2017 Goals – Publish More Books, Start a Podcast

Figure with a check listBecause I knew that I hadn’t accomplished most of my 2016 goals, I made a point of writing down my Goals Master List for 2017 before the end of December. Then I went through it looking for the 7 to 10 major goals that I really wanted to accomplish in all the various areas of my life this year.

I thought perhaps it would inspire you to do the same if I shared with you my goals. Here they are:

  1. Publish the first three books in the Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series
  2. Publish “My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine” by February 14
  3. Outline Burden of Magic, the working title for the supernatural thriller that I’ve been working on and thinking about since grad school in 2011
  4. Create a business system for writing, marketing, finances, etc.
  5. Finish creating the video-based self-publishing class that I started, and update the time management class I teach
  6.  Begin my new podcast in late spring (I’m so excited about this!)
  7. Read one or more nonfiction books on business or writing, and one or more novels every month
  8. Lose 25 to 30 pounds to get to 145 by December 1
  9. Run one half marathon at my fastest time ever by December 31
  10. Create a habit of 60 minutes of Bible study and prayer daily, Monday through Friday

And then I have my extra goals, the ones I’ll do if I have time while making sure my primary goals get accomplished first. They include finishing every class and course I have ever signed up for! Haha! And to also finish writing and publish Rent-a-Wife, book 2 after Little Miss Lovesick in the Traverse City in Love series.

As you can see, some of these goals will have many smaller parts to them. And a few of these are smaller parts of bigger goals. For instance, for several years I have said that I want to be my fittest, strongest, fastest ever by the time I hit 50. I turn 49 in two months! So I only have 14 months to sign up for and run a half marathon, and make it my fastest one ever. And I’ll need to be my fittest ever in order to reach that goal, which includes losing those last 25 to 30 pounds.

This year, I tried to balance my work and personal goals so that I don’t ignore one part of my life in favor of another. There are a lot of factors that may change the likelihood of me accomplishing any or all of these goals, of course, just like for any of us. But I’m excited to have a list that looks challenging as well as doable.

Smiley face with thumb upWhat about you? Do you have 2 or 3 or 5 or 10 goals that you’d like to accomplish this year? Have you written them down yet? And have you written down the steps you’ll need to take in order to accomplish those goals? I hope that by sharing my list I’m encouraging you to work on making this year your best year ever!

Good luck! I know you can do it!

Ending on a High Note is a Huge Blessing

Hand pushing the restart buttonI just finished typing up my 2016 End of Year Report for my writing life and my personal life. It was not surprising to me how many low points there were last year. But, as is often the case, writing down everything that happened reminded me that there were a lot more positives than I remembered.

Financially, mentally and emotionally, and in most aspects of my business life, 2016 was among the worst in years. I missed most of the goals I set for myself last year. But there were a lot of spiritual, relational, and physical highlights that bear repeating.

When I challenged myself to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks, and write a weekly blog post detailing my journey, despite everything I was able to lose 25 pounds. In my experience, that is no small feat.

Me in a swimsuit Oct 6 – first time I’d gotten into this suit in four years!

I can’t say for sure what my spiritual life was really like, only God knows, but I strongly suspect that I was growing deeper roots through all the troubles and challenges of last year. I don’t know if there were very many blooms for others to see, I don’t remember seeing them in myself, but I do believe my relationship with God is stronger than ever. And that’s worth a lot!

Relationally, it was a good year. Despite rarely being able to see my friends in person, I was able to keep up some amazing relationships, both encouraging and being encouraged by some of the best people on this planet. Despite the fact that 2016 might have been the worst year in John’s and my life, he and I stayed tight, and continued to have an amazing relationship. This, too, I attribute entirely to God, without whom we never would’ve made it through last year.

The year ended with two huge blessings! The legal side of John’s motorcycle accident from 2014 was finally settled. What a huge weight off our shoulders! And then – drumroll, please – God blessed John with his dream job! He accepted a position at Weta Digital and we moved to Wellington, New Zealand in November!

Standing in front of our new home in Wellington

For me, the cherry on top was being able to rent a cute little beach house right on the water where I can look out the window every day while I’m writing and see the ocean and hear the waves. Especially after the last few years of hardships, this seems an amazing and entirely undeserved blessing that I feel the need to thank God for every single day!

Are you wondering yet why I shared my end of year report with you? It may seem a little too personal to some of you, or a little to dry to others. But last year was a really tough year for us, and I didn’t expect to find much good in it looking back. But look at the surprises I found! I hope you take this as encouragement to look back over your 2016 and see how many other blessings you forgot you had last year.

I hope it takes your breath away!

My Public Display of Dieting – 2017 edition!

STARTING WEIGHT: 173 LBS, 78.5 KG (gained 2 pounds/1 kilo over the holidays)

Christmas book treeHappy New Year!! I hope you had a great holiday! John and I sure did! John had a week off work so we went walking and exploring almost every day, rented movies from the library, watched Netflix, went to the beach (remember it’s summer here in New Zealand), and built our first book Christmas tree. So much fun!

My weight loss goal is to lose the other 25 pounds that I didn’t lose last year. (My 2016 goal was to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.) I’ll try for one pound a week again, but I’ll consider it a success to make my goal by the end of the year. 😀

I’m trying to reorganize my blogging and be more regular as well as more interesting, but also without taking too much time away from writing novels. So I’ll post my results once a month this year instead of once a week. I’m also going to try to post once a month about my running, and once a month about my writing, and anything else that comes up.

I hope you have great plans for the new year! Remember, if you write down what you hope to accomplish, there’s a higher percentage of likelihood that you’ll achieve it! I’ve written down my weight loss goal here. We’ll see how it goes! Have a great January! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Weeks 49-50

RESULTS: Total loss of 27 pounds!

John and Kitty in Wellington

John and me in our new house in Seatoun, Wellington, New Zealand

Well, folks, we’ve officially come to the end of my 50-week quest. Thanks for walking with me on my journey to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.

As you can see, I made it a little over halfway. With everything going on the last five months, I’m amazed and thrilled that I made it this far. 🙂 We’ve had a lot of big changes – big disappointments and ginormous celebrations – but I think the accountability of knowing I had to post my progress every week made all the difference.

I now weigh about 3 pounds more than what had been a long-time average (168 pounds, 76 kgs), but I still want to lose 23 more pounds. Then I’ll have met my 50-pound goal. Yay!

This is one part of my bigger goal that I’ve had for a couple years – to be my healthiest ever by the time I hit age 50. I also want to run my fastest half marathon by or before 50. 😀 I’ve got 15 months to go, and I know I can meet my goal if there aren’t too many more crazy disruptions in our lives. LOL!

I am currently at a place where I can focus on my fiction writing for a few months, so I won’t post about my continuing weight loss journey every week. I’ll just update you occasionally and encourage you in your health improvements. 🙂 I hope you keep going, never stop working on your health. I’ll be right there with you.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have a fabulously indulgent Christmas week! LOL! John and I want to try several restaurants in our new home town that we heard were good. It’s summer here in New Zealand, so of course we’ll have to have gelato a few times. And New Year’s Day we always spend all day in a movie marathon – that is often partially an eating marathon. LOL! I start baking today, so…I don’t know what I’ll weigh January 2, but I’ll hit the restart button again then. I hope you do, too!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! I hope 2017 is a peaceful and blessed year for both of us! 😀

Free Funny Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Books This Week

I’m excited to try something new this month. Have you heard of InstaFreebie? It’s a way authors can give away one of their books for a limited time, and readers can get an almost unlimited number of free books to read!

Free book promotion December 10-16, 2016

It’s quick, easy, and fun! I’ve gotten several free books myself this way, but this is the first time I’ve participated as an author. All you have to do is click this link or the picture above and you’ll go to a page with all the books. Click on any (or all!) of the books that look good to you, choose which file type you want, and enter your email. The books will be emailed to you a few minutes later.

Check out the books, download all you want, and share the link with your friends! (Click the share links on the left.)

And enjoy all the fun reading! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 48

RESULTS: Might’ve lost a couple pounds??

Our house and car in Wellington, New Zealand

This past week I’ve been packing up to leave the hotel, going to the Weta Christmas party, and unpacking into our new home. I’ve been running errands, but today was the first day in a week that I’ve been able to take time to run again. (I was tired, but it still felt good!)

The movers expect to deliver our belongings next week, so I’ll be able to start weighing myself again and see how I’m doing. Yesterday I was wearing a pair of pants that I couldn’t get on in January, but were almost embarrassingly loose yesterday. 🙂 That’s something!

Even without the scale, I feel like I’m making a little progress. Of course, part of it is because I need to thoroughly clean the kitchen, cupboards, dishes, etc. with hot water and bleach because this place has been empty a little while. (When I saw the mousetrap, I kinda freaked out, but I haven’t seen a mouse. Just a few small bugs that I don’t like but probably can’t keep out.)

Once I feel everything is clean enough, then I can start cooking a little and eat fewer sandwiches. It’s a summer house, so there isn’t much cupboard space, so I won’t be able to buy too much food at once, which is good. But my friend Elena (Southern California) is going to give me some cooking lessons via Skype – yay! And my friend Rachel (in Melbourne, Australia) wants to bake together via Skype – yay! We just have to make the times work since I’m in Wellington, New Zealand now. But I’m excited!

I’ll keep you updated for another week or two, then I’ll take a Christmas break and come back with a new goal in January! How are YOU doing with your health and fitness goals? Don’t give up! Take a break if you need to, but let’s not lose what momentum we’ve gained. We can do this! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 47

RESULTS: No idea!!! Hahaha!!

Standing in front of our new home in Wellington

Standing in front of our new home in Wellington, New Zealand

Hello from our new home in Wellington, New Zealand!!!

I haven’t forgotten about my 50 pounds in 50 weeks weight loss goal. I just can’t measure it until we move into our new home and our stuff gets delivered – including our bathroom scale. Once I can weigh myself again, I’ll have a better idea of how to restart my goal in 2017 and I’ll let you know here.

Meanwhile, my clothes fit well and I’m walking a lot even when I could be driving or taking the bus. (I’m also overeating with cookies, crackers, and restaurant food.) Plus, I started slowly getting back into my running routine again. It feels GREAT! I’ll post some pictures here for you soon. Right now, I have a ton of stuff to do to get us settled into our new home.

Hopefully, I’ll have Internet next week and be able to update you on My Public Display of Dieting as well as our new life! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 43-46

RESULTS: Lost 0 pounds for a total loss of 26 pounds

New Zealand Flag wooden sign on beach backgroundIf you haven’t been seeing my Facebook Live videos on Facebook, you may not know but – WE’RE MOVING TO NEW ZEALAND!!!!

John got a 4-month contract with his dream company, Weta Digital, in Wellington, and we’re leaving in 2 weeks!!!

WOOHOOOOOO!!!!!

Due to a number of things – stress, extreme busyness, celebrating, goodbye lunches – I haven’t been able to lose any more weight lately. But at least I’m hovering in the same general two pounds. I’ll update this blog post again when we get over there, and I’ll probably hit the restart button a bit and give myself a new date to shoot for – because no way will I lose 24 pounds by Christmas!! LOL!!!

I’ll write more when I can! Love and hugs to you! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 42

RESULTS: Gained 2 pounds for a total loss of 26 pounds

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My first trip to Rita’s for a frozen custard cookie sandwich. WOW! I will definitely miss this place! But my diet will go better without it! LOL!

At this point, it’s just a matter of “keep on trying, don’t give up.” I’ve gained back a total of 5 pounds from my lowest point a few months ago. That’s not good. But if I’d given up and stopped trying, it would be far worse.

The biggest problem has been stress from moving and other related struggles, and now we’re moving again so we’re having goodbye lunches and dinners. Plus, we’re saying, Oh, let’s eat this and that because we won’t have it in New Zealand.

(Did you hear? We’re moving to New Zealand in less than a month! John was hired at his dream job, Weta Digital!)

So, yes, I bought one more box of Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter cereal and one more box of Pop Tarts. John actually picked my favorite flavor (brown sugar cinnamon) instead of his (probably chocolate fudge) – isn’t he sweet? In fact, I had a bowl of Cap’n Crunch just a few minutes ago – yum!

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Mmm, soooo good!

And even though my running has been almost non-existent because of all the errands I’ve had to run buying boxes, taking things to the thrift store, and a million other things, I’m determined to run tomorrow morning. (You heard it here first! Check Facebook to see if I managed it. I sure hope so!)

With a blog, it’s usually quite difficult to tell if anyone is really reading what you write, and if it makes any impact at all on the world. But I’ve heard in a few comments here, and in a few comments when I see friends in person, that you guys do find something good or useful in my blogs. So long as I keep thinking that’s true, I’ll keep writing. 🙂

I was also told by two different people that posting my struggles and failures and comebacks is encouraging, too. So here’s to a comeback next week! For all of us! 🙂 Love you guys!

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 41

RESULTS: Lost 0 pounds for a total loss of 28 pounds

Hand pushing the restart buttonYes, this blog is really late! It’s almost time for the week 42 update. But at least it gave me a couple extra days to lose that extra vacation weight! Haha!

So as of Wednesday of this week, I was back down to 170, having lost the 3-5 pounds I’d gained. Whew! Now I have to get back on the exercise wagon and hit the Restart button. I’ll tell you on Sunday, in my Chubby Girls Run column, what’s going on and how things are about to change. 🙂

Meanwhile, one thing I’ve really noticed lately is that things I used to think tasted great, or things that sound like they should taste great, don’t really taste that great. I ate an Entenmann’s apple cider donut this morning with apple cider. (It’s fall! Of course I have to have apple cider and donuts!) But let me just say that it tasted more like a donut-shaped sugar bar with a touch of apple-cinnamon flavor. Big disappointment. 🙁 I guess the upside is that I won’t be eating any more of them.

Also, the more protein I eat, the less I have sugar cravings. So now that most of our junk food is gone, I’m getting back to eating more protein and not wanting the junk food. Again – whew! There was a point a few days ago when I was afraid I’d rewired my body chemistry back to the out-of-control way of overeating I’d gotten caught up in the last few years. Yikes!

Oh, one more thing that might be just a way for me to keep track rather than terribly interesting to you. I’ve started having headaches again, a lot of them. I don’t know if it’s the new apartment, the new town, an extra dose of stress, the extra sugar and junk food, the two weeks without taking probiotics because they were on order, or – probably – a combination of several of these things. But as of today, back on probiotics, cutting way back on sugar and junk food, and let’s see how that affects the headaches.

See you again in a few days! 🙂