Goal Oriented

By Sonsie Zamora

Guide to setting and achieving goals:

checklist

Being accomplished is a sense of self. Having the ability to set goals, and achieve them makes you feel good. You get things done, you have a clearer mind, less stress and you feel better about life because you’re moving forward and on to the next goal as you accomplish others. If there are so many upsides to getting things done, then why are there so many of us that procrastinate? It’s easy to get distracted, there are so many things that can deter us from our course and throw us off track. I’ll give you a step-by-step guide how I set and accomplish goals and maybe it can help you to avoid the distractions and get those things that you’ve been meaning to get done, once and for all.

The first thing I do is make a list of any and all things that I need/want to get done, whether they are major things or just little day-to-day things. Such as; cleaning out that one junk drawer closet in the house, sorting through all of the loose paperwork that has accumulated, finding recipes for dinners, finishing school, applying to scholarships, finally finishing that make-over you started, etc… All of those things that keep me up at night and rattle around in my mind. I find that once I jot them down, I feel much less stressed already. Next I break that major list into three smaller lists; things that must get done this week, things that can be done in a few months, and long-term goals to be accomplished within the year or even more. Depending on the items on your list, you may require even more ‘smaller’ lists. I like to focus on what can be achieved within the year at the most however, because I feel it helps your momentum when you can keep checking short term goals off of your list. It also allows for procrastination when you set your goals too far into the future, because you might think ‘I still have time,’ then before you know it time is up and you missed your opportunity or you’re still stuck with the same to-do list and nothing has been checked off it.

Things that ‘must’ get done of course take priority and I like to focus on the harder things at the beginning of the week so you can get them out of the way. I usually sit down Sunday night before bedtime and write out my weekly schedule, allotting realistic time frames for each thing that needs to get done during the week. If I have a paper for a class due by the end of the week, for example, I’ll allow myself an hour on Monday to write out a quick draft and outline with my ideas. On Wednesday I’ll clean up the draft and add any research and by Friday I’ll finalize the paper. This way I’m not stressing come Friday to try to finish the entire paper all in one sitting. I find by breaking things into tiny weekly to-do’s, that I am more successful and less stressed.

One can apply the same concept of breaking goals up into little tasks, to long-term goals. Let’s say your long-term goal is to lose weight. You wouldn’t start by simply saying ‘tomorrow I will begin losing weight’. First you’d want to establish how many pounds you want to lose and what would be reasonable to lose each week and each month therefore figuring out how much time it would take to reach your final goal. Then you want to write down all of the things involved with losing weight and break those into weekly and monthly goals as well. Such as; cut sugar and fried foods, increase water intake, start a workout regimen, get fun new workout clothes for motivation, join a gym or find a local area to workout, buy a bike, etc. Make sure to keep the goals realistic and break them up into small, un-daunting tasks so you can keep moving toward your final goal and not get stuck along the way.

Distractions can be a huge problem in not reaching your goals. Especially today with all of the cell phone alerts, news feeds, Facebook updates, etc. Try to either turn off your phone and TV when focusing on your tasks, especially if you’re allotting just an hour or so at a time each day for your goals, you can feel less anxiety about allowing yourself that short and uninterrupted time. There’s nothing that can’t wait an hour, especially when the focus is yourself, which is a lot more important that so-and-so’s latest relationship drama or whatever it is. Also allowing your mind to be clear not only sharpens your focus but can also generate new thoughts and ideas and make for a more creative, alert and less stressed mind. Make sure you plan out your ‘fun times’ too. If you’ve been grinding all week, don’t let yourself skip Friday girls’ night, you deserve it. Tomorrow is always another day and you can get right back to the grind again then.

Once you start successfully scratching things off of your list of goals, you will feel your confidence growing and you may start reaching even higher for your next set of goal. Go ahead and start dreaming big! Travel to different countries, do a marathon, write a book, invent something, finish college, get into your best physical shape or whatever else you dream about. You now have a formula to get you there. I hope this helps and don’t stop setting and achieving goals. When you look back on your life 80 years from now, you will feel so fulfilled having accomplished as much as you possibly could and getting the most you desired out of life.

Red Light on Sex Trafficking

By Sonsie Zamora

NotforSale

Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion annually in the US (www.thecoveringhouse.org, 2015). This is startling. It gets worse. The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the US is 13-14 years old. We always think this could never happen to me, not to my family. But it does happen to children in all walks of life. There is no stereotypical child that this happens to. I watched a documentary recently called ’Tricked’ (2013), where this happened to educated college girls, girls from wealthy families, girls sold by their own families and many other examples. About 300,000 children in the US are at risk of being prostituted.

First let’s break down the stereotypes and barriers so we can better understand these situations. Many times we think, ‘well, if the girls don’t want to be prostitutes, why don’t they just leave?’ There are many reasons why not. These girls (and boys) can be young, naive and vulnerable for one. Also pimps have an approach called ‘boyfriending’ where they pretend to be your boyfriend initially in order to lure you in, then they’ll suddenly change the situation and get physically abusive, cut you off from family and friends, lock you in rooms and threaten you, among many other things. This is their tactic to gain trust and then control over the prostitute. A pimp can also wine, dine and promise these young individuals lots of money and pretty things to entice them into believing this lifestyle is glamorous and promising. Many times these young people have zero choice about being where they are. They are trapped. This is modern-day slavery, to say it mildly.

So the system is flawed already because it’s designed to prosecute the prostitute, who likely doesn’t want to be there in the first place, and not the pimp. The prostitutes are the ones making the transaction and the one in the limelight doing the act, so they make for easy targets. The pimps hide easily and if they do get caught, the prostitutes will usually lie for them for fear of retaliation. Because these vulnerable and mold-able young women are dragged into this lifestyle so young, after some time, they might not know any other way. Even if they did, they are fearful for their life, their families lives and don’t know how to get in contact with anyone that will believe and help them. If they do contemplate it or have means, they are filled with so much fear and shame over what they’ve been forced to do, so they don’t want to come forward. It’s easier to give up. Their spirits have been broken.

So what can we do to change this? We can start by teaching ourselves and our children to be cautious of whom they trust. If someone is promising you the world and it sounds too good to be true…it probably is. There is no ‘easy money’ in life. Everything in life has a price, just like everyone in life has a value. We need to be aware of the facts as adults, parents and neighbors, and don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t think your family cannot be touched by this. One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

We also need to change the way the legal system works. We are persecuting our youth for prostituting when we need to be asking who is behind it. Can we offer the youth help? Can we get in contact with their families? We need to crack down on the johns that enter into this behavior also. The documentary ‘Tricked’ that I watched interviewed johns justifying their behavior of purchasing sex because they said the girls ‘were earning a living just like anybody else’ or that they ‘appeared to be happy and enjoyed what they did’. This isn’t the case. No little girl in the US dreams of becoming a prostitute when they grow up…and certainly not when they haven’t even grown up yet.

 

References:

The Covering House. (2015). The Facts. Retrieved from http://thecoveringhouse.org/act/resources-2/sex-trafficking-statistics-source-documentation/

Wells, J. (Producer). Wasson, John-Keith & Wells, J. (Directors). (2013). Tricked: The Documentary.

Role Models

By Sonsie Zamora

mlkdreamEveryone can benefit by having someone to look up to and goals to strive toward. Do you have a role model?

When I say ‘role model’, I don’t mean Beyonce because she’s amazing or Jennifer Lawrence because she’s famous. I mean on a deeper level; really study what they stand/stood for and how they got to where they are/were. Choose someone whose life and goals are something that you hope to be in sync with. As young people, we feel like we have all the time in the world to achieve everything we want to but the reality is that there is a small window of opportunity where we can really shape and decide who we are and who we want to become. Choices we make now will follow us forever and influence other choices we make later in life. Nobody wants to look back on their life 50 years from now and wish they would have done more. Now is the time!

Maybe you have a lot of people motivating you in life, or maybe you have no one. But I want to make sure to tell you that you truly can be anything and anybody you want to be in life. Don’t let your surroundings or people decide for you. Find someone that motivates you in life, if you don’t have someone already, and make a clear path to the goals you want to achieve and stay focused. A role model can be a source of constant motivation when you need that boost. They can keep you on track when friends, or life, try to steer you in another direction.

There are many people and qualities that inspire me but one example of someone I strive to be like is JK Rowling. She believed in the stories she had to tell so much so that she continued to persevere despite many set backs. It took her 7 years to write the first Harry Potter book and during the same time period she got a divorce, became a single mother and lost her own mother. She stayed motivated however despite all of this and kept writing. In the span of 5 years following that period, she went from living on state benefits to multi-millionaire status. That is amazing and her current success is astronomical and something out of a fairy tale, to me.

If you don’t have a role model off the top of your head, start by thinking about what qualities you would appreciate in a role model; someone that is hard working? Someone that is brave and stays positive no matter what? Someone that is accomplished and successful? Someone that makes a difference in the world? Someone that overcame a huge obstacle or tragedy in life? Someone athletic? Someone that dedicated their lives to others? Think of any and all qualities that you wish to be or that motivate you and list them. If this doesn’t make you think of any one person that inspires you, that’s ok. There can be many, many people that inspire you or sometimes it’s certain qualities about people that keep us in awe. The point is to never stop being motivated and inspired by others and to never stop dreaming as big as you possibly can.

Beauty is a Beast

ethnicbeautyWe all have at least one thing we want to change; a thinner waist, smaller nose, fuller lips, thicker hair, bigger breasts, etc…However, when does a healthy inventory of ourselves turn into an unhealthy self image? Where do these desires to perfect one self stem from, and how far would you be willing to go to achieve your ideal self?

From websites walking you through step-by-step how to become a bulimic or an anorexic, to waist training rituals, and celebrities that lose unimaginable amounts of weight in short periods of time, and the quadruple M threat: magazines, models, movies and media. These messages that we need to be younger, thinner and prettier are all around us.

This isn’t a new phenomenon however. The Greeks and Romans used to take crocodile dung baths with the belief that it would tone the body and held anti-aging properties (http://mom.me/mind-body/7471-weirdest-beauty-rituals-throughout-history/item/tapeworm-diet/ K.Thor Jensen, Mar. 2015). They would also ship in human urine from Portugal and use it as mouthwash as it was believed to be a potent cleaning agent. During the 1800’s in England, people would take tape worm larvae in pill form in order to lose weight. Dating as early as the 19th Century, women in China would bind their feet to the point of not being able to walk in order to achieve the desired ‘lotus flower foot’ (a 3 inch foot was the goal). This was a sign of wealth and status because if your feet were so tiny that you couldn’t walk, that demonstrated that you were too wealthy to have to work. This practice would start on girls as young as 4 years old and began by breaking all their toes except their big toe and binding them so they couldn’t grow. Another example from this era is people taking arsenic in small doses because it was said to give you a ‘healthy glow’.

These practices may seem shocking, but are they really any different than some of the practices we do today? One example is injecting Botox, a toxin, into your face. Another is elective plastic surgery which seems to almost be the norm at this point. Specifically, plastic surgery done on adolescent girls whose bodies aren’t even done developing yet. Diet pills and supplements with the promise to help you lose weight, some of which aren’t approved by the FDA. Waist training trends, despite the potential health risks and that the benefits are unproven. Crash diets, such as the baby food diet or liquid-only cleanses. We put our bodies through so much abuse, and for what? To be desired by men and women alike? Because ‘sex is power’? But…power over what? Obviously not ourselves if we’re letting these messages control our actions.

We’re fed these messages from an early age, in children’s toys and TV programs. So it’s no wonder that statistically, adolescent girls are targeted and affected the most by these messages, due to their desire to fit in with their peers, their thirst for the newest and latest trends and media targeting this group the hardest knowing their susceptibility. This vulnerability can easily manifest unhealthy images and negative behavior patterns in these girls, which then go on to develop body dissatisfaction, low self esteem, eating disorders, and many other issues that further feed into these skewed beauty ideals.

These warped messages of what we need to do in order to feel ‘beautiful’ are going to be accessible no matter what. I’m not going to attempt to argue that we need to change society and the media, as it can’t be done overnight, and might not ever happen for that matter. The fight needs to start within ourselves. We need to change the way that we see ourselves and stop obsessing over unattainable ideals of beauty. We need to love ourselves daily, look in the mirror and tell ourselves things that we like and wouldn’t change. We need to surround ourselves with other healthy, positive people and stop comparing ourselves to one another as there is no comparison. We are each individual. We are each beautiful. As women, we have so much more to offer society than a pretty face or a slim figure. We are smart, powerful, creative, innovative, loving and healthy. I believe we can teach ourselves to take in the parts of the messages that are healthy, such as getting a new haircut or wearing the latest trends, but filter out the parts of the messages that make you feel badly about yourself or tell you that you need to change who you are from the inside out and take on unhealthy trends or ideals. Let’s let a healthy self image be the newest and latest trend!

Are Our Children Prepared? Surviving Through Tragedies

IMG_0779By  Sonsie Zamora

Frightened-Child-580x388

I was amazed when I read the story about Sailor Gutzler, the 7 year-old that was the sole survivor of the fatal plane crash that killed her parents, sister and cousin. She crawled from the burning wreckage, barefoot and with broken bones, using the fire to light a stick to guide her way a mile into the woods to find help by knocking on a stranger’s door. Sailor’s instincts and will to survive through such tragedy is awe-inspiring, for any adult, much less a young child. Was Sailor’s reaction one of pure adrenaline or survival skill training her dad taught her? That brings us back to the age old nature vs. nurture question. Can survival skills be taught or is it instinct? There are arguments either way

 

I immediately thought about my 6 year-old daughter and wondered if she would know what to do in such a scenario. We teach our kids a lot of skills; getting dressed, making a simple meal, doing homework, reading and writing, being polite, etc. What about survival skills? There are many ways to present these skills to a young audience. For example, some parents play the ‘What would you do?’ game with their children by asking questions based on hypothetical scenarios. Another example is an app called Let’s Get Ready, which is a Sesame Street app that presents safety ideas and checklists in an easy to understand format. While some other parents, and classrooms too, might run fire and earthquake safety drills. Yet others, in what most would call more extreme cases, might prepare their families by mocking apocalyptic-type lifestyles such as in the TV shows Off The Grid and Doomsday Preppers, among others.

 

But really, can any amount of ‘preparation’ teach us to be ready for such tragedy and danger? Let’s hypothetically imagine for a moment that we’re in the midst of an armed bank robbery. Some people’s instinct might be to be the hero in the situation, jumping to the rescue of everyone. Others might choose to freeze up, stay quiet and/or be emotional. While still others might begin to devise an escape route. People can react in any number of ways to this situation. However we have no clue as to what each person’s background is and what amount of survival skill training each person has in this hypothetical scenario. Is the person that jumped into the hero role a retired police officer? Is the person that froze up a parent and therefore was thinking of their family first? Or is it the other way around?

 

I think there is no way to tell how a person will react to catastrophe, no matter the amount of training they receive, until they are faced with such an event. There are still those that receive a lot of training, such as EMTs or soldiers, just as an example, that still freeze up. That being said however, I think there is no harm in considering preparing your children for such events by asking hypothetical questions, playing the ‘What would you do’ game, teaching them how to dial 9-1-1 and explaining what constitutes as an emergency. This can only empower them in the instance such as Sailor Gutzler’s, where she did react and take charge of her situation, whether it was instinct or taught skills or a combination of both. She is a survivor both ways and the motivation to teach our children some survival skills can stem from her tragic story.

 

 

 

 

cheating boyfriend

Simply Sonsie – Answers YOUR Questions!

cheaters

Q: Dear Simply Sonsie,

 

I’ve been dating a new guy, 28 (I’m 32) for the past 6 months. He is a stripper. He was NOT in this industry when I met him. He repeatedly assures me of how professional he is in the workplace and promises he is always faithful to me. Recently I surprised him at work and caught him making out with a customer. Although he had had a few drinks and it didn’t mean anything to him (supposedly), I just can’t get past it. Is it right for me to ask him to quit his job for the sake of our new relationship? Or do I just let him go being that it’s so new? I really do like him and see a future with him, other than his current career choice. He swears nothing like this will ever happen again. But being in that industry– I’m no dummy.  What should I do??

Thank you,

In lust and confused

 

A: Dear In Lust and Confused-

 

If you’ve been dating this guy for 6 months and he’s already changed careers at least once, I immediately wonder how stable he is. Stability is something we women usually seek in men and if he can’t provide that, I wonder what type of a boyfriend he makes. Also, if he wasn’t in this career when you first started dating, what prompted him to go into this type of work? Did he discuss it with you initially or how did it come up? I don’t think the job itself is the major issue in this scenario. There are a couple issues in play. The fact that he needs to repeatedly reassure you of his behavior and you showing up at his work as a surprise indicates to me that there are existing trust issues in the relationship or within one, or both of you, individually. If you feel that the issue/s within your relationship is more oriented toward trust, I would suggest you both seek counseling individually. One, or both of you, might need to focus on healing yourselves before you can be in a relationship. This doesn’t mean something is ‘wrong’ with either one of you, this means that there could be existing issues that are standing in the way of your happiness. No matter how you feel about this person, your happiness supersedes. You deserve to be happy! Make a list of important qualities (top 5) you seek in a partner and see if this person qualifies. Remember that you have not been with this person for an extended time and your heart will heal if you choose to walk away. Also, there are people out there that will qualify in all of the areas you desire to have in a partner. Don’t be afraid of the new and unknown. Sometimes it is worth the struggle to really find what we want in life and be happy! Take a chance on yourself.

IMG_0779Contact  Simply Sonsie

with ALL YOUR CRAZY questions!

at simplysonsie@gmail.com

 

 

Got Questions! We’ve Got Answers with Simply Sonsie

 

cheating husband

 

Q: Dear Simply Sonsie-

 

My husband and I have been married for 9 years and, for the most part, have gotten along pretty well. However, about two years ago, we had some financial difficulties because he was laid off. He lied and told me the mortgage had been paid when it hadn’t; there were other problems, so we separated for about 8 months. During that time he quickly found another woman. We’re back together now, but I can’t get his affair off my mind. I feel betrayed. How do I let go of this? Jealous Jenny

 

A: Dear Jealous Jenny-

 

Betrayal is difficult to get past no matter what. Although it’s really hard, try for a moment to put yourself in his shoes. He may have felt rejected when you left and seeking someone else that ‘desired’ him might have been his way of putting a band aid on those feelings. While your way of coping may have been completely different, this was his way to cope with the feelings of separation. Try to remember that his actions were most likely not intentionally to hurt you or get back at you. There was probably little thought put forth in his actions, it was just his reaction to cope with his feelings he was dealing with. He likely feels a lot of guilt about not being able to pay the bills as well as the affair. None of which is supposed to ‘excuse’ him or to victimize him in this scenario. Let’s focus on the many positive aspects of your relationship, rather than the couple negative things; Financial issues and affairs often times break up a relationship entirely, the fact that you both are reunited and still together is a really good indicator of your connection. Also the fact that you know about the affair and he’s come forth about it is a good sign that he is ready to move forward from it all and focus on the future with you. This all being said, sometimes one just cannot get past an affair. If you empathize with this sentiment and feel that you will not get over this, it might be time to think about what happens next in this case. Are you both seeking therapy together? Understanding what he was/is thinking might help guide your thoughts one way or the other and find some resolution regardless of your decision and the outcome.

 

 

IMG_0779Contact Simply Sonsie

with  ALL YOUR CRAZY  questions!

simplysonsie@gmail.com