Getting in Indie Gear

The career guide in the photo above is the best quick read on how to create an independent income for yourself.

In my view it’s the best book in this category. I plan on buying a copy to read over and over.

In tandem with this practical business book I recommend one other book wherever I go and in whatever I write:

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

Ben Arment the author of Dream Year reinforced what I’ve always realized: Those of us who choose a different path in life or a unique career can become riddled with self-doubt.

Strive to conquer the self-doubt which is a natural feeling to have when you’re an Artist/Creative or other maker or person in business for yourself.

Use the self-doubt as the catalyst for examining how to overcome this fear. In Dream Year you will be given the confidence to “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams / live the life you imagined” as the famous quote implores.

I’m getting ready to publish Working Assets the book in print and e-book format. My goal is to have the book go on sale in the early spring.

I checked Dream Year out of the library which you can try to do if you don’t want to buy it.

Dream Year is a sharp, succinct, and cohesive collection of action steps to take.

Finding a Job with a Purpose

One of the benefits of collecting SSI or SSDI is that you can do volunteer work or get an internship in the field you want to work in. You don’t have to get paid on an internship because you have the government check coming in.

This is the counterpoint when others claim that individuals on a low income can’t afford to do an internship.

It’s also the counterpoint to the idea that you should take whatever job you can get. And be happy to have that job even if it turns out you hate the job.

The remedy as I see it is to use the internet and the resources available to you to narrow down your job leads to 2 or 3 careers.

Then you can choose the one that resonates with you right now as the goal to make happen.

Seek out others who have gone down this road before you or who are going down this road along with you today.

Get feedback encouragement and advice from them and give your own feedback and encouragement and advice to others.

You will need reinforcement when things take longer or don’t go as planned or don’t pan out.

Doing things that give you joy as you embark on your job search will boost your mental health.

I think that it helps to not expect yourself to do the impossible. Give yourself a realistic and attainable lifeline for achieving a goal not a restrictive deadline.

Enjoying the process counts more than obtaining the goal. Research indicates that it’s in the striving to achieve a goal that we feel the happiest.

In the coming blog entry I will talk about what failing at my first career taught me.

It was the job I thought I wanted.

Sometimes a dead-end is the exact detour you need to go down to find out what your purpose in life is.


I say: express your feelings to a therapist or trusted friend or mentor.

It can be scary risking doing something. As the pandemic starts to end–hopefully by early next year–this is when it can make sense to take a risk like finding a job or going to school or get trade or vocational training.

Establishing a support team can help you weather the uncertainty of whether you will succeed or not.

When you give a goal your best shot there can be no shame if what you wanted to do doesn’t work out.

It’s natural to fear failure and it’s also natural to fear success.

What might be happening is a bout of self-stigma or having the mindset that you don’t deserve to have fortune.

Either way your thoughts can influence what you feel which can hold you back.

For one goal I’ve decided to employ the “act as if” technique of acting boldly even when I might be scared.

I’ll end here by saying that the objective is to try, to risk, to fail, and to try again..

In the next blog entry I’ll take about risking in more detail.

Keeping a Goals Journal

While working through the Changeology 90-day action plan for my goals I track my weekly progress in a journal.

I buy the hardbound journals in Rite Aid. You might be able to pick them up in Staples too.

Tracking Behavior starts in Step 2 Prep and continues after that. I write in the journal as often as needed and re-read the entries every few days.

There–you can see in black-and-white–or in blue or black ink how you’re coming along.

So far I’ve achieved one 3-month goal. I’m in Step 5 or Persist which lasts the rest of your life.

This requires that you get honest with yourself about what’s going on that is derailing you from achieving a goal.

Measuring a behavior could tend to improve a behavior. When you’re accounting for what you’ve done the tendency is engage in the goal activity.

Keeping track of what you spend money on for example could be the natural segue for spending less.

The goals journal should be a separate one from a regular day-to-day journal.

Using hardbound books motivates me to go back and flip through the pages to see how I’ve improved.

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about finding a mentor to help you out in your life and career.

In Step 2 you mobilize your support team. In Step 3 and beyond you rely on these helping relationships.

My stance is that peers should empower each other not be jealous of each other. Jealousy is a form of self-stigma.

Instead of being envious of others I’ve always wanted to “pick their brains” to see what enabled them to succeed.

One mentor was instrumental in my life and I’ll talk about him next.

Creating a Goals Binder

In 2000 when I started my librarian job I bought a black binder with clear sleeves. On the front cover I inserted an index card that I typed my life goals on. On the back cover I inserted the Theodore Roosevelt quote about daring greatly.

I used each tabbed section of the binder to insert different worksheets. One section houses pages that list my goals for each decade of my life. Another section is where I placed the Accomplishments lists. A different section contains sheets of life guidelines I typed up.

Every so often I re-read the binder. When I showed the binder to a woman who was an LCSW she was astonished that I wrote down my goals in vivid detail.

I recommend creating a goals binder. Skimming through it might give you comfort in this time of the pandemic where everything has been halted.

At first you might read the contents every week. I read my own binder every two months.

In tandem with this approach I recommend keeping a goals journal. I’ll talk about this in the coming blog entry.

Planning Each Week

In recovery as in life nothing is guaranteed.

Having a setback is often the only predictable outcome.

You might be rolling along and then something happens to change everything.

I’ve learned after living indoors for over four months that not everything in life can be controlled.

A person can choose their response. How you respond is within your control.

And sometimes how you respond isn’t always healthy.

The goal as I see it becomes to forgive yourself dust yourself off and get back up and try again the next day.

This is why in my estimation it’s not helpful to try to plan what’s going to happen five years from now.

Danica Patrick the race car driver in her fitness book Pretty Intense tells readers to do one healthy thing. Then do the next healthy thing. And one healthy thing after that. And so on.

This is how I’m planning my life while living through the COVID-19 outbreak which hasn’t gone away.

Breaking down my goals into weekly segments. Doing one thing in one day to manage this pandemic with its corresponding setbacks.

I call this the “one thing/one day” tactic.

To compartmentalize activities this way makes it easier to live through the uncertainty and unpredictability of what’s going on.

In two weeks I return to my job. I’d like to talk in here about the nature of returning to a job while the outbreak is still in effect.

Step 4 – Persevere

I’ve started Step 4 of the 90-day action plan. This is the Persevere step.

For going on four months I was forced indoors because of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City.

New York State went from having the highest number of cases to having the lowest infection rate as of today.

My goal had been to use my paycheck to buy food. Which I was able to do for the duration of Step 3 Perspire.

Living indoors I wasn’t tempted to buy things impulsively that I didn’t need.

Today and in the coming four weeks this is when I’m supposed to use tactics to persevere in maintaining this goal.

After I publish Working Assets my goal is to publish a personal finance book for peers.

To feel like you have control over the direction of your life is imperative. To have control over what you choose to spend money on is the first step in gaining economic freedom.

A shift in behavior can create a corresponding mental shift. And two goals can co-exist at once. Like my goal of cooking my own dinners 5x per week and creating on Sunday a routine for the coming week.

By relaying in this blog my progress with my own goals I strive to empower readers to tackle their own objectives.

To create lasting change you and I need to be able to maintain the new behavior for the long-term.

I will talk in the next blog entry about the number-one benefit of establishing a routine in a time like this pandemic and beyond.

Creating a Weekly Routine

I find that imposing a structure to each week is a way to feel like you’re in control.

Creating a routine on Sunday for the coming week is my strategy for getting through the pandemic and beyond.

Automating recurring tasks can help.

I have my groceries delivered the same day every week. I budget in a set amount to spend on this food delivery so that the cost doesn’t fluctuate.

As I might have talked about before in here and in my Flourish blog it’s imperative to take care of your mental and physical health in a time like the pandemic.

The outbreak is still in effect in most cities and towns in America.

If you ask me this is the perfect time to create a routine.

I recommend the Julie Morgenstern book Time Management from the Inside Out 2nd Edition. She gives readers ideas for breaking each day into time zones.

In the coming blog entries I”m going to talk about setting up a weekly routine in more detail.

In August I would like to return to career topics.

Managing Setbacks

My first personal trainer left the gym to open his own boutique fitness center.

I signed up for his e-mail newsletter. In it he wrote that setbacks are to be expected.

On some days you don’t have it in you to go at full speed. Hitting your target goal might not happen.

This is where it’s imperative to remember that a slip-up in the short-term doesn’t matter.

Think in terms of the long view. It’s how you respond to a setback that determines whether you succeed in the end. Not the slip-up itself.

Remember to be critical of the behavior and not of yourself. People who blame themselves for a setback often don’t recover. Blaming yourself is a recipe for remaining stuck.

One thing matters most: having the sense that you have control.

Not allowing yourself to be blown around by the wind like a weather vane.

My mother keeps reminding me that I lost 20 pounds when I was younger. She keeps telling me that I was round and chubby [her word] when I first started taking medication. She refers to the fact that I decided to see a nutritionist. The woman was an M.D. with a private practice in nutrition.

The moral of this story is: you don’t have to accept a setback and give up and do nothing.

Resilience is called for. The ability to bounce back from a setback. Successful New Year’s resolution setters in the Changeology book viewed a slip-up as temporary. They recommitted to changing their behavior.

They viewed the setback as an opportunity to strengthen their commitment. They saw it in a positive light forgave themselves and learned from the experience.

Step 3 Perspire lasts at least 6 weeks. I’ve ended the first 3 weeks of this Step. For 3 weeks in a row I’ve been able to carry out my goal.

In coming weeks I’ll talk about Step 4 – Persevere.

Just remember: a setback isn’t the end of what you can do.

It’s temporary. And should your original goal not work out at all that’s when choosing to do something different can make all the difference.

I like to quote the Ulta advertisement: the Possibilities are Beautiful.

There is no one right road to go down in your life.

I will talk in more detail about resilience in the future.

Step 3 – Perspire

The goal I set was to use my paycheck to buy food and basic needs.

In Step 3 Perspire of the Changeology 90-Day Action Plan you use 4 techniques to carry out your goal:


You reward yourself for having achieved what you set out to.

To do this I bought myself a Revlon lipstick.


You do the healthy opposite of the negative behavior.

To do this I have cut down buying extra things.

Controlling the Environment

“Out of sight out of mind” sums up this approach.

When I wanted to stop wearing jeans to my job all the time I took the jeans and placed them in an out-of-the-way storage rack.

Today it’s easier to achieve my current goal because I’m not shopping in stores.

Enlisting Support

You ask people to be part of your support team. They can help you stay on track with your goal.

One of my friends and my therapist I talk with every week.

I have the goal of publishing a book about personal finance. I will write in this blog and in the forthcoming book about setting a financial goal like the one I’m executing now.

Living through the pandemic is the perfect time to cut down on spending.

A lot of us are forced to conserve cash because we lost our jobs. For others we’re at the time in our lives where we’re able to shift our focus to a goal like this.

I will be reporting back in the coming weeks how I’m coming along in Step 3.