making progress by design

I recently listened to a podcast where James Clear bestselling author of Atomic Habits) was the guest. He was talking about New Year’s Resolutions and how they flat-out don’t work.

(If you already gave up on yours, you don’t need to raise your hand…😉)

But he said building habits DOES work, and there are keys to setting a new habit successfully. One key is to feel rewarded, and often that is by seeing the progress toward your goal.

But what if the thing you’re working on is slooooow progress that isn’t visible until you have already established the habit?? Like, losing weight, for instance.

Try a GOAL TRACKER! Simply mark off the days that you do “the thing” and visually see your accomplishments stacking up. So, even when you don’t see the difference or progress you’re striving for from day-to-day, you’ll still see yourself achieving your goal.

Of COURSE you want to see my dogs!

One of my goals for this year is to walk my dogs for at least 20 minutes every day. It sounds super easy to do, but I live in Minnesota, and sometimes thinking about how much my face will hurt when I go out in the winter makes staying in sound WAY better. But, they’re active labs and they need the exercise. There is no “progress” to see here. No reward (other than happy dogs.)

So, I track it. I feel better seeing those “x”s line up and I know I am doing something I told myself I would do. I’m keeping my promise to myself… AND to Sadie and Lily.

You can too! Download my free 2020 On Task Goal Tracker now and get tracking!


If you want to listen to the podcast (and you do – it’s a good one), it’s Entreleadership podcast #356.

creating change

I’m sitting in my office, looking out at the leaves, admiring them as they transition from green to gold. Fall is officially here, and there is so much to love! Minnesotans love the cool, crisp air, the apples, the explosion of color, but most of all, the absence of mosquitoes.

This fall is especially exciting for me, because it marks big change for Blue Sun Designs. Since January of 2018, Blue Sun has been my side-gig. My creative outlet. A way for me to learn and grow outside of a classroom.

Blue Sun Designs is changing today.

Starting today, Blue Sun has dropped the “side-” designation and has become my gig! This is a DREAM for me. To be able to use my gifts and talents to help you and have that be my sole professional purpose is beyond amazing. It is possible because of YOUR support, your encouragement, and your investment in my company. Thank you.

With this new full-time status, you will see some things changing over the coming months:

  • Most importantly, I will be able to serve you better. No more squeezing in meetings when I can; meetings will be when they’re convenient for you. I’ll be able to respond to you faster, and turnaround time on projects will be quicker. You will feel this shift immediately.
  • Focusing my energy will give me the space to be more creative and better able to solve your communication needs.
  • You’ll see an increase in visibility. I am so looking forward to attending community events, volunteering, and being more visible on social media. I will have more of myself to give to our community and you.
  • The Get Out brand of adventure tees and products will be refocused and reworked. I am BEYOND excited about what’s to come with that. Details to come.
  • There will also be so much happening behind the scenes that you won’t see, but will definitely affect how I can help you.

With all this change, there are some things that will remain constant:

  • Commitment to quality. I have built this business on my commitment to providing you with clean designs that communicate your story clearly. I remain focused on creating well-written and grammatically correct content for your projects. I will always use high quality printers, papers, and other materials in production.
  • Personal connection. You need a designer who understands your organization and your vision. I will always communicate frequently throughout the design process to ensure we’re on the same page and work to build our relationship so as we move forward, projects require less input and work from you.
  • Environmental responsibility. This one is big. Now, more than ever, our Earth needs us to commit to doing our best. I choose printers that use plant-based inks, ship with minimal packaging and eco-friendly products, and donate a portion of all revenue to reputable environmental organizations.

Just like I needed your help to get here, I need your help in launching this new chapter in Blue Sun Designs’ story.

  • Please like and share @bluesunmankato on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Reach out when your company or organization has a need for a graphic designer who is passionate about helping write and edit the content so your story is told well.
  • And please be sure to tell someone about your experience working with me; your words are gold.

Big things lie ahead. Thanks for being a part of the story!

going beyond fear to faith

I’ve told you about the push I got to attend Christy Wright’s Business Boutique 3 day event in Nashville, TN in early November. Months before the trip, I wrote about that generous gift as well as many of the reasons I had NOT to go, and how I turned those into my reasons TO go:

If you know me well, you know I’m irrationally terrified of flying. I also have two very active kids to drive all over the place, two dogs to worry about, and a full-time job outside of this side-venture. It is also VERY MUCH outside my nature to accept help or gifts like this from anyone. I have a million reasons (excuses?) to turn down this most generous offer. But I have one big reason why I accepted it:

It is 100% outside of my comfort zone.

And it was. My anxiety about the trip increased exponentially as the days approached, specifically about getting on the plane and logistics of the trip, but also about details at home like which kid had practice/games when, how they were getting there, I’d be missing my son’s first hockey game of the season, etc.it will be fine

Okay. Deep breath. You can do this.

All of the flights went well from a getting-from-point-A-to-point-B standpoint. I thought I was brave… although my husband perceived it a little differently as he saw tears streaming down my face with every takeoff and landing. (I gently reminded him that being brave is not being without fear, it is pushing through your fear.) In any case, we arrived safely with all our luggage and all was well.

At the conference itself, I was inspired, energized, and motivated with practical strategies I have already started putting to use in order to serve you well. I was encouraged to step out from behind my logo and allow you to get to know me personally. I heard speakers who gave me goosebumps and brought me to tears, encouraging me to believe in this business and myself. (Seriously, if you are a woman business-owner, look into Business Boutique.) There were so many takeaways, but the quote from Christy Wright that stood out to me the most was this:

Both faith and fear require believing in something that hasn’t happened yet.

Does that hit you like it hit me? I caught my breath when I heard that one. It’s powerful! But because I wanted to justify my fears, I spent a few moments trying to think of loopholes and reasons this statement isn’t true… but I came up empty. There was no rationalizing the power out of it for me.

Pushing beyond fear in this case meant getting on a plane and leaving my day-to-day life behind in order to invest in myself, and therefore in you. I was vastly rewarded with amazing speakers and information I could immediately take back and apply to my business.

In addition to all of the practical tools I took with me from that event, I also took away a change in perspective: when fear arises and I start to doubt what I’m capable of achieving, I am going to take a deep breath and choose faith. You can too!

Just do it scared. Don’t wait. Don’t wait until you’re “ready”, or until the thing is perfect, or until you get approval from him or her… just #doitscared.

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Tell me about a time you were rewarded for pushing past fear – a time you DID IT SCARED. Or I’d love to hear what you think about the quote about fear & faith – did it hit you like it did me?

You might like this FREE downloadable wallpaper for your smartphone! I put it on my phone to remind me that I have a choice between faith and fear, no matter the situation. (If you have any trouble downloading it, just comment below with your email address and I’ll send it your way.)
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photo used in the free download is from pixabay.com user “oadtz”

cover photo credit: pixabay.com user “sasint”

early to rise

Mornings are hard. The bed is warm and comfy, and on weekends there’s no alarm going off to call me out of it. But something I’ve learned about myself is mornings are when I accomplish the most. While the house is still and quiet, while the birds are singing their morning songs, while the sun hasn’t yet breached the horizon… that’s when I’m killing it. Coffee fuels my little brain cells, and they’re cooking up new ideas, accomplishing tasks on the checklist, and moving things forward.

I’ve found that to keep myself motivated, giving name to three benefits/results is helpful. I identify an immediate, an ongoing, and a future benefit for whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish. For example, when I’m not motivated to work out: the immediate benefit is I feel stronger and better about myself on days when I work out. The ongoing is I’m healthier, stronger, and more fit (and that leads to my jeans fitting better). The future is I know that when I’m aging, a lifetime of fitness and healthy choices will give me better quality of life as my time on Earth sunsets. When I’m feeling unmotivated, whether it’s for a workout or a task I don’t want to do, I try to think of benefits in these three contexts. At least one of them gets me going.

So, when the morning comes and the desire to stay in bed is greater than my desire to get up and get to work, I use this little trick. Then, as painful as it is to flip back the comforter and put soles to carpet, I know that the moments that follow (once I get my eyes fully open) will make it worth it.

What is your trick for staying motivated?

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