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How to Hit Your Goals

A fellow military spouse asked a question about goal setting in our facebook group, and I got so excited, my reply turned into nearly a novel! (Sorry, fellow milspo!) So instead of giving everyone a novella reply,  I kept it to the bullet points and decided to share the rest here! (P.S. If you want a supportive place of fun, positivity, and pretty things, come join us!)

1.) Know your goals!

 
If you have nothing as your goal, you’ll hit it every time! Good goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.
 
  • Be specific. This works for fitness, work, house cleaning, ANYTHING! For example: If you want to hurt less and have more energy, be specific, ex: “I want to be able to play with my children without losing a breath. I want to be able to lay down to sleep without needing painkillers.” Are you in the blogging world? Trying to make a break into social media influence? What about, “I want to create an organic community/following of 1,000.”
 
  • Make them measurable! Something that you can track. Start easy. I’m always running gung-ho into things, and end up hurting more than helping myself. So take it easy!
 
  • Make it relevant. Use what matters to YOU, not to anyone else. If you want to lose a pant size or two, that’s great, but why? Why do you want 1000 followers? Make your goal matter.
 
  • Give yourself a time limit. “I want to be able to lay down to sleep without needing painkillers in two months,” or, “I want a community of 1000 organic followers by December 31st.”
 
2.) Try something new. If you’ve been avoiding working out because its, well, boring (guilty!) then ask about something new to switch it up. Don’t be afraid to ask. Everyone there wants you to succeed! Feel stuck in a writing rut? Try writing a genre you’ve never done before. Give yourself a wacky makeover. Try learning a new makeup technique from YouTube. 
 
3.) Get a battle buddy. Going to the gym is always more fun if you have a buddy, plus, you have built in accountability. This is one of the essential facets of being successful. In the blogging industry? Get yourself a blogging partner who can keep you accountable! When you can learn together and share ideas of what works and what doesn’t, you can build each other up – and helping people succeed is extremely energizing and inspiring for yourself! Give it a try! (If you need help finding someone that shares similar goals as you, you can search Facebook for interests groups! And feel free to join ours – you are welcome!) 
 
4.) Keep track of what you do. Write in a workout journal what you do each time you go to the gym, find something that works in your blog, facebook group, etc. For working out, I record my reps, weight, and sets. Since I started almost six months ago seriously, I’ve maxed out one of the machines! When it comes to blogging or social media, there are helpful apps and tools that can show you what you’ve done and what’s working. However you document your progress, be sure to check it regularly. It is so cool to see where I started, and it gives you motivation. When you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, it’s so cool to look and see that, yes, you CAN jog most of that ten minutes without blowing your heart rate through the roof, and YES, you consistently lift 10lbs more than when you started, and you actually DID make progress on your follower goal – GO YOU!

Psst! If something seems too daunting to start, break it down in smaller chunks. Don’t be afraid to give yourself “room to grow.” Give yourself permission to not be perfect and hit your goal all of the time. Calculate human error. Whatever you want to call it, leave room in your schedule for not doing anything. If you miss a goal, you have built in room to catch up! And if you don’t need to use the day, you can choose to use it to get ahead or take it easy and rest to reward your hard work. It’s up to you! 

 
5.) Most importantly, HAVE FUN! When it comes right down to it, we never do anything we don’t really want to. So work with your brain and your emotions and find something that seems fun. Do that dance workout. Share what really matters to you. Find what you want and pursue it.

What goals do you have your heart set on? 

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Natural Brow Formula – Quick and Easy!

Have you wanted to sculpt a brow that is right for your face? If you are just starting into brow territory, it can be an intimidating task. But do not fear! Amber the makeup geek is here to save the day with a handy-dandy video tutorial that is fool proof to getting brows that perfectly suit your unique features.

Watch this video and ask me any questions! I would be happy to help.

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My Face of Depression

Mental health. Thankfully, you hear a lot more about it today than five or ten years ago. With blogs and facebook posts and popular hashtags highlighting this topic, what could I have to offer?

Only my own experience.

Some stories just seem to click with me more than others. My prayer is that, while reading my story, you will find some direction and empathy for where you are at on the mental health spectrum.

In my experience, and in many others who have opened up to me about their condition, people who experience suicidal thoughts or periods of prolonged depression are what you would consider generally “good” people. They are often other-focused, altruistic, and congenial. However, a burst of high-stress or an extended period of stress (such as taking care of a loved one with a disability) can physically alter the chemicals in the brain. The chemicals that stress creates are beneficial for the instant, but when those chemicals become the new normal, that is when you enter depression.

These people, altruistic as they are, will not let themselves be a burden. They are helpers by nature. Therefore, they will put on a smile and appear to just fine because they don’t want to bring anyone else down. Hurting others is the last thing they want. However, being stuck in that mindset long enough will convince you that YOU are the problem. Everyone would be better off without you.

This is not, of course, the story for every person. But in my research, personal experience, and talking with others, it is the story of many.

I appreciated being invited by my friend over for dinner, or this and that. Even if I didn’t attend, it was nice to be invited. And sometimes I did go. What made me comfortable with that was knowing I could literally be a piece of furniture in her house, like a human throw pillow on her couch, and it would not be offensive or bring her down. The space to be allowed to be this way, with no pressure to “get better” actually allowed me interaction which helped me get better.

In the photo above, my husband took me out on a date to the nearest Build-A-Bear to purchase my beloved Bulbasaur here. It was earlier in that week that I had been diagnosed with depression. My personal journey to recovery and maintenance (which I am still on) started with a dear friend of mine discussing her attempted suicide.

My friend is a wonderful woman. She posts inspiring messages on facebook, crafts the wittiest posts that tell tales of her family in the most hilarious screenplay style, goes to church, and is one of the most helpful women I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. As we worked together for several years, I got the chance to know her better, watching her climb to the top 3% of her industry.

I never knew she was depressed.

As she recovered in the mental health ward and was cleared for outside conversation, she was extremely open and vulnerable in discussing with me the attempted suicide. This opened my eyes. So many of these feelings and thoughts that she had for months leading up to her attempt were so familiar. Was I depressed?

Two months later, I found myself waking up most mornings wishing that life would just be over. I wanted to get better. I started a gym membership. I went four and five times a week. The rush from the exercise helped, but only momentarily. I sought solace in my faith, music, prayer, but nothing everything seemed to just scratch the surface. Finally, recalling my friend’s story, I though, “I might be depressed.” After discussing it with my husband, we were at the doctor the same week.

I am certainly not done with my journey. I am still on medication and work to maintain a healthy mindset. I have started seeing a psychologist to help me in understanding how I function and to give me the tools I need to work within my own brain. In fact, today I was diagnosed with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Through this, I’ve learned a couple of things that I want those of you who are dealing with any of this to know.

You do not have to do this alone. You are allowed to ask for help.

It’s scary to talk to someone about needing help. Believe me, I know. Before going to meet my psychiatrist, I had a panic attack in the waiting room. Even during my session, the anxiety continued so badly that when I left, the chair I was sitting in had sweat marks like I’d been to the gym! It’s ok. You are not weird. You are not the only who has a hard time doing this. No one – no one – is going to think poorly of you for taking care of yourself. Not your doctor, not your counselor, and certainly not me.

I am so incredibly blessed to have friends who shared their story with me. Because of that, I decided I wasn’t the exception to the rule, and that as hard as it was, I needed to ask for help. I have a husband who supported me, and a doctor who listened. All of these things put me in an optimal place for recovery.

Sadly, not everyone is in such a place.

I speak openly about my depression because I know I might be able to help someone else who is struggling. I want neuro-typical people to understand that, throughout my numerous makeup tutorials, happy posts, and (really great) selfies, I was depressed. And the only way you are going to know is to do life next to that person. A comment or a like on Facebook aren’t going to get you to the heart of each other. It is within the safety of healthy relationships that trust blooms. You are not responsible for everyone’s mental health. But hopefully, by following along my journey as I share it, you will begin to recognize ways to help others.

Happy World Mental Health Day