Emily M. DeArdo



2017 Goal Setting

writing, essays, goal setting, Tidying Up, knitting, health, current projectsEmily DeArdo1 Comment

The last week of the year usually brings a few things for me--time with family, lots of books, and goal setting for the new year!

Ever since I discovered Lara Casey's powersheets, I've adored goal setting--and I've actually been getting things done. Her shop is called "Cultivate what matters", and that's what the powersheets do. Without them, there's no way I'd have finished my manuscript, written book proposals, sent queries, or upgraded my website/social media presence. That's probably the biggest thing the powersheets have done for me, but I've made progress in other ways, too. 

(And, no, I don't get paid to say this--I just love powersheets!)

I got my 2017 set in November and spent a few days doing the prep work. This is one of the best parts of power sheets. It's where you really get down to the reasons why you want to do things--why do you want to save money, or take that trip, or get that thing? What's your real motivation? Are you afraid to do big things? What's defeated you in the past from reaching your goals? (Lara's current blog series dives into this stuff, too!) 

So after doing the prep work and figuring out my "big" goals for the year, I then break those goals down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals for each month. The idea is that everything you do here is intentionally helping you meet a goal that will help you do what matters in your life. 

With all that said, here are my goals for 2017: 

1. To deepen my prayer life through more regular attendance at daily Mass and more times of daily prayer/devotions. If I don't have a deep, solid relationship with God, nothing else matters. 

2. Pay off the rest of my debts and grow my savings account. One of the things I really like about post-transplant life is my ability to travel, and I want to do more of that--and traveling takes money! So by cutting back on buying things I don't need (I'm doing the contentment challenge in January to help with this), I'll be able to pay off debts and have money for fun things like traveling! Again, there has been progress in this area, but I need to be more consistent. 

3. Be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy by instituting regular workouts, weekly meal planning, and keeping up with my journal (I've been letting my journal slide of late. I don't want to do that!). I have grown in this area this year, but it's erratic growth. I need to make it a much more permanent part of life.  

4. Get the book published, offer a ebook for sale, grow the blog, and write what matters. I want to write things that matter to the people who read them--things that help you, inspire you, make you laugh, whatever. I don't want to write click bait. I want to write things that improve the lives of my readers. (So tell me what you want to read, OK?) 

5. Fuel my creativity by continuing to learn Italian, working on new art and knitting projects, and, of course, reading. I love learning new things! 

6. Simplify my space: Less stuff, more beauty, more organization, and increased hospitality. I made big progress on this this year as well--cleaning out my closet, taking many books to the secondhand shop (along with CDs and DVDs). So I'm proud of the progress I've made here. But there's more to do!

So those are my six big goals for the year. Each month, these get broken into monthly, weekly, and daily things I need to tend (in powersheets parlance). Daily things are things I want to make a habit--like exercise, checking my checkbook against the online transactions, reading the Bible for 10 minutes every day, practicing Italian. Stuff like that. 

Weekly things are things that get done every week: Daily Mass at least once, making a meal plan, doing a basic clean of the house, putting a certain amount of cash into my emergency stash here at home. 

Monthly tending are bigger things that I can do throughout the month. Some examples from my January tending list are editing my Nano 2016 novel, going to confession, completing a 30 day exercise plan.  

Some things are broken into monthly and weekly categories. The contentment challenge is broken into three months, with a weekly topic in a corresponding book. So there's a monthly "task", but also something to read each week. So the weekly devotion is written in my weekly tending list, so I don't forget to do that. 

I also write the daily tasks into my planner. That also helps keep me on track, because if my powersheets aren't easily available (though I always keep them on my counter, so I can find them quickly!), I can see at a glance what I'm doing that day. It's also great for things like the weekly cleaning--I can dust on Monday, vacuum Tuesday, etc. 

I find this is a better system than making resolutions. Resolutions are OK, but they usually don't have a plan or a why attached to them. "Lose 20 pounds" is a nice resolution--but how to do it? By going through the powersheets, I have an idea of how to do the things I want to do, how to achieve my goals, and how to be accountable to myself. I only have so much time here and I want to use it to the best of my ability!

Do you have goals for 2017? What are they? 









Daybook No. 113

Daybook, books, Catholic 101, current projects, fiction, holidays, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment


Outside my window::

Grey and cloudy. This is helped by my tree, which is glowing in the corner, and the Joy candle I have lit on my counter. I don't mind rainy days and this is a good day to get things done after the holiday weekend. SO much goodness happened, which I'll be writing about below--but suffice to say, I don't mind a rainy day today!


a Pure Barre sweatshirt, Athleta workout capris, and....flats. Yeah. This outfit is AWESOME, right? :) I'm going to be working out shortly, and since I'm hanging out around the house, does it matter what I wear? Well, OK, probably. But  don't care. :) 

In the CD player::

Renee Fleming's Christmas in New York, alternating with Part I of Messiah. And yes, Adele 25 is sitting on my counter, waiting to be heard.


Cinder (again), and my crazy stack of Advent devotionals: 

Come, Lord Jesus is my FAVORITE devotional for this time of year. SO much wisdom, so much to pray about. 


NaNo is over and I'm not even going to ouch Tempest until January. It is, though, tentatively the first book of a trilogy, so I've done some note taking and brief preliminary planning about those two books. I'm not pressuring myself to write anything substantial in those for awhile, and I'm sort of afraid to until I do Tempest edits. Suffice to say I have a vague idea of the content of those books, but that's all it is right now--a vague idea.

Also working on the new Catholicism series I talked about yesterday.  While I teach first graders, don't think I'm going to use first grade vocabulary and write like you are first graders, lovely readers. We'll use "big people" words and concepts. 


Tidying Up: 

I think I have just about reached the "click point" the book talk about--where you know how much of a thing you need. and you enjoy having. There are a few more books and movies that can go (this is like the fourth round of purging in that area), but I think I'm at the point of saturation. Yay! I didn't think I'd get here when I first started, to be honest. 

The second part of the book talks about finding places for everything. This is another hard thing for me because I have things that I need (like, Duct Tape), but where does it go? (It's too big for the junk drawer, it doesn't fit in the tool box, etc.) So that's what I'll be working on next. 

Since I've decorated for Christmas, there is some chaos around here, because I have to move furniture to put up my tree. But it's all good. 



I had a great holiday. Did you? I hope you did. Thanksgiving day was in the high sixties here, so we got to hang out on the deck and enjoy the warmth before dinner!

And yes, that's my sister, who came up from Houston to surprise me! She's here until tomorrow. We've had a LOT of fun while she's been here--she helped me decorate my tree, we went to the Penguins/Jackets game with our brother, and we all (us siblings) had a great meal last night at The Barn, one of our favorite local restaurants. Since Mel lives in Texas now, I don't get to see her nearly as often as I used to, and it's always fun when she comes up! 

I also had a great day with my friend Sarah (who made that GORGEOUS wreath two photos up). We had lunch and talked on a rainy Saturday while her husband watched the OSU/Michigan game with some of our friends. She's another friend I almost never get to see, and not nearly as much as I'd like. 

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving Weekend? 



Daybook No. 105

Daybook, books, fiction, Real Housekeeping, writing, Catholicism, current events, travelEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

Partly cloudy and warm. I'm ready for fall.....I've got a candle burning to helpfully spur my "fall feelings" inside. :) I am, however, wearing jeans! 


Early Warning, Middlemarch, The Mark of Athena, A Year of Pleasures

In the CD player::

Sarah McLachlan's Shine On


A dear colleague/friend of mine, Cheri Mitchell. She was the former director of BalletMet, who had just retired, and I met her during my work with the Young Professionals board. She was so dedicated to her work and the arts in Columbus, but she was also incredibly supportive in my own writing and theatrical endeavors, often leaving kind notes or comments on my Facebook page whenever I wrote about theater project or writing updates. I will miss her. 

She was hit by a car when she was out running this morning. It's so crazy to think that she woke up this morning and was fine....and now she's gone. 

I will be keeping her soul and her family in my prayers. Can I ask y'all to do the same thing? 

However, Cheri would've been pleased with this next bit....

The book, as we know, is done. And it will be mailed out tomorrow! I have to scribble out a cover letter tonight, but soon it will be on its way to San Francisco....and then I wait!

My newest Real Housekeeping piece is up, as well! It's a little different but I think you'll like it.

And I also think I've solved the problem of my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. Basically, I started writing this novel, and it just didn't want to write--I was missing something. But I think, with some thinking on it, I have a new idea an possibly a new format for it (multiple narrators). Now that THE BOOK is done, I have time to go back to some of my fiction projects that are in various stages of completion. 


I had a clinic appointment yesterday, and everything is stable, so that's good, and I got my flu shot. Oh joy! I had a dentist appointment today, and I've got my first cavity in like, 20 years, so I guess that's something....going back to have that fixed after the Boston trip. It's super tiny so it's not a huge deal but I was sad to break the streak of Awesome Teeth. :-P 


The Pope's visit and the Synod on the Family. Both of these things sort of give me the heebie jeebies. I miss John Paul and Benedict. I know we've had "average" popes before, but the majority of my life was spent under two amazing popes, one of whom is a saint. 

Pope Francis makes my head hurt. When I read Laudatio Si', I spent a lot of time going "what? What does that mean?" I know he's Argentinian, so he's coming to things from that perspective. I know he's South American. I know he doesn't speak English. But I just can't get a good read on him, or really understand what's important to him. He just seems so all over the place. I don't really like it when the pope is all over the place. 

I'm listening to Fr. Robert Barron talk at the World Meeting of Families right now, which is the precursor to the Synod, I think. The Synod also makes me nervous. I don't like changing things to be "modern" or "hip." I like things that are true. I'm a Dominican. I don't like to see things change that are contravene truth and what we believe. I'm hoping that doesn't happen. I'm also hoping the pope doesn't say something inexplicably crazy in front of the UN or Congress. 

Maybe I'm worrying too much, and maybe I just need to "let go and let God." But I still worry. And it's not that I feel "challenged" by him--it's that a lot of the stuff he says is so dang confusing!

Around the house::

Took five more bags to Half Price books today--CDs and books, mostly. Yes, I skipped ahead a bit and did my CDs today. The CDs are supposed to be done after paper. I did the downstairs paper, which is stuff like my lease, tax returns, etc. and tossed the stuff I didn't need anymore, and managed to combine what I do need into one vertical file. There are also the papers in the office, which will probably just be summarily trashed, because it's stuff that Kondo calls "seminar notes"--things I printed out, meaning to read them.....and then never did. Out they'll go. 

From the kitchen: 

I loved Jamie Oliver's chicken fajitas so much when I made them a few weeks ago that I'm making them again. I serve them with his really easy homemade salsa and some cheddar cheese, and no tortilla, to reduce the carb load. And let me tell you, it's amazing. I think next week we're going to have another Food Stories post up about Mexican Food. I'm also thinking about making my first kedgeree this week, which excites me greatly, because it's fish and cheese and other awesome things. :) 

Planning for Boston::

We've made two reservations--one at La Summa, in Boston's North End, and one at Legal Seafood by the New England Aquarium. The Jeopardy test is at 9:00 on Sunday morning, and let me tell you, I'm going to be HUNGRY after that test, so we'll be heading to the Faneuil Hall area of downtown first, so we can eat!