3 Tips to Break Through Barriers and Achieve Your Goals

achieving goals, inspiration, breaking barriers, empowered woman, reaching destination, IR blog, S.C. Rhyne

If you’re like most people, you have probably set dozens of goals in your life. From trying to lose weight and getting rid of household clutter to wanting to get a better job and/or freeing yourself from credit card debt, it’s fairly easy to come up with at least one personal goal at any given time.

While thinking up goals you want to reach is pretty simple, achieving them is much more difficult. Why? Inevitably, a variety of issues will arise that prevent us from reaching them. But in order to finally break through these barriers, it’s important to identify some common obstacles and determine ways to overcome them.

Now, No More “Buts”

As soon as you set a goal, the word “but” may pop into your head, trying to undermine your efforts. If you want to eliminate credit card debt, you might think, “But I’m already working so hard, how can I make more money?” or “But I owe so much, it will take too long to pay off my cards.” The best way to get rid of the “buts,” notes Inc.com, is to acknowledge them and then ignore and move past them.

Bumps in the Road

In addition to the negative voices inside your head that discourage you from reaching your goal, you will also encounter figurative and literal roadblocks along the way that can be challenging to overcome. For example, if you are trying to be more punctual to both social and professional occasions — because you understand being on time is a telltale sign of being reliable and responsible — it can be extremely frustrating to be late due to a traffic jam or flat tire.

While some of these bumps in the road are unpredictable, anticipate them ahead of time by taking proactive steps to avoid them in the first place. Check traffic on Google Maps before heading to work or a party, and if you see an accident or realize construction activity will cause delays, give yourself more time or plan another route altogether. If you rely on public transportation like I do in London and New York City, always add on an extra 15 minutes to your journey. There’s not much more you can control once you’re underground in the subway or tube.

Avoid the Naysayers

As SelfGrowth.com notes, the people that we are closest to will sometimes sabotage our goals. If you’re trying to eat healthier and lose weight, your closest friend might repeatedly encourage you to join her for ice cream. Or your spouse might come up with different reasons why earning that awesome work promotion will interfere with your home life.

In some cases, these folks are afraid your dedication to achieving your goal will turn you into a different person, so they may consciously or subconsciously try to discourage you. Unfortunately, because you genuinely love these people and usually listen to their advice, you might end up being influenced by their negative attitudes. To prevent this from happening, you might not want to share your goals with certain people, or remind yourself to ignore them, as they are being naysayers due to their own underlying fears.

So my heroes and she-roes, what barriers are you working through right now? Is there anyway that I can help or advice that I give? Tweet me @ReporterandGirl or post it on Facebook.

The Monday After

Well wouldn’t you know that since my last post on procrastination, I followed through on my deadlines, as well as followed up on some things lingering in the pipeline. I managed my time more efficiently by checking emails only once a day and saving social media for the evenings, and solidly dedicating the day light hours to my projects. During the late nights, I would reward myself with a movie or TV shows on Amazon prime.

I’m still struggling everyday to discipline myself to keep up with the many things that I have to do; but progress has been made! If you missed my post, Waiting for Tomorrow, you can read it here for some ideas on coping with a long list of items and getting things done today.

In other news, the atmosphere in London has been quite weird the last couple days. Since the #Brexit vote, it is almost as if most of the tension has been relieved. In fact, the few people that I know who want the U.K to remain in the E.U, seemed nonchalant about the vote and replied that today (Friday) is a new day forward. These are literally the same people who were preaching about the impending doomsday if the country left.

Meanwhile, the folks who did vote to leave, were also reserved and responded about how this was just a new path and regaining control of their country. One particular quote sums it up, “the British love the concept of the E.U., but we do not like the way its being run.”

Where was all this level-headed reasoning last week, I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure these people out.

There’s also the concept of identity that someone brought up: she didn’t feel European– she’s British. I don’t know if this is a widespread cultural identity, as I can tell you that outside of Europe, the inhabitants of the United Kingdom are looked upon as Europeans. But I know that politically and economically, the U.K have been adopting some nonEuropean traits in the last two decades or so.

I know people are concerned about the future, as there is much happening in the global political arena. Right-wing populist movements such as UKIP in the U.K, LePen in France, Petry in Germany, many nationalist parties in the Balkans and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in the U.S have been gaining quite a bit of momentum in 2016. Well from what I understand, many of these parties have had a presence (even if just a minor one) in the parliaments of these countries for decades; but 2016 seems to be the year that they all  gained significant influence.

Now, each country is complex and are dealing with their internal socioeconomic problems; but if we can focus on a common theme that have led to the rise of these groups, in a simple term: ISIS/ISIL.

This extremist group has been the centerpiece for immigration reform, foreign policy agendas, social policies of integration, domestic and foreign security policies, and human rights laws. As Westerners (and people in the Middle East and Africa), we’re afraid of this movement and the many policies and initiatives that have passed can be linked to our fears of Islamic extremism (I use this term, because even though there are other forms of extremism, our media and politicians have focused on this form. Thus, its  convenient to identify for anyone to reading this).

Immigration reform lately has been due to the displacement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, many countries are towing the line between humanitarian and security efforts. There are many debates about this around the globe from recipient countries of refugees.

Foreign policy agendas surrounding the question about how to fight a group that have taken recruitment and jihad ideology to an unprecedented level. We can’t put soldiers everywhere, we can’t bomb every town, or raid every house.

Integration: One thing that I will say about Europe (sorry, I mean the U.K) is that racial and class politics are very different here. Americans, you know our terrible history of segregation and the legacy that continues today. There are certain neighborhoods that we (whichever racial group you belong to) just do not go to. Most London neighborhoods are quite integrated– you can see just about anyone shopping for veggies at an African food market, or get this — I’m eating at Nigerian or Turkish restaurant and most folks there, are not of that ethnicity. However, there is still a problem of integrating immigrants in Europe, not just economically (think slums and ghettos) but also culturally. I’m first generation American, but I have never had another American question my “Americaness” to me. However, for Europeans even after 2 or 3 generations, they may not be considered “French” or “English” or “Danish”. Especially if they still hold an ethnic-sounding name. A French friend that I spoke with, said that these immigrants (mind you, 2nd or 3rd generation) should try to integrate. This is a complex problem which not just ties into immigration, but also how Europeans see themselves and others. And there are some academic literature which links cultural identity to young European-born Muslims who end up being recruited.

Domestic and foreign security – wire tapping, NSA, Patriot Act, collecting data from other countries about suspected terrorists? Yep, that’s a whole ‘nother post about every country that is trying to manage and catch every suspect, before they can do something lethal.

Human rights — another issue that can tie into everything mentioned above, but many countries are passing laws or initiatives that disproportionately have a negative effect on the Muslim community. For example,  France’s law to ban all head coverings/religious garments in public, the NYPD’s surveillance of a Mosque, Denmark’s proposal to seize the bank accounts/assets of Syrian refugees so they could “pay back” the government for  benefits. Many of these reactive initiatives or legislation do more to single out a group of people and “otherize” them, rather than get to the roots of the problem. Thick and deeply buried roots that no politician wants to dirty their hands with. Hence, the issues that I mentioned beforehand.

There are many political and social contexts of how nationalist-populist movements are taking shape from the Americas to the E.U.; my small analysis just looks at one factor, that cuts across different sectors, regions, and countries: the fear of ISIS/ISIL and how that fear has manifested itself to scapegoating, blaming, nationalism, divisive rhetoric, etc…and my last point on this: ordinary persons know that some far right-wing leaders are wrong and maybe immoral. I have spoken to Brits, who state they do not believe in 95% of UKIP’s ideology but voted for them because of “uncontrolled immigration”. Likewise, many people do not agree with Donald Trump, but feel his solutions “to keep us safe” are the best solutions possible. Thus, people seem to be voting for these leaders for the 1% of things that they promise, which is indirectly/directly related to fear of the rising ISIS ideology. They are also ignoring the 99% of problematic and divisive politics, maybe thinking that the ends justify the means.

The politics of fear is a driving force for the electorate in many countries and it is beyond left or right wing politics. However, I will say that no strong country is born out of fear, but out of hope. And I’m optimistic that Monday after the Brexit, British and Europeans will still maintain this hope for new separate but mutually beneficial paths for both sides.

We’re at the end, share your thoughts, comments, questions, hopes and dreams with me! I am on twitter @ReporterandGirl or you can post on my wall on Facebook.

 

A Lost Boy

man child, immature boy, the reporter and the girl, video games, TV, smoking pot, unemployed, no life, loser

It is a few days left until I move into my apartment in London; an exciting, scary, and new stage I’ll enter. Although moving doesn’t sound exciting to everyone (the stress of carrying luggage, and transferring things to another address etc…), this is the first apartment that I acquired and will live on my own – so its a big deal that I get it “right”.  And maybe soon I’ll have a housewarming to show off the new digs once I paint and stuff.

However, I have been hesitant about this, as it shows how invested I am in staying in London — a two year lease and some intensive interior decorating. However, any doubts that I had about moving from my shared-house to my own place was wiped away last night.

I was very fortunate through a friend in New York to be introduced to a girl a year younger than me, but who had a room in her mother’s house that I could rent. I am staying with her mother and brother. They have been very welcoming and I always consider myself lucky that I found her; it helped with my transition and gave me someplace stable and affordable while I looked to step up.

The daughter lives on her own, not too far away with her own young family, and the mother is a nurse who is a workaholic. The son, who is 30, stays at home. When I talked to him, he told me he was out of work and had been for two years — it had gave me anxiety about how difficult it must be to find work, especially skilled work (administrative, professional etc..); and I expressed this to my landlady who is more like my UK  mom now, and she always told me not to worry, I will find something– a month later I did.

Now before ya’ll accuse me of being that immigrant that comes and steals local jobs; this job was asking for a specific language skill-set that I have, although they do have positions there for people without being fluent in another language.

Anyway, things have been fine. Really. I did noticed some things about him that really seem strange.

  • Like sleeping all day but up all night “watching TV”.
  • The strong smell of cannabis from his room and from whenever he returned from the garden.
  • As well as up to this point, there has been only two times that I’ve seen him leave the house.

The first time, he escorted me to the post office to exchange my money to GBP currency, and the second time he was on his way to the job center. I assume it is like the United States when you are receiving benefits, every once in a while you have to go and speak with the counselor and show them that you are looking for work etc… but I mean, even the average person wouldn’t want to stay in their house for weeks without leaving? As well as he tended to get “visitors” more often when his mom wasn’t home. Now these visitors never stayed, except for the 1 or 2 friends that he sits on the couch with; most often the doorbell rings, and he goes and gets it, says a few words to someone and they leave.

I guess these Jehovah Witnesses are really active in this neighborhood, and dedicated too! They will come to the door at all hours of the night.

He finally got a job about a month ago, a temporary rolling contract that seems all too common here; but he’s only working until they remove sanctions from him receiving the benefits. So if the job lets him go through no fault of his own, then he can go back on welfare.

What can I say? The benefits system is very strong here; I know there are people who abuse the system in the U.S. too, but I never had an inside knowledge of this.

On Friday, a family friend from France came to visit me for the weekend. I put her up in my room and slept on the floor of the living room. Friday night was fine, although my roommate had to come in two or three times to get to the garden to smoke. I was gone most of Saturday for a tournament, but my friend and him seem to get along very well, they even shared some wine together that she brought from France. So we went to dinner and came back very late – after midnight — and I was completely exhausted. Between playing five softball games and then having to “look alive” for a night in Camden Town I was dead.

**Good news is, my team went into the semi-finals and won the final tournament!!**

He was sitting in the living room, with one of his friend who actually comes to stay, and when I asked where all my belongings were so I could lay them out, he responded that he collected them and put them in my room. I asked him why, and he said he is using the living room and I needed to sleep upstairs. I was surprised, and then his friend — who seemed to understand what is happening — got up quickly to leave. I asked “where? In your room?” I was really confused what he wanted me to do. Because my guest was in my bedroom, and then there is his room and my landlady’s bedroom. So I explained that we have a guest sleeping in my room, and I was going to take the living room for just the next few days, he got very angry and said that it he didn’t know about this, and he didn’t care that there was a visitor here and I said. “Well, she’s here now and there’s nothing we can do…but I need somewhere to sleep – so if you won’t give me your room, and my landlady hasn’t said its OK to use her room, then I have sleep downstairs. He ended by saying I can sleep there, but he will continue to watch TV every night on, no matter what; and I know he watches until 4 or 5 a.m

So I’m wondering if this is cultural, where if I guess is invite over, you share the bedroom together, as oppose to American tradition when you “give” someone your room for his/her stay?

Or is this gentleman not normal?

So, I have been thinking about this and I feel that his behavior adds up to something abnormal. I mean if your entire life involves around sleeping, watching TV, and smoking — and you take away one of those things then the stable triad becomes an unstable being. To me, I thought it would be a minor inconvenience, but nothing to ever write about — but my life revolves around many different things that breaking a routine for a few days wouldn’t make me angry.

However, this isn’t just a “he”problem its a family problem. This morning I suspected that my landlady doesn’t want to talk about it, or maybe she is just tired. Even his sister seem nondescript when I texted her about how upset he became in front of everyone. So, it sounds like they know or its happened before; because I would have expected a stronger reaction — why is a grown man acting like this?

Its true what they say — that when you have nothing left your family will be here for you. And at one end you have to admire that, it takes a lot of patience to deal with someone who is “stuck” and based from what I was told, has been “stuck” or “lost” since he was teen. We have all been lost at one point, whether its for the 6 months you are looking for a new job, or the two years after that divorce. But how long is too long? Why can some people say its enough and try to find their own way, while others do not? And how do families/social network help with finding one’s way?

So what motivates you to do the things you want to do in life? What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations? How will you attain them– basically whats the difference between sitting on the coach — waiting for things to happen versus pushing you to reach for them?

Tell me @ReporterandGirl or Facebook.

 

 

Growing Roots

being rooted, growing roots, S.C Rhyne, starting over, new life

I’m marking the end of my third month in London by placing a holding deposit on a flat. This was a tough decision for me overall since the system is very different, and I had to not let the estate agent’s high pressure tactics, distract me from thinking through my options carefully.

For the last week I had two apartments in mind, in the same neighborhood with similar features except with a monthly difference of 25 GBP. I fell in love with the second flat since its layout was unique, and on the first impression was presented very well. (It is common to show an apartment or home in the U.K that hasn’t been cleaned. So imagine my surprise walking into a bathroom with a grayish bathtub inside). I placed offers on both places, and spent the week negotiating, the first one — the hungrier agent came back to me with a 10% markdown and asked for the deposit right away. The second one, the landlord (according to the agent) was a little wary about renting to someone without a history in the U.K and so the agent was spending a little more time negotiating with her.

I spent the last two or three days sending emails back and forth asking very specific questions about my deposit, when the cleaning will take place, and how it will be cleaned, my eligibility–since I have been in the U.K less than three months, etc…before I decided on Friday night to send my holding deposit and go through the referencing check. Heck, I was as open and forthcoming as possible — so if I fail referencing they will have to give my deposit back, right?

This wasn’t the apartment I “fell in love” with, but its still a great apartment! I have optimism about redecorating the space to make it my own.

The second agent came back with a positive acceptance on my dream home, but I will wait a couple days before telling her I will withdraw. Who knows what Monday or Tuesday will bring with these other guys?

So, you’d think that last night I went to bed all calm and peaceful with my decision, but I still had many scenarios running through my head. I haven’t seen the lease or tenancy agreement yet of course, but I kept wondering about what if certain key items are not stipulated?

The agency manages the flat, so what if they don’t make repairs in a timely manner? Is it legal in this country to go without heat and hot water for months, because the landlord “can’t afford to fix it”? This is what my landlady’s daughter said, although it sounds rubbish to me. It is a legitimate agency that’s based all over the U.K with a few overseas offices, so it makes me calm but yet suspicious that I will be treated like a number. What if the building burns down or becomes inhabitable for another reason — will the agency provide me with a place to stay temporarily and reimburse my deposit and the couple months that I put down in advance?

One always hopes for the best, but we need to be prepared for the worst case scenario; so I want to be sure that I have protection or recourse. But I have to admit, this worrying may stem from another place. Up until now, I still considered my situation here in the U.K temporary. It really seems like a long vacation, I think about my time in weeks and have a hard time picturing where or what I’ll be in a month or two. My room– in a quaint part of northern London was temporary, my job — collecting data for the finance sector in Central London was temporary and suppose to end next week, and I always joked that I’m just giving this “postgrad thing” a shot, but somewhere in the last week or two that has all changed.

My housing will not be temporary, as I asked for a 2 year lease. My HR person at work acted like I was crazy when I asked her to verify that my 8 weeks are up, “You have a temporary rolling contract, some of these employees have been here a year and only had two weeks off”. And I submitted my literature review which received positive feedback and am now networking with people who are working in the field that I want to be in, and are commending me for taking on this project.

Everything is taking place, in fact even in the beginning of this post I wrote “neighbourhood” automatically, but my American spellchecker caught it and I changed it quickly. It’s a strange panicky feeling in the pit of my gut as I think about how all this is routine now. Waking up, tea and porridge, read a little, shower, hop on the tube – not the subway, my slow computer at work,  grab a few things at Tesco or Sainsbury, come home type up some notes on the computer, check emails…, shower, another cup of tea, see what’s on the American news, text my friends on Facebook, and fall asleep before they can respond because many are on their way home from work.

And while I’m ranting, I could mention I’m almost through with a great novel called, Half of the Yellow Sun, that has been occupying my reading time this week, instead of dry academic writings for my project.

I’m not even looking forward to my Sunday softball game in a couple hours. My shoulder aches and I don’t understand how the temperature is reading higher than yesterday, but its cold and cloudy.

I’m growing roots, but I’m afraid I’ll be stuck again.

 

3 Things I Get Asked, as an American in London

Americans in London, British thoughts of America, British Ideas, S.C Rhyne, the reporter and the girl

Why are you talking to me?

Yes, so I’m a relatively friendly gal–and I tend to make conversation with people around me. When I first moved in with the family I’m staying with, I was surprised that they didn’t know their neighbors…despite living there for twenty years!

So when I started going out for my early morning jogs, I made it a point to introduce myself to the neighbors, my local shopkeeper, security guard on campus, reception at my workplace, etc…until one day at a reception, I got a no-nonsense look that read “why are you talking to me” from a fellow student. Well, I thought this was a networking event.

Apparently, Londoners think its a little weird to start small talk on the tube, or while waiting in line, or even as lifelong neighbors. So how do Brits meet other people if they are not use/comfortable to talking to strangers?

Do you own a gun?

Uh, no. This one I don’t, but I probably will in the future. And this is usually followed up with a “Why”? or a strange look.  Apparently, BBC News is somewhat fascinated by American gun culture, according to various news articles that I’ve seen.

Just for some background info, handguns were outlawed in the UK after the Dunblane school massacre in 1996. It was the U.K’s first and only school shooting; and I guess this generation growing up in this culture view gun ownership as something strange. Should everyone be allowed a handgun– most definitely not; but it is interesting when you think about crime rates in London versus New York City. Two completely different worlds, despite the fact that these large urban areas are experiencing the same socioeconomic pressures, minus ready-access to weapons in one.

So what do you think of Donald Trump?

My favorite.

Of course, I’m into politics and its what I’m studying here; I have to admit some of the most interesting political science discussions I’ve had were with folks outside my department. So Europeans in general are completely baffled by Trump’s rise despite his very offensive and divisive rhetoric. To be fair, so are many Americans.

I do have to remind them that many European politicians have made very conservative statements in regards to migration (Syrian migration in particular) especially when you look at the rise of the nationalist party in France led by Marine LePen, the New Years assault claims in Cologne, Germany, Certain Scandinavian parliaments (looking at you, Denmark) wanting to pass a law to strip Syrian migrants of all their assets to pay back the government, and various countries in the Balkans that have responded to the Syrian humanitarian crises by erecting border fences and local officials saying, “Immigrants are not welcome”.  Thus, this sentiment towards migration, especially towards Syrian migrants is not just a Trump phenomenon –temperature testing in many Western nations currently show more anti-migrant feelings than before.

Well, that’s some of the things that Brits have been asking me. What about you? Ever experienced culture shock? I’m still trying to figure out how to open doors in this country. Are you British or from another country and want to know something about America(ns)?

Tweet me your questions @ReporterandGirl or post if on my Facebook wall!

 

March Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!

The Valentine’s Day Kindle Giveaway is still active for another two weeks, so why not also enter into this month’s contest?!

Maybe win two Kindles?

Like my facebook page!

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Each and every follow, like, or tweet counts as entry and you have a chance to log in up to 105 entries!

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BLOGGERS!!!

If you post this Kindle Give Away on your blog, not only do you get a virtual high-five for spreading the word, but you can enter into a separate raffle for a Kindle HD (Yep! you can win 3 Kindles this month!).

You have until March 31st to post on your blog.

Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7″ HDX (US Only – $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7″. Ends 3/31/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Reporter and The Girl (MINUS The Super Man!)

One of my blog followers wrote this review! You should visit her website for cool finds of other indie works!!

Is It Just Me?

FrontCover.Final - Copy Have you ever read something that resonated so personally that it could have been your own story? That’s how it felt when I first started reading   The Reporter and The Girl (MINUS The Super Man!)  a blog chronicling the relationship of a women in her 20’s in New York with the elusive and entrancing reporter ‘Jon’.  The blog was so popular that the author S C Rhyne published a novel based on it.

Set in New York Rhyne’s debut novel is a brilliant account of first love between Sabrien Collins and Jon Sudbury. Anyone can relate to the all consuming and overwhelming feelings that come with the ‘fall’. A compelling and truthful account with none of the stereotypical chicklit devices, you won’t find any love triangles here, just an honest and at times cringe inducing tale of love/lust gone awry. While the story is a work of fiction the…

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