Redefine Success

In order to keep my Sustainable Sue hat on I need to redefine success this season. This fall is very different from last year when I was planning fun outings and such (link). These days are all about transitions. I did a couple podcast episodes about it as I was heading into the season (Managing Transitions and Sustainable Sue Takes a Sabbatical). These served as more of a pep talk for Future Sue because I know my patterns. I often fall into overwhelm because I don’t give myself the grace to let things fall by the wayside. 

While I am figuring out a revised Sustainable Sue routine to work around my new day job, hobbies are falling away. While I visit my dad for a few weeks, my exercise routine drops off. It is really obvious when I look at my habit tracker for a month or two. But I have been tracking my habits for over six years and have learned some lessons that help redefine success. 

Widen the Time Period

Lesson one is that success happens over longer periods of time than today’s culture defaults to. I may not average 10 miles of walking each week during October 2023. But if I look back at the whole year of 2023, I likely will meet or exceed that target. 

“The years teach much which the days never know.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you start to feel the hours and days closing in around you, take a few deep breaths and zoom out your perspective of time. If you don’t see or feel any white space in the next foreseeable future, you might need to make some hard decisions. Last month when I was feeling that constricted feeling I had to cancel two volunteer commitments. Guess what – no one cared. Except for me who had a couple hours back to restore. That was everything. And in the scope of a year, those couple hours did not matter one bit to the volunteer agency.

Long Haul

Lesson two is that life will ebb and flow like the tides. To a certain extent, you have control over your to do list and calendar, but the fact of life is there are seasons that are busier than others. Allow yourself to balance work and rest today and more importantly – over long haul.

It seems counterintuitive to schedule rest in a hectic time. If you have a free hour you should accomplish a task while you have a free second. Consider that the task should be to restore yourself to sanity. Because running on empty is insane, non-productive, and not sustainable. Ask me how I know.

Defining Worthiness

Lesson three is that your worth as a person is not defined by miles on a treadmill, hours in your office or emails in your inbox. Each of us has the ability to let go of the messages we are clinging to that tell us we need to earn worthiness and love. 

By definition, habits that are Sustainably Productive need to have well-defined time parameters that take the current season into account. Shift your mindset to accept that there will be seasons of life that are busier than others, knowing that over time it balances out. 

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. Which of these three lessons resonated most with you? What action item can you consider to enforce that lesson?
  2. Which of these three lessons felt most prickly to you? Why do you think that is?

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that work for you. 

By |2023-09-12T10:10:07-04:00October 17th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Recalibration Before Quitting

While I do believe in the power of quitting, I want to suggest recalibration before quitting as a path to explore instead. I encounter this when working with women who want to be more fit and start running. They hate it. It feels terrible. The magical endorphins of a runner’s high never appears. Races are just full of uber-runner gristle sticks taking it all too seriously.

And they quit declaring exercise to not be for them.  

What I encourage instead is recalibration before quitting. Small, sustainable adjustments to habit change to make it something that does work for you. There are paths to recalibration depending on the person, the habit change, and the reasons it is not currently working. 

Let’s take a look at a few.

Too Much Too Soon

Sometimes a habit change or project is just too big to tackle all at once. I mentioned on a recent Sustainable Productivity Podcast episode that I was working on a photo clean up project that I avoided for about two years because of the size and complexity. There are about 180,000 photos on our server, but at least a third of those (maybe even closer to half) are garbage or duplicates. I made a mistake when transferring files from our old server resulting in 180,000 photo mess. 

“Fixing Lightroom” has been on my to do list for over 700 days. But that was too much so I quit before I got started. Recalibration with this effort looks like small, repeatable bites at the 180,000 photos. 

My original goal was 1 hour of editing most days of the week. This is just the right amount for me right now.

I Keep Forgetting

It is hard to remember that you want to start or change a habit. It sounds weird, but it is hard to put something where nothing existed before. A friend and I agreed to exchange gratitude lists at the end of each day. It was important to me. I committed to her. I thought about different things throughout the day that I wanted to send. Then turned on Netflix and promptly forgot. 

Instead of me throwing up my hands and declaring this to be a failed experiment, enter recalibration. I set a reminder on my phone to go off each night at the same time. The voice in your head saying you would remember if it was important is a liar. Your brain is full and just needs help. Here are a few ways you can help your brain help you.

  1. Add a recurring appointment to your calendar to do your new/revised habit.
  2. Set a reminder on your phone for the same time each day to do your new/revised habit. 
  3. Put a post it note in your planner to remind you of your new habit. Once you complete it that day, move the post it to the next planned day for your new / revised habit.

I Don’t Know Where to Start

Part of wanting to grow the Sustainable Sue business is showing up consistently. For myself, other creative business owners, and for my readers/listeners. When I first started writing here, I did not know what it meant to show up consistently in all of those areas. I was all over the place. Sure each week I got an essay put up, but I felt like I was spending a lot of time on the process instead of the creative stuff. 

I decided to make a checklist of what I wanted to do each day. It started as a brain dump something like this:

  • Write weekly essay
  • Write, record podcast
  • Connect with other creatives
  • Research freelance writing opportunities
  • Social media outreach for Sustainable Sue
  • Learn how to be an entrepreneur

Then I split things out based on the rhythms of my personal energy, my day job and personal schedules, and spreading out the content. For example, I do podcast activities on Mondays while I am fired up and rested from the weekend. Fridays tend to be lower key on the fixed schedule stuff so I use it as a catch up Sustainable Sue day.

This is really helpful when I am tired and generally out of sorts. I only have 1 hour each morning before my day job starts to get Sustainable Sue work done. Late last year I took a week off from Sustainable Sue work. When I sat down after a week off, I did not know what to do. It was just brain fog from being out of routine (and lots of candy and cookies during that break). Because I had my list of what I do on a Monday, I could recalibrate my brain fog into my routine. 

Lack of Motivation

Tell me if this sounds true: The Sue that comes up with these plans is seldom the Sue who shows up to execute them. Please tell me I am not alone in this. Once a week I do a specific set of physical therapy exercises. Each Friday I put “PT exercises” on a day for the following week. 

This week when that day came it seemed much more important to find out what happened to Igor from Season 9 of Alone than to do the pushups and clam shells. I wanted to quit before I got started. But you know what – the work does not need to be liked. It needs to be done. I promised myself 10 minutes of Igor between each set instead of just barreling through it all. No set? No Igor. 

I pulled up my PT checklist and worked my way through the exercises. If I asked myself in the moment, what exercises I wanted to do? 

Yep, none. Don’t rely on motivation, you will quit more often than not. Have a plan that you can use for recalibration. 

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. When is the last time you wanted to quit? Whether you did or did not, how did it feel?
  2. Where can you use calendars, timers, or reminders to support habit change?
  3. What carrots (or Igors) can you use to motivate you to recalibrate the next time you want to quit?

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that work for you. 

By |2023-08-01T10:19:18-04:00August 8th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Small Adjustments Matter

Short post today to illustrate that small adjustments matter. I used to think that I needed to run marathons to be fit. Today I don’t even run down the block and I am stronger than I have been since power lifting in the college varsity weight room.

Sure you might not be able to organize your home this weekend or even this year. But can you set an alarm on your phone to spend 10 minutes a day on the stacks of paper on your office chair?

By saying “this isn’t worth the effort” you are discounting the compounding momentum of the habit change fly wheel. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good – just start.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost. 

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the message was lost.

For want of a message the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1758

And a little inside baseball? I want to be able to write long, meaningful, action item rich posts each week. But this is all I can do today. But it is something, and I am doing it.

You can too.

There is no part of habit change that is too small. Small adjustments matter.

Sustainable You Reflections

  • What habit change are you talking yourself out of?
  • Is it too big? Too hard? Too scary? What story are you telling yourself?
  • What small chunk can you break off to work on – just a piece, not the whole scary thing?

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that work for you. 

By |2023-06-20T07:39:15-04:00June 20th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Word of the Year

Remember equanimity, my word of the year? How is your 2023 word or theme or goal going these days? We are almost halfway through the year, but it is never too late to commit – or recommit making life better for yourself. 

I had somewhat let my focus on equanimity slide in recent months. While I was reminded of the importance of it while in Italy where I could not speak the language or understand public transportation or time zones, when I returned home I wanted to return to the homeostasis of my routine. 


A book I was reading brought my word of the year back into focus. That Phil Jackson has a way of doing that, I mean it worked for Michael Jordan so it can work for me too, right? 

In his book, 11 Rings: The Soul of Success, Jackson talks about a story he shared with the Bulls about a Zen teacher speaking to a group about Buddhism. Here is how Jackson translated it to his team: Everything is always in flux. Until you accept this, you won’t be able to find true equanimity. 


I have found that lack of acceptance just prolongs the pain. Accepting a situation for what it is can provide that equanimity. That does not mean you have to co-sign some nonsense. You can accept a person is going to act like a fool without having to change that person. A job may no longer be the right fit for you, and you can accept that while you decide if that means you should stay or find a new role. You can accept that you have time constraints that prevent you from fully immersing in a new hobby and decide what small part of it you could engage in.

Notice none of this is just lying down and being helpless, it is making small adjustments – sometimes the adjustment is in your attitude and mindset instead of massive actions or broad proclamations. 

It is ok to not take action, but to acknowledge that something is not working and you are aware. 

You don’t have to do it perfectly. In fact, because everything is always in flux, there is no way to do it perfectly. But you need to keep shifting and changing to stay true to yourself. 

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. 

Not to dare is to lose oneself. 

Soren Kierkegaard 

Sustainable You Reflections

  • How is your 2023 word / theme / goal going?
  • Where do you need to apply more acceptance to your life?
  • What small adjustment can you apply to your attitude or situation to facilitate this acceptance?
By |2023-05-30T08:19:32-04:00June 13th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

How to Do Get Things Done

For all the essays and podcast episodes I’ve done about doing less, knowing your why before you start something, and redefining productive, I do believe there is value in striving. Not fulfilling our life purpose, avoiding effort, and quitting out of fear does not lead to a Sustainably Productive life. In fact it is the exact opposite – it is checking out of the life you are intended to lead. While you are busy being busy, you might be missing the value. Missing the meat of the meal because you are making sure the silverware is set perfectly. (Apologies to the vegetarian readers). 

I have been thinking about this topic a lot in the last few weeks and am starting to get my thoughts to form sentences. I am going to make this a series over a longer period of time so I can workshop these ideas around striving with you. Let’s start where I often go when I am working through a complicated-for-me idea: the dictionary.

Striving has two definitions that I want to introduce you to.

Make great efforts to achieve or obtain something


Struggle or fight vigorously

Using these definitions, I want to talk about striving in terms of activity and inactivity. 

Striving Can Be Doing

I bet most of you reading this related more to the striving as doing. Cake even wrote a song about it:

The arena is empty except for one man

Still driving and striving as fast as he can

The sun has gone down and the moon has come up

And long ago somebody left with the cup

But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns

And thinking of someone for whom he still burns

Cake, The Distance

I believe the key is to consciously choose what you are striving for. I want to call this deliberate practice. This idea of deliberate practice takes a beginner mind. By checking your ego and need to be perfect at the door, you make more space to strive, fail, and learn. To be clear, this is hardly the American way. We don’t want to do or watch the work, we want to see the result.

“With everything perfect, we do not ask how it came to be. Instead we rejoice in the present fact as though it came out of the ground by magic.”

  • We expected Michael Jordan to be a batting All Start just because he was an NBA All Star. Watching him work at it was boring to most people – we wanted the All Star performance. 
  • People often get frustrated at crafts because they can’t replicate the sample or perfect a technique the first (or tenth or hundredth) time they attempt it. We don’t even consider that by failing to copy the sample, we have created an original.
  • Time is considered wasted if the garden didn’t yield a massive harvest. We discount the joy at puttering around in nature and the lessons learned from a smaller than usual crop. 

Don’t miss the experience that striving gives – the effort to achieve or obtain something can be what makes life interesting, fun, productive, and sustainable. 

My Deliberate Practice

One of the ways I recently engaged in this idea of deliberate practice was with quilting. A shop in the mountains of North Carolina runs online classes, which I had not tried – all of my classes had been in person. I wanted to get better at a few techniques that this online class offered so I took the leap. Going into this experiment with a beginner mind was key. Knowing there would be challenges, imperfection, and a lot to learn were things I reminded myself often. I also knew that this quilt would be one I kept or donated (vs. having the gift recipient in mind while I made it like I usually do). This took the pressure off and freed me up to make mistakes. 

While I was not wrong about all of that, this deliberate practice was a challenge. I ripped out portions, resewing them to get it right. Watching the lessons multiple times on half speed became the norm. I have a list of things that are wrong with the quilt now that it is done. And my people use it daily. We can have both.

Which leads to the other half of striving. While striving is doing something, it can also be NOT doing something.

Striving Can Be Not Doing 

As I sit here striving to draft this essay, I just heard the washing machine finish and I desperately want to pop up and put the clothes in the dryer. Because I like the feeling of things flowing easily and getting stuff done, knocking out a chore quickly is a really attractive option. But I believe my purpose is not to just do chores, it is to share the Sustainable Sue message also. To learn to be a better writer – by writing. I know this all sounds woo woo, but the point I am trying to get across is that striving is not always about DOING something, it can also be about NOT doing something. To return to the definition – I am fighting vigorously to not pop up and turn over the laundry.

I wonder if you can relate? Do you want to say no, but instead do what seems easier and say yes to please the person in front of you? Maybe you are feeling some feelings and lash out at whoever is closest because that is easier than removing yourself from the situation and putting yourself in timeout. 

Just because there is less action in the decision, does not mean you are not striving. Not doing something can be harder than doing something. 

Sustainable Productivity Reflections

  • Where are you striving in your life?
  • How is that striving working for you? 
  • Do you relate more to striving while doing or not doing? Why is that?

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that work for you. 

By |2023-06-02T16:29:22-04:00June 6th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Course Correction

Course correction can be a tricky thing. I am the queen of overcorrection gone awry.

Overcorrection is generally my jam. When I can’t find a clothing item in my closet, I throw out too many things. Inevitably there is something I end up needing to repurchase (I’m looking at you, khaki pants). I cancel all my streaming services to save money, then buy 5 books and a ball of yarn to keep busy and can’t figure out why the balance is still negative. 

Sometimes adjustments that don’t work are not overcorrection as much as just paying attention to the wrong thing. I focus on not crashing into trees while mountain biking or people while surfing, then crash into those trees or people. Today I want to talk about how to navigate course correction when you know a habit is no longer serving you.

Course Correction from Coach’s Playbook

As an athlete I understand that sometimes to teach a skill you have to overcorrect in order to fall in the middle. When I swam on a masters team I struggled with a part of my stroke where I was crossing my hand too far in one direction. In order to correct this, my coach had me swim with my arms REALLY wide. It felt awkward, unnatural and slowed me down. This did not seem like it was making me swim faster (i.e., not productive) and it was extra tiring mentally and physically (i.e., not sustainable). But this is the neat thing about the body – it can adapt to almost everything. It wants to be good to us so it adjusts to the conditions we give it – for better or for worse. After doing the wide arm swim drills consistently for a few weeks, my stroke was corrected (that part of my stroke at least). An amazing thing happened – with a more efficient stroke I was able to go faster with less energy. 


Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way and try something radical. I watched the Robin Roberts interview with Michelle Obama a few months ago and something Michelle said struck me. She was talking about always trying to achieve and be her best. She said, “Sometimes my mental health gets in the way, it’s not sustainable.” Perhaps Michelle listens to the Sustainable Productivity Podcast?!

Course Correction from a First Lady

This was the interview where she talked about learning to knit during the pandemic. She wanted her book Becoming to be out in the world, but COVID cancelled her book tour. She was like we all were – concerned about the world, our kids education and mental health, and where we would get toilet paper. So she had to take the opposite approach and find a way to check out of her monkey mind and found knitting. 

This is like another Michelle Obama gem: They go low, we go high

I’m trying, girl. That is a tall order. 

But you see where I am going with this related to course correction. Instead of trying harder, longer, faster, more in the same direction – let’s opposite to get what you want / need.

Slow down to go fast. If you are training, make sure you get your rest. Rest and sleep is when your body rebuilds itself. Be sure to work on flexibility, not just strength training. A flexible muscle is a strong muscle. 

Go quiet to find your voice. When I am struggling with something I am writing, it helps to stop and take a break. I always try to work ahead because nothing stops creativity for me than a deadline. There is a corollary to this with relationships too. In order to help my spouse understand what I am saying, I need to shut up and listen to what HE hears me say. Communication is weird!

Go small to go big. This is another one from Michelle Obama.  To do big things, focus on small details. You cannot change world hunger if you don’t learn what you need to learn today. To run a marathon, you need to do a 3 mile recovery run today. To manage your anger and repair your relationships, you need to spend an hour with a therapist today. 

Friends, sometimes we just keep going down the same worn path and wonder why you are not getting the result you want. I encourage you to take course correction in another direction. Maybe the opposite, maybe just a swerve. It might be counterintuitive or it might be what the universe keeps tapping you on the should to know. Beware of that overcorrection, but if you end up there we can course correct together from there.  

Sustainable You Reflections

  • What habit have you been thinking about adding, removing or changing?
  • What is one small course correction you could take today or tomorrow?

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that sustain YOU.

By |2023-04-04T16:33:16-04:00April 18th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Unresolved New Year’s Resolutions

I originally wrote this post as a New Year’s resolution hype speech. As we all know, January is the time of year where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a discussion about NEW YEAR NEW YOU! These messages are delivered by really enthusiastic people with oddly non-wrinkled skin who have teams of people supporting their every need. But here we are in March with many of our New Year’s resolutions left unresolved.

Sustainable Sue here to deliver a couple reality checks for us mere mortals as we consider the fresh clean page that 2023 has to offer us. I also want to introduce you to an alternate approach to these resolutions that might help you get more traction on habit change.

Reality Check #1: There is nothing magical about January 1

New Year’s resolutions can happy on days other than January first. Sometimes I set goals on my birthday in mid-June. When I flip my notebook to a fresh page I make decisions about what I will spend my time on that week. Today I made a resolution in the afternoon to get a third dog walk in after dinner.  

Don’t get sucked into thinking if you missed Jan 1 “magic” that you have to wait 364 more days to change your habits. 

Reality Check #2: Will power is a myth

Despite what you may have been taught by old school coaches (well meaning or not), your will power does not dictate your success. Motivation and determination are factors that can help you succeed with resolutions, but they are not the be all to end all. 

If you cannot muscle through that workout while you are running a fever – you are not lacking will power. If you did not get your kids’ homemade Halloween costumes sewn this year, it is not about will power. Quitting goals, leaving jobs undone, abandoning projects – this is not a referendum on your will power. 

It is a reflection of the approach to habit change that you picked. Not YOU for picking it, but just the wrong approach for the wrong time of life. 

An Alternate Approach to Resolutions

One of the basics to consider with habit change is that we act because the pain get to be too much. Let me give you a few examples from my own life.

  • After finding my clothes without elastic waists did not fit well anymore, I made the habit changes to lose the weight. 
  • When my knee pain became too great, I recommitted myself to my physical therapy regime. 
  • I started blogging and podcasting when I was lonely in a group of people and wanted a truer, sustainable connection. 
  • I quit drinking when alcohol became more of a problem than a solution. 

Let’s see how science can help you with your resolutions.

Physics 101

Inertia is Newton’s first law of motion. A body at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by an outside force. Our resistance to habit change is a LAW OF NATURE. This is not about your will power, this is how the universe works. 

But let’s talk about that “outside force” that can get a body at rest to change. This is motivation. Usually motivation is pain, although for some people it might be faux inspiration on Instagram or TikTok or the PTA meeting. Motivation can be summarized as a reason for acting or behaving. 

But the further we get from that pain, we need to shift our reliance to commitment more than motivation. Commitment is dedication to a cause – this is a slight, but important difference when it comes to habit change. 

Physics 201

Consider a fly wheel. As defined by Wikipedia, “a flywheel is a mechanical device which uses the conservation of angular momentum to store rotational energy; a form of kinetic energy proportional to the product of its moment of inertia and the square of its rotational speed.”

JK – this is Sustainable Sue, not Physics Corner. But I do want to consider the fly wheel. It takes effort to get the fly wheel to start turning. But once it is turning, a simple flick can keep it going.

See that long arm attached to the wheel, that body at rest needs to move in order to start the fly wheel turning. It takes a large amount of energy to make that happen. But once it gets going, physics takes over and it rolls on with little external effort needed. The fly wheel of habit change is similar. 


It takes a large amount of energy to start the wheel. You know what has a large amount of energy? Pain. Pain starts the fly wheel turning. It is hard, but motivation to not experience the pain anymore keeps you going. It takes effort to juggle the schedule to fit meal prep into the after work times. You forget that you meant to practice guitar because it is not part of your routine. You over did it at your first visit back to the gym and now need to skip a couple days so you can walk down the stairs. There is resistance at first. Starts and stops as this new you churns to life. 

But then habits and routines start to form and grease that fly wheel. You have a streak of 5 weeks in a row where you flossed your teeth more days than not. Three days in a row of journaling become three weeks in a row and you see the benefits peeking through. Saying no to something frees up space in your life that is much needed.

Here is an example of how that worked for me. 

Sustainable Sue Resolves to Show Up Consistently

I set up a habit tracker check list of sorts for different activities. One for Sustainable Sue work so I can show up consistently – writing, social media, podcasting, networking  and the like. I have another for physical therapy routines so I don’t forget any exercises. It seems trivial and inconsequential that I would need a checklist to remember to post to social media. But it is the consistency that I want for my business. In order to get people to know, like, and trust me I need to show up on social media. The book proposal isn’t going to write itself, I need to work on it regularly. But what happens over time – over several weeks of showing up for myself and these seemingly small actions – is that they are the small pushes that keep the fly wheel going. It is motivating to see the checkmarks accumulate. There is peer pressure to do the thing that I don’t feel like doing. Yesterday Sue got it done. Future Sue will want to see a streak in tact. Therefore Today Sue better do the work. The work doesn’t need to be liked, it needs to be done. 

But you have to start. Not by purchasing all the books on organizing to get your house in order. Not buying a yoga wardrobe before your first down dog. Start where you are with what you have. I recently pulled out old paints my daughter had stuffed in the back of her closet because I wanted to noodle around with painting. No need for an easel, a studio and classes yet. I might not even like it! 

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. If you set goals for 2023, what pain is driving the motivation to take these on? Identifying the why can help later when the fly wheel starts to slow.
  2. Do you really have the time and effort to take on this goal now? Will this be sustainable long term?
  3. List three things you can do to set yourself up for success? If you take on this new goal, how can it be productive for you?

I can’t wait to hear about your results. Send feedback or questions to or find me on Instagram or Facebook. 

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that sustains you.

By |2023-02-21T09:03:38-05:00March 7th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Keep. Showing. Up.

Coach Sue here for a pep talk to help you keep showing up for yourself. It can’t just be me hitting the dark, cold weather doldrums, right?

Things had really been cooking along with my writing for the last few months. 

  • I have been showing up regularly in weekly essays on my website,
  • My book proposal is ready for an editor,
  • A friend of mine started a weekly writing “support group,”
  • A few more creative opportunities are in the works for later this month, and
  • I found a writing group that meets monthly at my local library. 

It felt like the universe was conspiring to support me as a writer and creative human. The wind was at my back – full steam ahead. 

Then I turned the page of the calendar and it seemed like the wheels fell off the Writing Bus. 

  • The editor I had a get-to-know-you call with this morning no showed. 
  • I was the only person who showed up for the library group (which turned out to be for fiction writers anyway).
  • The other editor I interviewed is out of my price range.

Pep Talk Section

The pep rally starts here.

I bring you all of this today as an example of life on life’s terms. While I don’t believe that we should always try to cram that square peg into a round hole, I do believe that what we want takes work, patience, and creative problem solving

Maybe my message needs refining before getting to an editor. Perhaps giving feedback on other writers’ work is not where the universe wants me to focus right now. Am I not getting book traction because I am supposed to focus on a more verbal medium?

I don’t know. 

As a revering control freak and people pleaser, it is REALLY hard to say that. I just don’t have an answer. Sometimes Usually my time is not the universe’s time. I feel impatient that “it” (whatever “it” is) is taking months – this seems like forever in my 48 year old life. But in the scheme of the expansive universe over millennia of time, months is a drop in the bucket. 

What I do know for sure is that creativity and sharing words in any format feels like the right thing for today. And science tells us repetition yields results. So I will keep showing up – and I hope you do too. 

I will leave you with these poetic words that expresses my sentiment in 35 words when I it took me 10 times longer. 

4 Immutable Laws of the Spirit

Whoever is present are the right people.

Whenever it begins is the right time.

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.

When it’s over, it’s over.

— Harrison Owen

Sustainable You Reflections

  • What in your life feels like rolling a boulder uphill these days?
  • Have you truly been showing up consistently related to this boulder? Is there a way you need to change how you are showing up – more attention, less control, different activities? 

It might be hard to see where you need help with that boulder or how you can show up differently. Creative problem solving sometimes needs an accountability buddy. If you need help find me on social media or send me a message to I would be glad to help you work on it!

Until next time –

By |2023-02-04T14:50:30-05:00February 14th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Year End Review

A year end review is weirdly fun for me as a project manager and productivity coach. There is a project management principle that what gets measured gets managed. I have been tracking habits on a plain old Excel file for five years now. It is interesting to see trends, think back to big milestones that impacted the totals, and consider where I need to make changes (or not!).

Here is a sneak peek into part of that review. 

Health & Fitness

Goal: My intention was to do more to improve my chances of being able to exercise in my 80s. 

Action plan: More physical therapy (PT) exercise, more yoga, improved eating habits


Walking: 446 miles (12% increase over 2021)

Biking: 1581 miles (123% increase over 2021)

Yoga: 33 hours (6% increase over 2021)


I did not track it in a way I can report here, but my eating habits improved greatly. I reduced by ice cream intake about 90% and with the magic smoothie you have heard about I was able to average about 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day. These changes greatly continued to almost 30 pound weight loss in 2022. This in turn made it less painful to walk so the miles there got a bump.


I sort of cheated on this one and have started already. As the weather got colder I was cycling less so I decided to add a second day of hot yoga to my routine. I want to keep doing this even when I ramp my cycling mileage back up.

Mental Well-being

Goal: My intention was grow my connection with my higher power and show up consistently for my writing. 

Action plan: Writing most days of the week, increase time spent meditating, morning reading more days than not.


Meditation: 2986 minutes (98% increase from 2021)

On ramp: 202 days completed (33% increase from 2021)

Books: 221 started, 190 finished (~10% DNF rate) Note: a full book recap will be coming 

Joined Genay as cohost of the Conscious Contact Podcast

Started year four of Sustainable Sue

Began drafting a book proposal

Started a new volunteer gig at a book garage sponsored by a local church


This SusPro pillar sure grew a lot last year! I was very intentional about adding things because I wanted to honor the sustainability part of life. No sense taking on so many things that nothing is fulfilling anymore. Averaging an hour each week in the book garage is sustainable. Working on the book proposal 90 minutes once per week is sustainable. Breaking large goals into small, repeatable steps is the key.


Continue the above, plus add new goal of building a YouTube channel. Here is how I break down this big goal into small, repeatable steps:

Brain dump of all my initial thoughts around this task

Sorted brain dump into Trello

Scheduled time for weekly deep work dedicated to this goal one day a week

Environmental Surroundings

Goal: My intention was to be able to find what I need without hassle and be comfortable in my surroundings 

Action plan: Get rid of stuff I don’t use, need or love


Clear digital clutter: 2 sessions (89% LESS than 2021)


Womp, wommmmmp. I did not do well here at all. Even though I said this was important, I did not make time for it. I regularly cleared my photos off my phone and backed them up, but the amount of screen shots and random photos of things I want to do, read, or follow up on is out of control. The old system was not working for me at all. 


I revamped my digital clean up checklist and set a reminder on my phone to follow the checklist on Monday and Thursday evenings. So far into 2023 I am 100% compliant. Celebrate the small victories, friends!

Sustainable You Questions

Even if you did not formally track habits or progress, there is still value in conducting a year end review. Take time and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What worked and why? How can I get more of whatever made that work?
  2. What did not work and why? What needs to happen to minimize that in 2023?

If this weekly essay resonated with you, please share it with a friend. I am trying to grow Sustainable Sue and spread the ideas of Sustainable Productivity. The best way to do that is for you to share with someone you know. 

Pace yourself, friends –

By |2023-01-10T07:26:06-05:00January 10th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Fall Fun List – A New Recipe

I tried a new recipe a couple weeks ago. A little background before the big reveal. This is a quick update on the Fall Fun List.

I have been inspired by the current season of the Great British Baking Show (except for Mexican Week – what a dumpster fire that was) to return to the kitchen. But only for baking a very specific recipe: Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread by Averie Cooks. I used to make this all the time. I gave it away as gifts and even the kids liked it (they were grade schoolers at the time). Then we moved to a new house and I could NOT get the settings right on the new oven.

The more Bixby tried to help me, the more pissed off I got. So I just quit making it.

Weirdly, that did not help me dial in the settings AT ALL.

Earlier this fall I returned to the kitchen, mastered the settings. Hint: Glass dishes bake veeeeery differently than metal.

Then came the Fall Fun List and trying a new fallish recipe seemed like a good idea. The contender that I put up against the champion sweet potato bread was Chocolate Pumpkin Bread from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Gorgeous bread is a photo from Two Peas and Their Pod website, not the actual loaf I made (but thanks for the confidence in my baking).

While the recipe itself was fine, it was more chocolatey than pumkiny. On the surface that is a win, but the intent was a fallish recipe. Since the pumpkin did not come through, it did not really hit the mark.

But overall, I am glad I tried it. And I am glad to have my trusty standby Sweet Potato Bread back in the mix.

What about you? Do you have any favorite fallish recipes?

By |2022-11-01T08:24:52-04:00November 8th, 2022|Habit Change|0 Comments
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