Heartmade Blog

BONUS February Wallpapers

This month we’ve got the cutest little tall guy in town. Ladies + gentleman put your hands together for Mr. Ab Lincoln.


Click the images below to download your BONUS February Wallpapers. Complements of da’ house of mess. You’re welcome.











May all your dreams come true in 2016 + all your devices be totally pretty.





Mayi Carles



Illustrated by Mayi Carles
Hand-lettered by Random Olive
Photographed by Marcela Macias




Juggling Life As Girl Boss and New Mommy (Plus My Top 20 Comeback Tips)

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 4


The other day I was talking to my friend Farideh about the challenge of being a new mom + an entrepreneur. She shared with me this quote, which pretty much sums it up: You want to work like you never had children and you want to be a mom like you don’t have a business.


Every mom/entrepreneur in the room is shaking her head up + down right now. I know it.


For months I’ve been dreading this day. The day I had to pick up my slack + get back to the office. The day I had to become both a girl boss AND a mom, like, AT THE SAME TIME. I mean, cuz I know how to do the girl boss thing on it’s own. Even mastered the mommy thing during maternity leave. But! BOTH. Damn it!!!


For months I’ve been dreading this day. The day I had to embody the challenge of wanting to work like I didn’t have a baby to love + wanting to be a mom like I didn’t have a creative empire to run.


It’s the whispers that affect me the most, ya’ know? The little voices inside my head that tell me what I could or should be doing. The gremlins that lure me out of gratitude + happiness. The mental script that teases me into comparing myself with strangers on the Internet. Those moms that are making homemade play dough + wearing Baby & Me matching outfits, while I’m here all like, “I got out of bed + brushed my hair. Go me!”


It’s exhausting.


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I guess it all comes back to fear. Fear of missing out. Missing out on being good enough. A good enough CEO. A good enough mom. It’s my struggle, and I suspect in some ways, it’s yours too. That fear of falling into the cracks of mediocrity… of abandoning our path… of walking out of our true calling… of giving up those precious moments that hold meaning to us so we can prove that we aren’t missing out.


And of course we know inside our hearts that we are everything. E-VERY-THING. That we are exactly where we need to be. On course. On track. Right here. Except when we skip a nap or breakfast because we said YES when we really meant NO. Those times, we really do miss out, on our own live.


Know what I discovered? That we cannot trade living life for what-if, because we’re afraid to miss out a big opportunity, the one that could be our big break. You know what my biggest break was this week? Watching Olivia say “PAH-pa-pa-pa-pa-PAAA-pa” for the first time.


In a way these past months have been about finding the courage to enjoy NOW for what is.


This is a stage. Just a stage. The checking-to-see-if-Olivia-is-still-breathing stage + the car-seat-tantrum stage + the shhhhhh-the-baby’s-sleeping stage. It’s all a stage. Everything’s a stage. And every stage has a beginning + an end. Just a couple of weeks ago we got over the sleeping-in-two-hour-intervals stage, and I tell you the truth: I miss it a lil’ bit because it means my baby’s all grown up. She was so tiny, like, yesterday. What happened?


The years are long, but the days go by so so fast you guys.


Maybe we become. Slowly. Perhaps at some point down the road we all the sudden become worthy to be called “ma-ma-ma-ma” + wear the superhuman boss boots.


Or maaaay-be we unbecome. Gently. Perhaps we unlearn how to be Robocop-woman, and we just are the journey. 


I think it’s the latter.


I trust it’s the latter. Because everyday I close my calendar of perfectionism + give myself permission to stay one more hour in my pijamas (or three) + to snuggle Olivia until we both become one breath + to watch one more episode of Modern Family with hubby (or a whole season) + to have a grilled cheese sandwich in bed… it gets easier. Life does.


I trust that a place in a galaxy not that far away exist, where I don’t have to give up my passion projects + I don’t have to say good-bye to those chubby little hands that like crawling up my chest from 9 to 5 from Monday through Friday. I don’t want to.


I believe there is a place where girl boss meets super mommy, for tea + ginger cookies. And they get along.


The girl boss has the backbone to stay on course + the firmness to keep going for her dreams. The super mommy has the softness to be grateful + the heart to stay grounded. We need both to guide us home.


The girl boss reminds the super mommy of her mission in this world, which is greater than herself. And the super mommy reminds the girl boss that the world doesn’t need more successful people, what it needs is more unconditional lovers + more people who read “Once upon a time…” stories.


They need each other. The girl boss + the super mommy do. I really believe that now.


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My Top 20 Comeback Tips

Coming back to work after hibernating in maternity la-la-land has been sweet n’ sour.


After a long adjustment period, I really feel like I have found my happy rhythm. I don’t know that I’m quite there yet, since I still catch myself saying things like “I survived” or “Winter is coming”, but I’m definitively getting somewhere that’s not bad at all.


If you’re looking to return to work after a a sabbatical + you’re freaking out a little (or a lot), I made a list of a few things that helped me transition back into the keyboards. Smoothly. Without hyperventilating.


Here are some handy tips to make your return from maternity leave easier from a momma who’s just been there:


1. Plan It 

If you don’t already run your life around a calendar now is the time to start. David and I both work + have a very hands-on approach to raising Olivia, so it’s nice to schedule date nights + trips. Things to look forward to in between the craziness of building our own brands + parenthood.


Of course, every family’s tolerance level is different. Ours, for example, doesn’t do well on a fixed hour-by-hour routine or controlled feeding feeding/napping schedule, but we have learned that we cannot go more than a week without a movie + we start to get really cranky if we don’t go to our beach house for long stretches of time. So, we make fun plans all the time. And those plans are locked down on the calendar.


We have also become very guarded of our social schedule + only plan for things we really REALLY want to do.


2. Share the Load

Whether you return to work 10 hours a week or 50, you will need to enlist the help of others to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Since we can’t add hours to our day when we return to work or have a Time-Turner like Hermione, we must make adjustments to our existing schedule to fit it all in.


I’m a big advocate of bring family onboard. I literally assign missions to everybody who offers a hand. My mom-in-law helps with the groceries. My sister is great at taking the night shift. Mom babysits during date nights. Auntie Kari distracts Olivia while mommy has lunch. Everyone has a role, an important role. It’s because of them that I’m still sane.


Like the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I see it unfolds in front of my very eyes everyday.


Don’t hesitate to ask for help. It will not make you any less of a mother. I promise.


3. Find the Right Job

When I was returning to work, I made the mistake I see a lot of my gal pals make when going back. I undervalued myself. “I’ve been gone for 6 months.” “Everyone’s forgotten who I am.” “I have nothing to offer.”


Within weeks, I had mastered the art of working while Olivia was rolling around on her foamy play-thingy or family came to visit (ahem, ahem, babysit). Quickly I was feeling underutilized + bored. I had underestimated myself.


Being a mom doesn’t mean you’re all the sudden handicapped or sick. It just takes some re-adjustment + fine tuning.


Take some time to think about what you want to do + what your skills are + what your goals are for returning to work. Is this a return to full-time work that means pursuing a career until retirement, or is this a smaller return to increase your income while still prioritizing your family? What do you like to do? How much time can you give to a job? Can you work from home or would you rather separate the two?


Find a job that’s right for YOU. This is something you will want to talk with your partner, since it affect the whole family. So make sure to carve out time to involve hubby in the process.


4. Pass The Torch

Because I’m the boss of my own time, I tend to leave too many slots available for others people’s agendas + urgencies. I tend to overcommit. I’m that super volunteer people call when there’s an auction or a bake sale. It sucks.


Being a mom has taught me to let go of a few responsibilities, pass them on to someone else if you will. It’s been nice to finally have an excuse to excuse myself. Not that I needed one, but oh well.


5. Hire Help

Get someone in regularly to help out with cleaning + laundry + cooking or any day-to-day task that you dread doing now that time is of the essence.


Her name is Cati, our savor. She comes in weekdays from 8 to 5, and at the end of the day my floors are clean + the plants get watered + there’s homemade almond milk in the fridge. It’s AWESOME.


Plus, not only does hiring help alleviate your burden, you get to help out another working mom by hiring her. Extra AWESOME!


6. Don’t Worry

Try not to worry too much. Your baby will be fine + will not hold your ‘working mommy’ status against you. In fact, you well may turn out to be her role model. Take care + be kind to yourself. You deserve it!


7. Find Trustworthy Care Giver

Finding someone you can trust to take care of the baby in your absence is a big one. I feel very blessed to have family close by that I can count on to look after baby O when I have a doctor’s appointment or business meeting. You can always hire a nanny or find a close-by daycare, if family is not an option. But! Do your research + check references. Muy importante.


8. Pick the Feeding Method That’s Suits Your Family

I made the decision long ago that I wanted to breastfeed Olivia on demand. After overcoming a very rocky + painful start, I’m finally at that point were I really enjoy nursing. I LOVE that it requires no preparation, other than buttoning down my shirt. I LOVE that food is always available as long as we’re together. I LOVE how I feel when I see what my body is capable of doing.


Like that time we went to Vieques. Packing was so easy. And not having to worry about milk temperatures or sterilizing bottles at a remote hotel was lovely indeed.


Or like that other time we were stranded in traffic for 4 hours and 40 minutes coming back from the beach (a trip that usually takes us 1 hour + 20 minutes). No problem. Daddy just pulled over every time Oli wanted a little snack (wink). That was nice.


I really encourage expecting moms to think ahead + pick a feeding method that fits their lifestyle best.


9. Prioritize

Everyone knows I’m an avid list maker. Except now, besides making to-do lists, I make sure to circle in red the items that are top priority.


I’ve learned that not everything is an emergency, like updating my Facebook fanpage or alphabetizing my cookbook collection. If something can be done later, I put it on the back burner without guilt or shame. It’s an art. I think it comes with the hormones.


10. Learn to Say NO

When it comes to setting priorities + boundaries, I say NO many times. I’ve made it a habit.


Make NO your default setting. I know it sounds horrible, but look at it this way: Saying NO to stuff that’s not aligned with your big picture only means you get to say YES to what’s truly important. It’s called living with intention. And living in authenticity with your values is a beautiful thing.


11. Give Your Baby Quality Time

When I started taking a few clients here and there + getting back to blogging + going back to work in general after maternity leave, I made a pack with myself:

  1. Work stays in my studio.
  2. Set decent working hours.
  3. I will not take work home.


When I’m at work, I’m fully present. In my creative flow. The time I step out of my studio + enter my home, I devote it to my family. No working after dinner. No bringing my laptop to the beach. No inbox clean up in bed. No exceptions.


I think that’s one of the main reasons I don’t feel guilty about working or guilty about spending all this time with Olivia. It’s because I enjoy every instant I have with my virtual community + every slit second I get with my familia.


12. Have A Plan B

Sometimes, the best-laid plans can unravel. Tell me about is sistah!


It is possible that your nanny gets ill or the abuelita couldn’t get out of the office + cannot look after the baby as planned. Have a backup plan for such situations. I keep a little black book of options in case of emergencies – that friend you can always count on… that family member who keeps asking if you need an extra hand… that babysitter who can come to the rescue. It’s good to have options.


13. Look Your Best

You may have to buy a new wardrobe! Under no condition should you attempt to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes. That’s a great recipe for disaster! Don’t go trying to stuff yourself into your pre-pregnancy clothes. Pick up some new clothes that will flatter your new body. You can also go for a haircut. Now will be a great time to try a new hairstyle. And while you are at it, get a facial + manicure + pedicure too!


14. Sleep, You’ll Need It

Once you return to work after maternity leave, you’ll truly understand what exhaustion feels like. Juggling work + family is one of the toughest jobs in the world. So, sleep whenever you can. That dirty bookshelf can be dusted later. That movie can be watched later. That pantry can be organized later. That homemade cake can be baked later. But you need sleep, NOW!


15. Practice Makes Almost Perfect

Before you jump into the workforce, do some practice runs. Let the babysitter try giving the baby milk out of a bottle. Let the nanny try bathing the baby without you. Let grandma put the baby to sleep without your aid. See what happens. Make adjustments. This will get you ready for the real thing.


16. Remember Why You Are Working

It may be because you need the money or because you need to work to stay sane. Whatever be the reason, remind yourself of it whenever you feel overwhelmed.


17. Let Go Of Momma Guilt

Guilt comes with the territory for most moms. Let go of it. Thousands of working moms manage to bring up amazing babies. My mom is a very successful lawyer. And I think she did pretty good.


Don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself if you decide going back to work is the right thing for you.


18. There Is Life Besides The Baby (Hard To Believe, I Know)

No matter how much you love your baby, don’t make it the topic of all conversations. Your life may revolve around your baby, but others have different priorities.


Don’t blame your colleagues for not being interested in what your baby ate for dinner. Don’t blame your friends for not asking you to show them baby pictures. Don’t blame your husband if he wants to talk about something other than the baby’s poo color that day.


19. Don’t Compare Yourself With That Other Moms

Parenting is hard. Don’t compare. Make the best of the situation you + your partner picked. You will soon get into a routine. I promise it gets easier. I swear it gets easier.


20. Get Comfortable With The Stillness

My biggest shock getting back to work was realizing I would never be back, like as the Mayi from before Olivia I mean. Cuz, I used to be one of those bosses that was on call all the freaking time. For e-mails. For customer orders. For comments. For social media questions. For interviews. For round ups. For blog tours. For all nighters. For a catch up chat on Google Hangouts. I was there. Busy busy busy.


By removing all that busy work from my schedule I feared that my brand would fall apart. That I would no longer have friends. That I would PUFF, disappear from the radar.


For the first time in my life, I was forced to make room for emptiness. For alone time. For introspection. For my thoughts. Like when I’m nursing Olivia, I literally can’t do anything else. Don’t believe me? Go ask my Coordinator of Messy, Amanda Sue Howell. It’s true. Every time I try to send her a voice note to catch up on work while I’m breastfeeding or playing with Olivia, she let’s us know she’s not having the multi-tasking thing on her watch.


Being present requires work. Not busy work. Soul work.


In the words of Paul Jarvis (if you’re not signed up to his newsletter, you’re missing out big time): “When your work requires you to be creative, you need to be alone with your thoughts. You can’t get around it. You need the mental space to create.”


We prefer to fill up our days with social media + e-mails + WhatsApp messages + chores. It feels productive. But busyness rarely equals creativity.


Motherhood brings with it mandatory calmness. And with it the boundless possibility of an imaginative mind + an innovative spirit. We must sit though the discomfort, sometimes minutes… hours at a time just watching the baby sleep or ironing cute little clothes. It’s part of the job. And it pays creative dividends.


Stillness is not the ultimate punishment. It feels like it, but it’s the necessary path to true creative work that matters. Just wait + see all the stuff that I have lined up for us from all this quite time. Stay tuned!


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Ultimately thou, there is no amount of preparation that can fully prepare you for the transition from full-time momma bear to world domination biz lady. I think the hardest part with any comeback is always the learning-to-trust-the-mess part.


Trust your husband to take care of things in my absence. So what if he put on the diaper wrong? Let him bond with the baby while you catch your breath!


Trust your mom/mom-in-law/sister/nanny to take care of things in my absence. So they don’t sing like you or dance like you or play like you? Do not micromanage! Your baby doesn’t need mommy clones. What your baby needs is a fun grandma. A crazy aunt. A silly God Mother. A loving cousin that sometimes doesn’t want to share his toys. That’s what will ultimately prepare the baby for the world. Diversity will.


Trust yourself to take care of things to the best of my abilities with a sense of worthiness. If you feel like you are not being as productive at work as you were before, don’t worry. You have just become a mother for God’s sake. It is a HUGE accomplishment. Give yourself time. And talk to other women who are going thought this process. It helps.


Trust. Takes practice.


Mayi Carles Kate Space January 1


To wrap up, here’s my final confession: I’ve changed. I’m more loose in the joints + chubbier on the cheeks + my eyes are a bit more wrinkly. In a lot of ways I’m uglier. Except to people who understand. Who get it. Who know what I’ve been through. To them, I’m prettier than ever before.


I’ll take it. It was all worth it.


It’s been therapeutic to write this. It really has. Thanks for sticking around till the end. Means so much to have a space to share this metaphorical Everest climb with.


Now I would like to hear from you. Are you returning to work after maternity leave? What is it you are worried about the most? What has helped you make the transition easier? Share it in the comments!



Mayi Carles


*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.


Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

Day 5: A Trusted Calendar System

Part 5


We’ve reached our final day of this (hopefully) super fun + value-packed series that promises to set you off on the right path to create the best 2016 EVER! Don’t forget that everyone who participates automatically enters the drawing to win a Life is Messy Bootcamp scholarship. Hip hip hooray!


To a great degree, this free training is not about handing you a formula + expecting you to do exactly as I say, but about inviting you to steal the little tricks you can see yourself implement right away. Cuz at the end of the day, it’s those teeny tiny action steps that accumulate into a big giant pile of awesome over time. Steady acceleration that keeps you sane.


There is no wrong way to do this challenge.  I hope you’ve figured that out by now. There’s no space for “I’m falling behind” or “I’m missing out.” You are where you need to be. Trust that you will get exactly what you need from this experience of learning + expansion. You’ll meet the people you’re meant to meet. You’ll have the “aha moments” you need to have. You’ll see the comments you’re meant to see. Overwhelm is a choice, so choose wisely my young Padawan.


Today, to wrap things up with a BANG, we are going to move from framework to full-scale implementation. I’ll show you my trusted system for managing my workflow (and my “lifeflow” as well) + I’ll provide you with a logical sequence of doing work that matters, but making it as easy as possible for you to get on board + see how you start to break through.


KA-POW! Get your nunchakus ready.


Life is Messy Bootcamp 4 copy


Here’s the step-by-step action plan to getting more done in record time, minus the meltdowns + brain cellulite + grumpiness typically associated with boring calendar systems:


Step 1:


Have you ever gone to The Cheesecake Factory when you’re really, really hungry? You’re so hungry you’re angry. You’re one hangry human being. Of course, you end up wanting everything on their Encyclopedic menu + making the waiter + the rest of your party wait ages for your meal verdict. There’s also a big chance you ordered waaaaay more than you should have + you’ll regret the caloric intake later, because the indulgence wasn’t even worth it. It happens when you’re not clear about what you’re truly hungry for.


Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach, same shitty situation.


In today’s schizophrenic world, clarity equals power. Lack of clarity equals gremlin town.


You can’t master your life until you have a Master Plan for your life. Know what I mean? Because if you don’t tell the Universe what you want, how do you expect to get it? For example, if you want to shrink your waistline, stop telling the Universe, “I’m fat.” It might come true one day if you keep saying it over + over + over again. Stop giving the world mixed signals. It’s freaking confusing!


That’s why I urged you to clarify your vision for what you want your life + business to look like on Day 2.


This is a good time to get out your vision board. It will be your compass. It will inform your decisions. It will help you table items + star the ones that matter to you most. Clarity leads to prosperity.


Mayi Carles - Small


Let me give you an example from my own life. Last year, I picked one word to carry me through till the end of 2015. That word was: SELF-LOVE. I wanted to be less like a machine + more like a person. I wanted to let go of the Mayi that punishes herself on the treadmill for eating an Oreo Madness all by herself + embrace the woman that’s not at war with herself, but IN LOVE with herself.

You know? I used to fear change… aging… getting fat… cellulite. But! Now, I see my body as a vessel of miracles. After witnessing the magic of carrying baby O inside my belly for 40 weeks + breastfeeding her exclusively for 6 months, I’ve never felt more confident in my skin + complete in my life. Every silly insecurity vanished. And that C-section scar + stretch marks? I carry them proudly, as I am a woman. I am mom. I wouldn’t trade that for my teenage body. EVER!

On that note, this is what my Yearly To Do Planner looks like:

  • JANUARY: Launch 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge. Revamp my Life is Messy Affiliate Program + recruit strategic Messy-vocates (advocates who publicly support or recommend any of my Life is Messy products). Giveaway Life is Messy Bootcamp scholarships. Olivia’s first trip. We’re going to Puerto Rico baby!
  • FEBRUARY: Blog about life as a mom + girl boss. Celebrate Valentine’s Day the entire month. Baby + me swimming lessons. Book couple’s massage.
  • MARCH: It’s time to reinvent my online selling structure. Consider moving my shop to Shopify. Evaluate the possibility of using Amazon as a distributor. Olivia’s going to Disney OMG!
  • APRIL: Meet with Life is Messy Kitchen stockists + organize fun live events.
  • MAY: Time to brainstorm + create to some Life is Messier or Life is Messy Baby products. (Can’t say more about that for now.)
  • JUNE: Do a “Half-Way There” Yearly Review. Tweak goals + reset intentions as needed.
  • JULY: Life is Messy Rainboots for women? Could happen. Find strategic allies.
  • AUGUST: Life is Messy Playbook needs to happen this year.
  • SEPTEMBER: Get ready for the holidays. This is a good time to optimize systems + revamp websites + update plugins + restock shop + renew licenses, etc.
  • OCTOBER: We’re going on a second honeymoon to Italy. Gelato here I come! Collect Life is Messy Bootcamp feedback + testimonials + brainstorm ways to make the new edition even better.
  • NOVEMBER: Big promo of the year! Plan what kind of holiday I want to have with my family. Do I want to deck the house? Gift wrap all my pressies?
  • DECEMBER: My Christmas tree cannot suck. Dream about the new year. Write our family bucket list.


With a clear vision of where I wanna go, I feel empowered + prepared for (almost) anything.


Step 2:


Ever feel like you’re continuously on hamster wheel mode, simply surviving the day-to-day? I know, it happens to me all the time when I shift my attention from big picture (“I want see my cookbook out in the world, as a physical book”) to instant gratification mindset (“Oh look, my Hulk Waffles got 128 likes on Instagram!”). This step is all about reconnecting with your audacious dreams + reverse engineering for success.


Quote - Alvin


Reverse engineering is the process of dissecting an idea + project or goal into all its teeny tiny components + details in order to recreate it. The purpose is to break down a daunting idea, project or goal into ridiculously small tasks that are impossible not to check-off. For example: If committing to working out everyday seems intimidating, why not say you’ll do one hundred squats a day? Heck, why not commit to one squat a day? Anyone can do one squat, right? Nothing can get in the way of ONE squat. One squat is so insultingly easy, that you’ll trick yourself into doing it, which in turn, unleashes the potential for more. More good habits you actually stick to + make you happy.


So, how do you put this into practice? Break down your T-Rex idea, project or goal from macro (“I want to redesign my website) to micro (“Pick out color palette”) using your to-do planners in the following sequence: Yearly To Do Planner > Monthly To Do Planner > Weekly To Do Planner > Daily To Do Planner.


Calendar System


Tip: Be very picky + strict about the stuff that gets into your calendar. By default, you should be saying NO to a lot of things + YES only to the projects that align with your big vision + make your heart sing like Christmas morning, if you were nice that year.


Step 3:


I’m a big fan of writing things down on paper. Can you tell? Well, cuz I believe that what you get off your head + onto paper shapes your reality.


To-do lists help you stay focused + set priorities + forget nothing + turbo- charge your productivity. But there’s an art to list making. The key to getting the meaningful stuff done is to focus on the most important things you want to get done in the next 24 hours, as opposed to the 50 or more items I see on most people’s to-dos.


Long lists are important to keep in the back burner (like with the Mental Detox we did in your previous mission), because they help you feed your calendar system, but please know this: long lists can never be finished + there’s a huge negative psychological impact to not accomplishing what’s on there. It leaves you drained + feeling like a total loser (with a capital L shaped with your index finger + thumb and tattooed onto your forehead). You get the picture.


Quote - DAY 4


And even when you do check off items from your T-Rex sized to-do list, it’s usually the easiest tasks that get knocked off first. But who are we kidding, right? We all know very well that the speediest items are rarely the most transcendental. So, again, we’re left feeling like a failure.


Short daily lists, on the other hand, are realistic + give you superpowers + make you feel freaking-tastic, because you can actually cross everything off. There’s an enormous psychological boost in getting done exactly what you set out to tackle, especially when they have big ripple effects for your life + business.


The best way to put this into action is to take out your complete Mental Detox exercise + hand pick five items that you want to tackle in the next 24 hours. Your list might look something like this:

  • Prepare my Hearty Marinara Sauce for tonight’s dinner party with my in-laws.
  • Publish Day 5 of the 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge.
  • Finish concept sketch for secret project with April.
  • Package Etsy order + ship parcel.
  • Meet with my webmaster to finish last details of new Life is Messy Bootcamp landing page.


Step 4:


Now you need to determine + plan how much time each task requires. This is an important step to make sure your five items can literally be tackled in a day without giving you an ulcer. The key is to keep your tasks manageable + hors d’oeuvres size. If a project is too large to finish in one day, can you deconstruct it even further?


When you assign how much time each task needs, your list might look something like this:

  • Prepare my Hearty Marinara Sauce for tonight’s dinner party with my in-laws – 60 minutes.
  • Publish Day 5 of the 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge – 90 minutes.
  • Finish concept sketch for secret project with April – 90 minutes.
  • Package Etsy order + ship parcel – 30 minutes.
  • Meet with my webmaster to finish last details of new Life is Messy Bootcamp landing page – 60 minutes.


You also want to make sure you don’t work on a single productive task past the 90 minute mark because your mind + body will lose their ability to focus + work optimally. If you haven’t, take a 15 minute break + then go back to it. There are a ton of fancy stopwatch apps to do this, but I use a simple tomato-shaped kitchen timer to track my work sprints + force my much-needed play breaks.


Another thing to keep in mind: Make sure your total amount of productive tasks don’t go above seven or eight to prevent burnout + potato chip binges. Also, leave room for miscellaneous periods that require little time + almost no mental effort like answering e-mails + returning phone calls + having lunch with a friend + calling your mom + etc. Take care of these reactive tasks between the big items. It will give your brain a needed break. It will also keep your momentum going + feed your sense of accomplishment.


Step 5:


It’s time to schedule exactly how your next day is going to roll out.


For that, you’ll need to get out your Daily To Do Planner. To fully plan your day, you need to remember to leave wiggle-room zones for play + to account for curve balls.




Your schedule might look something like this:

  • 7:00 – 7:30 AM – Stretch on the yoga mat.
  • 7:30 – 8:00 AM – Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal.
  • 9:00 – 10:00 AM – Doctor’s appointment – Fourth Month Check Up.
  • 10:30 – 11:30 AM – Prepare Hearty Marinara Sauce.
  • 11:30 – 12:30 PM – E-mail session.
  • 12:30 – 2:00 PM – Lunch: Ensalada de Toldo.
  • 2:00 – 4:00 PM – Publish Day 5 of the 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge.
  • 4:00 – 4:30 PM – Finish concept sketch for secret project with April.
  • 4:30 – 5:00 PM – Package Etsy order + ship parcel.
  • 5:00 – 5:30 PM – E-mail session.
  • 5:30 – 6:30 PM – Meet with my webmaster.
  • 6:30 – 7:00 PM – Pack the car. We’re going to the beach. Yee-haw!
  • 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Roadtrip. Bring Jack Johnson CD.
  • 9:00 – 11:00 PM – Dinner Party with the in-laws with salty hair + ocean breeze.
  • 11:00 – 12:00 PM – Watch Cloud Atlas + unwind.
  • Midnight – Bedtime.


Mayi Carles


Now look at your Daily To Do Planner + examine how much of your day is proactive + how much is reactive. Rewrite your plan so that 80% of your schedule is focused on proactive tasks (innovation + creating + making) + 20% on reactive tasks (replying to e-mails + responding to blog comments + answering questions raised on social media). And never ever forget to make room for fun (or a little dose of Vitamin Sea wink wink).


Also, analyze when you’re scheduling the most important tasks, either at the beginning, the middle or the end of the day. Rewrite your plan so that you are completing the hardest, most important, tasks during your most productive hours of the day.


Step 6:


Make it a habit to finish each day by setting the next day’s agenda. Not because I want to turn you into a compulsive control freak, but because this is how high performers leave nothing to chance or sloppy decision-making. If you don’t commit to a healthy breakfast, for instance, you’ll be left at the mercy of bagels + office birthday cake. Oh my!


You wouldn’t be caught dead driving blindfolded, would you? Then tell me why do you fog your path ahead with unpredictable nothingness? With an empty schedule that’s code for gremlin attack. You might as well be blindfolded.


Can you see it more clearly now?


Of course, there will always be emergencies + urgencies + people that might interfere with your schedule. The key to staying on course is to anticipate these detours + have an emergency Plan B. The meeting was moved to your spinning class time? No problem, you have a go-to Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body DVD waiting for you at home. The gluten free pizza dough didn’t rise? Don’t sweat the small stuff; have Ezekiel tortillas on hand in case of emergencies.


Quote - Richard G. Scott


Tip: I like to block “Sh*t Pickle Windows” in my calendar each week to accommodate any hiccups that might occur. That way, even if all hell breaks loose, I’m never insanely behind + I feel on top of my game.


Don’t make the mistake of winging it or leaving your calendar empty at the mercy of other peoples emergencies. An empty planner means it can be easily crowded with nonsensical time wasters that don’t do a thing for your epicness. Instead, crowd out your planners with the stuff that really matters to you. Do it now.


Get Messy


DO THIS  NOW: Put your hands together; I mean, your steps together. It’s time to turn theory into practice + take your messy-proof planning system for a test drive. Download your Daily To Do Planner + Weekly Do To Planner + Monthly To Do Planner + Yearly To Do Planner. Let’s make some damage (the good kind). And don’t forget to let me know in the comments how it went. Remember, your participation in this challenge earns you cookie points to win a Life is Messy Bootcamp scholarship.


Daily To Do Planner - 12 Hours

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Weekly To Do Planner

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Monthly To Do Planner - January

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Yearly To Do Planner

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And that’s a wrap!


I hope you’ve loved this 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge as much as I’ve loved creating it for you. My wish for you is that this year, this life, becomes all that you want it to be. And then more, much more. My wish for you is that your dreams get bigger + your worries smaller. My wish for you is that you never have to carry more than you can hold at once. And while you’re climbing to the top of your metaphorical Mount Everest, I hope you know somebody believes in you + wants you to succeed, wants you to be happy + free! Yes, this is my wish.


Next week, I’ve got amazing surprises lined up for you to celebrate the 6th Anniversary of Life is Messy Bootcamp – giveaways. I can barely contain myself!


Whether you decide to join us for an all-new season of Life is Messy Bootcamp or not, I truly believe this series can transform your life + give you the basic framework you need to break through + experience miracles this year + every single one after that. And if you ever find yourself in a painful plateau, you know where to find me.


If you’ve enjoyed the downloads I’ve provided for you during the 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge, you can purchase my Life is Messy Planners (available in English + Spanish + Portuguese) that include these printables + plenty more. Or better yet, you can join Life is Messy Bootcamp, which includes lifetime access to all my planners with FREE updates + so much more. You can check all the benefits right here!


One last favor, if it’s not too much to ask. If you have a friend, a loved one, looking to accomplish BIG things in 2016, it would mean the world if you could point them in this direction. THANK YOU for helping me spread the word with the fancy social media buttons below!


CLICK TO TWEET: Loving this calendar system to make 2016 the best year EVER! – http://bit.ly/1sHB9T3 via @mayicarles


See you la próxima semana.



Mayi Carles




Day 4: Get It All Out Of Your Head

Part 4


Between the time you woke up today + now, did you think of anything you needed to do that you still haven’t done? Have you had the thought more than once?


Do you let your mind run the show + remind you of all those things still seating on your to-do list?


Ever feel like you’ve got so much on your plate that it would take the entire Yedi Council to clean up all your mess?


Ever feel like your head is about to explode? Explode from information overload? Explode from too many unexecuted ideas? Explode from all the things that needed to get done a long time ago?


I know, it happens to me too.


If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably made many more agreements with yourself than you realize, and every single one of them, big or small, is being tracked by a less-than-conscious part of you. These are the “incompletes” or “open loops” in your life pulling your attention. These can include everything from really big to-do items like “Save the pandas”, to more modest “Hire a photographer,” to the tiniest task such as “Replace batteries in A/C remote.”


It’s very likely that you also have more internal commitments currently in play than you’re aware of. Internal commitments are the endless number of things that you feel even the smallest amount of responsibility to change + finish + handle or do something about. Consider how many things you feel even the smallest amount of responsibility to change + finish + handle or do something about. To a degree, you feel responsible to deal in some way with every new e-mail that lands on your inbox. Even your personal projects have areas that need to be defined. Improved. Updated. This ultimately results in you feeling, AGAIN, responsibility, responsibility, responsibility. For EVERY-THING.


Why Things Are On Your Mind

Most often, the reason something is “on your mind” is that you want it to be different than it currently is, and yet:

  • You haven’t clarified exactly what the intended outcome is.
  • You haven’t decided what the very next physical action step is.
  • You haven’t found a planning system you trust to store all the things your need to do to turn your dreams into reality.


That’s why it’s on your mind. Until those thoughts have been clarified + those decisions made + the action steps have been stored in a system that you absolutely trust, your brain can’t give up the job of giving you (annoying) reminders (all day everyday).


Quote - Kerry Gleeson


You can’t fool your brain. It knows when you haven’t come to the conclusions you need to. It knows whether you’ve scheduled your dentist appointment, or not. It knows when there’s no milk in the fridge. It knows.


Even when you know what you need to do or the steps you need to take to resolve an issue, your mind can’t let go until you write yourself a reminder in a place it knows you will, without fail, look. Until then, your mind will keep nagging, will keep pressuring you + will keep stressing you out.


Don’t panic. Mayi here, to the rescue. Got my Hello Kitty. I mean business!


It’s actually pretty simple. In order to deal with all that you’ve got going on, you must:

  • ONE: Identify + collect everything that’s ringing a bell (ahem, ahem, those things that bug you when you hit the yoga mat) +
  • TWO: Plan how to handle them. These two steps are simply taken care of with a Mental Detox. Let me explain.


You see, everything we do (and thinking is also doing) takes up space in our lives. Sometimes these thoughts mutate into mental ulcers + mental fat + for God’s sake, mental cellulite, which is why we must detoxify. Why do people go on Juice cleanses? Well, to give their body a much needed rest (maybe after one too many Oreos), so it can use all its energy to repair tissue + heal + shine. That’s why I propose a brain dump, a Mental Detox, if you will. Why? To give you back your focus + your productive energy + your downtime + your freaking life back.


You ready? Let’s do this!




Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A stop watch or kitchen timer.
  • To set aside 30 minutes of your day.
  • To download + print your Mental Detox sheet.
  • Something to scribble down your crazy, sexy ideas. Yes, you can use your colored markers, Picasso.
  • Follow the steps.


Here’s the step-by-step plan:


Step 1:


In order to eliminate all the holes in your leaky bucket, you need to collect + gather together all the things you consider incomplete in your world. Consider it an inventory of open loops. Anything you attach a “need to” + “ought to” or “should.” That’s an incomplete.


Grab your Mental Detox printable + spend the next half hour writing everything that distracts you + interests you or in some way consumes a part of your conscious attention. Big projects + teeny tiny projects + coherent thoughts + utter chaos + worries + don’t forgets + would be nice to’s… anything that’s swimming around in brain la-la land, get it on your paper.


It might be a project or a problem that is really in your face. Perhaps it’s something you are being pressed to handle. Maybe you have a vacation trip coming up that you need to make some major last-minute decision about. Or it very well may be that you inherited one million dollars + you don’t know what to do with the cash. Whatever it is, dump it.


Quote - Suziki


By the way, if you catch yourself half-way through saying “I’m done”, stand up, walk around, do a little one-woman dance party + sit your cute ass back down. Because just when you think you’re done, there’s always that one more thing that’s waiting to come out like a fart. Sorry for all these poo-related references.


A note of caution: This isn’t the time to be picky or choosy. There are no wrong or right items to include in your Mental Detox. Everything goes on the page, because what stays in your head, unsaid + ignored + unaccounted for, well, it precisely what seeks vengeance when you’re trying to fall asleep. Don’t.


Step 2:


Okay. So, when the time is up, you will end up with something that looks like a doctor’s prescription – a barely legible page + filled with words that make little to no sense. That’s part of the plan.


Now comes the fun part. Can you guess what’s coming? Yeah, it’s time to group your doodles + scribbles by completion date. I need you to prioritize your items according to the following categories:

  • What do you want to get done in the next day?
  • What do you want to get done in the next week?
  • What do you want to get done in the next month?
  • What do you want to do in the next year?


There’s a little section on your Mental Detox sheet to do it really easily. You’re welcome.


Step 3:


Emptying your bucket does not mean that you have to finish everything that’s on your bucket, it just means you have to take it out of the Mental Detox container + give it a proper place on your calendar + decide what should be done with it next. Schedule it if you will in your Daily To Do Planner + Weekly To Do Planner + Monthly To Do Planner + Yearly To Do Planner. You get the drill.


Not emptying your bucket is like having empty pizza boxes that nobody ever dumps. you just keep on buying more Domino’s pizza + never take out the trash. Yuck!


Mental Dump


Of course, in order to do this successfully, you need to have in place a management system you can count on. Many people try to get organized but make the mistake of doing it on Post-It notes + napkins + shoe boxes + scraps of last night’s sushi menu. That’s cute. It works for a while. Not anymore. You’re not goofing around here. You need a certain degree of logic to take your routines seriously. You need a robust calendar that you respect enough to never cancel your most important appointments, the ones with YOURSELF. You need bulletproof, nothing to lose. Fire away, fire away. Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away. You shoot me down but I won’t fall. I am TITA-NI-UM.


Got too carried away there, didn’t I?


Step 4:


There must also be items on your list that that you have no emotional connection to + you couldn’t pick a completion date to, like that impersonal e-mail invitation you got (“Hey Blogger”) to participate in a Little Miss Blogger Summit. This is actually a good indication that the item needs to go. If you’re not excited to do it tomorrow + next week + next month + this year, the item doesn’t deserve prime real estate space in your calendar. Unless it’s something mandatory like doing your taxes (which you can outsource too, you know?), you have my permission to draw a line + let it go. Firing your ideas + projects is liberating. Trust me.


For the longest time, I’ve been dragging around fairy tale dreams like: “I want to learn yoga + do those funky headstands people do on Instagram.” It would be nice. You know what also would be nice? To be able to offer my Life is Messy Bootcamp in 6 different languages including Spanish, which is my native tongue. It would be absolutely fantastic. A dream come true. This had been nagging me for the longest time until I got really honest with myself + admitted to myself that this is simply not top priority for me right now + that’s okay. In that moment, I won my life back + I freed myself from this need to be perfect + have it all done right now.


Free yourself from self-imposed dreams that are just not that important right this second. Remember you can do ANYTHING. Anything you want. Really. Just not everything at once. And that’s okay.


Get Messy


DO THIS NOW: Download your Mental Detox worksheet + follow the steps. Be sure to share your findings in the comment section below for a chance to win cool prizes. Including a FREE membership to Life is Messy Bootcamp


Mental Detox

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You ready? Let’s do this!


When you’re done with this Mental Detox exercise you will, by default, have in front of you, a reliable Master List, the kind that will keep your to-do planners busy, but good-busy, like getting-the-stuff-that-really-matters-to-you-most-done kinda busy. You didn’t think this was all about dumping, did you? Oh no, no, no. This is called Life is Messy Challenge for a reason; we recycle crap + turn it into diamonds, baby!


Mayi Carles


It Doesn’t End Here

Look, I know this isn’t rocket science. We just didn’t re-invent the wheel here. I’m sure that at some point in time you’ve gotten to a place in a project, or in your life, where you just had to sit down + make a list. So you know this works. The thing I’ve noticed though ,is that you do this kind of list-making drill when the sh*t hits the fan, when the confusion gets unbearable + you just have to do something about it. Or… or…. or you usually make lists only about the specific area that’s bugging you. Why are we like this? My gooosh!


Imagine a world where you made that kind of review an ongoing routine in your life + work style. And you maintained it across all areas of your life + work, not just your most urgent to-do’s. You’d be practicing the kind of black belt management I teach in Life is Messy Bootcamp.


Make an appointment with yourself to do this exercise at least once every quarter. I promise you, it will change your life + business forever.


That’s it for today.


Tomorrow, I will show my trusted calendar system for getting things done like Beyonce. Stay tuned!


Whether you decide to join us for an all-new season of Life is Messy Bootcamp or not, I truly believe this 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge can transform your life + give you the basic framework you need to break through + experience miracles this year + every single one after that.


If you have a friend, a loved one, looking to accomplish BIG things in 2015, it would mean the world if you could point them in this direction. THANK YOU for helping me spread the word with the fancy social media buttons below!


CLICK TO TWEET: Get out of your own way with this Mental Detox brain dump exercise… it’s FREE! – http://bit.ly/1y35Mmq via @mayicarles


See you mañana.



Mayi Carles




Day 3: Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Part 3


There’s this quote I love by Gustavo Cerati that goes like this: “Mereces lo que sueñas”. (English translation: You deserve what you dream). Deep down, I believe that dreaming is the first step to achieving our goals. The problem rises when we disconnect our dreams from reality or our reality from our dreams.


I’ve always been a dreamer. I bought my domain name www.mayicarles.com when I was 17. That was FIFTEEN YEARS BACK you guys. I’m talking internet ice ages here. Facebook wasn’t even around. But I had a dream. A blurry dream. But I had a dream nonetheless.


I’ve also been a little obsessed with setting goals for myself, but as a first born, too often I’ve found a way to stress myself out with the pushing + over-striving + guilt-tripping. No bueno.


Desperately needing a system to turn my crazy dreams into fact without giving myself an ulcer, I came up with this lil’ equation to take light bulb moments into done deals. It’s practical + it’s poetic + I owe so much of my hip hip hoorays to it.




I present to you the method behind my madness, my tested + contested process, my down-to-a-science step-by-step formula for transforming dreams into reality. Here goes:


Step 1:


You know that place between sleep + awake. The place you can still remember dreaming? That’s where your life gets scripted. That’s where your bigness lies. Go there, as often as you can.


Quote Day 3 - 1


Tip: Keep a dream journal at your nightstand. This is important. You think you’ll remember, but you never do, am I right?


Step 2:


What’s that crazy dream that you can’t seem to get off your mind? That one. Exactly. In order to manifest it, you must first give it a name + put it down on paper or else it’ll only exist in your mind, which we all know is code for “it’s never gonna happen.”


Close your eyes + listen carefully to what you’ve always wanted. Alert: This is no New Age, experimental exercise. I mean it. Shut your eyes + ignore your rumbling tummy asking for milkshakes + quiet the “this is stupid” + give yourself permission to listen to what’s there. So, what’s there? Take a mental snapshot.


This is no time to be modest. No time to convince yourself that you really don’t want {insert your dream here} that bad. I mean you can try, but we all know that’s a load of hot dogs. Playing small is for the little leagues.


Embrace the grandeur of your T-Rex sized world domination aspirations, Pinky.


Need a brown bag? That’s okay. It happens to the best of us. Big, hairy, audacious goals are scary. It’s a good sign though; it means you’re expanding beyond your comfy blanket.


Now, over the years I’ve learned that not all goals are created equal. Some are as fragile as shot glasses + will break with the slightest disturbance or pressure. If you write wishy-washy goals, you’ll get wishy-washy results + that’s not the kind of goal you want by your side.


You deserve nothing less than SMART goals (as Cameron Harold, author of Double Double, calls them). He provides a practical guide to turn crappy goals into SMART ones that goes like this:

  • S is for SHARED: The goal has to be shared with a coach + mentor + family member + friend + colleague or mastermind group. I go as far as sharing my goals with you, my messy gang. It’s a healthy kind of pressure. Accountability keeps me honest + on my tippy toes.
  • M is for MEASURABLE: The goal has to be quantifiable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t reach it. Put a number on it. Metrics help us evaluate if a goal is hit or missed. Hazy goals produce hazy results.
  • A is for ATTAINABLE: The goal, no matter how fearless, has to be reachable. You might not know exactly how you will do it, but you must know if it’s within the realm of possibility. The goal has to be at least remotely possible to be taken seriously by you.
  • R if for RELEVANT: The goals has to be yours + yours alone. Our souls have a bullsh*t-o-meter. It has a way of detecting when we’re picking people-pleasing goals over goals that make us happy, so ensure that you’re only working towards passion projects.
  • T is for TIME: The goal has to have a due date. If it doesn’t have a deadline, you will put it off forever + evah!


Now it’s your turn. Write down your SMART goal + imagine what it would be like to reach it!


Step 3:


Setting up goals has a tendency to push us outward: “I want to make more money” + “I want people to respect me” + “I want my boyfriend to propose already.” This step is about bringing your goals back to basecamp: Your heart. The ultimate goal should always be to feel good, right? That’s because at your center you have what Danielle LaPorte calls “core desired feelings” – universal emotions you crave + make you feel like a goddess.


Get clear + I mean really clear about how you want to feel when you get out of bed + when you launch a product + when you step onto a stage + when your husband comes home + when you walk into a room + when you wear red lipstick + when you go shopping + when you’re looking at your bank account + when you reach your goals + when you _____________. Deep down inside, you know it. Well, write it down.


Quote Day 3 - 2


Write it in stream of consciousness, because there is nothing more pure, more powerful to take you to the finish line than this. Hint: If you’re struggling to come up with your core desired feelings, take out a thesaurus + look up words + search the definition of words like happy + joyful + strong + confident + divine femininity. Pick your core desired feelings, so you can become an intentional creator of your life. This is about getting up everyday + asking yourself, “What am I gonna do today to generate these core desired feelings?”


Step 4:


In order to achieve anything, you must first answer the one question that matters most: Why? Why do you want to attain this particular goal? To reach the summit, you must know why attaining this goal is so important to you – not your neighbor, not your mentor, not your mom, but YOU. Why do you want this so badly? A goal without a supporting purpose will not stand the test of time or resist the smell of sugar-rich s’mores.


Mayi Carles


Step 5:


You have to equip yourself to reach your goals; otherwise, you’re not likely to give it your best effort. Being prepared is empowering + confidence-boosting. Do you need to teach yourself how to use Adobe Illustrator? Do you need a new camera + a perhaps a light box? What about a scanner? What tools + skills do you need? Write them all down.


Step 6:


I know you want to catch your shiny star, but at what expense? Would you work 15 hours days? Would you skip weekends + vacations? Would you give up rights to your work at the expense of producing your line? Would you go into debt? Would you be willing to be on the road for a number of days? What won’t you do? What are your unbreakable core values? “No matter what” is a very dangerous phrase when it comes to your wholeness + integrity. Write your boundaries loud + clear, mainly for yourself, but also to share them with others so they understand + respect where you stand.


Step 7:


If you can’t measure it, you can’t reach it. Too often I see people set great goals for themselves, but they don’t take 5 minutes to think about what needs to happen in order to cross it out from the bucket list.




When you’re planning a dinner party, for example, you must think about all the little pieces of the puzzle that must come together: invite guests + determine the seating + find out in advance if any guests have food allergies + set the color scheme + pick the caterer + set the menu + send RSVPs/invitations + choose the wine + make the playlist… everything.


What precisely needs to take place to get you to the finish line? Hint: The task must start with a verb + it must be so small that you can check it off relatively quickly from your list. It’s my secret to feeling a sense of accomplishment + success + confidence to keep going.


A goal without an action plan is just a wish.


Step 8:


Without setting a completion date, it’s easy to find yourself pinning away your dream kitchen + sharpening your crayons + updating your Facebook status + finding the perfect Instagram filter or alphabetizing your DVD collection. Get real. Look at your goal + commit to a culminating date.


Quote Day 3 - 4


Over-achiever alert: Be conscious of your lifestyle. If you’re getting married next month, don’t expect to launch an eight-week multimedia program overnight.


Step 9:


Positive reinforcement works. Period. An oriental massage + dinner at your favorite restaurant + new bed sheets + fresh flowers + red lipstick + aromatherapy candles + a Barnes & Noble shopping spree + new measuring cups from Anthropologie. How will you celebrate your milestones? Pick your prize. Plan out your bonuses; you’ll need them to carry you through infinity + beyond.


Get Messy


Now it’s time to put this formula to good use.




DO THIS NOW: Download your Goal Getter worksheet + fill it in following the nine-step plan. Be sure to share your findings in the comment section below for a chance to win cool prizes. Including a FREE membership to Life is Messy Bootcamp.


Goal Getter

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Having Trouble Coming Up With SMART Goals?

Troubleshooting? Overwhelmed by everyone else’s bucket list. You don’t even know which dreams are yours + which are borrowed? Feeling utterly uninspired? The Goal Generator will help you quiet the noise + flesh out your twinkling desires hidden just beneath the surface. The categories will also spark all sort of new ideas – “I need to climb a mountain” + “I need to sign up for surfing lessons” + “I need to pick a launch date.” Let them flow. You’re Pink Panther on a mission to find your passion projects + do-good expeditions + mark you want to leave in the world. Cue the music!




Got your goal? Excellent.


DO THIS NOW: Download your Goal Generator + take it out for a spin. 


Goal Generator

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For meltdown-control purposes, focus on no more than three goals at a time. I know you’re perfectly capable of pulling all-nighters with or without coffee + can put on mascara while driving, but this is no time to show off your super woman skills. Stay humble.


Make It Stick

Somewhere along your 3-Day Green Smoothie Challenge or your this-time-is-for-realz workout regimen, your monkey brain will detour to Tiramisu Lane until further notice. Surely until Monday.


I said Monday, but I didn’t specify which Monday.


Good habits are darn hard to stick to, but breaking them only takes the smell of Cinnabon + the snooze button or a passive aggressive e-mail from a client. Been there? I’ve done that, too. Not proud? I know, me neither.


The question is: Why? Why do we stop doing things we actually want to do? Good habits. Activities that make us feel freaking incredible. After consulting with behavioral experts like Ramit Sethi + Charles Duhigg + Jerry Seinfeld, I discovered why. Why some people manage to turn their best intentions into done deals, while others, well, eat an entire batch of red velvet cupcakes. The missing puzzle piece is forward momentum.


Forward momentum: To continue a chain of events without skipping a beat. A competition with yourself, if you will, to see how many days straight you can stick to your habit. It can be jogging + writing + painting + surfing + making videos. Your pick.


How? Glad you asked. Use your calendar of choice (ahem, ahem if you’ve got my Life is Messy Planner kit you can use your Habit Tracker (best for short term challenges like a 21-day detox) or your Resolution Tracker (perfect for long term commitments, like quitting sugar or upping your surfing level). Hang your calendar on a prominent wall + with a colorful marker scribble an “X” on the days you nail it like a boss. After a few days, a chain will begin to form. Just keep at it. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to grow that chain longer + longer + longer everyday. It’s pretty simple if you think of it as game. You save the process from Koopa Troopa when you don’t break the chain.


Here’s your cheat sheet:

  • A long line of Xs means party time. Excellent. 
  • Broken chain means it’s okay to have a nervous breakdown. Just don’t unpack + live there. Cry it out. Break an ugly flower vase. Call a friend who deserves to listen. Sure, have a shot of limoncello. Then remember why you started + make an epic comeback. Sometimes a clean slate may be the best thing that ever happened to you.


I think you got it. Don’t break the chain!!!


Now, if for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter why, you skip a beat, bounce back onto the board game. Quickly. No one will even notice you were gone. It’ll be like you were stuck in Monopoly jail + missed a turn. Who cares? You have to go pee. No big deal. Speed bumps are expected. Healthy, even. A reputation of being permanently missing in action, is what’s dangerous.


Quote Day 3 - 3


You would never leave a client waiting for you at the meeting place, would you? But somehow we miss our appointments with ourselves all the freaking time. What’s the deal? Well, it’s complicated. The thing about sticking with goals + habits + resolutions is this:

  • The first few days are the toughest ones. But I promise you, it pays off to postpone a present pleasure for a future gain. Research shows that after 14 consecutive days, a forced routine turns into habit. That means that repetition forms habits. If you focus on consistency, you’ll win.
  • Relying on willpower to stick to your promises is a recipe for the Apocalypse as Amadeus hypothesized it. We have limited willpower. The more we use it, the less we have. So instead of expecting willpower to Fairy-Godmother you out of every pickle, you must make large parts of your day habits. Start by asking the Universe exactly what you want + make the uncompromising decision the night before of how the next days will roll out. When you’re clear about what you want + get serious enough with yourself to craft an unbreakable commitment, resistance chickens out + bothers an easier target without a plan.
  • You are your best at your peak performance hours of the day, so make sure you’re not using up your daily supply of pixie with stalking Ryan Gosling on Instagram.
  • Habits have a ripple effect. You knock down one domino + all the others follow. All you need is ONE keystone action to unlock your chain. That’s why when you start working out, it seems easier to eat clean. 
  • Believing you can do it is non-negotiable. You need to be your #1 Fan. If not you, who will?
  • You can trick your brain with cues to sustain a habit. For example: 
    • A time cue: Do your Insanity workout every day when the clock strikes 7. 
    • A place cue: Pick a spot to sit down + write your cookbook. Same desk. Same chair. Same ambiance music. 
    • A social cue: Trying to quit smoking? Schedule lunch with non-smoking friends. 
    • An emotional cue: When stressed + tempted to vacuum your entire fridge, have a fun movie ready to be watched that will help keep your mind off the wedding cake. 
    • A visual cue: Want to run the NY Marathon? Have your running shoes + workout clothes out, so you go from jammies to geared up champ in an instant. No brain cells required.


So, let’s recap. Instead of focusing on how the hell you’re gonna transform your dreams into reality or stick with your goals, channel your energy to playing, playing the game of chain building. Your challenge is to keep forward momentum going – in business + in relationships + in health + in learning. You can do it!


That’s it for today.


Tomorrow, I will show you how to cure mental constipation once in for all. Stay tuned!


Whether you decide to join us for an all-new season of Life is Messy Bootcamp or not, I truly believe this 5-Day Life is Messy Challenge can transform your life + give you the basic framework you need to break through + experience miracles this year + every single one after that.


If you have a friend, a loved one, looking to accomplish BIG things in 2015, it would mean the world if you could point them in this direction. THANK YOU for helping me spread the word with the fancy social media buttons below!


CLICK TO TWEET: A 9-Step Formula to Transform Your Dreams into Reality (comes with FREE printables). Get it here – http://bit.ly/1wZROxG via @mayicarles


See you mañana.



Mayi Carles