Tag Archives: Goals

My R&R: Routines and Rituals

In last week’s post, I talked about how stuck I’ve been recently. One way I’ve be able to start taking baby steps forward is using the routines I previously had in place. They’re familiar, comfortable and have made each day easier. But why are routines and rituals so important?

Most of us have routines in place unintentionally. If you catch same train every day or brush your teeth before bed, you have an established routine. Those are unconscious decisions we’ve made for a while. The routines that are more important are the ones we intentionally decide to implement in our lives.

My friend and creator of more happy hours, Jullien Gordon was the person who got me thinking about intentional routines and rituals over two years ago. At the beginning of each year, Jullien creates his New Year Guide, which allows people to focus on goals in each area of their lives. He helps people dive deeper in how they’ll achieve the goal, what obstacles they’ll face and how to implement more consistent routines in their lives.

RoutinesI just finished filling out my guide last night and was completely energized by it. There’s something about writing down aspirations for the future and your plan for achieving them that excites me. During this process, I was reminded of how chosen routines will help me along. For example, I’m running (hopefully not trotting) Mudderella this summer with my super talented runner friend. I’m totally intimidated and know training more regularly is a must. So I thought about what I could intentionally do to ensure I stick to a training plan. Some of my thoughts included:

  • Telling as many people as possible about the race. These people then will help to hold me accountable and will hopefully check in to see how I’m progressing
  • Starting smart and pacing myself. I’m not going to be able to run five miles immediately. It’s more about setting realistic goals, like running for 30 minutes twice a week and gradually increasing from there
  • Thinking about the big picture. So it’s not just about running since there are obstacles included in this race. Eating better and meal prepping will help; so will strength training. One routine I wanted to start that’s been a struggle is doing a bit of strength training in the morning before I get ready for work. No matter what I tell myself or how early I set my alarm, I haven’t been able to jump start this one. Any ideas you have to help are appreciated.

You can apply my tips listed above to implementing any new routine. You also shouldn’t try to create a bunch of new routines at once. You’re going to be so focused on getting each one perfected that they won’t stick. Like with most everything else, it’s a balancing act. Give yourself permission to mess up a routine once in a while. Getting frustrated isn’t going to help.

Ultimately, routines and rituals energize you and help create consistently across all aspects of your life. Believing in and harnessing their power will absolutely help you achieve your goals. Share some of your favorite routines or rituals on the comments section!

Financially Fearless: A Levo League Event Recap

This past week, I finally attended a Levo League event. Levo is a community of passion women working to help one another. They sponsor all types of events across the country to better professional women. Tuesday night I attended one such event called Financially Fearless, which was led by Alexa Von Tobel, the CEO of Learnvest, a company centered around affordable financial planning. What a great night discussing an important topic!

First, it was great to network with the Levo ladies. All poised and energetic, they were so welcoming and happy to hear my story. After some chatting, Alexa began her talk, centered around the her, Financially Fearless that ties to her company. In short, Learnvest is a budgeting tool with help from a certified financial planner. The book (and the Learnvest plan) provides simple but effective tools to help you manage your money. Alexis broke down each step, with charismatic humor and true passion.

Alexa sharing great tips at the event hosted by Levo League

Alexa sharing great tips at the event hosted by Levo League

Step 1: Focus – You need to sit down and figure out where your money is going. Track all of your spending (the Learnvest app can help). You should look at your credit cards and how often you use them as well as your 401K plan and credit score. My personal favorite points from Alexa on this topic included setting up a separate email account for all your bills and for having calendar alerts for all payments.

Step 2: Focus – Know your after taxes income and your expenses. Remember there should be money left after paying your bills. Another great point: Just because you make more money doesn’t mean you’ll save more. If your pay and spending both continue to increase, that won’t solve any financial problems.

Step 3: Plan – Make sure you have an emergency savings account that you do not touch. This should be for true emergencies, not needing a new dress for an upcoming event. The goal should be to constant financial stability.

Step 4: Build – Alexa described this as the dream phase. Set financial goals for the future and plan out all of those crazy things you want to go and do later on in life.

Step 5: Protect – Alexa emphasized that this probably the most important phase. Look at all of your insurance policies (home, health, car, etc) and make sure you are getting all benefits of the policy. Once you have a full-time job, health insurance is a must and so is renter’s insurance if you rent. Favorite quote here? “Unused credit cards are a hacker’s dream.” Amen!

Step 6: Maximize – This part was all about investing, which honestly gives me some anxiety as I don’t fully understand every piece of it. The most important concept here is to invest money in a variety of assets but only do it if you can afford to leave it in the market for a five-year minimum. This way, you’ll have a shot of investments turning a profit.

Alexa's best selling book!

Alexa’s best selling book!

Step 7: Achieve – The final phase is about being prepared even if life changes. Alexa gave a great analogy: The way you manage your health meaning going to the doctor, taking vitamins, etc., should be the same way you approach being financially responsible. You need to pay attention to it!

Alexa’s 45 minute chat was jammed packed with information, realistic examples and helpful tips. Her passion for making financial planning affordable is clearly apparent. I can’t wait to read her book and start using the LearnVest app. Expect an update once I do!

Our Obsession with 20-Somethings

Everywhere you look on social media, there are articles about the 20-somethings. From Thought Catalog to Elite Daily, there are lists of fun activities to do in your twenties and others filled with thought-provoking lists of goals to never give up on during your twenties. I, along with every other 20-something, retweets, prints and highlights these articles. My question is why?

twentiesYour twenties is the decade where you do the most soul-searching. Typically, you’re just starting your career, haven’t found that special someone yet and certainly do not have kids. The responsibility of adulthoood is overwhelming and you’re barely breathing some days. How could you ever be responsible for another life?! But that’s how I see my twenties; it doesn’t mean the rest of the world does or should view it like me.

The millennial generation, myself included, is obsessed with defining the 20-something. We read, post and beg for a definition, a plan for each of us to follow. I don’t know if it’s insecurity or uncertainty but there is something there. For me, I am unsure of the future, what exactly I want and how it’s all going to play out. I read these articles across every social media forum searching for the exact answer on how to proceed confidently into the future.

Well guess what? No one, no article or Twitter account can provide me with the right way to take my journey. Sure, reading them is harmless enough as long as you don’t define your life by them. It is perfectlylife ahead fine to be 30, single with a kick-ass career. In the same breath, it’s great to be 24, married and wanting nothing more than to raise babies. Bottom line: It’s your life, own it and make choices based on your happiness, no one else’s.

The 20-somethings are an interesting group whose perspectives are constantly evolving. We have a lot to say about the world and our place in it. So if you’re a 20-something, own your twenties in whichever way you want. If you’re not, have a conversation with one and share your knowledge with them. They will appreciate it!

How Do You Define Success?

Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg have permeated every news channel, major corporation and magazine cover during the last couple of months. The book has been wildly successful and Sandberg has led an army of mainly women in the charge for equality in the workplace. While her book is very helpful and it’s great companies want to aid women in the work/life balance struggle, “Lean In” is not a gospel for every woman out there.

The work/life balance is such a personal issue for men and women alike that no one prescribed way can be applied to everyone’s situation. In reality, it comes down to how you define success. Is is a c-suite office, a certain pay grade, or having happy, responsible children? I can’t answer that question for you and neither can Sheryl Sandberg. What we can do, as women fighting for a better tomorrow, is lift each other up rather than bring one another down.

acsuccessSuccess is one of those obscure topics like happiness. There’s the dictionary definition but that can’t possibly capture everyone’s feelings on these sometimes lofty out-of-reach ideas. A co-worker recently shared a Harvard Business Review (HRB) article that eloquently addressed the topic of success saying “You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.” I experienced this epitome earlier in the week when I made the conscious decision to attend my fitness class instead of staying later at work. As a young professional, my career is top of mind, but since the start of 2014, my health has become a top priority too. Right now, being successful means taking time for myself, whether that is a yoga class or a manicure.

It is easy to define success right now as a single, young professional with no responsibility to anyone but myself. However, I know it will gradually become harder, when I add a significant other and children to the mix. That is why I enjoyed the HBR article so much; it is okay for your definition of success to change as your grow and figure out what you want from this life. I look at others my age and occasionally question their lack of ambition. But who am I to define success for them? I can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. We can’t define success for anyone else but ourselves.

I think that having a clear definition of success and sharing it with your board of directors is important. Of course,definesuccess you can change this definition whenever you need to, but keeping it top of mind will help you make tough decisions. If you define success as being home with your children by 6 p.m. three nights a week, write it on a post-it, share it with your team and make it happen! I doubt it will always be easy and sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice, but keeping your definition of success top of mind should help.

How do you define success? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

 

Owning 2014

It’s the beginning of January, which means two things: people are dieting and people are blogging about their New Year’s resolutions. It’s the time of year when everyone joins the gym and lists out everything they want to do (or stop doing) for the upcoming year. The new year is also a time to reflect and set goals for the next 365 days.

confidenceI’ve already told you some of my goals for 2014 in my previous blog post. This post is not about New Year’s resolutions but rather about the main quality I want to embody this year: confidence. For me, confidence is something I’ve always struggled with, often second guessing myself and not owning my ideas. Well, that is going to change starting right now.

Within the last couple of months, I’ve read plenty of blog posts and articles about confidence. Five steps to build more confidence and why confidence is important headlines have flooded my inbox. This makes me suspect that many people struggle with confidence. The million dollar question is why? Here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with:

1). In general, our society relies on what people think far too much. We ask for second and third opinions for every decision we make. We need to trust ourselves more and go with our gut.

2) Fear of failure absolutely plays a role in lack of confidence. People assume failure is negative and should be avoided. While failure may have negative consequences, it is the best teacher. If you don’ try, you’ll never know what a success you could be.

3) The balance between cocky and confidence is hard so people are afraid to own it. If you act over-confident, people see you as arrogant, inflexible and unwilling to learn. But if you don’t own it, people own itcould see you as weak. The challenge is striking the balance between the two.

Confidence is one of the most important soft-skills that could make or break you in any life situation. At work, it’s tricky to strike just the right balance. For women, if you’re too sensitive, you are seen as weak. If you are too confident, you are seen as a bitch. A man who acts the same way is seen as a leader. It is another challenge all working women face and have to focus on. Seeking advice from more seasoned professionals and being self-aware of your level of confidence could help.

My plan for 2014 is to own it! I want to continue to learn and grow while not being afraid to highlight my areas of expertise. Join me in the journey to becoming more confident. How will you own 2014? Is confidence something you struggle with? Share your thoughts with me!

Thank you Summer 2013

With most children starting school today, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on my summer. Obviously, I was pretty busy! The end of summer is just the right time to look back on what you accomplished and set new goals for the fall.

When I was a Resident Assistant at Temple University, at the start of the spring semester, we did an exercise called “stop, start, continue.” As a staff, we listed out activities or behaviors we wanted to stop, to start and to continue.  I thought I’d organize all I learned this summer into those categories.

Stop:

  • Spending money: While it’s perfectly fine to believe in the phrase, “work hard, play hard,” I have to limit how much I spend on extra things. I am still living at home so it’s the opportune time to save. The fabulous ladies at Levo League posted a great article about when to dip into your savings. Wish I had read this sooner!
  • Feeling guilty: More to come on this topic later in the month. But I’m learning to feel less guilty about having a good job, making money, spending time with my friends over my family and vice versa. My life, my time.
  • Freaking out about work: As important as a job is, it’s just a job, not a life. While I love my current job, it doesn’t have to be forever. As the perpetual over thinker, I have to stop obsessing over the future and just keep moving forward

Start:

  • Traveling more: I am fortunate to travel for work frequently but this is different. I want to plan weekends away with my girlfriends and cousins; to visit new places, explore and be curious.
  • Being confident: Expect a post about this soon as well. I tend to downplay my abilities both at work and in my personal life. At almost twenty-three, it’s time to own my awesomeness instead of shying away from it.

Continue:

  • Blogging: I thoroughly enjoy writing and updating this blog weekly. Over the summer, other things took up my time. However, starting now, this blog will be my area of focus. Writing and sharing my thoughts is something I am passionate about so I have to make it a priority.
  • Running: I started running back in March and completed two races. It felt great and I saw its benefits in my body and in how I felt. It’s time to restart and get back into the healthy lifestyle groove.

As you can see, I learned a lot this summer and am so glad I used those sunny Saturday afternoons to grow and better myself. What did your learn from your summer? Do you have any goals for the fall? Please share!

Motivation Mondays: On The Power Play

Hockey is a way of life in my house. My dad has coached hockey for pretty much my entire life. My 8 year-old brother was born with a stick in his hands and now plays. We’ve been going to New York Ranger games for as long as I could remember. So I’ve come to know the game pretty well throughout the last 22 years of my life.

When I was job searching, my friend and mentor Jason Mollica described my situation as being on a power play. For those who don’t know, a power play is a hockey term that means one team has more players on the ice then the other. This is usually because the shorthanded team has a player in the penalty box. The bottom line is one team has the advantage over the other. When Jason used this metaphor to explain my predicament at the time, I wasn’t sure I understood. However, his words have stuck with me during the last few months.

When I was job searching, I was networking with industry professionals, researching jobs and giving my resume to anyone with a reputable job and a pulse. I worked hard to make myself stand out from the millions of other recent college graduates looking for a job. I gave myself the advantage; I was on the power play.

Now that I have a job, I haven’t been as aggressive in terms of networking and talking to professionals. As I sat at the Rangers game a couple of weekends ago, I thought about how I used to be on the power play. Why did that advantage have to go away just because I found a job? In that moment, I decided to be on the power play again; to distinguish myself as an enthusiastic young professional always looking for new ways to grow personally and professionally. To start the process again, I am finding more ways to network and want to start reading more. Baby steps, right?

Hockey teams use power plays to capitalize or in hockey terms, score a goal. All of us, especially young professionals just starting out, should be on the power play. We need to make ourselves stand out and give ourselves the advantage. Share your ideas for how we can do this!

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