Issue #41

 Happy Tuesday. 

It's Election Day here in the US.  
I voted (last week). 
I said a prayer (this afternoon).
And then I made a decision to turn off the news, the social media, and the WhatsApp notifications.  

I made a choice to focus on those things I DO have control over.  Things like eating a healthy meal, calling my mom, and setting new goals.

It is so easy to put life on hold until "after the election", or "after the pandemic is over", or "after I get a better job""after the weather gets warmer", "after I lose weight" or until after something else happens.

I've decided not to put my life on hold.
I will keep pursuing my dreams, working on my goals, reflecting on what works well in my life, and what needs an upgrade, on continuous improvement + learning.  Let's do this.

This is issue #41 of {Upgrade with Nelly}  

In this newsletter, I discuss self-care, personal productivity, business, mindset during the COVID-era, and how to balance busy home life. 

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1. Monthly achievements and reflections 

October was a pretty smooth and easy month.  After a tough month that September was, easy and smooth is exactly what I needed.  

I made a variety of small life upgrades including upgrading my coffee and investing in a coffee press (no more instant coffee!), keeping kids socks stored near their shoes (to avoid running back upstairs to look for socks), getting a car wash, getting my eyebrows done, and buying fresh flowers for the house.

I organized additional parts of the house + hired a new cleaning team twice to do the actual washing (dusting, mopping, washing bathrooms).  It was a team of 3 people and together they efficiently cleaned the house in just 2 hours. This was the first time I hired a team vs. an individual and the speed of it was an upgrade.  

I discovered the best ever method of capturing my thoughts, ideas, and tasks.  The post-it note method, which I have discussed in detail in the previous issues.  This has been a life-changing discovery.  I completed a lot more mini-tasks with much more ease.

I played around with the concept of "thinking time".  Getting clarity by writing morning pages or while on an afternoon walk has always worked great for me.  Sitting still and thinking was not at all effective.

Also, I feel blessed to have been of help to those close to me.  A friend had a new baby and I cooked her and her family dinner.  My father-in-law had a medical procedure done and we visited him multiple times (and I bought him my favorite book "The Big Leap" which he actually started reading and is loving!)  I hired the same cleaning team to come and clean my parents' house, and later that day, I bought fresh flowers for my parents to add a lovely finishing touch to their freshly cleaned apartment.   

Lastly, I joined a new ladies group.  I'm not even sure if I should call it a mastermind, an accountability group, a support group, a friendship circle, or a book club.  I have been both a member and a leader/speaker/coach of all of the previously mentioned, but this group is all in one.  It's a small group of friends (we are all friends with each other), we meet on Zoom once a week, and discuss our goals and dreams, and challenges.  We remind each other to practice gratitude and self-care.  We discuss motherhood and marriage, and meal prepping, and our careers, and spirituality.  And we are also reading and discussing a book together.    This new group is one of the highlights of my month.

2. New goals for November

Every time I set brand new goals I feel a mix of emotions.  I feel excitement for the good things coming my way, freedom because I am free to choose any goal(s) I want, doubt if I am being too ambitious in my goal setting or if the opposite is true and I'm being too lazy or careless, and fear of failure.

I remind myself that the main benefit of setting and pursuing these goals is not even the achievement of these goals.  Sure, having clarity of my priorities for the month helps ground me.  And yes, the accountability of having the goals in writing (and shared with others), plus weekly check-ins helps increase the chances of accomplishment.  However, the main benefit is the growth that happens from this pursuit itself and the clarity that comes from the lessons learned.

Over the past year, I was reminded of so many lessons through my own trial and error.  Lessons such as that it's Ok to change my mind.  I have set goals and a week into it discovered that it's not really that important to me or that I actually do not want to pursue the goal at this time at all - and that it's OK.  I have failed to achieve certain goals and this has taught me forgiveness and, after analyzing what stopped me from success, I learned how to set goals better for the future.  Setting goals every month is helping develop consistency (previously my weak point).  And of course, the pleasure of doing this work through this newsletter and providing ideas, inspiration, and strategies to so many other women is highly rewarding.


On this note, here are the goals I have decided to pursue during this new month of November.

I hope they resonate with you as well and you join me in this pursuit.

Remember that if only one resonates with you, do that one.  If all resonate with you, go for them.  And if non resonate this month, let this be a reminder to set your own goals that do resonate and to pursue them with commitment and passion.

1. Get back to exercise

I was doing so well with this and then I fell off my flow.  I'm eager to get back to exercising.  As I'm writing this I am honestly feeling some resistance.  "Oh no, I'm tired... can I relax instead" and "don't make this too ambitious, Nelly... take it easy".

So I will commit to exercising every day...
but I will start off easy. 
Daily exercise for 15 minutes...
with the freedom to select exercise for the day!
Weights, yoga, cardio, dance, core work, pilates.  I'm considering incorporating the 30-day squat challenge from PopSugar into my exercise time.  Whatever feels right each day is what I will do.

Walking and speed walking doesn't count since I'm already doing this and the goal is to upgrade.

Want to join me?  Ready to begin or to upgrade your exercise routine?  C'mon, girl.  We can do this!

2.  Choosing words wisely

I will be working on a new self-improvement habit of choosing words that are kind, empowering, and positive.

So as oppose to "I have to make dinner" which feels like an annoying chore... "I get to make dinner for my family" reminds me of how blessed I am to have a family, to have a flexible work schedule, and to have all the ingredients, good pots, and a working oven.

As opposed to "he is giving me a hard time" when my toddler misbehaves which again makes me feel annoyed and even angry to "he is having a hard time" (having a hard time not being able to express himself, or feeling tired, etc) makes me feel compassion and love for my little one and desire to help him navigate the situation.  

I will focus on how I feel during the day.  When I'm feeling annoyance, frustration, or overwhelm I will then reflect on "what is the story I'm telling myself?"  The story in my head is the "script".  This goal is not only about the words I say, but primarily about the words, I think.

I will then work on reframing and rephrasing the story and the words.



3.  Daily Lesson

My goal is to "teach a daily lesson."  This could include doing a Facebook Live, teaching a webinar, or simply posting a quote on my Instagram page.  I will put myself "out there" every single day + share something inspiring or informative.

4. Play games

Last night I attended parent-teacher night for my 3-year-old's class.  The teacher spoke about the importance of playing games and that games are a tool for fun, connecting with others, expanding creativity, and learning new skills.  At the start of the meeting (and just to clarify, it took place via Zoom) the parents were asked to think back to their own favorite games.  This made me realize that while I support my children's playtime, I don't play enough myself.

Allowing myself to play more will be the goal for the month.  Perhaps allowing is not the word but rather preparing to play or prioritizing play is what it will be all about.  I need to plan for it to happen and do it often enough for it to become habitual and natural.

3. Video to watch

In my new women's circle (which I described above) I mentioned this video.  I described it as a "video everyone has to watch at least once".

And I'd like to share it with you, as well.
Because everyone needs validation, and everyone can give validation to others. 

Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

3. Health Tip

Do you drink enough water? Do you get enough sleep? Do you eat enough vitamins and minerals? Do you consume enough protein and healthy fats? Do you move your body enough?

Do you eat too much sugar? Too much salt? Too much proceed food? Too many snacks? Do you consume too much caffeine or too much alcohol?

And what is "enough" or "too much" really?
Let's stop the judgment of self or of others.

Health starts with self-awareness.

So instead of asking "do I do enough" or "do I do too much",  figure out the actual metric, the actual number.

How much water do you drink per day?  You can measure it in cups or in ounces or in liters.  

How many snacks do you eat?  

This is how I begin work with my clients.  
We first figure out what is.  Without judgment or guilt or apologies or shame or fear.  Just factual metrics.  And once we know what is (the keyword is know...we don't guess it, we actually get the info), then we can upgrade by making small consistent changes.

The technique to find these metrics is tracking.

Tracking = technical term for writing things down.

Do you drink enough water? - bad question.
How much water do you drink daily? - good question
Tracking - every time you drink a cup of water, record it.  I like keeping a tally on a post-it note that hangs on a kitchen cabinet next to my tea kettle.  You can use an app, or keep notes on your phone.  How you keep track does not matter.  What matters is that you do keep track.


Do I get enough sleep? - bad question
How much sleep do I actually get? - better question
Track it.  Write down the time when you go to bed, and then write down the time you wake up.

Of course, we need to track for a few consistent days.  We are looking at your general patterns, not a single day exception.

Once we know the actual metric we know if it's "too much" or "not enough".  And we also have more information for setting the right goal and what actions to take.   But it always starts with awareness of what IS, right now.  

So if there is any habit you want to improve, start with tracking.

5. Resources mentioned in today's newsletter

These are the products and resources I have mentioned in today's issue.

 The 30-day squat challenge from PopSugar

My favorite book "The Big Leap"

Validation - a short film

That's it for today.
Have a happy week.

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Wishing you health, happiness, and success in all of your endeavors.

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