New Year’s Resolutions – motivation v. perspiration

It’s almost the end of March and in reviewing my post from January 12 Commitments for a New Year I realize that sticking with my New Year’s resolution is less about staying motivated, because let’s face it – that can be fleeting depending on the week, and really more about perspiration and sticking to a plan to make that goal a reality.

By breaking up my resolution into smaller monthly goals I have been able to stick with them in a way that I hadn’t been able to do previously.  Could I be onto something?  Now, let’s be honest I haven’t always been motivated as I was that first week but by reminding myself of my goals and using some of the strategies to stay motivated, I have managed to stay on track with these goals. 

When I do experience a sets back, I try to keep in mind  Don Shula’s 24-hour ruleDon Shula believed that you should celebrate success or wallow in defeat but only do it for 24 hours.  Feel the emotions to their fullest but once your 24 hours have passed move on.  Success is not forever and failure is hardly  fatal.  He was so right!  Many of us get hung up in the failure that it keeps us from moving forward.  Remember each day is a new opportunity to begin again. 

How do you stick with your resolution or goal?

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Life Lessons Learned from a 3rd Grader

The moral of the story is NEVER GIVE UP

Some of you have heard me talk about my son’s basketball season this year and their 0-10-1 record.  As the regular season comes to a close,  I had to give you one last update!  Despite the Raptor’s record, the last 8 games were lost by 1 or 2 points and have been more exciting than some of the NBA games I have had the pleasure of attending.

The final regular season game was against the Magic, a team they lost to by 1 point just two weeks ago.  And let me just say……….sweet victory was had at last with a commanding performance 22-11 by the Raptors.  It was an amazing moment for all of the boys.  According to my husband and coach, every player contributed – offensively or defensively.  They played as a team and won as a team.  As fate would have it, it was the only game this season I didn’t make – murphy’s law! 

In an era where kids “win” or “tie” a lot, this season has been full of important life lessons for these third graders.  They have had to face defeat time and again and still find the motivation and excitement to come out and keep fighting; they have had to learn how to manage their emotions/frustrations and disappointments when the game didn’t go their way or they made a mistake; they had had to redefine success for themselves and as a team and realize why they play the game.  And the reason they play the game and continue to fight is because that they LOVE IT.  They have passion for the sport that supersedes what the score board says and they cannot wait to play.  So despite their record, each practice and game they come out fighting and ready to win. 

Hearing my son retell each moment last night with the greatest enthusiasm and passion made me feel like I was there.  It was better than an NBA game.  I had the nervous fluttering feeling when he described each high and low moment of great defense or missed shot.  But in the end, he finally experienced the sweet satisfaction of victory and that may just be enough to swing the tide of the team as they head into post-season play.   It has been a great season full of amazing life lessons and I for one take away a deep admiration for these third graders who to continue to play their hearts out, show up and play every game with the determination and will never to give up until the final buzzer rings.  We should all live this way!

Show up.  Never give up.  Follow your passion and success will follow.


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Goal #2: Complete the Social Networking Coaching Club 30-day challenge

I am a competitve person by nature (division III two sport athlete). So when my social media coach (yeah, I’ve got one of those) put a challenge in front of me I bit. Part of my business goal setting program for January was to complete a 30-day boot camp class.  Some of you have heard me talking about my fitness boot camp class through the YMCA but this was different. 

Instead of exercising my muscles, I was exercising my brain and adapting to a new technology skill set.  The Social Networking Coaching Club is an online social media class hosted by Ann Evanston.  I first met Ann last spring when she was a guest speaker at our national conference.  She stole the show!  Her messaging was relevant, timely and on target for the social media explosion happening around us.  I left there wanting to learn more!

As someone who has been a late adaptor to the social media world and a skeptic who felt twitter, facebook, LinkedIn and blogging were a huge time suck with unknown return, Ann was able to speak to how these social media sites are the latest tools to help people connect with each other across the country and world.  The more you connect, the more opportunities you have for creating value and generating a return.  She reminded me that many of the same skills you use in networking in person are those used online – your reach with social media is just that much farther! 

As someone who works with people all over the world, learning how to responsibly use these sites for personal and business use was extremely compelling but also a bit daunting.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained so I jumped in feet first.  The boot camp condensed 10 weeks of work into four.  I was up at 5am to learn about blogging and vlogging, building up a presence on all of the big social media sites and putting together a personal brand.  It was a cross between self-analysis and entrepreneurship where we examined limiting beliefs and replaced them with abundant ones. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge and my new year’s resolution would start and end in January but I’m pleased to say that I officially completed it and am presently taking all of what I learned and putting them into practice.

It has been a pleasure to connect with more people than ever before.  I am able to share photos and video with friends and family living all over the world to stay in better touch.  I have also learned how to share my expertise in the cultural exchange and childcare industry and as a business professional with fifteen years of general management knowledge to benefit others. 

Just yesterday, I had someone contact me out of the blue because she had been given my name through a mutual acquaintance.  We had never met but through networking, social media efforts and blogging, she learned about my background and reached out to me to see if I could help her Danish colleague’s daughter who wants to spend a year in the USA.  It was a great opportunity to connect with someone, share knowledge about the au pair program and other J1 visa opportunities and offer to help. 

Creating raving fans through education and generating PR and referrals is the ultimate business goal and what SNCC teaches its members.  If you or your business could benefit from learning more about this, you might want to consider the   I know I have personally and professionally benefited.  My Klout score has increased and I am working towards becoming an online influencer.

So here’s to new years resolutions and sticking with them!  How are you sticking with your new resolution?


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Are you sticking to your New Year’s Resolution?

New Year’s resolutions are inherently flawed.  We start each New Year with high expectations of all the things we hope to tackle, overcome, fix, or solve and yet two months into them often give up because it is too hard to stay with it.  According to  report on Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions, only 40-50% of people make them but of those that do only 15% actually stick with them.  Are you part of the 15% who keep them or the 85% who break them?  This year I vowed to be part of the 15%.  To help me with this goal, I broke them into smaller bite sized pieces and set a goal or goals for each month. For other great tips on how to stick with your resolutions check out these suggestions from Lifehack.

January: Goal  #1: Welcome a new puppy into our home

The kids have wanted a dog for as long as I can remember (insert eight long years)!  So this year we bit the bullet and researched breeds before selecting a Labrador Retreiver breeder.  The puppy was to be born in October and ready to come home at Christmas.  Thanksgiving came around and when we called to check in on the new puppy we learned that she hadn’t been born yet.  As fate would have it, a labrador wasn’t in our cards. 

A month later my husband mentioned in passing his friend was breeding German Shephards.  I was 100% against it until I met Lucy.  Deposit down on another dog and here we were driving to meet this new puppy.  Well, the rest is history!  Who could resist this big fluff ball.  Not I!  One month later we picked her up and introduced her to the whole family. 

Lucy was bred and raised at the Canine College in Holbrook, MA by owner and operator Bruce Billings.  She was well socialized and had already learned many of the basic commands thanks to Bruce’s training program. 

After one week my son claimed his life was now “complete.”  He refers to her as “boy’s best friend” and he has a special game that only they play.  My husband said she has added something to our family that we didn’t even know was missing.  And my daughter has already become so attached that she had tears in her eyes at the thought of her having to leave her behind last weekend.  We have all fallen in awe and love with Lucy.  Despite the many accidents, the chewing and wild moments, she has become family.  I look forward to chronicaling some of Lucy’s life lessons here so stay tuned.

January Goal #2: Complete Social Networking Coaching Club (to be continued…….)


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Safety First!

Enjoying Pico Mountain

I am a girl for head wear.  I know it’s not always cool looking to be the kid out there wearing a helmet but it’s something I’ve drilled into my kids head since they were toddlers. 

Safety first!  Does everyone have their seat belt on?  The car doesn’t leave until we’re all safe and secure.  Safety first!  Do you have your bike helmet before skate boarding or riding your bike?  Safety first!  Have you put on your ski helmet to sled or ski?  Safety first!

It’s gotten a lot easier to get the kids to wear their ski helmets each winter now that everyone is doing it.  But I find myself wondering why everyone doesn’t.  I bought my au pair a snowboard helmet as a Christmas gift this year.  Safety first! 

Recently the whole family enjoyed some time skiing in Vermont at Pico Mountain.  After three great days we got a first hand glimpse why wearing a ski helmet is so important.  My daughter’s first trip up to the summit of the mountain and three quarters of the way down the mountain she caught an edge on the ice and went flying.  She couldn’t stop herself and it was one of those heart stopping moments where you realize how quickly an accident can occur and there is nothing you can do to stop it.  She flew through the air out of control with us racing after her screaming snow plow and her screaming I can’t stop.  We were fortunate – she only crashed hard on the mountain and not into a tree.  Her skis went flying, and she did a dramatic flip that landed her hitting her back and head on the ice. It was awful for everyone!

Safety first!  We checked her for any visible injuries to her body or head and outside of some tears and a some sore muscles she was able to get up and walk away from the horrible crash scared to death but alive.  She was wearing a ski helmet.  I have no doubt that if she hadn’t been wearing a protective helmet we would have been in the hospital worrying about a concussions and potential internal injuries.

Safety first!  Just after getting back, I received a call about an au pair program participant hitting a tree while skiing out west over the holidays with some friends.  He wasn’t wearing a ski helmet.  The initial prognosis was not good and the hospital recommended we notify next of kin in the home country of the accident.  Fortunately, overnight he took a turn for the better and will likely recover but his ICU experience will have long lasting impact on him.  I imagine he will never ski again without a helmet but you never know. 

If you know a child who loves to sled, ski or snow board mandate that they wear a ski helmet.  It could save their life!  Safety First!

For more information on how to best fit a helmet to ensure maximum protection I recommend using this site: We are big fans of Giro helmets but for a complete selection of options here’s a great site to reference:  Some of the top recognized brands are Giro, Smith, Boeri, Bern, K2, Pro-Tec, and Red.

How do you promote safety first?


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12 Commitments for a New Year

It’s New Year’s Day when everyone makes their annual resolution and like many I am thinking about what goals I would like to achieve in 2011. I am writing them here in hope that commiting them to virtual paper will bring me one step closer to achieving them.  My goal is to be healthier and happier in 2011 and to do this I plan to spend more quality time with family and friends, share more, feel more abundance, slow down, step outside my comfort zone, eat better, and keep exercising.  Here’s to it!

January – Complete the 30 Day Challenge on the Social Networking Coaching Club with Ann Evanston, welcome our new puppy, Lucy and see the world in a whole new way with contact lenses.

Our new puppy Lucy taken in 2010

February – Be fully in the moment to enjoy and embrace family time during school vacation week.  Celebrate my au pair’s birthday.

March – Celebrate my son’s birthday. Support a great cause and join in the fun with the Vermont Adaptive Ski Challenge.

April -Visit the 2nd largest state in the United States, Texas, for the first time with my company, Cultural Care Au Pair.  Celebrate my daughter’s birthday.

May – Commit to writing 1 personal letter each week to a friend or family member and reconnect with them the old fashioned way!

June – Run the 20th Anniversary Covered Bridges Half Marathon with my husband and friends. Turn 40!

July – Sail to the Islands of Massachusetts for a vacation on the high seas with my family. Enjoy the ocean breeze and living a simple life for a week.  Welcome our 10th au pair.

August – Read two classics and write a blog review!

September – Run a fun run race with the whole family.  Celebrate my husband’s birthday!  Pick one cultural and educational activity for the whole family.

October – Continue my healthy living commitment – exercise 4 days per week and eat (1) additional fruit and vegetable per day. 

November – Be thankful for all that we have and give back to others. Identify a local food pantry where my family can contribute our time and resources to helping over the holidays.

December – Write a family newsletter chronicling the year in review. Reflect back on all that was experienced and accomplished. Rest up for another great year ahead!

Put your goals to paper this year too and let me know what you hope to accomplish in 2011.

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Christmas is coming….Christmas is coming….Santa get your sleigh!

The big day is only two days away. There are signs all around me – excited children, jam packed malls, christmas caroling, and delightful smelling foods. Lucky, our elf of Elf on the Shelf fame has been working overtime keeping an eye on all of us this month. Somehow, he took over the responsibility of relaying christmas wishes to Santa when the kids decided they weren’t going to write a letter this year. We’re just hoping Lucky has a good memory! : )

Every year I am amazed how quickly December flies by. There’s still wrapping to be done, school events to attend, packing of luggage, cookies to bake, as well as traveling to said destination. But despite all that looms ahead, I can’t help taking a moment to appreciate a moment of peace and quiet. Sitting in my kitchen listening to beautiful holiday music, a crackling fire in the background and my entire house asleep, I can appreciate all that the holidays represent. Time with loved ones. Peace. Joy.

So from my family to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you find a little peace this holiday season.

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