Power Word: Strive

Everyone knows there are goals worth working for. These goals are as unique as the person who sets them. They are what you spend your free time on, what you think about when you are drifting off to sleep, and what excites you when you hit milestones.

Striving to achieve these goals isn’t only important to overall well-being, it also brings intense satisfaction.

For me, I have plenty of goals I’m working toward as well as other areas where I want to excel. The most obvious is with my writing career. I want to achieve success as an author. Other things are equally important to me as well. At home, I want to be an awesome mom, a decent chef, have a beautiful yard, and keep an organized home. In my personal life, I’d love to learn character sketching and graphic design and take up karate once more.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

It all has to start somewhere. For me, the word strive means to work with a goal in mind. It means spending time learning, practicing, and applying new skills. It means stepping closer toward mastery. It means sacrificing free time and sleep.

Many people have this belief that someday they’ll find the time to do the things they’ve always dreamed about. It could be after their kids have left for college, after they retire, after they get their next bonus, or after they pay off a debt.

What usually happens is that they keep putting off their dreams until they no longer have time or energy to be able to live them – and that’s tragic.

Some dreams require significant investment, like traveling abroad. Some require huge amounts of time, like writing a book. Some require additional schooling, like getting certified to be a life coach. Every single one starts with a baby step in the right direction.

While there are many things I would love to dive into right now, I know what my time limitations are. I also know the power of small consistent effort over time.

For now, I’m striving to be a successful author by spending time everyday writing, editing, and producing my next books. I spend time every week communicating with other authors and learning and growing. I make time to attend conferences. Every page finished, every new skill honed, every effort brings me that much closer to my goal.

What are you striving for?

What dreams are you willing to take the first step in accomplishing?

Let’s discuss it all in the comments below!


If you want to read my other power word posts, head over to Power Words of 2019.

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Power Word: Vitality

Recently I went on a Disneyland vacation with my family and let me tell you, the happiest place on Earth is not for the weak. As a writer and author I spend an unhealthy amount of time sitting at a desk. I do my best to incorporate physical activity into my day, but the fact stands, I’m not the svelte active woman I was ten years ago.

Walking around the massive acreage that is the Magic Kingdom takes stamina all by itself. Herding a group of highly distractable kids around the park, takes stamina, beignets, patience, and an ungodly amount of caffeine.

Which brings me to this month’s power word: Vitality.

Somewhere between Splash Mountain and the 28th request from a little person to ride something on the other side of the park RIGHT NOW, I realized just how tired I was. I used to be able to do theme parks with the best of them. Now, I totally get why my parents wanted to stop and sit down.

I define vitality as the overall feeling of health and well-being. It’s a mix of eating well and taking time to celebrate the potential of our bodies through motion. That motion is different for everyone. One person might crave that morning run, another might enjoy a walk around the block, another can find it while playing at a park with their kids.

Energy is a funny thing. The more you use, the stronger you become in time. Those who are regularly active, have more energy than those who aren’t.

For me, focusing on vitality means to find ways of incorporating more motion into my day. I’m spending time tending to my yard, choosing to walk rather than ride in a car when possible, and taking my kids to parks to play.

Vitality is also being more aware of the quality of the food I eat and how much. I have to cheat here and use a calorie counter, I find it’s the only way I can stay accountable.

Overall, I’m happy with my body and I want to use it every way I can. I’m a work in progress and want to continue to improve by being more intentional about my actions.

What are ways you increase your vitality?

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

If you want to read my other power word posts, head over to the post, Power Words of 2019.

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Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links.

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Power Word: Create

When was the last time you visited a museum or attended a concert? Visited a historical site? Ate at a great restaurant? The draw of all these activities is rooted in our desire to experience that which stirs the senses, whether it be sight, taste, sound, smell, or touch. The people behind these experiences, the painters, musicians, architects, or chefs, all have one thing in common – they create.

Photo by Kai Oberhäuser on Unsplash

The word ‘create’ is simple, yet powerful. Everything that surrounds us is a result of an act of creation. From the first moments we discover the use of our hands, we create. As children, we spent a great deal our energy creating crayon art, play dough sculptures, sand castles, digital worlds, Lego worlds, and endless stories.

As adults, we have less and less time to spend in carefree acts of creation. I find this sad, but I’m guilty of it as well. Ever since I shifted my writing from something I did as a hobby to a career, that element of carefree play has been lost. Each time I sit down to write or edit something, it’s to meet a deadline, a goal, or a career milestone.

That said, I still enjoy the act of creating new ideas and putting those ideas into a story. There is a rush of fulfillment and joy every time I get to hold a new book or anthology in my hands for the first time. Finishing a project that has taken weeks, or months, or even years is an emotional thing.

Happy mommy otter

Using ‘create’ as a power word means to remind myself how much I enjoy the process of writing. It’s a reminder to make progress on other creative projects, like the half-finished crochet Totoro that’s been stuffed in a box. It’s gentle encouragement to try something new.

Ultimately, the joy that comes from creating art; whether it be visual, edible, or word driven, can’t come from any other pursuit. It’s the ability to look at something with pride and say, “I made that.”

What are you going to create today?

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This post is part of the Power Words series.

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Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links.

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Power Words of 2019

No, this isn’t a goal writing post. I swear it. No one wants to read yet another one of those. Besides, it’s mid January, trendy goal-setting posts are not allowed past this point.

This is totally a motivating “set your intention” mindful living kind of post.

And I’m all about motivation!

This year, I didn’t want a set of structured goals looming over me. It’s not that the goals aren’t helpful – structured goals are a powerful tool – it’s that I tend to get carried away with the details and that causes anxiety. If I create all those details, then there’s the pressure that I might get it wrong. Instead of spreadsheets of detailed goal planning, I’m embracing a single word:

‘INTENTION’

As a busy mom, everyday brings with it a new set of challenges. Instead of fighting the never ending tide of changes and feeling like I’m constantly behind or missing out, or doing it wrong, the focus instead will be on what I want as the desired result.

It sounds super hippy, that’s why I like it. It’s not going to solve my problems, just my mindset. And a healthier mindset can move mountains.

In addition to reminding myself to live each moment with intention, I’ve created a series of power words to help focus that intention from day to day.

For this year, these words are the following:

In the morning, somewhere between making breakfast and checking if everyone’s teeth are brushed, I take a moment and consider my day and the challenges I might face. One of these words will best encapsulate what I need to focus on and I stick it to my monitor as a reminder.

Stay tuned, every third Wednesday of the month is now power word day here on the blog, where I discuss what each word means to me and how it has helped me work toward my goals.

A huge thank you to Jenelle Stone for her class on power words and goal setting, I loved it!

Do you use focus words? What words do you find powerful? Share in the comments below.

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Love fantasy and sci-fi? Go check out the Fantasy and Sci-fi Reader’s Lounge over on Facebook. Everyday new authors visit the page to talk about their books and also their favorite fantasy and sci-fi. Even better, there are lots of contests and giveaways of the freshest fiction. Go check it out!

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Just posted today! My article “What to Expect when you are Expecting … a Book” is over at James Thomson’s blog, The Wayside. Go check it out!

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The Road Not Taken

This weekend, as my family and I explored the mountains, I was reminded of the all time classic poem,The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost.  This poem has found a special place in my heart.

Everyday I’m presented with choices. Endless. Unrelenting. Choices.  It starts the second I wake up.  Do I sleep in today?  What should I wear? What should I feed the kids for breakfast?  For most, choosing the better choice isn’t hard.  Well, except with sleeping in, that’s a beast.

Then there are those choices where the outcome isn’t clear.  How should I discipline the kids? Should I eat artificial sweeteners? How much time should I spend writing instead of being with my kids?  Having to choose when the path is unclear is troubling.  If I discipline incorrectly am I creating monsters?  Will I get cancer from my Diet Coke? Will my children resent me as adults because I chose to write?

When things are rough and I’m feeling overwhelmed I know I choose the easier path, even when it is heading in a direction I don’t want to go.  I sleep in, eat brownies, and (gasp) yell. The problem with the easy path is that it is so enticing.  I’ll admit, I don’t want trial in my life. I hate confrontation and discord more than heights, snakes, and spiders combined. However, hating trials don’t mean that they don’t seek me out.  I have battles everyday, just like everyone else.

In the end, I must decide on where I want go.  Having a goal helps to steer in the right direction.  If I want to trim my waist line I have to stop haunting my kitchen hunting for treats.  If I want my children to speak kindly to each other I have to speak kindly to them.  If I want more time writing and working toward finishing my book, I have to spend less time watching TV and browsing the internet.

I have to take the road not taken.  Even when it’s hard.  Especially when it’s hard.

road-not-takenThe Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.