Tips for Managing Stress During the Holidays

Stress is a natural part of our daily lives. It can be triggered by pressure to meet deadlines, too many time demands, illness, or other serious life changes.

During the upcoming holiday season, here are some steps that can help you learn to better cope with stress:

  • Set priorities: Decide what must get done and what can wait.  Learn to say no to new tasks if you are overwhelmed. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute shopping or other stressful situations.
  • Learn when to say no: Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
  • Stick to a budget: before you go shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
  • Stay in touch with people who can provide emotional and other support. Ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations to reduce stress due to work responsibilities or family issues, such as caring for a loved one.
  • Volunteering your time to help others is a great way to lift your spirits and broaden friendships.
  • Take a breather: make time to do relaxing activities you enjoy, such as outdoor activities, listening to music, watching a movie or reading a good book.
  • Avoid dwelling on problems: focus on what you have accomplished, not what you have been unable to do.
  • Don’t abandon your healthy habits: get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly. Just 30 minutes per day of moderate walking can help boost mood and reduce stress.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season and a Prosperous 2017.

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The Domino Effect

The Domino Effect states that when you make a change to one behavior it will activate a chain reaction and cause a shift in related behaviors as well.

Many of the habits and routines that make up our daily lives are related to one another. There is an astounding interconnectedness between the systems of life and human behavior is no exception. The inherent relatedness of things is a core reason why choices in one area of life can lead to surprising results in other areas, regardless of the plans you make.

The Domino Effect capitalizes on one of the core principles of human behavior: commitment and consistency. This phenomenon is explained in the classic book on human behavior, Influence by Robert Cialdini. The core idea is that if people commit to an idea or goal, even in a very small way, they are more likely to honor that commitment because they now see that idea or goal as being aligned with their self-image.

The Domino Effect not only creates a cascade of new behaviors, but often a shift in personal beliefs as well. As each tiny domino falls, you start believing new things about yourself and building identity-based habits.

The Rules of the Domino Effect

The Domino Effect is not merely a phenomenon that happens to you, but something you can create. It is within your power to spark a chain reaction of good habits by building new behaviors that naturally lead to the next successful action.

There are three keys to making this work in real life. Here are the three rules of the Domino Effect:

1. Start with the thing you are most motivated to do. Start with a small behavior and do it consistently. This will not only feel satisfying, but also open your eyes to the type of person you can become. It does not matter which domino falls first, as long as one falls.

2. Maintain momentum and immediately move to the next task you are motivated to finish. Let the momentum of finishing one task carry you directly into the next behavior. With each repetition, you will become more committed to your new self-image.

3. When in doubt, break things down into smaller chunks. As you try new habits, focus on keeping them small and manageable. The Domino Effect is about progress, not results. Simply maintain the momentum. Let the process repeat as one domino automatically knocks down the next.

When one habit fails to lead to the next behavior, it is often because the behavior does not adhere to these three rules. There are many different paths to getting dominoes to fall. Focus on the behavior you are excited about and let it cascade throughout your life.

This article was originally published on James Clear writes at, where he shares science‐based ideas for living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance by 10x, join his free newsletter.

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How to Avoid and Protect against Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious program that infects your computer and then locks your screen or encrypts your files. Then a “ransom” is demanded to release your data. Most ransomware arrives as an email attachment, along with a message encouraging you to open the file. You could also browse to websites that push malware onto your system without your knowledge.

This particular form of malware is tricky because these emails appear to be legitimate and can be professionally written with proper grammar and spelling. They could embed known trustworthy website links into the email message which may infect your computer.

Once the ransomware has infected your system, your files are locked with an encryption key that is only known by the attacker. Then you are prompted to pay the criminal to provide the key or else they’ll destroy your decryption key. Often there will be a limited time to pay the ransom, typically within a few days. The criminals are not typically interested in your data at all; they simply want you to pay off the ransom.

While there is no 100% safe method to prevent ransomware from entering your system, there are ways to lessen your chances of being attacked and losing your data. The best way to secure against this threat is to prevent ransomware from getting to your system in the first place. Here are some recommended tips to protect your data:

– Regularly update your software, programs, and applications to ensure you have the latest versions. Software companies and hardware companies are constantly updating their systems with new security measures to protect against the latest vulnerabilities. Use Windows update and enable automatic updates for all programs.

– Be very careful about opening email attachments. Be very wary of clicking links in emails, as they may take you to a malware website.

– Back up important files using the 3-2-1 rule: create 3 backup copies on 2 different types of media with 1 backup in a separate location.

– Don’t enable macros. Ransomware can also be distributed in Office documents that trick users into enabling macros.

– Train and retrain employees in your business. Your users can be your weakest link if you don’t train them how to avoid malicious emails and other threats.

– Do not open e-mails that invite you to participate in surveys, contests or other events from companies that you usually don’t deal with, or names you don’t know.

Cybercrime is a highly competitive, multi-billion-dollar business. Ransomware attacks are becoming an increasing global problem with highly sophisticated and malicious attacks against organizations including NASA, law enforcement agencies, universities and health-care institutions. Even small companies are targets.

Understanding ransomware and taking steps to prevent it will go a long way to protecting your company from this threat. For professional assistance with understanding how to secure your network against ransomware and other network attacks, contact your Abilita consultant.

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IPNC Joins Abilita


             CONTACT     Wim Cassard        Dennis Goodhart
    Abilita, Inc.        IP Network Consulting LLC,
       dba Abilita Metro New York
    +1 410 453 0808        +1 646 308 1580

NEW YORK, NY – September 21, 2016 – Abilita, Inc., is expanding to the New York Metro Area for the first time.  Abilita, recognized as one of the largest independent telecommunications consulting firms in North America, has tapped Dennis Goodhart of New York, a thirty-plus-year industry veteran, to head up the New York office.

Abilita General Manager, Derek Atkins, said, “We are very excited about our New York expansion.” He added, “New York City is a perfect market for us, and having a veteran like Dennis head up our efforts there is quite a coup. His experience in telecommunications and IT infrastructure will prove invaluable as we continue to reduce our client’s telecom expenses and offer independent consulting advice on the latest technology to help our clients expand their business.

Goodhart, founder of IP Network Consulting, is enthusiastic about the expansion: “Abilita has always had a great reputation in the telecom consulting industry.” He added, “while they have offices in many major markets, they had just never hung a shingle in Manhattan. I’ve been in this town all my life, and this is a perfect opportunity to expand my practice and provide a broader range of services to new and existing clients. ”

When it comes to business communications technology, Goodhart does not subscribe to “one size fits all.” Having come from a combined business and technology background, he understands that every business is different, and that each, unique customer requires technology that will meet their specific requirements. “Having the resources of the Abilita network of telecom consultants gives us the ability to provide additional expertise and service our clients all across North America.”

About Abilita – Founded in 2004, Abilita, Inc., is an independent telecom consulting firm with offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. They’ve recently expanded to Philadelphia and Vancouver BC, in addition to New York. Abilita provides independent audits of telecom and data expenses as well at outsourced telecom management.

About Dennis Goodhart / IPNC – Dennis Goodhart is a Telephony and IT Communications industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience and expertise. He has designed, developed, negotiated, implemented, and managed global mission critical projects of complex technology to meet client needs. Goodhart founded IP Network Consulting (IPNC) in 2007 on the belief that business communications technology is a key asset in creating and running a successful business.


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