How to Stick to a New Years Resolution and goals

Why Can't I Stick to a Resolution? (+ dirty goal setting strategies)

Each January 1st, the beginning of each month, each Monday, and each morning, I set goals for myself, but consistently fail to achieve them. Why? Am I not trying hard enough? Are my goals not specific enough, or conversely, are they too specific? Is this not what I'm meant to be doing?  Part of this blog's purpose is for you to learn from my failures and get yourself successful (in the most direct way possible). The format may change, but for now it is my story followed by how to do it for yourself better. Grab a paper + pen (or open your favorite note taking app) and let's get started.

A case for try harder - do better.

In the nursing world, we say "to err is human." Star Wars' Yoda reminds us that there is no try. Only an accomplishment or a failure, kind of like crafts on pinterest. Since the nursing world can not accept failure, as it would lead to harming, killing, maiming patients, we study quality improvement extensively at University and beyond. A fact of life is that you will not do better by simply trying harderooh, ouch. That hurts. But as quality improvement science shows, improved systems lead to improved results, not just the will to do better next time.

How it relates: I (+ you) can not just say "next month I am going to do it!" I do not care what the next instagram 30 day yoga challenge is, I am going to post a picture every single day in that pose. Day 1? POSTED!!! Ooh that felt good. See you tomorrow camera, it's a date! Day 2? POSTED!!! Might as well take tomorrows picture today too! Day 3? No yoga today, but I took a picture yesterday so POSTED! Going to get back on the mat tomorrow. Day 4? No yoga today. I'll do day 4 and 5 tomorrow. Day 5? Nope. Too far behind now, will start again next month. And the process has repeated for 6 months. One lady who was 1 month ahead of me on participating in yoga challenges went from totally sucking to being a full blown yoga instructor with an entire shift in perspective on life. PS. This pattern is not just evident in my life regarding yoga and instagram. Practicing lettering, calligraphy, composing shots, dressing preppy, keeping my polish on my nails, all suffer the same ill fate. And perhaps blogging, but I am "trying harder" on that one and putting a system in place so that I can not possibly fail.



Put a system in place

I could put a reminder in my phone, or have my mom call me everyday asking if I posted to instagram or hire an accountability partner! You've heard that if you set a goal in your mind you are not very likely to keep it, if you write it down your chances go up, and if you tell someone that you care about (or proclaim it to the internet world) chances go up even higher. Those are only external sources, where as real quality improvement comes from internal forces as well. Let's dig deeper. 

Why do I need to stick my goal?

What does posting daily to instagram mean to me? I love beautiful things. To me the written word and photographs are beautiful; therefore, it makes sense for me to write something beautifully, compose a photo, and send it off. But I am also expecting something in return. It isn't enough to just make, I crave the like, favorite, share, comment, etc. Eventually I want to make a living on doing things that I love, from the comfort of my house. Even more than that I want to become good, expert even. Therefore, since success is measured in society's approval, I need to get good so that I can be accepted (Mazlow's hierarchy coming into play big time). You may full heartedly disagree with the previous statement. But this is my mind working it out; I just learned something new about myself. I really care what others think. I really don't want to "be a failure."

If the why is X, how else am I attaining X?

There are a lot of ways to get approval that do not require doing something that does not come naturally. Take the focus off of what posting to instagram does for others (gets them to approve of me) and see what posing + posting does for me. Deliberate practice and taking a photo every day shows that I am making progress. Practice makes progress. Screw perfection. Tweet that gem! Woah that was hard to say. I have been called a perfectionist my entire life until Junior year of University when I started learning to let go and be happier. 

I can show deliberate practice in things that do come easier, such as ballet, writing, knowing weird body + disease trivia, than doing yoga. But it isn't the thing that is hard, it is the showing up everyday doing the same thing. I get bored

How it relates: You need to show up every single day. Not just when it feels good.

What do you want to be known for? ________________________________ (answer the question) Go do that. Every day. Even when it feels bad. And put a system in place so that you can not physically not do the thing.

And if you want to hire me to call you every day and ask if you posted to instagram I can do that for you. I'm semi joking, semi not.  Sign up for my newsletter to get weekly check ins on how things are going.

-Vera Lou Shaw

How to Deal with Negative People

Don't let other people's aggression and unsolicited advice bring you down. 

1 Fail Proof Way to acknowledge that, in fact, haters gonna hate:

Say "negative Nancy alert" & move on.

 Don't let her suck your brain power.

Don't let her suck your brain power.

The said person may have a valid point, the person can see things from a perspective that isn't rose colored with enthusiasm + determination. But do not quit what you are doing because of a negative Nancy, or react. (Responding is okay after you have thought about the incident, but do not react.)

 Reactions are emotional, not logical. Tweet that gem.

I take unsolicited advice, for what it is and say "negative Nancy alert" in my mind (not out loud or I might get into a fight), and then continue. Continuing is the most important part. Next, reflect back on what just happen, try to get into his/her head and figure out why he/she was giving you this comment. Is he/she insecure? Does he/she want you to fail? Is he/she seeing something that you are blind to? Now is the time to respond if you wish or let it go. Did you just start singing Frozen? What has Disney done to us? 

Walt Disney's Mickey mouse idea was turned down because gasp, women wouldn't be able to stand the sight of huge mouse!

You know what Walt did? He said, "negative Nancy alert." Okay, that's not exactly how it happened, but he didn't just throw out the idea of Mickey mouse. He did the work. And now you can enjoy Disney World and Disney Land. Thanks Walt.

Go be magical,

Vera Lou Shaw


+ tips on how not to get hit: 

  • ignore the person
  • do not engage
  • duck
  • beat them up first*

*Vera Lou Shaw does not condone beating people up.


What is the worst negative nancy experience you've had? Let's chat about it below. How did you handle it? 

Giving Birth + other difficult processes

I heard somewhere, most likely on a podcast:

You don't have to be in high school to help a first grader, you can be a fourth grader.

Hence, the company vera lou shaw was born. Giving birth is never easy. Ask my mother.


When confronted with a series of difficulties, especially in the beginning, what is the logical next step?

You think I'm going to say push through, but I'm not. Sometimes you need to stop going forward and see the external forces at play. There is often another option. Other times you need to just flipping push (ah, there. Satisfied?) When bring vera lou shaw into this world, I hit a lot of road blocks and there was no epidural available. Example: not knowing who to pay to get my own domain name.

Should I go with SquareSpace or Go Daddy or Blue Host or Gator Host, etc? Eventually I went with SquareSpace (mainly because they gave me a free trial without having to input my credit card).  The other options would have allowed me 1-click wordpress installs, monetization, e-commerce, but are limited in the amount of traffic they can handle. SqSp, aka SquareSpace, is more expensive, but is a) more beautiful b) simpler to list products c) someone who I admire runs her blog on SqSp.

If I go from the beginning, I have been building vera lou shaw for a long time. 21 years to be exact. As for the profitable business, I've spent about 1 year transforming quirky frog to vera lou shaw and the only people who know about it are you, my mom,  boyfriend, roommate, and the facebook friends who don't totally suck and read my posts. I write this blog to impart wisdom to others just beginning + the super sneaky plan of building an audience who will eventually purchase things for me, allowing me to continue eating sushi.

Using the 2 guiding mantras below, I first learn myself, then do and see what works & where I fail, then I'll teach everyone else so that you can have the short cut.

1) You don't have to be in high school to help a first grader, you can be a fourth grader.

2) The wealthiest people in the gold rush weren't the miners, but the people who supplied the sifting pans.



I started something, Quirky Frog on Etsy, and I want to help others start with something that simple. Etsy is a great place to start, but there are bigger pastures (at least ones don't take a chunk of your profit). Mini etsy rant: etsy is amazing for getting people to find your product instead of you having to go out and find the potential customer and persuade him/her that your product can solve his/her needs. Etsy does that for you pretty darn effectively. And they charge 20 cents + take a % of your revenue for bringing customers to you.



Follow my newsletter for new teachings when they become available. Also, I'll send you my top 7 Etsy Techniques just for subscribing. 

Knowledge is good pretty much always, but knowledge is great when it can be consumed easily.

What have you learned today? -Vera Lou Shaw



Why Start Ups Fail

Start ups fail because of 3 simple facts. It is equally beneficial to learn from failure than from success. This post talks about how to avoid failure.

I'm a creator, and a creator creates.

The only way to grow traction / audience is to show up every single day for years. Not days, not weeks, not just 2 months. Give it 2 years. Don't quit, unless you are no longer passionate about your why.

The Why: a business term for why you are the right person at the right time to do the right thing for the right market.

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