Making A Mind Movie

I recently found myself working on a ‘homework assignment’ for an online business group I am in that I never thought I’d ever do, something called a mind movie. (Aside: I kept wanting to call this a ‘goals video’ but way more useful stuff comes up if you search the right terms so I’ll do so in this post!)

What’s a mind movie?

A mind movie like a vision board except you make a video. You use inspiring pictures and text and cut it together with your psych up song. Cat Howell’s online group is where I’ve first learned about this but she credits Dr. Joe Deispenza for the concept.

Why do you make a mind movie?

The idea is you’ll watch this video daily as a reminder of what you are working towards. Now other people (like Grant Cardone) have suggested writing your goals every morning and every night so I’m guessing the idea of watching your goal video is a similar check in with yourself.

I think the other thing with goals, whether you make a movie or write them down, is that it forces you to be specific. Very specific in a way I certainly haven’t been before. How much money do I want to make? What kind of clothes do I want in my closet? What kind of qualities do I want in all my personal relationships?

And finally, your mind movie can change as your goals/dreams change or are attained.

What did I learn making my mind movie?

First of all, I am clearly not a filmmaker. The other people in my business course have way better looking movies than I do. But as Ira Glass has famously said (and I am massively paraphrasing here), amateurs are always frustrated when they have a vision but don’t have the skills to execute it but must persist anyway¬†(and I have been blogging about persisting through my medicore video skills for years apparently so there you go!)

Secondly, the stuff I want isn’t nearly as out of reach as I thought. Like the car I love? Costs $40,000. It’s not a Lamborghini (then again, I don’t think we’re in the 80s anymore so maybe no one still wants those?) but a $40,000 car is totally attainable. As I started tallying up all the ‘ridiculous’ things I wanted, I couldn’t even fake spend one million dollars. I think if you go through this exercise, you might be surprised that you can actually have what you want. I know I was.

Thirdly, I got really really picky. So I spent (legit) two hours looking at houses online until I found one I liked. My initial thought at this was, wow, I’m being picky. But then I realized if I am going to spend energy wanting this and working toward it everyday, I should pick out a backyard inground pool I like and the front porch I want and all the other stuff. When you think of someone theoretically gifting you, say, a house, I think most of us would take pretty much anything in good shape that we could maintain (ex: property taxes). But when you think about working toward the exact life you want, suddenly that house gets very very specific. And that’s ok; it’s what’s called clarity.

And finally, I’m excited. I put my movie to ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ by good old JT:

Thinking of listening to the same song while watching my movie EVERY DAY felt a little daunting but this one makes me feel both smiley and energized when I listen to it.

My mind movie is turning into a pretty personal project… but perhaps in a few months, I can share the movie and follow up about what watching a movie on repeat can do to your brain. ūüôā

Useful Resources

If you’re looking for some free resources related to this, check out:¬†https://www.mindmovies.com/free.php (I haven’t done any of these yet but looks like you’d be in good company if you did!
And if you are totally intimidated by video editing, you can actually make your video with Google Slides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S82OLPtpoUU


Year Of ‘Health’: A Half Way Point Check In

I’m a self help junkie but my goal is not just to read, listen to, etc. a bunch of resources but to actually use them in my life.

A couple years ago, I found Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map library. Basically it’s a list of words (and she/her team made them all pretty so you could print them or put them as your computer screensaver or whatever). Website is here but here’s the gist of what it looks like:

Now I get that if you are reading this, you may be on various ends of the woo-woo spectrum.

Regardless of how you feel about auras or the law of attraction, we can all agree keeping a word in mind (versus a giant list of new year’s resolutions) is easier and because of that, easier to stick with.

Last year’s word for me was ‘grace’ for obvious reasons.¬†This year’s word for me is ‘healthy’. (Don’t like either? It’s ok, pick your own word for your year’s motto!)

Now if you look at me, I am not sure most people would use ‘healthy’ as an initial descriptor, mainly because I’m thirty to forty pounds overweight by most medical standards.

But here’s the thing, folks. Being healthy is a lot more than maintaining a standard body type. And rather than focusing on weight loss, I thought I’d make some moves to be healthier/happier that feel a little more in my control. So what does a ‘healthy’ person do if not a fad diet?

I started a bullet journal, and track habits. 

I have been intimidated by the bullet journal in the past, mainly because I am not an amazing artist (or someone  who has the time/interest in becoming one). But as an analog gal who likes stationary, I thought I would use it this year as a stand in to my day planner and at least have an excuse to buy some pretty pens.

Doing bullet journal has gotten me into habit tracking. Here’s an example of habit tracking from someone else (mine is not nearly so filled in or attractive!):

You can read this bullet journal story here: http://bulletjournal.com/show-tell-3/

What you do everyday is more important than what you do once in awhile, so the idea of habit tracking in a bullet journal is like Ben Franklin’s virtue tracker.¬†To warn, you feel like a failure the first few weeks (or months) as you look at your chart every day and realize you didn’t do the things.

My three ‘health’ items I have been tracking daily since January 1 are:

  • Drinking five glasses of water a day
  • Getting rid of ten unnecessary items in my life
  • 5 minutes of meditation/grounding

(Aside: the ten items is something people definitely have feelings about. There are multiple disciplines though that have linked clutter to things like obesity and depression so I argue getting rid of clutter is a health thing. Most people I talk to think ten items a day is very extreme. But think about the pile of business cards at the corner of your desk that need to go into your CRM, the condiments in your fridge you haven’t looked at the expiration date on in awhile, etc. and it can add up fast.¬†To ease in, try one item per day as a resolution. I blogged my journey with this resolution here a few years ago.)

Do I do *all* the things I track everyday, health or otherwise? No way. But at least my life is now set up where they could happen. My electrical grounding mat (a little woo-woo!) is under my bed and has become part of my unwinding ritual. I have a designated water glass (and water accessories like lemon juice) at my office and at home. And as the months go by, the boxes are getting fuller.

In other words, by making myself think about it regularly, it is actually likely to happen.

And as I master some habits, I can add new ones, like taking vitamin D everyday.

In my journal, I also have a list of ‘Healthy Nicole’ things I would be interested in trying ranging from walking on my slack line most days to oil pulling. In other words, while there’s always more improvement to make, I can see in my bullet journal how far I’ve come.

I’ve let go of peoples’ advice.

People who have never had a weight problem giving me weight loss advice is like me giving skin care advice. Let me explain.

I get compliments on my skin all the time. But here’s my little secret: I had cystic acne from the age of 12 to 25. (Like count 100 zits and keep going.) I went on really strong medication to cure it at age 25 and haven’t had an issue since. I destroyed most of the pictures that really showed it but here’s one of what my face looked like with makeup on it:

My current ‘skincare’ routine involves washing my face at night and wearing sunscreen/moisturizer during the day.

In short, I had a medical condition and it wasn’t any lifestyle choice I made (and trust me, I tried everything from not eating nightshades to changing my pillowcase every night) that cured it. So me doling out skin care advice to people and acting as if the moisturizer I use now cured me would be shady.

It’s the same with weight; it’s usually a more complicated problem (and by complicated I mean individual and involving a lot of factors). Much like my acne wasn’t because I didn’t ‘just wash my face’.

But I am on a journey of health and when I tell people, they have diets for me to try or workouts they think I should do. I just smile and nod and move on.

I quit booze for six weeks… and might quit again.

As a woman of a certain age, when I go out to social events and not drink, certain assumptions are made (either that I’m pregnant or have gotten uber religious/judgemental suddenly.) I spent the first month of sobriety just not going anywhere. Once I realized I was just avoiding explaining myself, I would preface a happy hour with ‘I have some medical stuff so I’m trying not drinking.’

I am working on not being weird about not drinking but honestly, I do feel better not doing it.

To make the whole thing more ‘fun’ I’ve been building myself a little non-alcohol bar of various syrups, bitters, juices, artisanal sodas, and other ingredients I can use to dress up my seltzer water. Then I get the end of the day cocktail ritual which apparently was what I liked about it anyway.

I am letting my hair go gray.

Part of the health thing is I’d just like to have shiny, beautiful hair in whatever color it happens to be. And so about eight months ago, I stopped coloring my hair.

Now I will say if you do this, there are some great Facebook groups of people also transitioning to gray that will keep you going despite people saying you look ‘older’ or ‘weird’ or whatever. (Yes, people have said both to me.)

I figure as long as I’m fine with it, all the stuff doesn’t matter. (My boyfriend thinks it’s hot so that does help!) Not spending 4 hours and $150ish every ten weeks at a salon though has given me some energy to do fun things, like experiment with makeup. Also, I am looking forward to hitting the pool and other activities I’ve avoided because I worried they would undo my expensive dye job.

And for the times I feel experimental, I’ve gotten some fun colors (pink and blue) as leave in conditioners so I can still rock out a bit while having healthy hair.

I bought a few things to make myself happy.

Now I’m not a big ‘buy stuff to buy stuff’ person but I’ve given myself a little monthly budget for personal care. This has given me ‘permission’ to do things like buy an Airdesk (for when I work from home on my laptop), an essential oil diffuser, some fermented foods at a local farmer’s market, and a good quality razor. All this totaled about $300.

By putting money toward my health/personal care, it has made me look at what I could be doing each month. Should I get a good multivitamin? Some deep conditioner for the gray hair? That delicious looking elderflower syrup I’ve been wanting to try with my blueberry seltzer? The possibilities are endless and not nearly as indulgent as I expected.

I got therapy.

I worked with a hypnotherapist and a traditional therapist to help me figure my stuff out. I am a bit proponent of an intelligent, objective third party who can also give you techniques of dealing with your own stuff. This has been a very personal journey but a very worthwhile one and if you want to talk therapy, please contact me and I’m happy to talk more candidly about it.


Now I know what you’re thinking: Nicole, if you can’t get on a scale and see numbers change, what outcomes could there be for spending so much energy, time, and some money on this pursuit?

  • My massage therapist is seeing overall improvements in some issues she’s been working on me with for years with my shoulders, arms, and back in particular.
  • People have been saying I look good and ‘seem happy’.
  • When I stopped by the prom to see my friend’s kid, a chaperone thought I was one of the kids and tried to make me go check in with my ticket.
  • Both therapists saw measurable differences heading toward my goals of dealing with my depression and coming up with positive coping strategies (and letting go of negative, limiting beliefs.)
  • My normally tense dog seems way less stressed out, so much so people visiting me at the house have commented she seems like a different dog.
  • My digestive tract is… working better. (I’ll leave it at that.)
  • Several people close to me have described me as ‘healthy’ without me telling them about my year goal.

Can I get healthier? Absolutely.
Will you be able to see differences? Maybe.
But in the meantime, I am enjoying the changes I notice and look forward to a healthier future I’m actively working towards.


100 Better Decisions: An Approach Toward A Big Goal

What if you made 100 better decisions? How could things be different?

This is what I asked myself at the beginning of this month. (By the way, if Oprah is reading this, I 100% made this up so please give me the credit if this becomes one of your favorite things.)

A hundred decisions sounds like a lot. In reality, you make hundreds of decisions a day. What time to wake up, what clothes to wear, whether to shower or not, what shampoo to use, if you’ll blowdry your hair, what toothpaste you’ll use, whether you’ll brush your teeth before or after you shower… you get the picture.

Now in your decisions lies your lifestyle, your values, and your ambitions. Once you hack how people make decisions, you can help them¬†reach their goals. Here are two approaches I’ve seen to this:

Option 1: The Limited Decision Approach

Productivity experts like Tim Ferris say to have a completely structured routine for the first two hours of every day. The idea is that your brain uses energy to make decisions and rather than wasting that brainpower on oatmeal versus eggs, you should save it for more important decisions later in the day. This totally makes sense to me. This is why you see a bajillion articles about what successful people do the first hour or two of every morning. It’s a thing.

You can also look at this on the other end of the day, where people often protect the last hour of their day for reflection or planning the next day so they can go to sleep with a clear mind and wake up with their decisions already made for them.

Option 2: Following A Plan

If you aren’t keen on making up your own structure, there are PLENTY out there for you to follow, whether you want to learn to fall asleep faster or run a marathon.

When you are on a plan, you have a set of rules you follow for a set period of time to achieve some goal. It’s easiest to think about this with diet. If I am doing Whole30, for example, and someone offers me a gin and tonic, I say no. Alcohol is not allowed on Whole30. That decision of what I can and can’t eat (or when I can eat things) has been made by whatever plan I’m on: paleo, low carb, Mediterranean, etc.

I have issues with both these options.

Why Limited Decisions Is Not Entirely It For Me

My schedule varies day to day and in particular, weekdays to weekends. The idea of doing the same thing every morning not only bores me to tears but doesn’t work well with my life.

For example, every Friday morning, I have a super early standing meeting. The idea of getting up at 5:30 am EVERY MORNING makes me want to gouge my eyes out. (I don’t mind doing it once a week though.)

My modification to Tim Ferris’ plan is that I have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning blocks planned for myself. One day is meal prep, one going to the transfer station, one for running errands (post office, car registration, library, etc.) Monday is my ease into the week morning and Friday is my early meeting (ie no time for my block-o-productivity). I am ok with this arrangement as it gives me some flexibility but it chunks out my morning and I get some of the benefits of minimizing decisions.

Why Following A Plan Doesn’t Entirely Work For Me

One of my core traits is my flexibility. You wouldn’t know it to look at me but I can actually be pretty spontaneous and laid back. Like if I go to your house and you made a fresh loaf of bread and asked if I wanted a piece? I would say ‘Yes!’ even though I don’t normally eat or buy bread. Because you made it and that’s awesome. I can’t categorically say no to things; it’s not in my nature or sustainable (in my opinion).

So what’s a gal like me to do?

What if I just look at my life as a series of decisions and write down when I make a better one until I reach 100 decisions?

Like maybe I have one gin and tonic and while considering a second one, I have two glasses of water instead.

So why did I think this would work for me and potentially others?

  1. Most of us remember bad things and forget the good things. This is like an easier to fill out gratitude journal.
  2. Sometimes we fall of the wagon and use it as an excuse for continued bad behavior (well, I had one glass of wine today, might as well have the ice cream too!). With 100 Better Decisions, each decision is an opportunity to start fresh.
  3. By looking at each decision framed by the question ‘Will this get me closer to my goal?’, we train ourselves to spot times when we could make better decisions. Asking the question repeatedly makes sure the larger goal gets cemented in.¬†

Now my goal has to do with getting healthier. Some things I wrote down out of 100:

Saved half my breakfast and ate it at lunch.
Chose vanilla seltzer instead of a cocktail.
Put cinnamon instead of cream in my coffee.

Has this approached helped me get closer to my goal? Yes.

Does it fit into my lifestyle? Yes.

Do I think you should try it? Please!

Note-Taking: The Follow Through

So you have great ideas. You write them down. But…then what? What’s the point of generating ideas if you aren’t going to¬†do¬†something with them? The last step in the process of note-taking is the follow-through. Before you jump into action mode, a good first step is getting organized. Here are some quick tips on setting yourself up for success with follow-through:

Sort it out. So, you have ideas and you’ve recorded them in a place that works best for you. If you aren’t organizing as you go, the first step in following through is reviewing things you’ve written down. For me, there’s usually 3 categories I can place things under: Things I have to do, Things I¬†want¬†to do, and Things that sound cool but realistically I’m not going to do. Everyone has their own way of sorting, and it can be done as frequently or infrequently as you’d like (I like to make a point of it once a week/month). I also don’t throw away the ideas that fall in the third category, but file them away. After all, you never know what might change and those ideas could shift into a different category.


Sorting can be rough work.

Prioritize. In a perfect world, we would have all the time in the world to pursue every idea that popped into our minds. Time and other obligations are unfortunate restraints that must be worked around, and that’s where step 2 comes in. Prioritizing takes two things into account: time constraints and personal interest. The things on our list that have a time limit/some sort of expiration get moved up on the list (otherwise, you risk losing out on the idea altogether). The second is more subjective- if we’re excited about an idea in particular, it’s likely we’ll place it higher up on our priority list.

Break it Down. As a big-picture thinker, I often fail to consider the in-between steps of where I am now to where I hope to be in terms of goal setting. Breaking down the idea into small, actionable steps sets you up for success and gives a sense of progress along the way. When making this list, it’s also important to keep it within the bounds of what’s reasonable. I tend to get over-excited about new projects and lose sight of other commitments/things that need to get done. In other words, I set myself up for failure. Although it’s great to be excited about a new project, try to stay grounded during the planning part of the process to avoid this level of over-committing.¬†progressBe Accountable. Some people are propelled by self motivation and have no problem getting things done. In my experience, my personal goals that fall under the “Things I want to do” category tend to take the backburner. Unfortunately, these things take a long time to get done (if they get done at all) as a result. One way to push these ideas up to the front burner is adding accountability, namely, to another person/thing. For example, if I have a specific running-related goal in mind, there are a couple ways to make myself accountable. To make sure I hit my action steps of training, throwing in a couple group or partner runs usually gets me out the door on tough days. I’ll also sign up for a particular race in advance, which gives me a bit more skin in the game (i.e. registration fee). I’m much less likely to flake out if I’ve already made the monetary investment (and have been known to flake out on races I didn’t pre-register for). A third idea that I haven’t utilized is a coach (because I’m not that serious of a runner). The coach idea is similar to having an accountability partner, who checks in with you about ongoing goals and projects at regular intervals. For more on accountability partners, check out this blog post from a couple years ago.

Incentivize. Adding an incentive, either once you’ve reached your goal or for reaching certain milestones along the way, helps a lot of people stay motivated. This article shares a story about a guy who got to the gym everyday (well, pretty close) by leaving his only deodorant there. If he didn’t want b.o. for the day, he’d have to head to the gym to get it. This probably seems a bit extreme, it did to me, anyway- but it got the job done. Think about some ways you can bait yourself into following through with your plans, even if they don’t make sense to anyone else.

Following through on the ideas you’ve collected is ultimately a personal journey. Some of these tips might be helpful, and you might not be the type of person who needs any help with it at all! You might also have some methods that we haven’t mentioned here.

What helps you with following through?

For more posts about note-taking, don’t miss these posts:

Four Noteworthy Apps (for Taking Notes)

Take Note: Tips on Having (and Keeping) Your Ideas

For more about reaching goals and goal setting, check out these posts:

Tech Thursday: All About Goal Setting

Tech Thursday: All About Goal Setting

As promised, this week is part 2 of the “Getting Ready to Take On 2015” series. Last week, you made a to-do list and an available resources list. Now, we’re going to use those lists to set some goals for the year!

First, you’re going to rank the to-do list in order of importance (and make sure that it’s chronological, too). Then, divide the list into quarters for the year. This way, you’re not overwhelmed trying to finish everything in January! Finally, take a look at your resources list. What items on that list can be used to cross of items on your to-do list and help you reach your goals?

We’ve come up with three scenarios as examples, and hopefully you’ll get some ideas along the way!

Also, this is our final Tech Thursday- in this format. Stay tuned for Tech Thursday: 2015 Edition!

Tech Thursday: Getting Organized for Next Year

It’s hard to believe there’s only one full week left in 2014! It has been a big year for us, and hopefully you all as well. This week’s video is dedicated to carrying that energy over into 2015! In order to make the most out of the upcoming year, it’s a good idea to get yourself organized.

One big help in getting organized is making sure all of your password information is up-to-date and accurate. It’s annoying to try to login to your website or LinkedIn, only to find that your passwords are mixed up (or forgotten). Invest some time in making sure you have access to all the online places you should.

Another tip: do a resource inventory. What do you have to work with? A list of email addresses you’ve been neglecting? 500 relatively active Facebook fans? An employee with some extra time who likes taking photos around the office? A cool domain you bought in July and haven’t used yet? Think online assets, physical assets, financial resources, and people resources.

Last, make a prioritized to do list. Write everything down that’s been bothering you or that you’ve been meaning to get around to, no matter how big or small. You’ll need this for next week’s video on goal setting!

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