Set Yourself Up for Success in the New Year

The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate your life. Looking at where you are and determining where you want to be in the future (both personally and professionally) is the first step in setting and achieving your goals!

Choosing a Goal

Do you have something in mind that you want to achieve this year? There are several common personal goals that people set, including eating healthier, exercising more, spending less (or saving more) money, learning a new skill, etc. In addition, some people like to set professional goals, like focusing more on networking, reading more business books, getting a certification, or getting a raise or promotion.

Which of these resonate with you? Don’t overstretch yourself by choosing too many goals, pick the one or two that you want to focus on this year, and save the rest for another time. If you need help choosing a goal for the year, talk to a close friend or mentor about what they think you can do to be a better person (only if you have thick enough skin to handle some criticism, though!)

Defining Success

Choosing a goal for the year is a great first step, but you need to make sure that your resolution is well-defined so that you have a clear finish line to work toward. Take a few minutes and make your resolutions into a SMART goal. Remember, the acronym “SMART” says that your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound. So, instead of “lose weight” try “lose __ pounds by December 31 by exercising twice a week and eating less calories.”

Making a Timeline

Once you have a well-defined goal, you should make a timeline of the steps needed to reach your goal. You have a whole year, so spread out the tasks and give yourself plenty of wiggle room. Monthly mini goals would be a good place to start so that you can measure your progress and make sure that you stay on track.

Holding Yourself Accountable

Accountability is an important trait to have if you’re going to achieve the goals that you set. It is so easy to make excuses, but you’re not going to! Instead, use some of these tricks from the Inc.com list of 8 Habits of Highly Accountable People:

  • Take responsibility for your tasks.
  • Don’t make excuses or blame others if things aren’t going according to plan.
  • Be on time with your mini-goals.
  • Control your own fate with proper planning.
  • Own your feelings and don’t let a bad day (or week or month) derail you.
  • Manage expectations and adjust goals and timelines as needed.
  • Collaborate with others and make the most of all your available resources.
  • Don’t expect praise – satisfaction should come with a job well done.

Which of these habits will you employ to help you with your 2019 New Year’s resolution? We especially like the tip to collaborate with others. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we have lots of community referral partners that help us achieve our goals.

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In addition, having a friend or loved one that knows about your goal and that has been asked to periodically follow up on your process is a proven accountability technique that helps many people achieve their goals year-round. There are even accountability and goal tracking apps for iPhones and Android phones that will help to keep you honest about whether you are on track and can even add in a financial component to motivate you – automatically transferring money to a person or charity when you don’t meet your goals.

Celebrating Wins

The saying may state that “A job well done is its own reward,” but sometimes you need a little extra motivation to complete your goals or achieve your resolutions. Everyone has their own unique set of rewards that will motivate them, the trick is to decide ahead of time what you will do for yourself and at what point. If you know that you are close to hitting one of your small milestones, you may push yourself in order to earn your reward.

Ask yourself: What would motivate me to work harder toward achieving my goals? Maybe it’s buying something for yourself, some ‘me-time’ or time with the family, or a food treat. Find what motivates you and use it to your advantage.

So, are you ready to make 2019 your best year yet?

Can Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency help you reach your goals in 2019? Whether you need a referral to a local professional or you want help making sure that you are financially sound in the year to come, all you need to do is call our agency at 617-298-0655 for assistance with your insurance policies. We are always excited to be able to help our neighbors!

The one skill more important to business pros than sales.

I hope that you had a fantastic weekend! As you know, I like to start every week with some words of wisdom:

“The thing that people don’t realize is you want to teach people how to fix things without paying you for it because that builds up leverage, you give up a sale in the beginning, but you get all the sales in the end.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Over the next five years, there is one skill undeniably more important to the success of all business professionals than sales. Unfortunately, most are not putting in the hard work to improve this skill. That’s where the opportunity lies for us!

What is this important skill, you ask? It’s building relationships. You need to build relationships today to stand out 5, 10, and 20 years from now. Most businesspeople aren’t doing this today, and the writing’s on the wall for them.

We operate in a marketplace where attention rules all, and those who can attract (and keep) the attention win the game. If you are not doing the work today that sets you up to succeed, you will not be able to compete. There will come a day when what you do and offer in the marketplace may be better and cheaper, but it will be as if you don’t exist because you have not built the relationships to get and keep their attention.

If you look at the money being poured into ads everywhere by the big boys – Trulia, Zillow, Rocket Mortgage, and Morgan & Morgan, for example – the money they are spending doesn’t pan out.  They can’t be local like you and me.  It’s not the consumer’s fault that they think that they believe the ‘big boys’ – instead, it’s an opportunity for us to educate them.

I am a believer in content marketing, telling your story, being the local and value provider, and giving without expectation of a return. I truly believe that the organizations that will be in business in the next 5, 10, and 20 years are the ones who are laying the groundwork today.

What does that look like? It means getting your customers’ emails and cell phone numbers. I work with some business people who still do not have their customers’ information! There is no way to compete in a world where your competitors have your customers’ email addresses and cell phone numbers and you don’t.

If you want to stay relevant for the next several years, you had better change your way of doing business. You need to put the content out there in all the ways that your customers are consuming it – video, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

If you don’t like to be in front of the camera, find someone who does. If you don’t like to write, find someone who does (hit reply now and I can connect you with my copy editor, she is amazing and an asset to my business).

“There has never been a time in history to attract attention was so valuable.” –Ryan Hanley

Your story needs to be told whether you are a big huge brand or a mom and pop shop, and no one can tell your story like you can. Your ability to tell your story is as important as your ability to sell your products and service. It’s the only way that you will attract the attention to do business in the new digital marketplace.

In today’s world, ‘losing’ means taking the time to perfect the customer experience. It means thinking about the way people answer your phone. It means making less cold calls and writing blog posts or creating bitesize videos about the questions you hear every day.

The truth is that I don’t know where this is all headed, what I do know is this:

“There is a connected generation and an unconnected generation, every day that goes by the connected generation expands and the unconnected generation shrinks, who are you going to bet your future on?”

Make the conscious decision to tell your story and connect with the expanding consumer group. How will you connect? Podcasts, blogs, video? I don’t know, but taking the time today to start building your brand now is what will help you succeed in the upcoming years and even decades. Attention wins the game, and I want you to come along for this ride. Lose today so we can all win tomorrow.

I will leave you with this final quote:

“If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.” –Gary Vaynerchuk
I implore you to heed this advice. You can thank me five years from now.

Have a question? Need help? Leave a message below and I will work your question into a future message.

Know that you are loved!

C

Massachusetts Traffic Safety Initiatives

 

We are all so lucky to live in the great state of Massachusetts. But I think there’s one other thing we can all agree on – traffic is sometimes (if not often) a mess. If you’ve ever encountered a traffic jam and thought you may never make it to your destination – fear not… you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are many traffic programs here in Massachusetts that are aimed at making the roads better for all drivers. Here are three examples of these traffic safety initiatives:

Click It or Ticket

Did you know that the national average for seatbelt use is 90%? However, Massachusetts has one of the worst seatbelt use cases – 78%. In order to raise the state’s seatbelt use to be closer to the national average, the Highway Safety Division has been using the Click It or Ticket campaign since 2002. It has worked wonders, and has greatly increased seatbelt use and the number of serious injuries and fatalities associated with vehicle accidents.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

In 2014, 40% of Massachusetts traffic deaths were a result of impaired driving. In order to lower the number of intoxicated drivers, Massachusetts began the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” education and enforcement campaign, targeted at men aged 21-34 – the most likely group to drink and drive.

Move Over Law

First responders and police officers are hurt and killed every year while providing aid in emergency situations. In 2009, the state of Massachusetts aimed to keep these people safe by implementing the “Move Over Law,” which requires drivers to move into the next available lane (or, if no other lane exists, to reduce their speed) when emergency vehicles or personnel are present.

For more traffic safety tips, make sure that you follow the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog. We love to post articles that will help to keep you and your loved ones safe while out on the road. And the next time you’re looking for a fair and honest auto insurance review, call our agency at 617-298-0655. We can help you save money while ensuring that you and your vehicle are protected in case of an accident

Do I Have to File a Claim?

FAQ: Do I Have to File a Claim?

We’ve all been there – you have a very minor issue with your home or car, and you think “I can handle this on my own… Do I have to tell my insurance company?” While it’s true that the answer depends on many factors (including your insurance provider and the terms of your coverage) here are some thoughts that can help you navigate this confusing situation:

Check your policy conditions –  there may be language within that requires you to submit a claim. If you fail to notify your insurance provider about any occurrence that may result in a claim, you could be in violation of your policy condition, which could result in forfeiture of coverage for the incident in the future. This means that if the situation turns into more of a mess at some point, you may be up a creek without a paddle!

Most people would agree that it’s better to submit a claim from the onset rather than risk the potential of having no help from your insurance provider if the problem gets more complicated.

As you know, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is always available if you need to make a claim on one of your Massachusetts insurance policies. There are many ways to contact us – call 617-298-0655 during office hours, call our 24/7 line at 617-322-5289, text 617-409-0329, or email us. We will always do everything in our power to ensure that you are satisfied with your insurance experience, so let us know if there is anything that we can do for you!