I’ve been blogging since 2010, and since then, I’ve pretty much written about (or posted on social media) about my life. Not everything, of course. Blogging has changed so much since the days I first started! It’s been about four years since I stopped posting journal-style entries; you know, the kind wherein I tell you all about what we did today or where we went or what I tried and what I bought. (Maybe I post a bit more about those things on my Instagram. Follow me there: @martine.is.happy)
I got burned out eventually from the blog soon after 2015 kicked in. Yes! That far back! Between the time Krista was born, I pretty much could not handle all the roles I had meant to play. Eventually a period of stagnation began, which was between the time Krista turned one year old in January 2016, and lasted until recently, when I decided to start writing again after about a year of reflection.
Believe me, I tried not to stop in 2015. But my heart and my present realities were all calling at me to step away from being the blogger to being everything else that I am: a wife, a mom, a friend, a new business owner to an amazing lifestyle-changing program that has changed me and my husband’s life (more on that later), and, well, ME outside of the Martine De Luna people knew on the blog and on Instagram.
So why start again here? I was very happy just running my small workshop company here on Make it Blissful, collaborating for the Get Blisstified workshops, and doing small pocket training events. I loved simply being a working mom (whether at home or outside the home, doesn’t matter). I loved being on a personal journey to reinvent myself from the inside out. I loved the times I got to travel and learn and develop myself in leadership and business skills. What a fulfilling and very full chapter in my life that 2016 to 2017 was… so why would I want to take up the pen (or more literally, dust off the keyboard) and write again.
One, because I missed it!
Secondly, because there are new things for me to share, new lessons I’ve learned, new facets of life I’ve experienced… and hey, I already have the platform for it, right here.
Third, because I believe in keeping on. I wanted to shut down this blog after we lost everything in the end of 2015, because I believed life wasn’t worth hacking anymore. And yet, people were still emailing me and messaging me privately to help them to keep going with their blogs or their passions. I wanted to also prove to myself that I don’t have to stop doing what I love, even if I stopped believing in myself for a time.
And so, here I am.
If you are reading this and you are starting 2018 afresh, with the hopes that this year will begin, progress and end well; if you are looking to what you want 2018 to be and keep it clearly in front of you, motivating you and keeping you focused on the hard work that it takes to get to your goal…. then hooray! Keep going. Even when you feel like stopping and never working hard again or putting in the effort because the goal seems too damn hard.
Because let me tell you:
I wanted to quit on life in November 2015. But I kept on going.
I made big mistakes as a wife and mother. But I kept on going.
I failed in business, hundreds of times. But I kept on going.
I made lots of unhappy clients, many times. But I kept on going.
I asked myself several times if I would ever succeed. But I kept on going.
I’ve experienced public humiliation. But I kept on going.
I’ve been told over and over even by friends and loved ones that my business wouldn’t work. But I kept on going.
I’ve been gossiped about and spoken about. But I kept on going.
Friends stopped being friends. But I kept on going.
There were times no checks or payments came in, and I was fearful my kids would starve. But I kept on going.
One time, I had less than $10 in my bank account, and the other one was empty. But I kept on going.
A few people don’t like me. But I kept on going.
I wanted to shut down this website many times… but I never have because I KEEP GOING.
Hey, I am HERE.
I am valued and loved.
Compared to all that I have experienced in the past almost two years of losing a home, losing jobs, losing incomes (plural!), and almost losing my sanity: I.Am.Still.Keeping.On
As long as you don’t check out of life, you can keep facing your problems head on. Each time you work to conquer them, you strengthen yourself for the next big challenge.
Absolutely do not let yourself be stopped by situations or people or your own thoughts of defeat and failure. If you see everything in life happening FOR you instead of against you, then you will get through each day you are alive,
with WISDOM (if you learn and don’t repeat your mistakes),
Do you want to learn the secret to having that mindset that will keep you going on past your failures and mistakes and setbacks? Message me on my Contact Page, or better yet, Subscribe to my email updates and I will surely share it with you. And please, leave a comment below about your takeaways from this blog post!
These days leading up to the New Year can often be a mix of excitement and dread. (I know what I am talking about, because it is 3 in the morning as I write this, and I am up thinking about the next year — which is in days! — with that very same mix going on in my head!)
How can we end this present year, fully alive and really set on making the next one better? How can we put this year to bed with peace in our minds and hearts, and enter into the next full of hope — and most importantly, an assurance of success?
Let me share some tips I learned in 2017 that will really help us all end this year truly in peace, ready with anticipation for January 1 (and the days and months that follow).
1. End with gratitude.
If you are the kind of person who records their days in a journal, I recommend going through that journal and taking stock of everything you could be grateful for. Whether good or not good, give thanks. According to this Forbes article,
People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective. — How feeling grateful can make you more successful, Forbes.com
Ending the present year with a big picture view is definitely a more proactive approach to beginning the coming year right, filled with possibilities. When we choose to collect the good even from our failures, we are able to think like success-minded people who see everything as an opportunity to learn and grow.
The big takeaway here? If you failed a lot this past year, consider yourself rich in experiences that you can learn and grow from.
Which brings us to the next point…
2. Begin the coming year with the end in mind.
One of the things we often do when the year ends is only think about what we mean to do come January. Usually this falls along the lines of kicking an old habit or losing weight or starting a new project. Whatever the reason, we often fall into the same pattern of making good intentions, but never following through.
Instead of randomly deciding on a seemingly “nice” or “good” goal that has no consequences, we can take time to step back and really look at the big picture, that is, the end of the coming year.
Think about this for a minute.
When was the last time you made a new year’s resolution with a plan to make sure you kept to that resolution til the end of that year?Sometimes we blindly declare our desires but never put in the work so that we can see an expected outcome. Successful people see what they wish to have, then become the people they need to be, do what’s needed in terms of growth, acquisition of skills and mindset, before they finally have that which they resolved to do or have when they first established that particular goal.
What do I really want to achieve for myself in 2018? How will I achieve this; what do I need to be, and what do I need to do, so that during the coming year — before it ends — I will have achieved this goal?
The next tip is where we can find out the answers to these questions. Not only that; it will bring us back to the basics of decision-making and why we actually CHOOSE the outcomes we want.
Totally skews the saying “Life happens,” in this sense…
3. Start with WHY.You may have heard of or read Simon Sinek’s book of the same name, Start with Why. In it, he dissects what people must do first before expecting any measure of success in their life or business, and he recommends starting with a “why.”
People don’t buy what you do by why you do it.
If we relate this to how we end this year that is coming to a close, it might translate to “We don’t strive to meet our goals by what they are but rather why we must meet them.” This puts things into a clearer view for us. We get to ask ourselves questions like,“Why must I meet this specific personal goal of (state goal here). What will my life be like at the end of 2018, if I don’t reach my goal?””Why do I need to meet this second quarter goal? What will happen to my business if I don’t make this target by the end of the second quarter?””Why must I maintain regular exercise at least four times a week? What will my health be like if I don’t develop this habit.”If we can answer the question “why” for each of the good things we wish to accomplish in the coming year, then we virtually program our minds to be wired to meet those goals. Rather than just being fleeting wishes, we can break them down into digestible steps that we can accomplish through a given time.
4. After establishing why, then define how to achieve it.
No person with sense starts a journey without a map to the final destination. Think about it: Do we board a plane without knowing the destination, how long it will take to get there, and what we can expect when we arrive? It’s the same with starting the coming year with the end in mind. It’s about that saying that has become so famous, we forget what it actually entails:
We can design a life we love.
Yes! It’s true! And it becomes clearer and more concrete a design when we write it down, pinpoint the milestones we need to reach to achieve each step towards that lifestyle design.Will it be easy? No. Nothing worth pursuing that is meaningful is easy, but if the reason for achieving the goal is clear; if the “why” drives every step and action, then “ease” becomes relative.
For example: “Is it worth it to be 40 pounds lighter if I am overweight? I will write down what life could be like if that really happened.” Then, write it down! How will you feel? What will you be able to do, specifically, that you once couldn’t with all that weight? If you write down that outcome, chances are you will be most likely to achieve it.
Whatever the goal is, writing it down in a place where we will see it daily and be motivated by it is key to getting it checkes off our goals list.
Tip: I like to use The Five-Minute Journal to document if I am meeting my goal to be a better leader, for instance. Every day, I write in the app how I can make today better. Over the course of a few months, I can assess myself and see if I truly grew closer to meeting my goal. Any type of writing tool will do, as long as you can view the coming year from start to finish.
5. Remember to take daily actions to achieve your goal.
Daily, consistent actions are what build in us the habits of success. I can’t emphasize how absolutely necessary it is to build up to the milestones we set out to achieve as we reach for our goals.
I’ll use my own fitness journey as an example. When I started to take charge of my health, it was because I learned the long-term benefits of staying strong, lean, and internally healthy. I was so convinced of it that I enrolled in a wellness certification program that required me to improve my level of health first so that I could create a business from my wellness.
I made very specific health goals, but also wrote down why I wished to be the healthiest and fittest version of myself. (It has been around 8 months, as of this blog post, that I started my personal makeover of how I eat, how I work out, and I perform very specific actions daily to achieve my specific goals.
Some of my goals were:
- To fit into a size 6, from a size 10.
- To build lean muscle.
- To lose my post-pregnancy fat around my midsection, and to eliminate cellulite.
- To have more energy overall, being less prone to common colds
Some of the daily actions I needed to take were to:
- eat right (without dieting), eliminating foods known to harm my body (and hinder the progress I wanted to see); supplementing with whole foods and nutritionals; curbing the habit of snacking and over-eating;
- exercise, as a non-negotiable part of my lifestyle. I work out as fits my goals, up to 5 times a week. (My body looks for exercise.)
- sleep more, and with quality.
So, daily I have been implementing small but consistent habits that have resulted in all of these goals being met.
Steadily but surely, these habits added up.
- From not being able to do 5 minutes of high-intensity interval training in April, I am now able to do strength training with weights.
- To date, I am a size 4 to 6 now, depending on the clothes. That’s around 20 pounds lost in the last 8 months, while being able to build muscle and eliminate the “love handles” on the side of my body.
- I’ve also been able to help other people achieve similar results on themselves, which is great, too!
If you want to learn how to develop consistent habits that have a truly beneficial result that affects your life, get fit and well from within! In the same way that athletes train to perform at their optimal, becoming well from within makes you successful from the foundation of your very self: your body. (I mean without a healthy body, we can’t achieve any other kind of success!)
Are you excited to end now? I wish everyone reading this a happy New Year filled with possibilities! I hope these tips help you in some way. Let me know in the comments what you think!
Sitting in my mom’s dining room this afternoon, with then ladies joining me to learn about blogging…. and I am re-learning what it was like to start from the very beginning.
I have to admit, the early days of blogging are now a thing of memory. I can hardly remember anything except what it was like to pull up my Acer netbook and snuggle up on our couch in our first home, blogging about whatever came to mind on my then-Blogspot free blog. I didn’t think of where blogging would take me: here, eight years later, in a room of ladies wanting to learn how to start.
It’s so different now. Blogging has evolved to more than just an online diary. Blogs have become platforms for people to talk about things that matter, where conversations take place and where politics even, become heated topics of discussion that tear up a nation. People blog to get a message out there, to talk about something they feel the world needs to hear. But sitting here in this room this afternoon, I see that there are still people who want to keep it simple:
- To document life and leave a legacy
- To activate a platform and talk about a passion, have a purpose
- To compliment their business through blogging
- To use it for their personal pleasure.
I like this little group of women here. Everyone has the purest of intentions; everyone is really seeking to learn. I’m reminded of how hungry and eager I was in those beginning days, devouring every bit of knowledge and information I could about blogging. I don’t want to take these past eight years for granted. So with these ten women today, I’m starting anew. Blogging again, this time with a new direction and passion, just to learn and re-learn again. Because times have changed, and I have changed. It’s about time my blog changed, too.
Thank you, Myka, Annalyne, Mara, Tammie, Apple, Steph, Kim, Richelle, Nish, Jill and Aireen for partaking in this workshop!
Thank you to Curves Magnolia, Daily Bar, House of Style, and Messy Bessy for the goodies our participants took home with them.
This is a guest essay from Claudine Gamboa, the Philippines’ first KonMari consultant-in-training.
When I was a young 10 year old, I would get into a series of what I thought to be decluttering. I would stay up all night when everyone was asleep and do this ritual of removing everything from the cabinet beside me and my sisters’ bed and rearrange. I had no right to throw anything away that was not mine; just feeling as though there was progress happening in this act of “tidying” comforted me.
When I enter a room I get an impression when it’s happy. It’s happy because it has attention. When we declutter, your most cherished possession are brought to light. After the act of touching each item, it brings them back into the waking world and there is great satisfaction in knowing that you have not forgotten that beloved book underneath all the other books that were just so-so. Let go of the so-so.
1. Peace of Mind
It’s great to get it out of the way. Finally! Those days are over when you’re stomach growls from the stress of just having glanced at a pile of mess that has been untouched for weeks. Decluttering my personal space gave me a feeling of relief and accomplishment.
2. Control over things
It’s nice to know where things are, and to see your room more luminous in the morning sun. To be able to breath without fear of contracting an allergy, and to be able to invite your family over without any insecurities. Decluttering once and for all gives you that boost of confidence you need to show how well you are living your life because you have achieved something great: Ownership over your things (Instead of things owning you!).
3. It gives you perspective
In the practice of KonMari, we are instructed to place the items on the floor of the specific category you are working on. On the clothes category for example, this becomes a wake-up call. Seeing the amount that you own will give you perspective and insight into your purchasing habits. And even the selection process will filter what your style is really like.
4. It’s neat, yet democratic
One of the key messages of Marie Kondo (in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) is to be able to be Joy Sensitive. You need to hone your sense of joy. This was such a great and important message because what gives us joy may be very irrational. A collection of stickers? A tiny turtle? A cute Japanese newspaper? What the KonMari can confidently say to that is: “Why the heck not?”
That’s the joy of decluttering right there. Keeping that broken brooch from Lola, but discarding the “cute” sweater gifted to you by mom (Sell it maybe?). We do decluttering because it is for ourselves and not for others. We must do it without regrets, always with care, and with a capacity of self-love.
Claudine Gamboa ran a successful crowdfunding campaign on The Spark Project to gain first priority clients for her first business, Claudemari Decluttering. She is running a whole day Workshop on July 15, 2017 for those interested in tidying their homes. She also offers one-on-one sessions to tidy your home, starting with your clothes, using the KonMari Method. Email her here.
This post is brought to you by Kamiseta.
I have one rule that I keep about dressing up: Go with what feels good.
I actually don’t shop for myself much. I forget to. And if you look at my wardrobe, it’s nothing impressive. Mostly a mix of work/professional attire (for when I meet clients), some frocks for Sunday dressing, and a lot of muted or plain colored separates.
Recently, I had to shop for more pieces for a work trip abroad, and I needed to shop fast. Luckily, I was gifted by Kamiseta with some online vouchers for their shopping site, Kamiseta.ph, where I found everything available in their brick & mortar shops. Perfect timing! I had three days to make sure I could order, receive the delivery, quickly wash the clothes and ready them for my suitcase!
This is what I shopped for:
Grey lace skirt (my favorite!) and this mustard yellow crepe blouse with a gold accent. These were great for my work trip, because they could be packed in a garment bag, hung up for a short while in my hotel room, steamed gently and ready for wear. And it’s so my look, because it’s not to corporate and just enough femininity.
Ordering was simple! I was able to shop by browsing the attire by category. I liked that the size guide was available and detailed with the inches and measurements! So crucial when shopping online and you can’t try anything!
((I also got these bodycare products in my “Kamiseta Box” that arrived with my goodies!))
And here’s the second outfit I got: Another soft skirt and a batwing blouse in navy blue. What’s great about this look is that I can wear statement jewelry to play up the plain colors. So “me” again!
Kamiseta.com is a premiere online shopping destination for gals like me who don’t have the time to mall but know what they want. Shopping is as easy as registering for an account, filling your shopping cart, and checking out with either a bank deposit or credit card payment. Shopping and dressing up made easy, indeed. That’s what I love about being a #KamisetaGirl. Visit Kamiseta today and fill your wardrobe with nice things now!