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Goals. Plans. Dreams. Resolutions. Whatever you want to call them, we’ve all had ‘em. We’ve all started the year out with enthusiasm and hope, only to be left disappointed every December. (that good old dream of fitting in that one pair of jeans that haven’t fit since high school, am I right, ladies?)

In the beginning of 2018, I was in the midst of the most confusing and difficult time in my entire life. I was faced with challenges I could’ve never dreamed of, I had no idea who I was, what I wanted, or what my future held. My goals and resolutions for 2018 were quite different from previous years, and I’m proud to say I’ve held true to some of them.

For 2019, I want to continue my trend of “Think, Feel, Do”, but first I’m going to lead with a quote by a woman who inspires me, Ms. Barbara Corcoran, that I believe sums up all of my goals for the upcoming year:

Insecurity is a wonderful motivator.

Think:
  • Trust more

  • Stress less

  • Be more mindful

Feel:
  • Own it

  • Channel insecurity into motivation

  • Grow and enhance my relationships

Do:
  • Graduate with MSN

  • Improve budgeting (and actually stick to it!)

  • Decrease debt

  • Increase professional assertiveness

  • Exercise minimum of 3x/week

  • Finish 1st draft

  • Continue to grow freelance business

  • Do more of what makes me happy (dog time, baking, reading, family, friends)

  • Read more books (duh)

So how do I get there?

Notice how this year I didn’t say “lose weight” (!). What I did say was: exercise at least 3x/week. What that will do is 1) get me healthy, 2) get me fit, 3) get me strong, 4) get me toned, you see where I’m going with this.

Having goals isn’t about micromanaging the heck out of every day in order to achieve them. It’s about breaking them down into smaller, bite-sized, achievable things that in the end get you where you want to go. Instead of saying “save money”, I want to improve my budget and stick to it. If I do that, I save money.

I’m not perfect - some of my goals are broad and vague, but that’s okay. The goal is to accept imperfection, right?

I’m imperfect and I own it.

This past year, I’ve learned more about myself than I could have imagined. I’ve also learned that my life is a form of organized chaos, and if I embrace it - things go a heck of a lot better than if I try and fight it. I keep my chaos organized with the Erin Condren Life Planner, which I have been using for years and absolutely could not live without. (I am not affiliated with EC at all, I just simply love love love this planner and it’s worth every penny.)

So my challenge to you - is to think about how you can own it. Think about what you want to achieve and what steps you need to take to get there.

Stick To Your Goals:
  • Break bigger goals into small, bite-sized steps

  • Write them down

  • Review your goals frequently throughout the year

  • Make your goals visible in your home, office, wherever you spend your time

  • Be realistic

  • Own your mistakes and “failures”

  • Reward yourself!

What are your go-to tips for creating attainable goals? What goals did you accomplish in 2018? Comment and share!

I wish all my readers safe and happy holidays!

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Jessica Dzubak by Jessica Dzubak - 4M ago

This Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be grateful for.

I know, I say that every year - but this year is different. This year, for the first time in about 4 years, I am able to spend all of the holidays with my family. My 16-hour-night-shift days are behind me, and I’m incredibly grateful for my job that allows me to enjoy my holidays and weekends again.

But that job didn’t just fall in my lap. I had to work for it.

When my entire life was falling apart, I realized I wanted to make a change. A big one. I wanted out of shift work, out of the chaotic emergency room, and out of constant exhaustion. The problem was, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. It was like being back in high school, trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up all over again.

So what did I do? I hustled. I applied to a variety of nursing jobs and reached out to contacts I had. One of those contacts told me about a job opening at her organization and put me in contact with the Director.

After my first conversation with the Director of the department, I was sold. The job sounded perfect (as perfect as jobs could be) and I was definitely qualified for it. It was everything I wanted in a job and more.

All of this was happening around the holidays, but I was persistent. It took several follow-up emails, long phone calls, and two interviews (one with the entire organization!) but I landed the job and started in March.

The entire process took months, but I’m grateful for every moment of persistence and hustle. I learned what it was like to work for something, to have to prove why you’re the best person for the job (the woman I was competing with was actually more qualified than I was and had more experience, but I was told I nailed my interview).

I’m grateful I didn’t settle for another job I would’ve hated in the end, and I’m grateful I didn’t stay put in my old job just because it was easier than trying to find a new one. I’m grateful I pulled myself out of the ugliness that was my life this time last year, and I’m grateful I found my inner hustle.

On a more personal note, I advocate for never settling in every aspect of your life. I learned this lesson the hard way, but with the crumble of my marriage came the beginning of a new phase of my life. Now I’m in this amazing phase of self-discovery and growing a (relatively) new relationship that’s turning out to be everything I have always wanted.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, be grateful - and never settle.

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Jessica Dzubak by Jessica Dzubak - 5M ago

As a side-hustle freelancer, the word “no” isn’t a big part of my vocabulary.

But I’m here to tell you, if you want to be sane enough to enjoy your successes - learn how to say no.

So many of us are people-pleasers, right? By day, I’m a Registered Nurse. My entire career is based on helping others and people-pleasing.

In my freelance business, I want to please all of my client’s. I want to find out what they want and deliver even more than they asked for. In my job, I want to take on every project and I want to kill it in everything I do.

I’m going to share something here that my boyfriend told me when we first started dating, and I’ve found it to be applicable to so many things:

He said, “Just because you can do everything (alone), doesn’t mean you should have to.”

I love being Wonder Woman, don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of my multi-tasking, my ability to meet ridiculous deadlines, and my (sometimes annoying) hyper-organization.

But I’m learning to say no.

Figure out your priorities.

Note: I said your. Not your family’s, not your husband’s, not your boss’. Your priorities. Your priority might be more time with your family, but that’s still your decision. That’s how you want to spend more of your time. If your priority is to spend more time marketing your side-hustle business, then by all means say YES to those late-night SEO research sessions.

Know your worth, then add tax.

We’ve all seen the quote floating around on social media - and I wish I could give credit to whoever came up with it. Because it’s wonderful. Whether it’s determining rates for your side business or how many overtime hours you’re going to put in this week… know your worth. Determine what that bottom line is for you, and stick to it. Don’t leave it up to others to tell you what your worth is either, that’s all you, baby.

Avoid the snap decisions.

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of the “reflexive yes”. Whatever it was, I’d take it on. ‘I’ll figure it out later,’ I would tell myself - knowing full well I wouldn’t have time for it and I would end up regretting that simple one-syllable word. If you have the option, take some time between the ask and your response. Even five minutes can be beneficial. Those five minutes you can reflect on whether or not this fits in your priorities, if it is a reasonable ask (remember that whole self-worth thing?), and if it’s something meaningful to you. Sometimes we take things on with minimal reward or return on investment, but we do it because it is meaningful to us. That’s okay! What’s the point of a life full of meaninglessness experiences?

Ask yourself why.

Are you saying yes because you want to impress your boss? Are you doing it because you have a real interest in the project? Are you saying yes because you need the money? There are a multitude of reasons why we take on projects or jobs. Maybe you have an opportunity to work with a highly respected client, and it’s important to you to build a relationship with them. Maybe you feel passionate about a certain project and want to be a part of it. Whatever your “why” is, figure it out and stick to it. If you’re struggling to come up with a reason why - consider saying no.

What are your tips for saying NO?

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Let me just say, I love tees & totes.

Concert tees, ones you steal from your boyfriend that are 10 sizes too big, that one ratty shirt you’ve had since elementary school because hello, nostalgia! I love tees so much, that I once tried a (nasty) beer that shall be remain nameless just for the free t-shirt.

The only thing I love more than tees & totes, is books.

So naturally, I was super excited to discover literarybookgifts.com.

I love supporting small businesses, especially when they offer a wide variety of unique, quality products. Literarybookgifts is just that.

My most recent order to this shop included two tee’s and one tote.

Ladies on left, Mens on right

Tee’s: Ladies fit - Darwin’s Tree of Life & Men’s Fit - Kafka, Metamorphosis

The tee’s are printed on quality cotton fabric with designs as advertised. The men’s tee fits true to size, however the ladies run very small. I ordered a large, and it’s a super slim fit that doesn’t fit like a typical large. I suggest ordering a size or two up, or choosing a men’s design if you prefer looser-fitting tee’s.

Tote: Little Women

Now, as an owner of way too many totes, I admit my expectations were quite high. I have to admit, I was impressed with this tote. It’s roomy, without being too large that you feel like you’re carrying a suitcase around. The material is thick and quality, giving the impression it won’t tear with the slightest use. The image is lovely on a pinkish background.

So the next time you’re having a ‘treat yo self’ day or you are searching for the perfect gift, check out literarybookgifts.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a special coupon code!

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Jessica Dzubak by Jessica Dzubak - 8M ago

I've spent the last (almost) year of my life making excuses.

I can't cook because my kitchen's too small now.

I can't eat healthy because I can't cook. 

I can't lose weight because I can't have my smoothies because my Vitamix was a victim of divorce.

I can't finish writing the book because I'm too busy (and I suck).

I can't save money because I'm single now. 

I can't be happy because what if it all falls apart again? 

I can't imagine a bright future with my boyfriend because if it didn't work out once, it probably never will. 

Well, folks. It's a little exhausting to constantly be battling your own mind. Doubts can be overwhelming and like to set up camp once you entertain them for just a moment. 

So today, my excuses are getting evicted. 

This weekend, I baked. That's right, I baked two different types of cookies for my boyfriend's birthday - in my impossibly small kitchen. Was it convenient? No. Was it possible? Yup. You know what else I did? I bought a blender. And made a smoothie. Imagine that...

My plate is overfull at the moment, with a busy job, grad school, freelancing, trying to write a novel, not neglecting my family & friends, and a boyfriend who knows all of these doubts swimming around in my head and likes me anyway. 

But you know what else? 

In two months we're going on vacation. To a beach I've never been to. Do I really want to be spending the whole week covering myself up because I let my doubts and anxiety keep me from the gym, from buying a damn blender, from trying - to do all of these things I know I'm so capable of doing? Do I really want to give you that much more of my life, after everything you've already stolen? You've taken almost a year - you're not getting anything else from me.

 

 

 

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I sit here with a view of a lake and palm trees. The air is humid, the sun warm on my face.

I sit here in the sunny state of Florida, many hours from my home. 

I sit here because I have landed my dream job.

I am attending my first national ANPD conference, all expenses paid, because my employer believes in the value of my own professional development (that is what I do, after all...). I used to see people filling up airport waiting areas, busy typing away on their ultra sleek laptops, talking on a cell phone about when they fly back and how many people they had to meet. I used to wonder what it was like to live that life - to get paid to travel, to network, to learn amazing things in your field. 

I used to wonder, and now I do it. 

I have been at my job less than 6 months and this is my second flight-worthy trip, third time in a hotel. I have done this enough times now to complain about which airports make you feel like you are on a trek across the mountains with no map and which hotels could improve their room service menus. 

I spent the afternoon listening to some of the most accomplished women in my field talk about the art of self-promotion, career planning, and goal setting. To say I am inspired is an understatement. I'm feeling grateful, hopeful, excited, and accomplished. (and hot!)

The best feeling of all, though, is the indescribable feeling of "I am becoming who I wanted to be". I say becoming, not became, because I don't know if we ever really complete this journey. I don't think we ever stop growing into ourselves, learning about ourselves, and letting new experiences shape us. 

We never know what our future has in store for us. We can spend years planning our lives to the minute and still be thrown off course. But we can set goals, and we can make plans, but in the end we are only going to become who we are meant to be.

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Jessica Dzubak by Jessica Dzubak - 9M ago

If you love a girl who's damaged, there's a few things you should know. 

If you love a girl who's damaged, you'll work harder than you would with any other girl.

You'll spend years proving yourself, convincing her you aren't the monster in her worst nightmares, making her feel safe instead of scared. 

You'll get frustrated, because she won't always believe you when you say "I love you". 

You'll question everything, because she'll challenge you in ways you have never been challenged. 

You'll feel sad, because you'll realize how badly someone has hurt her, how ugly someone made her feel, and how even after all this time, she still doesn't believe she's beautiful. 

You'll feel anger, at everyone who is behind that distant look in her eyes, who taught her to be guarded, and who she thinks about when she drinks too much.

You'll feel more love than you thought possible, and if you do it right, she'll give you even more. 

You'll want not just her midnights, but her future, her Sunday mornings. You'll want to give her every dream she ever had, with brunch and movie dates and intellectual debates at 4am.

You'll want to do everything in your power to keep her safe, to protect her, to shield her from every moment of sadness. 

You'll want to hold her, hold her hand in a crowded place, listen to her nightmares as often as her dreams. 

You'll love her, and once she realizes that - you'll have something that no one else does. You'll have the love and devotion of a woman who is damaged, a woman who trusts you are the one to put her back together, and a woman who will let you. 

 

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Jessica Dzubak by Jessica Dzubak - 9M ago

This year I’ve become especially sentimental when it comes to father’s day.

In the year since we last celebrated fathers around the world, my life drastically changed.

The thing every father fears most happened. The man who vowed to love his daughter forever left her for someone else. Left her alone. The thing he promised, in front of my father himself, never to do.

This year taught me more than it taught my father. For he remained the same. He wasn’t sad when I told him. Not even angry. He simply looked at me and said, you’ll be alright.

And at the time, the time I was breaking the news to my parents that my husband had left me, which ultimately felt like the greatest failure -  that was what I needed. I had enough people feeling sorry for me or telling me I was better than this. But I needed someone to say yeah, this sucks. But you’re stronger than it. That he was not me. I had a life outside of a man.

So this father’s day, I celebrate what my father taught me. that any man who loves me should treat me as such. And I shouldn’t settle for less. that i'm not "hard to love" and some man exists somewhere who wants to "deal with me" and who loves every single quirky thing about me.

And that not matter what mistakes I make – my daddy will always be “on my side” with open arms.

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Jessica Dzubak by Jessica Dzubak - 10M ago

We see it every day. 

We see it, with our privilege and happy pills, and we judge.

We think, "thank God it's not me; that would never happen to my child; i'm better than that"

Well it's time someone calls bullshit.  

What about the soccer mom who started drinking a little too much wine when her marriage began to fall apart? Two glasses of wine turned into three, turned into four. Twice a week with the girls turned into every night as she sits alone in her too big house wondering what happened to her life. 

What about that same soccer mom - now she's divorced. The wine isn't cutting it anymore. Her phone blowing up every night with a bunch of handsome men she calls "friends", each one just like the other, each one making her feel better a couple hours at a time, making her feel something besides the endless numbness that she has become. 

She wakes up with the same shame every time. But now it's too late; the shame and guilt is just as miserable. Those few hours of distraction become priceless, become necessary, regardless of how she feels afterwards. Because when you feel that low, you'll take any opportunity you get to get picked up.

Now let's talk about her ex-husband. Wasn't happy in his marriage, couldn't accept how many mistakes he's made in his life, all those years of doing the right thing and hard work, now what does he have to show for it? He's never spent time alone before, so instead of going back to his one bedroom apartment as a 45 year old single man, he stays in his office. Later, later, later. 80 hours a week, one too many cups of coffee, one too many projects on his calendar. Anything to distract him. Anything to keep him out of his own head. 

Both of them eventually end up alone, with themselves, for a minute or two. It's inevitable. The thoughts come trickling back in. The gut wrenching sadness. The unbearable idea of not being good enough. The overwhelming lack of control of their own emotions. 

Now you tell me how that's different from the ones with the needles in their arms, the ones who take a pill when they really aren't in pain, the ones who will try just about anything to make the shit stop.

Whether your problem is feeling too much or too little, the misery never goes away.

And it happens to the best of us. Whether we like it or not.

Some of us are just better at hiding it than others. 

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Jessica Dzubak by Jessica Dzubak - 1y ago

I've been in a book-rut lately.

Several books I've purchased have turned out to be greatly disappointing, and as my blog readers know: I don't read bad books. More often than not, I found myself taking these boring books back to Half Price Books and getting new ones. Considering how long my 'want to read' list is, I simply don't have time for this! 

I came across Grit by Angela Duckworth online in a few places. It kept showing up on my pinterest feed of the latest books on personal development and success. Given that I just started a new job that literally is all about professional development, I figured I would give it a try.

Now I'm here to tell you that this book could change your life. I read it in under a week; I just couldn't put it down. Dr. Duckworth delves into the science of success and writes in a way that you just want to know more. Grit is filled with stories and advice from highly successful individuals, as well as stories from Dr. Duckworth's own career as an educator and psychologist. 

She teaches us all how we can be grittier, if we want to be. Success is attainable, and there's research to prove why some of it experience it and others don't. I absolutely loved every page of this book and I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in the fields of education, psychology, business, sports, management, human resources, well...you get the point. This book is for anyone who's ever had a dream and wondered how they could ever achieve it.

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