I’m Going to Become a Millionaire in 2018

Just one favor from you: hold me accountable.

I’m going to become a millionaire in 2018.

That’s my big goal for the upcoming year.

I don’t know how yet, but I have some exciting ideas. But the how is not the important thing just yet.

The important thing is that I’ve decided.

Declaring this goal publicly is equally important. Being publicly held accountable for ACHIEVING the goal you set is supposed to be really helpful. Public accountability makes things happen.

So I need your help, just one tiny favor from you:

HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE.

That way if I wimp out & DON’T do this, I’ll know that other people were counting on me to hustle & make my goals happen. I’ll feel embarrassed that I didn’t do what I said I was going to do. I’ll be disappointed. I hate disappointing myself, but when it’s only you you’re answering to, it’s easy to say, “Well, I guess it just wasn’t the right time yet.” When really, you could have done it if you had a reason to.

If you knew you HAD to. If you burnt all your boats & went for it.

By saying this to you, I’m making it so I HAVE to do this.

Not that I don’t have very compelling personal reasons “why” even without anyone knowing about this. I do know my “why”. My “why” is because being a millionaire would allow me to live my best life, provide for my family beyond their wildest dreams, help elevate & empower & promote other artists/writers/musicians/awesome people, & to do my part to take care of the world. They deserve me living my best life. I deserve me living my best life. I feel like achieving that level of success so I can do those things is my duty. Because I can’t lift up other people as much as I’d like to if I’m in the pit too.

IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE ALIVE, YOU MIGHT AS WELL TRY TO BE ALL YOU CAN.

I know I deserve to live my best life, because I’ve always, ever since I was a kid, known I was destined to. I’ve definitely had my dark times & doubts, but they never were able to kill that underlying thread, the message deeply entwined in who I am that one day, I AM going to make it big.

When things have been dark, that knowledge that I’m meant for something greater — the greatest happiness, the greatest success, recognition, wealth, & intentional & good-feeling fame — is what’s allowed me to rise back into the light. I have always been heading towards these things.

I hold myself accountable to a very high level. But even I sometimes wimp out & play small & think, “maybe I don’t deserve this”. Or I stop when I don’t know how to move forward & let myself get distracted by other things. Or I’m afraid of succeeding. Afraid I won’t like it once I get there. & then I don’t make it happen. I don’t try push enough. Then at the end of the year, I look back with some disappointment that I didn’t do what I TOLD MYSELF I was going to do.

& because I’m getting very tired of falling back on playing small, on not LETTING myself have the money & the success & the HAPPINESS that feel far away even though I know they’re totally within my reach, I’m trying something new this year.

That’s why I need your help.

I just read the amazing “ What Happens When You Take Full Responsibility For Your Life” article here on Medium from one of my favorite writers, Benjamin P. Hardy. The article is about taking radical responsibility for your life & actually COMMITTING to making your dreams happen. Unconditionally & unquestionably RESOLVING to achieve your goals. I highly recommend you read it if you want to make 2018 your best year EVER.

In his article, he challenged the reader to make a big decision & then make sure everyone else knows about your decision so they can hold you accountable. The reason it encourages success is because people like being seen as consistent with what others believe they are. You like seeing YOURSELF as being consistent with what you believe you are. This is one way you “burn your boats”.

Your mind will almost literally move mountains to keep up with what it believes its standards are.

This is why people who don’t believe they deserve something will go to great lengths to sabotage any sort of success. They can’t believe they deserve it, so they don’t let themselves have it. Even if having it would be way easier than resisting it.

This is also why people who believe in their own success will overcome even the most crushing of setbacks & achieve outstanding things. People can do miraculous things when they really believe they can do something.

People also don’t like letting other people down, because disappointing others & not living up to their expectations doesn’t feel good. Especially if they expect something great from you & if they genuinely want something for you which is in your actual best interest.

So, if I’m not a millionaire by the end of 2018, I’m going to feel disappointed because I didn’t do what I said I was going to do. I’m not going to feel like I was consistent with what was expected of me. With what I TOLD YOU I was going to do.

But I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. I believe this IS possible for me. Even if I can’t see exactly how yet. But I do have a lot of options, a lot of ways it could pan out.

Sure, it’s an ambitious goal. It’s by far my most ambitious yearly goal yet.

But I’m no stranger to making big goals. At the beginning of this year, I made some pretty big plans about traveling by myself for the first time, & they weren’t even very specific goals. ALSO, a lot of the goals I set at the beginning of the year were NOT things I actually expected I would accomplish this year. I made them with good intentions, but I also put them on there like, “Well, I hope this happens this year (but deep down inside it’s probably not going to)”.

& I still made them happen. Because somewhere along the line, I started genuinely believing they WERE possible.

That’s how 2017 ended up being the most freaking amazing year of my life. I went on an epic road trip around Florida by myself (my first trip away from home), traveled from Tampa to Houston to see Queen (one of my all-time favorite bands) in concert, saw a lot of my other favorite bands in concert, ran my first 5K, published numerous books, acted in a play, started investing in the stock market even though I knew nothing about it when I started, grew my online business, started a podcast, bought my absolute DREAM guitar (Fender Telecaster Thinline 72′ Series), & started my own weekly show on YouTube. I also really figured out what I wanted & who I wanted to be.

An amazing freaking year. & yet at the beginning of the year I assumed the year would be cool but also kind of lame, & that I wouldn’t really move forward much. That it would be just like every other year before it.

But I was wrong. I got out there & made shit happen.

& I learned who I want to become in 2018. What I want. Another piece of the map showing me the way to my best life. The best life that I am actively creating for myself.

It’s time I took radical responsibility for my life. It’s time I stopped playing small & pretending I can’t have or don’t deserve the things that make me light up.

So I’m sending my declaration out there loud & clear. I’m ready. Let’s make this happen.

By the end of 2018, I will be a millionaire. & it’s going to feel really good, in all aspects.

So, will you help me?

Will you hold me accountable?

& I’ll hold you accountable too. Let me know in the comments what you’re going to create for yourself in 2018.

We’ll watch those boats burn together. Then, with no more excuses stopping us from becoming our best selves, we’ll watch 2018 become the most amazing year of our lives yet.

 —

Thank you so much for reading this! If you could click on the APPLAUSE button on the left, that would be fantastic! Hope you have a really great day.

There are Only 30 Days Left in the Year. What Are You Going to Do About It?

You still have time, but you have to go NOW.

There are 30 Days Left in the Year. What Are You Going to Do About It?
There are only 30 days left in 2017.
A lot of days, if you use them well. Only a few if you waste them.

But it’s your choice what you make of the last month of the year.

Not that 30 days ISN’T a pretty long time. It’s about 8.33% of a year. 1/12. That’s a pretty big chunk.
If you use it right. If you think about it the right way. You can change your life in a month.
It isn’t the time to start “winding down”. It isn’t the time to say, “The year’s almost over. Not much more I can do.”
No.
It’s time to put the pedal to the metal. It’s time to start cranking out the projects you wanted to work on. It’s time to check more things off your to-do list. Time to review your goals for the year & ask, “What else can I get done this year?”. Your last chance to accomplish the things in 2017 that you planned on doing. Your last chance to become a little more of the person you wanted to be this year.
Anything you wanted to do this year that you haven’t done yet needs to be done NOW.
You wanted to start a podcast? GO. Do the first episode. NOW. Get whatever microphone you can get your hands on, even if it’s just your phone.
You wanted to get healthier? Get up from wherever you’re sitting & take a walk. Eat a piece of fruit for desert instead of cake.
You wanted to write a novel? You might not have enough time to finish it. But you can start. & that will be what matters, that you finally started.
You wanted to be happier? What are you waiting for? It’ll never be the right time to finally let yourself be happy. You’ll always have some excuse why you can’t be happy. Let yourself be happy now.

The year is almost over.

But you still have time.

Time to read a few more books. Time to relax more. Time to be happy. Time to work on your business. Time to be healthier. Time to record that song. Time to start your blog. Time to learn to code. Time to put more money in your savings. Time to be a better friend. Time to reinvent yourself, again.
The door is closing on 2017. Ask yourself, “What would be the perfect finale to make 2017 the most amazing year of my life?”. What would be the icing on the cake? Do that. It’s your power to make 2017 go out with triumph. To slide up to the finish line as the winner, yelling, “I did it! I did it! I won!”. To accomplish more than you thought you could. To expand your limits. To set yourself up for success. To set yourself free. To build momentum.
2018 is going to be amazing, I just know it. But you have to be ready to make it so.
DO IT NOW.
There are only 30 days left in the year.
You might not have everything you need.
But you have enough to get started.
Who do you want to be?
& more importantly:

What are you going to do about it?

Here’s Why Consistency is Much More Important Than Perfection

Save $1. Exercise for one minute. The tiniest step in the right direction is better than doing nothing at all. When done consistently, it can move mountains.

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

Much too often, perfect becomes the enemy of good. Perfection becomes more important than making progress in the first place. There have been so many times I’ve given up on something because I wasn’t able to do it as often, as devotedly, in the same capacity that I’d originally planned to.

But starting, even with the most seemingly insignificant action, is always better than not starting at all. The smallest action in the right direction, especially when doing it becomes a habit, is incredibly powerful.

The tiniest step in the right direction is better than doing nothing at all. When done consistently, it can move mountains.

Sometimes, it feels like if you can’t commit to exercising an hour a day, if you can’t save 10% of your income, if you can’t write 5,000 words a day, that you might as well not do anything at all. That you should wait until it’s a “better time”.

Don’t wait for the perfect time to do something. Don’t stop & start over because you messed up, or you don’t think you’re ready, or you don’t have the time, the money, the resources. It will never be a better time than it is RIGHT. NOW. No one cares if you cheated at your diet for one day, or if you only start out writing ten words a day in the novel that’s been inside you for a decade.

What matters is that you DO SOMETHING.

Walking for one minute is better than not exercising at all, if that’s all you can do for now.

Practicing playing guitar for two minutes is better than not playing it at all, if that’s all you have time to do.

Eating a tablespoon of canned vegetables along with your burger & fries is better than not eating any vegetables at all, if you’re working on eating healthier.

Flossing one tooth every day is better than not flossing at all, if you don’t have the time to floss all your teeth.

Throwing out one item you no longer need is better than not throwing out anything at all, if you know streamlining your belongings would make your life better.

Opening one window in your house is better than no windows at all, if you want to let fresh air in but only one window has a screen.

Reading one new word in that language you’ve always wanted to learn is better than not learning anything at all, if learning that language seems too challenging.

Writing one line of code is better than not working on your app at all, if you’re working on becoming a programmer & getting your app out there.

Posting something on your blog, at the “worst” time of day, is better than not posting at all if that’s the only thing & the only time you can post it.

Choosing just once today to respond differently is better than staying stuck in the same habits or emotions or beliefs, if you’re trying to reach that next level.

Writing ten words in your novel every day is better than not writing anything at all, if you’ve got a story burning inside you that you know the world needs to see.

Putting $1 in your savings account each week is better than not saving any money at all, if that’s all you have the ability to save right now.

Painting one brush stroke on the canvas is better than not painting anything at all, if you don’t know what to paint, or how to paint it.

Because everything you do eventually adds up. It eventually counts for something. At the end of the year, you will have written 3,650 words more than you’ve written right now. You will have saved $365 more than you have currently. You will have spent 6.08 more hours exercising than you would have otherwise.

Everything you do will compound. Everything you do will leverage every other thing you do. You might be worried that you’re taking the easy way out by only taking one step. But if that’s all you can do right now, your tiny action is as valuable as gold. You will find the time, the motivation, the resources, to get better at it if it’s important to you. You will get to where you’re heading.

Consistency is more important than perfection ever will be.

What you do today to take a step further in the right direction is never a waste of time. You will be that much closer to living the type of life you want to live. The type that you deserve to live.

It’s kind of like the famous “Starfish Story”. You can’t throw all the starfish back into the water. But it will matter, invaluably, for the ones you do.

You can’t always make all the progress you wish you could make. You can’t always win every battle.

But it will matter, invaluably, for the ones you do.

Now, go out there & do something.

101 Ways to Love Yourself: How to Feel Better, Be Happier, & Start Living a Super-Awesome Life Now

Cover for self-help book 101 Ways to Love Yourself: How to Feel Better, Be Happier, & Start Living a Super-Awesome Life Now by Ashlee Craft

Happiness is hard. Authenticity is hard. I know this very, very well.

I’m not going to give you some fluffy sermon about how if you just take a bubble bath, smile three times a day at yourself in the mirror, & think happy thoughts constantly that your life will magically be better. These things might help you, but they also might not.

But the thing is, you have all the power in the world to change your life.

Hating yourself is boring. Feeling ugly & unloved is boring. Living someone else’s plans for you is boring. Being depressed & feeling hopeless about your future is boring.

You deserve better than that. You were born to live an awesome life. It’s your duty to yourself to pursue that, as vibrantly & lovingly as you can.

What do you have to lose in learning to love yourself? Or in trying to be happy, & starting to live a life that genuinely makes you feel good? There is nothing to lose.

Change is hard. But the ability to adapt is the thing which separates the winners from the losers. You are trying to make your life better. That puts you in the category of the winners, right now. You’re strong enough, & smart enough, & determined enough to win.

Think about this. You have made it through everything that’s happened to you in your life so far. You have made it. If you can do that, you can do this. You can do anything.

You can love yourself. You can feel better. You can be happy.

You can start living any super-awesome amazing life of your choosing.

And you can start today. Right now.

The key to having all this starts when you start loving yourself. Self-love is the backbone to everything else available to you. It’s the ship that you’re sailing on, & the wind that fills your sails & your lungs. It’s the star you see up ahead in the dark of night. It’s the start of everything else. The first brick on the yellow brick road.

When you start loving yourself, everything else falls into place. You become stronger & more resilient. You start respecting yourself & knowing your worth & only accepting the things you deserve. You start realizing that you can create whatever life you want for yourself, & start empowering yourself to go out there, & go get it.

Happiness is hard. Authenticity is hard.

But when you start loving yourself, that’s when these things become easy.

Here’s how…

Check it out on Kindle

It’s Okay That You’re Not There Yet. A Gentle Reminder

It's okay that you're not there yet. You're working towards it & that's what matters.

from the zine Ashlee Craft / Assemblage, Issue 12

Be gentle with yourself as you work towards the changes & beautiful transformations you’re going through. You’re stepping into the things you’re supposed to be, & you’re getting closer to the things that you’re creating for yourself. Not every step you take will lead you to where it hoped it would, but all of it is leading you closer to the things you ultimately want, even if they don’t seem like they are. The doors you open may lead you to strange, indefinable places, but place a little more trust in the instinctive knowledge you have inside you. You are not as lost as you sometimes feel you are.

Reflection Upon Five Years of Creative Courage

Strange Occurrences by Ashlee Craft - Cover

Five years ago, I did one of the most frightening, brilliant things I had done in my 16-year existence : hit the “publish” button on Amazon’s Kindle Publishing page, and in that moment, released my first book to the world.

The journey had started long, long before then, when I was 13 years old. I had been coming up with stories & working on a variety of books, mostly about children/teens & their pets, since I was about ten years old. I had completed several books prior to writing Strange Occurrences, each one somewhere around 50 – 70 typed pages. Strange Occurrences originally started as a screenplay I was going to write, but when I realized that to turn it into a film would be an challenging, expensive endeavor, I decided to write a book about the idea instead. My book was going to be about a young teenage girl who got sucked into another dimension, one which would allow her to see other people’s points of view, & understand how her actions fit into the grander scheme of things. This was inspired by watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time, & being awed by the end portion of the film, where George Bailey sees what things would have been like if he’d never been born.

I remember a distinct moment from when I was 13, and walking on the treadmill stationed in my parents’ bedroom. My grandmother had died recently. I decided to incorporate this element into my story, & have the main character’s dying grandmother warn her about the “Strange Occurrences”, something the grandmother had experienced when she was the main character’s age. Originally, the main character’s name was going to be Carol, inspired by the name of Jack Ryan’s wife in the film Hunt for Red October, which I must note, I was OBSESSED with at the time, but eventually decided on Cathy. As I walked on the treadmill, I decided that Cathy would “use walking as a means of escaping from her problems” and traverse her neighborhood with her dog.

Strange Occurrences really began months later, as I sat on the bed in a cheap hotel room, holding the old Dell laptop on my lap, & leaning back on the made bed against a wall of stiff hotel pillows. We were moving to a different house & staying in the hotel while we looked for houses. I described the hotel as being “oppressive, like a dungeon”, & wanted to do something to take my mind off this fact. I remember sitting on the bed, typing the opening lines, looking over at my sister & explaining what I was writing, & my parents coming back inside from retrieving something from the car. This was where I typed those first few pages.

★★★★★

Over the next few months, even as I attended college as a dual-enrollment student, I worked on Strange Occurrences in my spare time. The story took shape, and changed multiple times. After a long, arduous editing process which spanned several months and included both me & my family (including my relatives) reading through my book several times, I finally worked up the courage to start sending off samples to a variety of big-name publishers. Eagerly, I awaited a response, & imagined the perfect-movie-moment in which I would open their letter with trembling hands, & read, “we are interested in publishing your book, and would like you to send us the rest of it”. One day, a letter arrived in the mail, & I opened it. I was both terrified & elated that after weeks of waiting, I’d finally received a response. When I opened it though, I saw the dreaded words, & my spirit temporarily fell : “unfortunately, we are not interested in your manuscript at this time.”  I was temporarily surprised and disappointed by this, but being a confident optimist, I kept thinking, “Maybe the next letter will be a ‘yes’.”. After receiving several rejection letters, I realized that the best course of action would be to take matters into my own hands.

For a long time, I hadn’t been open to the idea of self-publishing a book. This was mostly because I was in love with the fantasy of having an actual publishing house send me a letter telling me they liked what they’d written. Looking back, I was firmly set on having this because I felt like getting a deal with a big publishing house was a very prestigious thing. Furthermore, achieving this would not only prove to myself that I was indeed good at writing, but it would prove to those around me that writing was a legitimate career, & would be the thing which would make me a “real” writer.

a "real" writer

 

Thankfully, two things happened around this time. (1) My father repeatedly told me about how he thought self-publishing, especially ebooks, was a good idea, & sent me multiple articles about successful authors on Kindle. (2) I was starting to get fed up with waiting for people to give me approval about my books, & I started wondering why I was letting someone else hold me back from doing what I wanted to do. I came to the conclusion that I might as well try self-publishing, & began researching how to make this happen.

To be honest, I procrastinated publishing Strange Occurrences by endlessly editing it. “I just want it to be perfect.” I thought. I kept finding things about it that I could change or improve. “Just one more edit, then it will be done.” I kept saying that, for a few months. Eventually, I realized that I could edit it a thousand times & always find things about it that could be made better, but if I did that, my book would never get published. “You’re afraid of success.” My dad told me. So I got to work on painting the cover, & wrote the book description.

I remember sitting in a kitchen chair one afternoon, sunlight streaming in, & I sketched out the cover for Strange Occurrences on a piece of paper taken from a sketchpad of mine. Once the sketch was perfected, I filled it in with paint. I wanted my sister to photograph me painting it, “to document this moment.”, I told her. A while later, the cover was done. I painted the title words on another piece of paper & added them to the cover image in Photoshop.

After learning about how to format a book, making multiple formatting errors, & finally getting it right, then came the moment when I was on the Kindle publishing page, filling out the information about my book, & uploading my files.

April 4, 2011. It was finally time. I put my cursor over the “Publish” button, took a few deep breaths, & looked around at my family gathered there on the couch. “I’m going to publish it now.” I told them. All my hard work & all the effort I had put into this book was finally coming to life. I didn’t know where I was going by doing this, or what would happen, and even though I didn’t feel entirely ready, I knew inside that I really was. I hit the publish button. A feeling of relief, & of nervousness, filled me, but mostly, it was a feeling of accomplishment. I’d done something awesome, especially for a 16-year-old. I was really doing this. By doing this, I was saying to the world that I believed in myself & in the things I created, & in my opinion, there are few statements as powerful as that.

Shine, Success

In the five years since then, I have written more than 45 books & started a monthly zine which currently includes 10 issues, as well as a variety of albums, blogs, & videos. I’ve written a novel in three days, participated in multiple NaNoWriMo challenges, & been featured on a TV interview with Fox News. These are things that I never would have thought were possible five years ago, but by the mere fact of them happening, it proved to me that I was dedicated and confident enough to make this happen for me. To be a writer. To make my goals happen, without waiting for anyone else to tell me that I was good enough.

Here’s to the five years since then, & the next five years. Here’s to all the people who are just starting out as writers & trying to get people to read their books. Here’s to those who came before me & set the stage, & the ones that encouraged me to go farther. Here’s to the people questioning if their books, their writing, their music, their art, their dreams, are good enough. Here’s to the people tired of waiting for others to tell them it’s okay to take the next step, those who take their goals into their own hands & nurture them & turn them into absolute brilliance, even if it feels messy or amateur.

Here’s to scared, ambitious teen hitting the “Publish” button on her first book & seeing that her dream of being this was possible.

Here’s to courage, in whatever form for you it may take.

 

Here’s Why Happiness is the Best Revenge

Happiness is the Best Revenge // From Ashlee Craft / Assemblage, Issue 10(image from Ashlee Craft / Assemblage, Issue 10)

Happiness is the best revenge. Or, as I also love stating frequently : haters gonna hate. The people who don’t like you don’t like you because they feel like you’re above them, or because they’re afraid of you being better than they are, because they are jealous of you. Because they are made uncomfortable by your vastness, your talent, your personality, your brilliance. If they really were above you, they wouldn’t see a point in bringing you down. Down is the key word in that. People who are vast, successful, happy, wealthy (in things more than just money), etc, have what they need, & don’t need to hinder or hold back or quell or block out or squash or shadow or disrespect anyone in any way, ever. They don’t have to do that in order to feel better about themselves. Because they are BIG. Because they are bright + brilliant. Without having to take light away from others in order to feel powerful.

The people who don’t like you aren’t really above you at all. For a minute, they might seem like they do – they might make more money, or have a better car, or more “friends”, or have an attractive & charming significant other, or an important sounding job. But trust me – if they’re that hell-bent on causing pain & sadness to you, they probably lead bitter, sad lives, or at the very least, have doubts about their confidence or their choices. People who are comfortable with themselves build people up & are excited when they do well.

So, if you’re dealing with someone who makes you feel bad about who you are or the choices that you make, or anything else, let your happiness, & your success, be your revenge to them. It will annoy them to see you doing well in the ways they thought you never could. No matter what you do, they still won’t like you, so you might as well do what makes you happy & pursue happiness like the wealth that it is. Be so damn happy that they shake their heads in absolute & utter confusion about how someone they think is as fill-in-the-blank as you can be so happy. Be so successful in your endeavors, so dedicated in your hard work + pursuit of a really really good life, that the people who don’t like you may find themselves desperately wishing that their lives resembled yours, and that they were as happy as you.

But in the end, it never really was about them anyways. This whole process was never about how your actions affect them, because there are so many more worthwhile things to do than caring what someone who doesn’t respect you thinks. It’s all about proving yourself & your beliefs about what’s possible wrong by providing the best life possible for yourself & reaching a higher level of self-love. It’s about asserting your own belief in yourself & confidence in your opinions. Your happiness being “revenge” is the one type of revenge which is about building someone up rather than tearing someone down. All their efforts to tear you down & make you feel bad about yourself are exceeded by you pushing back against them, rising up higher again & again, overcoming their darkness by you shouting you from rooftops “I AM GOOD ENOUGH. I DESERVE BETTER.” It is the one thing you can do in response to all their darkness which reasserts that you are free from them, they never owned you at all, that you are your very-own person which their choices and words do not influence, that you will not be broken by them. That you will keep marching right on forward & becoming positively radiant in the face of all that lies ahead for you. And in succeeding where others would love to see you fall, by continuing to try even when they try to tell you that you’ll never make it, I think this is when you start to know what it means to be your own hero.

Remember that you’re rad, & you’re so deserving of love + respect, & so deserving of an absolutely magical, epic, badass, beautiful, & awesome life filled with great experiences, dreams coming true, & complete happiness so brilliant it makes your haters need sunglasses. You deserve it.

airplane, bright magic tree : a manifesto for newness

Airplane + Bright Magic Tree

  1. I am thinking about all the things I want to create for myself. It tingles at the ends of my fingers. Power. I am excited for it. All the things I want to bring into existence. That car. That mode of living (away from the fear). I think about my goal list & all the things that are tingling there too, vibrating & waiting with electric levitated energy to be brought out of thought & into my life. Finally traveling. The way I don’t have to wait any longer, to make things real, because all of it is mine, pick & choose, & I realize that I lack nothing that I need.
  2. Bright red-orange hair. I think about his face & then I think about the hair. First I feel a twinge of sadness, missing it – & then it makes me excited because I am soaring & it is freeing, to become all the things I couldn’t be before. I associate the hair with the separation of that person & this person. A tangible symbol that I have moved on. Reinvention, once more. 
  3. I am excited about the upcoming weeks & months. The electricity of it is happy. Thinking about the way it all flowed so damn easily last year, now & before. Keeping it rolling. Flowing, it makes so much sense now. Continual motion.
  4. I don’t even know her name.
  5. The gold-embossed owl plate sitting under the Christmas tree on top a wooden Tarot card box, reflecting the lights. Mirth incense.
  6. Looking with melancholy out the window at the full moon. Selectively brooding.
  7. I illuminated the room & nothing bad happened.
  8. Honey-dew melon colored water after painting.
  9. I am watching it finally becoming a reality. The birth of a dream, finally. I sent off the words today, & then I will be at the helm of the ship, with the ability to make magic happen, & mold the sand upwards to make mountains & sky-high pines. Outer space, to touch the stars like so many before me have done.
  10. Now that it doesn’t have to be you, it can be anyone.
  11. Email minimalism. Cutting out everything that doesn’t bring me joy. Goodbye, newsletters subscribed to from past selves.
  12. Nautical clothing. Five things I need to add to my wardrobe soon. Things to make nautical outfits out of. Suspenders, to wear with bright-toned skater skirts. White t-shirts & sleeveless shirts. Bright yellow. Combat boots.
  13. The moment I realized it isn’t worth obsessing over the Fictions told by others or seen on TV or read in magazines; to spend more time worrying about keeping up appearances than working on making magic in your own life.
  14. It is pointless trying to read things cutting them down in order to justify your opinion of them. You are entitled to what you like & don’t like. Hate & annoyance is a waste of time. Spend more time loving things.
  15. Love is light. Feel the light coming out the ends of your fingers. Feel it in your chest. Stars died & were reborn & universes were created, just so that you could feel. Spend more time leaving behind $5 bills places with messages of good vibrations & send ripples out there so people can feel them. Leave behind messages in books. Write letters to people who you may never know, wishing them good things in their lives. Make it all feel loved. Become your own personal version of Love.
  16. His music. I listened to it, lying on my back staring up at the ceiling; it was melancholy, it was hopeful, it was electric, it was truly beautiful, & it spoke to my soul in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time. They were the anthems for the new person I had become in the time that had passed.
  17. Stop wasting your time trying to follow the comings & goings of everyone, & keeping up with what all the Joneses are doing. Focus on your own shit. You’re better off that way.
  18. How To Be Happy Single. Realize that it isn’t that important. There are better things.
  19. I will order her book soon. & the hair dye, & everything else. Phoenix. Names. I am beginning to write a new narrative for myself.

A Few Goals for 2016

Hanabii in Adachi-ku2

I am in the process of writing & perfecting my New Year’s goals. Every year, the idea of this – the process – excites me, because although I make changes to who I am & what I want constantly throughout the year, New Year’s (or at least the beginning of the year) seems like a good blank slate in which to make new decisions about where I’m heading.

I must note that in my New Year’s goal list that I make every year, the list is a running list. It is never “complete”, & it isn’t supposed to be. I add to it constantly. The list doesn’t JUST contain goals which I intend on completing in that given year – a good portion of them are things I want to do this year, but there’s also lots of long-term goals I put on there to remind myself to work towards the goals so in a future year they can be achieved.

I then break this master list down & choose specific things to work towards each week, which I write down in a notebook & highlight with a highlighter as I accomplish the tasks. Once a goal is completed, I put the date of completion after it on my master list & place it in a separate list at the bottom of my goal list document. At the end of the year, I remove the list of accomplished goals from the document & place it in a new document. I then rewrite the goal list for the new year, so that each list reflects that year alone. There’s no point in leaving the things on my 2015 list, for example, that I didn’t accomplish, so I just move them on to the next year!

The thing is, I like the basic concept of my list, but I decided that this year I wanted to make the goal list more personalized & specific. Sometimes in years prior, I haven’t changed or edited the list very much aside from adding new things to it, so I found quite a few things on the list that I was no longer interested in accomplishing.

Additionally, it wasn’t organized as well as I hoped it could be, so I decided to assign the goals to specific categories : GENERAL, ADVENTURES, BOOKS & WRITING, CREATIVITY & ART, EDUCATION, FASHION, FINANCES, FITNESS & HEALTH, HABITS, HAPPINESS, HOBBIES & RELAXATION, HOME, MUSIC, PETS & FAMILY, & RELATIONSHIPS. This way, it will be easy to find the goals for each week’s goal lists, & easy to keep my ideas organized.

Personally, 2015 ended up being a surprisingly amazing year for me – I could never have guessed how interesting & great it would end up at the start of the year (for more details, read about my New Year’s Day reflections) – & I plan on making 2016 even betterTo accomplish this, I need to have a solid plan, which I feel like I have now thanks to my reorganized goal list.

A few goals of mine for 2016 …

Organize my entire garage utilizing plastic storage bins. This means cleaning out ALL the clutter, downsizing it, & making sure I only keep things I actually need. I’m tired of having a garage filled with cardboard boxes full of things I haven’t used or thought about in years, & for the most part, if it’s not inside my house, I probably don’t need it. Goal : have a very clean, organized garage that makes it super easy to find holiday decorations & has room for impromptu disco parties.

Dye all my hair/part of my hair copper, rose gold, or red-orange. I really love my natural hair color, but in the past year I’ve really taken an interest to experimenting with my hair. I read this article & it provided additional inspiration to take the leap. I might do dip-dyed hair like I did with red hair over the summer, or I might dye all my hair if the effect is more subtle.

Learn & become somewhat decent at fencing / kickboxing / archery.

Improve at skateboarding. I want to learn how to do some basic jumps, & improve at my skateboarding in general. Time for some more practice, & YouTube!

Become at least somewhat fluent in Spanish.

Read more. Read through books I own. I own so many books that I have never read. Most of them are collected from the free or $0.25 book bins at the library or thrift stores) that I have never read. This means that I have a lot of hidden gems that I don’t even KNOW that I have, & this year, I want to find them!

See & interact with sloths & owls in real life. Sloths are one of my top favorite animals, & owls ARE my favorite. I want to be able to experience these animals in real life, as opposed to just seeing pictures or videos online.

★ Buy a Nutribullet so I can make healthy smoothies & up my intake of fruits & veggies.

★ Do more acts of love for myself. Buy myself fresh flowers at least once a month. Make my bed every day. Make time to read & listen to music more. Take more time for myself. Distance myself from negativity. Drink more tea. Honor & respect & do my best to love my body & myself unconditionally. Start living my life the way I want to, & becoming the person I feel like being. Nourish myself with healthy, wholesome foods, but also eat things less healthy & wholesome when I feel inclined to. Open the windows. Do yoga. Let myself be happy. Realize that I don’t need someone else to make my life complete, or to make my happiness complete or “legitimate”.

What are some of your goals for this year? 2016 is the year for you to finally do all those things you’ve been afraid to. 2016 is the year to start loving yourself, or increase the level of happiness in your life as much as you can, so that your life feels so good & illuminated. I hope you plan it or let it happen or both, so that this year is your most radiant year ever.