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!

 

Resolve to Evolve

via Daily Prompt: Tentative

wimpy2

Don’t wait until next Tuesday – Invest in Yourself Now!

Over the past few years I have been on a personal journey of self- development and improvement.  This has included small measurable goals like reading more and getting at least 10,000 steps each day.  It has also involved getting to know myself better by acknowledging the feedback that my body is giving me.  There is more harmony in accepting that I can decide what I enjoy and don’t have to make anyone else happy.

As I sought out information and improvement I found a great website where anyone can take inexpensive and even free courses from amazing schools like MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley.

harvard

Here is the link to the site for those who are interested

https://www.edx.org/

I love to write and found a course from the University of Queensland in Australia on English grammar.  I enjoy history and politics and found a phenomenal American government course on HarvardX.   There are courses on a wide range of topics and the other students are all over the world.

Every day we all have the opportunity to learn and evolve.  This is not limited to mastering tasks on the job or checking boxes on a to-do list.  Learning doesn’t need to be expensive – it could and should include going to the library and borrowing books or using Wi-Fi to take a free class.  There are podcasts and audio books.  There is an abundance of information available for those who seek to learn.

library

Investing time and energy into learning every day is beneficial on many levels.  It will give you advantages in your professional life as well as in your personal life.  There are resources to learn everywhere and instead of waiting until it is convenient just go for it.

 

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do”
― Pelé

 

Don’t just flail around

via Daily Prompt: Willy-nilly

Be deliberate in your actions, don’t just flail around. If something is worth your effort, give it 100% of your energy and focus. Diverting energy and resources away from your passion in some willy- nilly attempt to be good at a lot of things will prevent you from being amazing at any of them.brick Continue reading “Don’t just flail around”