The Power of Daily Goals

A few months ago I completed a self-improvement challenge and one of the new habits that I decided to adapt to my daily routine was having 1 to 3 daily goals.  I would write down the goals in the morning and kept them on my mind as my day unfolded and reflect on them at bedtime.

The goals are to be simple and attainable.  From working out to drinking more water, to listening to a new podcast, to limit time spent watching youtube, to have a conversation with my husband after we put the kids to sleep.  The idea is to feel in control of your actions, of your decisions and to make things happen.

I invited my husband to join me for the daily goals and he happily accepted, so we both, while getting ready or making breakfast will take the time to out loud say our goals of the day.  Then we invited the kiddos… and it has been a wonderful decision.

We all as individuals see and perceive things differently. I work as a marine engineer for the maritime industry and have been doing so for about 14 years, my husband has a contract to do home health so his industry is wellness and performance.  Then we have our 12 and 9-year-old whos live is mainly school, soccer (younger one) and running (oldest one), and home. So, the 3 daily goals are as different as they are surprising.

For me, my daily goals can look like: 

  • Taking a walk during lunch break
  • Drinking 6 glasses or more of water during working hours
  • Acknowledge a coworker (ask them how they are doing and do small talk)
  • Listen to a podcast while driving
  • Limit sugar intake / do fasting in the morning
  • Take a moment to write on my journal or working on my blog
  • Workout (in the morning or afternoon)
  • Have a smile when coming home after work

For my husband, they usually look like:

  • Try to rest when I come back from work
  • Have a healthy snack when I come back from work
  • Finish my water bottle during working hours
  • Have at least 1-hour work out (on gym days) which means less chatting more sweating
  • Call my wife mid-morning
  • Listen to a new podcast while driving
  • Be nice and offer any additional help to my patients
  • Stop by my mom house to say hi on my way home
  • Cheer for my son while at soccer practice
  • Have a 15-minute chat with my oldest son right before he goes to bed

For my two kiddos, the goals are usually:

  • Eat all my lunch in the lunch hour
  • Say thank you at least 10 times during the day
  • Be helpful with the teacher
  • Sit in lunchtime next to someone I don’t know that much
  • Do my homework as soon as I come from school
  • Tell my dad and mom a joke after school
  • Read 10 pages of the book I am reading
  • Give my brother three hugs during the day

We always try to discuss how we did with the daily goals, what we accomplished and we did not.  With the time I noted that we are all more open to trying new things, to set the bar higher as we accomplish these goals and also to be accountable when we don’t reach them. We are more self-assured and more confident and most importantly we are doing our best, personally and collectively to improve ourselves, to be better with ourselves and those around us.

The power of true friendship… looking into my memories

Memory Lane…

I grew up with a fantastic group of friends.  Some of them are part of my life since I was 5 years old (really we met in kindergarten!).  Others were added to the circle as we grew up, however, we, all together, go back since we were 12 years old.

We are now older, we would think smarter, definitely more experienced, we want to believe wiser.  We have stuck together through 25 years of friendship where marriage, divorce, kids, distance, and loss has happened.  But we are us, uniquely us, we encourage each other, we help each other, we give each other company, we complain about everyone and everything and we, sometimes, don’t see eye to eye (at all).  I am a very fortunate and grateful person for having them in my life.

I have personally a great story about what friendship is all about, what my friends have taught me with their actions.  I was 17 years old when I had a bad car accident. I broke my neck (C5) and back (L2 through L5), which meant I was so very fortunate to be able to tell the story, even more of fully recovering from it.  The recovery took months and one constant through all those months were my friends. They took turns coming to visit me, they learned how to help me with changing clothes or with shower and bathroom duties, they helped eat when I was not able, learned to clean my wounds (I had the halo), and most importantly where constant emotional support.

We were young, just graduated from high school, we had boyfriends and we liked to party. We were wild in our own way.  We were good kiddos that truly enjoyed going out and living life and so for the next few months, we held parties at my house so that I could be present, they slept in my house so that my parents could leave for the weekend to attend other commitments, they took me to therapy when needed and wherein the house the moment I would feel down and in pain. They were my rock.

I am so grateful for my friends for what the did during one of the most painful times in my life. I am grateful for their company, support, encouragement, compassion, and kindness.  My love for them has only grown stronger as the last 25 years have passed and we remain as close as ever. Even though I chose to leave Panama and come to live in the US and therefore my life took a different route than theirs back home, we talk every day through Whatsapp and phone, always fully invested in each other lives.  Always. That is what I call best friends forever (all 13 of them).

Treasure your friends, no matter where they are, no matter how different their lives look from you now, friendship is an infinite source of power and encouragement, but it needs to be nurtured, you need to pay attention to it, you need to be present and provide as much time as you can.  Call them, talk to them, listen to them, tell them how much their friendship means to you. Always.

Weekly Book Review by Mari

We have a soccer player in the family (my 9-year-old son) and for years soccer has maintained a very important place in our lives.  As a family and individually we love the sport. My dad recommended this book, he brought the book from Panama for me to read it. He spoke highly of the book and its author and I was pleased to agree with him. It is my first book written by Argentine novelist Eduardo Sacheri and I have lined up already a few more books including The secrets in their eyes which was turned into the same-name film and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2010.

The story centers on four friends and their never-ending passion for soccer.  After Alejandro “Mono” dies of cancer, the remaining three friends (Fernando, Russo and Mauricio) work towards securing that Alejandro’s daughter is economically taken care of.   However after Alejandro invests all his money in a promising soccer player that slowly falls behind reaching the full potential, the friends get into a complicated, funny, and at times heart-breaking plan to make sure Alejandro’s investment returns the needed profit.

The book is as funny as it is touching, is a declaration of friendship and family that is rooted in love, devotion, and loyalty.  It is the story of a friendship rooted in childhood that grows stronger as their lives take different roads maintaining in common their strong bond and the passion of soccer.  If you love soccer and believe in the power of friendship, I recommend this book.

Affirmations to start your day the best way

An affirmation can be defined as the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment—fostering a belief that “a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.” For years I kept hearing about affirmation and the powerful transformations that can cause in our emotional state, however, I was very skeptical and did not trust the power that a sentence could have in my life.

One day, following the guidance of a self-help book, I tried and I was taken aback with the impact it made in my day. Since then I have constantly changed my affirmation to match my state of mind or my goals, and I have also divided them doing morning affirmations and bedtime affirmations.

I have been doing the below affirmation for 30 days and the results have been great with the way my day goes on. I am enthusiastic and positive, I am kind and open-hearted, I am fearless and self-assured.

Below I am sharing my affirmations, but there are tons of them in the internet, Pinterest or Instagram. Find the ones that call your name.

Appreciating SOLO Time

Self-discovery is a journey

When I look back I have always being a loner… I like spending time by myself and with myself.  Always had. At times friends and boyfriends would complain about me being reclused and moody, and I always admitted to it, never fought it or felt insulted. It was true, I could recluse myself into solitary to study, to soothe my mind, to nurture my soul. I just need time alone.

I have always been surprised how after 20 years of leaving my home country, my friends (my closest friends) are the ones I have back in Panama.  Those amazing 13 women were, are and will be one of the best gifts life has given me, and thanks to WhatsApp we are constantly chatting, giving advice, reprimanding, complaining, encouraging and congratulating each other.  Of course, I have made friends since coming to the U, but 20 years later there are just about 5 people that have been close enough to call them a friend.

When I turned 35, there was a major shift in me. I started reading self-improvement books, marriage books, communication books, mindfulness books and with this new information I was learning, I became aware that me being a loner was a trait of my personality and most importantly I learned to embrace it.

So what are the things that I enjoy doing all by myself? Here are a few of them:

Watching a movie: I work next to a movie theater and ever so often I try to treat myself for an early afternoon movie on Fridays.  Maybe it happens once every two or three months but when there is a movie (especially a rom-com girly movie) I go in, popcorn in hand, and have a blast all by myself.

Having a meal in restaurants:  I know it’s not easy to see people eating by themselves, but what if that person is choosing to be alone?  In my case, there have been so many times in which I have been eating by myself, in a nice place, watching people walk by or just observing the restaurant.  I remember when I was in college I would go to this cafe for lunch and sit by the window just watching people walk by, I enjoyed the meal, the view, and the loneliness.

Traveling:  Walking into an airport is instant relaxation for me.  I like going to the airport at least 2-hours before my flight and sit in a food court or Starbucks and watching people walk by.  Also been by myself in a long flight (8 or more hours) is therapy to me.  Watching movies, reading, writing, or just plainly thinking, enjoying the constraint of not been able to go anywhere for the next 10 hours. Princeless.

It is my experience, now at 39 years old, that taking the time to get to know yourself better is pivotal in our continuous self-improvement.  We need to decipher ourselves and embrace our own thoughts. We are all different and when I am walking in a mall and I pass by a group of friends, I smile… my lonely trip is their group trip… and we are equally enjoying it.