Why Tracking Your Progress Will Make You Hate Yourself Less
Self acceptance is nearly impossible. In our twenties it's hard to accept anything: change, graduating from college, moving to a new city, our bodies, our careers. In the fog where we facebook stalk our "more successful" friends and get down on ourselves for not being "put together", its easy to get caught up in the "I suck" mantra. No inspirational quote can help with whatever deep-seeded self-doubt we've developed over the years, but I've discovered something that can: Tracking your progress. Now this may sound a little bit ridiculous, considering the depth of what we're talking about, but planning and tracking my daily tasks, goals and challenges has changed my life. I bought a planner after envying countless women on Youtube who were way more put together than me. When I saw these people on the screen with their pastel colored worlds, shiny smiles and perfect make-up...I wanted to be like them. I didn't want to trade in my spontaneous edge and chaos for a square life filled with methodical primping and planning, but I did want to achieve more of a balance.When you spend so much time in a free-fall that it becomes a routine, you have to change. So I purchased the Create 365 Happy Planner, which, by name seems a little stupid, but has honestly changed the way I do everything. Planning things out has never been my strong-suit, but today I look down at an organized week full of goals, quotes, stickers and decorations and think, man...life is a lot easier than I have been making it. When I stare at a blank week in my little book of revelations, things seem a lot more hopeful. It displays the choices I can make to get better, or worse. I am tracking each move I make. I am being more conscious. Planning things out, and encouraging myself to think forward, but not ahead has brought me a sense of calm unlike any other. For once the chaos in my head melted away. The responsibility lands on my planner now. If I write it down and look at it every day, I can get it done. The point is, once I started actually using the God damn thing I've started to hate myself less. I plan every Sunday. It is my hour to sit and really think about the next week and what I want to accomplish. It's a time for reflection on what worked the week before, and what didn't. It's a time for me to look at myself and be like, "hey, are you doing the best you can, or are you fucking up a little bit?" And that answer comes out in the plan. Recently I've gotten serious about getting sober, at least for a little while. And each day I go without drinking is a little victory. In the book of revelations I have five tick marks. Once I reach a week I'll put down a little sticker with a smile. Tracking progress. No matter how banal and idiotic it may seem, is helping me get over my demons. It's helping me be a better person. Each day I eat healthy, I write down a little note like, "Good job not screwing up." and in my brain, that matters. It's a running chronicle of my life choices. It's helping me see light in things that I always avoided before like trying to better my mood or making healthier choices. Although the shiny people on Youtube have their own sets of problems, mine don't seem as daunting anymore. I can look at my little bible and smile, because my life is on track. And when I hop over the railings and stir up some trouble, I make a little note. "Do better next time." In my little book, there are no judgments, only observation. For someone slowly recovering from years of self-hatred that's a really good thing. Planners are just one way to hate yourself less, and they don't work for everyone. But I implore you, if you feel like nothing can help, that you're spinning out of control. Just buy one. It costs less than a bottle of booze and can give you more to look forward to than just a hangover. When I look back in my planner, I don't see a fuck up like I used to, I see progress. And that's all we can hope for as humans, to progress from our primitive selves to fully evolved versions. Some people decorate them, others just make lists. No matter what your style is, planners can increase productivity. They also make you look at yourself honestly. I've been tracking my progress in a serious and diligent way for the past two months, and I've never felt more in control. Although I'm not even close to accepting myself, my world has a bit more pastel in it. I'm closer to liking what I see, what I do and how I feel. My planner, my book of revelations has really helped with that. Because it's not just a stupid little book with decorations in it, it's a living chronicle. It's a letter to myself...with mistakes and victories all laid out in a grid. To me, it's beautiful. This little book doesn't change who I am, it doesn't detract from the danger and the fun I've always held close, it just organizes it. No matter how fun flailing in the darkness has been, it's a lot easier to stand tall, steady and sure that tomorrow if all else fails, I have my plan.
How To Set Kick-Ass Goals
Okay so you've got a dream, good for you. Everyone has dreams...but do you have goals? You think you have goals, but are they concrete? Do they have a time table? Are you really holding yourself accountable? Get the answers to all that and more. If you're slacking a bit in the Goals department, this post will surely get you back on track. Let's break it down: 1. Get Specific: If you want to lose weight that's cool, but you can't expect to do it if you don't have a specific amount of weight to lose. So to make the goal doable you set a numeric one: I'd like to lose 15 pounds, then I will have reached my goal. Numbers. Simple. If you set a goal like, "Graduate from College." Great! But which college, which major, what GPA? See where we're going here? 2. Make sure you can measure it. Abstract goals like "look better" and "get smarter" can't possibly work because you can't measure if you've achieved them or not. If you set a goal like, "I want to be smarter" and have an actual way to measure that like, "I want to be smarter, and I will know I am smarter because I have learned a new skill...like ...a language." Then you're on the right track. It's basically the next step to being specific. You'll know you've lost weight by looking at the numbers. 3. Set goals that aren't completely wacky. ATTAINABLE goals are ones that can actually happen. Don't wake up one day and say, "I'm gonna walk on the moon" if you're a 24 year old accountant. I mean...you could technically walk on the moon, but that's not the point. Be realistic with yourself and your goals, that way you won't be disappointed when you don't make the moon landing thing happen. Set a goal like "Hey, I'm not going to drink soda today" and then watch your self-esteem rise. 4. Don't set goals that won't help you succeed. If your an office worker doing some kind of expense report and your goal for the day is to make the world's largest sandwich, you're not really doing your work justice. Goals that are irrelevant only drag you down and make your actual priorities get screwed up. Focus is the key. I have a lot of trouble focusing in on one thing to work toward, but every day I write down relevant goals to help. Trust me, if you keep your mind on track you will get better results. 5. And finally, for God's sake give yourself a time limit. If I say today I want to make 100, 000 friends on Vingle that's super cool. If I have infinite time I'll probably never really work toward that goal. If I say "I will make 100,000 friends on Vingle before the end of the year, I'm definitely going to work harder to make it happen. It's all about how you talk to yourself regarding these goals. As I'm learning every day, this funny system of being specific, making things attainable, relevant and time sensitive makes the world of difference when trying to make things happen. So go out there, get specific and hit your goals! Woo!
Ziad Nakad's Elegance Vibes Collection
Moms, daughters, fashionistas, drag queens, et cetera, there's a hot "new" designer in town, and his name is Ziad Nakad. His 2015 "Elegance Vibes" Collection is nothing less than STUNNING! I say "new" like he just arrived on the fashion scene, which is complete bunk! If anyone is new, it's me, because before today I had never heard of the Lebanese designer. What caught my attention is the next gown because for a split-second I thought it was an Elie Saab creation. And you all know how much I am obsessed with Saab. When I realized this was Nakad, I did some looking into his designs and they are remarkable. Delicate. Feminine. Striking. Bold. Sexy. An entire world of superlatives that you really must see. This card is dedicated--not to brides--but to the moms out there who have sons and daughters getting married. Perhaps you're a guest and need something to wear. Nakad is what you need! Take a look at some of his gowns from the "Elegance Vibes" 2015 Collection. I was 99% convinced that this was a Saab gown until I looked closer. THIS IS MY FAV! If you had to choose, which of these gowns MUST YOU HAVE?! Like I said, the first gown in box 2 is my FAVORITE. But these are ALL FABULOUS GOWNS! And for the brides out there wondering, YES, he has an entire bridal collection of white and off-white gowns that are STUNNING. I will be sharing those gowns with you shortly. Please let me know what you think of these gowns in the comments below. Thank you! For more designer gowns, take a look by clicking here.