Book Club: Get your sh*t together by Sarah Knight

Book Club: Get your sh*t together by Sarah Knight

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So, you’re here to get your shit together I see. Well, welcome. So are the rest of us. Sit back, grab some tea, and don’t feel so alone because unfortunately, you’re not. 

I wish we could say that few people struggle with getting their shit in order, that no one had anxiety, that no one had freak-outs, but then who would be here to keep you and me company? 

Thanks for joining my little book club. Even if there’s just one of you here I’ll feel like I’m accomplishing something, so thanks for helping me feel all warm and gooey about myself. You’re awesome. 

We are starting our club with the little book to the right (or below depending on where you are viewing this). It’s by Sarah Knight, the panicky, foul-mouthed anti-guru to rule them all. If you don’t like cursing, then you may not love her books, but I love how real it feels. And entertaining. Come on, self-help books can be BOOORING, but not when they cuss at you. 

This book is layed out a little weird, so I’ve created this table with tabs. Pick the “Part” you are in and each section is labeled and includes thought or journaling prompts. 

HOW TO JOIN THE BOOK CLUB

If you haven’t signed up for the private instagram account, request to follow @wmplife_bookclub on Instagram and I’ll add you. 

If you would also like notifications of new posts in your email, send an email to lyne@writingmypeacefullife.com with the subject line, “I’m in!”

This is my first book club to be a part of…ever. So, it may be a little rough at first, but I believe we can work it all out together. I think book clubs typically meet after the participants have read the book, but because of the topic of our book, I would like to meet more often. 

BUT here’s the thing, because this is a digital book club it will be a little different. The private Instagram will have photos for each designated section which will contain the discussion, which means you can read at your pace and hop on anytime. This way we also will not be jumping around. I will also host an IG Live on the scheduled dates on the tab labeled “Schedule”. 

Follow along with the tabs above by reading the sections that are separated by thought/ journal prompts and —————-.

Then hop over to the private Instagram page ( @WMPLife_bookclub) to leave your thought and discuss the section with fellow readers on the posts with the individual sections. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you check out the instagram page.  

Reading Schedule

Part I: What we talk about when we talk about getting your shit together

1// Who needs to get their shit together and why (5 PGS)

2// I lost my shit so you don’t have to (5 PGS)

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3// Life is like an adult coloring book (5 PGS)

4// Your real and metaphorical keys, phone, and wallet (5 PGS5// Let’s talk strategy (3 PGS)

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6// Focus Pocus (2 PGS)

7// Saying “I do” (3 PGS)

8// The power of negative thinking (4 PGS)

Instagram Live Discussion on Part I July 13 at 11 AM!

 

Part II: Small Shit: Nailing down the day-to-day to build a better future

1 // Beginning for Beginners (5 PGS)

2 // Time flies when you don’t have your shit together (6 PGS)

3// Your best friend and worst enemy (8 PGS)

4 // Get your shit together flowchart (2 PGS)

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5// Where does the time go? (5 PGS)

6 // Frailty, thy name is distraction! (2 PGS)

7// The wizard of impulse control (4 PGS)

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8// Correspondence course (13 PGS)

9// Quitting time: an experiment (5 PGS)

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10 // The money shot (10 PGS)

11// A spoonful of willpower helps the medicine go down (4 PGS)

Instagram Live Discussion on Part II

PART III and PART IV to COME!

 I can really relate to Sarah’s experience with her career. If you haven’t read my very long winded About Me , go do that. It is book club… add it to your to read list 😉

But in short, my work life for the year between April 2017 and April 2018 was rough to say it lightly. I mean it did result in me starting therapy, though I won’t blame my mind entirely on the job. The job was just the tipping point. Or the 180 degree turn, which you will understand if you read my about me. Once I got my shit together I was able to find a job I love and a new career path that fills my metaphorical cup. 

I realize that a lot of people have that Oh Shit moment that Sarah talks about and do nothing about it. They stay in a dead end job and live for the weekend. For my sanity, I couldn’t do that. 

I love what Sarah says here, “It took me far too long to figure out that there was so much more I could be doing with my life, if I could only stop worrying about what I should be doing.”

I feel that when I was controlled by my anxiety instead of in control of it I was unable to focus on my own life. My brain was so full of worry that my own interest, passions, and ambition had no room.  

Sarah promises to deliver:

1. Tips to become better organized, motivated and on time.

2. Tricks for saving money, setting boundaries, and having difficult conversations with friends, family, and colleagues.

3. Advice for transcending everyday bullshit so you can finally focus on bigtime dreams, like changing careers, buying a home, or just moving out of your parents’ basement. 

Her  method of doing this is going to include mental discarding and organizing, making a “Fck Budget”, organizing, and deploying resources wisely.

 Thought or Journaling Prompts

Not too much to think about here. Maybe think of the number of people or things you said “Yes” to the last month that you secretly hated doing. You know, like going out to dinner with your co-worker or signing up to do a book club you had no interest in. Say no. It’s okay. 

 

Part 1: What we talk about when we talk about getting your shit together 

1 // Who needs to get their shit together – and why (5 PGS)

Sarah talks about three types of people that need to get their shit together: the Theodores, the Alvins, and the Simons. If you haven’t ever seen these adorable chipmunks, their descriptions won’t spark any “Oh, yea! That’s totally how he is!” but they still accurately describe the different types of people! 

Theodore has problems with basically anything life and organization related. They are late, losing keys, forgetting appointments, and just all over the kind of person you would call “irresponsible” or “air-headed”. 

Alvin is not the person you want in charge of your big school project (or work project). He’s what my husband calls a “reactive” person. I’ve never used the term in the way he does, but literally, the person reacts to the situation as it presents itself. They don’t prepare themselves for it. But as Sarah says, if you Alvins can get your shit together, you can be ballin’. 

Simon Oh, you perfectionist. You definitely have your shit together. All the shit you have to get done for work or home, that is, but what about you? Can you say you prioritize your mental health? That you say no to things you don’t want to do? That you seek out the things that fill YOUR cup and not everyone else’s? It appears you may not have your shit together, Joshlyne. 

Oh…Wait. Am I a Simon? I was sitting here thinking I am mostly Alvin. Maybe a little Theodore. Actually, I seem to be a little bit of all those cute little chipmunks. 

2// I lost my shit so you don’t have to (5 PGS)

“Just because you are doing a ton of shit all day, every day does NOT mean you have your shit together.” 

So true. Don’t forget that we are mental health advocates here and our top priority is our mental state. Which bleeds over into the physical world. So if your mind shit isn’t together then your physical world may be falling apart or about to fall apart at the seams. Much like what happened to me one fateful day in April 2018 when I said, “There is something wrong with my mind” and booked my first appointment with a therapist. 

I literally cried everyday…for a MONTH. 

What’s the take away here?  Getting your life organized and managing the things that need to be done to not drive yourself crazy. This may mean you need to: 1// get a planner or calendar so that you can actually see when things are due or when events take place and 2// clean it up a little. Stop over promising yourself to everyone and their mother. SLOW DOWN. 

 Thought or Journaling Prompts

  • What chipmunk are you? OR do you identify with a few of them? Describe the traits you identify with most and think about where in your life you’re stuffing acorns into your jowls. 

Cause that’s what chipmunks do. (It’s a joke.)

  • Where have you over promised yourself this week? Louisa, my therapist, once told me that she asks people to just do one small thing to make a change. Is there one small task, meeting, event you can say, “I am overwhelmed and need to get my shit together. I’m gonna need to take a rain check on you – or not.” 

Coffee with a friend making your Saturday over scheduled? They’ll understand if you need to reschedule.

Extra class at school really harming your mental state and there’s no way you can make a good grade in all seven classes you’re taking? Save the six, sacrifice the one. 

Asked to work overtime, but you’re exhausted? Let them know you have to take the time to think about it and say no if you want to. 

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3// Life is like an adult coloring book (5 PGS)

First off, I can’t help but think of adult coloring books being a little dirty….I mean the only thing we single out as “adult” is usually the X rated stuff, right?

Strategize, focus, commit: These are Sarah’s three steps to getting it together. Sarah tells us her strategy for quitting her job. But don’t think you have to quit your job and become an entrepreneur to enjoy your life and get your shit together. I don’t believe this is what she is telling us. 

Maybe you actually love your job (or would love it) if you could just get control of your anxiety and not feel so overwhelmed. 

I have personally done these steps in my own life in MANY aspects of it! With my job, with my future schooling, and with this blog. Let’s use school as an example. 

When I left my job, I had decided to go back to school to be a Physical Therapy Assistant. It was just two months before the applications were due and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get in, so instead of stressing myself out and applying anyways:

a. I made a strategy for the classes I could take over the next year to beef up my application.

b. I revisited my plan regularly to see if adjustments needed to be made and I worked hard in my pre-req classes to make A’s, which guaranteed me max points on my application.

c. I committed to my choice of school and dove head first into my future. Since deciding on PTA, I have gone to the library to get an anatomy book months before my anatomy class, started working for a PT clinic and am absorbing as much as I can, taken classes, self-learned more, and applied. 

And you know what, I got in! I start August 19, 2019 and will be a PTA by June of 2021. 

Making a plan and eating small bites of the elephant really make a huge difference in your mental health. Don’t be so overwhelmed when it seems so much is on your plate. Organize your thoughts and the things you need to do into smaller, more manageable pieces and get to work.

Since the section title is “Life is like an adult coloring book”, I’ve made you all an adult coloring page. (G Rated) Download it here.

4// Your real and metaphorical keys, phone, and wallet (5 PGS)

A tip to always knowing where your wallet, keys, phone, or if you’re like me, glasses are, put them in the same spot every time!! Or at least have 2-3 designated spots so you always know they will be there. This can be in your home, at work, in your car, and on trips. 

 5// Let’s talk strategy (3 PGS)

“A strategy is simply all the small, manageable steps of a plan – your plan –  neatly bundled on the key ring and ready to put into action. “

Just like when I decided to go to therapy and ultimately put in my nnotice, I had to figure out what else I could do with my degree or with my current skill set. I wasn’t lost for too long. I hated the fact that I have a bachelor degree and would not be utilizing it. It really feels like I wasted a shit ton of money.

My husband said something to me that completely turned that thought around, I’m only twenty-eight. Let’s say I retire at 65 or 70. Math that, what do you get? Thirty – seven to forty – two years left to work. Why should I have to be tied to a choice I made for a career path that is leading me nowhere and does not fulfill me?

Again, I don’t believe you have to hate your job in order to find meaning in this book. It’s an easy example and one that happened to me. The point is that no choice you make in this life is permanent. Well, except if you have a kid . . . There’s a strict no return policy on those. And though it may seem slefish to those around you to make some of the changes you need to make, ultimately it is your life that is on the line. Your future, your mental health, and possibly your physical health. 

Thought or Journaling Prompts

  • What life goal, life change, or event do you want to see in your life? Sit down and make a strategy now. A rough draft, it doesn’t have to be completed today or implemented today. 

Don’t have any aspirations for your future right now? Trust me, I’ve felt that before! My least favorite question and the one I dread in interviews is, “Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?” Why should I have to make such serious decisions on a whim or what if I want to have vague goals like, I don’t know, be happy, be fulfilled, be loved and give love. My life has drastically changed in the last three years. If I had made plans five years ago (which I did, a biology degree), then I might be stuck. I don’t ever want to be stuck.

Sometimes it’s wise to be a little fluid in life. But you can at least begin exploring the things you love to do and look for a path including those. 

  • Designate the spot for your keys, wallet, and phone right now! Keep your shit where you want it…with you. 

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6// Focus Pocus (2 PGS)

I love how short some of these sections are. It makes reading so much easier and like I’m flying through the book! Actually, my kindle says I’m 18 % through already! 

Sarah is talking about how it’s difficult to multitask with our cell phones, and I one hundred percent agree. Have you ever paid attention to how much you are paying attention while multi-tasking? Sure, anyone can hear the last few words of their spouse’s sentence and make a response up off the top of their head, but was it the best response you could have said if you had been fully paying attention?

Did you miss your daughter waving – or tripping – at that soccer game because your nose was buried in your email while you were “multi-tasking”? 

No, I don’t believe in multi-tasking, even if you are listening to music. Neither of the tasks is not getting 100% of your brain.

I can’t even run and listen to a podcast without having to rewind many times. 

If you have a goal in mind, like completing Part One Section Three of this book club for the participants (ME) on your day off, do that and nothing else. It has taken me thirty minutes to get this far cause I have: started laundry, tried to find a hammer and nail to put up a picture in the bathroom, played on Instagram, tried to get AdSense working for the blog, and read and write at the same time.

Did you see that “Focus Pocus” is two pages long? Thirty minutes……

Give yourself the time and space to do the shit that needs doing, to get you closer to your goal. – Sarah

7// Saying “I do” (3 PGS)

 Do you set unattainable goals for yourself? 

As much as we like to tell our children, “You can be anything you want to be!”, can we really be whatever we want to be? I think the only time this might be a true statement is in childhood. You haven’t finished school, so if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer then you can be sure to ace every class. But even then, if you’re parent are able to help pay for college you may not have the funds (or want to go into debt) to become a prestigious surgeon or defense attorney. 

If you’re like me, a graduate with an average GPA, a house to pay for, a husband to love – I don’t think going to PA school is attainable. The applicant pool for that is extremely competitive with students who have been working at it for many years. Don’t believe me, follow this link to read an article called “5 Tips to Getting Into PA School”.

No, at 28, I’m not sure I could bring myself to do it. But, I can go back to school to be a Physical Therapy Assistant and still help people. 

Attainable goal, small and manageable bites, success. 

8// The power of negative thinking (4 PGS)

Side note: I’ve reached for my phone five times so far. 

Turns out goal – setting doesn’t have to be about aspiring to what you want to be, so much as putting an end to what you don’t want to be.- Sarah 

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH I LITERALLY SAID WOW OUT LOUD. WOL (WOW OUT LOUD, like laugh out loud…. oh nerd.)

It’s impossible for us to determine the outcomes of all the steps we will take to get to this huge, theoretical future we have planned for ourselves. It becomes much easier and less daunting when we just focus on getting out of the current situation we are in. 

Don’t imagine yourself as a graduate, or an athlete, or a CEO. Imagine yourself after that first work out, passing that test you have next week, and asking for that first raise. 

Do you really not have a closet full of clothes you love or do you just need to do the laundry?

Thought or Journaling Prompts

Have you ever done time-tracking? Personal time tracking. I haven’t because I think it might be scary to see all the crap that creeps into my time and eats it up. Follow this link to get a time tracker form from Laura Vanderkam, author of the “Before Breakfast Podcast” and give it a go. 

It can help you remain focused after you see the time you waste on things that do not contribute to your goal. 

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Part II: Small Shit: Nailing down the day-to-day to build a better future

1// Beginning for Beginners (5 PGS)

This chapter is about a little game we like to call cause and effect. You’re broke as a joke BECUASE you don’t have a budget and you spend willy nilly. We are here to identify what is going wrong in our life at this moment, pin down a “Why?” and make a plan to stop it from continuing. 

Sometimes our problems can have really simple answers that are too complex for the lazy person. The goal is to achieve the goal set forth by ourselves to stop the cycle of shit, so whatever it takes to do that, do it. Small manageable bites. 

Now you try: 

What is wrong with my life?

Why?

Goal?

Wow, it’s like I read her mind before I even turn the page. In the very next part, she says to set realistic goals. What happens when we try and fail at things, like losing weight or acing the test? We get discouraged and we might quit. 

What if the goal isn’t set as the finish line? Instead, make it a small goal: I’ll go for a twenty-minute walk today: GOAL ACHIEVED. I’ll study an hour a night to ace the test: GOAL ACHIEVED. 

Look at you. Amazing. 

 2// Time flies when you don’t have your shit together (6 PGS)

This is why I went to Hobby Lobby and spent $30 on a planner: I forget. Or use to. I would forget the things I was supposed to be working on, forget birthdays, forget assignment due dates. Ugh. It caused me anxiety.

Anxiety about forgetting something and then anxiety when I forgot it because I was late to the game of “keeping a planner up to date”. So, I fixed it. I got a beautiful planner I loved and then made myself use it. 

Now that I have my iPad, I’ve designed my a digital planner which you will soon be able to purchase on my website. 

I learned to set alarms and reminders on my phone and always add appointments/ special dates to my phone’s calendar AND my planner. 

I also get very anxious when I have a lot of things on my planner because all my mind sees is A LOT OF STUFF. It doesn’t pay attention to the fact that phone calls will take five minutes, that bill payment will take two minutes, that Quickbooks data entry will only take thirty, etc. Just because I have several things on the list doesn’t mean I won’t be able to accomplish them all. 

I like her idea of timing yourself for basic daily tasks that might affect your timeliness. Of course, if you sleep through five snoozes every morning (raises hand shyly) this might be the reason why you are late all the time. 

WHOA. Sorry for the not so G rated content here.

3// Your best friend and worst enemy (8 PGS)

Prioritization is BFFs with strategy.

Excuse me while I go get ready to pick my husband up from the airport… Practicing the skills I’m learning.  

Do you prioritize your to-do list? She suggests rewriting it with the most important items on your “Must Do” list and these are the things that absolutely must get done. I like this because it helps you to determine things that are important and time-sensitive, and what can wait until tomorrow or next week. 

Not to mention, when you only have a few “important, must do!” things on your list and you accomplish those, it makes you feel great. Perhaps it’s like going to the gym? Get them done, feel so great about yourself that you want to do more!

WHOA! Now she’s reading my mind. Remember back to what I was talking about in “Time flies when you don’t have your shit together.” I do EVERYTHING she is talking about in this section, like completing the easy tasks and making myself feel great because I was so productive, but the major task is still looming it’s ugly, pimply head over me. Oh, that thing I’ve been meaning to do that’s not even on my list at all, well I must get this done. 

Man, I should have found this book a year and a half ago. 

I already gave you my list of procrastinating previously. Now you make one! 

So, what have we learned? Prioritize (the non-urgent shit), Procrastinate them, and focus on what is really important. 

4// Get your shit together flow chart (2 PGS)

I love this chart. Make a copy and pin it on your fridge. I set it as my lock screen on my iPad. 

 Thought or Journaling Prompts

  • Now you try: 

What is wrong with my life?

Why?

Goal?

  • If you’re up for it, time yourself for those daily tasks: getting ready for work, stopping to get breakfast or coffee, commute to work or from work, cooking dinner (which we all know varies on the kind of dinner you make.)
  • Write out your to-do list and then rewrite it as a must-do list and to-do list. 

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5// Where does the time go? (5 PGS)

Are you honest with yourself about how much time you have? 

I know that I waste a lot of time on things like watching tv or browsing the internet or on YOUTUBE VIDEOS? Those things will get you. 

And then I think how much I’m NOT blogging, how much I’m NOT creating, and I feel guilty  because how do you grow a blog following if you don’t blog or Instagram? 

This section is all about PRIORITIZE. Yes, it is important. You may not want to do it, but when you go back to school and your income not only gets cut in half, but you also have tuition and books to pay for, grocery shopping and meal prep have to be a priority. 

So, do as I’ve said many times in this book club, get yourself a planner. Make a meal plan, go shopping (or splurge a few extra bucks to have someone do it for you, that shit’s everywhere now), and cook so that you can stop agonizing over all the things you can’t get done with your dreadful schedule. 

Clean the one bathroom that gets used and leave the other for another day. Use the dishwasher instead of handwashing (my husband does this…I don’t understand). Mop? Who has time for that, spot clean – better yet, get this steam mop ( LINK ). They are the MFing bomb. If you have a spouse or partner or roommate, SHARE the load. It is not and should never be all on you. 

6 // Frailty, thy name is distraction! (2 PGS)

Here are the tips she gives to avoid distractions:

1 // Take evasive action. Do you pick your phone up out of habit? Put it in the other room. Reward yourself with a few minutes of scrolling after working for X amount of time.

If your kids or pets are begging for attention (at this moment my dog is whining to walk and my cat is sitting in my lap), shut them out of the room and give them something to distract them. Explain (to the kids) that you have to get a and b done and then you will play, but until then your door is closed. It’s not bad parenting, it’s showing your children that when you have responsibilities, you commit to taking care of them. It teaches them to focus and commit. 

2 // Stop, drop, and roll. If you find yourself in the midst of a distraction, tell your self “STOP” out loud, step away, and remove yourself until the urge is gone. No matter how many times you fail, keep doing it and the discipline will eventually stick.

3 // Pencil it in. You obviously live doing the thing that keeps distracting you and just like diets, if you deprive yourself for too long you will fail and you will fail HARD

Allow yourself the time to be distracted on your terms. Schedule it or use it as a reward as previously mentioned. 

7// The wizard of impulse control (4 PGS)

Humans have a hard time controlling themselves, it’s just an inevitable fate that is punctuated by the number of children that were happy accidents and the lack of money in some people’s bank accounts. 

Learning to control your impulse takes time and commitment and forgiveness. 

Impulse is like an invisible chain on one of those car crushers just pulling you slow and steady to your doom of becoming a compact, sad person crying in the fetal position on the couch because you messed up.

I want to take this moment to say something that might seem controversial, but I mean it and sometimes we need some honesty. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a fit person or slimming down. I believe this is our mind telling us living a more healthy life is what we need to live longer….a physiological response to the unhealthy internal body we may have. 

HOWEVER, it is when this becomes a DESIRE that controls every thought you have about yourself and you begin telling yourself lies like you are not good enough is when this becomes a huge issue. STOP THAT.

Now, how can we begin our plight of impulse control? 

1 // Stop buying shit at the grocery store. You can’t eat it if it is not in your house. Before you walk up to the check out line, pause in an aisle and analyze your cart. Is there anything in there that is full of processed sugar or fat? Leave it behind. This cognitive decision is the true first step at controlling your thoughts and ultimately your impulses. 

2 // Accountability partners work and this is why I don’t have one. HA! If you ask someone to hold you accountable, they will and you will because you’ll feel like shit if they find out you ate that cookie (you shouldn’t but most likely you will). 

3 // Schedule in your good habit. Need to exercise, set a time to do it on a few days (don’t start working out every day, you’ll burn yourself out). Need to stop eating fast food for lunch? Meal prep on Sundays and make your lunch for the week. Need to stop watching soooo much tv because you have classes and a blog to work on? Get rid of HULU or Netflix and just splurge on the show you want (this will also prevent most people from watching television because who wants to pay 0.99 an episode? 

 Thought or Journaling Prompts

Sarah and I both have given you some sound advice in this section. What will you do with it RIGHT NOW?

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8// Correspondence course (13 PGS)

This section is all about emails. You’ve probably got some long-winded emails maybe some from me? Maybe not, cause I’m a bad girl when it comes to an email list. I’m kind of great at the “is this important? Nah….” mindset, mainly because my mother adds way too many details to her conversations and it always bugged the shit out of me. 

And just like Sarah is insisting in this section, I’m going to keep it brief, there’s not much to say here. Read it and implement it. UNSUBSCRIBE from some emails you never read. No, the next one is not going to have the information you’ve been waiting for, just hit unsubscribe. 

9// Quitting time: an experiment (5 PGS)

To summarize

1// Identify what is wrong in your life. 

2// Why? 

3// Set a Goal          

              a//Stratigize. Use the must-do list. Make a list, then prioritize the most urgent things that you MUST DO and now make a new list. 

              b// Focus. Understand how long it takes to complete tasks and remember by writing  how long next to the item. If you only have an hour, prioritize the urgent things that can be fit into an hour. Remember: No Multi-tasking allowed. 

              c// Commit. You don’t like the thing you’ve identified or you wouldn’t be changing it. Keep that in mind while working hard to complete your list. 

Thought or Journaling Prompts

I have to say, I’m proud of myself and you for working our way through this book. I most definitely wouldn’t be this far along if it weren’t for you and my commitment to completing these section thought for you. So even if you never read this, I appreciate the accountability.  

Basically, your thought or journaling prompt for this section is to take ten minutes to go through your email. Unsubscribe from a few lists and mass delete those emails. (I’m looking at you Pinterest.)

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Come back later for more!

 

10 // The money shot (10 PGS)

11// A spoonful of willpower helps the medicine go down (4 PGS)

 Thought or Journaling Prompts

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