Aaaaaaaand we’re back!

intentional motivation planning vacation Apr 22, 2020

What a week, friends! I just returned from a full seven days in Punta Cana, and it was heavenly. Temps in the 80s, staying in a beautiful resort, surrounded by my four favorite people… it doesn’t get much better than that. Here are just a few highlights…

This is definitely the way to spend a vacation!



That’s my girl right there!

Our resort had an obstacle course, and Matt was so excited to check it out!

At the beginning of the week, he wouldn’t even put his toes in the water. By the end, though, we had to drag him out!

My girl. 🙂

And my guys! 🙂

Soaking in the beach on our last day.

Fun is exhausting.


I mean, come on. What is this life? How am I lucky enough to be able to have a trip like that???

We arrived home Tuesday night, just in time to scarf down some pizza and collapse in bed. Some technical difficulties at the airport and a tired, overwhelmed Joey made for a long travel day, and we were all glad to put our heads to rest in our own beds, thankful as we were for the experience.

But I came home to find I wasn’t the only one who had taken a break—my web site was down! Hackers stormed the castle while I was away, and my web host deactivated my site. Oh no! Thanks to my amazing friend and all-around blog guru, Bethany Beams, the problem was short-lived once I was back on the continent. (Actually, Bethany was hard at work on it while I was gone, but the site couldn’t be reactivated until I could reach out to the web host myself.)

So anyway, I’m back. And I’m back.

Time for a reset, a fresh start. Which is appropriate, because that’s exactly what I needed. It’s been a busy season here. Not the hardest or darkest—we’ve seen harder and darker. But full. And how is it that when life is fullest that we often feel the most drained? I’ve been running on empty for a while now, but didn’t realize just how much until I stepped back and evaluated.

Going backward to go forward?

Sometimes taking a step back is necessary before we can truly make any forward progress. It doesn’t have to be a week on an island. It can be a weekend getaway, an afternoon with a journal, coffee with a trusted friend. But we all need those moments to evaluate, gain perspective, and prioritize.

But then what? Evaluation is good, but it does little if it isn’t followed by action. Last week I took a look at my calendar over the past few months and realized some changes need to happen. Some are fun ones, things that I can’t wait to dive into. Others are going to take some work—and I’m going to need some accountability to stick to them—but will be so good in the long run. Others involve the hard but necessary word “no.” Ugh. Not fun, but worthwhile. Now that I’m home, it’s time to put my plans into action.

Introspection isn’t easy, because sometimes it means saying, “Self, we have some improving to do.” And that’s actually the easy part–the hard part is doing the improvements. But here are a few quick tips that I have found to be helpful:

  1. Use SMART goals. This means they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Don’t just say, “I’m going to do better.” Create a specific plan–not just where you want to be but how you want to get there. And let’s make sure we don’t skip past the “achievable” part, OK? If you haven’t set foot in a gym in five years, maybe it’s not reasonable to suddenly add 3-hour daily workouts to your routine. But maybe you could add in a 15-minute yoga routine for the next few weeks… and then add in some push-ups… and then add a little more. Personal growth is a process, my friends, not a light switch.
  2. Enlist help. Ask a friend to keep you accountable. Create a reward system for yourself. Post your intentions on the interwebs. (Just kidding about that last one. I mean, feel free to post your goals on Facebook, Instagram, here, whatever. But social media and blogs don’t tend to hold the same level of accountability as a direct commitment, ya know?)
  3. Know who you are. This is so important. Millions of good things out there vie for our attention, but running ragged is not the goal. The goal is to be intentional. A few years ago, I created a manifesto of sorts for this very purpose. Check out my blog series or my book, The True Me: A New Approach to Goal Setting, for more information.

Planning is only half the battle

In the midst of my introspection last week, I discovered that my web site was down. First… I panicked. But then I thought, “Will anyone even notice? I have hardly written a thing in the last 8-10 months.” Yikes, that was a sobering thought. And the next logical thought came, “So then… do I even want it back up? Or should I just cancel it?” I spent a few days mulling it over. What am I doing here? Where do I want to put my time, talent, and treasure? If I’m going to invest here, I want to invest here. (Spoiler alert: I’m still here! You’re stuck with me! I mean, since you’re reading this on my web site, I assume you already figured that out, but… well, I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here.)

Now the work begins. I’ve already determined that writing is an important part of my identity, one that I want to put time and energy into, and that this site is one of the ways I want to do it. Now I’m putting together a plan, using some SMART goals. I’m enlisting help. I’m taking baby steps, knowing that grand gestures and big changes are likely to overwhelm me and fail in the long run. But I’m ready to do the work, step by step.

So I’m back. And I’m back. And I’m ready to move forward. Are you with me?

Let’s go!

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