Courtney Paris

Hi, friend! I’m Courtney.

I’m an entrepreneur, writer, and ENFP from Michigan currently living in Vancouver, BC with my new husband. Welcome to my personal blog where I share what’s on my mind.

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My Personal "Syllabus" for Q1 2019

My Personal "Syllabus" for Q1 2019

I always did well in school. On the first day of classes, I was more prepared than any student. I couldn’t wait to get the syllabus so that I could make a game plan for the semester. I put all of the test dates and due dates in my calendar and immediately created a study plan for tests and writing plan for term papers.

Running my own business and being a lifestyle entrepreneur, however, has offered a bit less…structure.

It was fun for a while, but recently I’ve been craving more of that accountability and structure that I used to thrive with during college.

I figured, if i’ ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And that’s why I’ve created my very own 12 week syllabus for the first “semester” of 2019!

Here’s how I’m breaking down my syllabus:

  1. Each goal is a “course” that I am taking from January - March 2019 (Q1).

  2. Most of the “courses” are steps towards the “degree” or bigger goal that I have for myself.

  3. Each course is 12 weeks long and ends on March 31.

  4. Within the 12 weeks there are milestones (like tests / term papers) and then there are key steps towards hitting those milestones.

  5. My success or “grade” is measured by the (a) the percent of the actions I take towards the goals and (b) the percent of the goals that I hit.

Side note: Guys, this is getting super cheesy already, but I’m going to take this metaphor as far as I can…

Here is the “degree” I’m working on:

  1. Major: Building a Million Dollar Business (woo hoo!)

  2. Minor: Getting in the Best Shape of My Life

  3. Minor: Exploring Creative Passions and Hobbies (outside of business)

Here are my courses for Q1 2019:

  1. Train for 1/2 Marathon (Part 1) - As a part of the “get in the best shape of my life” goal, I am training for my 3rd half marathon which will be in May 2019.

  2. Get Back into Figure Skating - If you haven’t heard, I’m getting back my figure skating skills after a short break of more than 15 years and I’ve signed up to skate 2x per week at 6am until March. Wish me luck.

  3. CEO Skills - This “course” is part of me building my million dollar business and removing myself from daily operations so that I can own a business rather than have a job. A big part of that is getting clear on what my role is as the CEO of my company.

  4. Media Blitz for Online Business - One of the biggest ways that I’m going to be able to grow my business this year is by getting more exposure in media like podcasts and other interviews.

  5. Start Writing a Novel - Writing fiction is one of this big, audacious goals that has been on my bucket list since I was a kid, yet I haven’t written so much as a short story since before high school. In 2019 I want to write, in the least, a shitty first draft of a novel.

The syllabus for each course:

COURSE #1 - Train for 1/2 Marathon (Part 1)

BIGGER PICTURE:

This is a part of my “get in the best shape of my life” goal for 2019. I’ve never felt SO good as when I trained for my last half marathon

OBJECTIVE:

Be on track to run half marathon on May 5 by following a training plan. Also, turn running into a habit instead of simply training for the reward of finishing the race. Part 2 of this training program will go from April 1 - May 5!

MILESTONES / KEY ACTIONS:

  • Decide on training plan (check!)

  • Read through entire half-marathon training guide (I purchased it in 2013 and have used it to run the first 2 half mary’s, too!)

  • Work up to 9 miles per week by February 17th

  • Continue going to HIIT classes every Wednesday for cross training

  • Schedule monthly (at minimum) visits for massages, chiropractor, physiotherapist

  • Create general diet guidelines to make sure I’m getting enough good nutrients

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS ONE: Excited more than anything. I’ve already run two half-marathons in the past and felt SO AMAZING from the training so I look forward to getting that feeling again. This time I hope to be smarter about it, too, so that I don’t give myself scoliosis again!

COURSE #2 - Get Back Into Figure Skating

BIG PICTURE:

Since I quit skating when I was 16, I have been wanting to find a way to get back into the sport that is less intense and competitive than before. This course serves my goal to get into the best shape of my life AND to explore creative passions.

OBJECTIVE:

My goal is to join a synchronized skating team and I’ve got to get myself ready before tryouts in the spring (probably May) so that I don’t feel like a complete fool.

MILESTONES / KEY ACTIONS:

  • Sign up for skating sessions (check! lessons are on Monday and Thursday mornings at 6am!)

  • Sign up for skating lessons with a coach.

  • Go to the first week of practice January 7 and 10. (I’m nervous about this bc skating culture can be a bit weird and being the oddball 30-something on ice with a bunch of 15 year olds is kind of funny).

  • Co-create goals with my coach and make sure that we have a game plan for getting there

  • Show up at every practice 2x per week until they end in March! (<— it’s at 6AM guys! This will be a major feat for me!)

  • Along those same lines, wake up at 5am every day of the week. (Having to do so for skating feels like a great opportunity to piggy back and have the same wake-up time every day).

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS ONE: I’m excited but also nervous because skating culture is quite closed off and I expect weird stares, but who cares? I’m doing it anyway.

COURSE #3 - CEO Skills

BIG PICTURE:

My job description has changed dramatically now that my incredible team is doing the vast majority of the daily work for my business. The main roles I currently occupy are CEO and CMO. I’m pretty good at the marketing part, but as a CEO I need to develop some habits of looking at metrics that indicate the health of my business on a regular basis.

OBJECTIVE:

My goal is to establish and fulfill a job role for the CEO of Courtney Johnston Corp. Establish key metrics to check in on and habits for checking in on them and communicating decisions with my team. Empower my team to be prepared to flourish without my intervention.

MILESTONES:

  • Make a list of metrics that I need to monitor (check!)

  • Schedule regular times for checking on those metrics (check)

  • Create a checklist for exactly what to look for when I check the metrics.

  • Share monthly sales goals and top 3 areas of focus with my team in Slack at the beginning of each month.

  • Follow the plan from the book Clockwork for turning my business into a well oiled machine that can run without me by September 2019.

  • Establish a ritual for checking in with myself honestly to see where I can improve.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS ONE:

I am looking forward to feeling more connected to and in control of my business again. After handing over so many tasks and responsibilities to my team, I’ve struggled to find my role and although I’m not naturally a good data person, I can now see the importance of this job and am getting excited about it.

COURSE #4 - Media Blitz for Online Business

BIG PICTURE: Now that all of our other marketing is automated or taken care of, our biggest opportunity for growth is media! In the past, the vast majority of interview opportunities have come to me, which is great, but it’s time to be proactive instead of reactive.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this course is to proactively and intentionally get myself booked on 100 podcasts (or other interviews) in 2019.

MILESTONES:

  • Address limiting beliefs that I have about media (feeling egotistical and self promoy, not wanting to be “famous”, etc).

  • Complete the Pitch It process with Maggie Patterson at Small Business Boss (her company is helping me craft my pitches and having skin in the game is helping me take this goal more seriously!)

  • Establish a system with my team for pitching podcasts and OUTSOURCE that sh*t so I won’t procrastinate.

  • Create and publish the media page for our website

  • Make a mindful list of how to be a really incredible podcast guest and support the podcasts that I am featured on

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS ONE: Eeeeesh…I can go both ways here. On the one hand, I love doing podcast interviews. Talking off the cuff is my jam. On the other hand, I hate pitching myself. It feels superficial and vain , which really turns me off. Need to come at this from a place of service.

COURSE #5 - START WRITING A NOVEL

BIG PICTURE: Breaking down the first-time novel writing process into chunks, this is the first 1/4 of the process.

OBJECTIVE: To get myself started with writing a story. The first 3 months will include quite a bit of preparation, brainstorming, and outlining. However, I would also like to begin WRITING the book before the end of March 2019.

MILESTONES: 

  • Schedule time every week to make progress on this goal

  • Read Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird

  • Watch Margaret Atwood’s Masterclass (I have a year-long membership to all Masterclass lessons, so if you know of another good one for writers, let me know!)

  • Document the synopsis of my book in very general terms

  • Create a rough, working outline of the main parts of the story (I may wind up changing everything but I do like to think things through first. Remember, this is my FIRST stab at writing something like this!)

  • Write at least 1,000 words. (This goal might change later as I figure out what is reasonable for me).

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS ONE: Honestly, I’d PREFER to keep this goal private because I have a lot of mental hang ups about being a “writer”. I have a lot of expectations about what that means (and so do other people). That said, I know that announcing this goal publicly will force me to take action because if I don’t, I probably won’t make time to write.


So that’s it, friends! Those are my 5 “courses” that I’m taking this quarter to make massive progress towards my bigger, year-long goals. What do you think?

Oh, and few other things I’m doing over the next 3 months (because I’m an Enneagram 7 and I can’t help myself, ok?)

  • Joining the 5AM Club and, yes, waking up at 5am every weekday (and 6am on weekends for a dash of rebellion)

  • Working on my tidiness habits so that my apartment isn’t a complete mess 24/7

  • Reading lots of books - both non-fiction and fiction

I know that was a massive amount of only-applies-to-me details that I just threw at you, but I’m hoping that you’re able to find the universal in the specific. I know from my own experience as well as from working with clients that concrete examples of EXACTLY what someone else is doing are often more powerful than the universal theory. 

I look forward to keeping you updated on my progress. Please let me know in a comment either here or on instagram (or in person!) if there is anything specific you’d like to know about my goals, habits, self-discipline, etc.

In the next post, I’m going to share an update on the 5AM Club!

The 5AM Club - My Thoughts After 2 Weeks of Waking Up Before Dawn

The 5AM Club - My Thoughts After 2 Weeks of Waking Up Before Dawn

Will my personality sabotage my self discipline?

Will my personality sabotage my self discipline?