Building the Beginning of Something Great: The Journal Junky Story


Nine years ago this month, we were so poor.

I remember, the first cross-word my husband and I had was over rather or not he could by a McDonald's hamburger.  We were joyful newlyweds in our small and cozy, one-bedroom apartment.  We had so many dreams, goals, and plans.  Our heads were in the clouds riding high on our love...until our money ran out.  And then life hit us with a bang, and thus we crashlanded back into Reality.

We got married in June of that year, and the problem was that my husband lost his good job one month before we tied the knot.  I moved 600 miles to his state, and could not place a job in my new hometown to save my life!

So now, he wanted a hamburger, but our wedding gift money had run out, our savings were exhausted, our job searches were dead-ends, we were counting coins, scared to max out our credit cards, and I was CONVINCED that we could not afford the pleasure of one fake & floppy hamburger.  But then, he made a very good point that gave me pause in the very intense ranting of my defense.  He said, "Baby, $1.07 won't make us or break us. We need HUNDREDS of dollars..." (chirp chirp chip)

Well, he enjoyed his burger that night, (and I even had a bite,) but that evening, we decided that we needed a solid financial plan.  We began to budget and keep track of the little money we had. He eventually got a part-time job, but I wanted to help.  We both realized that I spent my money on journals,  and that they were costing MORE than a hamburger!  He suggested I make my own journals, and I did.  I begin to sell them locally, and they were well received.  I then opened an Etsy shop, and business exploded.  These books have helped pay the bills ever since.

Nine years later, I am so humbled to have had the opportunity to build something I love.  I've been able to share my story, live my dream, and meet so many amazing folks on this business journey.  I look forward to the future of Journal Junky and I firmly believe that stories shared in love can change another's world.

What's YOUR story?

Xo Nicole

When Minimizing Your Life, Just Doesn't Work Out According to Plan


Dear Friend,
It's in a moment like this one, when I am so happy our plans didn't work out in the way we hoped.
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A few months ago, we decided to minimize our lifestyle, sell our large home, move into an apartment, and invest our  earnings.  We desired to be debt free, live a simpler life, give more, and have more time and money on our hands to create more memories for our sons.
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Quickly, we found a buyer and planned to close on June 20.   My hub and I completed our closing documents on June 19, and we eagerly awaited the following day of freedom.
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We moved into our new apartment that previous Saturday, cleaned the house for the new owners, and looked forward to settling into our new lives.  Tuesday, June 20 came with a disappointing email stating that the buyer could not close due to drama from his financial institution.
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We were heartbroken, confused, and angry. June 20 was not a good day for us.  The buyer asked us to allow him time to find another financial institution, and we set another closing date on July 18.  This closing as well was not to become a reality.
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In a weird place, and facing the financial stress of paying rent AND a mortgage for two months, we were in limbo.  We could stay in the apartment and let the house go into foreclosure, save money in the long run and suffer serious credit failure, or we could move back into the house and continue business as usual.
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As we faced the coming of another month of rent and mortgage, we decided to move back into our home and prayed that the apartment folks could find a new renter to fill our broken lease.
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After our decision, we found that we had to move within 24 hours due to a separate issue.  From zero to out of the apartment within one day, life was in complete chaos.
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That was last week, and today, I am so thankful to be back home. Throughout our chaotic, disappointing, and emotional journey, we have finally found peace that we are where we need to be right now...and we are fine with that.
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Sometimes, life just doesn't work out according to our wise and best-laid plans. When you find yourself with your back against a wall, take a moment to stop, look around, breathe, and appreciate the life you have.  Maybe this is where you need to be right now...and just be okay with that.

Xo Nicole

Journal Junky® is Celebrating Nine Years in Business!

WOOT!! We're celebrating nine years in business because of your awesome support throughout the years!  Please join us for our virtual Customer Appreciation Event! (Click on the picture below)

Thank you,

Xo Nicole

Spring Cleaning Series: The Secret to Finding Your Freedom to Flow


"Success is not defined by the quantity of actions taken, but the quality of actions taken toward accomplishing your goals."

Hi there!  Can we start a conversation around the subject of decluttering?  So lately I have been STUCK!  My creativity has been stagnant, my energy has been sapped, and I have been feeling just plain tired!  So much has been going on in my life, and I realized that I was becoming immobile.  I wasn't accomplishing much, wasn't feeling very productive, and my momentum was grinding to a screeching halt!  A few days ago,  I decided to stop, take a step back, and write about why I was feeling stuck.  I realized that I was so overwhelmed with all that I had to do that I just shut down both mentally and emotionally. 

Now, what comes to mind when you hear the word "declutter?" Many times we think of cleaning and organizing our physical space, but can it relate to our mental and emotional space as well? Of course! You see, I've been on a mission to clean up the chaos of acquired things in my life that no longer serve me.  Our home is on the market, and I realized that I have so much clutter that I have carried with me over the years, from one home to the next.  I literally donated and recycled 10-15 bags of STUFF! Can you believe that!?  It's true.  On this journey, I have truly felt the grief of letting things go (but that's another post for another day.) 

After three phases of decluttering, my home is now feeling much more spacious, cleaner, and looks gorgeous! Most importantly, my mind has been clearer and much more focused as well.  Today, I want to share with you how I have decluttered my To Do List in order to allow more freedom to flow in my business and in my life. I love the word "flow," because it speaks of smooth & continuous motion regardless of the present circumstances.

Do you want to be successful? I do. What does success mean to you? For me right now, success means to be able to give to and inspire those around me, and live a fulfilled well-rounded life without extra stress.  Many times we define success by the quantity of things we can accomplish in a day. So often, we pack our To Do Lists with a multitude of tasks, and then we feel like failures when they aren't all accomplished!

This is why I began to declutter my To Do List. You see, I begin to feel trapped by my To Do List. Life would happenen, the list wouldn't get completed, and the unaccomplished tasks would haunt me and cause great anxiety. This became my constant story until I decided to change it.  I now declutter and minimize my To Do List on a weekly basis, and I have also changed the word, task, (which implies something unpleasant that I HAVE to do,) to action steps, (which implies momentum, and my CHOICE to move forward toward a goal.)  I also changed my list title from "To Do List," to "Goals," "Daily Actions," "Success List," or "To Accomplish."  Again, these words are just a bit more empowering and take the drudgery out of the everyday goals that need to be completed.

Decluttering my list means to weed out the less important actions, and action steps, that can be delegated, or performed by someone else.  Minimizing my list results in only a few action steps that need attention.  Scaling down from a list of 15-20 actions to five quality actions, allows me to have more freedom in my day to complete them, freedom for creativity, freedom to rest, freedom to connect with others, freedom to flow, to move, and to be inspired.

After accomplishing the few quality action steps, I began to feel more in control and empowered to add a few more actions to my list.  Don't forget, you can ALWAYS add more actions to your list.

Is YOUR To Do List long and overwhelming?  Here is an activity that may help.

In your journal:

1. Define & prioritize your goals.
2. Create a Master List of action steps necessary for accomplishing each goal.
3. Break down your Master List into a list of mini action steps.
4. Begin with only three to five mini action steps a day to accomplish.
5. Accomplish these mini action steps, cross them out, check them off, and celebrate!  (Feel free to add a few more action steps if you desire.)

By decluttering my "To Do List," I have become unstuck.  I have been able to create more momentum in my life and business, which inspires greater action and results in greater success.  I now feel more accomplished and in control, my day is more profitable, and I have found the freedom to flow.

What are YOUR thoughts?  How do YOU work through feelings of overwhelm when you have a lot to accomplish? Comment below to continue the conversation.

xo Nicole




6 Easy Steps Toward Achieving ANY Goal


During the year, and especially in January, I focus on my vision and goals for the year.  I take time to revisit my dreams and reshape the ones which are no longer congruent with my vision and purpose.  I have accomplished so much in 2016 by using the following 6 Easy Steps Toward Achieving ANY Goal, and I wish to share them with you:

1.  SHOW GRATITUDE

At the beginning of the year, (and really every day,) I take a moment to reflect on what I already have.  I figure if I am not thankful for what I already have, then how can I appreciate the success to come?  I take a moment to remember the blessings and the things I have received so far.  I think of the people and situations that made these blessings possible.  I am thankful for my successes, and all I have achieved so far.  I appreciate the lessons I have learned, and the wisdom gained from perceived failures.  I have gratitude for everything in my life and business.

2.  FOCUS ON YOUR VISION FOR YOUR LIFE & BUSINESS

Everyday, I try to make sure that each action is intentionally congruent with my vision for my life and business.  I consistently ask myself these questions and write down the answers:

-What do I truly want in life?
-What do I need right now to manifest my vision and to bring it into reality?
-What is my purpose?
-Who can I serve?
-What are my core values?

3.  REALIZE THAT YOUR CORE VALUES SHAPE YOUR VISION

Some of my core values are honesty, self-awareness, compassion, living simply, helping others, kindness, freedom, and creativity.  I have used these core values to shape my vision, and I use my vision to design the goals for my life.  For example, taking the core values of self-awareness, compassion, creativity, and helping others, my Vision Statement includes inspiring others to become more self-aware and to create change into their lives through journaling.  I share more about this below.

4.  WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

Guided by my vision and what I see for my future life and business, I write down 3-5 long-term goals (what I want to accomplish in the next 1-5 years,) and I write down 3-5 short-term goals (what I want to accomplish in 6-12 months.)  These goals are priorities that are based on my core values.  I never set a goal that is inconsistent with my values.  Writing your goals, instead of just verbalizing them, allows them to become real. You become more accountable to what you put on paper.

I use the following SMART Goals system:

Specific: it is so important to be specific when setting your goals.  If you set a vague goal, you cannot create significant steps towards achieving that goal.  You will never have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. 

For Example:

Vague goal: "I will lose weight."
Specific goal: "I will lose 30 pounds."

Measureable: simply put, establishing a baseline or a starting point of where you are right now, allows you to have something by which to measure your success. 

For example: 

"Right now, I weight 100 pounds" (this is the baseline.) Using this baseline, you will know that you achieved your goal when you weigh 70 pounds because you know from where you started.

Achievable and Attainable: in order to be successful in accomplishing your goals, they have to be set where you can achieve them.  Now I believe that one should set challenging goals and reach for the stars, but it's easy to feel like a failure if the goal is unattainable.

Realistic: as you set your goals, ask yourself if your goal is realistic for YOU.  I once set a goal to make $100,000 in 12 months.  Where this goal may have been achievable and realistic for me, it certainly wasn't at the time.  With a new baby, a new home, and many other responsibilities other than my business, making $100,000 was not the main priority.  This goal wasn't realistic for me because I did not have the time, energy, or education necessary to attain it.

Timely: the timeframe of your goal works with alongside of being attainable and realistic.  Don't put your goal on a timeframe in which it isn't possible to accomplish. This creates negative feelings of failure and un-achievement.  Setting a timeframe of 5 years by which to make $100,000 may have been more realistic for me.  Losing 30 pounds in two days is not realistic, and the person trying to accomplish this goal will fail.  However, losing 30 healthy pounds in 30 days may be more realistic, thus making it achievable and leading to positive feelings of accomplishment.

5.  CREATE AN OBJECTIVE FOR EACH GOAL

Write down how each goal will contribute to your vision.

6.  SIMPLIFY LARGER GOALS

Break down larger more expansive goals into smaller manageable parts. I call these parts, "mini goals." For each mini goal, create action steps to complete. Don't forget to include your time frame!

I love the action steps because each one completed, adds momentum, fosters greater self-confidence, and creates success.

I truly hope this helps you as it has helped me.  Don't forget to stay focused and consistent!

Feel free to leave a comment below, and let's continue the conversation...

Xo Nicole

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