The 4 Step Follow Through Formula for Tough Goals and Resolutions

“Hey mom, I’ve got it all figured out this semester. I’ve got a system and will make sure I stick to all of the work.”

My mom was on the other end of the line, growing more and more impatient with my college exuberance.

“I’m excited for you, but you’ve said this a million times before and it never worked. What makes this time so different?”

Ouch.

I was a junior at UPenn, and my procrastination and desire to do everything fun under the sun left me too little time to be competitive with my fellow Ivy League overachievers.

I still got good grades – just never as good as they could have been had I just “applied myself.” This pattern repeated across everything I did.

That semester, I finally broke the pattern of procrastination (not for good – I had, and still have, a lot more work ahead) and got to see my mom beam over the Dean’s List notification letter.

I can thank my mom’s question for that result. I may have burst into tears after I hung up the phone that night, but it shook me into asking myself some vital questions that helped me stick to my plan and achieve my goals.

This is a very powerful exercise, and you absolutely need it if you’re trying to achieve a goal you’ve failed at in the past. Especially if it’s an emotional one, like working out, losing weight, or getting the results and recognition you crave.

It’s quick – but not comfortable. It will put you face to face with uncomfortable feelings and force you to take action. That’s also why it works so well! [Read more…]

Stop Half-Assing It, Your Success Is Waiting

If you're going to try, go all the way. It's the only good fight there is. - Charles BukowskiI’m a half-asser.

There, I said it. All my life I’ve given less than my very best to almost everything I did.

And then I’d beat myself up for it (for a bit). Before I’d declare that it’s not my fault, because, hey, I was in such a time crunch, so all things considered I actually did a fantastic job.

And I’d finish it all with a solemn pinky swear that next time I’m going to be super organized and start as soon as I put my mind to it and the entire process will be so relaxed and breezy and wonderful…

… only for this ever-so-solemn pinky swear to be solemnly ignored the next time around, when everything would be fun and games until the deadline was staring me right in the face.

That’s when the hustling began – sleepless nights, circles under the eyes, and strained focus.

It took me almost 10 years to break through this merry-go-round of guilt, disappointment, and burnout.

[Read more…]

What my puppy taught me about marketing (Holiday Special)

It’s almost Christmas! Yippee!!

So much has changed for me this year – we moved across the country, adopted a completely new lifestyle (a lot more time spent outdoors!), and have learned so much about marketing, sales, and running my businesses in general.

Most of all though, I’ve learned the value of respect – respecting myself, my time, my work, and everyone else I come in contact with.

Many people practice slightly scammy marketing – the kind where you feel pushed and prodded, like a wallet with a face.

I don’t. But marketing authentically doesn’t mean that you give caution to the wind and ignore the basic principles of supply and demand.

That’s why last week as I was recording a fun moment with my puppy I realized – you can totally practice marketing with your dog (or cat)!

Click play to see what I mean – and watch until the end for some funny bloopers!

Hope you got a good giggle out of that 😉

Now that we’re all smiling, here are 11 holiday wishes I have for you:

  1. A moment looking at your Christmas tree feeling like a child again
  2. Sinfully delicious cookies, savored slowly and fully
  3. A day off to read, relax, and do only what makes your heart sing (your present to you?)
  4. Some time to plan for 2015 (I’ll be sharing my plan next week!)
  5. The patience and peace in your heart to listen to and fully accept everyone you see over the Holidays, without letting your feelings get hurt
  6. Deep questions and even deeper discoveries about your extraordinary life
  7. Profound gratitude and a permanent smile of contentment on your face
  8. Boundless love and generosity (the kind that come from a full heart)
  9. A moment spent admiring the sky full of stars (bonus points if it’s snowing!)
  10. The undeniable feeling of being connected – with God, yourself, and everyone else
  11. The best presents and surprises!

Much love,
Laura

What do you wish for yourself this holiday season?

P.S: Can you believe she’s only 3.5 months old?

Step by Step: How to Stay on Your Game When Your Day Goes Off Track

How to stay on your game when your day goes off trackYou’re halfway through the day and nothing has gone as planned.

You had it all mapped out – when to do what. You were going to get it all done. You even gave yourself meals and left room for evening reading!

What next?

This depends on whether you have a deadline. If you do, you will blow right through your self-care time and scheduled bedtime and straight into all-nighter-land. Or at least late-night-land. Which makes us very, very cranky. (Please tell me it’s not just me!)

If you don’t have a deadline, you may be tempted to take the rest of the day off, giving up on your plan altogether. There are plenty of emergencies to keep you busy.

In all likelihood you will fall into the bottomless Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram pit and emerge out of there at the end of the day, covered in guilt because you eventually gave up on the emergencies but forgot to tell yourself to go take a real break.

But what if you want to avoid the dark pit of procrastination?

First off, there is no saving grace for the overstuffed schedule – it’s doomed to make you feel as overwhelmed as ever.

But even if you did try to reasonably divide your time and anticipate interruptions, it’s pretty impossible to be exact even with the best intentions.

Some days will go right as planned. Others will derail to a state of flow where getting shit done becomes your middle name (how do you know the G in my name doesn’t stand for that? Hehe)

And then there are those where half the day just seems to get sucked into Facebookville or someone else’s burning problem.

Let’s strip it back to the basics!

Ask yourself the following questions: [Read more…]

My 3-step procrastination rescue ritual

Do you need a procrastination rescue ritual?

What I’d like to be doing…

We’re getting ready to pack up our home and move halfway across the country in a little over 2 weeks, and I have to say… this move is nothing like what I expected it to be.

I expected it to be fun, and it is. It’s fun preparing, daydreaming, and catching up with friends (even if it is to say goodbye).

I expected it to be stressful, and it is. All the packing, decluttering, cleaning, preparing…

To be honest, I’m finding myself a little overwhelmed at times, especially when you add in the anxiety I feel when I realize that I’m going to a completely new place, far away from the family and friends I made in this completely new place.

It’s like a part of me is going “What the hell are you doing, Laura? You already moved away from your family and friends once, why would you do it again?” Because my heart calls me to, and that’s just the end of discussion.

But the speed of it all has taken me by surprise. One moment we had “plenty of time” until the move, the next I’m freaking out because there are 2 weeks left and I just don’t feel ready and there is still so much stuff to do.

This has led to a lot of busy procrastination. I haven’t given myself a lot of self-care time, so my body is taking it itself.

Here’s what my busy procrastination looks like:

[Read more…]

5 steps to successful manifestation (+ how I manifested my big move!)

Lake Coeur D'Alene

Lake Coeur D’Alene

I’ve got some big, big, BIG news…

I’m moving!!

Not just down the street, but to beautiful Coeur D’Alene, ID.

Tim and I first visited North Idaho on our honeymoon last year, after a surprise knee injury left me unable to hike the Teton Crest Trail.

We fell in love with the gorgeous lakes, thick forests, beautiful mountains, and most of all the friendly people we met there.

That was the first time we considered North Idaho as a place to live. But we knew there was a long journey ahead.

We have always felt the call of nature. My husband grew up in the countryside of PA riding horses, and while I grew up in the busiest city of Romania I spent my fair share of time hiking and exploring the beautiful mountains and forests, and have always known the forest as my place of peace.

It took us two years from the time we decided on the kind of rural lifestyle we wanted to have to the time we finally made it happen, but every step taken along the way was completely necessary in order to make our dream a reality. Here’s how we did it: [Read more…]

CGP 1: Halley Gray on getting booked out and overcoming failure

9-9-14 cgp1 halley gray

I have a biiiiiig announcement to make.

Today is the birthday of the Creative Grasshopper Podcast!

I love talking with other entrepreneurs and hearing all that they have to share about how they run their business in an authentic way and manage their time in a flexible way that allows them to stay creative and spontaneous.

And I’ve had so many moments when I just wanted to share everything I learned with my readers!

Well, it’s tough for me to write it all out, and, although I will continue my authentic entrepreneur spotlights, I thought I’d get you the wisdom straight from “the horse’s mouth” 😉

Hence, the creative grasshopper podcast: a place for creative grasshoppers to learn from passionate and successful entrepreneurs how they run their business in an authentic way, what their stumbles were and how they learned from them, and how they deal with the massive amount of time (and work) in front of them on a daily basis. [Read more…]

Taking the leap: my journey from cubicle monkey to creative grasshopper entrepreneur

8-25-14 taking the leapThis story is designed to inspire & give courage to anyone who is on the verge, and feeling called, to quit their job in order to pursue something more meaningful. This is part of the Taking the Leap resource, a database full of real-life stories from people who have successfully gone from job dissatisfaction to career emancipation.

This story includes the truth about what it’s like & what it takes to make the leap — so you can figure out for yourself whether taking the leap is right for you!

So when my dear friend Rebecca Beaton asked me to contribute to her Taking the Leap resource, I jumped at the opportunity. You may have seen Rebecca in our video interview (if you haven’t, go check it out!)

So here’s my story… which some of you may be somewhat familiar with. And some lessons interspersed along the way, for you: so you can avoid making the same mistakes.

I’ve always had authority issues.

When I was a kid, I always insisted on playing my way… even if it meant breaking the toys I was trying to play with. That grew into defiance and rebellion in school (needless to say, I had a lot of bad grades my test scores couldn’t explain…) and continued as procrastination in college and beyond.

When I finished college, I was dismayed that I hadn’t liked a single one of the jobs I had tried (except for tutoring, although even then I had run-ins with the tutoring center administration!) They all just seemed to restrict my freedom and creativity a little too much.

It’s not that I was lazy, or I didn’t want to do work… when given the opportunity I threw myself into anything and committed 110% of my energy into making it amazing, but I needed to not have someone else bossing me around and telling me what I could and couldn’t do.

Unfortunately, as college ended and I was left facing the possibility of returning to my home country of Romania, I had to swallow my pride and return to the company where I did my summer internship the summer before my senior year.

I hated it.

I had a good salary, but no money could make up for being so miserable every day. Soon I fell into the predictable cycle of loving life on Friday and hating it on Sunday. I started developing insomnia because going to sleep meant the next thing that was to happen was getting up super early and going to that place. [Read more…]

Cheat your way to a smartphone-free life

Excerpt from an infographic from Huffington Post Click on image to see the whole infographic

Excerpt from an infographic from Huffington Post

I received the following e-mail from Rodrigo who read my post on The Change Blog on why I ditched my smartphone:

Hello Laura. I’ve just read about your experience with ditching your smartphone and I confess I’ve been struggling with if for a couple years since I started reading about mindfulness and minimalism. I’d like to ask if you’re still running smartphone-free and how is life going that way. What about the downsides you occasionally went from? Any more suggestion you could make for me to try it harder next time? Thanks!

The answer I wrote ended up being super long, and we both agreed it read somewhat like a blog post. So I’m going to share it here (with minor edits) so it can be helpful to others who are also feeling addicted to their smartphone and dare to want to ditch it.

Cheat to succeed

I’m still happily smartphone free, however I have to admit to a few cheats: [Read more…]

The one thing you can’t afford to skip if you want to make your dreams come true

My dream, hanging in my childhood bedroom

My dream, hanging in my childhood bedroom

6 years ago I made my dream come true.

I had been living in Romania for 18 years. I had a couple of friends, a boyfriend, and a loving family. Many of my friends were getting ready to go to college in Germany or Romania.

I was getting ready to hop on a plane and travel across the ocean with two giant suitcases containing everything I wanted in my new life. The destination: Ivy League.

Looking behind wasn’t even on my radar. [Read more…]