It is Still Not Too Late to Determine Your #1 Goal for 2020 (Newsletter #2)

Reading Time: 9 minutes

If you are like most people, even though it is January 15th, goal setting and planning for 2020 has become an afterthought. You might have even said the phrase in your head, “What’s the point anyway, I never complete them?” And you would most likely be right. A study by the University of Scranton found that 92% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail. 

Or you might say something like, “I am not even sure what I want to do or achieve.” As a result, you set up a very general goal such as “I want to get into better shape or become a better leader in 2020.” However, according to psychologist Gary Locke, the more specific and challenging the goal is, the more likely you are to complete it. In fact, you would be 90% more likely to achieve your plan.

Lastly, research shows when setting goals, you might also be guilty of trying to accomplish too many things vs. prioritizing what is most important and completing that one thing to its fullest.


If you can relate to the above, follow the 3 steps below to determine your #1 goal for 2020.

Step 0

(Okay, 4 steps really)

Before starting, you need to answer this question. Where do you want to be more fearless or focused in your life? To help you with this, download the Fast Forward Mindset Template. First write down all the actions or outcomes you want to achieve. Then write the #1 fear that is holding you back from believing each one is possible to achieve.

Step 1: Answer Four W Questions.

Where do you want to be more fearless?

(Choose one action or outcome from the list in step 0 that you will start in the next 90 days.) 

What level is it out of your comfort zone?

Why do you want to do this?

When will you start?

Step 2: NIP Fear in the Bud

Answer the below questions

  1. Not Alone – Who else do you know is going through this or has been through it? 
  2. I Will Get Through This – What past experiences have you had where you broke through your walls? 
  3. Play The Part – What will you do to not be concerned about what others think about you during this process?

Step 3: Find Your Focus

  1. Create a training plan with dates (the key is to attach dates to goals).
  2. How will you feel when you succeed?
  3. Who is your accountability partner?


Try filling out this Google form instead. Or respond to this email and I will be happy to assist you.

My #1 Personal Goal for 2020:

Become Conversationally Proficient in Spanish

I am currently living with my family in Barcelona and I have met many Americans who have lived here for a while and are still unable to have real conversations in Spanish.

I want to buck this norm/trend.

I want to keep pushing myself outside of my Spanish comfort zone to prevent myself from plateauing at my current level. My goal is to be able to have basic conversations in Spanish with any local at anytime.

How I Memorized 100 Spanish Verbs in 8 Hours

My first breakthrough came when I was able to start remembering important Spanish definitions.

When learning a new language, it is important to focus on these 3 areas:

  1. Memorization,
  2. Comprehension,
  3. Practice.

After searching for videos about learning Spanish on YouTube, I came across a video that described a memory palace. I was intrigued.

I knew if I could memorize the most common verbs, it would be a foundation for all of my conversations. Thanks to Facebook’s invasive ad technology, I saw an ad for a poster of the top 100 Spanish Verbs. I copied this list into a word document, and I was able to memorize all 100 of them in about 8 hours over several days.  

Those 100 words, coupled with an understanding of the basic conjugation rules, allowed me to have 10x the amount of conversations I was able to have previously. It was a game changer in the way I could communicate.  

Want to learn how to do this too?

Email me and I will send you a simple worksheet I created to get started.


Featuring Tatiana Ramirez, Stone Soup

What was the turning point where you realized you not only wanted to move to Barcelona but that you were going to take action to do it?

When I realized that there was a job opportunity for my husband in Barcelona. I had visited Barcelona a couple of times and I absolutely loved it. However, it had never occurred to me that living in Barcelona was a possibility. So when the opportunity came, I made sure it would become a reality!

How did you make it happen? 

I made it happen by being enthusiastic about moving here, by doing the research, talking with friends who lived here about where to live, finding school options for our children, and other practical information.

My previous work had been at an international environmental NGO in China, and I wasn’t sure how that would translate into a job in Barcelona. 

As it turned out, after a few months of our arrival in Barcelona, I partnered with a friend whom I met during her time living in China, and we started a Mandarin speaking nanny agency. The experience as an entrepreneur was very enriching, but it made me realize that I enjoyed working on social and environmental issues more, which is why I decided to step away from the agency. 

After enrolling and completing an executive course on social innovation at ESADE, I felt more confident, more knowledgeable, and I had a stronger professional network in the social sector in Spain.

Now I am part of Stone Soup, a consulting firm which helps organizations increase, measure and manage their social impact, and which operates mostly in Spain and Portugal. It is also a Bcorp company, and has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2030, which makes me very happy!

What are the most common challenges you face living abroad?

Sometimes it can be the language barrier, and also the cultural barrier. This is the reason why people living abroad often gravitate towards people from their same country or who at least speak their language. Having said that, it is a real missed opportunity not to make an effort and befriend local people since that will give you a very different perspective on that country’s reality.

What specific advice would you give to others who want to live abroad for a year or longer?

Planning is a good idea, because it requires you to think about what you would like to see and do while you’re there, and it helps you think about what you would like to get out of your living abroad experience. At the same time, I think it’s a good idea to leave space for flexibility and let fate or serendipity take you places you didn’t expect. I also suggest doing research on practical things such as where to get emergency medical attention, local traditions, food, etc.

Has moving/living in Barcelona changed your family for the rest of your lives?

Yes, it has changed our lives and it’s been a very pleasant experience. Now, the problem is that we don’t want to leave, but may have to for professional and practical reasons. Still, we will always have Barcelona and our magical time here!


I recently traveled throughout Southern Spain and Morocco during Winter Break. I have written over 5000 words and close to 100 photos in 5 posts about my experiences. You can read about them by clicking on the individual posts below.

If you are ever interested in traveling to Sevilla, Marrakech, The Sahara Desert, Malaga, Marbella, or Granada, you can gain some insight here on these places and experiences.

Off to the Southern Coast of Spain (Post 5 of 5)

Back to Sevilla for New Years

(Trip: Post 4 of 5)

The Sahara Desert

(Trip: Post 3 of 5)

Exploring Marrakech

(Trip: Post 2 of 5)

A Huge Surprise in Sevilla

(Trip: Post 1 of 5)


Next time you are worried about something, use the below formula to help you get through it. I read about it in How to Stop Worrying & Start Living by Dale Carnegie. He claims in the book that this formula can eliminate 50% of your personal worries overnight. I can attest it has been a lifesaver for me, time and time again. 

Magic Formula to Worry

(This can eliminate 50% of your personal worries)

  1. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can’t solve my problem?
  2. Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst–if necessary.
  3. Then calmly try to improve upon the worst–which you have already mentally agreed to accept