Achieving Goals

FeaturedAchieving Goals

“I don’t hope for the best, I work for it.”

As humans we need direction in our lives. The technology provides a lot of tools these days to track our to do lists. Obviously some tools are more easier than others.

A new year’s resolution list is no different from a to do list. In both you can track progress and cross out the completed items. Once you complete an item, you have this feeling of accomplishment that makes you want more. You feel powerful and unbeatable, that’s what it takes to move forward.

You  can use any app or tool but if you do not have the will to achieve them, nothing is going to do it for you. Also you need to involve your family, friends, spouse and even co-workers. The list below will include some the tools or app that I have used and some that I found in the internet with good reviews.

    1. Evernote-Is much more than a note taking app. This app provides “checklist”20170406_122155 features, reminders to specific notes, sharing options, handwriting note taking, among others. I use it daily. Evernote can also be used as a work tool.

2. Gantt Chart-Is a customization tool either in word or spreadsheet software. What I like about this tool is that is very visual. When you access the file electronically you see the colors and lines, you can zoom in or out or you can share it as well. If you need constant reminders, printing the Gantt chart is a good idea. At this point you can make notes and it will be even more visual since it is printed.

3.  Paper document-In this one you can create the list in the computer, customize it with quotes, pictures, backgrounds, funny fonts, etc. This option let you be more inventive in your list, which can even be more beneficial at the moment to carry out things. Print in a nice paper (rainbow, clouds, beach, forest..). You can even upgrade this idea into an actual book or scrap-book. This is how your own what you’re doing.

4.  Family Support-You need your family to support you and your goals. Is somehow true that if we keep the goals to ourselves they can be achieved faster but it doesn’t hurt having an extra hand while working in some of them. There’s no need to tell to the entire family that you are into something. You can find who in the family can best support your goals but if your family have a special bond I don’t doubt that everybody is going to help.

5.  Calendar-This is s a great way to put everything in one place. Having a calendar will help you oversaw long weekends, family gatherings, work activities and any other extracurricular activity that you’re involved. You can sync the calendar with the family, with work or just share specific activities with friends. The calendars are a common default app these days in the mobile devices. It would be nice to give it some purpose!

6.  Mobile apps-Some of them are available in various platforms:  2Do, Any.do, Clear, Google Keep, Todoist, Things, Wunderlist,  among many others. I haven’t personally used them but during my research I saw nice reviews and some of the downloads were between 5 millions, 10 millions or 100 millions. The precaution with this and all electronic software is to have a back up, real-time updates, access from different devices and to be password protected.

These are simple ways to get started in our plan for this year and the many others to come! The key to achieving our goals is to stay on track, true willingness, accept/ask for support, learn everyday and enjoy the way.

This article also can get you started thru the day: Make the Most of your Day.

Let me know what works best for you! React, comment or share. Follow us on Facebook.
Good luck;
Life Post Cards

 

My Latest Disappointments

My Latest Disappointments

I let myself feel disappointed when I expect certain actions from people.

I strive for positiveness but also try to be realistic.

Being realistic keeps me in check with the “unspoken truth” about things. Sometimes I worry too much about disappointments but they are part of who we are. There are no right or wrongs when dealing with them.

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”– Henry David Thoreau

I drafted this blog post back in September when the first disappointment happened. I wanted to share a disappointment that occurred. Now, a recent situation made me finish this blog post.

First disappointment

I helped someone go on a business trip. I helped her with all the planning, the logistics, technical issues, and even assisted during the trip because she has never had a trip like this. The trip went well. A few months after the trip we were talking about upcoming opportunities and she mentioned that she bought a souvenir for a friend. This was a huge slap in the face to me.

I never got a thank you but the excitement and sense of accomplishment in her face meant a lot to me. I never expected anything from her.  This was really hard to process. I wanted to address the issue but I just let it go. She has bought things for me on other occasions but this felt different. Maybe I went too dramatic but it felt like a betrayal.

Is not that I expected something but I got really emotional when hearing this. I know that you help people without waiting for anything in return but to me, this was just unfair. It was hard because when I help people I throw all of myself to help them.

Disclaimer

Second disappointment

Then, the story repeats again. I helped another close friend on getting an opportunity that she wanted for a long time. When the opportunity materialized, there were no thank yous for me. She went on celebrating with others and very few people knew how she got the opportunity. This was harder than the first one. I felt the pressure in my chest. I remembered the feeling from the previous disappointment and just let myself cry to try to feel better.

I asked myself, “is it so hard to say thank you? I really don’t expect anything besides a thank you but I feel that you want to be grateful for the people that support you. I am writing this and I feel sad again.

Life continues

Things happen and I am very aware of that. Probably it has happened more than I can remember but these two instances hit me pretty hard.

I am sharing this with hopes that you can deal realistically with situations like this. We help people for different reasons and that is ok. Are we giving ourselves hopes for expecting something in return? Probably.

Would you help these people after what happened? I probably will. But probably not with the same intensity as before. Even though this happened I felt good in a way because my anxiety was not anywhere to be seen. I try to follow my own advice to not let anxiety run my life.

I wish there was a better way to deal with this but at least I am not aware of any. Is all about forgiving, forgetting and moving forward.

How will you handle something like this?

With great hope;

Mayra

 

Five Behaviors That Are Affecting Your Business

Five Behaviors That Are Affecting Your Business

For many years I’ve supported a lot of small businesses. I’ve bought bags, shirts, caps, tote bags, jewelry, candles, pastries, and even visited their facilities. Interestingly, only a few of these businesses still operating.

I want to share some of my experiences with these small businesses and why in some cases I stopped sponsoring them. If you are a small business owner, I hope you can make the most of my experiences. I really understand the pressure of this type of investment and I’ve been very supportive when people have reached out to me.

As a professional focused on process improvement, I wanted to share some of my experiences or point of views and give you the opportunity to amend these behaviors. For this piece, I want you to focus on small businesses only. In case you were wondering I’ve also stopped from shopping at big retailers when not satisfied with something.

Check out the recommendations below and share your opinions. These are some behaviors that I think could be stopping you from growing. These were businesses of one person with the exception of the last example.

Disclaimer

Behavior #1: Saying that you are a business of one too often. What I hear is, “I can’t handle the amount of work”. Recently, I was considering some custom products and I saw this expression a lot. I decided not to order. Because on top of that, they were saying, “if I haven’t responded, please email me again”. Really? I kept monitoring the business social media and even some followers suggested that they should get additional employees.

Recommendation: I probably now that you are business of one. Life happens around your business, plan appropriately. Unexpected, things happen too; tried reacting and notifying as soon as possible. Learn from those mistakes; keep track of past situations. If you are working from home and taking care of your family, be realistic of the amount of work you can do. You can set your working hours. Be specific about your “office hours”, be clear about the time zone difference, and even have a document with a “script” for repetitive questions.

Behavior #2: Not following up after engaging with a customer. I contacted a business for custom items. I’ve bought from them in the past, like a lot! We exchanged a couple of text messages for my new order. Their final reply was, “let me check my schedule”. Then, they never responded.

Recommendation: Solopreneur life is very challenging and demanding. Besides doing the research for your product, read about tips and recommendations on how to run a business. Even though some business will be “unconventional”, the basics of managing a business are mostly the same. Also, consider organization apps (calendar or task manager).

Behavior #3: Making the pick-up difficult for your client. I bought from this particular business for around four years. They sold desserts. I use to buy desserts around every 2 months. I even recommended people to them. They gained seven new customers because of me. Usually, we agreed on a pick-up location and we met there. In a couple of occasions, they kept changing the location or time. It was getting uncomfortable for me but I liked their products a lot. In a particular pick-up, I sent my sister and I let them know. My sister was supposed to meet with their daughter. While my sister waited, they called me to change the location. Then, they changed the location one more time. This time, they made it a nightmare to pick-up.

Recommendation: Establish centralized pick-up locations and timelines. Like, 2 deliveries a week between 10am to 4pm. If you are sending someone else, notify your customer to expect this other person. After setting rules and expectations try not to break them unless there are some outstanding circumstances.

Behavior #4: Relying on social media features to run your business. I’ve seen multiple times Facebook and Instagram stories with instructions for ordering. I wonder if there is an unspoken rule to go to the stories to get the instructions? They talked like you know that “everything” is in the stories.

Recommendation: Make it easy for you and for the customer. Consider a free website or a recurrent posting with scheduling tools to have the business information available. Add FAQ, ordering or read first sections. We want the customer to have a pleasant experience and you want it easy for you as well. Instead of posting repetitive instructions you can use that moment to introduce a new product or even to educate yourself.

Behavior #5: Ignoring your customer due to “other pressing matters”. I recently visited a gelato place. I entered an empty place and yet the employee (who saw me) kept organizing napkins and straws. I waited for about 5 minutes, she didn’t even acknowledged my presence or said hi.

Recommendation: Establish priorities. When running a restaurant, pay attention to the rush hour to establish the best strategy to run the business. Again, track the previous mistakes to correct them. Make sure your employees are clear about the expectations of the business and their role.

“A big business starts small.”
-R. Branson

Every business comes with its fair share of challenges. Being a small business ower maximizes it. When jumping into entrepreneurship, make sure you do your research for the administration part.

According to the Small Business Administration, about 1 in 12 business closes every year.  During my time in college, we discussed how many bakeries opened and closed within a 10 year period in a small city. You don’t want all that investment and time from your part to go to waste.

Social media is “free” and is a great resource to advertise and run your business. But remember that there are additional options to support your business structure; like websites, podcast, video, etc. Also, there are free resources to learn more about business administration. You can educate yourself with free or low-cost webinars or courses. Not everything in the business is about selling or producing. You should include time for education, marketing, administration (taxes, permits, documents) and future plans.

By no means, I’m saying not to support a small business. I’ve always supported them and even made a tradition for Christmas and Mother’s Day to share gifts from small owners. I loved that their products were unique and that every year I could count on something different. For the desserts business, my family always expected the desserts from that place.

My expectation is that you can take this information and improve your business. In the US only there are 28 million small businesses. You can do better, remember that there are plenty of resources that you can take advantage of.

Wishing you success;

Mayra

Additional resources:

2018 US Small Business Profile

10 Steps to Start your Business 

Marketing sales

Small Business Tax Workshops

-Quick search for free resources

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Update 5/6/19: Stay tuned for Part 2. I appreciatte the positive reception of this blog post.

 

Keeping Your Privacy in Social Media

Keeping Your Privacy in Social Media

There are not black or white actions here. Surprisingly, I keep meeting people that want to keep their personal life far from specific people.

I consider myself a private person to some extent. I have enjoyed the benefits of being connected on social media to those far from me. From time to time, I encounter or receive private messages about my profile photo or dating invitations.

My goals for social media are to connect with family and friends, personal branding as a professional and be in service of other causes.

Below I’ll share with you the methods I have applied to keep information private for Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Evaluate what applies to you and implement accordingly. These suggestions are methods that I’ve tried myself and found out while looking for stronger privacy controls.

Facebook

Today this is my only “personal” account. I’m friends with family, colleagues, acquaintances, and I know all of my Facebook friends personally. For Facebook I apply

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Facebook Featured Photo

the following:

-I change the privacy for my profile photos as I add new ones. The only photo that you will see is the current one, the rest is private to me.

-As an organized person, I have most of the photos in albums and by organizing photos like that I can edit the privacy for each album. As the years go by, I put some albums private to me.

-I have reduced the number of selfies or photos that I upload from myself.

-As for the family, I no longer share photos of the family kids.

-My husband doesn’t use social media and I stopped using profile photos that included him. It is his personal choice not to be there and I don’t want to create (or reduce) a “digital profile” of him. From time to time, I share I photo with him.

-I have never used a profile photo that includes kids.

-I’m a stepmother and had never used a profile photo with my stepkids. In very brief occasions I have posted photos of my stepkids. When I post photos of them, I add filters or they are in an angle that doesn’t show them completely.

-I started adding watermarks or filters to photos with people on them.

-Only friends of friends can send me friend requests.

Instagram

20190412_173844.pngThis is my favorite social media, due to the simplicity of creating the profile. But sadly not all of my family uses it. For a while, I tried to keep the account private but the amount of spam and the unsolicited requests were too many to handle. Today, the account is public.

Again, I limit the number of personal photos.

Funny thing now that the account is public the amount of following requests has decreased. I used to get about 40 requests a week and now I get like 5 new followers a week. Lol!

LinkedIn

This is my professional account. The flexibility here is that you can edit what is public or accessible to your connections (like Facebook).  I like the notifications about who viewed your profile.

Since we put the work history, mine is limited to connections. The profile photo is visible 20190412_173919.pngto people on LinkedIn not public. When I’m in the photos, the posts are for connections only otherwise is public.

I used to have my email and Google Voice Number but due to unsolicited email subscriptions, I removed them.

Is important to keep private what needs to be private. To some extent, I don’t mind having my stuff public but we shouldn’t be doing that with kids. Probably a huge percent of social media users have blocked someone and don’t want them having access to their information. And that’s ok. We are talking about your information and you protect it by all possible means. If a platform offers you privacy options, use them to the best of your knowledge to protect what you want to be protected.

At the end of the day is about keeping a balance of what you share and with whom you share your information. I hope this helps you in keeping your information private. If you wish to connect with me on Instagram or LinkedIn, use the link in the specific sections.

Glad you stopped by once again;

Mayra

Let’s build together!

Let’s build together!

LinkedIn is a professional platform where we can connect, contribute, build and learn. We all have heard or at least read about the way the platform intends to work. I feel that we joined to be enriched in any of those areas among many others but also to support and have healthy interactions.

As we evolve in the use of the platform and users become more active there is a shift in the platform’s feed. There is an increment in outstanding posts but with those, there is a fair share of not so positive posts. I want to share my experience in the last months with some of the not so positive interactions and how we are impacting the professionalism here.

I have been encountering multiple posts or comments like: “this not Facebook”, “how this adds value” or “this is not the appropriate platform”. To be fair with both sides, the line of what to post or not to post is very thin. What I intend to highlight is that when we do comments like those we are going far from building a community. Do you share those types of comments in your professional environment? Do you stop people to tell them that how they do things is not the way to do it? Facebook and LinkedIn are different up to some extent. Remember people are contributing from their experiences, work and their personal life. Every time we post, a part of ourselves lives in that post. Is somewhat difficult trying to be professional or a content generator and not including who we are in a personal way.

Soon we will be having live videos on LinkedIn. Another expected feature for many. Again the excitement and criticism flooded the platform. I saw videos, images, comments on how LinkedIn Lives will be taking over and how mortified some of the professionals will be. Again, I ask, Is this is how we behave in our professional environment? Are we not building a community here? Technology keeps evolving people. LinkedIn Live is part of that evolution. We are repeating the behavior for the emojis or hashtags or even when Facebook rolled the live videos.

One of my favorite subject of discussions on LinkedIn that is being momentarily displaced because of the live videos is the motivational quotes. As I expressed in a post, the line of what to post is in a gray area. LinkedIn as the rest of the social platforms and all human environments is very diverse, some people enjoy them and some not. Yes, that is fine. But how if we do not criticize? We are here to connect, contribute, build and learn. Please, consider that not everybody has enough time to develop a post. Quotes are an easy and fair way to contribute to the platform. Let’s just continue building a community here.

This is one that really shocks me, mocking job seekers. In a very weird way, you can obtain something positive from this one. We are here to help? Aren’t we? How about we continue building? Let’s rephrase the post in a way that is more accessible to others. What if the job seekers did the same with recruiters or hiring managers? (At least I have not seen those posts.) It does not make it right, either. You want to deliver a point or to help job seekers, I’m sure there is a better way. Some examples are posts like tips for your resume, don’t do this in your resume, I did this in an interview and cost me the job…you get the idea.

As we continue to connect, contribute, build and learn a lot of professionals will stand out more than others. That’s great! In the spirit of building, try replying to other’s comments. I’m going to use this example only. There are really great posts on LinkedIn that are followed by extraordinary comments. Remember, we are a community. Engage with those followers. I know sometimes is hard to keep track or there is not enough time. But those professionals are engaging with you for a reason.

You will probably think that I’m doing the same, criticizing. In a way, I’m doing that. But my intention is to remind you and fellow professionals to connect, contribute, build and learn. LinkedIn is a community of professionals where everybody is looking to grow.

What I intend to point is that lately there is an increase in posts like the ones in the examples above. If we continue to post or promote these type of posts, I think that we are deviating from the purpose of the platform. We are discouraging positive interaction that will result in connecting, contributing, building and learning. Moreover, do we behave like this as professionals? We have the opportunity here to build together, let’s take all the advantage that we can from it. We want the platform to be better, let’s start working towards that. I’m sure you all have great ideas that can continue enhancing our experience on LinkedIn.

Let’s continue building together!

 

A version of this article was originally published on LinkedIn.

I was Rejected by a Chiropractor

I was Rejected by a Chiropractor

Despite being in a lot of pain, about a week ago a chiropractor rejected treating me.

In the lines below I share my experience with the first practice that I visited in Washington. I have been in the state since Summer 2018. The rejection was really disappointing but not more than discovering how they operate and that patient wellness is not their goal.

As you go on reading the red flags that I observed and ignored are in red. After being rejected, I did some research that inspired me to share my experience. This is my personal experience. My hope with this is to inform you if you decide to go under chiropractic care.

I was (still) in a lot of pain

I found the chiropractor name on a community Facebook page. I did a couple of checks: chiro blog post 3reviews, recommendations, webpage, and office location. Since I was satisfied I proceeded to contact them. When I called they were available the next day, that doesn’t happen all the time. And they accepted my health insurance.

First visit

I had to do the usual paperwork and tour the office. I talked to the doctor. Then I had a back scan and an x-ray. Then we talked a little more. To my disappointment, no adjustments were done on the first visit. And to continue being disappointed at the check out I discovered that the practice was not yet contracted by my insurance.

Second Visit

I entered the office to find a group talk setting. Then we discussed my results. My back scan results showed a lot of problem areas. My spine and neck are misaligned (the natural curve has changed). I needed a lot of therapy according to the doctor. The doctor presented the options for treatment and pricing. The treatment varied from two to four visits a week and between $1,800 to $3,200 for a year. This was incredibly expensive. I told the doctor that I needed to talk to my husband.

We went to the treatment room. I was adjusted with an activator. Once again, I was disappointed because the doctor didn’t talk about the technique to be used. The adjustment was in the back of my pelvis, but I went there for neck and back pain. I told the doctor that my neck was really hurting and I was adjusted at my request. Promptly and insistently they made an appointment for the next day. I was told to drink lots of water.

Third Visit

We went to talk again…lol, Of course, they wanted to know my decision regarding the treatment. As I went into the room in disappointment again because I was asked about my decision but not about how I was feeling. I told the doctor that the treatment was not affordable for us. The doctor responded that they focus on preventive care and that two visits a week was the least they could do. I was used to going once a month or as needed in other practices. The doctor said that I had severe injuries and that the prescribed treatment was the best course of action. I stood in my position of not moving forward with the treatment. The doctor recommended another practice. We left the office and a copy of the x-rays was provided to me.

After the visit

-The first thing was to look for a new practice. Then I did a lot of reading (some links will be shared at the end) and I learned/realized a couple of things:

-I was not familiar with the treatment plans that some chiropractors offer. I have visited three practices before and was never in a treatment plan. As I read more, this is like a standard process in Washington. I checked some doctor’s websites, and there it was…the option of treating you for a long period of time. I went back to check my previous doctors (California and Puerto Rico), just regular treatment depending on your condition. Of course, I may need to visit the practice more than once but four times a week for around $264 a month wasn’t for me.

-The secretary lied or made a mistake (no trust at this point) about the health insurance coverage. Then on the second appointment, everything worked out for the treatment pricing. Looks like they were planning on using all my chiropractor visits benefit on a year. So, magically I needed all the approved visits from the health insurance.

-They didn’t provide treatment on the first visit. According to some chiropractors themselves, they are capable enough to provide relief in the first visit.

-They weren’t upfront about the treatment and pricing.

My take for you 

This has been a really uncomfortable experience. I’m still in pain and not trusting the doctors around here. Its been a week after the last visit, I have checked about 10 practices and none have inspired me to make an appointment.

I really believe in chiropractor care. I have seen improvements in my health in the past and in family members as well. But the practices on the “treatment” are fishy. How can a doctor say that a patient will get better in 32 visits? We are not machines every person/case is different.

If you are looking for chiropractor care, please ask questions about the price, treatment and the techniques. You are the patient and you are paying for it. You have every right to know. Consider talking to your primary doctor for the best medical options or for finding a chiropractor.

 

Be well & good vibes;

Mayra

Reference links:

Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition. The external links in this publication do not represent my opinion and are for reference purposes.

 

 

 

 

My Journey as a Stay-at-Home Wife

My Journey as a Stay-at-Home Wife

Last July we moved to Washington because my husband got a new job. As a result, I had to resign from my job in California. Immediately, I started looking for jobs, applied for unemployment and started attending professional events in Washington. This was something that I never thought that I would be doing.

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Attending a Latinas in Seattle event.

Staying at home brought new ideas and gave me more time to work on them. I started my own consulting firm. Looked into new topics for blogging. And I have new sections on the works: Living with Anxiety, Emergency Preparedness, and Product & Service Reviews. Also, I have been trying to be more active in my social channels. I was able to learn a lot through free webinars, free in-person classes, and YouTube. I discovered new abilities hidden in me, I found new passions and I found great joy from being at home.

I did a lot of reflection on our move and in the things we wanted to accomplish in our new place. As I had more time now, I started evaluating and better-organizing things at home.

I became extremely grateful for the food in our table. One day I was having lunch alone at home, reflecting on the job search rejections and in how much my husband was working. As I put the plate in the table I said: “thank you Lord for the food in our table”. Sometimes we feel that the things are just given but we have to work for them. Every time that we eat I feel grateful. And I feel grateful for having a home and for this chance to be doing other things.

I took a closer look at the home finances. I now have the time to pay a closer look at the

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savings, discounts, coupons, offers, etc. I have managed to save around $30 at the grocery store in one trip. Because of the “extra time” we were able to score big discounts on Black Friday. I became more aware of the contents in our pantry and improved my recipes being able to use “everything” before the expiration date. I have done multiple delicious recipes and tried the recipes in the food packaging. Check my Instagram for my cooking progress.

On the learning side, I watched a lot of videos about minimalism, home efficiencies, and how to be more eco-friendly. Because of this, I avoided unnecessary purchases, have been more careful when buying groceries, have analyzed everything that is being brought home and have been looking for additional eco solutions for composting, reducing bottled water usage and buying bulk. These practices have also saved money and helped the planet.

I have been even more supportive of the job my husband does. In the past, we both had complicated schedules. At the end of the day, we would tell each other how busy we were. Know he’s had the time to share even more of the daily challenges he faces at work. I do my best to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for him. And for this, he is extremely happy and grateful.

We have grown as a couple. Is like we grew into another level of maturity. When he has very long days, I wake up with him, prepare breakfast and hang out with him while getting ready for work (sometimes at 4 AM). When possible he comes home for lunch. He has been very thankful for all my efforts to keep him comfortable when coming home from work.

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Thanksgiving decoration

I have been able to meet the community. Being at home gave me the flexibility to help with the community events. We moved in July and in August I was cutting vegetables for a BBQ. Then, I helped with a coloring day, prepared brunch and was even able to decorate for Christmas at the clubhouse. I have been able to visit the library, and this was something that I wanted to do in California and never got the chance. As a result, I have new friends and some new tea buddies.

Finally, I’m very happy for this period. Its been hard so much rejection in the job search and scary trying to start a business. But I learned a lot. I had so much time for networking and have been able to meet really great people. At home, I have never cooked so much in my life, lol. But I have enjoyed it. I loved my husband’s face or texts after he tries the food.

By being more grateful during this time, I have grown a better woman, a better wife, a better professional all because I have had the chance to stay at home. The journey continues for a job, for my own firm and to maintain these new standards that we have been enjoying.

I would have never thought that this opportunity will bring so many good things in our lives. It was certainly not planned but we have been making the most out of it. I am very aware that these things can be done when you are working, I have done some of them. But sometimes we are so focused on our job that the rest went to a second place.

To more opportunities to grow;

Life Postcards

New Year, Now What?

New Year, Now What?

New goals? We all have asked that question ourselves.

Set some new goals, dream about the things you can achieve and incentivize others to do the same. Planning and being excited about the new year is a personal choice. If you don’t feel like doing it, please try not to discourage others.

But establishing goals gives you a sense of direction.

I like to plan for the year ahead. In fact, I have been doing new year’s resolutions since around 2000. They have worked for me and sometimes I haven’t met some of my goals. And that’s fine, don’t torture yourself if you don’t meet your goals.

Some examples of things to plan for the new year:

  • planning 3Establish a general budget or a budget by expense type
  • Health changes (diet, exercise, visit a doctor, plan a major procedure, etc.)
  • Family vacation
  • Career change or advancement
  • Ask for a raise at work
  • Could be the year to jump into entrepreneurship
  • Decluttering (house, car, office, phone, life)

In addition, is a good time to reflect on the past year:

  • How many times was I sick?
  • Did I run out of money often?
  • Did I had a lot of family issues?
  • What could have done better overall?
  • Did I buy a lot of unnecessary stuff?
  • Were my habits healthy?

Go ahead and reflect into these two set of questions. Adjust as necessary. Find what would be the best method for you. Establish alarms, use sticky notes, place reminders in hidden places or learn as you go. This does not have to be perfect. The main expectation is to move you forward to a better place. To create your Life Postcard. ♥

Remember: This is for you, these are your goals. Do not compare yourself to social media or to others. We all have different needs. If you want to keep it personal, that’s okay too.

When you set goals set realistic and achievable expectations. You can write down “the main categories” and then break it into months, weeks or as needed. In the past, I have used a Gantt Chart and is really helpful and visual.

As usual, technology can be a tremendous ally but if you are setting goals for the first time is good to keep it simple. Is good to write them down by hand, it feels more intentional. It feels like you, it feels personal. In my case, besides the Gantt Chart, I have used note taking apps, established goals in the Google Calendar and love to write them down.

If you are into crafting, create a vision board. You can get cut outs from magazines, newspapers, get stickers or use colored markers to express yourself and your dreams.

The intention is to set a plan for the year, to head in the direction of the place you want to be. Do your research, explore new goals, talk to family or friends or “find yourself” during this process.

What will you add? Have you used any apps to facilitate planning? Any suggestions?

Wishing you success;

Life Postcards

My First Black Friday

My First Black Friday

Yes! There are still people out there that have not experienced Black Friday.

We decided to go this year since September. The kids needed some computers and we have been watching the prices. As a fan of planning; I read and watched videos related to Black Friday shopping.

thanksgiving dinnerAfter Thanksgiving dinner, we drove by the shopping mall to monitor activity. Since we saw some movement and the mall doors open we decided to go at 6AM. The store was opening at 7AM. We woke up at 4:30AM and when I checked the deals one of the computers was more expensive than before. Due to our little experience, we were somewhat discouraged and stayed in bed a little longer. We showed up at the mall around 8:30AM. To our surprise, there was one additional deal by buying one of the computers. Not so bad, I thought.

We got a deal that included a free online game of Black Ops. The office software was $20 off.

After we bought the computers at Microsoft, we decided to go and explore the mall. The following deals were of my interest:

  • 50% off entire GAP Store
  • 50% off (most of the store, I think) Banana Republic
  • 30% off Timberland
  • 25% off at Pandora or a deal (bracelet, two stoppers, and a charm)
  • 40% off on selected winter jackets at Macy’sclothes graphic
  • 50% off on selected items at JCP
  • $70 off in a Dell computer monitor

I can attest to these deals since we were familiar with the original prices. I saw some good promotions through the store windows but since I was not familiar with the original pricing I did not bother.

As for the online shopping, in my experience, the deals were the same. Interestingly, in Facebook, some followers were arguing with some retailers that they increased the prize just before Black Friday. Since I was not familiar with the previous prize I could not tell but the page administrators were apologizing. So, this made me think that they were right about the prices.

I think that we may attempt to go in 2019 but I want to be better prepared. I have been unsure but that 50 % in clothing let me thinking. Remember to always plan ahead, it will serve you better. Buying impulsively and without all the facts is not the best course of action even if it’s not Black Friday.

How was your shopping experience;

Life Postcards

Disclaimer: This blog reflects my opinions. I am not being sponsored or being paid by any of the brands mentioned. I reserve the right to update the content as needed as part of the blog. The information contained on this blog is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information on the website as a basis for shopping.

 

Preparing For The Holidays

Preparing For The Holidays

xmas hands

As the holiday season approaches, I invite you to be smart in your shopping and with your feelings.

Besides the family gathering and festivities, let’s see the holidays for what they bring to us if we are not prepared: a lot of shopping = debt and emotional stress = depression.

These days we let the holiday spirit carry us away and let social media dictate the way to celebrate. We need to be truthful and clear about the things that we plan for this part of the year.

A lot of people feel the need or feel obligated to buy gifts for a lot of people. But they are not in the best financial position to do that. I am sharing this somewhat early to give you a heads up and start planning with the time you have left.

Evaluate Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday or Cyber Monday as possible options for discounts. I strongly encourage you to start checking prices for the gifts that you have in mind. Be mindful and realistic about the gifts and prepare a list. Assign a budget for each person and work around that.

Do not feel obligated to wow them with an amazing gift. Think of something useful and appropriate. Do not overspend. Do not try to match yourself to social media.

xmas ornament

As for your feelings, relax for the holidays. If you do not know this, I will tell you; there is drama in most (if not all) families. If you are not up for drama, do not attend events. And if you go, please be patient and tolerant. Also, instead of attending the whole event you may attend a couple of hours. I recommend getting when the event starts because sometimes there are fewer people and is easy when you want to leave. Or you can try arriving towards the end when probably some guests have left already.

A lot of people get emotional during the holidays for various reasons. Try to be prepared ahead of time with the gift shopping. If you have existing conflicts in your family try to solve them during the year or try to use the holidays as a motive to solve them. When you put an end to emotional situations, there is a huge weight that is removed from us. Plus relationships improve.

The holidays bring a lot of emotions and spending. Be smart about it and tolerant. Even shopping can get stressful. The social demands and responsibilities are increasing but we need to stay put to be able to make it in one piece.

What are your thoughts about holiday spending and festivities? Comment and share.

Do your best always and have a blast during this holiday season;

Life Postcards