2018 Goal Update – Quarter One

Hey Lovelies!

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So yeah, this post has taken the whole month to get put out. *rolls eyes*

Again, I’m a walking example of what I talk about on this blog! Consistency is key! No matter what life throws at you and how sleepy or tired you are – MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PRIORITIES.

Moving on….

This is my 3-month goals update! (For my original goals post, go here) So April has rolled in and started out the second quarter of the year. It feels like I just posted my 2018 goals last week! Time is waiting for no one. But, it’s all the more reason why we should not “put off for tomorrow what we can do today.” Tomorrow will literally be five months from now, and you’ll look around like, “where’d the time go?”

So, here’s an update on my goals so far:

Love God Well
WINS: I have gone to every bible study class this year (I think…maybe I missed one?). Also, I’ve started working on events for the future. We had one in March that my commitment was a little piss poor on. So, I’m punching myself in the gut to give it a good effort for the remaining ones this year and next.

PROGRESSION: So yes, I started my KJV chronological bible plan. However, there’s a feature in the bible plan where you can “catch yourself up” if you’ve missed a few days. Let’s just say I’ve used that feature twice already. And as I type this I’m currently two days behind. But, I’ve progressed. Also, I’ve had it on my list to meet with the youth group for two months now. Three scheduled events have been cancelled. Let’s hope the one for April is the game changer.

Love yourself well
WINS: I finally listened to my sister (who’s basically a doctor) and got an appointment for a neurologist. I’m glad I made that decision. I’ve become a little more conscious of what I eat. Meal prepping has been a bonus in this category. I got a juicer for Christmas so it has been a useful tool the past 3 months.

PROGRESSION: I have budgeted every month with EveryDollar and an Excel spreadsheet, however, I have went over in one or more categories in January and February. March was my first semi-balanced budget. April seems to be on track so…let’s pray! I’d say I listen to Dave Ramsey on YouTube twice a week instead of three, but that’s only because I’ve switched to more podcasts. So I’ll probably just listen to his podcast instead of the YouTube channel. We’ll see.

PROGRESSION: It’s April and I’m just now establishing a sleep schedule I can work with. I have been prepping my day the night before. However, the early rising is still an issue (probably because of that not-so-established sleep schedule). Made some lifestyle adjustments, so looking forward to better outcomes with this during this quarter.  

PROGRESSION: By now, I should be on book #4. I’m still on book #2. Literally have no reason. Just lazy. However, I did join a local networking group for young professionals so I’m excited to meet new people and not be SO closed in. I think I have identified a place I’d like to volunteer – just need to visit the center before finalizing that decision.

PROGRESSION: Clarity & Strength is off  to a decent start, but posting 2-3 times a week – not yet.  Also haven’t touched Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator yet but it’s still in the plan. My future career literally depends on it. Pray for me.

 

Love others well
WINS: This is the section I’m most proud of! I’ve been doing pretty good at remembering birthdays this year (and not because Facebook told me). I actually bought my brother a physical gift this year. Not a gift card to a restaurant. GAME CHANGER. We did have our first “family fun night” back in January, but now that it’s a new quarter, it’s time to do it again! Another game changer, I welcomed a healthy romantic relationship into my life. He’s awesome. Talk about words having power!
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(Brother-in-law Ellis doing the honors)

PROGRESSION: I’ve visited and called my grandmother a few times, but not nearly as much as I’d like to. She’s my only baby left. Have to step this one up.

PROGRESSION: My “friend-guy” had to remind me once about my commitment to putting my phone down when I’m around people I care for so that has definitely been a big help. Also, my Granny brought it up to me when I sat with her one day so it absolutely reminded me to put it down.

 

As you can see, there’s a lot more progression areas than wins, but nothing that I’d call a fail. It’s not that I don’t have time for certain things. These things just have to become more of a priority in my mind first for it to stick. The past two weeks, I’ve been doing my favorite thing – evaluating me. My habits. My thoughts. My commitments. All the things I said I would do to make my life great this year. I’ve got a new fire under my tail, but I pray it stays lit. You never know who’s watching you or what lives you can change if you stay consistent and remain faithful to your goals.

Tell me what you’ve progressed in this year so far! I’d love to know.

All my Love,

CJ

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Some Times Are Harder Than Others

Rough days. Overwhelm. Shootings. Illness. Frustrations. The state of the USA.

Some times are just harder than others. When these times come, if feels like they last a bit longer than the good times, but they don’t. I’m reminded of my last blog post that emphasized there being a season for all things. This may be your season of triumph and victory. Days are good and things are prospering. For some of us, this may be our season of testing. Can we keep the faith? Can we stay encouraged?

Life is not meant to knock you down, but build you up into the person you were destined to be. Life is meant to sharpen your skills, reveal your strengths and enhance your talents so you can use those things to help others.

Today’s post is simply a note of encouragement. No matter what season you’re in, don’t give up, persevere. No matter which season you’re in, the other one is just around the corner.

Embrace the Season

Tuesday marked the start of a new season. Spring.

Here in Florida, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, the wind is churning. Seasons are changing.

Just like the seasons of our environment change, the seasons of our lives change. We know it’s upon us. We can feel the weight and the pressure of transition taking place.

There always seems to be a point during the transitioning phase that I realize I’m transitioning into a new season.

Sometimes, the transition is light and sweet. It kind of just eases upon me like a loving summer breeze. And then there are times where everything comes crashing down like the house on the Wizard of Oz (you know, after the tornado has dragged it for a while and Dorothy’s not in Kansas anymore). Everything that can go wrong will and it feels like a domino effect. I have a tendency in this season to be 10x more cranky, 10x more unbothered, and 20x more irritated. I know this because Tuesday was that day for me.

I became annoyingly aware of the transition and I immediately began thinking: how can I better handle this seasonal change than I have in times past? How can I condition myself where this frustrated, unbothered, snappy version of Cortney doesn’t come out every time a new season of life comes up? I shouldn’t begin to freak out every time life brings about change.

Spring brings pollen that swells my glands and smothers us all.

But do we die? No!

We keep going outside for more because at the end of the day, it’s only for a moment. The reward of this new season is much greater than the suffering we have to endure for it to get here.

As the seasons transition in your life and you find yourself in a funk, here are a few ways to combat that negative energy:

 

1: Take a deep breath. It’s not rocket science, really. Sometimes we’re just always on and on the go that we don’t take the time to just “chill” (even for 5 minutes). As those moments of pressure build up and cause life to seem unbearable, we can wreak havoc on our bodies because we don’t stop moving.Take a moment to just breathe, cry it out, or work it out (#gymlife) and embrace the changes that are happening around you. It’s ok to break for a moment.

2: Talk it out. Find your “person” who can deal with the outrageous, irrational version of you and talk through your frustration. About 95% of the time, the talk alone helps ease the pressure. Bonus: This person can tell you when you sound like a whiny four year old and you won’t debate them.

3. Clean it up. A ton of frustration can come from seeing the same things lie around the house or office everyday. Take a couple of hours and just clean. Purge your way to a better head space. Trust me. I don’t even like to clean. It works.

4. When all else fails, take a day. You’d be amazed what a full 24 hours of uninterrupted rest, relaxation and meditation can do for you if you tried. With a new season comes new opportunities, new challenges, and new adventures. You have to be ready for them. Prepare yourself. It may seem corny to some, but taking a day (or even half a day) to center yourself, be with God and pray for strength, peace and wisdom for the upcoming season can be the thing to make or break your ability to thrive in it.

 

Ecclesiastes 3, verses one declares, “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

I believe that spring is a season of new beginnings and renewal. So much joy, light and growth can come from this season. However, if you’re feeling funky and can’t shake it, there’s a purpose for that feeling. Don’t run from it. Embrace it. And then do something about it that will benefit you and those around you.

 

All my Love,

CJ

 

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

Welcome back friends! Last week was rough, had death in the family and some trying circumstances, but I’m back. All my love, CJ.

 

Where I’m from, March 12th is a day of remembrance for a true saint and friend.  

Melvin J. Ray

Not only was March 12th his birthday, but it was also the day he and God decided he didn’t need to be here anymore.

 

Melvin was the life of the party when there was no party. Every single person he came in contact with was impressed by him. There was no one he would not help; no atmosphere he would not change. He was literally an angel sent from God to remind us that there IS a God. Melvin Ray showed us what it meant to truly be good, be kind, show love, have fun, be merry and EAT!! And he loved God with all his heart (not to mention he was one of the best guitarist on this side).

Today is simply a day to express gratitude for the legacy of Melvin Ray and thankfulness for the brothers God gave me.

I only have one brother by blood. However, because of Melvin I have multiple spiritual brothers that I do my best to love and annoy. I care more about their lives. Their hopes. Their dreams. Their character (when they let me….they really try to avoid me when they can lol).  At the end of the day, you never know when you won’t be able to make those memories or share their lives with them. So I cherish them.

We should take cues from people like Melvin Ray and esteem no one person higher than the other. Love our neighbor. Be true friends that stick closer than a brother. In these days and times, friendships thrive where family members fail.

Melvin taught us all to love on the people around you. Do less talking (especially ABOUT them). Show people you care. When they’re gone, you’ll wish you had. In this generation, we have a tendency to call each other “bro”, “sis”, “bestie”, “best friend”, “homie”, or “fam”. But what does that even mean to us anymore? What value do these people truly have in our lives? Do we let people in?

Usually, no. We can’t trust each other. Secretly, we don’t even like each other. But weren’t we put on this earth to help save each other? To work together? To operate in unity and in strength for the glory of God and the edification of the brethren?  

It makes you think.

CJ
P.S. Shout out to my super-aggy, secretly protective drummer genius brother, Steve.

And Bobby and John! *laughs*

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March into Momentum

March into Momentum

Ladies and Gentlemen, March has officially entered the building!

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that spring is near, or that I’m grateful February is over! All I know is, it’s about to be a great month.

February was trying! There was so much adversity and loss in such a short amount of time that I lost focus of my goals. I read through my bible plan maybe four times this month. I did not read my book of the month. The gym did not see me AT ALL (even though I was able to work in a few workouts at home). I overspent on my budget in four categories. I had to replace three tires. And the worst of them all, my best friend’s father passed away, causing anything I thought I had planned to come to a complete standstill.

It was rough. But it did not kill my determination to make progress this month!

One of the tools I use to (try to) keep track of myself is Powersheets. As I filled them out this morning, there was a section asking about a word or focal goal for this month. In pure alliteration fashion (grammar geeks rejoice), the first word that came to mind was “momentum”. Strangely enough, this word also came to mind this time last year. The difference? This year will include actual action behind the word.

“Momentum is the driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events.”

Momentum quote

So momentum can’t even be achieved if there’s no process development? Absolutely not.

What is a process? It is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a desired end. Achieving goals (our desired end) is a process. It requires action. It requires work. And work is the driving force for momentum to be gained.

Sometimes, things happen. We get knocked down or thrown off course by an event. Keep going! This year has the potential to be our best if we are diligently putting in the work to accomplish our goals. We can’t just be sayers, we must be doers. We can’t just write things down. We must perform. We must act.

As the first full week of this glorious month rolls in today, ask yourself what your process is. What do you have to do to feel like you’re gaining momentum in your goals? What plan of action do you have? Are your plans realistic? Sometimes, we can end the journey before it even begins because we’re TOO ambitious. We want to lose 30 pounds, but we can’t even accomplish consistently eating right or we don’t get up and move throughout the week.

We have to evaluate our actions and make the steps little by little that will get our goals completed.

You want to shed some extra pounds, challenge yourself to workout three times a week in March.

You want to write that book, challenge yourself to write 300 words a day, Monday-Friday.

You want to become an avid reader, challenge yourself to read for 30 minutes every other day.

You can do it!! Those little by little steps are the keys to building momentum. Achieving goals is only as stressful or overwhelming as we think it is.

For the month of March, I will be:

  • Maximizing my mornings by going to sleep at 11PM, waking up at 6:30AM and re-establishing my morning routine.
  • Working out three times per week using the 2016 Massy Arias 30-day winter program.
  • Attending a local physical training center.
  • Reworking my budget and successfully sticking to it.
  • Growing my blog audience by posting content at least once a week and promoting the posts.
  • Reading the chronological bible plan in YouVersion daily (making this a part of my morning routine.)
  • Reading through How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
  • Making action steps to complete two items from the three special projects I mentioned in my “Goals Revealed” post.

Here’s to progress!

Cortney

2018 Goals ‘Revealed’

2018 Goals ‘Revealed’

Hi Friends! It’s time for the ever anticipated (more or less lol) 2018 “Goals Reveal” post!

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As mentioned in Monday’s post, I had previously written down a ton of goals for the year. However, after much consideration I narrowed things down by asking myself a simple question: “By December 31st, what do you want to have accomplished this year?”

I answered this question and then placed these goals under three umbrellas:

  • Love God well
  • Love yourself well
  • Love others well

Organizing my goals this way helped me keep things in perspective of what’s most important to me this year. God is first because without Him, I’m lost. I want to place Him back at the center of my life and give diligent service to my local church.  I come next simply because you can’t pour out to others if you’re empty and have no energy. Loving myself well means focusing intentionally on my temple(health), my mind (intellectual), my advancement (career), and my money!

Family and friends are last. These relationships are what keep me grounded. This year is all about building up what is already established with them, attentively listening to my mentors and embracing new friends who are God-sent. BONUS: This year is also about being open to (and praying about) a HEALthy romantic relationship. I could probably write an entire post about that alone but, it’s not about praying for a partner. It’s about being the partner someone is praying for.

Without further ado…my 2018 goals revealed.
Love God Well

  • Cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ by reading (& listening to) the YouVersion KJV chronological bible plan, attending weekly bible study classes at church, and acknowledging the sabbath day beyond Sunday church service.
  • Committing intentional time to the church marketing team and youth group, and contributing useful input to upcoming events.

 

Love yourself well

  • Take good care of my temple by working out 3X a week, taking advice from my physicians, establishing a sleep schedule, and meal prepping weekly.
  • Maximize my mornings by getting up early and preparing my day the night before (more preparation=less stress).
  • Be a good steward over my finances by maintaining my emergency fund, budgeting with the EveryDollar app, following my debt snowball path, listening to the Dave Ramsey show on Youtube 3X a week and collecting change throughout the year.
  • Cultivate a life of gratitude and peace by decluttering an area once a month, reading an encouraging book once a month, and taking a social media free week once a quarter.
  • Learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator by watching online webinars and lessons on the subject, establishing mini projects to complete to build my skills, and learning tips from people I already know who are more advanced at these programs than I am.
  • Build a loyal following for Clarity & Strength by establishing the brand, posting meaningful content at least 1-2x per week and incorporating its themes throughout my personal social media accounts.
  • Start a new career in marketing, communications or related field by applying for at least one position every week, networking with professionals in the field, volunteering and connecting with a mentor with experience in the profession.

 

Love others well

  • Plan ahead for birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate others well.
  • Organize family fun nights at least once a quarter and spend quality time with my remaining grandparent.
  • Put the phone away and be present when around people I care for.
  • Welcome a healthy romantic relationship into my life by smiling & laughing more, embracing the unexpected, and exemplifying the qualities I want in a partner.

Other goals I have include three projects related to assisting my church, and two other entities that I will keep under wraps for now.

These may seem super simple (or even questionable) to some of you, I’m sure. However, with the help of the good Lord and the people He placed in my life to hold me accountable, I KNOW I’m going to make this happen. However, feel free to leave me a comment below about what you think or a goal that relates to your own!

At the end of the day, it’s not about checking off some list (even though I can be the QUEEN of lists). It’s about making progress, little by little. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Set your goals. Make realistic action steps and get it done.

If you need someone to help hold you accountable, send your email to cortney.pcjc@gmail.com. Trust me. I will get on your nerves once every two weeks. (lol)

All my Love,

Cortney

The Year it all Changes

The Year it all Changes

Hi Friends! It is 2018!!!

By now, I’m hoping all of us have moved passed the “new year, new me” phase and have taken the opportunity to dig deep into what we want for the year. Setting intentional goals for this year can make us better than we were the last!

Like some of you, I created goals back in December. I thought I was ready for 2018. I had just graduated college (YAY!) and was so pumped thinking, “I’m going to accomplish everything I couldn’t do while in school!”

So I made goals. These goals gave me all the “feels” – strong, empowered, ready to take on the world. I was ready. Then, I shared my goals with my mentor and she gracefully commented, “That’s great! Seems like a lot, but it all sounds great!” Right after that, I read through Lara Casey’s blog on cultivating goals that matter and had to question myself for a minute.

Why do you want these goals, Cortney? Is this for you or do you have something to prove to someone?

Why so many?!

You just graduated college….when will you rest? (Do you even know what it means to rest?) Can you do it all?

The truth of the matter is friends, you can’t do it all and do it all well. And if you spend your time creating goals to prove things to the world, what will you be proving to yourself? If we seek guidance, follow our instincts and focus on cultivating a few goals that matter, we CAN do well.

Don’t be discouraged by all the people in this world who seem to have it all together and know exactly what they want to do. It’s okay to take your time. Grow three goals instead of ten. Embrace a season of rest instead of being “on your grind”. We have to eliminate all distractions and be real with ourselves. I did.

Some of the goals I originally had were on my goals list for the past 4-5 years. It’s not that they weren’t good goals. I was just trying to do too much at one time. EVERY YEAR. And a lot of nothing got done.Here’s where a great mentor, supportive friends, and Lara Casey’s Powersheets came into play for me. By making use of these resources, I’m on my way to a great 2018.

Are you?

Join me on Friday for my “Goals Reveal” post! Let’s go after greatness together this year and for the rest of our lives. Let’s peel back all the layers in our minds that hold us back from being great. We can do this!

All my Love,

Cortney