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Monday, January 31, 2011

Getting to Goal: Experience Your Success NOW

If you can see it, you can achieve it. See yourself happy. See yourself successful.

Close your eyes. Visualize yourself successful. To make your visualization really powerful, visualize yourself in action (like a movie), not static (like a photograph). See yourself at your goal happy and satisfied.

A lot of people think of visualization as silly or a waste of time, but it works. Seeing yourself successful gives you the confidence and the push you need to get where you want to go. It also tells your mind that it’s possible. It lets your mind know that there is more than what can be seen in the mirror’s reflection. It tells your imagination and your mind that what you want can happen.

When you see yourself achieving your goal, get excited. Anticipate it. Expect it. Visualizing your success with feeling makes it even more real.

This week, I challenge you to spend a few minutes a day visualizing yourself at your goal. What will you look like when you reach your goal? What will it feel like? What will you be doing differently?

If you want to go for extra credit, go out and experience yourself at goal. If you want to reward yourself with a spa day once you reach your goal, start looking into different spas and spa packages. If you are saving money for a new car, go test drive the one you want. Window shop for clothes in your perfect size.

The more you can see it and feel it, the more likely it is to happen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do You. For You.

Kim, a good friend of mine runs a blog called Recession Lessons. It’s filled with special offers and tips on saving money. She is an expert at saving money. In fact, she's passionate about it.

I was talking with her a while back and she shared with me some feedback she'd received from a Facebook post about coupons. Several people revealed that they could never go into a store with coupons. What would people think?

Well, I went into my favorite grocery store during a double coupon event and between sales and coupons, I saved $48. I told any and everybody. I was not ashamed. I was proud and darn proud at that!

My point is this. I might never see the people in that line again. Even if I did, who cares? I’m not trying to impress strangers or acquaintances. I’m trying to live my life in a way that decreases stress and increases my happiness and peace of mind. I saved the equivalent of a tank of gas and that is what mattered to me.

Living for others - what they might think and what they might say - is not a priority for me. I don’t dress for others. I don’t shop for others. I love earrings and if I want to splurge on a pair of two, I will but it’s because it’s what I want, not because someone else will be impressed.

Do you, for you. Take control of yourself for yourself. Don’t make yourself a victim to someone else’s illusions.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting to Goal: Discouraged?

Every Monday in January, we will be looking at setting and keeping a realistic set of goals. Join us for tips on staying on track and setting workable and achievable goals.

Along the road to success, you’ll encounter roadblocks. We’ve discussed that. You will encounter naysayers. We’ve dealt with that. However, when you encounter, a couple of roadblocks and naysayers on top of a couple of bad days, it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to give up.

Don’t do it.

You’ve been successful before and you can be successful again. I know it. You know it. If you have graduated from high school or college, you’ve succeeded. If you have raised happy or healthy kids, you’ve achieved success. If you have learned how to drive, you’ve succeeded. If you’ve avoided causing any accidents, you’ve succeeded!

These seem like simple examples, but they prove my point. You’ve had success. One in four high school students will not graduate. So high school graduation in and of itself is a success. These examples prove that you stuck with something until you got the desired results.

If you have lost weight or pursued a college education, you succeeded by chipping away at your goal, day after day. If you stopped smoking, it didn’t happen overnight.

If you are in the storm, know that the storm eventually passes. Even a hurricane doesn’t last forever.
You’re in it for the long haul. Ride out the storm and know that your personal sun will shine again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Action vs. Activity

Action and Activity have the same root: to act. To act means to do something. Yet, in my book action and activity are two different things. Being active isn’t the same as taking action.

There are a lot of activities we participate in that make us look busy but they don’t move us any closer to our goals. Activity looks good and has a purpose but it’s not the most important purpose.

Straightening out your desk, cleaning out your email, returning phone calls and emails are activities. These things serve a purpose. Yet, when those activities overstay their welcome and and take up too much time, they often becoming excuses for not doing more substantive work. They become a problem. They become a tool for procrastination.

Taking action on the other hand, is doing something that means something. Taking action is taking control and doing something that moves you closer to your goals and your dreams. If those emails and phone calls are leading you to more business, then you are taking positive action.

Activity is seductive. It looks good. After all, when the boss walks by, you’d better be doing something! The question becomes is that something just an appearance or is it something that matters?

There is room for both. Some activity is necessary; it paves the way for taking action. It’s a lot easier for me to focus on the tasks at hand when my environment is organized. It’s easier for me to discuss business with a client or a colleague when we have chatted about the little things and created the basis of a friendly relationship.

Be careful though. The majority of the time should be spent in actions that will lead to something. Action should always trump activity.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Getting to Goal: Roadblocks

Every Monday in January, we will be looking at setting and keeping a realistic set of goals. Join us for tips on staying on track and setting workable and achievable goals.

It's going to happen. It's not a matter of if, but when. You will get upset and light up a cigarette. Your cold will derail your workout plans and you'll have a hard time starting up again. A major car expense will eat up all the money you managed to save. Maybe someone close to you is threatened by your weight loss.

The road to success is filled with roadblocks. The reason many people don't acheive their goals is that they let the roadblocks stop them. Yet, when you are driving and you encounter a roadblock, you don't just stop, you look for the detour ... an alternate route.

When you encounter a detour while pursuing your goals, you should do the same thing ... look for the detour. Find the alternate path.

When you are the one putting up the roadblock, your self-talk can provide the detour. When you make a mistake, resist the temptation to beat yourself up and use words like always and never. For example, "I always mess up," or "I never get anything right."

Show yourself the encouragement and compassion that you would show a child. You would not tell a kid that she'd never learn how to ride a bike if she fell. You'd encouage her to get back up and ride, no matter how many times it took.

If an unexpected event causes you to derail, change your outlook. If car repairs or another emergency ruins your saving plan, look on the bright side. You had the money to pay for the car repairs. In the past, maybe you wouldn't have, maybe you would have had to borrow it or put it on a credit card. Recognize that stopping after a derailment won't help you in the long run, but getting back on track will.

If a person is your roadblock, there are a few approaches you can take. Talk to them about it. Many times husbands fear their wives losing weight. They think that as she loses the weight, she'll also lose interest in them. Assure him that a healthier and happier you, will lead to a healthier and happier couple. If a friend is threatened by your weight loss, consider having a sit-down with them as well. Otherwise, recognize that they aren't on your team and leave them out of your journey.

Don't discuss your challenges, successes or issues with a person who is trying to sabotage you. The reason you need to have a 'team' in place to help you reach your goal is to identify those people who will support and encourage you and those who will not. Keep the relationship but keep them at a distance when it comes to accomplishing your specific goal.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You're Awesome!

We don't spend enough time accentuating the positive, looking at what's gone right or the challenges we've overcome and the successes we've had. We do this for a number of reasons. We don't want to toot our own horns. We don't want to be accused of being arrogant. There are too many other fires to put out and things that aren't going out right to handle.

While we often feel bad about feeling good about our accomplishments; we don't mind feeling bad about our failures, missteps and mistakes. We view beating ourselves up as a motivator, something that will propel us forward.

Yet, feeling good about your accomplishments leads to confidence, self-assurance and a positive outlook. When we feel good about ourselves, we feel capable of handling whatever comes next.

So go ahead and feel good. You have a lot to feel good about. I'll give you some ideas.
  1. Look at how well your kids have turned out.
  2. You have great friends who love you.
  3. You have had some great work successes
  4. You're in a stable relationship.
  5. You've made the best of a bad situation.
  6. Your boss relies on you.
  7. Your co-workers respect you.
  8. You have talent.
  9. You are creative.
  10. You are smart.
  11. People are attracted to you.
  12. You are dependable and others rely on you.
  13. You've weathered a major storm and came out a better person.
  14. Your kids think they have a great parent.
  15. You're good with money.
  16. You give great advice.
  17. You look great!
  18. You're an optimist.
  19. You're faith is strong.
  20. Your life is good.

Focus on what is good. Give yourself credit. You might argue with your children or have to punish them but that doesn't mean you aren't a good parent. You might not be a concert pianist but that doesn't mean you don't have a talent for playing the piano.

The goal isn't to look over your life and find perfection. The goal is to look over your life and give yourself credit for your accomplishments and a job well done.

As the puppy says, "Who's Awesome? You're Awesome!" ... and who can argue with a cute puppy?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting to Goal: Too Many, Too Much

Every Monday in January, we will be looking at setting and keeping a realistic set of goals. Join us for tips on staying on track and setting workable and achievable goals.

Last week, I laid out my plan for creating workable and achievable goals. My last suggestion was not to have more than three goals.

I've seen people with long lists of things they want to accomplish. Again, I consider those long lists to be resolutions, or wishful thinking. If you have a long list of resolutions, there is no way you can be serious about attaining all of them.

Franklin Covey did a study of people with lots of goals, here is what they found out.

Too many goals dilute your efforts. You get spread too thin. You run around doing a lot but not accomplishing much. In this environment, it is easy to be discouraged. So instead of having a list of wishful thinking, have a targeted list of the most important things you want to accomplish and focus on those.

When looking at your long list, which items would make the most impact? Which ones would improve your life the most? Focus on those.

The Franklin Covey study also shows something else, something very powerful. You can accomplish your goals Focus on what matters most to you and what's most important. Develop a plan (and several back up plans) for accomplishing those goals and you can do it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Get Back to Work!

The holidays are over. Unless we work for the banks or the federal government, most of us won’t get a long weekend until Memorial Day. That’s the end of May! It’s time to get back to work.

Here are some tips I use for getting the job done.

1. Plan Your Days: I have a weekly planner. Throughout the day, I jot down upcoming tasks and place them on the day I plan to work on them. Before I leave for the day, I give my list another once over, focusing on things I need to do the next day. This goes a long way to eliminating that feeling that I’ve forgotten something or that something will fall through the cracks.

2. Set New Goals. Look at what’s on your plate and decide what you want to accomplish in the next month, three months and six months.

3. Clean It Out: There is a fascinating statistic that says 80% of the things we file, we never look at again. If you find you have some down time, spend a few minutes going through your files. If you have it electronically, you probably don’t need the paper copy. If the project ended years ago, keep a few pertinent summaries and maybe the finished product and get rid of the rest. If you are feeling really bold, tackle your electronic files. Delete what you don't need. Move old versions of reports and documents to an Archive folder and organize the rest.

4. Reestablish Your Routine: It’s not just for kids you know. Make a point to get back on track – have a consistent bed time and wake up time. Holiday splurges are over so get back into the habit of making healthier food choices.

5. Remember What You Like About Work: It might not be the job of your dreams but there must be a few good things about it. Coming back to work shouldn’t be a complete downer! Think out what you enjoy about your work: favorite co-workers, the work you do, a favorite lunch spot. Focus on what you enjoy about work and you’ll experience a lot less dread and negativity!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting to Goal: Say No to Resolutions

Every Monday in January, we will be looking at setting and keeping a realistic set of goals. Join us for tips on staying on track and setting workable and achievable goals.

I'm in the minority, I know. Statistics say that less than half of Americans are making resolutions. I know it's corny but I still do. I make them every year, but I don't call them resolutions. I call them goals.

What's the difference you ask? Aren't they just words? True, but words have power. A resolution is wishful thinking. It's a notion we should make a change but the word resolution implies that we aren't really serious about it. The word resolution implies that we have no intention of following through. A goal is different, at least it is to me, a goal has a plan. A goal has an intention. A goal has steps and a deadline. It is those things that take a goal from the realm of wishful thinking to the world of possibilities.

I achieve most of my goals and I've taken my goal strategy and distilled it into a 2-page worksheet. I do one for each goal. You can download one of my goal sheets here.

My goal sheet is set up to answer a number of questions:

What is your goal? Exactly what do you want. You don't want to lose weight. You want to lose 50 pounds. You don't want 'a job'. You want a job in a specific field making a specific amount of money. You don't want more time with your partner. You want two date nights a month.

Why is this goal important to you? The more whys you have the better off you are. Leave off the 'shoulds' and what others think. Because you should stop smoking isn't the same as wanting to stop smoking. Your sister wanting you to be more organized, isn't the same as you wanting to be more organized. List the reasons why this goal matters to you.

Who's on your team? Who can you turn to for support, advice or assistance? Who will you call when you are discouraged? Who will hold you accountable? Who has the information you need to succeed?

What is your back-up plan? Everyone falls off the wagon. You roll over and go back to sleep when you should have worked out. You eat the big cheeseburger and fries instead of salad. Setbacks are part of success, so what will you do to get back on track.

If you want to create some successful goals, download the goal worksheet and set up one for each of your goals (no more than 3 ... more on that next week).