The Struggle is Real – Strategy can help

via Daily Prompt: Strategy

“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

You can’t boil the ocean – having goals without direction or too many goals for the resources available is a sure way to fail.

Understanding what you want is key. It is impossible to plot a course without understanding where you want to go.  The goal may be – I want to increase my net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets or I want to lose 20 lbs.

Understanding your limits is also important – I want to increase my net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets in a legal and ethical way.  Getting money faster may be easier with blurred lines, but understanding that your goal is to do it legally and ethically keeps you on the path.  I want to lose weight safely and keep it off.  Crash dieting for a month isn’t going to cut it.

Now that there are goals – lets look at what to do to make our goals into reality.

Goal One – increasing net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets

How?  Do a Reality Check – where are you now versus where you want to be?

money

The Current situation – I am saving money at a rate of $250 per month, current balance $1,000

The Ideal situation – I have a savings account with $15,000

By comparing the current and ideal a specific target of $14,000 in additional savings is defined as the goal.

Next consider time – Do you want to increase your net worth by December 2018? Or December 2020?

Time to take a look at the factors impacting this decision.

Do a SWOT analysis – What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? What external Opportunities and Threats impact your goal?

Internally –

  • Strengths – Debt to Income ratio leaves extra money for savings
  • Weaknesses – High car payment, tendency to buy new things when not needed

Externally-

  • Opportunity – Get higher paying job, get less expensive car and save the difference
  • Threats – Unexpected expenses, Increases in taxes or utility rates, Economic downturn

Understanding what is going to help achieve the goal as well as what will potentially undermine success is information needed to formulate a strategic plan.

In order to save $14,000 by December 2018 would require a monthly contribution of $1,167 per month starting this month.  Is that feasible?

In order to save $14,000 by December 2020 would require a monthly contribution of $400 per month.  Is this feasible or could you do it sooner?

Maybe you can comfortably save $650 per month which would put you at the $14,000 mark in 21 ½ months.

Another goal is weight loss. Let’s say I want to lose 20 pounds.

hmm donuts

Reality Check – Do I have 20 lbs to lose?

Current Situation -My Body Mass shows Index I am 15 – 20 lbs heavier than ideal for my height

Ideal Situation – I am the ideal weight for my height

The goal is set – lose 20 pounds without crash dieting

When? – I want to lose 20 pounds by the middle of April 2018

How? – Is this do-able by my preferred time?  Time to do a SWOT analysis

Internally –

  • Strengths – I like walking in nature and occasional hikes, I like to swim and, I like bike riding
  • Weaknesses – I love chocolate, sweets, and chicken nuggets

Externally –

  • Opportunities – onsite workout center
  • Threats – Krispy Kremes and Sonic

So if I set out to walk, hike, swim and bike ride more and eat fewer sweets and chicken nuggets – is that a strategy?  Not quite, I need to add in a measurement – April 30, 2018 is 3 ½ months away so I will need to lose a set amount of weight each week.  Or none this month and 7, 6, and 7 respectively in February, March and April.  In order to know if I am on track to succeed I need a tracking signal.

Two goals are illustrated above.  Once the facts are known determine how aggressive your strategy will be, do you want the slow steady approach or a quicker result.  You can do either as long as you have the resources to meet the milestones.  A milestone is a set target – balance in savings or total lbs lost at the 1 month mark – are you on schedule at this rate to meet your goal?

The measurements will allow me to adjust the strategy if it isn’t working.  It is better to adjust the strategy and meet the goal than it is to give up – so if you aren’t on track adjust and see your goal through to completion.

Take a look at your own goals and try to create a strategy to achieve them.

Thank you for reading

 

 

Poorhouses and stuff…

via Daily Prompt: Relate

Have you ever wondered about who you are and where you come from?  I can relate.

I have always been curious about my family history and have done a bit of research on it.  This is a hobby that I share with a vast community of pretty interesting people.  I dread putting this detail out into the world because of the inevitable offers I will get for DNA testing.   In our information age I can’t even order a pair of shoes online without getting 20 new catalogs from companies I never heard of.  Imagine the crap that comes with a DNA test?  I’d rather be blissfully unaware that I’m really not part Dutch than to be certain that I am going to go bald and to find it out when I start getting coupons for thinning hair after my DNA results get shared with marketers who are looking for people who meet my profile.

I am curious though about my people.  As far as I can tell of the 4 families who converged to make my parents – there were a diverse mix:
  • 1 destitute, my great grandmother married at 15 had 8 kids and died when she was about 35 a year after her 3 year old son died of diphtheria.  I don’t know what she died from possibly blood poisoning and haven’t found a death certificate or obit.  My great-grandfather was in the paper like a celeb on page 6 after she died.  He was a religious man, became foreman of the quarry and raised his kids alone.
  • 1 affluent, my great grandmother’s lineage goes back to the 1600’s; My great grandfather’s mother either had illegitimate children with a married man OR was abandoned by her husband who married someone else and peopled half the Midwest.  It is unclear – he was interesting and had a birth certificate issued as an adult with a witness who knew him when he was a kid.
  • 1 of middle class means – my great grandfather from Sweden confirmed; my great grandmother allegedly French but she was born in New Jersey? He worked in the acid factory, had 13 kids, one son killed in WWII.
  • 1 moved around a lot – my great grandfather died young in his 30’s and I have seen photos of him as a clown; my great grandmother was a 19 year old widow with 3 kids and went on to marry and bury 3 more men.  It appears that her mother also had lots of husbands who died young – possible black widows??
leaf
A Clue A Clue

Unhelpfully, the site didn’t find my great grandmother- but popped up a clue to let me know they lived near the poorhouse – Oh joy!  Their shitty life might have included a side of institutionalization.

The old newspapers have been my primary source of information.  They can hold my interest for hours and I find myself up too late looking for information that might tie it all together.  Aside from what I mentioned above, there was an extremely chaotic and uneven pace to the newspapers.   A 3-inch square informs – The Mr RG So and So’s were in town visiting, unknown foreigner found dead in the woods, ice cream social to be held at the Methodist church, Worker falls in vat at acid factory ran out has not been seen since, Public defender dead of suicide – chloroform rag and bottle found on top of cliff that he leapt from.  I find myself full of questions – Wait What??!! What happened to the guy who fell in the vat?  How did they know the person in the woods was foreign?  What about chloroform rag suggests it was suicide???

Sometimes there are answers and other times I am left to wonder.  There is not always a happy ending or even a satisfactory explanation.  And yet here I am.  All the people who came before lived their lives and left their marks and now we are here leaving ours.

I offer one last thought – take some time to print photos and fill in your family on your history because sooner or later we all get curious about where we came from.

Anyway – Happy Tuesday thank you for reading

 

 

Breaking the spell

It’s December – the perfect time to reflect and breath in the cold crisp reality….

Today from my backyard

Today is 23⁰F (-4⁰C) in the lovely city in upstate NY where I live.  It is not currently snowing and the sky is bright.  The furnace is on and air inside is on the cool side, but tolerable with some flannel pajamas.  This morning I decided to jump back into my blog and write.  It has been quite a while since my last entry and I have been reflecting on why that is.  I have been studying for an exam in supply chain management.  I am busy raising my kids as well.  The lack of writing hasn’t been due to my busy life.

I forgot myself for a while.  

lost

 

As much as I enjoy great motivators like Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, and Tim Ferriss – I can also find myself giving in the great disruptors like my own insecurities and the negative people who have all the reasons why it won’t ever happen or gossip about what someone else said or thinks.  I found myself interpreting everything through a negative lens – instead of seeing opportunity and maximizing it I began to see all the signs to reinforce my negativity.  Wallow I did.

Ironically – it was one of the disruptors who snapped me out.  Once again I was listening to an unsolicited complaint from the soothsayer of doom when it hit me.  “I am affiliated with this.  I have been feeding in to the negative BS and the taint of it is on me. ”

I had this realization on Friday and yesterday I let it sink in and today I break the spell.

lost and found_LI
Found

So now what?  Well I get back on track of course. I have the laptop that I treated myself to with the back lit key board and I am doing something that I love – writing.  I have been using my commute to listen to Jane Eyre on audio, Charlotte Bronte wrote beautifully and it makes me happy to hear it. I am studying for my exam and feel prepared for it.  I am going to make time for exercise daily, it keeps me energized and happy.  I will look at a situation and see it through my own eyes.

Thank you for reading.

Keep Warm, Read a great book and Stay Feisty!

 

Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!!!!!!!!!

via Daily Prompt: Peculiar

Come out come out wherever you are….

opposing sign_LI (4)

 

Peculiar signs are popping up in public spaces in Fenton NY

Seemingly overnight, a large number of signs have popped up in the public spaces in the Town of Fenton NY.  While it is unclear who may have placed these signs, there may be an opposing group.  Could there finally be a chance for democracy?  Are we going to get  to vote?

Anyone who has read my blog recently (thank you!) will know that  I have been preoccupied with a local government issue.  The Town of Fenton Board has approved a gas compressor close to my house – without a public vote.  There is a large and vocal opposition to it and the town board is defensive, condescending and belligerent.  Check out the link below for the latest in our local paper -there is also a video that will give you an idea of the demeanor of the board when facing their constituents.

Fenton’s fate may mirror township in PA

TOF meeting

Who in this community could be putting out these new signs?  It probably isn’t the residents shown here.  In fact, most of these people have “NO Compressor Station Fenton NY” signs proudly displayed in front of their home.  These people are fighting this gas compressor which will devalue real estate, increase traffic, cause noise and light pollution while it operates 24 hours a day.  And the school district, local churches and residents have filed lawsuits to keep this compressor out of the community at great personal expense.  These good people have been forced to fight by a town government that has forgotten where their loyalties should lie.

But still unanswered – who could have put up these signs?  Hmmmm….

Do we have an opposing group of citizens???  Are we getting a vote to settle this thing?

Has the day come to do this?

Or did Rico Suave instruct his contingent of paid off, nepotistic, corrupt lackeys to do what they do best and sneak around to post these signs?

villains

 

Enough is Enough

 

This town board was elected by the residents of Fenton -it has a duty to the people of this town.  This is the most local level of government. It has an important role in promoting the town, representing its interests and supporting the work of different groups in the community.

DO YOUR JOB –

YOU WORK FOR US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOT IN MY SCHOOLYARD #FentonRACS

This school yard is for the Little Warriors

 

PD bldg

Our schools are the heart of the community.  The tiniest CV students start their education at Port Dickinson Elementary.   Soon buses will be rolling up for the first day of school and in 2 months the school will have hundreds of super heroes and princesses parading around it for Halloween.  This school is where our kids had their very first day of school.  This should Always be a Safe place for our kids and we are fighting to keep it that way.

We need to do everything we can to keep a gas compressor station from being built around the corner from the school.   There is a hold on the compressor for the moment, but the town board is publicly stating that they intend to pass it again even though the people don’t want it and have been protesting it.

 Please check out the site below – This is a worthy cause and will help ordinary people who are doing something extraordinary.

notinmyschoolyard.com

It is hard to deny that there is a serious problem when you look at the maps and the information on the site.  There is a reason that so many members of our communities are mobilizing and doing everything that we can to stop this project.   There are links on the site so that you can help out by making a donation or writing letters to bring attention from New York State government members.

 

NOT IN MY SCHOOL YARD!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Called in Backup?

TOF meeting

No more sneaky deals Fenton Board  -We are watching and we will show up 

These guys didn’t even pretend to care about what the people in this community want. They discouraged people from coming and tried to meet behind closed doors.  They tried to say there were too many people.  One member walked in a few minutes after it started and pushed past ladies and kids without saying a word then sat looking around awkwardly for the entire meeting.  Others glared with disdain at the taxpayers who had the nerve to show up and question their processes – or lack there of.

Maybe they were upset about the ruling which found that they cut corners and approved something that they should not have.  Maybe they just feel that they should be able to make decisions for everyone with no regard to the impact those decisions have.  Maybe they think that we have no right to question them.

The people were ready.  They were organized and refused to be ignored.  Their peaceful protest began outside with a powerful chant “YOU WORK FOR US!!!!”and as the meeting opened there were chants for members to resign.

“Why are you saying that you will approve this project again?” came a question from the town.  The members insisted that they couldn’t discuss it.  This seems weird because a few hours earlier, David Hamlin Town Supervisor was being interviewed on WSKG.

 http://wskgnews.org/post/fenton-pushes-forward-after-transfer-station-ruling#stream/

There was a good representation of teenagers and they were excited to see democracy in action.  They were surprised that a town meeting could be so exciting.  Eyes got big when people were shouting out questions and a second sheriff walked in to stand guard. Could a town meeting be dangerous? They couldn’t understand why the Board members, who showed such disdain for the people in this town, were the ones making decisions for it.

sheriff

In a Democracy the people have a right to vote we shouldn’t have to fight to be heard –

BUT WE WILL FIGHT

Nothing significant got discussed.  One of the Board members started having a temper tantrum when he thought it was his turn to talk and he pounded the gavel and stormed out.  It was like watching a two year old who needed a nap.  I guess he was frustrated that he wanted to be heard and couldn’t get our attention.

There needs to be a power shift in this community.

With public sentiment, nothing can fail.  Without it, nothing can succeed” – Abraham Lincoln