Posts tagged ‘Holidays’

December 31, 2012

6 New Year’s Resolutions for a Happy Life

If you’re like me your Facebook timeline is probably riddled with posts of people bashing those who are making New Year’s resolutions. They usually say something like this:

“People swear their life is going to make a turn when the clock strikes 12. In reality nothing changes. Who are they trying to fool?”

“I can’t stand all the “New Year, New Me” statuses. Why not change now.”

“Everyone is sitting there making resolutions like they’re not going to give up on them by February.”

“Why wait for January 1st to change? If you are really serious about it, you’d change now.”

While I agree that you should never wait on the perfect moment to change because the “perfect” moment doesn’t exist until YOU make it perfect, I disagree with the sentiment of knocking people who are trying nonetheless to improve their lives. Regardless of the day they chose, it says a lot when someone recognizes there is room for improvement.

Image courtesy of "FrameAngel"

Image courtesy of “FrameAngel”

All that aside, let’s not sugar coat the fact your attempts of saving more money, losing weight, and getting out of doubt have all come up short. It’s not because you failed to plan or organize. And it’s not because you are destined to be a failure. It’s because all your resolutions missed the bigger picture. All of the resolutions you’ve created in the past are all created in the hopes of one major thing: to live a happier, better quality of life.

So instead of creating all those roundabout resolutions that completely miss the point, I’ve taken the liberty of penning several potential resolutions that hit the nail on the head and will get you straight to the point of living that happy life you’ve been longing for.

1. Vow to do one thing that scares you everyday.

I know pledging to scare yourself on a daily basis is an odd route to take when trying to live a happy life. However, it’s one that I find very important. It’s completely normal, but we have a habit of settling. We settle when it comes to lifestyle, jobs, goals etc. The problem is, when we settle, we don’t grow and end up wondering “what if.” That is definitely not the best way to live a happier life. So I challenge you to scare yourself a little everyday. It could be eating a new food, applying for a specific job, or simply reaching out to a friend you’ve lost touch with. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be scared and then conquer it. Each day you conquer a new fear, the more you will restore faith in your ability and continue to grow. Besides, you never know what opportunities will be revealed as you continue on your own little ” 2013 fright fest.” Six Flags has nothing on you!

2. Vow to live simply

Eliminate the drama, the shiny and the flashy and what’s left is all that you need. When you consistently strive for the big and extravagant, you forget to be thankful of what you already have. Like my mother always said, “Everything is simple. We make it difficult.” It’s about time we get back to that so we can live blissfully. Once you vow to live simply, you’ll find your budget will finally take order, your health will improve and your heart will be lifted.

3. Vow to give a lot

The statistics have been saying it for years. The more you give, the happier you are. Be selfless, donate your time, and reach out to someone for no reason at all. Your heart and spirit will sing.

4. Vow to change your thoughts

Stop the worrying, the doubt, and the self-hate. Have faith in yourself and your ability to conquer all challenges. Remember, worrying does not empty tomorrow of it’s weaknesses. It empties today of it’s strengths. Once you change the quality of your thoughts, you change the quality of your life for the year to come.

5. Vow to trust yourself

It’s something I have to remind myself everyday. Stop second guessing yourself. You know more than you think you do. If your instincts are sending you a signal, just go with it. You don’t need to justify it. That’s the thing about intuition. It doesn’t need to have a reason to make sense.

6. Vow to write down every good thing that happens to you in the new year and revisit as needed.

Having an overall good year doesn’t stop you from experiencing a few hardships and struggles on the way to pure bliss. On those days, where happiness is at it’s peak make not of it and place it in a jar for safe keeping. Then, when you start feeling down again revisit that jar of “2013 goodness” to lift spirits and get happy once again.

What are your 2013 resolutions? How do you plan to be happy in 2013?

TERRIfic Quip: You don’t need to have it all figured it out to move forward.

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December 19, 2012

The Best Christmas Gift of All: Encouragement

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So there’s six more days till Christmas and you’re a little panicked. I would be too if I still couldn’t find the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop for family member. Plus there’s no guarantee I would receive online orders in time for Christmas. At this point, most people would tell you to channel your creativity while you make shallow and pathetic attempts to make something. But for those of you who are really desperate and know you’re as coordinated and creative as your children’s math homework, I’m going to tell you the one gift that is even more meaningful than any DIY project or store bought gift.

One word. Encouragement.

You’re probably scratching your head right now. But the truth is, so few know how to be truly encouraging. When encouragement is offered, it always seems to come with some kind of stipulation.

“You want to be a writer. That’s great. You should do it. I just hope you’re not a starving artist.”

“Oh, you’re starting a business? Congrats! Be prepared for some loss. You should do it though.”

“Training to be a chef is so hard. You can do it as long as you take it seriously.”

“Good luck with paying all your student loans this year. You’re gonna need it. It’s practically impossible.”

While these phrases may be said with good intentions, (or so we hope) they carry doubt and the dreaded “but” with them. And even when attached to encouraging words, that “but” can really put a damper on the receivers spirit. I know because I’ve been there before. I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “Good for you. But you can’t make a living from that that.” or “Wow I can’t believe you’re writing an ebook! I think you should do it. They are much harder to sell than traditional books though.”

Of course, hearing these things definitely bothered me for a bit. Luckily, writing was something I knew I always wanted to do whether or not I had anyone’s approval. However, I did have the approval and encouragement of my parents. I remember the day, I told my mom that I wanted to quit my job to be a writer. I was still living in my parents’ home, struggling financially, and had a bunch of student loans to pay for. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous telling them my plans. Much to my surprise, I got words of encouragement rather than words of concern and non-support. The words my mom uttered, meant the world to me.

“Go for it. I always said you can create your own opportunities.” 

There wasn’t a hint of doubt or a shadow of disbelief – only genuine encouragement as I took on the biggest risk and scariest chapter of my life. She could have said to me that writers never make it. Or she could have also reminded me that I must still find a way to pay back my loans. But she didn’t. Somehow, she knew I was well aware of what I needed to take care of. But she knew that I needed her support more. Little does she know  that small phrase is one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I take her words with me every time I need to conquer a new challenge or each time I’m faced with a business related fear. And my father has been just as supportive since I’ve started this journey.

No, their encouragement wasn’t a Christmas gift per se. But it was a much needed gift at the time. I recommend it, because it is the one gift that can change a person’s world forever. Encouraging words have the power to last a lifetime if you do it right. They won’t die if the battery runs out of life, and it won’t break if you drop it. Deliver it with love and it will stay in the receiver’s heart forever.

So how do you do it? Eliminate the doubt, slash the “what if’s” and sprinkle it with loads of love, sincerity, and pure belief. Do all that and  you’ve got the making of a Christmas gift that would go down in history.  Best of all, it’s priceless!

What was the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received? Have you ever been on the receiving end of true words of encouragement?

TERRIfic Quip: Don’t wait for it. Create your own opportunities.

February 15, 2012

Getting Revenge on Citibank Student Loan Department

Like most young adults in America, I had to take out student loan debt from several private student loans from many lenders. Unfortunately, it has proven to be a hellish experience for me every step of the way. And it doesn’t seem to count for anything that I make ridiculously high payments on time every month with no assistance or cooperation from people at the company. Yet, I still get multiple phone calls a day demanding payment even when it’s a holiday, payments are processing, or a Sunday. However, tables are about to turn because it’s finally time that Citibank Student Loan professionals got a taste of their own medicine.

The Backstory

It’s tax time and despite several requests, I have yet to receive tax information from Citibank Student Loans. I’ve already received tax information from other student loan providers. So what’s taking Citibank so long? They told me that I was supposed to fill out a W-9F form and I didn’t. As a result, I was told I was being sent an official Citibank document stating the amount of interest paid in 2011. On February 2nd, I called to find out where it was because I hadn’t received anything. They told me that it was sent in January and I should be receiving it soon. On February 7th when I hadn’t received it, I called again only to be told I was misinformed and the document was only requested on February 2nd as opposed to actually sent. The representative also told me the document was mailed earlier in the  day and I would receive the document in a few days. Again, a few days went by and I still hadn’t received it so I called them back this morning (February 15th). I was told the document was just sent this morning and I won’t receive it for another 7 to 14 days. Obviously, it frustrates me since I’ve been told that it’s been sent for the past two weeks now. I’ve constantly been misinformed by several different people.

The Plan

It was time to take drastic measures so I simply explained to the person I understand I wouldn’t be receiving my tax information until the next 7 to 14 days. But they had to understand that I would be calling them twice everyday for the next 7 to 14 days since that’s the same way I get treated by Citibank Student Loan representatives. Of course, the representative said there is no need to do that as the document is already on the way to which I said the following: “I understand that, but Citibank doesn’t seem to care when I tell them that check is being processed and they have proof of it. They tell me that they need to keep calling until the payment is processed and cleared even thought it’s out of my hands at that point. So why should I care when you tell me that it’s on the way? I’ll have to keep calling until it has “cleared and in my possession” For your sake, you better hope this letter gets her in seven days as opposed to fourteen because I don’t have a problem calling twice everyday since it’s a toll-free number.”  I apologized for having to take it there but explained that Citibank doesn’t seem to understand the concept of reasoning.

Will it work?

Now some of  you may be wondering if my actions will actually prove the point I’m trying to make since several people in the department handle the calls so I won’t always be getting the same person. I thought about it, and hope the multiple records of my phone calls in addition to all the recorded conversations will make some impact on the way Citibank handles outgoing collection calls once they review these cases. I’m also debating making these phone calls to the Vice President of the Student Loan Department. Even though the student loan department of Citibank will be shutting down by the end of the year, I truly hope my small effort makes a difference and helps them realize what its like to be on the other end. Others may call my actions petty but I’ve tried to work with the company several times, cooperated with them and explained what they are doing to no avail.  So a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Three calls down and  24 to go. Wish me luck.

How do you deal with multiple calls from loan providers? Have you ever tried to give them a taste of their own medicine?

December 21, 2011

Give the Gift of Thanks

If you are anything like the 77 percent of Americans who didn’t finish holiday shopping, you’re scrambling frantically for the perfect gift. With Chanukah here and only four days left till Christmas you are probably feeling hopeless; especially if you are a business owner giving gifts to employees or clients. The solution: Keep it simple by giving thanks.

It’s amazing what a (handwritten) thank you card can do. The gesture says so much more than any other store bought gift. Not only is it simple and inexpensive, it almost guarantees a smile by the recipient. It’s also the perfect excuse to buy pretty stationary and corny cards. While you can purchase thank you cards with a message, I prefer blank cards so I can personalize it. Giving each note a special touch makes all the difference… and it’s good for business. Clients really do appreciate the effort business people make in getting to know them and building a relationship.

Of course, this strategy isn’t only reserved for holidays. Sending notes all year is a great, fun idea. Try sending two thank you cards everyday. I know what you are thinking… “I don’t have time to send two cards to clients everyday.” Trust me. It doesn’t take a lot of time. I spend about ten minutes five days a week sending personalized thank you notes. And I must admit that they are ten minutes well spent; especially since I they seem to be well-received judging by the responses I receive. I also love the tingly feeling I get when doing something to bring a smile to someone’s face.