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I'm So Excited About 2016 - How About You?

Happy 2016!
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“We spend January 1st
walking through our lives,
room by room,
drawing up a list of work to be done,
cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year, to balance the list,
we ought to walk through
the rooms of our lives...
not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

― Ellen Goodman


Did you have a nice holiday? How were the first moments of 2016 Blue ?

It's been pretty laid back here in our house. JB has been off since Christmas Eve and we've done a lot of relaxing: watching great movies (like the Thin Man movies), playing games (Risk, Chess), reading more, and eating leisurely meals.

Despite staying up New Year's Eve to ring in 2016 and catch the local midnight fireworks (which we could see from the deck), the holiday season has ushered in an average of 10 hours of sleep each night.

Now, I'm not slouch when it comes to being dedicated to getting sleep. I used to live by the mantra "I'll sleep when I'm dead".....but then I looked at all the science behind why we need sleep. But science wasn't enough....when I finally caught up from all those years of not-enough-sleep I discovered that research didn't lie: I was happier, felt more engaged, and loved my life more when I was committed to adequate sleep.

I really do understand how challenging the thought of setting aside the long list of to-do items can be because you feel compelled to DO MORE and are SO BUSY.  I know that going to bed early instead of checking in on Facebook or watching the latest Scandal may make you feel as if your are missing out on what the popular kids are doing.

But, oh, baby! If you commit to giving sleep a priority for just thirty-days, you'll shift the odds in your favor for a better quality of living.  I promise you that vows science touts about sleep will be proven to you with results you can feel. You’ll discover that when you are well rested, your skin looks healthier, your body feels more alive and you’re less likely to overeat. You will be more productive, think more clearly, be more creative, feel sexier, and discover that you are better able to manage your emotions and the stresses of life.

. Yet, shifting the odds in your favor for a more peaceful existence can be as uncomplicated as getting enough nightly Zzzzs.

Whether you set goals or resolutions - or not - I'm going to challenge you to making 2016 the year that you commit to gifting yourself with adequate sleep.

One of the reasons I chose the Ellen Goodman quote this week to share with you was because I know from experience that it's easier to focus on possibilities than it is our flaws when you approach yourself and your life of a place of being well rested.

How, my darling, can you harness the energy of the New Year and seek the possibilities? In what ways can you commit to relaxing more? When is the last time you got honest with yourself about the amount of sleep you regularly get? Are you game to commit to adequate sleep in the month ahead?

In what ways can you embrace all the wonderfulness of 2015 while making this year even better? In what areas of your life do you need to lavish more attention on your life and in what ways can to consciously choose to walk the talk?

How can you create a life you love and cultivate the life of your dreams?

Here, my darling, is to potential and possibilities.

Happy 2016. And, with so much love

PS - as a reminder, I will see you in two weeks,on January 16th.

PSS - if you are an Instagram user, this website will create a nifty grid for you of your NINE most liked photos from 2015 like my grid above. Just go here:

Fresh from the blog: Goals that Stick: 14 Ways to Make It Happen. Though I don’t believe we can only set goals when a new year rolls around, there is something magical about the clean slate of a year ahead. We flip the calendar page and feel excited about the possibilities and full of all kinds of good intentions about what we want to develop in the coming year.

Many folks dive in all gung-ho on January 1st. Their enthusiasm shifts their momentum into high gear. I’ve experienced myself before and have witnessed it many times over the years.

Despite frigid temperatures New Year’s Day in Ohio, I glimpsed dozens of walkers and runners out on the hiker/biker trails in the neighborhood. That’s what the energy of the New Year can do for your goals: give them the kick-in-the-pants you need to not just think about what you want, but take some action. It’s about the motivation, baby!

The problem, though, is that it isn’t long before the New Year isn’t quite so shiny. The energy fades. Momentum dissipates. We think about the goals or resolutions and feel zero enthusiasm.

I used to be a bit of a gym rat. For three straight years, I rose at 4 AM so that I could get a workout in before work. All the regular gym-goers use to dread how packed the gym would be in January. Yet, by February 8th, the crowds invariably thinned.

For that exact reason, many people will say that goals and resolutions don’t work. The truth is, if you are conscious about the way you create them, they can be incredibly powerful. Goals do work, my dear.

The reason you make goals, resolutions, or set intentions is because you desire more from your life than just existing or feeling as if you’re simply going through the motions. And just like I’ve mentioned that you do not have to settle in your life, let me be frank, my love: even if your life is wonderful, there is nothing wrong with desiring more.

So how can you take the clean slate a new year offers you, harness the energy of the season and the added motivation to create goals that have staying power? How can you stay dedicated to your desires when enthusiasm would normally fade?

Here are fourteen secrets for creating goals that stick:

  1. Don’t set yourself up for failure by being unrealistic. Has it been years since you exercised regularly yet you are wanting to get in shape this year? It’s easy to say “I’m going to work out every day”. You have to ask yourself if the goal is realistic for your lifestyle? Is it something that you can sustain when regular life kicks in? Don’t expect to go from couch potato to workout queen overnight. A more realistic goal might be: “I’m going to move more this year, so I’m going to commit to working out at least twice a week.”
  2. Honestly review your previous experiences. Be honest about what’s worked in the past and be especially honest about what hasn’t worked for you.
  3. Get specific, yet don’t tie yourself up. If you make broad, squishy goals like “lose weight” or “get out of debt” or “write a book” you’ll find it challenging to find any focus because the goal is so broad. Yet, don’t get so into the minutia of the details around achieving a goal that you feel restricted instead of motivated. A goal that meets these criteria may be: “I am going to finish my novel this year by committing to writing 5000 words a week”.
  4. Dive into the why of your goals. Why do you want to lose weight: to get healthy or to feel sexy? Why do you want to write a book: because your biz guru says you need one or because you want to create something with your craft? Hint: you get to be selfish and no one needs to know your why except you.
  5. Believe. We have to believe that improvement is possible and goals are reachable. Once we get past our own doubts and truly believe that’s so, we can begin moving the right direction. Have faith in the sheer power of your desires.
  6. Allow yourself to be excited. It’s easy to let the critics and the naysayers about goals and resolutions make us feel like we have to tamp down our excitement for our desires.
  7. Find ways to nurture your enthusiasm. It’s easy to be excited in the beginning, but just as it’s easy to lose the momentum after January shifts into February and beyond, it’s easy to lose enthusiasm for achieving our goals. Build into your days and weeks shots of love so you continue to nourish your precious attention and enthusiasm.
  8. Don’t set conflicting goals. We humans tend to believe that if we’re going to change things, we may as well change it all! We vow to make more money, spend more time with family, get organized, and get in shape, all in a single bound. But we have to be honest, darling. You cannot spend more time with family and work more hours, it just isn’t humanly possible. Check your ego at the door when you set goals and make a choice what area of your life gets priority.
  9. Write down your goals. A study of Harvard of MBA students showed that those who wrote down their goals made more money than those who didn’t. While money isn’t everything, it shows how committing your goals to paper helps you become more committed to achieving them.
  10. Break down your goals. Most of our desires are pretty big, so in order to bring them into reality, it will take a series of small steps. After you write down your goals, spend a little bit of time breaking it down into manageable steps.
  11. Commit to that first step. We humans tend to procrastinate as long as we can before doing a task, so without any deadlines, it’s unlikely you’ll do much. After breaking down those goals, set some deadlines for various milestones. Most importantly, set a date for taking that first step.
  12. Make space in your daily life for your goals. Without bringing your desires into your routines in some way, you’ll never have time to move towards them. This will likely mean you’ll have to give something up in order to make that space. You – and your desires – are worth it.
  13. Set up a plan to monitor your goals. You’d never decide to make a cake, put it in the oven, and then never set a timer or check on it, would you? You have to have a plan to monitor the progress of your goals. Set up a tickler on your calendar, a task on your phone, or commit to reviewing your goals the last Friday of each month. One of the reasons I send Become Besotted out on the 25th of each month is so folks have that email reminder to check in with themselves.
  14. Choose a focus. I’ve been using the Word of the Year process for more than a decade. After you set your goals, choose a word to help guide you and keep you on track when you’re tired or not sure what step to take. If you haven’t chosen a word, download my free ebook for subscribers:  Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet: Define & Embrace Your Heart’s Beacon.
Darling, no matter what your relationship to the words “resolution” or “goals” , in order to achieve any of your desires, you have to get clear about what it is you want. Create a year – and a life – you love by creating goals that work for you. I promise that if you utilize these secrets, you’ll be setting yourself up to bring those desires into your reality.
One of the greatest gifts to bring to the table is a pea or bean dish. Dried beans are fairly inexpensive and are perfect for cooking in the crock-pot. This recipe created  the best black-eyed peas I’ve ever eaten and would easily translate to any other beans - like red, navy, kidney or black beans.
Before you go to bed, rinse a pound of dried black-eyed peas and place them in your crock-pot. Cover them with water and leave them overnight.
In the morning, drain and rinse the peas and place them back in the crock-pot. Add one diced yellow onion, 6 sliced (or pressed) cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, a dozen grinds of freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 3 bay leaves. Add 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (Kitchen Basics is my go-to). You may need to add a little bit more water until the beans are completely covered.
Put your crock-pot on low.
Then, take either a boneless pork loin chop or pork loin (about ¾ pound) and dice it into bite sized chunks. Heavily season it (salt, pepper, garlic, cumin). Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and sear the meat until it has a nice brown color. Add the contents of the entire skillet to the crock-pot (yes, including the olive oil). Cook on low for about 8 hours.
When the peas are done, remove about a cup of them and throw them in a blender or use your immersion blender to cream them. Add that back to the crock-pot and leave on low for another 20 minutes. This will make a huge difference to the quality, the overall creaminess,  and depth of flavor. Remove the bay leaves before you serve!
You can always double the amount of meat you add to this if you know you want to serve it alone and want something heartier.
You can make a meal on its own with the peas and some cornbread. Or, use it as a side dish. I did freeze about 1/3 of the peas I made on New Year’s Day and they thawed beautifully.

Volume 6 - Issue 01

January 02, 2016

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
Thank you, darling for the precious in-box space! 

See something you'd love to share?  I'd be honored if you forwarded this along to a friend.

About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people fall in love with their lives.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Get social with Debra on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

My Book

You do not have to settle for a life that is less than what you most deeply desire. You may have to break the rules, but creating a life that is loving and nourishing is worth the effort. Because you deserve to be happy and live a daily life you love.

Part self-help, part memoir, in Create a Life You Love: Straightforward Wisdom for Cultivating the Life of Your Dreams I share down-to-earth advice and practical wisdom on what it takes to shift your life from surviving to thriving.

Buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or order your copy directly from me.


Your continual patience and guidance have allowed me to move from being a man who didn’t believe he had anything in his glass to a man with a glass overflowing.

Your advice has always been spot on…….from helping me see how important it is to be thankful for my blessings to helping me remove physical and emotional clutter from my life.

~Basil Human, Engineer, Chief Operating Officer, Writer

A Holiday Gift

I didn't want to inundate your inbox this week, but I am offering a special holiday sale on my Courses that are now in workbook format.

Enter this code: HOLIDAYLOVE2015 to receive 25% off!

Fall in Love.

With Yourself.

How do you explore your own story? How do you stay on track to bring your dreams into your reality?

How do you find the breadcrumbs that will lead you from unconscious existence to the understanding that your daily actions have the power to create a conscious life?

That’s why I created Become Besotted. Become Besotted will assist you in writing your story, a month at a time. An opportunity to get to know all sides of yourself and fall in love.

Become Besotted will also help you explore your dreams and desires. It will serve you in monitoring your victories and shedding what isn’t serving you.

Ready to Become Besotted with yourself and your life? Get the details here.

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