Let’s Journal?

As part of my attempt to continue improving on different areas of my life, I decided to start journaling.

I had started journaling back in July while I was in Brazil for World Youth Day but it quickly faded away and I stopped.


Latest update of the Podcasts app has a great new feature

*UPDATE: So it seems like this was a bug.  The app is no longer showing reviews from all countries. Too bad!

Apple released an update to their iOS Podcasts app in the last few days, and as usual they rolled out a few bug fixes and new features.


Às Vezes O Bom É O Inimigo Do Melhor

Uma pequena revolução de vez em quando e’ uma ótima coisa. – Thomas Jefferson

Estou vendo, a distancia, as manifestações no Brasil. Tendo morado muitos anos fora, da minha varanda estrangeira eu sempre tive uma vista interessante da cultura brasileira, talvez às vezes um pouco mais lúcida do que quando eu morava lá.  Como se diz por aqui, às vezes a gente não consegue ver a floresta por causa das árvores na nossa frente.


No Excuses.

Chances are if you made new years resolutions at the end of 2012 you have already forgotten about them.

I can speak for myself: every year I’d make lofty resolutions but by Valentine’s Day I was usually back to my old ways.

That’s why this year I decided to do something different.

Instead of resolutions, I set goals, wrote them down, and told people about them.

Goals are very different than resolutions.

Here’s what I mean:

  • To start eating healthier is a resolution.  A goal is to eat 8 servings of vegetables a day, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks in a row.
  • To lose some weight is a resolution.  A goal is to lose 15 pounds by May 28th.
  • To start exercising is a resolution.  A goal is to be able to run 5 kilometers within 10 weeks.

A good goal is very well defined.  A good goal allows you to look back and clearly say “I did it.”  A good goal lets you easily imagine what completing it looks like.

And when you write them down and tell people about them, it becomes real.

I’ll tell you how real.

Just a few months ago I couldn’t run for more than 5 minutes.  A combination of laziness, asthma, and fear had kept me on the couch for years.

Me, running my first 5K. No, I haven't purchased the photo yet :)
Me, running my first 5K. No, I haven’t purchased the photo yet 🙂

Last year I set a goal to run a 5K, which I completed in May during the Toronto Marathon.  It felt fantastic.  I had never been a runner and to cross that finish line brought me such a sense of accomplishment that I actually cried.

For 2013, I set 9 very specific goals for myself. One of them is to run a half-marathon before the end of the year.

I wrote it down and shared it with my family, my friends, and my mastermind groups.

It turns out preparing for a half-marathon is hard work, and now I need to really get busy training. I’ve been consistently running a little bit every day for the last few weeks, which feels really good.

But what really inspired me to write this blog post is this: Today I went running even though it was -8C (17F) and snowing.

Because I set a goal, wrote it down, and told people, I dressed up in layers, gloves, wool socks, and ran in freezing temperatures during a snowfall.  I had so many reasons not to run today, but because of how I set my goals this year I found it in me to engage in this insanity.

What I didn’t expect was how great it felt.  As I was running and snow was accumulated on my clothes, I had this feeling of empowerment that I was managing my life and that I was intentionally working towards something good.

The more I think about goal-setting and read about the lives of people who accomplished great things, the more I realize that these great things happen to those who are purposely working towards goals.

If you haven’t done so, I challenge you to write a handful of goals for yourself to accomplish before the end of this year.  Make sure these goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

These criteria spell “SMART.”  It’s easy to remember.

If you set a goal, make sure you write it down and let people know.  If you’d like, let the world know by using the comment box below this post.


Swing Dancing and São Paulo?

The video below brings me flashbacks of my childhood, sweet memories of landmarks of my existence in a way I never thought possible.

On this 459th “birthday” of the city of Sao Paulo, it beautifully shows the city that all us Paulistanos love and, I guarantee at one time or another, have loved to hate.

These are monuments I climbed as a child, buses, subway trains I rode countless times, and beautiful buildings. These are buildings I now wished I had taken the time to get to know better but was too busy looking down or – at times – too preoccupied with staying safe as I walked the cobblestone streets of downtown São Paulo as a teenager.

walkingMy story is not unlike the broken story of many immigrants; it’s a story of an existence severed by expatriation which makes one leave behind memories, things, people. It’s a plot in which the drastic decision to move to a new culture abruptly ends a story line and starts another. It’s a plot in which the protagonist is often left wondering who he really is. There was an old story. Now there’s a new story. Though the new story is often equally as rich, the chasm is always there.

That is who I was. This is who I am.
That is where I lived. This is home now.
That is how I used to speak. This is my language now.
The list goes on.

An important aspect of my life in the second part of my story involved a silly little thing called swing dancing. Swing dancing is as American as apple pie, and as I started to create roots here in North America, it was one of the first bonds I created with the new people in my new story line  Swing dancing helped mark the new milestones of my new life as an immigrant. In my new life I had an accent, I looked different; in my new life I danced. And boy did I dance.

This is why this video touches me in a special way.

In a quasi out-of-body experience, I see my broken story as whole. For about 3 minutes it’s like my story has been stitched together and the chasm never was.

It makes me wish I had never left and grateful that I did, all at once.

Thank you Blubell, RecheioDigital, and Hopaholics for creating this video. You will hear from many how great it is, but I guarantee you it will not touch anybody as deeply as it has me.