• The Ultimate Goal Setting Guide: Part 1 True Goal Setting

    Have you ever set a goal that you didn't reach? I’m looking at YOU, New Year’s Resolutions. It's not a great feeling. It is so frustrating to repeatedly fail at something that is super important to you. It can make you give up on goal setting all together.

    I have been there before AND I have learned some simple tricks that have been a major game-changer. Following the next six steps for goal setting will stack your odds of success and take your goals from impossible to totally doable. It’s how the pros do it!

    The reason that some goals fade away and never get achieved is that they are not actually goals at all!They are just a general idea of how we wish things were different, like a pipe dream. So, what’s the difference between true goal setting and day-dreaming? 

    A goal is specific, measurable, achievable, positive, AND it has a deadline. 

    To make the difference clear, let’s take an example and turn it from a pipe dream into a solid destination. I encourage you can take your own goal and apply these changes as well. Let’s get to work!

    Example: “I want to look good in a bathing suit.”

    Wanting to look good in a bathing suit is something we all want (am-I-right?), but it is NOT specific. The way this “goal” is written could mean a lot of things. For example, it could mean finding a bathing suit that you feel comfortable in and be achieved with finding a new bathing suit. To be more specific you need to think about what it is you truly want.

    “I want to look good in a bathing suit” becomes “I want to lose weight and keep it off.”

    So far so good. Let’s look at the next qualifier. Is it measurable? Measurable means that an outsider could take a look at your goal and easily say whether you achieved it or not. Goals that have a quantity associated with them are easily measured, so let’s add a quantity.

    “I want to lose weight and keep it off” becomes “I want to lose 30 lbs and keep it off”

    Next, let’s add a deadline. The goal becomes “I want to lose 30 lbs by December 31, 2019 and keep it off.” Why is a deadline so important? Well, basically, it is HARD to achieve goals. It is easy to procrastinate and put it off or fall out of routine. Having a deadline will motivate you. 

    I recommend setting a goal no more than a year away. The further away a deadline is, the easier it is to procrastinate.In fact, a little trick for building confidence is to set short-term goals that can be used to propel you towards bigger ones over longer periods of time. 

    So now we have a specific, measurable goal with a deadline, but we are not done yet. If you take a look at that goal, is it achievable? The Pros say that the max amount of weight to lose is 0.5 – 1 lb a week if you want to keep it off. If we do the math, say the end of the year is 29 weeks away, that means a steady decline in weight over 29 weeks would mean a loss of 15 – 29 lbs. Great! That means the goal just needs a slight tweak to make it achievable:

    “I want to lose 29 lbs by December 31, 2019.”

    Lastly, a goal should be stated in the positive. For example, instead of saying “I don’t want to feel tired all the time,” you say “I want to feel more energetic.”

    Pursuing a positive statement is easier to work towards than avoiding a negative. This is because your subconscious doesn’t “hear” negative words. For example, if you think “don’t think about brownies” what happens? You immediately think about brownies. It’s a natural reaction. The subconscious doesn't focus on the DON'T part, it immediately focuses on the subject: the brownies. You can leverage how your brain works to your advantage by rephrasing the goal in a positive.  

    Let’s change it to “I will weigh 140 lbs by December 31, 2019.”

    Congratulations! You have taken a desire for change, and transformed it into a concrete plan. 

    How do you feel? Are you a little bit scared? Then you have the PERFECT goal and are in the right company.I can assure you that when I first wrote my outrageous goal of empowering 100,000 children to believe in themselves and gave it a deadline in 2014, I was TERRIFIED. 

    Next week I am going to share with you the super simple secret to overcoming that fear. There is a little trick I learned that will help your brain transition from thinking the goal is impossible to believing you can do it, and really, that is the key. Once you believe you can achieve something, you open the door to actually achieving it. 

    See you next week!


    P.S. What is YOUR goal? Email me and let me know team@miriamlaundry.com

  • The Mirror Exercise – Self Esteem Activity for Children and Adults

    You and I both know how important it is to develop self-esteem for our children and ourselves. So what it there was an easy self esteem activity you could do with your kids to build their self esteem? I present The Mirror Exercise!

    What professionals have to say about building self esteem:

    A REAL sense of self esteem doesn’t come from just any old feel-good praise you receive. You have to feel you truly deserve the praise. When you look back at things you have accomplished and take time to recognize them, it fuels your confidence. 

    That means that self-esteem comes directly from recognizing past successes. We can’t control whether others recognize us for our victories, so the question is, are YOU recognizing your successes? Or have you let them slide into obscurity?

    The truth is it’s easy to forget past victories in the face of obstacles you are currently struggling with. To overcome this natural tendency, challenge yourself, and your kids, with this self esteem activity: The Mirror Exercise. Can you do it every night for 40 nights?



    The Mirror Exercise

    Every night, before going to bed, stand in front of a mirror and appreciate yourself for all that you accomplished during the day. Look deep into your eyes and hold for a few seconds. Maintain eye contact with yourself throughout the exercise.

    1. Say your name.
    2. Appreciate yourself by acknowledging what you did that day and say them out loud:

    • Accomplishments and Successes. “Today I got a good mark on a test”
    • Risks Taken. “I introduced myself to the new student in class,” or “I stood up for a kid being bullied”
    • Disciplines Kept. “I did my homework,” or “I went for a morning run.” 
    • Temptations Resisted. “I didn’t lash out when I was angry,” or “I only ate ONE cupcake instead of …”

    3. Say “I love you!” to yourself.
    4. Take it in by taking a deep breath.

    Buy the Book

    The Big, Bad Bully teaches us that the most dangerous bully isn't lurking around the corner, but living in our heads. 

    Follow a young girl who is bullied throughout grade school. One day she decides to stand up to her tormenter, only to discover she is the one who has been bullying herself!

    The Big, Bad Bully is a great conversation starter for discussing what kind of thoughts we have towards ourselves with our children.

    Six self-esteem building exercises are included in the back.

    Miriam Laundry's Tedx Talk “The Bully in the Mirror”
  • Dispelling High School Stress with Goal Setting

    My daughter graduates grade eight in one week and it has made me think a lot about how I want her to approach grade nine. She will be my 2nd child making the transition to high school and I am going to use a tried and true method for helping her transition well. Whatever your teen's confidence level, going from grade 8 to grade 9 brings high school stress.

    Why is goal setting the secret weapon to dealing with transition to high school stress? It helps build self-esteem and confidence and gives them a focus to dealing with fears they may or may not be aware of. Once you are armed with a plan, fears seem so much more manageable. 

    The key is to broach goal-setting right nowright after grade eight graduation. Why?It is at the end of the year, so how that school year went socially is fresh in their mindsThey have just received the results of their grades (Academic)They are about to take a break when they will have time to invest in their goals (Athletic + Social)
    How to Choose and Set Goals
    There can be a lot of different goals that your teen is interested in achieving, and they may not necessarily be academic. As parents we tend to think about grades primarily, and some kids do, but the majority of high school stress is social. The whole point is to find out what is important to them, and then set them up for success. You want to make sure the goal is challenging, but achievable. Don’t settle on something un-realistic, but also make sure it will be a reach for them. 
    Types of Goals to Consider
    Chances are grade nine goals are not on your kids' radar. Start them thinking about different areas to spark ideas:
    Academic. This one is obvious. Is there a particular average they want? Do they want to be on the honour roll? Is there an award they want to win? 
    Athletics. Is your kid big into sports? Do they want to make a certain team? Do they want to be captain?
    Social. What relationships do they want to strengthen or maintain through the transition to high school? Are they happy with their current group of friends? Do they want to make new friends? 
    Getting Their Buy-In
    Start having conversations with your teen to probe for what they want to see from their first year of high school. They may be excited and confident. They may be anxious. Some questions you can ask are:Are you happy with how grade eight went? What would you wish had been different?What do you want to see happen in Grade 9? Is there anything you are afraid of happening?Once you decide on a goal, would you want to give them a reward? (Kids like this part… hahaha.) Why I am not opposed to rewards is because of the value the habit of goal-setting will bring in the future. It's worth it to me when it is a skill that will help them in the future.  Make sure it is something reasonable that you can deliver on AND that you’re kid can live without if they don’t achieve their goal.pro tip: It might be best to lead with the reward when approaching the subject to snag their interest. 
    Choosing Your Moment
    I don’t know about you, but my kids aren’t always open to talking. They don’t respond particularly well to being grilled, either, so asking these questions at opportune times will yield better results. What do they respond well to? Taking them out for ice cream, giving a small graduation gift, or taking care of something they would normally have to do can help make them receptive.

    Avoid approaching the subject when they are distracted or focused on something else. I find that the best time for me to approach subjects like this are when I am driving my kids somewhere. It's a less intimidating environment. We aren't sitting face to face, and they are stuck…haha.. they aren't going anywhere. It's easy for me to get info from them without it feeling like an interrogation. 
    Supporting Them
    Have your teen tell a trusted adult what their goal is and check in with them to see how they are doing. (Academic goals) With one of my girls, midway through the year she felt she was behind on her goal and wanted to give up. We set up a meeting with her teacher (who she had told at the beginning of the year) and asked how things were going. He said she was still in the running for achieving the award she wanted to get. This was a shock for her, but it kept her motivated and renewed her desire to go for it. Having another adult in on it bumps up the accountability and will help with motivation. This is super important with long-term goals.Social goals can be dicey because achieving them depends on others as well, BUT, there is lots you can do to stack the odds. When Sarina was in grade four I wanted her to have a close friend. I helped her pick the girl she wanted to be friends with. She said “I think I like her,” but she was too shy to say anything. For the first couple of months I would ask periodically if we should invite the girl over. At first the answer was “No!” It was too embarrassing. Then we had a Halloween party and invited the girl to it. The relationship progressed from there. Now, they are still very good friends (they are in grade 10 now). What kids are interested in changes with age, but the approach is the same. Checking in with your teen to remind them of their goal and creating opportunities to further the relationship is the key to supporting them. 
    By having these conversations now, you are not only preparing your teens to deal with high school stress, but for success in life. You are teaching them to be intentional about the little things. Later on when they want to achieve bigger things like a promotion, or getting into a particular school, or landing a certain job, they will already have experience in mapping out their road to success.

    Are you looking for some more help on goal setting? Whether for yourself or for your kids, make sure to tune in next week for:

    The Ultimate Goal Setting Guide: 
    Part 1 True Goal Setting

  • Children’s Book Age Categories

    I hear this repeatedly when talking to teachers and parents: “What age group is the book appropriate for?” You need to be aware of children’s book age categories and which one your book fits into. It is essential to getting your book published and to marketing it. Educators, parents, and publishers  are very aware of these parameters. It is the first thing they will think of when deciding whether to buy your book or not. If you plan to approach publishers with your manuscript, it is standard information you will have to provide.

    Here are some guidelines for children’s book age categories:
    Age RangeWord Count
    Board BooksNewborn – 3 years.
    Adult reads to child.
    Less than 300.
    Picture booksAges 3–8
    Adult reads to child.
    32 Pages, Less than 1000 words.
    Early Levelled ReaderAges 5-9
    Child reading by themselves.
    100 – 2,500 words.
    Depends on level of reader.
    First Chapter BooksAges 6–9 or 7–106,000 – 10,000 words
    Middle GradeAges 8–1230,000 – 45,000 words
    Young Adult (YA) novelsAges 12 and up
    *Many adults read this category for themselves.
    45,000 – 75,000 words
    How to figure out which age group your children’s book should fit into:
    METHOD 1 : Reverse Engineer Your Audience
    Do you already have a draft or outline for your book? Take a look at the chart above and choose the one that best describes your book. Is it one you want the children to read themselves? If so, what level of reading would it fit into? Or is it a picture book you want an adult to read to the child?  

    METHOD 2: Determine Your Audience From the Start
    Think about why you want to write a children’s book. For me, I wanted to empower children to believe in themselves. I knew what message I wanted to share. So, I used those guidelines to determine which age would be optimal to reach those goals. I decided to hit right in the middle, where the children would be old enough to grasp the I CAN message, but young enough that it would make an impact as early on as possible. 

    The best way to find your children’s book age category is to go to a book shop or library and look through books for the audience you are considering. You will soon start to recognize if your book would fit in with that age group or not. 

    Ask yourself these questions:
    What, if any, message do you want to communicate? What age group would it be best suited for?
    Visualize your book as a finished product. What does it look like? Does it have lots of pictures? Is it a short novel? 
    Who do you see reading your book when it is done? How old are they?

    Congratulations! You’ve just taken a major step in writing a book for children. By deciding what age group you are writing for you have some concrete information to guide your writing process and when you have the finished product, the marketing process. 

    I hope this article has helped you navigate the children’s book age categories that are typically available. If you are serious about writing a children’s book and want some help, you should check out my Publishing Mastermind. love helping aspiring authors achieve their dreams and avoid some of the mistakes that I made. I am now celebrating six years since the release of my first children’s book.
    My first little book, I CAN Believe in Myself, went on to become a #1 Amazon bestseller, won multiple book awards, set a Guinness World Record™ and empowered many children along the way. I am so thankful I fought through my fears and limiting beliefs to see it through. Everything is difficult when you start but it gets easier as you go, and in the end, it’s so rewarding!
  • Writing for Children – Is it worth it?

    One of the really great things about getting to talk to educators and parents in my line of work is having someone share their AWESOME idea for a book with me. I get to meet these amazing people who work so hard for children (whether at home or in a classroom) and they all have inspiring messages. There can be a lot of different things that hold us back from putting in the effort on something like writing a book, so for those of you thinking of writing for children, here is why it is SO rewarding.

    Learning. You get to be part of a child’s development. Kids love interactive components, so if you share your story publicly or in schools you can make it as creative and engaging as you want. I love seeing the children’s faces when we do an activity in one of my presentations, or seeing the “ah ha” moment when they get it. If you are a parent or teacher, you know how rewarding it can be to see children learn and grow.

    Impact. If your book has a message, the hope is that it will make an impact in the lives of children and encourage them. When I wrote my first book, I CAN Believe in Myself, I got to see so many examples of children setting goals for themselves and deciding to go for them. Kids were sending me videos of them doing handstands, cartwheels, riding bikes… you name it. I could see that my book was impacting them. 

    Honesty. Children will tell you right away what they like or don’t like. We sometimes see this portrayed in funny home videos where a kid is being maybe too honest…. haha. This is actually a huge advantage when writing a book. It helps with the editing process! You can be certain the feedback you are getting is 100% truthful. This is invaluable when producing a high quality product.

    Making a Difference. When I write for children I am helping the future generation build a positive mindset. That means I am making a difference in this world and in our future. The reason I started writing for children is that I love having a positive mindset, but I wished I would have learned it earlier in life. I knew that children needed to hear the I CAN message.

    I get to see all these things when I visit a school to share my books. If you write a book for children you may or may not share your work the same way, but I can tell you this, Author Visits are one of my favourite things about being an author. Why? Because it is so rewarding.

    email team@miriamlaundry.com for more information

    Did you know Miriam does VIRTUAL author visits? 

    Virtual Author visits with Miriam Laundry: Have Miriam visit your classrooms through the magic of the internet for an engaging book reading with a positive message.

    If you aren’t near enough to the Niagara Region, Miriam can visit your classroom online through a video chat. We are currently booking virtual and in-person author visits for the 2019/2020 school year. Pencil Miriam in now to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount before June 21st. 

    inquire at: team@miriamlaundry.com