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Hello December! Finish The Year Strong


Hello December! With only one month left in 2014, let’s finish the year strong and plan ahead for success in 2015.

As the days get shorter and the calendar moves closer to a new year, many begin to think about their new-year resolutions and plan for how to start things off right in January. Ideally, before you jump ahead to 2015, it’s a good idea to decide how to make the most of the current year so you’re well positioned to start the new year off right.

What can you do now to plan ahead so you’ll be ready to excel next year?

1. Improve your habits.
Are you the colleague who annoys everyone because you are constantly late to work and can’t be counted on to get anything done on time? Take a good, close look at your work habits and think about how you could improve them now so you can really start the new year with a fresh approach.

Even if you’re not causing trouble at work, think about what habits you can change. Have you been eating a ton of junk food, even though you promised yourself to adapt a healthy diet? Are you staying up way too late on a regular basis? Think about what habits you have that you can try to change to help yourself feel better and be more productive at work and in the rest of your life.

2. Set goals.
When you saw the calendar change to November, did you get a feeling of dread because you haven’t accomplished most of the goals you set out to achieve in 2014? Or, are you like many in the workforce: did you forget to set any goals at all? As the saying goes, “You’ll never get there if you don’t know where you’re going.” You definitely “can’t get there from here” until you decide where you want to end up, and now is the time to identify some plans so you won’t be in this position next year at this time.

3. Improve productivity.
How can you get your work done faster? If you’re not already asking yourself this question, now is the time to start. If you can accomplish more in less time, you’ll free up hours for projects or interests you don’t think you have time to consider and be able to make a better impression on those you need to impress. Some key time wasters include: excessive email checking, not prioritizing projects and spending a lot of time gossiping around the water cooler or on the Internet. Start tracking your time on these activities and you may be surprised by how many hours you can recover from your day.

4. Learn something new.
Have you thought about how you could use some of your free time to learn something new? In a competitive environment at work, one way to get ahead is to put in extra effort and, in the process, to make yourself more marketable as a valued employee.

5. Identify a mentor.
If you have new goals for 2015, you may decide it’s a good idea to find a mentor or two who may be willing to help support you as you try to accomplish them. The best mentors are willing to invest their time and energy in you, and can expect to learn something in return. Consider actively seeking someone to serve in this role.

6. Extend your relationships.
Is there someone you would love to get to know better, but you’ve never made the effort? Maybe it’s a colleague at work, or a someone in your professional organization. What can you do to get to know the person better? Make a point to invite him or her to join you for coffee or lunch, or attend an industry networking event together. Never forget that your in-person relationships are key to your professional success.

7. Improve your digital footprint.
There’s no time like the present to ramp up your digital presence. If you’ve been hesitating to get a LinkedIn profile, or you never bothered to take a professional photo to use online, now is the time. Employers are turning to social media to source candidates and to learn more about you. What will they find? It’s up to you to feed content to Google so a search of your name online results in information you want people to know about you.

8. Step up.
It’s up to you to get things done, and you won’t accomplish anything without making an effort. Look for opportunities to take on interesting projects and make it clear to your supervisor that you are prepared to take on new challenges if you want to advance in your organization.

This article first appeared on AOL Jobs in November 2013:
8 Ways To Finish The Year Strong

Happy Thanksgiving! Ask the Coach Thursdays

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Every Thursday we will have an Ask the Coach session, so feel free to send in your questions and issues that you’d like some help and insight on.

Today we have a question about losing a loved one.

How do I get through a holiday when I suffered the loss of a loved one on or near the holiday?

Dear Anonymous,

First, let me start by saying I am sorry for your loss. You have to surround yourself with people who love you. You are not to be alone for any reason. Try to think of the good times and happy moments with your loved one. Know they are with you always in every moment of every day. Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling whenever you’re feeling it. Just know that everything will be alright. Big hug.

Read this article for more guidance: 3 Tips For Coping With Grief During The Holidays



Health Benefits of Helping Others

In the spirit of Thanksgiving this week, let’s look at the health benefits of helping others!

4 Amazing Health Benefits of Helping Others by Leslie Goldman
From the December 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

As a boy, whenever Stephen Post got a bad grade, or felt left out of his older brother and sister’s games, or was otherwise having a rough day, his mother always said, “Why don’t you go out and do something for someone else?” At which point he’d head next door to rake Mr. Mueller’s leaves or go across the street to help Mr. Lawrence with his boat. “I always came home feeling better,” says Post, now a professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping. Turns out, there was science behind his mom’s kitchen-table wisdom: Practicing philanthropy is one of the surest steps you can take toward a happy, healthy life. Here’s why.

Longer Lifespan
A 2013 review of 40 international studies suggests that volunteering can add years to your life—with some evidence pointing to a 22 percent reduction in mortality. How much time must you spare? A separate study found that seniors who gave 100 hours or more annually were 28 percent less likely to die from any cause than their less-philanthropic counterparts. “But that’s not a magic number—it could be 75 hours or 125,” says study coauthor Elizabeth Lightfoot, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. “The important thing is that you’re doing it regularly.” And you needn’t be older to benefit. A new study in JAMA Pediatrics found that high school students saw a drop in their cholesterol levels after volunteering with younger kids once a week for two months.

Greater Happiness
When you read to the elderly, walk a 5K for cancer, or even plunk a quarter in the Salvation Army kettle, the reward center of your brain pumps out the mood-elevating neurotransmitter dopamine, creating what researchers call a helper’s high. In fact, one study found that people who completed five small acts of kindness (like helping a friend, visiting a relative, or writing a thank-you note) one day a week for six weeks experienced a significant boost in overall feelings of well-being. Interestingly, those who spread their goodwill over the course of a week showed no such boost. “Our research suggests there’s a threshold of giving that you need to reach before it has an impact,” says study coauthor Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. “Each action has a cumulative effect. The more nice things you do, the more people will respond positively toward you, and the better you’ll feel.”

Better Pain Management
When chronic-pain sufferers helped others with the same ailment, they reported feeling less discomfort, according to a study in Pain Management Nursing. On a scale of 0 to 10, people’s average pain ratings dropped from nearly a 6 to below 4 after volunteer training and six months of leading discussion groups for pain sufferers or making weekly calls to check in on patients. “People living with chronic pain can often feel helpless about their condition, but recognizing the positive effect they had on others in the same situation gave them a sense of purpose,” says study coauthor Paul Arnstein, PhD, a clinical nurse specialist for pain relief at Massachusetts General Hospital. “In turn, that gave them more confidence to find ways of managing their own discomfort.” This kind of volunteering can work with other conditions, too: A study in the journal Social Science & Medicine found that after individuals living with multiple sclerosis offered emotional support to other MS sufferers via monthly phone calls, the helpers were less prone to depression and anxiety.

Lower Blood Pressure
A 2013 study in the journal Psychology and Aging revealed that adults over the age of 50 who reported volunteering at least 200 hours in the past year (roughly four hours per week) were 40 percent less likely than nonvolunteers to have developed hypertension four years later. Though researchers don’t fully understand why giving back can have such a marked impact on blood pressure, they believe it may be linked to the stress-reducing effects of being both active and altruistic. “As we get older, our social networks shrink,” says study coauthor Rodlescia Sneed. “Volunteering may offer an opportunity to establish more social connections and form new bonds with people who care about you and motivate you to take care of yourself.”

Read more: Health Benefits of Doing Good

Notable Women On This Thing Called Feminism

Notable Women On This Thing Called Feminism by Jill Di Donato

People like to overcomplicate messages.There are several reasons for this, and these reasons are not usually well-intentioned. Feminism has become the word du jour. But what’s its message? Its goals? Why is it so divisive? I’ll try to keep it simple. And then share some thoughts on some of feminism’s imperative issues by luminary social, cultural and critical thinkers.

We need a feminism that isn’t afraid to love. We need to be careful of how we consume culture. We need to push back when we feel caged in as women. We need to remember that names hurt; words can put us in danger. We need to talk to one another, especially about topics that make us uncomfortable. We need to talk to kids about feminism, whether we’re parents or not. If we decide to become biological mothers, we need to be knowledgable about the range of childbirth options that are available to us. Once we have children, we need to tell them about the work of the women in the 1960s and ’70s who fought for many of the freedoms we enjoy today. We need to continue the work. We need money; economic equality is ideal, but not compatible with capitalism, so we’ll take equal pay for equal work. We need bodies: yours, mine, the bodies of our brothers and sisters to stand with. We need to remember there’s an ideology in place. And that ideology is solid, despite disagreement in the details. To me, these are feminism’s goals. The following women explain it better than I, and in greater detail. Even if you think this message is familiar, read it again. Read what these women say, because even though there are no new stories, some bear repeating. Continue reading

Ask the Coach Thursdays

Every Thursday we will have an Ask the Coach session, so feel free to send in your questions and issues that you’d like some help and insight on.

Today we have a question about getting over and moving on from relationships.


I just got out of a year relationship. I feel stuck. How do I move on?

Dear Anonymous,


I can certainly relate to what you are going through. You have to first accept what is meaning you are no longer together, and stop denying it. You have to allow yourself to go through the different stages of grieving the end of a relationship; happy, sad, mad, glad. Some stages you may go back and forth between until you finally get to total acceptance. Feel free to reach out to me if you need support.


Read the below article, it should be helpful.

How to Make a Positive Difference in the World

There are all kinds of people in the world, but the people who love their work and relish it are a small group in comparison to the people who hate their work, complain about their work, or simply tolerate their work.

Let’s change our thinking and make a positive difference in the world by adopting seven core behaviors:

  1. Dedicate yourself to what gives your life meaning and purpose.
  2. Commit to continually bettering yourself.
  3. Engage with people in open, mutually-beneficial ways.
  4. Invest time and energy not in what is but what can be.
  5. Spread what you know.
  6. Uplift others as they ascend.
  7. Use your power and influence well.

Read more about how to make a positive difference in the world:
7 Key Behaviors of People Who Make a Positive Difference In the World by Kathy Caprino

Are you longing to make a positive impact in the world? If so, do these behaviors match your own? How are they different?