Following Up and Resetting Goals

Following Up and Resetting Goals

It’s that time of year when spring cleaning is on the minds of many people. You know – clean the house, garage, or anything else that’s become cluttered over the winter.

But have you thought about spring cleaning your goals? It’s not the same as tossing things to the curb or donating them to a worthy cause, but rather a reassessment.

That said, now’s the time to do a goal check-up and monitor your progress toward reaching them. Here are some suggestions:

1. Take time for reflection

Before you look towards the future, you need to take a good look at the past. Assess your successes and failures over the past few months, and give yourself credit for any goals that you’ve accomplished, no matter how small.

Ask yourself what can improve and what you wish you had done but didn’t. There’s no need to be hard on yourself. You want to be honest.

2. Examine why some goals got off-track

There are always reasons why a goal is off-track. If it involves your business or organization, perhaps it’s due to a lack of resources or a leadership issue. If the goal has become so far off-track that it’s impossible, you may want to reset and create a new goal.

3. Get rid of what you no longer need

Spring cleaning means getting rid of things that aren’t essential. The same rule applies to your goals. Ask yourself: Is everything I’ve spent the last few months working on crucial? Think of ways that you can cut back on non-essential activities.

Consider your responsibilities and which ones aren’t truly your own. Think about what duties you can phase out of your life.

Are there emotions, such as jealousy, resentments, or anger holding you back? We all experience those emotions from time to time, but an overload of them is counterproductive. Focus on the positive instead.

4. Pick a time to evaluate and reset your goals

Another way to stay on top of your goals is to choose a day each month in which you assess your goals and, if necessary, to reset them. But never reset a goal before understanding why it’s not working in the first place.

5. Create an action plan

Once you’ve reassessed your goals, choose a few of them that you’d like to focus on and create new deadlines (and a new plan) to reach them. Set deadlines for completing little tasks necessary for accomplishing a larger goal.

Setting yourself up for success means having a clear direction and roadmap for where you want to go. Always know your immediate, next step.

Take time to re-evaluate your goals and, if necessary, getting back on track for reaching them. It’s an important part of the journey.

Remember: Goals are fluid. They change and may not be as important now as they were when you originally set them.

Leaders Who Inspire Us: Robert Egger & Father Greg Boyle, S.J.

Photo Credit: Zac Durant on Unsplash

In a time of chaos and divisiveness, there are some people in this world who shine a light for all of us by setting a good example. That’s why we’re featuring two leaders who have inspired us with their kindness, and their willingness to go into their communities and make a difference.

Robert Egger, has taken on the challenge of helping LA minimize their food waste while turning everyday citizens into skilled cooks and managers. Our other star is Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries. He set out to disrupt the cycle of gang violence by providing kids with better options.

Robert Egger and the LA Kitchen

Robert Egger changed the face of food kitchens in DC with the DC Central Kitchen, and now he has brought his wisdom and experience to the people of LA.

The LA Kitchen is a three-part program that serves a diverse range of needs within the city.

First, they gather fruit, vegetables, and other leftover food from markets to prevent it from going into local landfills. Egger says that he wants people to understand just how much we waste and start to see that a slightly wrinkled vegetable is no cause for alarm.

Secondly, the LA Kitchen serves as a state-of-the-art training ground for those with an interest in culinary arts. In particular, his students come out of local prison and foster care programs where they’re often dumped and left to their own devices when their time is up.

Instead of sending them out to become homeless or sending them back to the environments where they got in trouble in the first place, he teaches them a skill and gives them meaningful work to keep them busy. These chefs take the day’s leftover foods and use them to prepare menus of their own.

The final step in this program is giving back to the low-income families in the area, mostly seniors. Egger has partnered the LA Kitchen with programs like Meals on Wheels to deliver the food to those families who are in the most need.

If this project doesn’t seem monumental enough, Egger has published several books about the importance of non-profit organizations in our communities and our economy. He also offers regular training for other organizations and volunteers on how to make the most of their resources.

Father Greg Boyle and the HomeBoys

Just down the road from the LA Kitchen is another inspiring leader. He is working to reclaim some of LA’s lost youth. Homeboy Industries was created by Father Boyle as a means of helping kids escape from gangs and pursue more productive activities.

Homeboy Industries is credited with helping more than 15,000 people a year to get out of gang life and learn new skills. The programs offered are large and diverse. However, they’re all held together by the abilities of the young ex-gang members who participate.

Most notably, the Homegirl Cafe is a delicious farm to table restaurant in the heart of LA where former gang girls run the kitchen and serve tables.

This serves as a diversionary track out of prison and into real work. It helps the girls get on their feet, take control of their futures and learn a skill that they can use to work elsewhere in the future.

The men in the program also have a variety of options available to them. For instance, an electronics recycling program, farmer’s markets, silkscreening and more options.

Both of these leaders are doing a tremendous job of giving back to their community and serving one of the most ignored sectors of our community.

They’re taking real, tangible steps toward reducing drugs, violence, and homelessness throughout LA. They have already proven that they can help thousands of people each year with their programs.

Personal Reflection: Gratitude, Accomplishments, Takeaways


As the new year opens in front of us, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and give thanks for all that’s come from last year. It’s also time to consider what we’ve learned and what we should carry forward into the new year as we seek to improve our lives. This guide will walk you through a self-assessment of your accomplishments, takeaways, and gratitude for the year.

Break Out the Pen and Paper

Self-reflection takes a lot of work. The best way to get through this process and gather real insight is to take thorough notes as you examine every aspect of your life. You can refer back to these notes throughout the year to stay on track. This is also a great time to bring together work you’ve completed during the past year. If you’ve kept a personal journal, or have projects you’ve finished, include them for closer examination as well.

Commit to Honesty

Personal reflections are only beneficial if they’re honest. Commit to being honest with yourself, about the good and the bad. Yes, you can admit you hit some speed bumps during the year, but try not to be overly hard on yourself. Being honest takes a certain amount of courage, but it’s always a worthwhile endeavor. Whether you’re performing a self-evaluation for your boss or your own benefit, honesty is the most critical factor.

Categorize Your Thoughts

As you go through your self-appraisal, start by creating categories you want to focus on. For instance, your accomplishments, challenges, and gratitude. Fill in each category with details of things you’ve done well, things you have struggled with, and things you’ve learned to be thankful for. You may add other categories as you see fit, but once you’re done, create a separate category for key takeaways. Look at the big picture and think about the biggest, most important lessons of the year that you’ll carry forward in your life.

Take Your Time

Perhaps the most important thing is to take your time going through your assessment. Work methodically through each category and the timeline of last year. Don’t rush or skip over the hard parts, and definitely don’t leave anything out, especially if it was a challenge.

These are the moments you learn from the most, so make sure to pay attention to them. Most people can’t complete a full self-appraisal in one sitting. It usually requires several days or weeks of contemplation, note-taking and a-ha moments to gain a thorough understanding of what your year really looked like.

With these 4 tips, you are on your way to a better understanding of yourself and your strengths. Make sure to take your time and gather all of the relevant materials to examine your year and learn from it. Stay organized as you work, and take time to look over your notes with a 30,000-foot view to understanding the entire picture.

Reflecting on your Business: Gratitude, Accomplishments, Takeaways


If you’re not in the habit of conducting a business evaluation at the end of every year, you should be! Sitting down to reflect on your business accomplishments and lessons learned is a great way to determine your path for the new year. It can be a crucial part of setting better goals and overcoming future challenges.

It’s also a way to organize and restructure your business if needed. When you recognize your victories, you can create more of them. When you acknowledge your challenges and failures, you can learn how to improve and change what has held your business from success in those areas.

Celebrate Your Big Wins

Doing an evaluation can be daunting, so the best thing to do is to start from the highest point. Pick 3 to 5 moments where your business really customer, outperformed your projections or otherwise shone like a star.

Don’t just think in terms of your whole business either. Make sure you give credit to specific teams who knocked the ball out of the park and praise them for carrying the company forward.

Assess Your Weaknesses

Once you’ve handed out praise for all the great work of the year, it’s time to get honest about areas where you may still be struggling. Which projects didn’t go as planned? Which teams were unable to hit their benchmarks?

It’s also a great chance to get down on the floor and meet with your staff to discuss their concerns. Were there any factors that hindered their progress through the year? Put this information in writing and brainstorm some solutions to be addressed in the new year.

Your team members can be an excellent agent for positive change if you take the time to listen to their thoughts and open the floor to creative solutions.

Set Fresh Goals

The best goals are those that push you just beyond your comfort zone but are totally achievable if you just go the extra mile. Now that you’ve assessed your strengths and weaknesses from the previous year settle on a goal for the new year that builds upon your successes.

Your new goal may require you to address some of the issues that previously popped up before you can achieve it. While you may choose one goal as a singular focus or theme for the new year, it’s also helpful to set milestones and smaller short-term goals that address things like budgets, staffing and other issues you need to overcome along the way.

An end of year assessment is a great way for businesses to slow down and determine whether they’re on the right path.

Instead of forging ahead into the new year blindly, take the time to meet with your team members and get a strong sense of what is working and not working.

Use this information as a tool to help guide you to make productive changes and improvements throughout your company.

Happy New Year from United Western Insurance Brokers. We’re happy to help you access your insurance needs for the upcoming year.

Personal Goal Setting: How to Set Goals for the New Year

Personal Goal Setting_ How to Set Goals for the New Year-315

Planning for the New Year ahead includes making resolutions for many, many people. But setting goals is an even more powerful way to set your course for the future.

While making resolutions and establishing goals may seem like the same side of the coin, there are differences. While a goal determines a course of action that you follow over time, resolutions represent a great intent – but one which often fades quickly when the results aren’t instantaneous.

Moreover, by taking baby steps along the way as you work toward your goal you experience the sense of accomplishment that comes with successfully making each step.

Here’s a look at how to set goals now that will provide focus and a path to follow in 2018.

1. Take a personal inventory

Before you decide where you want to go in the future, it’s essential to determine how you feel in the present. What’s your current satisfaction level with your life? Take a few hours to evaluate and reflect while developing the foundation for where you want to start.

2. Think about what you’d like to add to your life

It’s helpful to change your focus from the behaviors and habits you want to get rid of to the healthy, productive actions you want to add. For example, instead of saying you want to stop eating unhealthy food, focus on eating more healthy food instead.

3.  Define dreams and goals

Once you’ve done a personal inventory, take some time to write down your dreams and goals. And it’s not about what you already have or what you have done, but what you truly want. Everyone has dreams, and your task is to uncover those that mean the most to you. Write down all of your dreams, no matter how outlandish they may seem. What thoughts and dreams excite you the most? Once you’ve written them all down, prioritize them by order of importance.

4. Make S.M.A.R.T goals

You may have heard of the acronym S.M.A.R.T. before, but it stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. Once you’ve dreamed big and prioritized your goals, make sure that they fall into all of the categories:

• Specific – Be specific about your goals. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.

• Measurable – Make sure that your goals are specifically measurable.

• Attainable – Don’t set your goals so high that they’re unattainable.

• Realistic – Your goals have to be real in your current life situation. There’s nothing wrong with setting big goals, but they need to be realistic, too.

• Time – You should always attach a timeframe to every goal. One of the great things about goals is that they have an end and you’re working toward accomplishing them in a specific period. There’s nothing wrong with breaking bigger goals down into smaller goals with different timeframes.

5. Always keep your goals where you can see them

Once you’ve written down your goals, make sure they’re somewhere you can easily see them – whether they’re in a notebook, a part of your screen saver, or on post-it notes that you place around your house.

Most of us have made New Year’s resolution at some time in our lives. Setting goals, however, often have more impact and define your journey ahead. And now’s the time to establish your goals for 2018.

Goal Setting for Businesses: How to Set Goals for the New Year

Goal Setting for Businesses_ How to Set Goals for the New Year-315

For many people, setting goals is as much of a part of the holiday season as family gatherings and giving thanks. The same is true of businesses, who have an eye on the future while putting the finishing touches on 2017.

While holiday goal-setting often is associated with resolutions, it can run deeper than a desire to lose weight or start a fitness program – especially when it comes to running a business. For one, resolutions may fade quickly, while business goals should involve a detailed plan that’s actionable and trackable.

The following are suggestions for ways to set next year’s goals now for your business or enterprise.

1. Start by eliminating the “shoulds”

Instead of feeling sorry for things you haven’t done this year, focus on what you want to accomplish in the coming year instead. Goals fueled by guilt are less likely to be successful. They’re also more likely to trigger emotional reactions that prompt you to make decisions you normally wouldn’t.

2. Dream it

A great place to begin goal-setting is to consider everything you dream of accomplishing. It doesn’t even have to be overly-realistic, but it is essential to consider every possibility. Write down where you want to be in the future – one year from now, five years, ten years, etc. – and don’t exclude any idea, big or small.

3. Brainstorm

Once you’ve written down your dreams, it’s time for a brainstorming session to further flesh out your plans while also accessing others that may lurk in your sub-conscious.

4. Opt for guidelines

Setting hard and fast rules when setting action steps for your goals is sometimes counter-productive because business owners and individuals often abandon goals when they break the rules early in the process. Instead, set guidelines or policies that may be adjusted if you modify your goal.

5. Focus on today while planning ahead

Break down your goals into smaller chunks so that they don’t seem too overwhelming. You don’t want to lose sight of the big picture. However, taking each goal a step at a time enables you to build momentum and confidence.

6. Possible goals for your business

Here are some goals you can set for your business in the New Year:

Improving your social media and digital presence

If your website is outdated or your web presence isn’t mobile-friendly, or if you don’t have a content strategy, now’s the time to get started.

• Managing and improving your cash flow more effectively

This is a great goal if you’re a small business owner who experiences dramatic ebbs and flows in your cash flow, or who hasn’t created enough capital to invest back into the business.

• Become a better communicator

A lack of communication is often the reason for misunderstandings among employees, low employee morale, or time wasted in repeating the same message.

• Learn to delegate more

Shifting some of your workload and letting others pick up the slack is crucial if you have so much on your plate that you can’t focus on growing your business.

The bottom line is that now is the best time to set goals for the coming year. By following a plan that’s actionable and includes all of your dreams – big or small – you’ll have a better chance of helping your business become what you’ve always envisioned.

Silica Dust Takes On A Whole New Meaning

Silica Dust Takes On A Whole New Meaning

Caution to our Friends in the Construction Industry

“Silicon dioxide (or silica) is a known hazard to the occupants of a facility and surrounding properties,” disclosure of its presence is now necessary, before renovation or purchase.

According to OSHA, Silica can come in either non-crystalline or crystalline form. It’s found in many construction materials – drywall, asphalt, plaster, and other materials that are associated with construction and manufacturing facilities.

Workers in different trades are at risk of silica exposure. When materials containing silica are cut or crushed, particles become airborne and can create a health threat to anyone that comes in contact with the dust.

To minimize risks, OSHA changed the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica in 2016. The change is a first in over 40 years. The old PEL was 250 µg/m3, while the new PEL is only 50 µg/m3. On top of that, the new “action level” can be only 25 µg/m3 for a typical shift.

The updated rule, 29 CFDR 1926.1153, was enforced by OSHA on Sept. 23, 2017, and the entire construction industry is now required to comply.

There is a big reduction from the old PEL to the new PEL, so current processes must be changed to remain compliant. All stakeholders will have to make adjustments.

Contractors can either take care of their own dust control processes or work with specially trained consulting firms to help them meet the new requirements:

Here are some of the new requirements that impact the construction and trades industries;

1. Provide water sprays that produce a continuous water feed to facilitate wet cutting or sawing. This decreases the amount of airborne silica dust, thus reducing the risk of exposure. For dust not watered down, a HEPA vacuum should be used to collect all particles in a sealed container. If water and dust controls aren’t enough, provide respirators.

2. Write an exposure control plan which lists duties that involve silica, as well as strategies to minimize exposure when said duties are performed. OSHA requires clear descriptions of procedures to make them easy to follow. And more importantly, hire someone capable to execute the plan.

3. Train staff on the risks of silica and strategies for exposure limitation. They should be taught how to properly use equipment and controls, and how to perform medical procedures for medical surveillance.

Contractors may have to buy new tools, machines, and equipment to fulfill the requirements above. Other costs include training, education, record-keeping, and surveillance – all recurring costs which are to be factored into proposals.

Contractors who fail to implement and abide are subject to huge fines, which are assessed at $12,675 per violation per day, beyond the specified abatement date. Repeated offenses are reported to be assessed at $126,749 per violation.

OSHA estimates the annual cost of compliance to be $1 billion, though some industry groups place it somewhere between $4 billion and $5 billion. Nevertheless, OSHA is confident that the health and safety benefits to working-class Americans will significantly outweigh the costs.

The latest ruling will force major changes across an array of impacted industries, prompting experts to call it disruptive. For example, companies now have big reasons to adopt new technologies such as digital filing, to help with required compliance and record-keeping.

The new OSHA regulations are expected to have a challenging impact on manufacturing facilities and construction industry owners. Under the new laws, business owners will be required to take on a more proactive role – or face potentially financially crippling governmental fines and governmental restrictions.

UWIB can assist our clients to connect with consultants that are trained to help business owners address OSHA compliance requirements of all sorts, including these. For a cost-free consultation, please contact us and type OSHA Consulting in the subject line.

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Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our Home, Auto and Family Clients

Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our Home, Auto and Family Clients

At UWIB, it’s our passion to work for you and your family. To remain relevant and to improve our service to those of you who like technology, we’ve integrated some new technology. With the tools in our Digital Toolbox, you can elect to have greater control over your insurance.

Want access to your policies, even if our office is closed, no problem. Using CLIENTportal or our mobile app your policies are accessible 24/7. Get acquainted with UWIB’s new CLIENTportal!


Receive the support you need, when you need it. The prompt service you expect from us has gotten even faster. No more waiting until business hours for access to your insurance. We’ve placed the power in your hands. Here are a few of features we hear our clients telling us they love:

View, Email, Fax or Print Your Auto ID Cards

Had an accident and need proof of coverage? Your auto ID card is available instantly on CLIENTportal or if you save it to your smartphone app.

Quick Overview Of Your Policy’s Limits

Want to check your home, auto, rental property, RV or umbrella limits? Want to request a quick change, add or remove a vehicle? The portal allows you this freedom, instantly, from anywhere you’ve got internet access.

Alert Us Of A Loss

Had an incident while on vacation or after regular business hours, no worries, you can get the process started through CLIENTportal.

What Does This Mean for You and Your Family?

With CLIENTportal, your life doesn’t have to be put on hold when it’s time to take care of business. Take back your time and enjoy the freedom and mobility of UWIB’s CLIENTportal, anytime, 24/7.

Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.

It’s our business to understand that life happens. We’re empowering our clients in new and innovative ways so you’re not confined to the typical 9 to 5 structure of the world of insurance.

Whether it’s an accident, an unexpected loss, the purchase of a new car, or you just want to see what your coverages are, CLIENTportal extends UWIB’s good old fashioned service and gives you the freedom, and the tools to do things your way, and on your timeline.

Need an important document? Log in and email or print it instantly.

Concerned about sending sensitive information via e-mail? No more worries, the UWIB CLIENTportal is secure. Share and receive secure documents with confidence.

For more than 50 years we’ve worked to combine experience, dedication, and technology to provide our clients with excellent customer experiences. UWIB’s CLIENTportal is personalized and designed to fit your immediate needs.

No more waiting for a return call or email, insurance solutions are available on your terms and timeline.

So when you’re ready to take advantage of both the convenience and security of our newest digital tool, please visit the portal!  Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.

Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our HR Benefits and Professional Liability Clients

Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our Home, Auto and Family Clients

At United Western Insurance Brokers (UWIB), we have been providing quality customer experiences for over 5 decades. To continually provide excellent service, we have made use of the latest technology to help our business protect yours.

By integrating readily available, high quality, personalized service with new mobile technologies, UWIB has steadily worked to assist our customers. Our newest innovation takes it a step further. Get acquainted with UWIB’s new CLIENTportal!


We are proud to present our new client portal. With this recent addition, we have added a new layer of service. The client portal gives you control and convenience. Get the information you want and need without waiting for assistance. Day or night, weekends or weekdays, our client portal offers the availability and flexibility to do business on your own terms!

You now have the power to manage your company’s insurance the way you see fit. You gain the freedom and the transparency. The electronic portal is secure and provides you with greater control over your policy.

Just like our app, you aren’t locked into accessing the portal on a desktop. Whether you or your employees are on your way to a meeting or sitting down for lunch, our portal is accessible on phone, laptop, or tablet. Our client portal offers 24/7 access to vital information. Manage insurance whenever, however, and wherever you please.

Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.

Let’s take a look at some the features:

• View and Issue Certificates of Insurance

• View Important Documents

• Manage Group Benefits

• Heightened Security for Your Business

• Update Coverage Benefits

• Add People to Policies

• Submit Claims

• Check the Enrollment Status of Employees

• Increased Availability for HR

• Access Policy Information

Need a document? You no longer have to wait for a couple of weeks for something you need now. And you certainly don’t want to have to pay for overnight delivery. Don’t worry. Print out your business’ important documents right when you need it directly from the CLIENTportal. A few quick clicks and you’re done.

We recognize the importance of immediate access to important information for your business. For employees, the CLIENTportal means they can navigate the history of documents as well as review and modify business information. Print documents immediately. It’s all available when you want it.

Worried about sensitive information being sent through email? You have every right to be. Business and employee information sent through emails and phone calls can easily get into the wrong hands. Not any longer! Think of a CLIENTportal as a secure, protected website. Only authorized users can access information. If HR needs to send a document to an employee, they can do so quickly and securely.

Best of all, the CLIENTportal is available to all clients of UWIB. What are you waiting for? Ready to conveniently manage your insurance online? Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.

Fine Tuning: Communicating with Others

Fine Tuning_ Communicating with Others
Effective communication is essential for every aspect of our lives – from work to family to daily encounters with others. People with strong communication skills are in demand for many jobs and often enjoy better interpersonal relationships with friends and family.

Whether communicating with others is one of your strengths or an area in which you need improvement, here are some strategies that will help you become better at it.

1. Stay in the moment

Most of us are guilty of sometimes thinking about our response before the other person has finished talking. Effectively communicating your thoughts means staying in the present moment. Don’t get distracted when speaking or listening.

2. Use simple words

Whether it’s your workplace or home, chances are that not everyone is on the same level when it comes to vocabulary. That’s why it’s important to use words that are easily understood by everyone. Using complicated or ambiguous words increases the chances of a misunderstanding.

3. Be a good listener

One of the most effective ways of being a skillful communicator is by developing strong listening skills. Few people enjoy communicating with someone who’s only interested in giving their opinion while not taking the time to listen to the other person.

4. Be clear and concise

A good practice is to communicate your message with just enough words and in a clear manner. That’s true whether you’re speaking to a large group, on the phone, or even via email. If you ramble on and aren’t clear, you risk losing the attention of your listener.

5. Be a strong non-verbal communicator

You can help get your message across in a variety of non-verbal ways – such as body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone of voice. It’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of eye contact in keeping the other person’s attention and clearly communicating your message.

6. Empathise

Empathy means seeing things from the other person’s point of view. It’s important not to be judgmental or biased by your pre-conceived beliefs or ideas if you want to be an effective communicator. It’s also important to remain patient and open-minded in your interactions with others.

7. Don’t rush it

Your message is easily lost if you’re in a rush and communicating too quickly. It’s easy to forget essential points and ideas when hurrying through any type of communication.

8. Go face-to-face when necessary

Your concept or message may not come across clearly if you’re speaking in front of a group of people, such as in a workplace environment. It’s easier for some people to understand you if you take them aside on a one-on-one basis.

9. Avoid repetition

No one likes to listen to someone who sounds like a broken record or makes the same point over and over again. Only repeat what you’ve said if it’s not clear to everyone or when someone asks you to repeat it.

10. Be trustworthy and honest

People respond better to people who come off as trustworthy and honest. In turn, they’ll be more willing to communicate with you.