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.

Goals for 2017 (& 2016 Accomplishments)!

Colorful fireworks new years celebration

Wow, 2016 was a year filled with so many changes. There were a reasonable number of not-so-good things that happened, & a number of really good things that happened for me (you can read my poetic essay about the year here). I’ll choose to focus on the awesome things.

For last year’s posts, see 2016 Goals & Reflections on 2015. It’s pretty interesting reading them now!

Before I get started telling you what I plan on doing in 2017, here’s a quick overview of what I achieved in 2016:

★ Officially launched the publishing company I’d been dreaming about for years, Freedom Meadow Media. Starting a company was a little bit challenging, but very rewarding.

★ Published 4 books (A Beautiful Question of Where & When; So Long, Lonesome Place101 Ways to Love Yourself; & Owls), as well as 6 zines (Flowers, One; & issues 9, 10, 11, 12, & 13 of Assemblage)!

Started an online store (!!!!!!!), where I curate a collection of awesome, funky, adorable, & colorful things. I’ve sold more stuff than I thought I would so far (mostly on the eBay listings for my products), which is very exciting!

★ Re-released my debut album, Fields of Destiny, via CD Baby, therefore making it available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes, & a whole host of other online music retailers. PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY BUY IT NOW.

Got my first-ever acting role, as Audrey in Ken Ludwig’s play Leading Ladies, & a second acting role in the play Shakespeare in Hollywood as Puck.

★ My first article to be published by a website other than my own was published by Thought Catalog!

Got pet guinea pigs, which is something I’ve wanted since I was nine or ten years old.

★ Bought a Smart Car! Ever since I was sixteen I always wanted one, because they’re both very safe & very gas efficient. This is something I manifested for myself, after test driving a lot of shitty, cheap cars. I decided I wasn’t going to settle for one of the aforementioned cars I test drove, figured out a way to make the Smart Car happen, & voila! I have a Smart Car, & I love it. It’s even more awesome than I thought it would be.

★ Edited & re-published the second edition of Shipwrecked, in addition to a lot more of my books through my publishing company, Freedom Meadow Media.

★ Got my driver’s license! After a long seven months of learning how to drive, I finally got my licence. This was one of the most influential things that happened to me, because now I have the ability to go wherever I want & make things happen for myself. I’m no longer limited in this aspect.

★ Touched a crocodile (at a local Earth Day event). It was cool being able to touch such a powerful animal, & the scales on his back were unlike anything I’ve ever touched.

★ Got a Nutribullet-esque blender for making healthy smoothies. It’s not THE Nutribullet, but my dad got it for me & I love it. I made a really great smoothie with it the other day involving blood oranges, English cucumber, & a salad with pea shoots. This was something on last year’s list.

★ I actually wrote down five things that happened to me each day, EVERY SINGLE DAY, for the past year! In years prior I’ve always been bummed out about not having a written record of the year. I’ve never been disciplined enough to actually do this, but now, thanks to the Document Your Life journal that I wrote & published, I actually achieved this, & I’m proud of myself!

★ Felt like I’m getting a much better idea of who I am + what I want out to life.

Landscape with hills & trees

Goals for 2017

As for all of the awesome things I’m going to do in 2017, I have a few new ideas for planning these goals. The first school of thought which I think sounds intriguing is picking one big goal to accomplish each month. I forgot where I heard this, but I like the idea. If I do this, I’ll stay on track for all the big goals I have for the year. No matter what else happens, I will accomplish 12 big things this year, & the idea of that is really exciting. Provided I accomplish the big goal for each month, I can then achieve as many small goals each month too, without having to worry about not achieving the big things.

The second idea is inspired by two ideas. The first – multiple things James Altucher has written where he discusses picking themes for your life instead of goals. The second – what Gretchen Rubin discusses in The Happiness Project, about how Ben Franklin picked thirteen virtues to rate & measure his performance in. I thought, “Why not combine the ideas & pick some themes that I want to work on cultivating this year, in addition to the big goals?” Both lists of alternate goal are still things I’m working on.

In the mean time, here are some things I plan to accomplish in the upcoming year:

★ Direct a film. By film, I mean a real film starring actors other than myself, & a variety of locations, & a script. I have several ideas & haven’t picked one yet, but this is one of the things I’m most excited about doing.

★ Run in a 5k. As it is now, I’m in reasonable shape but can’t run for more than a few minutes in a row. I bought myself some running shoes & a stop watch so that when I’m able to start training, it will be easy.

★ Continue growing my online store. I have a TON of plans for things I want to start selling, & products I’m working on designing. SHOP Ashlee Craft will soon be home to t-shirts, a whole bunch of stickers, & hopefully some new exclusive pins, all designed by me. I also think it would be awesome to design magnets, window clings, & journals.

★ Get a paid acting gig. Acting is lots of fun, & I’m glad that I took the leap & started pursuing it in this previous year.

★ Republish out-of-print books that I love under my publishing company. There are loads of great things – books, music, films, images, etc – which are great, but people don’t know about them anymore. They should, & I want to be the one to help these works of art be brought into the light again.

★ Read a lot more. For most of 2016, I sadly didn’t read very much at all. Towards the end of the year I bought a lot of great books (Choose Yourself & What To Do When It’s Your Turn are two that stand out) & actually started reading them. Then I realized how much I missed reading. This year, I’m actually going to track every book I read, & I’m going to read as many as possible.

★ Record more cover songs. I LOVED recording my cover of David Bowie’s Changes. I have a whole list of other songs I would love to cover, so I’m going to work on this a lot more soon. Before the end of the year, I will also release another album of original compositions.

★ Start investing in companies. I’ve already picked out a few good prospects I will buy stock in soon.

★ Write more books. This is always a goal of mine, because there are always so many books to write. Currently in my book release plans are the novel I’ve been working on for two years, a children’s storybook about owls, a children’s series about a mouse, another motivational book, a book of personal essays, more issues of Assemblage, & more zines. A lot of the books I’ve already published are also going to be republished under Freedom Meadow Media.

★ Release an app.

★ Travel. I would love to travel to three different places. Somewhere in my state, a different state, & a different country.

★ Minimalism. This means excluding things – physical things, mental things, wasted time, unhappiness – to make more room for the things that really do feel good. I’m not trying to have as few things as possible, but as many things that make me happy with as few unnecessary things as possible. I really like this quote from this article I was reading earlier, titled Like Henry David Thoreau, but with Wi-Fi. “Everything in my life become my favorite thing.” I want to live my life like that.

★ Figure out what I really want. For now. Become more myself. Reinvent myself a hundred times this year, if that’s what it takes. Get to the place that I think I’m going. Be happier, for real.  Know what it feels like to finally have peace of mind. Explore & live in the world that is mine.

What are your goals for 2017? Let me know on the social media channel of your choice!

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.