Reflections of a year gone by

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Image by Jody McNary

I can’t believe a year has gone by.  Much has happened, much has been learned and there is much more to learn.  I was looking at the new year resolutions that I had made last year and it was very much a reflection of my state of mind.  I look at what I have accomplished and see progress and as I plan for the new year I am a little more wiser on how I want to address the resolutions for 2010.

At the beginning of last year – this is what I was looking towards:

1. Write on this blog everyday (> or = 291 posts)
2. Don’t worry, be happy (since happiness is a state of mind)
3. Smile more (reflective of #2)
4. Find my passion (so that I can meet #2 and 3)
5. Increase my earning power (when I meet #4, #5 will be attainable)

At the end of 3months, I still had a ways to go, as noted below:

Now looking at the list – it is all still attainable.

1. I still have 254 posts to go in the next 9 months – that is approximately 28.2 posts a month – that works to one almost every day.
2. Definitely happy
3. I think I am smiling but how do I make sure I am.
4. I am definitely ahead of where I was when I started.
5. I am working on it – based on most of what is written about that subject – it takes a while to get there.

At the end of 6 months,on July 1, this is where I stood:

Well, so far I have written 117 posts which leaves with another 174 to go. At this point I have yet to write more than I have already written. Since I have 180 days to write a 174 posts – I should say I am still within range.

I have to say I have enjoyed this exercise of making sure I have completed my writing for the day. It is habit forming, once you start it is difficult to stop.

As far as the rest of my goals – being happy and smiling more – o most definitley happening – after all happiness is a state of mind. I feel like 25 again and nobody can dictate how you feel right? Now, if only I could get the rest of the world to look at life like that :)

1.  At the end of this year and this post I would have written a 191 posts. Mmm – not bad considering the first year but could have been better.

2. Don’t worry – be happy – Definitley – it is working- the less you worry, the more things work out.

3. Am I smiling more?   Did you know that those who smile the most are those who have the most pain to hide? Some things you find out the hard way, some you realize is life – live, learn and accept it – what else can you do but smile?

4. Find my passion – I have found it – it is Life!  So now focus on the strengths, be in the moment and do it now.

5. Increase my earning power- did you notice I did not say get a job?  Big difference – if you get paid to do what you love – isn’t that the best!!!!!

Live! Love! Laugh! Thank you 2009!

12 things I learnt on my blogging journey in 2009

Christmas presents under the tree

Image by Alancleaver_2000

The spirit of Christmas was the inspiration for this article.  Join me as I journey through the world of blogging in 2009. (This is a long one – so grab that cup of cocoa and get comfy :) )

On the first month of Blogging the Universe sent my way, the unemployment line and a blog.

It was already December, I was laid off in November.  Companies were was laying off people by the hundreds – most left the state looking for other work, those who stayed joined the unemployment line.  So to take a quote from ‘Sound of Music’ when God closes a door he opens a window. He did, he closed the door to a regular job and opened a window into blogging – I had no idea that such a world existed. What a treat I was in for.

Thanks to Blogspot – I was able to start a blog and learn the ropes of basic blogging.  Little did I know how much there was to learn and there are tons of people to help you out if you need the help.  If you have never blogged before – this is a great way to start.  It allows you to spend you time on the basics of blogging, what you should focus on as far as content and the importance of providing quality content and posting on a regular basis.  The best part is if you are stuck there are so many people that can help you, you almost have to narrow your list down to your favorites so you don’t get overwhelmed.

On the second month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way, Online Profits and the world of blogging.

So, now as I got comfortable with my blog and posting on a fairly regular basis, I had favorite sites that I always read.  When you are new, you are eager to learn but at the same time you want to be a part of a group that learns together, it makes the learning easier, besides you can always learn from each other. So when the Online Profits course was introduced – (check out my testimonial at onlineprofits.com), I jumped at the chance.  It was meant for newbie’s, to help them learn the terminology and what else is involved that you don’t normally look at when developing your blog.

On the third month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way, an experience as a travel blogger.

I had the opportunity to travel overseas, and I was gung ho about documenting my way.  It was a learning experience.  Little did I realize that having a computer and a blog is only one part of the equation.  You also have to learn how to be savvy about connecting while at airports in different countries and it is always best to use the local resources.  My computer died while I was overseas and because the computer was bought in the US, nobody would touch it. I had to wait to get back home to fix it. I used the local internet café and local computers, which is much more convenient since you don’t have to worry about power surges and battery charging.

On the fourth month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way thoughts of a new domain name

This was after months of talking and sounding it out and asking people’s opinions and testing –it finally had to sound and feel right.  The path to a domain name is not easy – it has to be easy to type, easy to remember, preferably a .com and preferably one word that gives you an idea what the blog is about.  Don’t think you can change later – you would not want to since you build a brand name with that name – so do it right the first time – if you can.

On the fifth month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way an introduction to becoming better

I thought once you had the basics in place you would be all set.  I was so wrong.  You are always learning and what you may be an expert in is what someone else may need help in.  I was introduced to the 31 day program and what an intense exercise it was.  The best part is everyone is learning and everyone is helping.  What a great place to be in!

On the sixth month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way Google Analytics.

An amazing tool that helps you understand your audience and the effectiveness of your page.  You could spend all your time just analyzing the report but you have to have content in your blog before someone wants to read it.  It is almost a given that no blog should do without.  best part about it – it is free.

On the seventh month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way the ability to see blogging as a business.

In business you have to spend to earn some.  You take a cheap route – you get what you pay for.  If you are not a business person, it is a difficult decision to make, but would you not rather spend and get it done right than spend more and learn the hard way?  But sometimes learning the hard way is the best way to learn.

On the eighth month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way  the path to create a brand.

So what makes a brand a brand?  It is all about creating a sense of trust with your readers. And how do you do that?  By interacting with them day in and day out and spelling it out instead of giving false hopes.  If you think you can make money without hard work – it is a myth.  It comes with practice and practice makes perfect.  I see that seeing some of the people who have created a brand – watch and learn.

On the ninth month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way an amazing business idea.

It takes courage to take something you believe in and run with it.  The difference between those who do well at business and those who don’t is the fact that they make a decision quickly and then keep going.  Half the time you doubt yourself, the other half of the time, you think everyone else is doubting you.  At the end – you remain a doubting Thomas or Thomasina as the case may be and not go anywhere.  So take it and run with it, if it works great , if not keep looking.

On the tenth month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way lots of other blogs to help me out.

I thought I was the only one struggling to figure all of it out.  I am not and never will be.  the best part about blogging is that you will never be alone.  There will always be people having similar issues as you and an equal number of people to help you out.  Take a leap of faith and ask around – someone will help you.  There are many experts – make a list of your faves and keep in touch.

On the eleventh month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way the opportunity to understand what it is like to be juggle.

No, I don’t mean juggling in the literal sense but juggling so many responsibilities and still trying to be on top of things.  It is hard to find time to do everything, but I found out that if you take out some quiet time – it works.  I tried all times, early morning and late night to see what works for me.  I figured out I need to have quiet time to gather my thoughts and write without interruption, unless of course it is a big post, like this one.

On the twelfth month of Blogging, the Universe sent my way, a routine and a plan for the New Year.

How quickly the year flies by.  Before you know it, the year is already over and there is so much to do.  I have learnt that it is important to have a routine, blogging every day or 3 times a week or consistently is important to keep your audience with you.  I am excited that I have my own domain name, I also have a couple business ideas that I am pursuing, can’t wait for 2010.  Merry Christmas!

Goal setting

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Image by Joyosity

Have you ever heard of SMART goals?  I am sure many of you have while at work and doing your performance plan – if not, no worries – this is what it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable,  Realistic and Timely.  But here is the irony – I find out more about it -as the end of the year approaches.  But at least I found out before the beginning of 2010.

When  I started blogging – towards the end of 2008 – I had plenty of time – understandably so – considering I was laid off   and I was looking for my passion and myself.  I was testing the waters to see what was out there and set some goals to make it fun.  There was a different focus too – it was to keep the morale high and be engaged.  It was a liberating experience as well – when I was asked the question – if you had no qualms about money – what would you do – I had no answer.

I never realized how much I was limiting myself – human tendency is to go back to what your comfort zone is.  So when I started giving myself permission to think outside the box – it was very liberating.  Imagine being able to do anything that you wanted and nothing stood in your way.  The only thing that would stall you from doing anything would be fear – and that is within you.  So the idea of drawing up goals was very exciting.  Except -now when I think about it – I definitely did not follow the SMART principle.

The exciting thing is that you can apply the SMART principle to anything in life and you will be successful.  You have to be specific.  The days of filling up the paper with words that don’t mean anything is long gone.  The S could also, in my mind stand for ‘simple’.  Keep it simple and specific so that you know where you are.  Being measurable is a requirement these days.  In these economic times – all the numbers need to add up – how do you know what you have accomplished. No point in aiming for something impossible or so simple that there is no challenge in it – it has to be Attainable in order to have an excuse to celebrate.  It should be Realistic – do not try to change overnight – it wont work – but baby steps in the beginning – goes a long way.  And finally timely – it has to create that sense of urgency so that you will take action – not be so vague that you never start the project at all.

There is more to be said on this topic when setting goals for 2010.  So are you following these rules for your goal setting?

Nobody’s perfect….

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Image by Monica’s Dad

…but in in your minds eye they are perfect for you.  Wise words told to me by sister, the voice of reason when I cannot think straight.

My world was shaken..the rose colored glasses came off..I realized that people change, they grow up..some just take longer than others.

I realized you can’t change people or their actions…but you can change your reaction so that you can sleep at night.

I realized that what you project is what you receive …..so project the good stuff if you want it back.

Could it be that some people live in a bubble they have no clue how what they do affect the rest of the world around them or am I just trying to find a link where there is none?

I realized it is all part of growing up and learning the lesson – after all how can you learn the next lesson if you have not learned this one?

I know that children choose their parents, so if they chose you, you are blessed.

I realized that you are the sum of your experiences -after all how do you know how it feels unless you have been through it yourself?

I realized that age has nothing to do with wisdom – there are some who are very young and seen more than some could have ever wanted to in a lifetime.

Life goes on, there is a reason and season for everything, what goes up must come down, no one can ever take away what is in your heart, don’t worry, be happy, have faith…..all very encouraging, some cliched …but it does not matter because it is all true.  After all the reason it is so overused is because it is all so true.

Go with the flow, if you fight it you end up being bruised and battered, so save yourself some trouble and go with the flow.   That’s my plan – I may have a few bruises – but I will put them down as badges of courage, building character…

I am a slow learner, but what can I say…but late than never, right?

Is it all about the money?

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Image by brainware3000

The whole world was watching and listening while Tiger Woods dealt with his personal ‘transgressions’ publicly.  Poor guy! He had no idea what it was like to be at  the brunt of public scrutiny at the hands of the press.   While the police were able to close the case, his trial with the public has just begun.

Of course now the whole world wants to know about his family and his wife and what kind of a person he is – to begin with.  For someone who valued his privacy so much so that he has a yacht named ‘Privacy’ – it must be extremely difficult.  Much was discussed on talk shows all over the world if we really needed to know all the sordid details – but then the argument was presented that for a public figure – there will be public scrutiny.  More emphasis was given to his endorsements – after all all his sponsors are paying him all that money to be be this stellar person with no blemishes so that they can sell their product.

And then the news broke about the pre nup arrangements.  His wife gets so many more millions and she does not talk about what happened.  Is it really that simple – you pay somebody money and the pain goes away?  Is it supposed to make you feel better?  I guess the only difference between the regular Joe and a celebrity with a similar experience is that as a celebrity  – you have the advantage of having all that money at your disposal to help you ease the pain.I felt sad for them as a family, its hard enough to have an experience like this in your life – but having the press hounding you and the rest of the world passing judgment on your every move is even worse.

I always used to wonder -why can’t life be just smooth sailing – no worries, no problems and everything is huinky dory.  Then I was asked to compare life to a typical Bollywood movie – you know the perfect ‘masala’ movie – hero, heroine, the villan, the song and dance sequence, the conflict, the fight, the chase and the final resolution and happily ever after.  Well, if I bought a ticket to go and see a movie and there was no conflict, no fight scene – I would be mad and ask for my money back. I have realized that life too is like that – when everything is fine – you wonder what is wrong.  Every conflict that you have to face is a lesson that you have to learn.  You make mistakes so you figure out how to do it right.

This day and age everything seems to be about the money – it is a great motivating factor – it is a great fear factor too.  It works for most people but at the end of the day – money does not buy you happiness.  It can buy you trust up to a certain extent but you cannot buy relationships.  Well, maybe you can – but aren’t relationships about being able to connect at that deep level, having that special someone who understands you, someone who has the same values and a partner in your big adventure that is life?

I guess some of us still have to figure that out or maybe not.