The Smartest Way to Success


anais“We don’t see things the way they are, we see things the way we are.” Anais Nin

For those of you who have  been following me, you already know that I am determined to improve myself daily with the goal of going to bed a little smarter and stronger every day. I have a firm belief that it is my duty to give the best version of me to the world each day. anais-nin-always-weaving-bc-it-once-was-brokenBetter Together

I am on a quest to learn and acquire new habits, rituals, patterns and thoughts to become the best version of me, because I can’t just “think” my way there. It takes action and deliberate practice.  I hope to form a community here on this blog of like-minded motivated people so we can help each other grow mentally, physically and emotionally every day.  We can learn a lot from each other and in turn become our best versions together. So with that stated, I really appreciate your advice and contributions. What has worked for you? What books are you reading? What exercises are you doing? What classes are you taking?

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” Anais Nin

img_3307Lightening Up, Sparking Joy, Creating Love

So, today, I am sharing a smart, practical approach to organizing and achieving your personal goals for success.

Before that, a quick assessment.

What I have accomplished so far (a year of daily deliberate practice).

    • I lost 25 lbs on The Four Hour Body, a slow carb diet

I highly recommend: The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman

  • I wake up with gratitude and journal everything I am thankful for
  • I started a daily workout routine and began Spinning and dancing weekly
  • I began a daily practice of mindful meditation to clear my head
  • A commitment to reading and learning something new daily
  • 30 minutes of writing and reading aloud  my purpose and plan for my life
  • and devoted Sunday mornings to a one hour spiritual ritual with my husband

tidying upThis next year I hope to spark joy in my life by letting go of everything that I no longer need while continue to lighten up and create love out of everything I do – cooking, working, writing, sharing, everything. Inspired by Marie Kondo’s book  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Taming the Wild Within

Just like everyone else, I struggle with certain things and one of my biggest challenges is getting overwhelmed. I have too many goals, too many dreams and I vibrate on the side of hyper mania. This drives my family and my friends nuts, but they love me just the same. So calming myself down daily is a big thing for me. See “mindful meditation” practice above. I meditate for me and everyone that has to deal with me. I believe that mediation + movement (exercise) = my daily dose of medication.


Dreams pass into the reality of action, from the action stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” Anais Nin

So my practical advice today is to follow along with me as I show you how I am going to organize my goals in a way that will not overwhelm me, allow me to be successful and continue to become the best version of me. There is one rule: I can only do one goal at a time and make it a habit for the year.

Step 1. Categorizing Life

Here are my categories:

  1. Relationships & Family
  2. Professional & Career
  3. Financial Health
  4. Physical & Health
  5. Emotional & Spiritual
  6. Time Management & Routines
  7. Household & Living Environment
  8. Personal & Intellectual Development

Step 2. Rating My Development So Far

The rating scale: 0% = completely unhappy to 100% this is the best version of me

Here are my categories:

  1. Relationships & Family – 45% 
  2. Professional & Career – 60%
  3. Financial Health – 15%
  4. Physical & Health – 50%
  5. Emotional & Spiritual –80%
  6. Time Management & Routines – 75%
  7. Household & Living Environment –35 %
  8. Personal & Intellectual Development – 75%

Step 3 – Identifying What Needs Improvement

Chagall-la-PromenadeRelationships & Family – 45%  

“You cannot save people, you can only love them.” Anais Nin

  • More forgiveness, patience and quality time scheduled with everyone I love. Friends and family.
  • Make new friends from around the world through this blog.

Professional & Career – 60%

“One’s life shrinks or expands according to your courage.” Anais Nin

  • Continue to inspire each day by sharing what I am learning each morning.
  • Writing my book “Lightening Up, Sparking Joy, Creating Love” Giving Your Best to the World
  • Helping new clients grow with my marketing and public relations skills
  • Continue to improve my Social Media, Photoshop and WordPress skills

Financial Health – 15%

  • Learn how to invest in successful companies for the long term while allowing compound interest work for me.
  • Pay down left over credit card debt, reduce my living expenses and understand if the insurance I have is the best for my family
  • Save 10% of what I earn monthly, no matter what.

Physical & Health – 50%

  • Lose 5 more lbs, Tone my body with an increase in pushups, situps, planks and weights.
  • Carry less tension in my body and practice a full body scan meditation to release that tension
  • Visit my doctor for a full check up and blood work
  • Become a more mindful eater with a mindful kitchen to prepare healthy meals

Emotional & Spiritual80%

  • Continue to remove negative thoughts of anger and doubt
  • Practice radical acceptance with compassion and loving kindness
  • Develop a schedule of meditation practices to do throughout the day

Time Management & Routines – 75%

  • Develop a mindful relaxation ritual at night that does not include more than one glass of chardonnay
  • Continue to write my 90 seconds of daily victories each evening
  • No phones, laptops or tablets in the bed
  • Relaxation stretches and meditation before bed

Household & Living Environment35 %

“Anything that I cannot transform into marvelous, I let go.”  Anais Nin

  • Purge everything that doesn’t spark joy for me in my entire house and care for everything I decide to keep. – clean it, paint it, fold it, organize it, make it shine.
  • Refrain from buying anything new unless absolutely necessary for the entire year.

Personal & Intellectual Development – 75%

  • Find my work and home “uniform” – clothes that suit the occasion that I feel great in and that I don’t have to think about too much.
  • Read and learn how to continue to become a better writer. I just found this amazing list of 150 free writing tools here
  • Complete books I am reading including The Tools and my winter reading list.



  1. Well done on your accomplishments to date Madeline. You certainly are an inspiration. I don’t know how you find the time to fit it all in around working.
    I share your feelings of overwhelm with all I have to do and learn but one foot in front of the other every day. We are doing our best. When you think of giving up, just look back at all you have accompanied and who you are now.
    Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the words of encouragement! We are all in this together. I think it is absolutely amazing that we can communicate like this and share really thoughts, stories and our dreams. It is just amazing.


  2. Like-minded, for suuure! This post is my thoughts put in beautiful words! Bettering myself is a constant, every day job that I absolutely love and I am always trying to get others to jump on board!
    I enjoyed this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You should read the Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg. It is an amazing book that helps understanding how habits work and what to do to create new ones. I read it once and I loved it. I am re-reading it this month and will try to apply the theories.
    Good luck to you,


  4. Great blog! I am much like you in that I have tons of goals and dreams. Most are focused but sometimes, like you I get way too overwhelmed.
    I can only focus on one or two goals at a time. I am currently writing a book which is taking up most of my attention and time.
    My exercise is my martial arts which I have been doing for almost 30 years, and the current book I am reading is “the magic” by Rhonda Byrnes, a hands on book that takes the reader through 28 days of gratitude exercises, I can not recommend this book enough, I am on my third round.
    As far as spiritual practices I meditate, visualize, and consistently work on forgiveness using ho’oponopono a Hawaiian practice of forgiveness.
    Thank you for sharing all of your ideas and practices and for asking about ours.


  5. Great Article Madeline
    The first quote “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are”. Drew me in,
    the words so true. The steady hustle of self improvement and determination, to be the best you can be, shines through your writing, I love your honesty, this is truly inspiring in itself. I follow your journey plucking those inspiring messages that ring bells in my ears. Im currently following your list suggestion (from a previous article) and I must say that its working for me:-) It seems to keep me more focused and less scattered, knowing that I’ve completed the stated tasks. Ticking the list and writing about the things that have inspired my day is enjoyable. This ritual seems to bring a real sense of grounding and satisfaction into my day. I decided to start off with 1 goal a day (I like to keep it simple:-), and found that within a week I was adding more to my list, and achieving a steady stream of improvement to my scattered head. Thank you so much for sharing and being so inspiring. Keep Up the good work. T.

    p.s. Two Downy Woodpeckers just landed on my Oak Tree, as I write this note to you, their message:

    Woodpecker is connected to the heartbeat of Mother Earth herself. Drum to The rhythm of your own heart for the best success.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tracey, I feel so grateful to hear from you and to know that you are reading and applying these ideas to your own life. This is so awesome. Getting focused as you know is so important and I took your advice and started reading Napoleon Hill’s book. It is quite remarkable and I must say the work he asks you to do – the self inquiry is not easy. I love your art ,creativity and energy!!!! You really inspire me Tracey.


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