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February 24, 2015

How to THRIVE not Just Survive!

Kat's 5 Step Plan to THRIVE - Not Just Survive

Did you notice that this year we didn't hear much talk about New Year’s resolutions? Could it be that people are already maxed out, carrying enough burdens? It seems to me, a lot of us are barely coping with life as it is. For many people the goal for next year is simply survival.

Surviving is something I’m very familiar with.

I spent much of my life in survival mode; surviving a lifelong battle with my weak immune system, the death of my mother when I was not yet fourteen, a difficult home life after that. After I got married I had multiple miscarriages, and we have a son with severe illness. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I know how to survive.

As writers many of us face nearly impossible deadlines and a rigorous appearance and social media schedule. It’s easy to lose our balance and slip into survival mode. But I want to do more than just survive – I want to THRIVE.

But how do we switch from survival mode to THRIVE-AL mode (new word)? How can we thrive amidst all the stress and busyness of our high-octane lifestyle?
I’ll share my thoughts with you, but I’d love your input as well. What do you do to THRIVE?

Here is my 5 step plan to THRIVE:

  1. Spend at least part of the day disconnected. I plan to silence my smart phone, step away from the computer, turn off the TV, and focus on something human and physical for a couple hours. Perhaps it will be yoga, or working in the garden, or cleaning my kitchen. These disconnected moments are far more important than I had realized. They bring a sweetness and contentment to our lives, even if it means doing something as mundane as gardening or cleaning the kitchen. It offers us time to reflect.

  2. Spend time communing with God and nature. I’m sure most of you realize how important this is, but too often I let my day slide by without experiencing these all-important moments. This is a case of sacrificing what is most important for something less important. I vow to correct that, so that I can THRIVE.

  3. Stop multitasking quite so much. I admit I’m a workaholic. It’s not uncommon for me to have several projects running on my computer at the same time. Our culture puts a premium on multitasking. People who can multitask are perceived as more productive. In truth, studies have shown that people who multitask are generally less productive than people who focus on one task and complete it. I have interviewed a number of successful authors and discovered that those who have life in balance do not multitask. So, I plan to let go of some of my multitasking and try to do only one thing at a time.

  4. In as much as possible, I plan to eliminate elements in my life that don’t bring joy. There is a wonderful book that explains how to organize and simplify by evaluating what brings us joy. When I use the word joy I don’t mean: happy, bouncy, perky, party.  I mean; joy, contentment,
    peace, balance. These emotions are the rain and sunlight that help us thrive.  

    Here’s a link to that book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo Link:

  5. Lastly, I have decided my health comes before my success as a writer. It comes before all the other things I have stacked in front of it for the last twenty years. Naturally, this entails some dietary and exercise changes. The key here is deciding to make it a priority.
There you have it - this is my 5 steps plan to THRIVE. Share your thrive-al plans with us. 

What do you do to thrive? 

Kathleen Baldwin is the author of several Amazon bestselling Traditional Regency Romances. Her upcoming series for Tor Teen - A School for Unusual Girls has already won awards. Kirkus declares, "romance readers who prize both brains and valor in a heroine will be pleased to make Georgie's acquaintance."


Unknown said...

Fantastic advice, Kat. I especially struggle with the health first one. Well, and disconnecting. I needed to hear this today.


Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

I love this. Thrive and Strive. Everyday (except for these icy ones), I go to Jazzercise and/or yoga. Since sitting behind a computer all day and writing is a solitary one, going out and socializing with my friends is important. I smile (very important inorder to thrive), be there for someone, get some information, plan a date with. I need this. And most of all, I need the exercise. I like meditating in yoga because I concentrate on my friends and family and not myself. After Handsome had cancer, I walk away from the computer most weekends so we can spend time together. That's a good thrive.

Great post, Kat. Off to share!

Kathy Ivan said...

A post which is near and dear to my heart, Ms. Kathleen. This is the year that I've dedicated to getting my life in order. That means changing the way I've done things for so many years. Habits become ingrained, whether good ones or bad. We forget the important things in life, like our physical and mental health.

Taking a step back and thinking about the blessings that God has given us has become a priority for me. I never want to let a day go by that I don't stop and reflect on the things He has done and I will not fail to give him thanks.

Finding the JOY again touches so many areas in and around us as we go throughout our days. I am trying to make this a priority for 2015.

Plus knowing that you are doing and feeling better makes me happy. :-)

Phyllis said...

Thank you for your thoughtful post, Kat.

I too have made changes in my life. Like you, I've been forced to deal with my health and put more priority towards it.

For a good portion of my life, I've placed God first and thank Him for the blessings He has provided.

My joy has been continuing and renewing precious relationships with family and friends.

Writing - as a surprise to many - is a lower priority for me. I enjoy it, but life does come first.

thanks you for the reminder of following our priorities and NOT to be pushed into what stresses us.

Unknown said...

Great post by a great person. My goal this year is to be in the present when I'm with my friends and family. It's hard for me to put my writing schedule aside and relax, but I'm getting better.

Sylvia said...

Great post Kat and so very important. I'm working on these same issues and so if I don't respond to email quite as often as I use to its because 3 evenings a week are no social media zones. None. But I also think that what you've experienced in your life makes you a great writer and a much stronger person than you realize.

Linda Steinberg said...

What a terrific post, Kat! Your suggestions for thriving should help us all. What I do is try to keep my life in balance between seven categories: health, home, money, writing, family and friends, spiritual and intellectual, and projects (like upcoming holidays and travel that need advance planning.)I know that sounds anal but I don't sit and tick them off each day. Every so often, tho, I stop and think if I've neglected one or more of the categories. Has it been a while since I've connected with one of my friends? Read a challenging book? Have I been getting any exercise? There are always things in our life that demand our full temporary attention, but I try not to keep the same things on the back burner for too long.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Pam, Thank you for your comment.

It's so funny I wrote this post and then promptly felt like a hypocrite because I stayed up late and forgot to take breaks while trying to get things ready for a class I'm teaching next week.

Sigh. I think the idea of focusing is something we must practice in order to get good at it.


Kay Thomas said...

Wonderful post, Kat! What a great reminder about being deliberate and CHOOSING what brings us joy and health. It's so easy to just let life dictate what happens to us and not to take control. That "tyranny of the urgent" can rob us of our health and joy if we let it. Thanks for posting this. Here's to 2015 being a year of joy and thriving!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Vicki, you are a great example of putting health first. You have stuck to your exercise program for as long as I've known you . and it shows. You look healthy.

You have done this for so long that you are really really good at it.

Thanks for being an example!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Kathy - I just always want to give you a big hug. We are so much alike.

We can do this. We can thrive. And I love your counting blessings idea. I sometimes forget to do that.

Thank you! I'm grateful for good friends like you and the Princesses.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

I've watched you over the last year as you deal with your health. And you have been remarkable - a shining example to us all!

You are part of the reason why I am trying to change and learn to Thrive.

Big hug with gratitude.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Geri! Thanks for stopping in and leaving such kind comments. And congratulations on your huge success with the books!

Take good care of yourself through all the success and hubbub that brings - you are important to us.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Oh Sylvia, you are such a sweetie! And what a good idea...I love your idea of taking three nights off of social media.

That's brilliant.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Linda, this is an intriguing idea. I really like your seven areas. That pretty much covers everything.

This is a very organized approach. But then I know you are a very organized person.

Thank you for this suggestion.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Kay!
Laughing - because you and I were just talking about all this and that's part of what prompted this post.

Here's to choosing JOY in 2015
Hugs, thanks for stopping in.

Phyllis said...

Kat - you are beautiful, never forget that.

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