Midlife blogger and designer Kimberly Montgomery wrote to tell me about the Choices Notebook she was launching. "It's a labor of love, three years in the making and something I'm very passionate about," she wrote. "It's a 12-month planner to help goal-oriented, successful people enjoy today and remember to live in the moment. So often, high achievers are so focused on the goal, they give up happiness today in a mad race for success."
Could this unique planner help me be happier in 2016? Could it remind me to slow down and practice daily mindful living? I wanted to learn more about the Choices Notebook and its post-50 creator. I also was curious to hear how Kimberly is using the Kickstarter platform to help launch her entrepreneurial venture. Here's our chat:
Q. Tell me about your background.
Kimberly: I've been working in the art licensing industry for over three decades. I started as a licensed illustrator, where I had a successful career for 25-plus years. My work has been featured on every product imaginable, from hundreds of greeting cards, gift bags, ceramic décor, decorative rugs and pillows, fabric, stationery and gift items. I still have a best-selling School Dayscalendar that is released every year, that's even been featured on Good Morning America.
About five years ago, I opened Montage Licensing and now represent a group of very talented artists to the industry, including an Emmy Award–winning animator, a Disney artist and one of the finest floral photographers in the country.
A year ago, I jumped into blogging at FiftyJewels.com and am having a wonderful time! It's a whole new set of challenges and a very interesting business landscape. I love it!
Q. What prompted you to create the Choices Notebook?
Kimberly: A personal crisis, of course! Isn't that how everything great comes about?
It was 2008, the economy had just imploded and my net worth along with it. I'd been the picture of a type A female working two businesses, seven days a week to make sure I had that picture-perfect future. Then it all disappeared, and there was nothing I could do about it. I hadn't caused it, and I couldn't fix it.
I remember clearly driving down the road in my leased foreign convertible sports car, that I could no longer afford, and I had my "aha moment." I was done living for tomorrow. I was going to focus on the moment and be happy today. Less working and more living. I was going to make different choices.
That's when the idea for the Choices Notebook was born. It's about working toward what you want in life, but enjoying the moment, living in today and making every minute count.
Q. What is special about the Choices Notebook?
Kimberly: With the Choices Notebook, I wanted to focus on happiness and a sense of well-being as much as scheduling appointments and goal setting. After all, what we all really want is to be happy, isn't it? It's just that we get so busy, so caught up in life, that our focus can get clouded with other issues.
I studied the scientifically proven markers for human happiness and well-being and incorporated that research into the notebook. Along the top of every calendar page are listed leading attitudes for happiness and along the bottom are leading actions for happiness.
Not only does seeing and reading them daily help them become habit, there are also logging exercises to keep you on track. Seeing them repeatedly also helps to imprint them on your brain—they become a natural part of your thinking.
The notebook also features a gratitude list, bucket list, area for mind mapping and journaling—you can really think of it as your confidant and touchstone for your life.
Q. What is a Kickstarter campaign, why are you doing one for your Choices Notebook, and how can people get involved?
Kimberly: Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform that allows the public to get involved in the creation of a new, innovative product. I'm a start-up "survivor" and a huge fan of entrepreneurship and have loved the concept of crowd funding since its inception.
I chose Kickstarter for the Choices Notebook so that the backers could feel a real sense of participation and involvement in the creation of the project.
You can check out the Choices Notebook and support the project on my Kickstarter page.
Q. Any tips for post-50 women who want to move ahead with their own creative projects?
Kimberly: Jump in! Women in their 50s are the most qualified, dynamic, educated, experienced group of women our nation has seen. It's the PERFECT time to start a business, create a new career, forge a new direction. The kids are usually out of the house, technology makes starting a venture so easy today, and the world is looking for new ideas. What are you waiting for? Just get started!
This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.