Category Archives: Alex’s Someday Updates

How to Manage the Chaos of Transformation

  • Someday Lesson: When change creates chaos, counter it with a little bit of order.

IntangibleArts on flickr.comWhen it comes to self-development, it’s not just your internal thoughts and emotions that are up for change. Nor just your body either. We are highly influenced by our environments and where we live has a huge effect on us.

For that reason the home renovation business is huge. And having a house you love to come home to is one of many people’s top Somedays. Because houses never stay in perfect condition forever, every homeowner at some point faces the question of renovating their home. Your kitchen may have harvest gold appliances and faux-oak cupboards; your bathroom was built for people under 5’6”; or you have to dress in the hallway because your master bedroom holds your bed and nothing else.

When faced with these challenges, people ask themselves two questions: Do I sell? Or do I renovate? If you like your neighborhood, and have a strong attachment to your home, you are likely going to answer “Renovate.”

Then the questions start flooding in. To what extent will I be renovating? Will it be a new addition? Is there demolition involved? Do I get a designer? Can I do the work myself? Can my relationship stand the stress? How do I get a contractor I trust? What about permits, and demolition debris removal?

It’s enough to stop many people from ever considering renovating. Maybe just a new coat of paint will be enough!

If you have an older home, starting to renovate one area, often leads to changes in another, then another and soon the whole house is torn up and your initial four week little bathroom reno becomes a six month whole-home gutting.

As with most projects, the keys to a successful renovation are planning, preparation and monitoring. By knowing what you want to do, knowing who you want to do and what your budget is, you already minimize the potential for disaster. In creating clear limits, expectations and desired outcomes, you stop the project from taking over your home and your life. And by monitoring the progress and maintaining as normal a life as possible throughout the project, you keep project-fatigue at bay and lower stress levels for everyone involved.

For me the biggest challenge isn’t picking the architect or contractor, nor doing the work yourself and wondering if you’re getting it right. No, the biggest challenge is surviving the chaos a renovation creates.

I grew up in a home under constant renovation and my parents taught me how to survive the chaos – by not letting the chaos reign.

That’s right. The trick to living in chaos is to not live in chaos. While that may sound like a contradiction, it actually makes sense. When the big picture is chaotic, keep the day to day details of life as organized as possible.

Also pamper yourself. A renovation is chaotic by nature, and it’s all about change – something most people tend not to cope with well. If you feel your stress levels rising, remove yourself from the home for a bit. Go out for dinner or spend some time at the gym.

If your stress levels are rising, however, because of problems with the contractor or designer/architect, raise the issue as quickly as possible. If you have gone through the planning process, you should have a comfortable enough relationship with the contractor and planning professional that you should be able to raise concerns without tempers flaring or miscommunication occurring.

To minimize stress, stay out of the construction area except during planned meetings. Don’t be a micromanager – that’s why you’ve hired a professional!

Other ways to create comfort for yourself including making sure the rest of the home stays as normal and as organized as possible. For example, if your living room is being renovated, collapse the dining room table and set up the living room in the dining room. It’s unlikely you’ll be entertaining much during the process, so why have the dining room?

And this advice doesn’t just apply to physical renovation projects. Any big change in your life will create chaos of some sort or other during the transition. Apply the same rules for home renovation to whatever Someday you’re working on and you’ve find the chaos becomes quite ordered and ultimately manageable.

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Taking a Holiday with Pop Music Positivity

  • Celebrating life requires a choice to see the best. What do you choose to see?

A few weeks ago, I went to see Madonna in Zaragoza and during the concert she sang one of her oldies – Holiday. Given that I’m leaving on an 11 day holiday tomorrow I thought it would be the perfect song for Pop Music Positivity.

Plus it’s all about making a choice and deliberately celebrating life.

You can turn this world around
And bring back all of those happy days
Put your troubles down
It’s time to celebrate
Let love shine
And we will find
A way to come together
And make things better
We need a holiday

What are you doing to celebrate life? What choices are you making to take a holiday from your fears, your worries and your procrastination? How are you coming together with others to make things better in your life and in the world?

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A Midlife Check-In

  • Someday Lesson: If we don’t run a spot check every once in a while things can start breaking down and we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of nowhere with an engine that refuses to start.

Alex with his Mom in 1969Today I turn 40. A few years ago, just before I left Canada to pursue my dream of being a European writer, I saw my forties approaching and felt nothing but dread and disappointment. I wasn’t anywhere near any of my dreams. I was merely coasting along.

Now that I’m actively pursuing my dreams I see turning 40 as exciting and wonderful.

Other than a chunk of years where I detoured into the world of autopilots and unhappy comfort, every year of my life has been better than the previous one, so I look at aging as something to celebrate!

And how to do I know that each year life is getting better? Because periodically I do a Someday Check-In and see exactly how far along I’ve gotten in each of my three major goals.

Someday Number One: Fiction Writing

1.    What’s my Someday?
Becoming a published fiction writer with a book a year coming out.

2.    When do I want to complete it?
By 2026 (started in 2006 with a twenty-year plan).

3.    What are the big steps to get there?
(((write something)edit + submit)repeat)repeat=success

4.    What am I doing right now to move things forward?
Submitting finished novel
Finishing the first draft of a second novel
Finishing the outline of a third novel
Doing a workshop and writing a novella for it

5.    How much progress have I made since starting?
Published two short stories
Wrote a novel, which reached quarterfinals in a contest
Wrote more short stories
Worked  fiction writing into my daily routine

6.    Anything missing?
An agent and a publishing deal, but I’m okay with that because everything is moving along bit by bit and they’ll come. After all, I still have 17 years to go in this plan.

Someday Number Two: Someday Mentoring

1.    What’s my Someday?
A full roster of clients supporting my lifestyle and funding my retirement

2.    When do I want to complete it?
By August 2013 (it generally takes five years for small business to become established and I started this one August 2008)

3.    What are the big steps to get there?
Build reputation
Develop and set up services
Market, market and market some more

4.    What am I doing right now to move things forward?
Writing a second ebook
Providing teaser services to draw people into the programs
Providing tester while developing new services
Editing ebook
Marketing through my blog and newsletter

5.    How much progress have I made since starting?
Reputation continues to grow
Developed services and launched them
Have a few clients
Launched first ebook

6.    Anything missing?
Patience – I see how long it takes to build a business and I get discouraged at times, but I keep at my actions and see progress (albeit in slow motion) and keep going.

Someday Number Three: Fitness / Health

1.    What’s my Someday?
To be in good physical shape and not experience food-related pain/tiredness

2.    When do I want to complete it?

3.    What are the big steps to get there?
Train physically using tangible goals
Improve my nutrition

4.    What am I doing right now to move things forward?
Working on the one-hundred pushups challenge
Starting the two-hundred situps challenge
Including more fruits and veggies in my diet

5.    How much progress have I made since starting?
Have run two 10km races
Did a severe cleanse last year that achieved my ideal body weight but it was too severe to maintain
Almost halfway through the pushups challenge
Have stopped smoking altogether (yes I continued to be an occasional smoker up until a few months ago)

6.    Anything missing?
Missed the sign up window for the 20km race and lost some enthusiasm for it
Allergies forced me to stop running during the summer
Lack the passion to stay away from wheat, sugar, fried foods
Weigh more than I want to

I could beat myself up about the continued problems with my diet, but the reality is that I get along okay. Yes, I’m not in top form, I’m 10lbs heavier than I want to be and I tire easily and have bad allergies, but I don’t worry that much because I’ve learned that when things really matter to me, I find just the right train of thought to turn whatever I’ve been struggling with into the easiest thing in the world.

It just takes time to find it.

Your turn – how well are your Somedays moving along?

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Finding a Fun Way to Get Fit

  • Someday Lesson: “Personality faults” can help you achieve your goals – it’s just a matter of using them in the right way.

Regular exercise bores me. Yes, that’s right, the idea of staying fit, keeping my weight down and having good pain-free posture is not enough to keep me moving.

I need goals, interesting fun goals. Decreasing waist size and increasing muscle are just too abstract for me to consider.

Take my running as an example. From the end of November to the middle of May, I built up my running endurance and abilities until I could run a 10km race without too much trouble and had even reached a top run of 14km. Then a few things happened to make running less fun. Mid-May I went to sign up for a 20km run at the beginning November but discovered I missed the window of opportunity and the event had sold out, plus at the beginning of June my summer allergies came on strong and moving more than a few blocks at anything other than a walk sucked all the breath out of my lungs and caused my legs to fall asleep mid-run literally from butt to toe-tip.

So, here I was no immediate goal and the fun factor was gone.

The same happened when I used to do indoor rock climbing. I was a faithful climber for two years, going two or three times a week, with built-in mini goals (getting to the top of the wall) that I could strive for. When I reached a point of being a good but not great climber, the next level would have required training outside the climbs in the form of upper body and finger strengthening.

Goodbye fun, hello work.

No, thank you.

I love the WiiFit, but once I had explored and unblocked everything the only thing left was weight loss and increasing my already decent sense of balance. Boring!

So here I am, two weeks away from forty with an expanding waistline and no way from keeping the expansion in check.

Not good.

I looked again at why I don’t exercise.

  1. I have no concrete goal.
  2. I get bored quickly with long-term fitness goals.

Many people might say that my lack of exercise-related attention span is a fault and I should work on increasing it, or just force myself to exercise anyway, but I learned a long time ago the fastest way to get me to not do something is to force myself to do it.

one hundred push ups

My sister, the Urban Panther, for a while talked about something she referred to as the 100 Pushup Challenge. Erin Doland over at Unclutterer also mentioned it on Twitter.

One hundred pushups. Hmmm…

Sounds totally concrete and totally short term.

So I visited the site and especially liked how it gave me a (flexible) time limit: one hundred pushups in six weeks, more or less.

Plus the same site had links to doing two-hundred sit-ups and two-hundred squats, so once I have mastered the pushups, I will have two other programs to follow. I gave it a try, surprising myself with 20 pushups in my initial test and then getting through 45 pushups in five sets yesterday.

Fun and instant progress. Plus after doing the pushups I noticed how much better my posture was (yes, it only lasted an hour at most, but it’s at least some progress!)

And I can keep doing the WiiFit Yoga on my off days to make sure I don’t lose any of my flexibility.

So that’s my anti-boredom tip for the week: include in your goals some short-term concrete projects with tangible results that come quickly.

What are your anti-boredom tips?

Share them with me and you might win a totally rare Dr Seuss book – one of the few he didn’t write for children. Find out more about the Anti-Boredom Contest by clicking here.

P.S. In this case, I’m not an affiliate in any way of this site. I just like the program a lot.

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Celebrate The Freak In You with Pop Music Positivity

Let’s get Anti-Boredom Month here at Someday Syndrome started off with a real BANG!

I’ve loved Macy Grey every since I heard her song I Try, but it wasn’t until her second album that I realized how much of a wonderful freak she was. Her version of pop music hasn’t been Disnified or sanitized in any way. It’s bold, it’s brash and it doesn’t matter who likes it or not.

Macy knows she’s got what it takes to succeed and knows that she’s mighty sexy while doing it.

In this song, she reminds us that what makes us special isn’t what makes us like everyone else – it’s the freaky part that “mom” wants you to hide from the rest of the world. “No way!” says Macy:

you’ve got to express what is taboo in you
and share your freak with the rest of us
cause it’s a beautiful thang

She also reminds us how to make sure our lives aren’t boring by saying:

that I got to be
to be the freak that god made me
so many thangz I want to try
got to do them before I die

So, this weekend as I’m off in Madrid celebrating Pride weekend with 2 million other people, I want you to celebrate the freak in you – what will it be?

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Getting Out of My Own Way

Like many people, I often get in my own way. I don’t achieve the goals I’m aiming for because I don’t ask for help or because I talk too much about the goals and replace talking for action.

At the beginning of June 2007 I got a very practical lesson in asking for help while in 2008, I’d actually started learning to not talk quite as much.

Two Years Ago on Someday Syndrome

I was at my last room and board for work exchange in a small village in the Basque Country and in trying to show how capable I was, I only demonstrated how pride indeed does come before the fall.

Last Year on Someday Syndrome

While working on the precursor to my ebook, instead of talking about it, I actually just worked on it. I did, however, indulge in cryptic messages on the blog. 😉

Help Me Cure Someday Syndrome: the Someday-Busting Affiliate Program

  • Someday Lesson: Helping others often helps us achieve our own goals.

A few weeks ago I talked to the Lab Rats about asking for help and so, taking my own advice, today I’m asking for your help.

As you know, I’m all about getting rid of Somedays and I want to do that for as many people as possible, but I know a finite number of people. In fact, I likely only know a fraction of the same people you do, if we have any contacts in common at all.

I want to get to know your networks. I want to help them bust their Somedays. And for that I need your help.

On Tuesday I launched the ebook Someday My Ship Will Come In. It’s a practical guide that helps people find their dreams and get started pursuing them.

Help me spread the word about the ebook that helps people find their dreams.

And because I love to help so much, I’ve created an affiliate program for the book so that with every sale you make you get 50% of the sale – that’s $11.97 USD! It’s a winning situation for everyone – the people who need the ebook get an affordable system to get unstuck and get rid of their Somedays. I get to help others and go grocery shopping, and you get some extra income just for making the connection.

How awesome is that?

The affiliate program comes with images and sample text to use on your blog or in an email, so all you have to do is sign up and let the people on your blog, website, and/or mailing lists know about this amazing opportunity to rid the world of Someday Syndrome.

Check out the Someday My Ship Will Come In ebook and then visit the Someday-Busting Affiliate details to sign up.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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