Posts Tagged With: Goals

Directions

Directions

Ever had a destination, a goal, an objective, or something that needed to get done or somewhere you needed to be in life?  I can tell you won’t arrive by accident, it won’t happen on its own power, and I still haven’t figured out how to teleport like Harry Potter, so more than likely neither have you. No, the only way we can get to a particular goal/destination is directions.  We need directions. We need a roadmap to the destination of our goals.

I like to think of myself somewhat a gypsy, but that’s only wishful thinking.  I’m strategic, analytical, observant, scientific, and rational.  My free spirit I leave to my painting, but even in that – it’s still organized, planned, and executed.  Okay, I take it back. I’m NOTHING like a gypsy.

I have goals. If this damned pandemic doesn’t kill me, there’s still a lot of things left that I want to do, and the only way I know how to get them done, the only way that I’ve achieved the goals and destinations before this – was to make a plan and then carefully map out the directions to achieve the end goal.

So, I think it’s time I start making those plans again.  My problem isn’t that I don’t have any dreams, any plans, any wants, or any destinations, but that I have too many and need to make a decision and narrow them down.

It’s time.

One of those goals – is get back to this blog.

Here we go – step one – I blogged today.

Next direction in my goal for blogging – blog tomorrow.

Until tomorrow,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, Quotes, Relationships, respect, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year Resolutions

New Year goals or resolutions

 

It’s that time of year again.  For those who don’t make resolutions this post may be just what you need to read. For those who do make them, maybe this will help you. In Forrest Gump fashion, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

Resolutions for me are promises I make to myself and no one else.  Many, many, many changes have happened in my life due to the resolutions/promises I’ve made in the past – so for ME, they work. I think they work for me, because I take promises and vows very seriously, and these are promises to me, to my heart, and to my soul, and they deserve my best.

So, what are my resolutions this year?

  1. Let the past go, live in the moment, and start focusing more on the future.

I realized I had been holding tightly to some past hurts and deep rooted pain.  This was pain I thought I had dealt with, but had only managed to bury.  I needed to see it. I needed to feel it.  It came out while having one of those very rare, deep, open conversations with someone – where you talk about shit you didn’t even know you needed to talk about; that heavy shit. It was so heavy, it cost me a relationship, and I’m so sad about that, but I’m not sad it happened.  It needed it to happen. I needed to see it. I needed to face it.  It was a godsend that it happened when it did.

  1. Let my feet be quick to walk away and my mouth be swift to say, “No.” – it’s not my job to save the world.

I have patterns and I need to start paying close attention to those patterns. One of those patterns is always being there to lend a helping hand, always being someone that sees the needs in others and forgets that I have needs as well, because I will compromise to meet their wants and needs.  I’m not God. I’m not Jesus. I may be Supergirl, but my cape is ripped, my boots are torn, and there’s Kryptonite in the marrow of my bones.  It’s not my job to save the world anymore, and there’s no one to save me.

I love people, especially the people in my inner circle.  But, I tend to gravitate toward the lonely, the broken, the damaged, the hurting, and the forgotten – because that’s how I feel.  I love people the way I want to be loved. I invest in people the way I want to be invested into, and I see people the way I would want to be seen.  BUT – it doesn’t happen that way.  They don’t love me, they don’t invest into me, and they don’t see me   – they don’t even see themselves – and I know that, but I have had this foolish notion that my love would be all they need and it would show them the way.

So, my resolution this year, No – a vow to myself, is to invest in ME, love ME, and see ME.  My heart wants to help others– but my mind is ready to fight this round this year. I’ve put on my running shoes, picked up my shield, and in order to protect myself I have readied my feet to be quick to walk away from these certain types of people and let my mouth be swift to say, “No.”  I have to put me first. I’ve been broken and my soul has been crushed, and I won’t be one damned bit of good to someone else until I’ve healed. This isn’t going to be easy for me, but I know it’s what I need to do. For those I walk away from – you’re just going to have to forgive me. If you can’t – I’m sorry.

  1. Dust off my Adventure List and start ticking off some more of those boxes.

If you’ve known me for any certain of time, then you have heard about my Adventure List – a list of Adventures that I want to do or experience before my time expires on this earth, or I get to old or feeble to complete them.  To some, they call it their ‘bucket list’, but I believe life should be one series of adventures after the next.  I started my Adventure List – and then I put others’ needs before my own and my List has been collecting dust. THAT is the only thing I am ashamed of these past few years. I had made a promise to myself, and looking back over the past 4 years, I’ve realized I have neglected that promise. If someone comes into my life – they MUST care about me enough to help me fulfill my dream, not ask me to choose between them. THIS is part of that anger I’m feeling.  I’ve never come first – it seems …not even from myself.  I have a lump in my throat right now because this is one of those bitter truths I’ve had to face – I never come first, MY wants and needs have never been put first.

I’m dusting off and going to update my list over the next few months – you’ll probably see a bunch of blog posts  about it as I start to tick off those boxes, and I’m shifting my focus – have already shifted my focus – to fulfilling my adventures.  Getting Anthony shipped off to the Navy is at the top.

  1. Live ALONE.

My door is no longer open to ANYONE.  I’m sorry – but I can’t do it anymore. I’ve literally given up my privacy, my space, my life, my room, my time, my goals  – to provide and take care of the needs of others.  My children are grown and capable of taking care of themselves. I’m in no committed relationship with anyone. My door is not open. My sign reads: “No Vacancy”.  The next time I live with someone will be because I have made a vow to share my life with someone, and I don’t see that ever happening. If I have a friend in need, I will work hard finding them somewhere ELSE to go, but it will not be with me.  I’m done taking care of the world. My dog Bella is the only being that will live with me. I don’t want a roommate. I want peace. I want space. I want my fortress of solitude.

  1. Write More
  2. Play More Music
  3. Read More
  4. Paint More
  5. Explore More
  6. Laugh More

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Thine Own Self Be True

To Thine Own Self

 

Shakespeare may have penned the phrase, but it’s a truth that’s existed before he wrote Hamlet, and one that has taken me a long time to comprehend.  I haven’t yet mastered it, but I’m working on it.

I’m finding the only way finding and being true to myself is possible …is by being completely honest with myself.  I am more than capable of lying to myself. I was a master at it.  If I were to bet or guess, I would say that a majority of us lie to ourselves quite often, rarely identifying and accepting the truth, because truth hurts.  Truth is hard to take sometimes. Truth is hard to face.  But, as the Good Book says, Truth will set you free. It really will.  It won’t make your problems magically disappear, but it will set you free so that you can begin the journey of living an honest life.

How can we live a true and honest life if we won’t face the truths in our lives? We want and demand truth from others, but how hypocritical of us if we don’t FIRST find, accept, and acknowledge truth within ourselves?  We are living in such an enabled society, where we even lie to ourselves because the truth is harsh and a hard pill to swallow.  It’s not OUR fault we are fat, lazy, and unhealthy and out of shape.  It’s society’s fault for making it too hard to eat healthy, by making poor meal choices more affordable and convenient.  It’s the Fast Food and marketing industries’ fault for my lack of self-control and discipline.  It is my cultural and socio-economical circumstances’ fault that I can’t afford personal trainers, gym memberships, and beautiful parks and recreation centers to work out. It’s our genetics’ fault that I have to work twice as hard as my skinny counterpart.  It’s time’s fault I have poor time management because I put other things in a higher priority  – like watching tv, sitting in restaurants, playing video games, chatting online or scrolling through social media outlets.   I have kids and don’t have the time and energy and money and opportunity.

We all have excuses.  We all cling to them when we want to justify our behavior, and then we moan and complain when we have to face the consequences of those decisions.  That’s the truth of the matter.

We all have the same 24 hours a day.  We all have obstacles in the path of what we need or desire in our lives. It may seem unfair when we try to compare ourselves to others and their opportunities.  Most often we tell the biggest lie to ourselves – “if I had the same opportunity as them …then I would.”  LIAR.  You don’t do it now – you won’t do then – you won’t do it even if you had EVERY advantage because you are NOT true to yourself FIRST.

When we truly have a passion for something, we make it a priority.  When we make something a priority, we have to take a truthful evaluation of where we were, where we are, and where we want to be – and THEN make some REALISTIC, honest, truthful goals – and then do them.  DO THEM.  One day at a time. One step at a time. One victory at a time.  One choice after the next, after then next, after the next – and NEVER GIVE UP. Don’t focus on the big goal, put all your focus on just making it to the next goal.  Be faithful in the little things …and you will be the master of many things.  But be unfaithful in the little things, you will also be unfaithful in the big things, and master nothing.

Success isn’t that you’ve gained something.  True success is when something has cost you – something you had to sacrifice a piece of yourself to obtain – and being true to yourself along the journey.  THAT’s the true success of anything.

Life sucks sometimes.  I mean it really, painfully, soul-crushing, can’t breathe, pushes you to the edge sucks sometimes.  I’ve had my share – and I know there’s more to come later.  But the best things I’ve ever accomplished in this life is learning to love myself, learning to see myself for who I really am, and then learning to be proud of the woman I am.  It isn’t my MBA, or my writing awards, or my publications, or my public praise, or anything I’ve accomplished that makes me proud of myself.  No, that confidence and pride comes from knowing what it took to get there – knowing the truths I’ve had to face – and being true to ME.

You want to get in shape – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want a better job – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want a better relationship – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want to be happy – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want to succeed – face your truth and stop making excuses.

 

To thine own self be true!

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Faith, family, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, Musing., Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding My Purpose

Finding My Purponse

Feeling lost is no picnic. I really think it is the leading cause of depression. It’s at least a feeling I have to deal with from time to time. I’m a pretty positive person, full of energy, jam-packed with ambition, and overflowing with drive …on most days. I’m almost always busy, almost always going, almost never sitting still, and almost never bored …almost. My brain NEVER rests. There are some days I feel lost, drained, lonely, and completely unfocused. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.  That’s our little secret.

But, why?  Why do I go through those emotions?  Is it chemical? Is it physical? Is it mental? Is it genetic? Is it psychosomatic? Is it part of my PTSD? Is it hormonal fluctuations as I age further into menopause? It could be one, all, or a combination. I don’t always know the root cause. But, and this is a big but (sort of like my backside), I notice most often those feelings of depression, being tired, drained and lonely surface most when I’m without a purpose, when I’m in the transition from one purpose or the other, when life shifts and my needs and wants change – because that’s when my purpose changes, when my goals change, when my priorities have to be rearranged, when my emotions fluctuate and when my daily stresses and requirements shift.

I am a blessed, healthy, smart, capable, gifted and well-loved woman. I ‘should’ be happy ALL THE TIME.  I’m passionate …about EVERYTHING, I’m an empath, an artist, and a philosophical thinker – so I feel deeply about EVERYTHING – good and bad.  My joy is amazing, yet my grief is brutal, my love is overwhelming, yet my mistrust is deep-rooted, my belief is strong, yet my faith is full of doubt, I’m a walking, breathing contradiction.  But, God have mercy when I find purpose – because when I do, my focus becomes laser-sharp, my ambition becomes great, my gifts kick into action, and there’s literally NOTHING I can’t do that I set my heart and mind to accomplish.  My mustard-seed faith becomes activated, my strength builds, my courage grows, and I become unstoppable.

I amaze myself sometimes when I think of the things I’ve accomplished, the things I’ve overcome, the things I’ve survived, and the experiences (both good and bad) that I’ve had, and how they have shaped the woman I am today.  I’m only 48, but I’ve already lived an amazingly horrific wonderful scary exciting life.  I want to live another 48 years filled with even more adventures, accomplishments, experiences, and love …most of all love. Yet, I’ve done most of it alone, even when I was married or in close relationships I chased my passions alone.

I have loved very deeply, and I want to be loved just as deeply. I want to find a purpose that fuels me, but for this half of my life I want to share that purpose, drive, and passion with someone who loves me, wants me, and wants share their passions with me.  I have had many purposes in my life – daughter, sister, protector, mother, fiancé, wife, friend, student, cheerleader, fighter, worker, manger, boss, entrepreneur, reporter, gamer, survivor, teacher, humanitarian, coordinator, leader, singer/song-writer/musician, author, speaker, coach, editor, agent, buyer, step-mother, and girlfriend.  What’s next? When I find my next purpose – watch out, because I will be unstoppable.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Poetry, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Moving

Keep Moving

While my imagination loves fairy tales, magic, and the miraculous, my mind understands reality, and the reality is that if I want something or I want something to happen in my life I have to do it, to make it happen, make the choices needed, and then act on them.  Money doesn’t just magically appear in my bank account – never, not once did I find any extra currency in there – though I swear often that there’s an invisible troll taking a toll every time I use it.  Fat doesn’t magically dissolve in my body, though I sometimes think it magically appears. We know that isn’t the truth either.  Relationship’s don’t just begin or end without effort and/or neglect.  That reminds me of a meme I saw one time about cheating where a guy trips and falls on top of a woman exclaiming, “It was an accident!”  No, the accident happened with the momentum of texting, talking, smiling, and flirting.  That’s when the cheating first began.  By the time he ‘tripped’, he was already deep into the betrayal. There’s no accident about it.

What I’m trying to convey here is that I have to make a plan and set goals, make preparations for those plans and goals, make the choices that will help me achieve those plans and goals, and then have the strength and discipline to fulfill them regardless of how I feel or of convenience.  Nothing just magically happens.  Check marks don’t just appear.  Yes, sometimes the universe will bring me a surprise, but for the most part there are laws that govern this world much the way our natural laws govern our science and nature.  Facts are facts. Those laws are that we reap what we’ve sown.  The key is …we have to sow. We have to plant. We have to water. We have to make sure we get the right amount of sunlight.  We have to protect our gardens.  We have to pull up our own weeds.  We have to make sure we put the right kind of shit in the ground. We can’t plant one thing, yet expect it to grow something else, though we do. Man, I can’t tell you how many times I see this on a daily basis – this belief in reverse magic, in magical harvests, in expecting and wanting what we didn’t plant, earn or deserve.  It’s crazy.  Our society is so franchised, so drive-through, so … I want it my way, and I want it now, but don’t ask me to plant, grow, etc. I want YOU to prepare it for me.  I just want to lay back in my perfect body, consume what I want, when I want, not face a consequence, not lift a finger, not work for it, and yet have the strength and blessings of the gods.  How arrogant we are.  Yet, we will tell ourselves that’s NOT what we expect.

Come on, be real. Isn’t it what we expect?

This world is a beautiful and ugly place at the same time.  Over the past few weeks I have seen many, many, many examples of love, compassion, charity, respect, and bravery from people – and I’ve seen selfishness, hate, fear, depravity and gluttonous greed. Life is complex and complicated in its simplicity.  But somewhere in the balance there is peace.

I have to keep moving. I have to keep working, and hoping, and praying, and expecting, and sowing, and reaping.  I have to keep making choices every day that are going to help me or hinder me, bring me life or frustration, to help me thrive or knock me off course. If I fall, I have to choose to get back up.  If I run, I have to learn to rest.  If I fear, I have to be brave.  If I’m empty, I have to fill myself. If I have the opportunity to love, I choose love. I have to keep dreaming, I have to keep planning, and I have to keep seeking my balance, my peace, and my happiness.  As much as I wish I could say a magic word and it be done, I know that’s not the reality of it – and I have to keep moving.  In this selfish world, my joy comes from choosing to love, to find purpose, to give, and to serve.  I have to choose it. I have to do it.  I decide to make my bed first thing in the morning, to love instead of run in fear, and then take the next step, and then the step after that, and so on.  I have to keep moving – THAT’s when I’m most happy.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Life, love, memes, Muses, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Progress

Progress

 

Ever heard the old adage, “If it’s too easy, you’re not reading the fine print?”  Or yet a better one, “If it’s too good to be true, it often isn’t?” There’s always a catch when it comes to shortcuts, especially when it comes to dreams and big obstacles that come into our lives. We are a Burger King world where we want it our way and we want it now. But, life will remind us that it’s not always good to have things ‘our way’ and patience really is a virtue.

Right now I’m working on a couple goals, and healing from a huge obstacle that had been in my life.  I’m not making huge strides, but I am making positive progress, and that’s what matters most.  I’d love to have the speed of the rabbit, but I’m learning the steady pace of the turtle will win my race.

I write this blog, and post my posts on social media, and my smiling selfies, not so I can shout out to the world to look at me and see what I’m doing.  I write to me, and I post to me, as a way to remind myself where I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going.  It’s so I can track my progress.  How do I know if I’m moving forward unless I have these little reminders that mark my journey?

Some think I’m being narcissistic or vain, but I really don’t give a shit what they think. The only people whose opinion truly matters know who they are in my life. They know where I’ve come from, where I want to go, and encourage me every step of the way forward toward progress.  One of the best things I’ve done for myself these past several months was to remove myself from the toxic, judgmental, self-righteous selfishness that beat me down every day. I have surrounded myself with beautiful, loving, kind, considerate, thoughtful, generous, smart, and driven people – because I needed it.  I was exhausted and broken – and even reached a low point where I just wanted to die so I wouldn’t feel pain and disappointment anymore.  I did my best, but I realized that nothing I ever did or would do was ever going to change anything. I was out of place, running the wrong race.  But, now I’m free and I am so thankful for the beautiful people that inspire me.  See, that’s the difference – I’m surround by people that motivate, encourage, and support me, human beings I’m proud to know who don’t ask anything of me, don’t use me, and don’t take advantage of me, but only ask for me to be me and to be happy.

I needed to be saved – from myself.  I needed to be free – so I could rescue myself. I had to start all over again – from the bottom, but I’m moving up – one small step, one small accomplishment, one small decision, one small action, and one small moment at a time.  I’m making progress.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dream, Faith, family, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Quotes, relationship, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life is Hard – Face it Anyway

life_is_hard_logo

 

I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but life is hard. At least it is for me. NOTHING is easy. Even my workout this morning was hard, but that’s not the thing on which I have to stay focused. No, when I mention life is hard, that’s just stating a fact and a truth.  It is hard. Really hard.  Even the good stuff is often hard. Getting up in the morning, opening my eyes to face another day – that is fucking hard.  BUT – how I face it   – that’s up to me.

I’d love to say that every day I wake up feeling like Tony the Tiger and everything is …GRRRRREAT!  But, that would be a lie and I’m all about the truth. There are some days I wish I didn’t wake up at all. There are some days I wake up and I’m ready to conquer the whole world. There are other days I want to burn the whole damned world down and all the people in it, because most often people suck.  (Hang on  …there’s a good message here.)

Life is a compilation of a series of events, some good, some bad, some really, really good, and some just fucking nightmares.  Nothing makes you see life in its complex simplicity more than losing someone you love or failing at a dream you’ve spent the majority of your life pursuing. These tragic events causes us to face our mortality.  We don’t like to acknowledge our mortality.  We love the illusion that we are invincible, immortal, and immune. But, we are not.

I’m an observer, a scribe, someone who watches, learns, learns how to learn, perceives and records. What I’ve discovered is that humanity is really complex.  One observation I’ve seen is: MOST people (myself included) spend a whole lot of effort, time, and money trying to hide from the pain and disappointments of life.  But, pain is a part of life and something we should face so we can heal.  We get disappointed because we had expectations.  We get our hearts broken because we first filled them with opportunities of love.  We get frustrated at our failures because we dared to succeed.  YET, we also feel pride at a job well done.  We smile when we experience love. We laugh when we feel joy.  We appreciate beauty because we have seen the ugliness in this world. There’s a balance to everything.  As Einstein says, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Don’t get lost in despair, but also don’t try to rush it either. Feel the pain. Know the pain you feel is because of the love you once had – and then move on.  Don’t stay still. Don’t let your worry, sorrow and pain rob you of your faith, joy and happiness.  Give it it’s time – and no more. Don’t hide it, try to shove it down, or ignore it – that heals nothing. Feel it. Accept it. Face it!

I have a new fitness goal and I’m excited about it.  I’m also apprehensive because I know to reach my goal I’m going to have to go through a lot of pain. It’s going to hurt.  Damn, is it going to hurt!!! I’m almost in tears thinking about the pain that’s to come.  BUT, I’m excited about what is on the OTHER SIDE of that pain. I’m excited about the good things that are also with me WHILE I’m going through that pain.  I’m excited about the support, love and encouragement I’m getting as I go through my journey. THAT people – that right there is what makes it worth facing the pain. Life is hard and full of different kinds of pain – truth – fact!  But, I’m not afraid.  I’m more afraid NOT TO TRY. I’m not even afraid to fail – because I know failure is a possibility.  BUT, I’m afraid NOT TO TRY.

I’m in a new relationship.  I know this new courtship can also fail, but I can’t let my fear of getting hurt again stop me from putting my heart back out there. There’s no success without risk. There’s no reaction without action. Yes, I could get my heart broke. Yes, it’s possible he will never love me or choose me. But, it’s also possible he will. It’s possible I have found a partner to share all the ups and down in this life with me so I don’t have to keep walking it alone. It’s possible I’ve found happiness. It’s possible I’ve met someone as tough as I am, who will fight as hard as I do, who isn’t afraid to go through the darkness and dance in the light with me.  It’s possible.  But, it isn’t possible unless I face it, unless I jump in and take a chance, and unless I let my walls down.  I’m afraid NOT TO TRY.

Life is hard. On those days I don’t even want to open my eyes, I do it anyway. When my body hurts and doesn’t want to move, I get up anyway. When Fear whispers its lies in my ears and grips me hard to face another challenge, I face it anyway. When Doubt tells me I can’t, I do it anyway. When Anxiety tells me I will fail, I try anyway. When Despair tells me I’m going to get hurt, I take a chance anyway. When Pessimism tells me I’m wasting my time, I’m optimistically hopeful anyway. When Insecurity tells me I’m not worthy, I love and appreciate myself anyway. When Rejection reminds me not even my own parents wanted me – to not waste my time and just give up, I take a chance and love anyway. When Death takes away my loved ones and my light and inspiration are stolen from this world, I inspire and seek inspiration anyway.

Again – I’m not afraid to fail or get hurt. I’m afraid to never try. I’m afraid to be one of the cowards of this world that can’t get their heads out of their own asses, who can’t swim in the deep waters because they are too shallow, who put too much emphasis on shit that don’t matter.  It’s vanity.  It’s as Solomon wrote – a chasing of the wind. I see lives nearly destroyed every day because of vanity and fear.  I don’t want vanity in my life. I’m not shallow. I don’t understand the ignorance of shallow thinking.  I don’t understand cowardice. I am afraid but I face my fears ANYWAY.  I don’t understand how people allow their lives to be cheapened by the unimportant things – yet I see them sell out every day and it’s everywhere.  It’s the disease that kills us all. I’m no coward. Life is hard, but I’m harder and I face it anyway.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Faith, friends, Life, love, memes, Musing, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Budgeting… Our Goals

Budgeting

As with anything we do, we need to set some realistic and obtainable goals.  Not a comfortable goal. On the contrary, our goals and plans should always be a little more, a little harder, and a little higher than our present comfort level.  We should always strive to do ‘more’ than our current level or else we are just treading water and getting nowhere. That’s not a way to find success. That’s simply surviving.

One of the keys to success is to always be rising, gaining, and moving toward the end of our agenda. We have to set our eyes on the finish line, the pinnacle of what we want to achieve, and then be able to see, understand, and recognize the path to get to that line.  This is where we often mess up and stumble, leading to our failure in reaching the goals we set for ourselves.

In no way am I saying NOT to dream big. On the contrary… dream big; dream really big.  Write those dreams down, even the ones that everyone says are impossible.  Even the ones we think are impossible or not for us. We can’t run a race without knowing what kind of race we’re in, or where the finish line is, otherwise we’re just running wild with no direction. We have to know where we are going in order to know if we’re traveling in the right direction.

Once we’ve written our list of dreams, we now need to take a step back, remove the emotion from those dreams, and start setting realistic, obtainable goals.  We have to take the big dream and identify step A and step Z. Those are the two hardest steps to identify – A. What is it and where does it begin?  Z. What does it become and where does it end? We can’t set all the goals between A and Z without FIRST identifying those two components.  Those are the base to our equation for success. Equally, this same equation can be used for every area of our lives.

Who am I?   –  Who do I want to be?

What do I weigh?  – What do I want to weigh?

What can I do?  – What do I want to be able to do?

Where am I?  – Where do I want to be?

How much do I have? – How much do I want to have?

How do I feel? – How do I want to feel?

Where have I been? – Where do I want to go?

What position do I hold? – What position do I want to hold?

 

You see what I’m trying to convey?  We have to first identify the truth of our present state and then set the goal of the state we want to achieve. But, we can’t lie to ourselves or else the goals we set will unravel.  They won’t hold when the pressure comes, when temptation comes, when the truth reveals itself.  The number one failure to any goal we set for ourselves is self-deception and dishonesty. We lie to ourselves more than anyone else lies to us, or even the lies we tell to others.

One of the keys of success for making a change to any of our bad habits and behaviors, failures and weaknesses, including taking responsibility for who we are, is being able to recognize the truth about ourselves.  We have to accept that truth in order to make a decision to change it. In order to enter the race to achieve any particular goal in our life, we have to first understand where we are, who we are, and what state we are in – and then recognize the goal of where we want to go, what we want to do, and what we want to achieve.  It has to be done in honesty.

Goals are all about change; changing our present state, our present atmosphere, our present company, to a different state in order to achieve a different result. Change can’t happen without honesty. Change can’t happen without recognizing the truth. But once we face the truth, once we accept it, and we’ve recognized our A and Z components, NOW we are capable of setting our budget of goals.  As with any budget we can over budget or under budget.  If we over-budget, we set impossible and unrealistic goals, and are not going to be able to meet those goals and setting ourselves up to fail.  If we under-budget and set too easy of goals, then it won’t be a challenge and we’re not really changing anything; only running in a circle of what we already have. This is the cycle that many of us often fall into – and if you take an honest look at your past behaviors these are the type of goals that leads to those spherical habits – what’s often known as yo-yo diets or insanity – doing the same things over and over and over and yet expecting different results, so we keep making the same mistakes and we keep failing.  It’s why we can’t beat our addictions or overcome our weaknesses. It’s why we can’t change our lives or circumstances because we can’t change our environment, change who or what we hang out with, whom or what we allow in our lives, who or what we allow to influence us and speak into our lives.

I.e. – if we want to be successful and responsible, we have to stop hanging out with unsuccessful and irresponsible people, or making unsuccessful decisions. If we want to be healthy and fit, we can’t surround ourselves with lazy, unfit people or regularly visit the fast food restaurants, stock our fridges and pantry with junk food, or eat out all the time. If we want to be kind and generous, we can’t hang out with selfish and hateful people.  If we want to be happy and faithful, we have to stop hanging out with unhappy cheaters.  If we don’t want drama in our lives, we have to stop inviting it into our homes. We are what we do, what we eat, who we hang out with, and what we spend our time and money on.

Once we face our truth, and recognize our A and Z, we need to set our budget – break down all the steps between A and Z (B-Y) into progressive, obtainable mini-goals.  First break them in half (B-M), then break those sections in half (C-G), then those in half (D & E), doing the same for the other side, and so on and so forth until you have a clear path filled with plans and goals that will help you reach success. If we don’t like any part of who we are, where we are, or what state we are in, then change it. Recognize our A and Z, make our goals, and then set a realistic budget to meet all the internal steps until we find success.

Here’s an example:

Face the Truth: Always dreamed of writing a novel, but after starting a dozen stories, never seem to finish them. Life always gets in the way, and nothing ever gets completed.

Dream: Finish a 50,000 word novel.

A – Start Writing Novel – “Once Upon a Time”.  Z – Complete Writing Novel – “The End”

B-M – Break the novel down into increments and chapters so that M= 25,000 words (half our novel) (averaging 2000 words per chapter for 12 chapters) and then set our budget to achieve a chapter a day, or a chapter a week.  Outline those chapters of what we want to achieve by that part of the story, and set our goals for each chapter.  Then, do the same for the other half of the novel, so that we have a complete outline of mini-goals we want to achieve from A to Z.

Then COMMIT to those obtainable, reachable goals we have set, create an atmosphere to fulfill those goals, budget the equipment and material we need to achieve them, and make the time and room to get them done. Without commitment, we WILL fail. Kismet, Murphy, life, God, the supernatural, and everything and everyone will present obstacles and temptations to get us off our goals, detour us from our path, lead us astray, or get us to give up.  Nothing good comes easy or without effort. We MUST have commitment or we have already failed.  Budget our goals. They’re important. We are important. Our dreams are important.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Life, memes, Muses, Musing, Philosophy, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Budgeting

Budgeting

Unless you make a shit ton of money, have a wealthy uncle or heritage, most of us have to live within a budget.  We have to take note of what is coming in and what is going out or else we’ll find ourselves reactive, chasing one problem after another, instead of being proactive to prevent more problems.  Remember this: Reactive = chaos. Proactive=control.  I think this is one of the issues that plague our country, and even the world, more than anything else – irresponsibility of not realizing what our true means are and living within those means, or making a plan to increase or decrease those means.

I’ve experienced just about every aspect and level of lifestyle. I’ve been so low and have tasted being homeless living in my car and rest stops for a time, to a one room shack with no electricity or running water, onto trailer parks with holes in the floor fighting rats for my space, expanding to several different levels of apartments, moving into suburban America with a 4-bedroom home and two car garage,  rental properties,  enjoying a condo on the beach, and a hacienda complete with guards, servants and two toilets in a single restroom. I’ve experienced true hunger and have also gorged on extravagance; both just as depraved, and neither the key to true, lasting happiness.

As with any other goal in our life, we must take an honest look of where we are, what he contribute, what we owe, where we want to go, and where we need to be in order to make the appropriate plans to get there. Go ahead and keep believing your dreams and fantasies are going to take care of all your needs and solve all your problems. Let me know how that turns out.  However, if you truly want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and live a good, balanced life, then you need to start being honest with yourself and circumstances, and then set your budget.

All of life is about a budget. We not only need to budget our money, but our time, our affection, and our dreams.  The most detrimental thing that happens to me is when I allow others, bad decisions, and unexpected circumstances to rob me of my peace and balance in life.  All the success I’ve enjoyed throughout my life has resulted from when I made an honest assessment, developed a plan, and then activated that plan – EVERY SINGLE SUCCESS.  If I look back, the majority of my failures have resulted from times when I’ve lied to myself, reacted spontaneously without counting the costs, or allowed others and their needs to come before myself.

So, this week I’m going to talk about budgeting. So stay tuned.  Hopefully something in these blog posts will open your mind, click within your soul, and set you on a path to success. That’s what I’m hoping for myself. This is all part of my latest journey.  If you want to come along, buckle up – it’s going to be an awesome, yet bumpy, ride.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Forward… Day 5

Moving Forward Day 5.jpg

Well, it’s day five and I’m still moving forward.  Not in leaps and bounds, but in tiny steps, but the most important thing is that I’m moving.

One of the ways and keys to moving forward is making plans and small changes to fulfill those plans.  If you would have asked me last year what my plans were, they would be so different than the plans I’m making now.  Why is that?  Because of the people that are in my life now.

Since last year, I’ve met three people that I’ve fell madly in love with, and knowing them has filled my life, my heart and now my plans, but I’ll get into that more as I go through these plans that I’m making in my quest of moving forward.

Lighthouse Adventure.  As most of you already know, I’m on a quest to visit, picture, and explore all the lighthouses along the Florida coast from Amelia Island to Pensacola, including the keys.  I’ve already discovered, photo, or visited more than ten so far.  I’m constantly searching maps, books, and google maps searching and researching the lighthouses of Florida. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s educational, and it’s an adventure that makes me smile.

Writing. As you can see, I’ve picked up blogging on a regular basis again, but I haven’t given any time to writing.  But, as part of moving forward in my writing, I’m making a promise, a plan, to write at least one thing a week…whether a short story, or a chapter, or an article.  This doesn’t include blogging.  I plan to do that every week day.

Gaming.  I’ve been playing Xbox video games now for the last 4 years, starting with Assassin’s Creed, Red Dead Redemption, and then moving to Destiny, with splashes of GTAV, Halo, Call of Duty, and various new games here and there.  I’m not hard core, but I enjoy them.  Most of all I enjoy the company of my gamer friends.  My plan is make time to play, at least an hour a day during the week, and no more than a few hours on the weekend.

Side note: Well, my boys (two of the three people I’ve met this past year that I mentioned above), Anthony and Nathan, now play video games with me.  It’s a common ground activity for us, a way to spend quality time together, doing something we all enjoy, yet in the comfort of our own homes/rooms.  I love hanging out with these boys, they are two amazing teenagers, and I know they wouldn’t be the remarkable kids they are without the love and guidance of their father, Jon.  He’s a single dad and got a lot on his plate, but one of the things I admire most about him is the love he pours into these boys.  He’s not perfect by any means, struggles on many levels, but on the important things, I feel he’s doing a damned good job.   I also don’t think he gets enough credit for the effort he makes.  He lets his boys be themselves, but within defined guidelines.  He always tells them he loves them.  He’s always hugging them.  Most of all, in his busy world with all his responsibilities, he spends QUALITY time with them whether taking them fishing or surfing, or playing a vicious game of Monopoly or Poker.  He’s home with them after work, and then spends most weekends with them.  He makes them brush their teeth, do their chores, and pitch in with cooking, doing laundry, instead of doing everything for them.

Warning: Rant ahead.  It pisses me off sometimes when his selfish friends are always asking him to go do things that they want or need, that will take him away from time with his boys, when they have no similar responsibilities, or when they take advantage of him by asking him to do things to help themselves in the middle of THEIR crisis, instead of helping HIM. I’ve never heard any of them offer to take him and his boys on an adventure, go over and help him clean his house, cook him a meal to feed his boys, or ask him if he needs anything. He wouldn’t take their help if they offered it, but they never offer. They come to him with their relationship problems, stupid-ass choice, and dire straits, because he listens and he cares.  They take, take, and take… want, want, and want for themselves and what THEY need.  Where’s the giving?  Where’s the helping? Where’s the love? They’re selfish bastards. (And I don’t give a fuck if they get pissed at me for feeling this way. I’ve yet to see any of those fuckers do anything for that family but take. And there have been many opportunities for those fuckers to help. Fuck them!) Yet, Jon would do anything to help any of them if they needed it, and he helps them often (I’ve witnessed it), usually at the sacrifice of valuable time that he needs to keep on top of his own responsibilities. Fucking selfish bitches. Yet, when he needed something – none of those bitches were around. A real friend wouldn’t have to be told what he needs, they would see it. I don’t want to get to know any of them, and the one’s I have gotten to know so far, I’m not impressed. Yes, it’s important that Jon spends some time for himself, doing adult things, not forgetting he’s not just a father, but a man or a friend. But his friends should be more considerate of his responsibilities and not even ask him to do anything that would make meeting those responsibilities harder or more of a burden for him. Take the man out to eat, put gas in his truck, help him change a tire, buy him a beer, go surfing with him (even if it’s not your thing – do something HE loves, not just ask him to join in YOUR activities), take him to a movie, or play a game of poker (bring him a fat cigar too – he loves those). Oy veh! Okay – rant over, back to the regularly scheduled program.

Fishing.  I plan to learn how to fish.  Not just because I want to know myself, nor for the fact that I live in Florida and with all the lakes, rivers, and ocean all around me, fishing is abundant.  I want to learn how to fish, because I know it’s a passion for Nathan, and I want to be able to share in that activity with him.  I’ve seen this kid’s face completely light up when it comes to fishing.  Seeing that love and excitement on his face, that’s worth it to learn.  So, I’ll be researching poles, equipment, bait, methods, patterns, etc.  That’s one of my new goals, and I’m excited about it.

Sailing.  I have also met this year a wonderful new friend, Jason, that can see the joy and excitement on my face when out on the water, and has offered to make that activity available to me.  This is one of those treasured friends that are rare to find. I’m glad I met him and I’m glad he’s my friend.  I’ve been sailing now a few times, and boating aboard a floating Christmas tree a couple times, and planning a huge trip later in 2017.  I love being on the water. I love being in nature. I can’t express how it soothes my soul. Nor can I truly express how grateful I am to the opportunity Jason is offering me, and not just me, but for those I love most too… like my best friend Jenna, and my boys, Anthony and Nathan.

I’ll have more plans as the new year unfolds, but right now I’m off to a good start. One thing I’m suspending for the time being is dating.  I’m open to get to know someone, but I still need some time to heal. My heart is mangled mess and I don’t think it would be a good idea to jump into a romantic relationship until my heart’s not hurting anymore. I don’t want a band-aid or a temporary distraction, I want real, deep, forever-kind of love.  I want romance and adventure.  So, I’ll wait because doing it right, being healed first, is important. Until then… I’m going to put all my focus on moving forward.  Healing is part of moving forward.  So, let’s take a new step today.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Faith, family, friends, gaming, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Musing, Relationships, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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