What You Need to Know About Healthcare Costs for Young Americans

I’ve gotten a ton of requests from you all to cover healthcare related issues that us millenials are facing. Not even three days after receiving the first request I was introduced to a campaign called Young Americans for Affordable Healthcare by the non-profit SHOUTAmerica. At that point I took it as a major sign from the Universe that I needed to talk about this on the blog.

We all know that healthcare has become a huge issue in the U.S. and I’m right there with you in wondering why a first world country can’t get their shit together in the healthcare department. Sure, we just had the Affordable Care Act go through, which increased coverage for millions of Americans (myself included), but we really don’t know what this is going to end up costing us. The fact of the matter is that healthcare in America is a complicated hot mess, and we’re going to have to learn how to maneuver it.

First things’s first: Practice Preventative Healthcare

Preventative healthcare can save you a lot of money in the long run. What do I mean by this? Eating right, exercising, meditation, stress management - all of this can make a huge difference in how much you shell out for healthcare.

(If you're not sure where to start my dear friend, personal trainer and blogger buddy Diana Antholis just launched an eBook to help you out! Make sure to check out Unleashed: Live the Centered, Balance, and Sexy Life You Deserve)

But what about the health stuff I can’t control? What’s that going to cost me?

Now, obviously we’re all big on preventative healthcare like eating right and exercising, but as one of you so eloquently put it via Facebook, “We all try to live healthy but sometimes the flu, a cavity, or genetically poor eyesight gets in the way.” (Shout out to MaryBeth Tellez in Long Island for that one!)

And if life’s medical mishaps aren’t enough to get you to start wondering about healthcare costs check out some of these statistics:

  • Health insurance costs for younger Americans in the individual market could rise by 42% or more (The Hill)
  • Single adults between the ages of 20-29 can expect to see higher premiums (Contingencies, Jan-Feb 2013)
  • For a 27 year old making $33,500/year premiums are expected to jump from $2,400 to $3,183 (Contingencies, Jan-Feb 2013)

You can also find numbers about how healthcare has become a huge financial burden for young adults all over the place including Forbes, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. (If I’m being frank, my head hurts from reading all the information out there. It’s endless!)

I’m not telling you guys this to scare you. I just want you to be aware of what’s going on before I delve into how we can manage this. In fact, this may turn into an ongoing series on the blog, but for now we can start with these steps:

Step 1: Set up an emergency fund.

Before you start looking into individual healthcare plans or what your employer offers you need to head on over to the bank and open up an emergency fund. Why? Because even with insurance many times you will have to pay for something out of pocket.

Take it from personal experience, even though I have insurance (and one that is considered to be quite good) I have still had to pay for a lot of stuff. As a result my emergency fund has become my lifeline when I need to go to the eye doctor or get a wisdom tooth surgically removed (which is still costing me upwards of $300 despite the fact that I have insurance).

Besides, it’s just smart finances to have an emergency fund.

Step 2: Learn some lingo.

You can do all the research in the world but if you don’t know what the hell they are talking about it’s useless. I have oftentimes found myself reading about insurance and saying “What the hell is a PPO? HMO? WTF? Aaaah!” Since I am sure I’m not the only one here is a basic rundown of the different kinds of plans:

HMO: You choose a primary physician within a network who then will give you a referral for a specialist if you need to see one. Prices for visits are fixed for primary physicians (usually $25-$30) with specialists being higher at ~$45.

When treated under a HMO you are usually only responsible for copayment which has its own copayment (~$150).

Prescriptions have a copayment as well which falls under different categories for different price ranges depending on what medication is being prescribed. You can talk about brand name and generic meds here.

PPO: When treated under a PPO you also designate doctors from within a network but also have the option to see a doctor from outside the network.

Pro: you have a wider selection of drs to see both locally or when traveling.

Con: in addition to paying the copayment you are responsible to a certain percentage of the service rendered price (usually 15-25% depending on your plan).

  • Prescriptions: same Information for prescriptions as HMO prescriptions.
  • Hospitals: In addition to the copayment you are responsible for a certain percent of the hospital bill (15-25% depending on the plan you have)

PPOs have what are called "out of pocket expenses." depending on your plan within one year an amount is designated by the insurance company. Once you reach that amount you are only responsible for copayments when visiting a doctor or hospital. Usually this amount is not met unless you get really sick and have to be admitted into the hospital for an extended period or for a major surgery.

PPOs have FSA (flexible spending accounts) which is money deducted from your paycheck that can be used for copayments at doctor offices, hospitals or for prescriptions. Might or might not be offered by your employer depending on the plan.

FSA amounts can be personally chosen based on how many times you feel you will need to go to the doctor or how many prescriptions you will be purchasing in a year. (I.e. max for  blue cross blue shield is $1200).

POS: Combination of HMO and PPO. It's combination is aimed at for those who need a more limited insurance. More limited coverage for lower costs.

You choose your primary physician from within a network but are able to see a specialist physician from outside the network if needed.

Pro: Lower costs for those who don't have major health issues or for those who do not need to see a specialist periodically.

Cons: More independent. Patient does paperwork themselves. Payments are sent in by patient by mail. Patient must keep track of all payments made and receipts for payments made. Patient is able to see a doctor outside the network but insurance company will only make minimum compensation to patient.

Prescriptions/co-payments info is same as HMO.

Primary physician monitors the patients major health care plan.

(Kudos to my bestie Mel who is not only studying to be a doctor, but is also a whiz at figuring out how healthcare works. This entire section would not have happened without her!)

Step 3: Research, research, research.

The thing about health insurance is that a lot of determining factors are in play: where you live, what is offered in that area, what companies are in your area, what your employer offers, etc.

This is the part where you need to take matters into your own hands and do some major research. If you’re married and your spouse’s job offers insurance, check out the benefits and see if they suit your needs at an affordable price. If you’re self-employed or don’t get insurance through your job, research the individual plans of different companies. If you have a family check out family plans.

You can even check to see if the local public hospital offers some sort of health insurance plan. Local cities also sometimes offer low cost insurance options by partnering up with companies.

Different things work for different people. Your job is to figure out what you need, figure out who offers it in your area, and compare.

Then, of course, you need to fit it into your budget. But first, figure out what it’s going to cost you and then worry about budgeting.

Was this helpful? Did you guys learn from this? What else do you all need to know? I am all ears!

I Met Gabby Bernstein! Win an Autographed Copy of May Cause Miracles!

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of going to see one of my sheroes speak live and in person. On Thursday night I went to The Standard on Miami Beach for Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles Book Launch Event.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while then you know I am a huge fan of Gabrielle Bernstein and her work. I have been following her for a little over a year and can testify that what she teaches about spirituality, positive psychology and meditation actually works!

I use her tools, techniques and teachings on a daily basis and have truly seen miracles occur - from managing my day job and having abundance to this blog becoming a major vessel for an empowering message. And, if you saw my Kick Ass Books for an Awesome 2013 video then you know that her teachings helped me have the easiest breakup recovery ever.

It is her work that helped me not only witness, but stop playing crappy records in my head. I now notice when I have thoughts like “My job blows”, “I’ll never make enough money”, “My ex is an asshole”, “I suck” etc. etc. Now instead of getting caught up in them I disengage and choose to see love instead. This kind of perception has literally created a better outward experience and has certainly helped me better deal with life’s occasional obstacles.

Gabrielle Bernstein has taught me and countless others how to live in an empowered love filled way. Following her work has literally changed my life for the better and I am constantly sharing these tools with you all because I whole heartedly believe in their power. (By constantly I really do mean constantly. You can read about my journey following Gabby here, here and here.)

So as you can imagine I was pretty excited to see one of her lectures live instead of on Vimeo. And I was certainly completely ECSTATIC when I got to meet her!

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I met Gabby Bernstein! Squeal!

 

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Autographed copy of May Cause Miracles and a pass to enjoy The Standard Hotel & Spa. Miracles indeed!

 

Seriously, dream come true! It's moments like this that make me realize how grateful for everything. If it wasn't for writing this blog that constantly forces me to look inward, take care of my side of the street and most importantly serve others, I may have never stumbled upon this incredible teacher. And I certainly wouldn't have had the balls to hand her a business card (Yes, I did do that. Make that two best selling authors I've slipped my business card to!)

You know what else makes me feel grateful? This beautiful setting on the water. I am so blessed to live in such an incredible city!

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Getting ready for Gabby on the Bay!

I know a lot of you already follow Gabrielle Bernstein, but for those of you who don't here is a rundown of some of my favorite lessons:

Forgiveness is the bedrock of a happy life.

Relationships are assignments.

Gratitude is the only attitude.

Focus on the content instead of the frame.

Treat your romantic relationships as more brotherly and treat your friendships as more romantic (Good one!)

The Universe has your back.

Win an Autographed Copy of May Cause Miracles!

Since I purchased a VIP ticket for the event I got an EXTRA copy of Gabby's latest book, May Cause Miracles. And guess what?  I got her to autograph it for you! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below (you may need to click refresh) to enter! I can't wait to share this amazing guidebook with one of you lucky readers!

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What’s the Deal with Green Juice?

In the latter half of 2012 I kicked my health and wellness routine into high gear by picking up kickboxing. A few weeks later I decided to try to start incorporating better food into my diet. After all, if you don't have your health you've basically got diddly squat. And aside from that, since I was diagnosed with IBS almost three years ago I'm pretty sick and tired of having to deal with my stomach. I am happy to say that since I've been making healthier lifestyle choices the condition has significantly improved.

This has been an incredibly slow process because well, most things that are worth having in life are. Little by little I have been weaning myself off of dairy (easy because dairy makes me feel kind of sick anyway). If I order out I'm paying attention to lean meats, going for more veggies and trying to pick from local raw and organic restaurants. I also whipped out a blender that's older than I am and started experimenting with making green smoothies.

Photo via Wildtofu.info

Photo via Wildtofu.info

Are there days when I fall off the wagon? Of course! Like when my family makes the annual batch of oatmeal chocolate chip Christmas cookies. Or when I'm out with friends. And I don't think I can ever give up coffee for too long (Maybe because I'm Cuban? Heh heh). Oh and I'm such a sucker for pasta! But the point is that I am slowly incorporating healthier foods into my diet.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you're getting plenty of green & raw goodies is through juicing. It's become such a fad that you've probably seen it mentioned just about everywhere. As such you're probably rolling your eyes as you envision me hugging a tree and enduring whatever new cleanse happens to be popular.

But I assure you this is much more than a fad. Below you'll find some of the benefits of juicing:

The ability to consume a wide variety of produce. Seriously, it takes a ton of fruits and veggies to make a juice. Just this morning I used an entire pack of spinach, and entire pack of blueberries, carrots and celery. I couldn't chew all of that even if I wanted to. Juicing makes it easy to consume and digest.

You get the nutrients faster. A lot of times nutrients get stuck in the fibers of veggies and fruits. Juicing is able to extract all the nutrients from the raw components for you so you can gulp it right on down. Granted, we need fiber every once in a while so don't totally forgo the whole food either.

Promotes alkalinity. Any of you Kris Carr fans know all about alkalinity. Here's the Cliff Notes version: in order to keep our bodies healthy and balanced they need to be slightly alkaline. Here's the problem: the typical American diet is extremely acidic and practically devoid of any good things like enzymes. So what happens? Inflammation, allergies, arthritis, skin problems, mood disorders, depression, constipation, bowel issues, stress (physical & mental) and in my case IBS. And those are just the minor ailments. Let's not forget to mention obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

If you'd like to learn more about alkalinity I recommend clicking here, here and here.

Allows for efficient elimination. We need to get rid of the bad stuff. Period. Point blank.

Encourages weight loss/control. So many people go on diets to lose weight only to gain all the weight back in no time. Diets aren't the solution, sustainable lifestyle changes are. Green juices are a great way to start making those changes and control your weight.

Youthful appearance/smoother skin. Okay, so I know we're all mostly in our twenties, but I can't tell you how many young people I interview who look so much OLDER than they actually are. Seriously, some of you look like crap. The goodies in green juices give you a youthful glow.

So where do you start learning about green juices? Where do you find recipes? How do you even pick a juicer?

Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to share my personal collection of green juice resources. I've used these resources to grow my own knowledge in health, wellness and you guessed it - green juices and smoothies!

Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark and Live Like You Mean It!  by Kris Carr (This will give you a good run down of everything you need to know for your body!)

Crazy Sexy Juices and Succulent Smoothies by Kris Carr

KrisCarr.com

Tina Pruitt.com

Raw Foods on a Budget

 

Karen Knowler - The Raw Food Coach

Oh She Glows

The Blender Girl

Healthful Pursuit

FitLife.TV

 

A Beginner's Guide to Juicing by Sharon Daniels

The Juicing Bible by Pat Crocker

Juicing for Life: A Guide to the Benefits of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juicing by Cherie Calbom

The Juice Lady's Guide to Juicing for Health: Unleashing the Healing Power of Whole Fruits and Vegetables by Cherie Calbom

Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko - You can also check out an interview she did on Gaiam Inspirations.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead - A documentary that outlines the benefits of juicing as one man undergoes his own journey in getting healthy while helping others do the same. PURE AWESOMENESS!

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One of my faves - Morning Glorious Juice by Kris Carr

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to keep up with my Green Juice Challenge, share recipes or get support for your own healthy resolutions!

January Spotlight: HuffPost Live Recap + NeuYear Calendar Giveaway!

Hello loves! It's been a complete whirlwind of amazing things around these parts! Between my latest Lifehack article going live, my YouTube channel tripling in subscribers, blog coaching clients, creating my life coaching structure and getting ranked as one of the 20 Must Read Career Blogs for the Young Job Seeker by Under 30 Careers I've been celebrating for a week!

But wait - it gets better!  On Friday January 11th I was asked to be on a HuffPost Live panel to talk about millenials, boomerang kids and the economy! Several of you watched LIVE and showed some serious love! You guys really came out to support us against the typical millenial bashing that usually occurs in the media. YOU GUYS ROCK! Check out some of the awesome comments below:

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You can watch the entire segment by clicking the image below. Or click here.

 

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Tweetable:

Check out this awesome @HuffPostLive  segment about boomerang kids, millenials and the economy! via @amandaabella

NeuYear Calendar Giveaway

Okay guys, and now for the second part of this post. I want to give a HUGE shoutout to NeuYear for sending me over a FABULOUS calendar! Those of you who are on the Email Insider list already know how in love I am with these calendars - and a couple of you have even purchased one! But for those of you who don't know, the guys over at NeuYear created these beautiful 2013 calendars that let you see the entire year, allow you to track your goals, allow you to give yourself weekly ratings and are design friendly!

In celebration of a New Year and an awesome week, the guys at NeuYear sent me an EXTRA calendar to give away on the blog! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

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30% Discount on NeuYear Calendars for Email Subscribers

If you can't wait for a raffle then make sure to subscribe to the Grad Meets World email list! NeuYear has created an exclusive 30% discount code just for GMW subscribers! Just sign up at the bottom of this post and you'll instantly get your 30% discount code.  Here's to a fabulous New Year!

No Excuses YouTube Playlist: Workouts for Your Lazy Days, Vacations & Busy Lifestyle (video)

One of the core principles of Grad Meets World is that good health is the foundation of a happy life. We all know the benefits of regular exercise, yet we come up with every excuse in the book not to get off our behinds and move. Excuses are as follows:

I'm on vacation and don't feel like getting up. (Guilty)

I have no time.

I have work/school/family/something else.

Working out is for fit people. (Really? How do you think they got there?)

I travel a lot for work and can't fit it in.

I hate fitness.

It's too expensive.

Well ladies and gents, I have found a solution for us all. Over my vacation when I didn't feel like moving a muscle in my body I compiled a YouTube playlist for my lazy days. Below you'll find a list of some of my favorite YouTube fitness stars (along with one of my favorite videos) that help me get in shape on days when I don't feel like doing anything.

Blogilates / The Original Pop Pilates

Sarah Fit

Tone it Up

Bex Life

Find more of my favorite quick workouts by checking out the No Excuses Workout Playlist on YouTube. For more video update be sure to subscribe to Grad Meets World on YouTube.

Spread the Love with a Tweetable:

Check out the No Excuses Workout Playlist feat. @blogilates @BexLife @dietSarah @ToneItUp via @amandaabella

 

Why Dudes, Bros and Homeboys Should Get Into Personal Development

I've spent the last few weeks trying to help a good friend of mine through a rough breakup. Through this process he brought up something very interesting that has stuck out in my mind for some time - dudes have no where to go for self-help & personal development, or at the very least, they don't know where to go.

Photo via HA! Designs - Artbyheather @ Flickr

Photo via HA! Designs - Artbyheather @ Flickr

At first I must have looked at him like he was nuts, but he continued anyway, "When you went through your break-up a few months back your girlfriends took care of you. They got you out of the house, they supported you when you were down. Plus, you had all these women empowerment groups to go to which helped you focus on something else other than your break-up. Women who read your blog sent you encouraging emails from all over the country. You even knew what books to read! Us guys...yeah we don't have that. We're told to suck shit up and deal with it on our own."

He was right. I was floored.

This inspired me to do a little research for all the amazing dudes who read this blog (my friend being one of them). After all, I've always got sweet stuff for the ladies (being that I am a woman it's just easier) but I've never put anything together for my male readers.

Some of you may be rolling your eyes, but I know for a fact you deal with a lot of the same crap us ladies do. Why? Because we're all human and we're all in it together.  Besides, you read this blog so clearly you have some sort of interest in your own well being.

Granted, the difference lies in how you deal with stuff. Am I going to tell you to get in lotus position and share your feelings? Not exactly. Unless that works for you, of course.So bear with me as I dish on why men should get on the self-help bandwagon.

How many times have you felt like you had no outlet for how you feel?

Probably quite a few. That's because entire generations of men have been told to conceal their feelings and "man up." They've been told to pick themselves up by their boot straps and dust themselves off. Don't get me wrong I love a strong confident dude as much as the next girl & I certainly don't want the guy I'm dating to be more into chick flicks than I am, but that doesn't mean you have to shut down and suppress how you actually feel.

As humans we need to deal with life. That means we get curve balls thrown at us, go through heartbreak and encounter disappointments. Emotions come up regardless of what genitalia you happen to don and for that reason alone you must learn how to deal with them. Take WWII vets for instance, they were expected to just forget about the war and move on with their lives.   Consequently, many vets did just that and ended up with PTSD instead.

Moral of the story: deal with your emotions.

Does this mean get in a pow wow, take up Pilates and share your feelings with every person you encounter? Absolutely not. It just means find something that works for YOU. For instance, does working out help you get clear? Maybe you can take up mixed martial arts or some sort of sport. I have one male coaching client who boxes and has started a daily routine of plugging in his headphones and jamming out to some tunes. Those two things alone help him deal with whatever is coming up for him.

How many times have you felt alone? Like you're the only one feeling a certain way?

Again, probably quite a few times. Old habits die hard, and even today men are much less likely to seek help from others or therapy than women are. In my own experience with dating, the only thing that really ensues is a distant man who pushes away for the sake of "being strong." With the more severe cases they only end up projecting whatever emotions haven't been dealt with and hurting people in the process. Women have, of course, been taught to do the exact opposite and what usually ensues is an argument we see mimicked on sitcoms all the time.

Now if all if you dudes are doing this it's no wonder you feel like you can't read that book, call a friend or find a therapist. Hell, you may feel like you can't even talk to another dude! Notice how absurd it is that a man feels like he can't talk to another man about problems they both share! Given that you are all hard wired differently than women are, wouldn't it make sense to talk to a person who can see eye to eye with you?

We, as a society, need to change the conversation. It's not just women who deal with emotions, men most certainly have them too and there is no reason they should be less encouraged to deal with them in whichever healthy way they see fit.

Did you know your health could be at stake?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men turn to drugs and alcohol at twice the rate of women. Men are also more likely to experience anxiety disorders like PTSD. Some research suggests that women suffer from more cases of depression, however experts are starting to think that the numbers are skewed simply because women are more likely than men to recognize their depression and seek help.

Men are also more likely to deal with their emotions in unhealthy ways. This usually results in self-medicating with substances, anger, frustration, irritability or even violent outbursts. Men are also more likely to die by their own hands than women are. Why? Because although women are more likely to attempt suicide they prefer pills while men tend to go straight for the hand gun.

Clearly, whatever it is men are doing (or in most cases not doing) in the interest of their own mental health isn't working out.

Where can men go for some self-help?

Lucky for you I've become somewhat of a self-help aficionado thanks to this blog. Below you'll find a list of resources for all you gnarly dudes.

TokiiLab - They have games, fun articles and yes, self-help resources for men! In fact, you can thank these guys for shedding light on a lot of the astonishing statistics found in this blog post.

The Daily Love - This breakout blog which was recently featured on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday was started by a guy! It also features a ton of other male health experts, coaches and thinkers so you can live your best life.

Tony Robbins - You can't have a blog post like this without mentioning Tony Robbins. You just can't. YouTube the guy and prepare to have your mind blown.

Kute Blackson - Check this guy out for some awesome videos that are all focused on liberation. He's also go great relationship advice.

Deepak Chopra - An incredible speaker, teacher and doctor who has a nifty way of mixing spiritual principles and practices with science. Whatever you're dealing with, he's got a meditation and a million books.

Ekhart Tolle - A powerhouse whose books will change your life.

The Art of Manliness - This blog is just effin' awesome. A blog full of substance and smart content to counteract all the crap in men's magazines. Also a nice power of example that argues  against the recent theory that millenial men are louts.

Perhaps this list isn't as a long as it would have been if it were written toward women, but it's definitely a start! Do any of you men know of any great websites or books for your fellow dudes? If not, how about you start one? There's clearly a need for it.

 

 

 

Kick Ass Books for An Awesome 2013 (Video)

 

 

I'm a book junkie. I've constantly got something new on my Kindle app in an attempt to learn new things and create a stellar life. Since the New Year is around the corner I figured a lot of you are working on some nifty resolutions - whether it's health, money, career or all-around ass kicking. So in celebration and in hopes of a spectacular 2013 I've compiled a list of books to help you live your best life in the coming year.

Make sure to watch the video for juicy deets and my own personal experience with these books. Below the video you'll find all the links you need to get your hands on the awesome reads. Enjoy!

Health:

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr

Spirituality/Positive Psychology:

May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness by Gabrielle Bernstein

(Bonus: I'm totally digging Doreen Virtue as of late. If you're feeling open minded or your spirit needs a boost I highly recommend this.)

Money:

The Mint Manual by Tim Murphy (Check out a full length review here.)

The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles by Marianne Williamson

Kicking Ass:

Audacity Rules by Coach Jennie (Check out our one-on-one interview here.)

Amazon Store

For more of my favorite personal development books visit my store on Amazon.

Tweetable:

Check out these amazing books for rocking 2013! #health #money #geny #career via @amandaabella

 

 

 

A 6 Step Guide on How to Nail Those Resolutions

Since starting this blog at the end of 2010 I have been able to nail my New Year's resolutions. In 2011 I knew it was high time to get my finances in order and I did just that - I came up with a savings plan that worked for me, opened up a Roth IRA, I got a full-time job and I got a raise at said full-time job within a few months. In 2012 I knew my health and wellness was a priority - I'm proud to say that I've been practicing yoga regularly for a year and picked up kickboxing a few months ago. I'm also on day 107 of regular meditation.

One question I get asked all the time is how do I do it? How do I manage to actually do what I say I'm going to do? How did I manage to go from sedentary workaholic lifestyle to working out nearly everyday? How do I keep expanding this blog and my career? How did I manage to set up an IRA when I didn't know compounding interest from my own ass? And most of all, how did I manage to stay on track when life hit me square in the forehead with a breakup, hard times at work or family stuff?

Am I just more disciplined than the average Joe? Not really. In fact, I have my days when all I want to do is stay in bed. I do, however, have a few tips that have helped me actually achieve my resolutions.

1. Prioritize

I try to keep it to no more than three resolutions a year. I also make sure to categorize them. So for instance 2011 was dedicated to finances & career and 2012 was dedicated to health & wellness - two departments where I knew I had to get it together. In 2013 I'll hopefully just be able to add on to lifestyle changes I've already been working on for some time.

So how do you choose which resolutions to go for? After all, if you're anything like me (which you probably are since you're reading this blog) then you get a little ambitious and carried away.

Gabrielle Bernstein published an awesome video a little while back that really gets down to the nitty gritty of prioritizing your resolutions. And guess what? It really works! Check it out below:

Click here to read the entire post.

 2. Figure out how you work.

Hit the ground running or baby steps? Everyone is different. I personally have to do something everyday in order to create a habit. Other people are more successful when they start small, like starting off going to the gym once a week instead of everyday.

Look back at your past successful resolutions. How did you approach it? Did you make a commitment from the get go or did you ease into it? Once you figure out what works best for you, use it.

3. Start early.

This is my favorite tip - start a few days early! Last year I started practicing my healthy resolution on December 26th. It made it seem like there was less pressure and by the time January 1st rolled around I was already a few days in.

This year I'm doing the same with my green juice resolution. In fact, I started on Christmas Day :)

4. Use life's curve balls to your advantage.

One of the biggest reasons people have a tough time with resolutions is because life inevitably gets in the way.

Been through a breakup? Got laid off? Illness? No problem! Use these less than desirable situations to your advantage. Get creative and use the energy these situations bring up for good.

Don't get me wrong, if you need to take a few days to readjust, do it. But you also have to look at the silver lining - and guess what, you know have more time to cultivate those resolutions. Besides, focusing on something else other than your hardship - like doing something good for yourself - can make a huge difference in the healing process.

For instance, when I was feeling a lot of anger after a breakup I upped my fitness routine and started kickboxing. I was still taking care of myself, was using the anger to get a good workout in and was releasing whatever crazy emotions were coming up through physical activity.

The result? I've got arm definition for the first time in my life (see picture below haha). My abs are tighter, I'm stronger, I've got more endurance, my mood has improved and most importantly, I've made health and fitness a regular part of my life.

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2012 resolution completed, even with one of life's curve balls.

5. Enlist some buddies & declare your resolution.

Do you and a friend both have a similar resolution? Join forces! Go to the gym together, work on your side hustles together at a coffee shop, train for that marathon together, whatever! There is some serious strength in numbers so take advantage!

This is also a great way to keep yourself accountable. By declaring your resolution out loud it gives you a sense of commitment. The friends you enlist can also help keep you on track (just like you can help them).

6. Have fun! Don't be so hard on yourself!

We're not perfect, and as a result we're going to fall off the wagon. The plan of action here isn't to be so hard on yourself - that just brings up feelings of guilt, anger and a whole bunch of bullshit that won't serve you.

The solution is to acknowledge the goof up, give yourself a pat on the back for getting as far as you did and picking yourself back up again the next day. Sometimes it takes a few tries before something sticks, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that!

At the end of the day resolutions are meant to improve our lives, not make us feel miserable.

So what are my resolutions this year?

Health & Fitness: Start juicing, baby! I got a Breville juicer for Christmas (the same one in the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead) and I'm ready to use it! I've been experimenting with green juices and smoothies for a few weeks and I truly feel it's time I make a commitment to those micro-nutrients and make myself some green juice for breakfast everyday (as I am writing this I am on Day 2).

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to keep up, join in and show me your juice!

(Optional resolution: I've been reading up on the health benefits of massage thanks to Kris Carr. In 2013 I will try to get a massage once a month to help my muscles out.)

Money: In 2013 I hope to max out my Roth IRA contribution for the year. The max contribution is $5,000 and I already contribute $1,200 automatically. Only $3,800 to go! I plan to do this with the help of Impulse Save. If there is anything that Impulse Save has taught me it's that little savings here and there add up quickly.

Career: There's nothing really new in the career sector other than continuing what I've been working toward since starting this blog. I need to continue testing my coaching chops as I move through the ICA program. I also hope to become actively involved in local networking and career communities. I've got a couple of workshops I'm working on that will help me get involved, give back and help me with one of my ultimate blog/career goals of speaking & live events.

I also hope to attend at least one conference in 2013. I upgraded my Delta Skymiles account & have accumulated a ton of miles for United. It's time to start using those suckers!

Are any of my fellow bloggers attending any conferences in 2013? Which ones? Want to split the cost of accommodations? Email me and let me know :)

What are your resolutions or goals for 2013? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Grad Meets World 2012 Round Up

What a year it's been for Grad Meets World! I warn you guys now, this is a long one, so grab some coffee and enjoy clicking through all the fun stuff. If you would rather not read the entire post then please make sure to fill out this survey so I can better serve you in 2013.

Photo by Amanda Soler Photography

Photo by Amanda Soler Photography

 In a nutshell.

I tried things differently this year. It was a year when my post-grad anxiety started to subside, I succeeded in starting to put my health first, reconnected with Miami and even started dating again. Despite the hardships that sometimes ensued, like upsets at work or serious heartbreak,  it's the best year I've had in a long time. It's also the most calm I have felt in what seems like years. No regrets.

I also made tremendous progress financially, within my career and in my personal relationships. A lot of it is thanks to this blog and it's readers. You guys not only inspire me, you also help keep me accountable and for that I am forever grateful.

2013 will be dedicated to planning workshops (already have two in the works!), partnerships and creating a space where millenials can share, grow and learn from each other as we create our careers, our health, our personal experiences and our lives. I want this to be a space where you guys can come for positive reinforcement, resources and connections.

With that being said, please make sure to fill out this survey so I can better serve you in 2013.

Thank you all for another incredible year!

The Ultimate 2012 Round Up

What a year for Grad Meets World! Apparently some of the topics discussed got some serious attention! With that being said here are the top posts from the year:

10 Top Notch Gen Y Blogs of 2011 

Why It's Okay to Be a Boomerang Kid (This little number sparked quite a controversy and even got my blog featured on The Consumerist! You guys had some awesome things to say in what turned into a healthy debate.)

4 Signs That You May Be an Entrepreneur at Heart

10 Odd Things You Should Never Do at a Job Interview

Some of my personal favorites...

Love and Relationships

How Do You Deal With a Breakup? 7 Steps for Getting Over a Breakup 

The Love Manifesto: 23 Principles to Help You Thrive in Your Romantic Relationships

Side Hustling

How I'm Making Over 1K from My Blog This Month

10 Lessons Learned from 2 Years of Freelancing

3 Ways Your Blog Can Make You Money Without Being Sleazy

Career

Just for the Ladies - Resources to Help You Kick Ass in Your Career

20 Lessons Learned from Conducting 200+ Interviews

 5 Ways to Get Your Life Back from Your Job

How to Network Like a Pro (The Non-Sleazy Way)

Money

10 Biggest Obstacles to Financial Success in Your 20s

Calling Yourself Out on Emotional Spending

Health

Learning to Love Your Body

How Do You Practice Self-Love?

How Poor Health Can Cost You A Lot of Money

Favorite Things I've Written for Other Websites

6 Things That Keep 20-something Women from Financial Success - Forbes

How LocalLEVO Is Helping Me Through a Breakup - The Levo League

Interview Tips from Hiring Recruiters: How Not to Be an Idiot in a Job Interview - The Levo League

New Grads: Are You Being Unrealistic in Your Job Search? - SALT

Top Free Networking Tools and Events for Post-Grad Millenials - SALT

Can You Come in for an Interview - Tomorrow? - The Daily Muse

4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes - Lifehack

3 Ways Freelancing Can Land You a Full-Time Job - Simply Hired

How I Plan on Getting My Savings Back After Spending $6,000 - Careful Cents

20 Lessons Learned From 2 Years of Blogging

Grad Meets World turned 2 years old this year! 2012 truly represents a year of tremendous growth for this blog and myself as a person. With that being said, here are some of the most important lessons I've learned.

1. It's okay to be vulnerable for your readers. In fact, it makes for true connections.

2. Building a practice of any kind - saving money, exercise, meditation - is like strengthening a muscle. It takes time, work and dedication, but the rewards are sweet.

3. You can use your own hardships to reach out to others and help them.

4. At the end of the day we're all human. We have the same victories and we have the same hurts.

5. It's more than okay to take a break and recharge.

6. I'd rather have fewer clients who pay well then a bunch of projects that pay shit.

7. My life coach training constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone.

8. The only certainty in life is uncertainty - it's what you make it mean that matters.

9. You have to think of the bigger picture in terms of your career - not just what your paycheck is. That is to say, what's going to benefit you in the long run? What extra stuff can you do? How can you go big?

10. Learning how to manage your boss is probably more important than actually managing your job.

11. Forgiveness is the bedrock of a happier life.

12. It's okay if you have a different path than what others want for you.

13. Make your friendships more romantic and your romantic relationships more brotherly. (Favorite lesson from Gabrielle Bernstein & A Course in Miracles. Really came in handy this year.)

14. I'm not going to die if I don't pay off my credit card in full one month. I just have to make sure not to make it a habit.

15. Sometimes it's okay to take a risk with your money. And it's certainly more than okay to invest in yourself.

16. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have.

17. Your family cares for you and they want what's best, but sometimes you have to tune them out in order to become who you are meant to be.

18. Having compassion for someone who hurt you is not rolling over and playing dead. In fact, if you can see the humanizing factor in every undesirable situation you're going to heal much faster (and more gracefully) than you ever imagined.

19. You can be open and honest in every aspect of a romantic relationship and it'll work for however long its supposed to. If it ends it's not because of being so open, it just wasn't meant to be. Simple as that.

20. Networking and getting involved in your local community is one of the coolest things you can do for your career - and for yourself.

Personal 2012 Milestones

Partnerships: I teamed up with American Student Assistance as one of the writers for their SALT blog. It's been an incredible experience as I share my career experiences with others who are just starting out. They are also some of the coolest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Keep a look out in 2013 for a Career webinar by yours truly and SALT!

Writing: This year was HUGE for me as I got published on one of my favorite business publications - Forbes! This was all thanks to the incredible team over on Glass Heel. Make sure to check these ladies out for anything you can possibly need to go from cubicle to board room! I also started writing for The Daily Muse, Lifehack and continued writing for my favorite career ladies over at The Levo League.

Community: I went on a networking marathon during the latter half of 2012. I am proud to be a part of The Levo League's LocalLEVO Miami chapter and have connected with such incredible ladies as a result! I also got to meet The Levo League co-founder Amanda Pouchot, Community Manager Maxie McCoy and The New Professional's/The Daily Muse's Angeline Evans! Furthermore, I got together with local Spirit Junkies and Gabrielle Bernstein enthusiasts to start a group of women who are there to support each other, help each other and be like spiritual running buddies. It's truly been an incredible opportunity to meet so many like minded ladies living in my own community! Here's to helping each other elevate not only our careers, but our lives as well.

Life Coaching: In April 2012 I officially started my life coaching certification course. The entire process has been a huge eye opener and I see myself using the skills I've learned in my writing, in my personal relationships and at my job. I've also taken on a couple of clients (both long time readers of the blog) to help me create a program and test out exercises (thanks to the both of you for being so patient with me!). In 2013 I will be putting things to the test with workshops and webinars. Make sure to sign up for the email list to stay updated!

Fitness: December 26, 2012 marks one year since I decided to practice yoga on a regular basis. Regardless of what is going on in my life I always find myself back on the mat. I've had the absolute pleasure of getting to know incredible teachers at Prana Yoga Miami and take tools I learn on the mat into my daily life. Yoga is truly a gift and I am thankful to have incorporated it into my life. In September 2012 I also picked up mixed martial arts/boxing and have been steadily going ever since. I can feel (and see) the changes in my body and it feels great! If you're ever in Miami make sure to check out Arena Combat Sports for a hell of a workout and some pretty cool people.

On a personal level: I have made some incredible connections this year as I maneuver my way through the crazy city of Miami. There's always something going on in this vibrant town and for that I am so grateful! I also opened up on a much more personal level through a romantic relationship, released some fears that had been holding me back and got a huge lesson in compassion and forgiveness. I've really opened up this year - both in my personal life and on this blog - and the process has been a beautiful one.

What's next in 2013?

1. Live workshops and webinars!

I've teamed up with some incredible people, both locally and online, to bring one of my blog dreams to reality - workshops and webinars! I've got a fitness goals workshop in the works with an awesome Miami personal trainer & I'm teaming up with a couple of great websites to create career development workshops in the Spring. Keep an eye out for more info!

2. Newsletter

One of my goals for 2013 is to write up monthly email blasts for my loyal subscribers. You guys are the lifeblood of this blog and if it weren't for you this blog wouldn't be what it is today. I plan on cracking myself open and going deep in these posts so make sure to sign up for insights you'll only get via email.

3. How can Grad Meets World improve?

My goals is to help you guys in your post-grad lives. I get a lot of material from my own life as I learn to maneuver finances, my career and personal relationships but I want to make sure these things are helpful for you. Please feel free to use this contact form to send me any insights or suggestions. Or, please make sure to fill out this survey.

Thank you again for another incredible year for Grad Meets World! May all your goals, wishes and dreams come into fruition as we enter a New Year!

Special Message to GMW Readers from Wayward Nation

Hello loves! I've got an awesome treat for you all today - and I warn you there are lots of videos!

A couple of days ago the fabulous duo behind the Gen Y documentary Wayward Nation reached out to me in order to spread the message about their film. I (shockingly) hadn't heard of this yet and was ECSTATIC when I saw what these two guys have been working on.

These guys embody everything that Grad Meets World is about. The idea that we're not totally screwed as a generation. The belief that life is more than chugging along with no real adventure or meaning. The idea that we're supposed to enjoy ourselves. And above all that we can collaborate, create and pursue our passions.

To top it off Mikey and Ethan were AWESOME enough to put together this special video JUST FOR YOU GUYS! Check out all the video and info below and make sure to support Wayward Nation on Kickstarter.

The Story (straight from Wayward Nation's website because I couldn't have put it better myself)

As a generation, we are full of doubt. We see major challenges on the horizon and feel unprepared to deal with them. The world is changing rapidly, and we can't help but feel lost in the storm. We are in danger of becoming a lost generation.

It doesn't have to be that way. History is presenting us an opportunity, much like the one our grandparents had: to be the next Greatest Generation. We know that the solutions to the problems of tomorrow are going to have to come from us. We just doubt our ability to execute them.

That's why Ethan and I have made it our mission to find out if there's reason to have faith in ourselves.

With so much negativity and cynicism in the world, it's easy to overlook the positive stories of our generation - stories of young people living unusual and unexpected lifestyles. These are the stories we tell, because these stories can be powerful.

The right story can do so much. It can give us hope, change our minds, and maybe even make us believe.

So join us in our search for inspiration all across our Wayward Nation.

 

Wayward Nation Preview

THE WAYWARD NATION MISSION

Gen Y is the first generation to rise to adulthood since the new tech revolution, and we are so very very different from generations past. The old notion of the American Dream we see as not only unattainable, but undesirable. We want greatness. WE WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD. But we're cynical.

It's the mission of Wayward Nation to change that cynicism to optimism. We’re traveling all across the country, creating 5 to 10 minute documentaries on people behaving magnificently. Each episode features a member of Gen Y who identified something they wanted to change about the world, and then just started doing it. Some are more successful than others, and some are just beginning, but they all share the same glorious fearlessness necessary to make a difference.

That's the message we want to show our generation - identify something you want to change, and start changing it. It's time we got off the couch and started being awesome. That's why we're making a drastic change in our lives, and why we're asking you to donate. So please, join us. Give what you can, and be proud to be a part of this movement.

 

THE WAYWARD NATION TEAM

HARRIS FISHMAN: Produced and directed the critically acclaimed documentary for HBO, Cat Dancers, which won the 2007 SXSW Film Festival Special Jury Prize. Concurrently with Wayward Nation, Harris is producing and writing a feature 3D documentary with IMAX Films based on the organization Doctors Without Borders.

MIKEY MCMANUS: After co-creating Wayward Nation, Mikey left his development position at Magical Elves Inc., where he shot and edited pitch reels that sold shows to Bravo, Lifetime, WEtv, Showtime, ESPN, and MTV. Together with Eric Rusch he founded and runs 4AM Films.

ERIC RUSCH: Eric comes from the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, where he has edited several major national ad campaigns, including Visa, Pepsi, Nissan, Infiniti, Gatorade, Pedigree, Bare Essentials, and an award winning campaign for the 2012 Grammys. Together with Mikey McManus he founded and runs 4AM Films.

SPENCER TUCKER: Spencer is a freelance cinematographer and VFX Artist. He comes from the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day where he worked on campaigns for Crate&Barrel, Pepsi, Visa, Nissan, Infiniti, The Grammys, PUR, and Gatorade. He is also known amongst friends and the Wayward Nation team as a vagabond.

ETHAN AMARANT: Ethan has been working for Greenpeace (an international, independent, environmental non-profit) since April 2009. He left to seek adventure and spent 7 months traveling abroad mostly in South America and the Middle East, returning early from his travels to be a part of Wayward Nation and its message.

GREG EPSTEIN: Greg has been fully immersed in the world of production since the age of 14. Since graduating Emerson College, he has been working freelance in LA in numerous platforms, including commercial, film, and live production. Alarmingly, he might be most responsible of the Wayward Nation crew. They're in trouble...

 

How You Can Join The Movement

WE NEED YOU NOW

We’ve worked, scrounged, and saved (who needs a home when one has a car to sleep in?) and put away $30,000 of our own money, but we’re still short $30,000 (and that’s just enough to hit the road and make a few episodes. We need $100,000 for the whole season).

So WE NEED YOU to join the team and support the project. Become a part of Wayward Nation and get some fun shout outs and gear. Join and Donate because you want to be a part of an entire generation discovering their collective and individual potential. Join and Donate because you are a part of this generation as we rise to power. Join and Donate because we can learn from past young generations. Join and Donate because these stories are worth telling. Join and Donate because you know we’ll entertain you.

Click here to visit the Wayward Nation Kickstarter Page

 

And finally...

Connect With Wayward Nation!

Website: www.waywardnation.com
Facebookfacebook.com/WaywardNation
Twitter: @WaywardNation
Google+: Wayward Nation
Kickstarter: Wayward Nation @ Kickstarter

Tweetable:

Check out this awesome documentary about Gen Y & the New American Dream! via @amandaabella @WaywardNation

Help these boys out so we can show the world that we can be the Greatest Generation!