Me First

Dear readers and friends, please prepare yourself for the most controversial thing I have ever published. Instructions that go against what we are generally taught to do. But stick with me, there is rationale behind this belief that, I promise, will come full-circle and not seem so stinking evil.

Primed? OK, here it goes.YouAreSuchARockStar

You are #1. Really.

Put yourself first and you will be so much better equipped to love, serve, and care for others.

I understand this goes against all conventional thinking and what we are guilted by society to believe. It can be a message that falls somewhere between a hard pill to swallow and a total mind-blower.

Putting yourself first does not mean that you neglect those around you. It does not mean that you no longer treat others as you would like to be treated. It is not even selfish, not when you take in the bigger picture.

You are going to have a hard time playing with your young kids or grandkids outside if you do not first take care of your own physical health, exercising and staying active. Getting winded kicking the soccer ball around or while tromping around the neighborhood park is not because you are older or because you have already had a long day. You are getting winded and tired playing with the kids because you have not put your own needs for good physical stamina at the forefront.

Going to work and doing your job day-in and day-out may get to feeling tedious and like you are on a constant cycle of being overworked and underpaid if you do not first feed yourself and feel satisfied before you ever hit the office door in the mornings. Spending some high-quality YOU TIME before it is time to start the jam-packed schedule will do wonders for your well-being. Taking time to meditate, study or read, sit and enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee or tea, and maybe even watch the sun rise will, in turn, energize you for the day ahead. You will get more accomplished once you get going and you will feel better about what you are accomplishing, too!

When you make sure that YOU are healthy and happy, you can care for and serve those you love better than ever before! By putting your needs first, you eliminate the bitterness and resentment that comes with the busyness of parenthood, spousehood, employeehood, serving on every board and committee and still trying so hard to fit in time to take a shower in peace.

Place yourself, your health and your mental well-being at the top of your to-do list and watch how fulfilled and ready to pour your improved energy and enthusiasm on those you love most! You will serve others better by first taking the best care of yourself!

Go get ’em, ROCK STAR!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


How Much Income Would it Take for YOU to have “Arrived?”

Have you “arrived,” financially speaking? What would your life look like if you had? What are the similarities and differences to your current reality?

In his bestselling book The 4-Hour Work WeekTim Ferriss has his readers go through an exercise he calls “Dreamlining.” The purpose of this dreamline is to think of things you could foresee having, doing, or being, over the next 6 to 12 months that would give you the security of being free to live your life the way you want to live it. I’m a HUGE fan of Ferriss’ work, both in this book and across media outlets, and I appreciate the basic premise of his dreamlining exercise.

Ferriss’ dreamline is an eye-opening experience, the basic point being that you oftentimes don’t really have to be earning much more money than you’re currently making to get the sense of more freedom and higher-quality living. As many 4HWW dreamlines as I have completed for various spans of time, I wanted to take it a step further. I would like to expand on Ferriss’ dreamline for my own purposes, and share with you.

We dream of making $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, or more dollars. As children, we all wanted to be bazillionaires, but as adults doing the daily grind of balancing work and family, those numbers have become a little more realistic…but how realistic are they, really? I could say I would like to earn $500,000 a year, but that’s just a pie-in-the-sky number if there’s nothing to back it up. Until you have actually done some of the math, you don’t really know what your truest goal annual income would be. This is where my update on Ferriss’ dreamline comes in.

I’m calling my update the True Earnings Goal Assessment (“TEGA”) and here’s how it works:

HAVING: List three (3) things you would like to have within the next 12 months. Would you like to have a new car? Would you like to have a solid college fund set up for your child(ren)? Would you like to have a facelift? Would you like to have an RV and the freedom and budget to travel? Would you like to have an office space outside of your home so you feel like you can work and focus without interruptions?

Once you have your list of your top three “haves,” put a price tag on them. If you want that new Subaru Outback that’s calling your name from the showroom floor, factor how much your monthly payments will be plus insurance. If you want $12,000 worth of plastic surgery, factor in $1,000 a month for that. If your new office is going to cost you $1,700 a month to rent and operate, factor that in, too. Whatever it is you want to have in the next 12 months, estimate the monthly expense would be, if it’s of top three priority to you then it makes the list!

BEING: Similarly, list three (3) ways you would like to be within the next 12 months. Would you like to be a great pastry chef? Would that entail going to culinary school, and if so, how much would that cost you? Would you like to be a skilled photographer? How much would classes at your area camera shops cost you and add to your dream? Would you like to be a triathlete? Do you already have the gear you would need or would you need to purchase it? Would swim lessons or tri classes help you better prepare for your goal of triathlon success? Now, estimate your monthly expenses for being each of your top three priority items and add those to your list!

DOING: Again, list three (3) things you would like to do within the next 12 months. Why not choose now to begin (doing) an annual family tradition like trips to Disney World or visiting all 50 states? Would you feel so much better to be actively repaying (doing) an old debt that’s been looming for too long? Take this opportunity to make that happen and get that monkey off of your back! How would it sound to even keep it closer to home and plan (doing) a weekend get-away for just you and the love of your life to go off to a cabin in the woods and just enjoy the peace and quiet of some alone time? What would your monthly budget look like to be doing each of your top three priority items in this category?

Now, on to the math (AKA: the fun part).

  • Calculate your current monthly living expenses and multiply that amount by 1.3 to allow for a little wiggle room in case of emergencies or whatnot.
  • Add up your monthly HAVING dream total.
  • Add up your monthly BEING dream total.
  • Add up your monthly DOING dream total.
  • Calculate the total monthly expenses of these four items (current expenses x 1.3, having, being, and doing).
  • Multiply that monthly total by 12 to arrive at your annual earnings goal amount.

THAT, my friends, is your truest earnings goal amount. THAT is the income amount to strive towards, not some random number picked out of thin air. There’s a difference in setting the bar high and setting it too high to realistically reach. Your goals have to be attainable or you’ll quit just shy of success. For example, prior to doing this modified version of Ferriss’ dreamline, my random goal earning amount was $150k. Boy, was I surprised that even with all of the BIG ticket items I put on my TEGA, my true annual goal earning amount was just $82,200. That number is almost half what I previously thought I would have to have to live large and in charge in my own little world! This was a huge relief and pleasant surprise!!!

Depending on your current lifestyle, your numbers are likely significantly different than mine. But, I hope you find–as I did–that having a hard number to put on your dreams as you go through your life and business choices will make your work more productive, your choices more fact-based, and your dreams much more attainable. You don’t have to be a bazillionaire to feel like you have “arrived” at financial freedom. You have a number, it’s just up to you to find that number, then strive for it.

You’ve got this!

Make it a great day,


Week one, day two

6am: Up but not feeling very well rested. I got 7 hours of sleep, but in the last few weeks I’ve not been getting enough sleep consistently, and I believe this morning the cumulative effect has taken hold.

Weight: 120.0


1/2 c Grape Nuts, 1/4 c Craisins, 1/2 c whole milk = hearty yumminess this morning!

This morning’s breakfast is high in fiber, protein, and iron, which is awesome because my system is still feeling a little “clogged” from yesterday’s Red Robin Royal Cheeseburger. This breakfast ought to do the trick and get my body running on all cylinders, again!

8am: Kids are out the door for school and I’m ready to hit the gym! It’s chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs day. Let’s do this!!!
Workout: 10 min cardio warm-up on elliptical machine, 22 min weight training (keeping the body moving, super setting exercises to allow some muscles to rest while others work and have the most efficient session possible!), followed up by 7 min of relaxing yoga to reset and stretch. Ahhhh…note I’ve got that awesome post workout head fog that comes after a truly great workout! Time to refuel!

930am: Clean, post workout meal. Lentils, a poached egg, and mixed veggies. Yummmmm!

After this, it’s off to another day at the office…errr…coffee shop :-*

7pm: Tonight’s dinner after loads of green tea was a scrumptious bean and long grain rice casserole. Yummm-o!

10pm: With all of the normal family dealings and chores checked off for another day, it’s time to think “ME”…I’m off to my bedtime routine and a great night’s rest!

Rest well, y’all!

Week one, day one

6am: Up and feeling rested. Let’s get this day started!

Weight: 120.8 lbs


Time to get the kids moving and ready for their Monday!

7am: Breakfast, yummy and hearty kale smoothie

8am: 40 Minute workout–10 min cardio warm-up, 20 min weight training (lower body day), 10 min cardio cool down & stretching

9am: Home to get ready for a rare date day with my husband!

10am: Out the door and straight to the coffee shop for some hot drinks to go! Make mine a hot green tea, please!

Noon: Lunch at Red Robin, and I just can’t resist the bacon and egg cheeseburger! Water to drink and potato fries on the side. Yum!
Next, home to meet kiddos after school and get some dry beans slow cooking for a nice, clean dinner (to help me counteract the heavy lunch).

4-8pm: This week is a little abnormal in my scheduling, which makes it kind of a funny week to track my every move…but oh well. I worked for just a couple of hours this evening, then came home and enjoyed some lovely, tasty, hearty, and totally healthy lentils and mixed veggies. So filling! So delish!!!

9pm: My last cup of green tea for the day as I settle into my relaxing bedtime routine. Ahhhhh.

Remember, you can also follow my exercise and nutrition regime on Endomondo and MyFitnessPal if you don’t get enough details to suit you here 🙂

Make it a great day,

Connect with Marilyn…ALL OVER THE WEB!

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr…it’s ALL here!!! TEN ways to connect with ME so that no second of your life can avoid me 😉

MUSIC: “Sunflower” by Topher Mohr and Alex Elena; YouTube Audio Library

Make it a great day,

Keep up with Marilyn Horton and all of the Chronicles of life all over the interweb:wpid-20131210_155445.jpg








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On the 8th Day of New Year’s

Although I’m still hoping to get the bugs worked out of Day 7’s countdown video…I’m not going to let that hold me back from moving forward with DAY 8! Today’s specialty is something we all need to be doing a little of this time of year…and something it’s so tempting to neglect. Watch and see for yourself!!!

Make it a great day,

Thank YOU for watching!

On the 5th Day of New Year’s

As we get deeper into the New Year, my little clips of goofiness and fun are starting to actually come together a little more and (maybe) make a little more sense. Hopefully???

I want to say a special “Thank You” to each of you who have come along with me on this journey of sharing my life with you, no matter what time or year or age you are viewing this from. Thank you!

Now, it’s the 5th day of New Year’s…and you know what that means!