Tag Archives: goals

Finish What You Start


 

Do you often struggle to complete  projects/goals you if though you have every intention of finishing them? All my life I have struggled with the shiny object syndrome. At times, it got so bad, I resorted to scheduling my entire day, hour by hour , if I wanted to get anything done! Believe it or not, this is a common problem. After taking stock of myself, and trying different approaches, I discovered that luckily, you can I can follow a few steps to ensure, that we can become the type of person who finishes a project once we start it.  Let us get you set up for success!

  1. Make A Plan

The first step to finishing a task is making sure you have a plan at the beginning. It needs to be a plan which you write down. A mental note isn’t worth the piece of paper it is written on. You may want to jump in and start something in your excitement, but you might not realize all the work and challenges you will face. When you take the time to make a plan, this will better prepare you for the task at hand, and you’ll be able to spot problems much more easily.

  1. Take A Break

If you find yourself getting overly frustrated or beginning to loathe the project because you’ve been working on it for so long, it’s okay to take a short break. This break will help reset your mind and focus. You might even be able to solve some of the problems you are facing while you take this little breather. Just make sure that when you set an endpoint to your break, this way you can hold yourself to it and not just abandon the project.

  1. Make Small Goals and Rewards For Yourself

As you plan how you will conquer your task or project, break your goal into smaller mini-goals. Then, cross them off and reward yourself as you complete them. It will help keep you on task, and you’ll be able to feel as if you are making progress, even if it’s small.  This progress will do wonders to keep your spirits high while working on the project. The little rewards you are giving yourself will probably help too.

So next time you get excited about a new project or goal in your life, slow down a bit and make a plan, complete with smaller goals and rewards for yourself. Then, as you pursue the project, don’t be afraid to take small breaks if you need to recuperate. Chances are, thanks to these three steps, you will be much more likely to finish your new goal than leave it abandoned. 

To Your Success,

Juan

To Give You An Idea or Nine


Drinking is a socially accepted coping mechanism. It’s an acceptable way to deal with a breakup, stress at work, or social anxiety. But maybe you’re starting to find that drinking alcohol is affecting your family or work relationships. Or maybe you’ve reached a point where you realize you don’t actually enjoy drinking.

As National Recovery Month draws to an end, here are some ways (9), in which you can Are you can kick the habit

  1. Identify your goal. Are you striving for complete sobriety or moderation management? Why do you want to stop drinking? Identify your goal and write it down.
  1. Review your drinking habits. Take a few minutes to think about why you drink in the first place and how often you do it. When you are more aware of when you feel compelled to drink, you can make a plan to prevent yourself from drinking when the triggers come up.
  • Why do you drink? What triggers the drinking habit? Maybe you find yourself drinking when out at dinner with friends or as a coping mechanism when you feel stressed.
  • How often do you drink? How much do you drink when you do?
  1. Create a plan. Once you’re aware of your drinking habits, you can start creating a plan to stop drinking – especially during the moments you find yourself drinking the most.
  • What will you do instead of drinking when you start craving alcohol? Maybe instead of drinking to relieve stress after work, you can exercise for 30 minutes.
  • Who will you call if you need in-person support? Let that person know what your plan is and what kind of support you might need.
  • Are there any activities you can do instead of drinking on the weekend? Maybe you can replace Friday nights at the bar with Friday nights playing board games. 
  1. Practice how you will respond when offered a drink. Now that you know what situations in which you are likely to drink, practice how you will respond to others in social drinking situations.
  • Find a new drink to enjoy.
  • Decide how you will answer when someone asks you why you don’t drink.
  • Practice your firm yet polite “no, thank you” if someone suggests you drink just one.
  1. Find support. Talk to family and friends about your intentions, as well as what you want to accomplish. Find a community (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) that can support and relate to you while you change your drinking habits.
  2. Reward yourself. Studies show that rewards help train your brain. How can you reward yourself when you choose not to drink? Maybe you can buy yourself chocolate with the money saved from not buying alcohol.
  3. What’s in it for you? Write it down. Research also shows that when you keep reminding yourself of the benefits that you’ll receive from achieving your goals, the actions you regularly take to achieve them lead to permanent change. Remind yourself about the benefits and enjoy them as you experience them.
  • Some benefits include reducing your risk of alcohol-related illness, saving money, more energy in your everyday life, and closer relationships.
  1. Develop a self-care routine. Get to the point where you’re too busy being productive and healthy that you believe a drink of alcohol would ruin it for you. Start exercising more, reading, and eating healthy! Learn or revisit a hobby. Start finding fun ways to take care of yourself.
  1. Don’t give up. You’re bound to have periods where avoiding alcohol is harder than usual or you fall back on your old habits. When this happens, look back at the benefits you’ve written down and reach out to a trusted friend for support. Take a deep breath, remember you are human, and try again.

Remember that big change takes time.  Whether you want to quit drinking completely or reduce your drinking, you’re making a big change in your life! The steps you take can dramatically impact your health, relationships, and quality of life for the better. 

You’ve got this!

To Your Success,
Juan

Fight Depression With Exercise


Is turning to therapy and medication the most effective solution for fighting depression? Studies are beginning to show, you can fight depression at home with a change in your activity level. It’s true! Physical activity can have a profound impact on your ability to overcome what ails you. If you’re feeling depressed, it might be time to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. Exercise comes in many different forms, find a regimen that fits you. 

Try these effective strategies to fight depression with exercise:

  1. Experience the runner’s high. Following a good workout, your body will experience what is known as a runner’s high, which results from an endorphin surge. The temporary mood lift this surge provides, can be beneficial in reducing depression on a short-term basis.
  • When you’re feeling tense, overwhelmed, or down in general, seek a temporary pick me up in the form of a workout. Go for a short walk, hop on a treadmill or elliptical, or ride your bicycle. Yoga, Pilates, and strength training workouts can provide you with a boost of endorphins.
  • Working out for at least 30 minutes to combat symptoms of depression, can also provide you with a boost in energy and concentration, which can reduce some of the negative feelings associated with depression. 
  1. Improve your overall well being. Strength training is a great way to improve your health and well being, which can reduce symptoms of depression. Lifting dumbbells, for example, can build long, lean muscle, which improves metabolism and builds a stronger and healthier body.
  • While strength training may not directly impact your depression symptoms, its ability to improve your health, can have long-term effects on your overall well being 
  1. Exercise daily. Exercise at least 30 minutes each day (or as often as you can), six days per week. According to the Journal of Preventive Medicine, several weeks after you establish this regular exercise routine, you’ll begin to feel relief of your depression symptoms on a more consistent basis. 
  1. Replace medications with exercise. The Journal of Preventive Medicine recently featured a study of patients with depression who worked out for at least 3 hours per week. This study found that the remission of these patients’ symptoms, was comparable to cognitive behavioral therapies, and medication treatments. You should never replace medications without approval from your medical provider
  • While exercise may not be able to completely replace your need for other treatment options, it can benefit your mental well being in many ways, making it an excellent way to balance the therapies that you rely on for relief.
  • If you’re currently in treatment or taking medication, discuss any changes in therapy or medications with your doctor before you change them.
  1. Develop a routine. Developing a regular routine for exercise can have numerous benefits. Not only will it combat your depression, having a routine to look forward to can boost your spirits, and ward off the overwhelming feelings of depression.

The Bottom Line
Depression can negatively impact your life in many ways. Experiment with different therapy and treatment options to get the help you need. Exercise is a great way to reduce the symptoms. Helping to clear your mind and improve your energy, while also giving you a general sense of well being.

If you don’t already have a regular exercise regimen and you’re suffering from depression, then this is a treatment option that is well worth considering. It may work well in conjunction with current treatment options or it may replace those treatment options altogether. Please consult with your physician to learn more.

To Your Success,
Juan

Insanity.


…is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” Tony Robbins. So it’s a new year, you want to change old habits and develop good ones. It’s important you understand why change is not easy. Old and bad habits are comfortable, safe, and does not require too much effort. However, if you are hoping for some insight into how to form new habits, the next few minutes is guaranteed to prepare you for change.  Think you can form a new habit in a few weeks? I used to think so too. Wrong. If you’ve been doing the same thing for decades, the truth is a bit more complicated.

The myth about behavior becoming automatic in 21 days, started when journalists misinterpreted a popular self-help book on Psycho Cybernetics back in the 1960’s. After all, you can probably eat more vegetables starting today, but complex tasks like playing the violin will take more time to stick. On the other hand, the New Year is an ideal time to begin forming constructive habits, geared towards enhancing your overall happiness and wellbeing for the rest of the year

Here are some basic strategies for habit formation. Set yourself up right now. Remember, it is okay to ease you into your new routines: 

Plan ahead. Eliminate excuses by plotting out your course in advance. If you want to wake up earlier, go to bed on time.

Be consistent. Regularity reinforces itself. Soon, it will be easier hit the gym after work, even if it’s raining, or colleagues are heading out for beer and pizza.

Spot triggers. Kicking a habit requires you to notice what happens right before you bite your nails or buy another pair of shoes. Are you bored at work or arguing with your spouse?
Develop substitutions. Once you know your cues, you can choose a different response. Take a walk or invite a friend out for coffee.

Review your reasons. Go over the reasons why you want to adopt your new behavior. For instance, remind yourself about the benefits of drinking water instead of soda.

Personalize your goals. While contemplating your why’s, visualize your future self. Focus on what you have to gain instead of just pleasing others.

What if you’re tackling something as ambitious as managing diabetes or transforming your dead-end dating history? Here are a few advanced strategies to get things going: 

Practice compassion. You’re bound to slip up occasionally. Forgive yourself, and move forward.

Team up. Enlist a friend, exchange support and encouragement. Eat lunch with a colleague who is trying to lose weight too.

Write it down. Raise your awareness by keeping a journal about your campaign to stop swearing or start flossing. Note what happens on the days you stick to your program,compared to the days when you drift back into old patterns.

Remove temptations. Eliminate the triggers that distract you from your objectives. Clear the junk food out of your kitchen, or the cigarettes out of your car.

Design obstacles. Make it difficult to give in to your old tendencies. Leave your credit cards at home to prevent impulsive shopping sprees.

Go on vacation. Leave home for a while. If you can afford one, vacations are an ideal time to forge new habits,  you can make a fresh start in different surroundings. 

Make time to sit down to meditate each morning. instead of becoming caught up in searching for lost socks or checking your email.

Make daily exercise (and parallel parking:) so easy you won’t even have to think about them. Positive habits make advantageous choices automatic so you’ll stick with them. You’ll also have more energy to devote to other challenges.

I hope you found these suggestions helpful. Feel free to share this post with your network.

You Your Success,

Juan

Distraction-free zone


I had every intention of posting much earlier than today. As a person of color living in NYC, as you can imagine, recent events surrounding the death of George Flloyd in MN, USA,  have captivated our attention. I needed time to step back, reflect, and decide what is next. I know you are bombarded from news all over the world already, but let me just say this, if you have supported the cause and movement in any way, THANK YOU. Now onto my WFH series!

One thing you have to master when you work from home is minimizing distractions. Household chores, TV, social media, and kids are some of the big ones. So, how exactly should you deal with these distractions to ensure you can work more efficiently? Below, you’ll discover some great tips. I hope you find them useful.

Turn distractions into rewards.
Distractions don’t have to be a bad thing. They can be used to reward yourself after completing work tasks. For example, if you love nothing more than to curl up in front of the TV watching your favorite shows, allow yourself the opportunity to watch something after completing a big project. Similarly, you could use social media in the same way. Once you’ve completed a task off your to-do list, reward yourself with a short period of time on your social media channels. Using distractions as a reward can help to keep you stay focused, and boost your motivation to get your work done.

Consider working in various parts of the home
It’s common to set aside just one place to work from. However, did you know you may find it more productive to work in various areas of the home? It’s all about adding variety into your new working environment. Some days, the spare room may be the best place to get work done. Other times, you may find it more beneficial to work on the dining room table, or in the back yard. Don’t limit yourself to where you can work, mix it up, and watch your productivity levels increase.

Add a little background music
This tip might not be useful to everyone, but many professionals claim working with background music, can limit their distractions. You’ll want to focus on calming music, rather than something that makes you want to sing along. Alternatively, listening to podcasts and audiobooks in the background can also work well. So, if you struggle with productivity, try adding a little background noise and see if it makes a difference.

Check emails sparingly
Checking emails is important when you work from home. However, it can also take up a lot of time. Try to limit how many times you check them during the day. Ideally, first thing in the morning, then after you’ve completed each task you’re working on. Some adjustment is required, depending on the type of work project.

Turn off notifications
Finally, a great tip is to turn off those notifications. Social media, news, and app notifications can prove really distracting when you’re working from home. It’s not always easy limiting distractions when you work from home, but it can be done, and with practice, it will become a norm for you.

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

STRONGER THAN YOUR EXCUSE


My first post of the decade Promises, Promises examined the goals we set each year, but sometimes never accomplish. By the time February rolls around, some goals are already a distant memory. My intent over the next several months is to provide additional support and resources, to help your goal setting journey. It’s never too late to start over. Let’s begin goal setting!
Too many people resolve to lose weight, but never actually have a plan in place. Therefore, year after year, they make the same New Year’s resolution, because their goal was never achieved. Has this happened to you? How can you change this relentless pattern? It might come as no surprise you are frustrated because you never seem to get it right. Not from a lack of trying either. Creating and following a goal-setting system, is crucial to success.

It’s important when setting goals to follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal system. This system will help you accomplish what you set out to do in a timely fashion.
Specific. Be explicit in what you want. Write down a specific number of pounds that you would like to lose.
Measurable. Weigh yourself every week and take note of your weight change, either up or down. Keep track of this in a journal.
Attainable. Small goals that lead up to a larger goal are often easier to reach. The success of reaching these small goals will keep you motivated.
Realistic. Understand what your body is capable of doing and set your goals accordingly.
Timely. Keep your goal in focus by setting a completion date.

Consider the following weight loss tips, if this is one of your resolutions:
1. Have a plan of action. How much weight do you want to lose? Break your total down into a series of smaller attainable goals. For example, plan to lose _ pounds by _ (date). Make these goals realistic, and then follow a plan of diet and exercise to achieve them.
⦁ Your plan may require changes in your lifestyle. Work these changes into your daily routines one-by-one to attain your goals.
⦁ Write your goals down in a journal, and review them every day.
2. Change your diet. Figure out how many calories you’ve been consuming each day. If it’s over the recommended daily allowance, gradually decrease the number of calories instead of immediately dropping to the desired number. Eventually, you’ll reach your goal without being severely deprived.
⦁ Reducing your daily calorie intake will require healthy eating choices. Consult your physician for recommended nutritional guides, and choose the one that works best for you.
⦁ There are online programs and apps (my fitness pal, better me etc) which calculate your calorie and fat intake. All you do is write in your food choices. Use whatever tools you need to simplify your tasks, and stay motivated to reach your goals.
3. Get off the Couch. Set a reasonable exercise schedule to help you with your weight loss goal. Design your exercise regimen to target the areas that need the most toning (i.e. thighs, abs, arms, buttocks, etc.).
⦁ Keep your exercise goals realistic. Start small, and then increase your regimen. For example, running 5 miles every day will burn off a lot of calories, but it may not be feasible. First try walking to build up some stamina and then add running, little by little.
⦁ Setting goals that are too far from your normal activities, will quickly wear you out and discourage you. Start small and build on each success. Increase your exercise time (or treadmill speed, or incline, etc.) by a small increment each week.
⦁ Exercising a little bit each day will increase energy, and help you become healthier. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive exercise equipment either. Walk or run around your neighborhood, or use canned foods instead of weights. You can even borrow exercise DVDs from the library.
4. Make friends. The people who are usually the most successful in losing weight and keeping it off, are the ones who have a great support system. Nothing deters you, like knowing you’re accountable to others for every bite.
⦁ Your support team will encourage, serve as workout partners,, and bring inspire confidence in tough times.
⦁ Some people find it helpful to join a local weight loss support, or online weight loss group. Celebrating your weight loss successes with others will make them that much more meaningful. There is strength in numbers.

Losing weight is possible for anyone who approaches the challenge wisely. With some careful planning and determination, your weight loss goal can certainly become a reality in this Year. As with every article about diet and exercise, always consult your healthcare professional.

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

 

Show Me The Money!


Where is Your Money Going?
At the end of each month, do you find yourself wondering where all your hard-earned money went? Discovering your financial drains will enable your money to work for you. Funding savings, debt repayment, or other things that are important to you instead of just disappearing into nothingness. A little detective work might be necessary, to figure out where your money is going. The best way to get a handle on your finances is to get everything accounted for, then tackle your financial goals.
How can we identify our money drains and improve our financial outlook? Consider the following tips:

  1. Calculate all income. The first thing to do is calculate all sources of income for your household. Put together a chart listing income sources and amounts for the past 30 days. This will give you an idea of how much money is coming into the household, which is the first step to determining, how much is going out.
  2. List your expenses. List all of your regular monthly expenses such as rent or house payments, car payments, credit card and loan payments, gas, food, utilities, cable, internet and others. Try to list exact numbers, or estimate if your expenses vary. This will give you a good idea of what your basic expenses are.
  3. Track every penny. Spend an entire month tracking every cent that you spend. Write down your beginning balance, and every dollar in and every dollar out. This is the key to determining where you’re losing money.
  4. Interpret the results. Compare how much money you’re bringing in, to how much you’re spending every month on bills, and other expenses. Are you spending beyond your means? Are you allocating money for savings, investments, and retirement?
  • If you have money drains, determine what they are. Are you spending $4.00 on an iced latte Monday through Friday? Is your dining out expenses much higher than you expected? Are you eating from vending machines or expensive fast-food joints at lunch, rather than brown-bagging it?
    5. Put this information to good use. Armed with your written guide (below) to your income and expenses, you can control your finances more effectively. Once you have this information laid out in front of you, it will allow you to fine-tune your finances little by little, until you’re putting more money into savings and less into “money drains” from month to month.
  • Determine ways to reduce these money drains. Can you brew coffee at home to save money every week? Can you cook at home to save money on eating out? A few dollars saved every month in different areas of your budget can definitely add up to your benefit.

Once you determine how much money you have coming in and going out, start directing your money toward what’s really important. Trim down your expenses or find ways to increase your income. Do not spend beyond your means. Your financial future will shine much brighter when you prepare for the future you desire. Use this free Budgeting-A-New-You-Workbook to help you get started!

Next week, look out for simple ways to take back more of your time.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan