In this second part of the Your Chapter success series, we are going to consider what the next chapter along our paths to success might look like. We aren’t starting the next chapter yet, but we are starting to think about things more fully. Watch for part three next week.
The first article in this series, What Chapter are You on along Your Path to Success?, discussed how each of us is in a different place along our path to success. While some of us are just starting out, others are already part of the way there. There are even some of us who have our lives pretty well under control. In that article, I mentioned that I am somewhere in between, and that is okay. In the worksheets that go along with that article, you were asked to examine where you are along your own path. Knowing that information will help you with this step and the next so, if you haven’t done so already, take a look at those worksheets and fill them out.
In this article, we’ll examine what the next chapter along our paths to success will look like. We’re not putting anything into action yet (wait for the next article!); just beginning to think about our next moves.
How to complete the worksheets
- Either print the worksheets to add to your planning binder, or write the answers (when we get to that step) into your journal.
- Read this article.
- Read over the worksheets.
- Take time to think about each section of the worksheets before answering. Do this by grabbing a cup of tea (or coffee), your binder or journal and a pen, and heading to comfortable place to sit, relax, and spend some time reflecting on your past and present life circumstances in relation to the sections of the worksheets.
- Answering the questions, using the information below, embracing what has worked and letting go of what hasn’t.
- Reflecting on your answers while waiting for the next article and worksheets in the series.
You’re not being graded. No one is going to see your work unless you want them to. I’m here to help, if you need me. Just comment on the post. If you live near Orono, Maine, we can have a meet-up. Let me know what you need, so I can see if there is any way I can help.
Start by looking over the answers to the worksheets from part one
What answers did you give on those worksheets? Think about what you’ve learned in this chapter of life along your path to success. Consider what is working and what is not. What feels right? What feels natural? What challenges are you facing? And what lessons have you learned?
In what area(s) of life should you concentrate?
What is going on in your life right now? Relationship, personal, home, and career considerations are important when considering when and how to move forward. If you are going through tough times in one area of your life, maybe that is where you need to concentrate the most.
I’m not saying to let the other areas of your life slide for now. Not at all. We are all constantly working on all areas of our lives. But what area(s) need your attention most right now?
Do you need to concentrate more fully on an area of business, such as bringing in a few more regular clients? Or on learning to create healthy meals for your family so you can all benefit from the added energy and health benefits of a healthier lifestyle? Maybe you need to concentrate on a particular relationship that needs work, or you haven’t been taking enough time to care for yourself.
At the time I started this article series, I was working on me and on planning for a challenge my daughter and I were going to do in November. As for myself, I am getting back to taking care of me. I have a regular walk schedule, walking 5+ miles per week, but I suck at keeping up with other workouts regularly. I had set a goal of yoga/flexibility work and coloring for relaxation/stress, and doing little things a few times a week to pamper myself. I was also setting myself up for the next chapter in my life by getting some of my stories published. (Want to know what I write? Visit here.)
I’m proud to report that I finished everything I needed to complete, so I am now prepare to move ahead into my next chapter. My daughter, sister, and I each joined NaNoWriMo – and we all completed the challenge! I’ve joined the NaNoWriMo challenge (and won!) six times since the girls were teens. I’m also meeting my fitness goals and am ready to move forward with that, and I just love spending an hour or two coloring once-in-a-while. I published four stories before the new year, and started setting myself up to publish eleven more stories this year.
My daughters are also starting new chapters, but in different ways. Zowie is currently managing office tasks for a member of her husband’s family. It’s a good opportunity for her. Their plan is to move back home while he finishes this part of his education (engineering). They need to save money for the move, and to get themselves and my grandson through at least the first few months of being here. This job will provide a portion of that money, as well as provide her more experience that will hopefully allow her a decent paying job when she gets here. She also works at the Ronald McDonald house where she is, and has previous cashier and store managerial experience. Devan believes he can get a transfer for his job so he’ll have that here when they arrive. He’ll start school as Zowie gets them settled into their new place and begins her job search. They’ll be here by August to start their new chapter; one that will prepare them for the next.
Skye and a friend of hers moved back home in October. In preparation for this new chapter in her life, she had been working three jobs and saving money. She’s sold things she didn’t want to bring with her. Skye knew she’d need a few months worth of expenses saved, because she wouldn’t have a job lined up when she got here.
Both girls are excited about their new chapters, and so am I!
How can you prepare for the next chapter?
While I don’t want you to start the next chapter until you’ve read the next article in this series, it is time to think about how you will set yourself up for this next step along your path to success. I’ve explained how myself and my daughters and I have been doing this. Now I want you to think about how you’ll prepare for your next chapter.
What do you need to do now to be prepared for your next chapter? Do you need anything mentally? Maybe you can create a mantra that will help you when you aren’t feeling the most confident. Draw it. Color it. Scrap and frame it. Make it beautiful the way only you can, and hang it in a prominent place in your work space so you can look up at it whenever you need to. A constant reminder that You Got This, Lady!
Get the project materials list and directions here.
Do you need any supplies to get started on the next chapter in your life? Perhaps you need accounting software to keep financial records, or a calendar for writing down meeting dates and times, a planner for projects, or supplies for the things you will make. Acquire what you need before you begin, and you’ll be more confident and motivated.
If you know you’ll be too busy the first two or three weeks to spend much time cooking and cleaning, then prepare for those things. Plan a once-a-month freezer cooking session. Modify chore charts to reflect the help you’ll need for just that time period. Delegating a few of your items each week wont hurt for that short period of time period. Giving the house a good cleaning before you start a long-running project is a great way to start. It is easier to work in an organized, clean space.
Plan to have someone come in to clean for you once a week if it is big projects you wont have time for: Giving the bathroom a good cleaning, washing the bedding, sweeping and washing the floors, and vacuuming. Have that person dust during the last week so you wont have to worry about it right off.
You might set things up so you’ll have someone to run your errands, hang out with the kids, or help you with office tasks.There are many options available that will help you to prepare when you know you’ll need help.
Finishing up existing projects is also a factor in preparing for the next chapter. This is something I’ve done. I want a certain number of edited stories published this year. I also finished up a series of novellas so I could work on a new story. That finished story will be set aside as my next project after the series is edited next year. There is method to my madness; I am a firm believer in setting stories and books aside for a while, so I can look at them with fresh eyes during my first read-through in the editing process. (Got that idea from Stephen King!)
Consider how you’ll be taking care of yourself over the course of the busiest period of your new chapter. Do you have a workout routine set up? Can you make 30 days worth of energizing, healthy smoothie packs to freeze? Will you take a relaxing bath in the evenings, to unwind and have you time? Can you mix up where you work, so you are also getting outside during good weather to enjoy the sun?
Hold a family meeting to let your children know what you are doing, and exactly what it is you are preparing for. Tell them when your new chapter will begin, so they can be prepared. Let them know they can still count on you, and plan a regular date-time with them as a group or with each of them individually during the beginning, busiest phase of the new chapter – write these on your calendar.
Here are some big tips I used with my girls when they were teens, so they weren’t continuously interrupting me when I needed to concentrate. They needed to have patience with me if I was going to accomplish anything.
- Hard and fast family/date times are important, and children need to know this. There is no excuse for them, or you, not to be there. Say Wednesday nights are family nights and you know to get done work at a specific time while they know that they will not be able to spend that time with their friends. No being late!
- If the kids are not really sick, bleeding, or sporting broken bones, they should not be interrupting you. Oh, it ‘s also okay if they tell you the house is burning down!
- The girls and I had a system. They learned the system. Their friends learned the system. They all knew they were not going to get an immediate answer from me while I was writing. If something came up with their friends, they would write me a note and stick it on a particular area of my desk. They knew I would read these notes during my next natural break. When these breaks occurred, the first thing I would do was read these notes. Before water. Before food. Before peeing. You get the picture. I would give them their answer, then do what I had to do before getting back to work.
- Because they learned to be so good at this, and learned patience, I generally let them do what they wanted. If the note said Hey Mom, can we spend the night at Laura’s? Love Skye and Zowie, the answer was yes. If the note said Mom, can we please go hang out at the park? or Momma, can our friends come over? The answer was almost always yes. Good behavior necessitates excellent freedoms. Note that I usually took at least a couple minute natural break each hour.
Do you have other considerations? What systems do you have in place with your children?
Use these worksheets to figure out what your next chapter should be.
Be working on finishing up this chapter of your life, so you can move onto the next chapter in the third article of this series: Living the New Chapter along Your Path to Success + Worksheets + Projects.