Private or Public – The Anonymity Question

I love to write.  I’ve always love to write.  When I was a kid I would write short stories and dream about writing fictional novels.  So I thought it would make sense to write to earn extra money.  My original thought was to write a book, but that was years ago when bookstores still existed and you didn’t go into them to use their WiFi and drink a $5 coffee.  They didn’t sell toys or have activities.  Audio books were scarce.  If you wanted audio, you listened to music.  They sold books and magazines and maybe a bookmark at the register.

open textbook
Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

Fast-forward twenty, ok maybe thirty years, and reading is not the same as it used to be.  I’m not saying people don’t read anymore, but it’s not the same as it used to be.  The main forms of information were the newspaper, books, magazines and TV.  For those of you old enough to remember, the internet didn’t even exist!

Life got in the way of me becoming a famous novelist (as it often does) and now we’re in a completely different world.  Not bad, just different.  My ideas about being a writer have changed as well.  Writing fiction would be fun, but I’m looking for something a little more purposeful now.  I don’t have the capacity to be a doctor or nurse or firefighter or police officer.  It takes a certain type of personality for those types of roles.  I’m not sure exactly will be my niche with writing but I do think that blogging is my new role to help people.

I feel, and you may feel differently, that unless you’re writing a textbook or some other type of reference material that writing is intensely personal.  I also feel that it is when you do something (whether it be composing a song, painting a picture or any other artistic work) that the more personal you make it the better it will be.

With social media a photo can travel the world in a couple of days and reach millions of people.  How can you keep things private when you want to your words to reach the public?  It’s a choice that isn’t taken lightly.  This is the choice that I have to make now.

Has anyone struggled with whether or not they should blog about something that may be personal to them and doesn’t want the world to know?  If so, how have you handled it?

I would love to hear from you as I continue to enter this new world of blogging.

~JC

 

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Three Things Each Day

I recently read an article by Randi Zuckerberg that said you can only pick three things to do a day to achieve your goals.  You can read her article here Her focus was on family, work, exercise, etc.  I have a different idea about doing three things each day though.  Instead of having such a broad definition of what you can focus on, is it your mental health, is it your work life, you should focus on three very specific things to do each day.

I’ve read numerous articles about how to achieve your goals and break down your goals into small steps that are achievable.  I’ve bought a planner and this is great advice for a long-term goal to keep you on track.  What I found though, is that when you look at a goal that is so far out in the future and you have a lot of other responsibilities that are hanging over your head (daughter’s softball game, paying the bills, making dinner, going to work) there doesn’t tend to be a lot of time left to accomplish these goals.  For some of us, you usually end up being the one that gets taken care of last.  So as I try to write my blog each day in the morning it reminds me that my goals should be first, but the reality is that isn’t always going to happen.

Therefore, I’ve come up with writing down three very specific things that need to be done each day.  You may think “but I have 100 things that need to be done”.  By all means do as much as you want for the day.  On weekends I may get more things accomplished than during the week, but if I have three things done each day, that adds up to a minimum of 21 things that I accomplished over the week and three is a very doable number.  Writing lists that have dozens of items on them might be very motivating, but when you don’t get them accomplished, it can make you feel as if you failed for the day.

Keep it simple, a sample list might be like this:

  • Go to the bank
  • Send out thank you cards
  • Update your resume

The tasks don’t need to be related or time consuming.  Write them down and then cross them off when you have finished them and you will feel a sense of accomplishment once you have done it.  And better yet, you will get things done that you haven’t been able to find the time to do!

~JC

orange and green pen on graphing notepad
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Staying motivated to Blog Daily

As I started this journey of writing a blog, I found that I have been unsuccessful at writing daily because I was very concerned that I needed to have a set amount of time to write about a specific topic, but as I begin to increase my knowledge about blogs, I see that it isn’t necessary for me to always have a blog with nice pictures and a great layout.  It’s the content that counts.

My tip for someone new to blogging is to just write even if it is a few short sentences.   So instead of scrolling through social media in the mornings before work, my goal is to write in this blog with my morning cup of coffee.  And with that, I’m off to get ready!

What tips does everyone have for how they stayed motivated to blogging on a regular basis?

~JC

filled teacup with saucer beside good morning card and pen and macaroons
Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Some Days You Eat Ice Cream for Dinner

There are days when everything goes just as planned. You get in a great morning workout, have a productive day at work, dinner goes off without a hitch and the house is clean. Other days turn out to be not quite as you planned.

My former coworkers know me all too well. At least every couple of months I would have dinner prepped and ready to go in the crockpot and I would inevitably forget to turn it on. Normally my husband would catch it and we would eat that night, but when I didn’t even take it out of the fridge my well thought out plan didn’t go quite as planned and so sometimes it was ice cream for dinner!

Some days I would get pretty upset for not having everything go as planned, but it’s just smarter to reset yourself and let it go. Beating yourself up about it just puts negative thoughts in your head. Every self- help book tells you positive self talk is the thing to do. It sounds too simple but it’s true. And even though it’s simple, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Give yourself a break and realize that you make mistakes. You’re not perfect and every day isn’t going to go as planned. And when that happens it’s ok to eat ice cream for dinner.

Best Intentions

Sometimes we begin journeys with the best of intentions and never get to the destination because we lose sight of what we’re working towards. That can happen for a number of reasons. For me, life just seems to get in the way and time has a funny way of getting away from you.

Losing sight of your goal can cause you to feel lost and that you’re wandering aimlessly with no direction. But I think it’s important to remember that no matter how far off the path you’ve gotten from your goal it’s always possible to head back in that direction. Just keep going forward and consciously give yourself reminders of where you are going and why you want to get there.

I recently set a goal for myself to start my own business but there were obstacles in the way. Starting a business takes capital and being unemployed doesn’t provide you with any capital. I needed a job. I was lucky enough to get a job that I enjoy and work with a great group of people, but it wasn’t my goal and so I began to get discouraged until I remembered that this is a part of my journey towards reaching my goal. We get impatient when things take time to achieve and forget to look back at how fast we’ve come.

I’ve run several road races now and I normally go by myself. I love the camaraderie of the runners but I’m not the most outgoing person in the bunch so I generally stick to myself, but I almost always meet a new person at the start line and we share stories or just words of encouragement. The last race I ran I met someone and we were talking about the Boilermaker 15k coming up which has a hill that is a little intimidating to me. Her advice “when you get to the top of the hill, turn around and look back at the sea of people and you’ll see how far you’ve come and even though there may be so many people ahead of you there will be so many people behind you”. I think this applies to our lives as well. Maybe there are people that are ahead of you and have achieved their goals but there are so many others working towards their goals just like you. Each person has a part in your goal just like in a road race. The spectators are cheering you on, the volunteers are keeping you on the right path and even those who don’t go to the race may be cheering silently for you from their homes. In the end noone can get you to the finish line except for yourself and you need to prepare to get there. Prepare for your life goals and get to the finish line, then enter another race and set a new goal for yourself. Don’t worry about setbacks along the way. Just keep moving forward.

~ JC

Do What Makes You Happy

A lot of articles that I have read over the years always tell you to prioritize your day with the hardest thing first. Maybe that works great for school or work, but I think that you should do what you like to do first so that you can be sure that you had time to do it.

How many times have you gotten to the end of the day and thought “I wish I had time to get in my workout” or whatever it is that you wanted to do. I’m not sure if there is any research behind this, but I think that it makes sense to do what you like first instead of always having to worry about your obligations.

Yes, everyone needs clean laundry and the dishes to be done, but let’s face facts, you will likely make sure that they get done before the end of the night anyways.  If you really wanted to read a chapter in your favorite book or go to a festival how would you get to do that if you were stuck home doing laundry.  Bonus…if you have kids or a spouse, maybe it will get done while you’re out doing what it is that you want to do.

I had obligations that needed to be done today, but I started my day with a run and after a shower, I met up with a couple of friends to have coffee and good conversation.  It made going to the grocery store and running kids around a little more enjoyable.  Instead of stressing yourself out and rushing through your obligations to get to the fun part of your day, if they’re out of the way, you won’t feel rushed or stressed when you have to go to several stores to find a pair of sneakers because you already accomplished what made you happy.

So get up and start putting yourself first.

~JC

Introduction to JC Claims

People say that you can’t help others until you help yourself. I am creating this blog with the intention to do both.  I am not a tech guru.  I have no blogging experience.  I am a procrastinator in the worst way and have started a million projects without finishing them.  I have read countless articles and books about motivation and success.  I am always looking at ways to make more money and pay off debt.  Always looking to the future.  Today I start backwards.

The reason I named this blog JC Claims is because I started a dba 20+ years ago with this name.  I was going to stuff envelopes or make jewelry that they ship to you in the mail so that I could work from home and not have to work a traditional 9 – 5 job.  I would be a stay at home mom with an income!  20+ years later, I still work at the same 9 – 5 job and the kids don’t need daycare anymore.

So, why am I starting this now?  Maybe with age there really does come wisdom.  I’m a pretty private person and so starting a blog seemed like a crazy thing to do.  Tell people about my life?  That’s crazy!  But then, I looked back at what I wanted to be when I was little and that answer was a writer.  So how do I incorporate my lifelong dreams with what I want to do today?  Blogging was the answer.  I think it’s important to know that while I would love to get rich writing this blog, I am practical enough to know that just might not happen, so I have a different goal in mind.

Help others without expecting something in return. 

Today, my dream job would be to help normal people with their problems.  I think everyone should do the job that they would do if they won the lottery.  That’s when work won’t seem like work.  If I were to win the lottery, I would start a non-profit for people who are trying to help themselves, but just can’t find the assistance that they are looking for.  Take for instance a dual-income family that is drowning in credit card debt.  There’s no public assistance for that.  My dream job would be to help anyone with any problem as long as they were willing to help themselves.  My hope would be that they would pay it forward and assist others who might be in similar situations that they were in.

I have a LOT of areas in my life that could use some major improvements and so I will try to relate experiences about what I think could work and what didn’t work to others while travelling my own journey and hopefully establishing some followers who will help to keep me on track with my own goals.

Stay positive.

~JC