Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com

Changing paths and dreaming dreams

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com
Quote by C.S.Lewis Photo by Ruby Montalvo

It’s funny to reflect on how you got where you are, the choices you made and paths you chose to get you to the exact moment you’re in.

And the memories are mental snapshots of those pivotal moments. That’s how it works for me.

It’s tempting to say sometimes, “If only I would’ve done _________________ (fill in the blank), then _______________ (fill in the blank) woudn’t have happened and I’d be ______________. (fill in the blank).”

But there’s no going back. You can only go forward.

And sometimes you have to change paths

When I first decided to retire early from public education, I set out to share what I’d learned about good nutrition and exercise through my menopausal experience. My goal was to help women stay strong and healthy as they age.

That’s when I started blogging.

In the process of writing and talking to people about health and nutrition, I realized they often knew how to stay healthy and lose weight, but they struggled doing it. They needed encouragement and motivation.

That’s where Mindset Monday came in.

I liked talking about nutrition and exercise, just like I liked teaching and being a librarian, but then my goals changed.

One day I decided to listen to something that had been gnawing at me for a while.

I’d taken this early retirement, why don’t I do the one thing I know I’ve always wanted to do… write a book? “If not now, when?” I asked myself.

So I changed paths again and started writing. Even though I had no clue what I was getting into when I started, I finished my 1st draft of my 1st novel on March 15, 2017. After lots of self-doubt, tears, and multiple revisions, I published on May 31, 2018.

Through it all I kept blogging, writing Mindset Monday almost every week. I decided to focus on the encouraging messages I needed to hear…You can do it. Keep going. You have to start somewhere. Strive for progress not perfection. 

I’ve heard from many people about how they needed that boost my blogpost gave them and that’s perfect. That’s the best outcome I could hope for.

But now, my writing goals have changed.

Maybe because now I know I can write a novel, I want to keep writing novels. I want to write short stories and maybe even a screenplay.

And I have a lot of works in progress.

After a lot of learning and missteps, I’m in the process of recording the Audiobook version of A Song for Jessica. I hope to publish by the end of this year.

I have 2 manuscripts (1st drafts) I’m revising. One is the sequel to A Song for Jessica, working title is Allie 2 (I know…creative title) which I hope to publish early 2019, and the other is a project turned out to be a YA, urban fantasy novel that I started November 2017 for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m not sure if or when I’ll publish.

I’ve had the extreme good fortune to have 3 Book Signing Events so far and I hope to do more soon. I love talking to people about reading and books and it’s a huge thrill to introduce my work to “strangers”.


I’ve discovered that I’m a real Book Nerd. When I was at Barnes and Noble this past weekend it took tremendous self-control to stay at my table instead of browsing the shelves and peeking at book jackets. Hats off to my husband for keeping me in check!


Looking forward

All that to say … this will be my final installment of Mindset Monday.

I’ll continue blogging about what I’m doing, what I’m learning, and share encouraging messages, but it may not be every week and it won’t be as Mindset Monday. The website may take on a new look and shape. It’s always a Work In Progress.

And I’ll send a newsletter update once or twice a month instead of once a week, so if you haven’t already done so, sign up now for email updates and get my ebook, A Year of Mindset Monday, free while it’s still available.

Thanks for all your support and encouragement and for taking the time to read. If it weren’t for you reading my work I really would be just talking to myself : )

Until next time… wishing you courage, strength, and happiness.

~ Ruby

Take care of yourself posted on strong-woman.com

How to Set SMART Goals and Make Your New Year’s Resolutions stick

As the end of 2016 quickly approaches, there’s more talk about New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for 2017.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

A common approach for setting goals is to set SMART goals.

What’s a SMART goal?

SMART is an acronym for

S – specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – reasonable

T – time specific

Setting SMART goals is a simple way to set goals in any area of your life, such as fitness, health, finances, professional, personal, family, etc.

Picture of a scale published on strong-woman.com

Here’s an example of a SMART goal:

I want to lose 5 pounds by Valentines Day 2017.

Specific – Lose 5 pounds

Measurable – Get on the scale and current weight minus 5

Attainable – Valentines Day is February 14 so that’s 6 weeks from January 1 so that would be slightly less than a pound a week. Yep. That’s attainable.

Reasonable – A pound a week seems reasonable

Time Specific – February 14 is my end date

Even if you’re long term goal is to lose 50 pounds, meeting short incremental goals like this will add up. So in mid-February, plan on setting another goal:

I want to lose 5 pounds by March 30, 2017.

If you were to stay on that course for the year, by the end of the year, you’ll have lost more than 40 pounds. That’s significant!

Here’s an example of a Non-SMART goal:

I want to lose weight in 2017

“lose weight” isn’t specific enough and 2017 doesn’t make it a timely goal.

journal posted on strong-woman.com

Here’s an example of a SMART goal in the area of personal finances:

I want to pay off a $1000 credit card balance by June 2017.

S – The specific goal is to ay off a balance of $1000, taking into account interest and other charges

M – It’s measurable because by June 1, 2017 I’ll either have a balance or not.

A – Is it attainable? Come up with an action plan so you can decide if you need to adjust your goal.

Realistic – Creating a plan of action will help you decide if it’s a realistic goal.

Time Specific – June 1, 2017 is specific.

Also not a SMART goal.

I want to get a new job and make more money.


Yogi Berra once famously said:
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.

Yogi Berra

When setting goals, it’s important to write them down and not keep them floating around in your head. The process of writing them out helps make them real so you’re more likely to commit to them.

Set goals for things you’re ready to work for and not things that you wish would happen. Focus on areas of your life you’re ready to improve and that are really important to you.

Once you’ve got your goals set, come up with a plan to reach them. There are a ton of people and resources to guide you if you need help. Remember to take it a little at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Picture published on strong-woman.com

Reflect on the past year as you look forward

As you look forward to the new year, also take some time to reflect on the past year. What were some good experiences? S

ome not so good things? What did you do that you loved? How did you overcome a challenge? How did that make you feel?

Remember that the negative tends to stick out in our minds and the good stuff tends to blend into the background. Look at pictures from the past year to help jog your memory. When you look at the tough times, think about how you handled it, how you got through it, and what you learned.

I hope you accomplish all your goals in 2017 and that it turns out to be a fantastic year for you.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog. I’m truly grateful for time and attention.

Blessings!