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Finding myself

January 3, 2014

In my last post I talked about my resolution to write more. And so I figured while I was still on the topic of New Year’s Resolutions I would share one more article that has truly had an impact on me lately.

Finding this article about 20 Things to Let Go of Before the New Year was such a nice surprise. I loved the article so much that I’ve posted it on practically every social media outlet I have so it just seems fitting that I mention it here as well.  One of things that I appreciated the most about this article was the fact that it is a great way to start the new year. Leaving behind old habits and negative thoughts is the perfect way to get a fresh start on the year.

My hope though is that this article will have more sticking power than that. My hope is that I’ll remember this article on those weak days, in those weak moments that will happen in the upcoming year. My hope is that it will all come back during those times, whether they be on day 273 when New Year’s Resolutions are the farthest thing from my mind or at 2am on a random night when I’ve had a little bit too much to drink. On any of those given time I want to remember the inspiration I felt when I read that list of 20 things. I want to remember what I am supposed to be leaving behind and remember the person I want to be.

It’s funny how reading something like that can evoke so much emotion. Reading that article made me want to be a better person but it also made me realize how much I missed writing.  It showed me that words on a page (or on a blog) can have such a huge impact.  Maybe not always for the reader but sometimes for the writer who just needs to see them laid out on a page.  It reminded me of a time when I felt that kind of comfort from my blog.  Back in the day when I had a blog community who read, commented, empathized or just existed.

Writing those posts back in the day were more for me than they were for anyone else.  Then something happened. I started to think that was wrong.  I started to think that writing needed to have impact on the reader. I started to think that everything I wrote needed to be something useful, inspiring, smart, or just be something other than what I could provide.  And it hindered my ability to produce content.  Mainly because I told myself that all my content wasn’t good enough.

I killed posts before I even finished them because they felt selfish, they felt like rants, they weren’t what I thought I was supposed to be writing.  It turns out that whatever I write is what I’m supposed to be writing.  Whatever comes out when I sit down and dedicate myself to writing is what is supposed to come out. Write more might be my resolution but I think what I’m looking to gain in the long run is more than that. I’m looking for my confidence.

A New Year, A New Start…Again

January 1, 2014

It’s no secret that I love the new year.  I mean what is there not to love. It’s the ultimate fresh start.  The one day where you really can say that you are leaving the past in the past and truly starting anew.  I suppose that’s why my love for New Year’s Resolutions goes hand in hand with my love for the New Year.  It’s when I get to evaluate who I am at this exact moment, identify changes I’d like to make, and then get a specific first day to start making those changes.

If you were to look back at my history of blog writing, which now spans almost 13 years, you’d probably see a pattern of frequent writing at the beginning of the year with most of those posts centered around my plans/goals/resolutions for the upcoming year.  I’ll be the first to admit that more often than not I fall victim to New Year’s Resolution overload.  For those not familiar, New Year’s Resolution overload is a completely made up condition where I have set so many goals or resolutions that I quickly lose focus or become disheartened the first day I miss one.  Another problem is that I never truly practiced SMART goal setting in the past, which might also be another reason for not having a lot of follow through.

This year though I’m working on staying more focused and dedicated to specific resolutions.  Writing has been something that has been missing from my life this past year.  While I have done my fair share of writing at work (because let’s face it, my communications career kinda requires it), I have not dedicated myself to personal writing in a long time.  It’s one of the things I miss about my early days in the blogosphere.  I used to be able to just sit down and write.  I’d write about my feelings, my frustrations, the exciting things that happened in my life, and sometimes just write for the soothing feeling of knowing someone out there was reading it.

I found this article last week on Copyblogger that encouraged us to “just write” as part of our New Year’s Resolution (or at least our January resolution).  For 31 days, for 20 minutes a day, just write.  Doesn’t have to be on a specific topic, doesn’t get edited, just gets written.  So I’m doing it.

There are other changes I’d like to make this year and other goals I’ve set but those are for another entry.  Today I’m just getting started.  I’m just writing.  Well and I’m publishing this too.  I’m publishing this as an accountability measure. So for awhile (at least the next 31 days) no judgement on this blog.  It’s been neglected for far too long and while this might not be the best quality content to start refreshing it with, it is my content.  It’s my writing, it’s my goal, it’s my relaxation.

In Your Hands

January 26, 2013

In my last post I talked about my New Year’s Resolutions and one of them is to start living like a salesman. The idea for this resolution came from my year of working in sales. I never thought I would work in sales, or even like sales, prior to my job at Mattress Firm, but the truth is that I learned a lot and wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. While I can now talk your ear off about what mattress would best support your specific sleeping style, this post is not about that. During that year I learned a lot about sales in general, and it occurred to me that the things that make you a good salesman are lessons that can be applied to every day life. And that’s where this New Year’s Resolution came from.

There are several things I’m going to touch on when it comes to living like a salesman, but today is one of the most important aspects. As a commissioned salesman, you learn very quickly that the amount of your paycheck is completely in your hands. It’s a daily thought in your head. Each morning you have to make the decision to take control of your paycheck. In sales, customers will come in and no matter how great your pitch is or how many perks you throw their way, they are not going to buy from you today. The test comes not with that customer but with the next person who walks in your door. Will you face them with a defeated attitude or will you continue to push ahead with the same enthusiasm as you had before?

In life, we face a similar daily decision. Every day as we prepare to face the world we have the future in front of us, and the way we approach it is completely in our hands. It’s true that things will happen, road blocks will pop up and we will sometimes lose our way. However, the way we handle those situations is what will determine our future. The choice you make and the attitude you have are completely in your hands.

So I’m working to start living like a salesman. That includes making the conscious decision every day to take my life, and my future, into my own hands. It means realizing there will be easy days and long days and tough days, but I will face them all with the same approach – an attitude of unfailing optimism and a complete responsibility for my decisions.

Better Late than Never: My Resolutions

January 7, 2013

January Calendar Close up

Anyone who knows me knows that I love making lists. So naturally when it comes time to work on my list of New Year’s Resolutions, I’m generally filled with excitement. Most years I start my resolution planning about a month ahead of time, but for some reason this year got away from me. In fact, it’s taken me the entire week just to get my thoughts together. Now I’m finally ready to solidify my goals and create some sort of accountability by putting them in writing for everyone to see.

1) Run 1,000 miles – I stole this resolution from a co-worker. Last year he set this goal for himself because if you run 1,000 miles, you can say that you practically ran a 5k every day. While the actual number for a 5k a day is closer to 1100, I like keeping it a nice, easy to remember number.

2) Read every book in my personal library – During a recent cleaning frenzy, I realized that I have several books around my house that I have never finished reading or ever started reading for that matter. Over Christmas I began reading Atlas Shrugged…again…for the third time, but this time I am determined to finish it. Then I will conquer the rest of the books on my shelves.

3) Live like a salesman – This is more a life philosophy than anything else. You see, for just over a year I sold mattresses. Prior to that job I never thought I would work in sales, but I actually picked up some pretty good sales advice from some pretty amazing salesmen. What I realized is that the advice I got about how to make a sale were also generally good tips for living life. So I’m putting my focus into this for the next year. I’m sure there will be more posts on this to come.

How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along? Have you made any changes since January 1?

Will you help me to help others?

December 26, 2012

I’m embarking on a new adventure for 2013; after all it is a big year for me.  This is the year that I turn 30.  Now, there are several things I have planned to make sure that my 30th year is both memorable and fulfilling, but those details are going to be saved for another post.  This post is reserved for sharing my first endeavor of the new year.  This year I’m taking a new approach to running, starting with my next race.

I signed up to be part of Team SeriousFun at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans.  What does that mean exactly?  It means that I’m not running for myself anymore.  My goal in completing this race is to make a difference in the life of a child, and I’m doing that by raising money to benefit the SeriousFun Children’s Network.

Wearing my Team SeriousFun jersey

When I lived in North Carolina, a great friend of mine worked for Victory Junction camp and graciously took me on a tour of their facility one day.  That camp, which is one of the many served by the SeriousFun Children’s Network, provides a place for children with serious and chronic medical conditions to experience the joys of summer camp.

As I talked about previously, I’m a person who likes running by myself and for myself.  However, my journey with Team SeriousFun is something I can’t do alone.  I’ve set a personal goal of raising $3300 For the SeriousFun Children’s Network by the beginning of February and this is my plea for your help.

Anything you can donate to my cause would be appreciated more than you know.  For each person who donates, I will print your name on a ribbon to wear on my shirt come race day.  And not only do I plan to honor each donor on race day, but I’m also going to share my training with you.  For every $25 donated, I’ll dedicate one of my training miles to you.

To make a donation, visit my personal fundraising page at: http://tinyurl.com/TammyRuns.  Better yet, share that link with your friends, family or running groups. My goal for 2013 is to Run for a Reason.  Will you help me to help others?

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2012

Being able to sit in the backyard and read on Christmas Eve just doesn’t feel right. So I’ve added a little egg nog to hopefully get in the holiday spirit.

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Wherever you are and however you are celebrating, Merry Christmas!

Running Solo

December 4, 2012
The feet of a person running

                                                              Alex di Suvero for The New York Times

This weekend I completed my 9th half marathon.  You would think that I love running or something.  The truth is that to say I love running would be a lie.  I’m more addicted to signing up for races than I am to actually running.  Each time I sign up for a new race, it gives me another reason to keep training.  And I need reasons to train or else I might quit running all together. I’ve accepted this about myself.  I’m not a die-hard runner and I will probably never win a race.  I don’t get excited about training plans and group runs.  More often than not, I will bribe myself to complete my training runs – usually with wine.  I’m OK with all of these things because I don’t run for fun. So why do I do it then?  I do it because each time I run I defeat myself.  When I run those voices in my head are quick to start talking.  They say “You can slow down a little bit” or “It’s fine to cut this run short” or “Why not just walk today”.  And I silence them.  For me, the best feeling in the world is to defeat my self-doubt. This is why I run solo.  It’s a battlefield out there, and I want to take it on alone for the sole purpose of being able to shut myself up.  As soon as those voices of self-doubt are quiet, I can see the path clearly.  All of sudden I can do anything and I can do it well.  Goals get set, plans get made and distractions get minimized.  When I start each run, I’m a mess; by the end, I’m right again.  Running is my therapy.