goals

Summer 2017 Bucket List

Summer 2017 Bucket List

Happy summer!

It’s the last week of school here, and the week leading up to Children’s/Youth Sunday and I have my sights set on summer - slow evenings on the patio, trips to the lake, and a good book (or two).

Our summers are relatively short here, so we try to take advantage of every opportunity we can to be outside, enjoying the longer days, (somewhat) slower pace, and beautiful weather while it lasts.

So, I made a list, obviously.

2016 Book List

2016 Book List

Over the past few years, and particularly in the last few months, I’ve really come to love reading. One of my goals for December was to make time for reading every day - I’m proud to say I made that happen! It’s a habit I plan to continue in the New Year.

Reading has become something I look forward during the day - a time to be quiet, rest, and be re-filled. I enjoy reading books that inspire and encourage me to live a life of faith, books that challenge me and make me think, books that teach me something new about managing money, running a business, or being creative. 

I try to balance my reading list by choosing books that fall into these five categories:

Business
Relationships
Health/Lifestyle
Personal/Intellectual
Spiritual

How to Set Good Goals

How to Set Good Goals

Summer days (in my opinion) are for good books, long walks, freshly-picked berries, and tall glasses of sweet tea on the porch, so I'll keep this post short so you can get back to what matters. :-)

We've come a long way since the first of the year, so I like to think of July as a checkpoint for my personal and business goals and a time to set new goals for my teaching in the Fall. 

Whether you're planning for your private studio or the start of a new choir year, prepare for success by setting accessible, achievable, and action-oriented goals.

Here is my process:

    Goals for 2014: July Update

    Goals for 2014: July Update

    Can you believe we're more than halfway through 2014?! It's been a crazy year so far but a lot of good has come from it! Here is an update on the goals I set at the beginning of this year:

    SMARTER BUSINESS
    Schedule more emails - Boomerang is the best. I schedule all my invoices at once each month - huge time-saver!

    No checking email after dinner - I did pretty well with this during the semester, but I've slacked off this summer. Time to get back to better boundaries!

    Streamline the workflow of my business - I did some research at the beginning of the year on invoice management programs, but I'm not sure it's the right time to introduce something like this into my studio. Working on a few new plans for billing and payments to implement in September.

    Start a new mini blog series - Yes! I created a Taxes for Freelancers series this spring - see posts here, here, here, and here.

    Read The $100 Startup - Started it this month!

    July Goals

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    Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you decide to purchase through any of them, I will earn a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue creating free content. Thank you for your support!

    Happy July!

    One of my favorite things about this month is the opportunity to display our patriotism and celebrate the gift of freedom.

    In years past, this has meant lining up along Main Street, waving a flag and cheering the parade along its hilly route; sprawling out on a quilt under the stars, savoring a dish of ice cream, and admiring the fireworks display with appropriate "oohs" and "ahs"; and listening to John Philip Sousa marches on repeat.

    This year, I think we'll cook some of our favorite all-American (i.e. Southern) food and watch the fireworks from the roof as we munch on chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.

    Here are my goals for the month:

    Walk every day and do 30 minutes of bike exercise each week
    Go berry-picking (or cherry-picking)!
    Review a few sight-reading series to recommend to students this summer/in the fall*
    Clean up files from the school year – save/organize on hard drive*
    Organize Lake J trip receipts, update records, and file
    Start reading The $100 Startup
    Schedule brunch on the roof with friends
    Spend some time reassessing my annual goals and adjusting as needed
    Complete final component of PhD qualifying exam

    *carryover from last month

    Have a happy 4th of July, y'all!

    June Goals

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    Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you decide to purchase through any of them, I will earn a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue creating free content. Thank you for your support!


    May was a wonderful month of rest and rejuvenation. I finished my last semester of formal classes as a PhD student (hooray!) and we did lots to celebrate the return of warm, summery weather:

    - took walks almost every day
    - visited our neighborhood bakery (on a few occasions)
    - had happy hour on the roof
    - tried a new-to-us recipe for homemade donut holes
    - visited with family (and played a few mini concerts!)
    - played tennis
    - celebrated Memorial Day with a visit to a little farm vineyard for a wine-tasting and picnic lunch

    I am looking forward to the fun things we have planned for June!

    - my year-end studio recital
    - our annual Lake week (see here and here)
    - house-sitting with three sweet pups!

    JUNE GOALS

    Walk every day and do 30 minutes of bike exercise each week
    Finish reading A Million Little Ways
    Continue intentional time off of social media - daily after dinner and time on weekends
    Take steps to organize finances
    Look up berry-picking schedules for local farms
    Review a few sight-reading series to recommend to students this summer/in the fall
    Clean up files from the school year - save/organize on hard drive
    Finalize workshop materials for June conference

    Happy June!

    May Goals

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    Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you decide to purchase through any of them, I will earn a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue creating free content. Thank you for your support!


    April was a good month - a busy month, but a good one.  Our little bell choir played two special pieces on Easter Sunday, we had happy hour on the roof for the first time this season, and we tried a few new recipes.  I finished several school projects (one step closer to the end of the semester!), received my article in print form (ahh!), wrapped up the Piano Olympics Festival, finished reading Margin, and sent out the first edition of a new email newsletter - short notes of inspiration, helpful resources, and creative ideas for music teaching.  The second edition will be on its way to your inbox this afternoon!  Not on the list?  Sign up here

    I am so grateful for the longer, brighter, warmer days; our evening walks down Park Ave., and time to sit outside and be still at the end of busy work days.  May is when the magnolias bloom all over the city.  It's also the beginning "festival season" in Rochester - looking forward to attending two festivals this month!  Here are my goals:

    MAY GOALS

    Take a walk down East Ave. during the annual Busker Festival
    Do some form of intentional exercise every day
    Start reading A Million Little Ways
    Continue intentional time off of social media
    Go to the Lilac Festival with SD
    Write year-end summary letters for each student (Piano teachers - have any of y'all done this before? Something new I'm trying this year.)
    Choose final recital repertoire with students, plan details
    Prepare workshop materials for June conference
    Go see The Amazing Spider-Man 2!
    Write out ideas/vision for new blog series (very excited about this!)

    Happy May, y'all!  What are you most looking forward to this month?


    Lessons from the Slopes

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    Ashley Danyew | Ski Day I checked off one of my March goals last week - we went skiing! And can I just say, it felt so good to spend the day outside after a long, very cold winter. Mind you, it was still in the 40s, but with the sun shining, we got a glimpse of the warmer days ahead. I felt more refreshed just breathing in that cool mountain air.

    Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

    Every time I ski, I discover a few more "life lessons". I hope these are as enlightening to you as they were for me:

    1. The conditions are always changing. In this spring weather, you may find groomed snow, slick icy patches, and soft snow that grab your skis - all on the same trail. The conditions are always changing, so be prepared, responsive, and flexible.

    2. You can't follow in someone else's tracks; you have to make your own. The trails show traces of those who have traveled this way before but it's impossible to make it down the mountain using the same set of tracks. Make your own decisions, use your own creativity, and make your own way.

    Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

    3. It's okay to fall. It's how you get back up that matters.

    4. Face your fears; take the leap. You may not be able to see the end of the path, but that shouldn't keep you from exploring it. Face your fears; take a risk; try.

    Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

    5. Sometimes it's good to be still. SD and I had some great conversations on this chair lift - the real, honest kind of conversations that I'd been missing in the midst of a few chaotic months. My heart needed this time to be free, to be brought to a place of humility and honesty, and to find peace.

    Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

    5. It's better with people. It's true in skiing and it's true in life. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and challenge you to be better.

    6. Enjoy the ride. Sure, there's risk involved and it might be a lot of work sometimes; but enjoy the ride. The joy is in the journey.

    Read more: Snow Day

    Goals for 2013: July Update

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    The beautiful gardens at Lake Junaluska

    Happy summer!  Hope y'all are having a summer full of lazy weekend picnics, freshly-picked flowers, outdoor experiences, and al fresco dining!  It's hard for me to believe the year is half over already - 2013 has been a great year so far.  Here's a little update on my goals.

    Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you decide to purchase through any of them, I will earn a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue creating free content. Thank you for your support!

    // PERSONAL GOALS

    1. Run 2-3 times per week and increase circuit to 2 miles once per week Progress: By May/June, we had sort of settled at 1-2 runs a week with lots of walking on our off days.  Confession: Y'all, running is hard for me, especially in the heat.  I have trouble motivating myself to run on a regular basis but I've found it's easier for me when it's colder out (go figure).  Now that it's a little warmer out (in the 90s every day this past week!), we've been looking for a few exercise alternatives.  We rented a tandem bike one Sunday afternoon for a 2.5-hour ride along the canal and we started a new workout regime this month called the Insanity Workout (aptly named!).

    2. Find ways to give to others each month Progress: Since April, we made a few donations of household and clothing items; volunteered with RAIHN, a hospitality organization for homeless families in May and earlier this month; and handed out Subway gift cards to those asking for spare change on the streets.

    3. Read 6 books in 12 months Progress: I read "7" this spring and am currently reading "EntreLeadership" by Dave Ramsey and "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Timothy Ferriss, though these are on hold until my summer class is over.  For class, I'm reading "Tell Them Who I Am" by Elliot Liebow, an ethnography on homeless women that has special significance because of our work with RAIHN this year.

    4. Study the Word actively Progress: SD and I finished reading the Story - the Bible written in chronological, chapter book format.  I've also been reading through a few plans on YouVersion (most recently, the one about Hosea).

    5. Get up at 7:30 a.m. six out of seven days a week Progress: For the most part, yes!

    6. Be intentional with rest Progress: I'm trying to be intentional with how I spend my time this summer by setting goals, staying organized, being productive in my working hours, and planning fun things for SD and I to do on the weekends (festivals, time on the roof, trying new recipes, etc.).  So far, it's been a wonderful balance of work and rejuvenation.

    7. Make a list of things we are grateful for to display in our homeProgress: I just hung up a new sheet in our kitchen - find the free printable version here.

    8. Focus on inspiring influences; purge negativityProgress: This really comes down to social media, for me.  Focusing on inspiring influences means spending less time on Facebook and Twitter, especially on the weekends.  It's amazing what a difference this makes!

    9. Eat more whole foodsProgress: We started reading labels in the grocery store and being more intentional with the things we buy.  We also started planning a few meals for the week before we go to the store, to ensure that we have everything on hand each night.  This month, I've had class twice a week until after 8 p.m. so we've made good use of our crockpot with things like Pulled Pork Sliders and Jambalaya.  Delicious!

    10. Find ways to add value to othersProgress: I'm finding out that there are so many ways to do this - sending notes to those who are grieving or celebrating an accomplishment, going out of your way to help someone, smiling at people, baking things to give away, pausing to have a conversation with someone.  Recently, I've been thinking about this goal for my studio: How can I add value to my students?

    // BUSINESS GOALS

    1. Get published Progress: I submitted two papers for journal publication consideration and I had a paper accepted to a research poster session at this year's National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy outside of Chicago!

    2. Write a hymn arrangement Progress: I composed a hymn tune for an existing text back in April for a class assignment.  Next up, a hymn arrangement using some of these (and these) skills.

    3. Spend more time in the practice room Progress: I practiced 8-10 hours a week during the semester and I managed to keep 2-3 hours in my schedule for the first two months of summer, despite not being at school every day.  I'm working my way through the Well-Tempered Clavier (mostly as a sightreading exercise), reviewing some keyboard skills, and improvising.

    4. Create a blog schedule Progress: Summer = less school + more time to write!  This blog schedule helps keep me organized.

    5. Update website Progress: I had a short list of things to fix/update on my site at the beginning of the summer and I'm pleased to say I've done just about everything on the list!  I've also been helping Steve update his site - go visit!

    I'd love to hear how your 2013 goals are coming along - feel free to share in the comments below or if you post them on a blog, please post the link.  I'd love to read them!

    Read more:
    Goals for 2013: April Update
    Making Things Happen in 2013 - Part I
    Making Things Happen in 2013 - Part II
    Making Things Happen in 2013 - Part III

    Goals for 2013: April Update

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    IMG_1590 It's been a few months since I wrote about my goals for 2013 so I thought I'd give y'all a quick update.

    // PERSONAL GOALS

    1. Run 2-3 times per week and increase circuit to 2 miles once per week Progress: We're at two runs most weeks and we're up to a total of 2.75 miles/week - ahead of schedule!

    2. Find ways to give to others each month Progress: We found a few local charities to support and places where we can donate clothes, food, and household items.  We're looking forward to volunteering with a hospitality organization later this spring and serving families in need of food and shelter.

    3. Read 6 books in 12 months Progress: I read "The Go-Giver" in two sittings (a first for me!) and I started reading "7" last month.

    4. Study the Word actively Progress: Steve and I are reading through The Story this year (2012-2013) and we just started the New Testament.  We've also been reading through a few plans on YouVersion (a free app).  So far, we've read Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.

    5. Get up at 7:30 a.m. six out of seven days a week Progress: I hit the ground running with this goal and have really made it habit (out of necessity!).  I've even had a few days of beating my goal by half an hour!

    6. Be intentional with rest Progress: I can always be better with this but things like putting work away at a certain point in the evening, taking time on the weekends to spend with SD, and having a book to read for pleasure help me be more intentional with rest.

    7. Make a list of things we are grateful for to display in our home Progress: I created a page to hang in our kitchen as soon as we got back from our holiday traveling.  I love having such a tangible way to count our blessings all throughout the year.  Print your own Gratitude list here.

    8. Focus on inspiring influences; purge negativity Progress: I purged my social media and blog feeds early in the year.  What a difference it makes to see positive influences in the time I spend on those sites!

    9. Eat more whole foods Progress: We started reading labels in the grocery store and being more intentional with the things we buy.  We've tried a few new healthy recipes with whole grains (especially quinoa) and started buying organic butter and whole wheat bread.  I also started using substitutes for sugar and oil in recipes.

    10. Find ways to add value to others Progress: I have been much more intentional about this these past few months.  I am trying to become a better encourager, write more love notes to SD, and make sure I write thank you notes in a timely manner.

    // BUSINESS GOALS

    1. Get published Progress: I emailed a journal editor about a manuscript I have in progress and am preparing another to submit to a poster session for an upcoming conference.

    2. Write a hymn arrangement Progress: No progress on this goal yet but I plan to start this project soon!

    3. Spend more time in the practice room Progress: At the beginning of the semester, I blocked off time in my schedule to practice two hours every day.  I've been working on keyboard skills such as harmonization, sightreading, sightsinging, improvisation, and transposition and I've successfully learned two songs by ear in all 12 keys ("Happy Birthday" and the "Doxology").  I have to say, I look forward to this time each day to spend away from books and email and paper-writing and get back to actively building musicianship (read more here and here).

    4. Create a blog schedule Progress: I began keeping a schedule of posts and a list of blog ideas in my planner.  Hopefully that means more regular blogging for all of you readers!

    5. Update website Progress: I made a few little updates around my website back in February - what do you think?

    How are your goals for 2013 coming along?