time around.

Ultimately I would like to become fluent enough in Spanish to add it to my resume. I’ve always wanted to travel more for work, and being able to speak another language will open new doors for me.

Follow me on Duolingo, and kick start your own habit!

Project Management Monday – The Start

I have been wearing dual hats over the last 3 years as a business analyst and project manager. Recently I committed to the project management career path, and want to grow my knowledge base in this area. My next habit will focus on reading A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK(R) Guide. It’s a daunting tasks, but I am hoping that making it a daily habit will help me break it into manageable chunks.

Habit: Read 8 pages in the PMBOK everyday for 66 days

Start Date: Sunday, 01/31/2016

Projected End Date: Wednesday, 04/06/2016

Action Plan:

  • Read the PMBOK!
  • Start a study group at work with others interested in getting their PMP
  • Watch 6 PMI webinars
  • Attend a PMI-Minnesota Chapter meeting
  • Post weekly on Mondays about my progress in improving my PM skills

Incentive: Attend the Agile PMP seminar!

Lofty Goal: Finding my passion!

I would like to get the most out of the Agile PMP seminar and I think reading the PMBOK will be excellent prep work. I am also hoping I can build on this habit to get my Project Management Professional certification in the near future.

What types of personal development do you do for your career? Please share your strategies in the comments!

Food Friday – The Start

A new habit for the new year!

Clayton and I went back and forth for weeks discussing what my new habit should be. We both wanted to make more progress in improving our diet and looked to the 8 Weeks to Wellness program for inspiration again.

Habit: Plan and eat one 8WW approved meal everyday for 66 days.

Start Date: Sunday, 01/10/2016

Projected End Date: Tuesday, 03/15/2016

Action Plan:

  • Try 2 new recipes from SparksRecipes
  • Try 2 new recipes from the 8WW workbook
  • Keep a photo journal on Instagram
  • Track our weight every Sunday
  • Post weekly progress on Fridays about developing better eating habits

Incentive: If we build our meal habit AND lose 10 pounds each over the course of the 66 days we will take a trip back home to attend Cubs vs. Angels opening day game!

8WW Meal Day 4: 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta with meat sauce, side salad, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower.
8WW Meal Day 4: 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta with meat sauce, side salad, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Lofty Goal: Being healthy

I have less action items for this habit than previous ones because I think this habit will take up more of my time than any of the previous ones. You might also find our incentive to be a little extravagant. We figure losing 10 pounds is a big deal, and this is something that will keep both Clayton and I motivated. I will get to see my family, and Clayton will bend over backwards to see Cubs opening day!

Wish us luck and please share any of your favorite health recipes in the comments!

Smoothie Sunday – The Start

Clayton had the idea that my next habit should focus on something that will improve our diet. We struggled with agreeing on a change that would have a positive impact but wasn’t too much to take on all at once. We finally settled on a habit that addressed the fact that we do not get enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

Habit: Drink a fruit and vegetable smoothie everyday for 66 days.

Start Date: Sunday, 10/18/2015

Projected End Date: Wednesday, 12/23/2015

Action Plan:

  • Prep smoothies for the week on Sundays.
  • Keep a daily photo journal with my smoothie recipes.
  • Read 2 books on food science.
  • Take 2 cooking classes that will help us get more vegetables in our meals.
  • Try vegetarian meals at 3 new restaurants.
  • Track weight weekly to measure benefits of change in diet.
  • Post weekly progress updates on Sundays about developing better eating habits.

Incentive: An excursion on our Mexico Christmas trip!

Lofty Goal: Being healthy

We are planning on incorporating this habit into our morning routine. This should be especially helpful during the week since we often turn to Starbucks for a quick breakfast. We are both excited and ready to incorporate this change into our diet but we do see some risks.

The first 66 days of cultivating this habit will take us through our Thanksgiving holiday in Texas. We’ll have to figure out a way to keep the habit up while we are traveling. We’ll also need to make sure that we plan enough time for food prep and smoothie making. Clayton and I are both committed to this habit and I am sure that will carry us through the first 66 days.

Please share your favorite smoothie recipe in the comments! I’m sure I’ll have time to try them all. Cheers!

2 cups spinach, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup blackberries, 1/4 POM juice, 1 1/2 cup water
2 cups spinach, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup blackberries, 1/4 cup POM juice, 1 1/2 cup water

Writing Wednesday – The End

BlogTargetReached

Yesterday was day 66! I am excited to review my progress, so let’s start with the stats!

Action Plan Recap:

  • DONE – 66 consecutive days of working on my blog for at least 1 hour.
  • DONE – 2 books on writing read.
  • DONE – 2 people interviewed about blogging.
  • DONE – completed the Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens Coursera course.
  • DONE – 10 weekly blog posts on developing my blogging habit completed.

Grade: A

Blogging Stats:

  • 22 posts
  • 16 followers
  • 126 visitors
  • 249 views
  • 72 likes
  • 12 comments

Incentive: This afternoon I upgraded from a Free to a Premium account!

Lessons Learned:

I am proud of myself for sticking with this habit for 66 consecutive days. There were definitely some days it was hard to put in the time. One day I didn’t start working on the blog until 11 pm. My action plan helped me the most over the last few months, especially on the days where my motivation was lacking. It was good to have a reference list of ideas that all kept pushing closer to achieving my goal.

Making this blog public and sharing my goals with friends and family has also helped me to reach this milestone. Having people around me ask about my progress, and sharing excited conversations about the blog kept me inspired.

I am not going to track daily progress anymore, but I would like to implement some maintenance goals to stay on track with my newly formed habit.

6 Month Goals:

  • Improve my blogging stats
  • Blog about 4 new habits
  • Read 1 new book on writing

I am excited to carry this momentum forward in maintaining this habit and creating new ones! Do you have any new habits you’d like to build? Please share your goals in the comments.

Meditation Monday – The Start

In the fall of 2013 my husband, Clayton, and I did the 8 Weeks to Wellness program through our chiropractor’s office. While our results were not as spectacular as his, I did come away with a lot of healthy habits. It was also my first foray into meditation and I would love to make the habit stick this time around.

Habit: Meditate for 10-30 minutes everyday for 66 days.

Start Date: Sunday, 08/09/2015

Projected End Date: Tuesday, 10/13/2015

Action Plan:

  • Keep a daily photo journal of the various locations where I meditate.
  • Read two books related to meditation.
  • Reach out to two people who can provide insights about meditating.
  • Attend two meditation classes.
  • Experiment with different meditation techniques (walking meditation, candle staring, etc.).
  • Post weekly progress updates on Mondays about developing my meditation habit.

Incentive: When I meet my goal of meditating everyday for 66 days, my reward will be a half to full day meditation retreat!

Lofty Goal: Attaining enlightenment & being healthy!

It is becoming generally accepted that meditation can have many health benefits. I can certainly spare 10-30 minutes a day to help improve my concentration and lower my stress levels. Also becoming centered and finding inner peace seems like a great place to start when trying to become more enlightened.

Do you have any great tips on meditation? Please share your experience in the comments!

Writing Wednesday – The Start

After reading The Happiness Advantage two years ago I was turned on to the idea of journaling. I kept a daily journal for almost a year, but recently have fallen out of the habit. When I decided start cultivating better habits, it made sense to start here.

Habit: Work on this blog for at least 1 hour everyday for 66 days.

Start Date: Sunday, 08/02/2015

Projected End Date: Tuesday, 10/06/2015

Action Plan:

  • Read two books related to writing or blogging that will help me focus my efforts.
  • Reach out to two people who can provide insights about blogging.
  • Take a Coursera course related to writing.
  • Post weekly progress updates on Wednesdays about developing my blogging habit.

Incentive: When I meet my goal of working on the blog everyday for 66 days, my reward will be an upgrade to my blog!

Lofty Goal: Finding my passion

Blogging about cultivating better habits will allow me to reflect on the progress I make. I also hope that by taking the time to analyze each habit I will discover my true motivation behind it. By trying to only cultivate habits that speak to my lofty goals I can hone in on what really drives me.

If you’ve dabbled with blogging and have some great tips on getting started please share in the comments!