reset aiming for more the journey 6

Reset – The Journey 6

This past week was what I called Reset week. I actually took a week off from work to try to reset mentally, spiritually, and physically. Lots of me time and just trying to get myself refocused on what I value.

So what did I do during my reset week? Mainly just tried to check off things on my to do list that has been loitering there for a while. Although I didn’t get everything done, I had a lot of progress on my goal list.

Speaking of my goal list, I actually did some major revisions. Having the time I had, I was able to really think about what’s important to me RIGHT NOW to get done. What are the things that if I don’t do, I’ll feel stagnant? What are the things that are within my scope of accomplishing at this point of my life? When I really pondered this, I realized that my goal list was all out of focus, a bit upside down, some extremely random, and some that was in need of revisions of steps to accomplish it all.

I made revisions and placed it in a chart format. On the left column are all my goal descriptions. The next column describes the start date and the one after that is the end date. These just gives me an idea of when I will begin working towards that goal and when I hope I will complete it. After that, I have columns labeled Early Nov, Late Nov, Early Dec, Late Dec and so on and so forth. In these columns I write down the step that I plan to accomplish towards that goal in the early part of November (the first 2 weeks of Nov) and the late part of November (the last 2 weeks of Nov). This way I give myself time in case something comes up to still complete the step. As I complete tasks, I strike through them.

Altogether I have 12 goals. Out of those 12 goals are 5 major ones: 1) Mentor 4 high school students in 2017 with my TAP curriculum. 2) Complete 9 full interviews for TiWiK to be used in TAP. 3) Master use of equipment for TiWiK interviews. 4) Master use of Adobe Premiere and After Effects to create the TiWiK videos. 5) Have 100 articles written and a thriving interactive circle of readers by Dec 2017 for Aiming for More blog.

TiWiK is a special project that unfortunately I can’t give full details about yet but it’s coming and I’m extremely excited about it. There’s a lot of prep work that I’m doing for it, but I’ve begun to push it up on my goal list along with mentoring and this blog.

So there’s my goal revisions at least the top ones. I’ve been paying attention to what doors open for me while which ones seemed to be jammed especially for the mentorship and TiWiK project. I don’t believe in coincidences so I’m trying to stay prayerful of whether God is leading me into a different direction or not. With some of my goals, it seems like I was yanking at the door to open and it just refused to do so. For me the worst thing to do is to waste energy trying to pry a door open that God wants to stay shut because he’s trying to protect me from what’s on the other side. That’s why I have to step it up in my daily prayer time to make sure I’m not making mistakes. I feel like I’m on the right track but even if I’m not by the slightest bit, I have faith that God will help redirect me.

I strongly feel like God wants each and every one of us to thrive in His purpose for us. That outside our personal career goals, we should all have service goals of what we want to do to help others leaving our mark on the world to make it better than what we left it. I want to encourage all of you to dig deep and figure out what those service goals are. We were not created to just work, pay bills, have kids, and die. So what can you do to make this world a better place as a way to honor God and truly make your life matter for others?

death of a pet

Good-bye Cookie – The Journey 5

This past week as been incredibly hard for me and as a result I completely got derailed from my goals. It’s because this past week I had to put my 12 year old loving little beagle, Cookie, to sleep.

Long story short, Cookie was paralyzed 2 years ago due to her falling off the back steps of my house landing on her back. I paid for 3 acupuncture sessions since it was a cheaper route than an expensive surgery/rehab process. It was HARD trying to help Cookie back on her feet. I had to squeeze her bladder to help her pee in the beginning 3 times a day. I also was constantly cleaning my house when they switched her meds that made it impossible for her to hold it. My house smelled horrible all the time. But I stuck through it and eventually Cookie could walk again. Problem is that parts of her bottom and tail was still paralyzed as they told me that the sessions just wouldn’t be able to fix that. She couldn’t always hold her bladder or bowel movements so she would always have accidents without even being aware of it. There was many times I would let her outside in the back yard, bring her back in and she would start to poop as she walked in. It was frustrating but I loved my dog so I just dealt with it.

But after a bad flea infestation at my house, her tail became half bald and she actually punctured it pretty bad to where I had to take her to the vet to bandage it up. I had been giving her meds from the vet already to help her tail heal but nothing was working. That’s when the vet told me that she suspected that she may have to amputate her tail because her tail wouldn’t respond to the meds. We gave it one last try with meds and bandaging her tail but last Thursday the vet gave me the sad news that she was showing early signs of gangrene (a very painful condition where tissue dies from lost of blood) and her tail was black. She would need amputation before the infection got worse to spread deep into her body. But the vet told me that with her not being able to control her bladder/bowel movements, the presence of cataracts slowly taking over her eyes, and some internal bleeding that neither one of us was sure of where it was coming from, and the fact that she was getting pretty old, she recommended that I put Cookie down.

That was probably the most difficult decision for me to make…to let go. I knew that Cookie wasn’t going to last forever. I knew that it was getting harder to take care of her. And I knew that my credit cards couldn’t take anymore as my student loans from undergrad and grad school are coming for me next month.

So I said good-bye to my baby Cookie. I held her in her last breath. I felt her body go limp as the injection flowed through her body. And I heaved and cried with all my lungs and tears that my body could form. I was a mess that day but I knew I had to make the right decision for her. My grandma told me that dogs can hide pain pretty well and that I was doing a good thing for Cookie. That Cookie may had been ready to go and I didn’t even realize it. I received a lot of comfort and prayers from family, co-workers, and friends which is where I owe the strength that I have now. It’s still weird for my home to be so quiet. To no longer have caring for Cookie be a part of my morning routine. And to not have her as my personal vacuum whenever I cook. To not have her to alert me when a squirrel was outside in the yard. To not stare at me with those big eyes and floppy ears whenever I ate something. It’s an adjustment.

Anyway, that’s why I have completely been off my goals this past week. I’m trying not to be impatient with myself with letting go of Cookie, but I know that this too shall pass. Today has been a good day so far. Not as many valleys. And when I do feel them, I allow myself to fully feel it instead of stifling it. I think that’s what keeps people from moving on because they stifle it or repress it. Doing that only makes it worse in the long run. I’m giving myself permission to mourn as that’s the only way to move forward.

I plan to be focused again this week meaning I’ll have a better update next week. I’ll also share the new goals I have that are better fleshed out as my priority level is shifting a bit. Thank you guys for reading, and my advice is that if you’re going through anything, don’t hunt for a shortcut to get through it. Feel it. Embrace it. Accept the emotions that you’re feeling. The best way to get over something is through it. So I’m going to apply that and my other getting past it advice as well as continuing to speak positive things over myself. I’m going to be ok, and I’m going to get back focused. Rest in peace, Cookie.


Fears, Distractions, and Excuses aiming for more

Fears, Distractions, and Excuses – The Journey 4

The three biggest enemies to your goals is a paralyzing fear, distractions, and excuses. Fear, distractions, and excuses will guarantee that your goals will never reach fruition and all too often we ALL have been caught up in them.

What’s the difference? Well first, there’s fears. These are situations that your mind has made up being the creative organ that it is of things that it suggests could happen. You play these little scenarios out in your head in rather creative ways that ends up discouraging you from pursuing your goals. The key thing to remember is that these are made up scenarios, not real life that has occurred. And allowing fears to get in your way can in itself become the biggest mistake of your life. No one likes to regret not doing something solely because of what they made up in their mind to talk themselves out of it.

Then there’s distractions. Distractions are meaningless activities that just hogs up time and energy. There are distractions like scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Distractions like spending too much time on youtube or watching tv. Meaningless distractions are things that you do that you will barely even remember a month from now. I don’t remember what was on my Facebook timeline one month ago, so was it worth it to spend so much time on it?

Then there’s excuses. These are like distractions but they’re usually significant not meaningless. Like maybe the reason you didn’t go to college was because you had a child young and you’re not feeling confident that you can balance the both. Or maybe the reason you didn’t take the other job that you would enjoy doing is rather than the one you tolerate is because you’d take a pay cut and although you can still pay your bills, you will have to pinch pennies for awhile. Or maybe the reason why you’re not working on that hobby you have is because you spend more time going out after work and the weekends to blow of steam. Or maybe your goal will require you to get up earlier in the morning and you’re not a morning person as it is. All of these excuses make sense. But how can you ever reach your goals if all you do is snuggle up to your excuses? You won’t reach your goals by just thinking about them. It takes action. The question is are you willing to sacrifice the energy and time to put in the effort to create a life that’s balanced with your responsibilities AND actions towards your goals?

At this point of my life, I feel like I have more distractions than anything. No real paralyzing fears anymore, and I’ll talk about that a later time. My excuse of school is gone since I graduated in May. So my challenge these last two weeks is eliminating my little distractions in my life. For me that has been social media and TV. I would come home after work and first thing I would do is turn on the TV and scroll through Facebook. Another distraction would also be…sigh…Cooking Dash. Yes, shamefully I will admit that I’m addicted to that little app. I have to collect my gold, upgrade the pumpkin and the oven so that I can collect more coins to reach 5 stars on the 13th level in Season 3. So yes, between social media, TV, and phone games, time flies by and before I know it, it’s time for me to go to bed and I haven’t done much to further my goals.

First step is to acknowledge the problem so I’ve done that. Check. Next step is deciding what I need to do about those distractions. What I’ve done is deactivated my social media accounts and I’ve limited my TV watching down from being on at my house for 5 hours (the moment I get home until bed) to 1-2 hours mainly on when I’m cooking and eating dinner. I want to have a balance of doing some things towards my goals every week AND getting some rest from work. I’ve also limited playing the games for only when my TV is on.

So far so good. I’m doing pretty well with avoiding these distractions. I’ve slipped up a little bit, but I’m committed to staying on track. I feel that with social media I could limit it to the 2 hours as well but for now I’d rather to leave it deactivated. Maybe later I will pull everything back up to do during that 2 hour time again but it won’t be now. I want to make some significant progress because I go back.

Anyway, I say all of that to say that you have to do what you need to do to dedicate time to your goals. If you need to actively eliminate some things that are distractions then do it. If you need to stretch yourself to work around the excuses then do it. If you have fears, remember that you shouldn’t let that imagination of yours dominate your life. You are in control of your own time not the other way around. You must motivate yourself to make the time you need to make your goals happen. Keep reminding yourself of the end result and how great you’ll feel once you get there. Breaking down my goals to weekly tasks as I suggested in my last post, helped me tremendously. Not only did it help me to not feel overwhelmed, but I feel more at peace with welcoming a balance to doing other things that relaxes me or that I have fun doing. Sometimes you need a break and that’s normal. What’s bad is when that break goes on for too long and you don’t do anything productive.

Challenge yourself. Do what you need to do. Because in the end, you won’t remember that friend’s status that you liked 4 days ago. You won’t remember the joke your friend made at happy hour last Friday. You won’t remember that snapchat video you watched 2 weeks ago. And you won’t care about what secret was revealed on that reality show you watched last month. But you will feel restless today wondering where the time has went and why you don’t feel accomplished as you hoped to be.

practical goal setting aiming for more

Practical Goal Setting: The Journey 3

At my job, we have an online project list. At the end of each week, you log in information about what you’ve done towards your projects. Everyone can see this list. Like EVERYONE, from the head honcho VP down to your co-worker. Although it was created as a way for us to all have open communication about what we have going on, it also puts in this extra kick to ensure that you’re making meaningful progress towards your projects. The worst thing is for all your projects to say No update. You might as well just say you’ve been chillin’ all week.

I’m keeping this in mind as I continue my “The Journey” posts. This is a way to help me hold myself accountable with how I’m progressing in my goals. Because the thing is that when you have goals, you can’t put the responsibility solely on others, you have to take accountability for yourself as well.

So for me this is twofold:

  • One, if I’m not making progress then I won’t have anything to post about.
  • Two, as my readers aka my accountability partners, you have the right to call me out on it so that I will shamefully but quickly get back on task!

But of course all of this starts out with the goal itself. So let me back up a bit to describe my process of creating and achieving a goal. It’ll kind of remind you of SMART goals, but it’s my own informal take of it. Read through it and give me feedback in the comments section if you think I may need to tweak something. I’m always open to feedback!

  1. Create Big But ATTAINABLE Goals.

Simple right? Actually, not so much. There are times where people will create only goals they feel that are small and easy solely because they don’t feel confident that they can achieve challenging goals. But you’ll be robbing yourself of an opportunity to achieve great things if you only stick to little goals. You need to push yourself. Stretch yourself. Do something that is going to make you work harder than you have before. Something that you can’t easily slide by doing. Now of course, be smart about it of making it an attainable goal. Like I can’t make it a goal to own 20 businesses within a year. But maybe I can have a goal of to have started one business of my own by Dec. 2017. That’s more realistic.

  1. Break it down.

Ok you have this great goal. You’re nervous about it, but you’re excited at the same time. Perfect! Now you need to break it all the way down. Like down to digestible weekly pieces. It may seem like it’s hard to do, but it really isn’t. Start with the end in mind. By when do you want to achieve this goal? Okay now break the goal down by month. Good. Now break it down by week. Perfect. So now you know what you need to accomplish each week to reach your end goal.

This will take some time to do. However, the good thing about this is that it makes it more realistic to you of how you can achieve your goal. The goal you have doesn’t look so much as a mountain anymore. Instead, you have a hill or two to climb each week and before you know it, you’ve hit the summit! People give up on their goals because it seems overwhelming to them, and they fill their mind with negative thoughts that they can’t do it. By breaking down your goal, you’re setting yourself up to eliminate that kind of thinking.

  1. Have a visual timeline.

This step is pretty similar to break it down. The only difference is that you’re placing it on a calendar. If you’ve already broken down your goal into weeks, this step should be rather easy. If you skipped step 2 thinking it didn’t matter, then HA now you have to do it! (You thought you were slick huh?)

So look at your digestible pieces and place them on your calendar. This calendar can be the one on your phone or on a paper calendar hanging on your wall. The good thing about your phone is that you can set up reminders to prompt you to work towards your goal every day. The good thing about a paper calendar is that you can see your goal every day when you get up to keep it fresh on your mind. If you can’t decide, do both! It’s up to you. Whichever works. But make sure that you’re setting time aside each day to complete what you need to get done towards your goal.

  1. Do it.

Ha seems like this is an unnecessary “step” isn’t it? Well trust me as a person that have made PLENTY of timelines and plans, it’s not all that easy. The do it part is the hard part for me. There has been countless times that I’ve made this elaborate plan and felt all good about it to only fall off on it within a few days. What’s the point of planning if you don’t push yourself to do it? This is where you have to exercise your discipline muscle to just do it. This is the part where I fail at the most but I’m determined to stay focused this time around.


So now that you know my process, here’s the actual plan. I’m starting off with trying to make some new habits along with a few projects. I have many more goals but these are most important to me to achieve for now. All of these I’ve tried and failed many times, but I’m ready now to buckle down and tackle them!

Create big but attainable goals.

  • Read at least one book once a month.
  • Be consistent with praying and reading my bible.
  • Finish creating my Take Aim mentorship guides so that I can begin mentoring high school students.
  • Have a regularly updated and successful blog.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

    Break it down.

    (To give a few good examples, I’ll just take one goal and one project from above to break it all the way down.)

Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

One of my favorite water bottles is a glass one with plastic around it. Fill it up in the morning and follow this schedule as I refill. To remind me and help me keep track, I’ll use the app Done to log when I drink my water.water bottle aiming for more

  1. On the way to work
  2. Morning to lunch time.
  3. Afternoon to driving home from work.
  4. Evening to bed time.

By then I would have drunk 72 oz of water which is over my 64 oz goal.


Finish creating my Take Aim mentorship guides so that I can begin mentoring high school students.

End goal is to finish creating the mentorship guides by end of 2016 so that I can mentor 4 students in 2017.done aiming for more

Split up each section (Content, Design, Clean Up) to finish one topic every 3 days with a catch up day on Saturday. Connect with a friend of mine to discuss evaluation methods in January to fine tune it that month. In February, post on Facebook to ask if anybody would like free virtual mentorship for their high school student to find my 4 students. Set up timeline to go through program with each student and have it completed by the end of 2017.

So for this week, I will work on lessons 2.3 and 2.4. Each day I will focus on the content, design or clean up of these two lessons. If something comes up where I run out of time this week, I’ll catch up to finish it on Saturday so that I can stay on task for next week.

Create a visual timeline.

I use Outlook for my calendar, and it gives me a notification of when it’s time to do each task.

Do it.

Welp let’s see what happens. Hoping for the best!


So what are your goals and how are you planning to achieve them?

Do you have any feedback for my plan of attack of my goals?

Leave a comment!

Restless and Lazy Ambition by

Restless and Lazy Ambition: The Journey 2

That’s really the best way that I can describe it.

I want to accomplish some things on my list. So many goals and dreams that sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy thinking I can do it all.

But then for various reasons, I run into excuse after excuse (or how I’d like to call it a “reason” instead of “excuse” because the word “excuse” sounds like I don’t care but I do) of why I can’t make real progress in them.

After graduating with my master’s degree this past May, I was so determined to finally carry on with my life of all the goals I set before myself. I felt ambitious. I felt determined. I felt anxious to get started.

I feel into a rut.


How could I feel so amped and ready to go but then fallen into this ditch of a rut?

Now granted I did have some shifts happening in my personal life that may have had some influence on it. Going from engaged to single can be a quite a transition. So maybe I should cut myself some slack.

Nah can’t do that.

Because I expect more out of myself. These are dreams and goals that I’ve had for YEARS. Nothing should get in the way of that. I should be amped and ready to go. My relationship status doesn’t define who I am. I define who I am.

But these reasons *ahem* excuses kept rearing up their ugly head and I just kind of paused. I began to roll with the punches. And before I knew it I looked up and found that I was just floating. Passively living.

I don’t like that. Life is too short. There are people MY age that are dying every day (RIP Ray). I can’t get to heaven tonight and know that I haven’t done nothing down on earth that has positively left an impact on my community and others (at least to the extent that I want it to).

I think we all get to a stage like this. I refuse to believe I’m alone. That there are other people my age that go through this. Where we get through a huge defining moment of life and then our momentum just stopped. We find ourselves in a rut. We start passively living day to day without much real direction.

We settle.

And one thing I don’t like doing…is settling.

“Aim for more, because settling isn’t an option”. That’s the tagline I gave this blog a long time ago.

So perhaps that’s where my restlessness is coming from. I’m settling into the day to day life without much direction. Just standing still only to bend a bit when life throws something my way. But you thrive best with a plan, with a vision, with goals that are structured to challenge your next steps. It’s best when you’re moving and not just standing still waiting for things to happen.

I’ve made cute attempts at creating a stable plan in moving forward, but they would only last a few days or maybe a week if I’m lucky. It was all because I wasn’t dedicated to it.

But with today, I must do better. I must be better. I must expect better. Settling for anything less than an extraordinary life is not worth it. I want to be everything that God intended me to be and use all the talent and skills He gave me to the best of my ability. Life doesn’t just fall into place. You have to take over the controls and be in control with God directing your path.

I don’t know what you would call this moment. But this is a moment for me to make a shift.

It’s time to shift.

I want to encourage anyone that is feeling restless knowing good and well that they should be out here thriving. Push through!

You may not have much energy and you may feel apathetic due to many different reasons but God never intended for you to just live a life where you just chill. I believe that God has called us all to live an extraordinary life full of purpose and meaning that is not defined by our earthly careers and paychecks.  You were not created to just live, work, pay bills, procreate, and die. There’s so much more to life than that.

So let’s make this journey great and move forward. I’m going to begin putting my full effort and I’m always up for having some accountability partners. If you’re interested,  leave a comment so that others can see your commitment and email me (rchlanderson[at] to be a part of a group that I’m creating (more details later). A part of my accountability is just simply blogging about it. I’m not too worried about page views and likes blah blah but more so to push myself and push others to do the same with their lives.

Let’s make the most out of life.

Let’s be our best selves.

Let’s aim for more.

take aim program then and now

TAP Then and Now – The Journey #1

take aim program then and now

What’s next for you now that you’ve finished school for good?

I’ve gotten that question quite a bit actually. It’s normal for people to always ask of your future plans after reaching a milestone. I’m happy to done with undgrad and graduate school. I’m happy with that job that I have. I’m happy with the people that are in my circle. I’m happy to say that I feel comfortable in life.

But I’m not satisfied.

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