Posts tagged goals

How to Focus

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What’s most important for you to focus on today? That’s a question I ask to start off each coaching conversation I have with clients. It’s a question I ask of myself each morning. I have many interests, and since you’re hanging out with me and reading my stuff, I’m guessing there’s a good chance that you do too. As a matter of fact, many of you lament the fact that you have “too many interests.” Hogwash.

It’s great to have interests but here’s a key to not feeling overwhelmed or ineffective. Choose at least 1 thing to do each day that will have a great impact and do at least 1 thing each day that just makes your heart sing.

What do I mean by “impact?” Well that will be personal to you, but it could be an action that will bring you recognition, or in the long run, continue to increase your income. It could change your career. Maybe it’s something that will make a difference in your community or make an important change to your personal life.

Here’s a way to figure out what to focus on. If you don’t already have an action list (to do list) quickly write out of all the things you think you should or want to do. Then look at each item and ask: How will this change my career, my work, my life? Will this have an impact a week, a month, a year from now? Does this task further a long term goal of mine…how important is this goal?

This might take a bit of time to do at first but once you practice, you can do this in just a few minutes. Don’t like this method? Try this one.

List the goals you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Then each day, choose at least one action that moves you closer to your goals.

And don’t forget to do at least one thing just because you love it. Because if you do, you’ll find yourself connecting with your “real” self…and that real self will guide you to do the things that are truly the most important things for you to do in order to live YOUR life, YOUR way.

Go ahead and share a goal with us here in the comment section. There’s great power in writing goals down and sharing them a supportive community. Want even more support and structure? Join our 30 Days to Get It Done group beginning October 6th…watch here for details on how to register or drop me an email at ann@authenticlifeinstitute.com with “30 days” in the subject line and I’ll send you the details.

A Life Without Goals?

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I’m returning from a month long August vacation.  I had plenty of time to think, to breathe, to observe my choices.  The idea of goals came up again and again in my thoughts.  Here’s what I think today.

I have a love/hate relationship to goals.  With them, I have accomplished a great deal in this lifetime and many of those accomplishments gave me great pleasure on the journey to achieve them.  These achievements enriched my life and I hope, the lives of others.

The hate part of the relationship is that when I’m focused on goals,  I’ve lost my freedom to choose moment to moment what it is I’d most like to be doing.

I think that in order to mature and grown into the magnificent being that you are meant to be you need to learn to set goals.  I wished someone had taught me this earlier in life.  I really didn’t “get it” until I was 27 years old.

When you learn how to choose and achieve goals, you begin to trust yourself.  Once you’ve had lots of practice at it, although it sounds counter intuitive, I think the next step in your growth is to begin to let go of goals and to live more and more in the present.  But I don’t think you can skip the first step -setting and achieving goals takes you inside into your inner world and “inside” is a place where most of us, Americans anyway, spend very little time.

In order to choose a goal you have to look inside and see what is stirring.  What desire is wanting to be fulfilled?  What is it you need to do at this time to be more fully expressed?  Once you name it, you need to change the shape of your days to accommodate whatever actions are needed to make that goal a reality.   Those small changes move you in a new direction that is closer to what you need to live a full and expressed life and to share who you are with others.

I’m now at a point where I’m wanting to let go of having too many goals.  I don’t think I’ll ever give them up entirely though.  Matter of fact, I have a lot of excitement as I set new ones for the year ahead.

But I’m beginning to experiment.  I’m going to leave more space in my days to follow my whims and see where they lead me.

Did reading this bring up questions for you?  Ask here and I’ll respond.  Or share your thoughts on goals… I’d love to know what you think.

Are Your Habits Supporting YOUR Life?

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What are some of your daily habits? It’s worth taking a look at them. Your habits shape what you do with your precious time. You can decide for yourself which habits you engage in are “good” or “bad.” I’d say that the actions you take that positively contribute to your health, happiness, prosperity and relationships are worth keeping. Anything else -well, you might want to make some changes. Here are some habits that I find to be dreamkillers:

1. Email. In my opinion, opening email first thing in the day is not the best way to start out. You’re allowing others to shape your thoughts, actions and even your mood. I say make your first actions meaningful ones -something that makes you happy, something that inspires you to live a fantastic day, or something that contributes to a goal you have. Check email after you’ve done the most important things first.

2. Mindless eating. I think this widely accepted American habit contributes to obesity, poor health and a lack of enjoyment. When you eat – just eat. Don’t read, watch tv or keep one hand on the keyboard. Be aware of the texture of the food, the taste in your mouth, how it feels in your belly. Give thanks for all the people involved in getting the food to your table. Sure, enjoy good conversation in between bites -but other than that – mindful eating will enhance your health and your life.

3. Noise. Lord, there’s noise everywhere! When I pump gas there’s a t.v. blaring at me (I skip that gas station now). I got a new dentist after my former dentist installed flat screen tvs in each exam room. I’m sure some patients appreciate it, but I got nervous when I noticed the dentist kept looking up at the t.v. Silence is a good habit to cultivate for the soul. Your inner voice knows a lot -it just needs a little time to be heard. Allow for some silence each day.

Be a gentle observer of your habits. Don’t beat yourself up -just notice. Which ones make you happy? Which ones move your goals and dreams forward? Which ones are obstacles. Pick one and decide to change it. Here’s a cool tool I found today that might inspire you -and it’s free. www.habitforge.com

Would love to hear about a habit you’re ready to change. Post your comment here and let us know!

Give Your Goal 4 Days

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There is something quite magical and scientific about 4 days. When you do something once or twice or even three times, you don’t yet feel like a “person that does that.” Suppose you have a goal to start blogging. You know it’s a great no-cost way to get your message out and connect with folks. So you post one blog. Maybe the 2nd day you post again. Then you stop. Three weeks later, if someone asks you if you “blog?” you’ll probably say no…well, I tried it but… Now if you stick with it for four days, something shifts. All of a sudden if feels like something natural.

If it’s an important goal for you, you’ll want to string together 5 four day actions plus 1 more day. That means you’ll have blogged for 21 days straight. And science tells us that at that point, it’s more difficult to stop the new habit then to continue it. At that point you may decide 3 posts a week is enough. And that will seem simple!

So what goal would you like to achieve? Commit to it for four days. Want to boost your chances of success? Choose a small reward you’ll give yourself each day after you’ve kept your commitment. It doesn’t have to be a huge expense, it just has to make you happy. Maybe a lavish coffee at your local coffee house. Or reading a novel just for fun for one hour. Then choose a larger reward for completing your action for four days. This should be a pretty good reward -maybe a massage or a new book.

After the first four days, you’re really over a psychological hump. Give it a try and post your results here. We’d love to read them!

40 Day Focus

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I hope you’re enjoying some of these lazy, hazy days of summer…I know I am!

Many of you ask me how to choose from all your many ideas -which one should I work on NOW?

I also hear from many of you that you’re challenged by the “F” word (and I mean Focus!)

Here’s a powerful, easy 8 step system to choose your ideas, get them into action and completed.

1. Write down all your ideas.  You don’t have to DO all of them but if you don’t write them down, you’ll lose a lot of your truly genius, creative gems.

2. Let is percolate for a few days.  Come back to your list in a couple of days -some of those ideas you wrote down will seem downright wacky while others will take your breath away -I thought THAT? you’ll say to yourself.

3. Then ask yourself, what is the purpose for doing this?  Hint -it’s not always money. It’s probably one of these – list building, lead generation, cash generation, product creation (this can be information products too), or building credibility.

4. Rank your list of ideas from 1-5 on how much this idea will get you to your current purpose (or whatever scale you like) with 1 being this won’t get me to my desired objective at all, to eureka! this is a 5 -I’m going to lock the door, turn off the phone and email and not come out till I’ve got this baby cooking!

5.  Make a 2nd column with an estimate of what you think can happen if you focus on this for 40 days.  Why do I pick 40 days?  I like that there is a great significance to the number 40 in many spiritual traditions. And, I know how tempted I am to lose focus -in many spiritual stories, 40 days signifies temptation or a passage through something.

Next quantify your idea.  How many people could you add to your list if you focused for 40 days?  How many leads could you generate?  How much cash will that information product bring in?

6. Right about now, the buts should be kicking in -small buts and those dreaded big buts. Write down 3 of them.  Now write down 3 benefits of doing this focused project.

7. Now write down solutions to your obstacles or ways to prevent them.  Then write down, very specifically, about what you’ll get from the benefits.  Set dates for when you’ll experience these great things you’ll be, do or have from these benefits.

8. OK.  Now it’s time to get into ACTION! Write down 5 actions you need to take to achieve this objective. For example, I’m working on a book right now -some of my next actions are to write an hour a day, interview some folks for stories for the book, decide on a hot title…see?

Some of your steps will be done by you, others like graphic design of a book cover, transcribing interviews etc. will be done by someone else.

So what idea will you focus on for the next forty days (some of you will complete your project even sooner!) Post a comment at www.authenticlifeinstitute.com/blog and let us know -then you’re making a commitment which will make it much more likely that you’ll keep moving forward -don’t you want to come back in 40 days and post about your great success?  I’d love to hear them!

Goals That Excite The Heck Out Of You

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When you read that word “goal” did you tense up.  Or did you feel discouraged thinking -yeah, yeah, I set goals and never achieve them?  If so, you’re probably not setting goals that are related to what you really want in YOUR life.  Goals worth going for are the ones that make you feel excited with the kind of anticipation you felt as a kid waiting for Christmas.

There are many tasks that we disguise as goals.  Cleaning out the clutter, eliminating debt, losing 10 lbs. Those are all great things to do because they free up energy to go after your real goals…but they are not goals -they are things to do.  One way to figure out whether your goal is a task is to ask yourself how you will feel once it’s done.  I pulled together all the paperwork I needed this week to meet with my accountant to get my taxes done. What did I feel when I had completed this? Relief.  Not excitement.  Certainly not joy!  When you accomplish an authentic goal you will feel joy -and don’t forget to celebrate it thoroughly!  Here are 5 secrets to creating goals that excite the heck out of you.

1.  Make a list. Take about 20 minutes.  Relax for a few minutes getting out of your head and connecting with your body.  Then quickly jot down all the goals you would like to be do or have.  Don’t worry if your lizard brain starts shouting that “you can’t possibly have that.”  Just thank it and say “I’m only making a list for heaven’s sake!”   Now ask yourself the following questions about each of the items on your list.

2.  Is it clear? Saying you want to write a book someday isn’t clear enough.  I will write a book about (put your subject here) and have it completed and to an editor by October 13, 2010 is a clear goal.

3. Does it fit your values? If you highly value flexibility and freedom, a goal that requires you to do all your actions towards it in one location at very specific times just won’t fit.  If you value financial freedom and your goal will get you closer to that -then you’re right on.

4.  Does it fit with what you love? If you love to travel, and your goal allows you to travel to achieve it, hooray!  If you love being outdoors and physically active, and your goal requires long periods of time indoors, well, you might lose steam.

5.  Do you really want it? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 is like being trapped on a plane next to the dullest person on earth who talks non-stop and 10 is absolute bliss -how would you score your goal?  If it’s less than 8, toss it -it’s not worth your precious energy and time.

Pick one or two goals that you would love to accomplish within a year.  Then get support to make it happen!

Want to do something courageous?  Post a goal that you absolutely intend to reach within the next year on my blog.

Mind Junk

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One of my coaches gave the term “mind junk” to that negative, very active voice in your head. It’s chattering away constantly telling you why you can’t reach your goal, live your dreams or even something as simple as writing an article!

I watch people let this mind junk waste tremendous amounts of their energy. Instead, I’d like to invite you to accept that this voice will always be with you AND you can relax and accept it rather than wasting energy trying to change it. You can wallow around in your mind junk or you can shift your attention from it to your goals.

Let’s identify what your mind junk looks like so you can quickly figure out when it’s happening and you can stop paying attention to it. One other interesting thing…the way you handle mind junk in one area of life -say money -you’ll find that the same mind junk runs your relationships, your creativity, your physical vitality, your time and how much you enjoy life. Here are some ways mind junk shows up:

Keeping it vague. I’ll create that blog soon. Right now I don’t have the time. Falling into the either/or trap. Either I can write a book or I can keep making money in my job -I don’t have the energy for both. Comparing yourself to others. Why does it seem that no one struggles with public speaking as much as I do? Making excuses. I was late in meeting my deadline because I had too many interruptions.

Monkey mind has a lot of tenacity. It loves to keep us in the same behaviors even when it’s not working for us. Here’s what you might find yourself saying: It will work if I just try harder, I don’t have time to do it another way. This is just how I am and there’s nothing I can do about it.

So what to do with this craziness? Know that you are not your mind junk. You have amazing ability to observe it. It is only one part of your mind and who you really are is much more magnificent than any curve ball your mind junk throws at you. When you become aware of it and see how it works, you minimize the odds of getting off track as you move towards your goals.

Here’s an action for you. Over the next 2 days, write down at least 3 times your mind junk was shouting load and clear. Did you say it aloud -like “I can’t afford that and never will” or was it an internal dialogue? Note what kind of form it took -was it being vague, comparing yourself to others or some other form?

See if you can catch the mind junk and not get into a full blown attack of it. Observing your mind junk, you may be amazed to discover that 90% or more of the thoughts that your mind junk pops into your head are irrelevant to anything that’s of real value to you!

Would love to hear any tips you have for living in peace with your mind junk. Post yours here.

What Are You Convinced Of?

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What are you convinced of? What do you hold as true for you right now? Are you convinced that work is hard? Are you convinced that you’ll never be able to work from home? Are you convinced that, on some level, it’s wrong to be prosperous? Or are you convinced that you are always at choice and the past has no precedence…you can start right where you are. How unalterably convinced are you? This is your faith.

Think about this. When you think about one of your convictions, does it make you smile inside or shrive? Do you feel bolder, stronger, or do feel small, diminished.

I’m living proof that what you are convinced of is often a lie. I was convinced for a long time that work had to be hard -look at my parents’ life! That was powerful proof to me. I was convinced for years that I was “not smart enough” to be successful in creating my own work in the world…I should of looked around a bit -there are plenty of “not so smart” people who make plenty of money in their own business! Here are three ways to alter those big convictions you have that are keeping you from waking up to your unique gifts, to honoring the human treasure that you truly are and to living a prosperous life, in which you are experiencing peace, health and plenty in your world.

1. Ask yourself if your conviction is really true. Is it true for everyone? Do you know someone who doesn’t hold this conviction and is thriving in an area of life that you are not? If one person can do it, you can too! Play with the idea of “what if this weren’t true about me?”

2. Allow yourself to move forward even if you can’t see the entire “how”. Your inner compass lets you know when you’re on the right track. You’re scared AND excited at the same time. You feel good. What you’re working on will be a positive thing for others. Martin Luther King said “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” So do some planning. Planning leads to action. Action gets you “into the game”. And once you’re in the game, all kinds of unexpected things happen that absolutely couldn’t have happened if you hadn’t jumped in! And then, you might find yourself facing…

3. Doing the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” If you’re afraid of a certain action that is moving you towards your dream, do it anyway. This will bust through your limiting convictions, maybe causing your family and friends to think you’re nuts, and you might even be rocked by the fact that you are shaking your very identify (albeit limited!) to the core. That’s ok. Do it anyway!

4. Get unstuck. Katie Byron has a masterful technique for getting past your yeah buts. It feels weird at first, but it’s powerful.

First, say what it is you want to do and your “but”. I want to travel to (put your favorite location here), but I can’t afford to.

Now say it as if you are choosing. “I’m choosing not to take a trip to paradise because of the belief that I have to spend a lot of money on this trip. The trip isn’t the problem, my perception that I can’t afford it is.”

Finally, “my true self can find a way to take the trip without going into debt because it knows that not having a lot of money isn’t the problem -my belief about not having enough money is.”

It’s also powerful to take your desire and your obstacle to some supportive people. Tell them what you’ve done up till now, what you want next and what obstacle is in the way. You’ll be amazed at the creative options you haven’t thought of. But look at your convictions first and get clear that they are alterable, otherwise, you’ll drive your friends crazy with yeah buts at every turn!

Would love to hear about a conviction you have that is not supporting you and you are ready to give up. Post  yours here.  It’s a powerful to put your commitment out to the world.

Do you need more info to reach your goal?

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I want to give you a tip that will make it much easier to reach your goals.

At some point, in going after your goal, you are going to be stopped by a lack of information.

Now I honestly don’t like doing a lot of research.  But here are some of the techniques I enjoy using to get information when I’m stuck:

1. Tell people what your wish is and the obstacle you face.  You won’t believe how quickly people (even strangers!) will jump right into problem-solving mode and you’ll be given information or contacts who can give you the solution…try it…really…you’ll be amazed!

2. Go to the library (online).

I love libraries. When I was six years old, a friend took me on my first trip to a library. I was astounded and absolutely delighted to learn that I could take 5 books home and it was free!

Today, I can access mountains of popular magazines, scholarly journals, and databases on everything from history to science to health right from my computer.  All you need is a library card number.  Go to your local public libraries website and find their online databases. You will find information here that will get you unstuck. The only downside (if you want to call it that!) to this method is that you can spend hours happily sifting for gold in this treasure trove!

3. Got to conferences, association meetings and trade shows.

There’s nothing like hanging out with a bunch of people who share your interest.  The Encyclopedia of Associations lists every group and association that meets regularly in the U.S. and even worldwide. 

So, what’s a goal you’d love to achieve? Are you stopped by lack of information?  Try one of my favorite techniques this week and find out how great it is to get just the information you need to keep moving forward.

Drop a line on my blog and let me know how it goes!

Stinking Thinking

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Do you find yourself caught up in a lot of “stinking thinking?”  When you wishfully think of something, do you immediately stop yourself with a “I can’t have, do or be that!”

How about when someone presents an idea to you – a dream they have -and it totally seems off the wall.  Do you say, “well, it won’t be easy.”  Or, “you’ve got a long road ahead.”   Instead, why not say “great!  what would have to happen to make that come true?”

See the difference.  Once you start thinking about what the outcome would be, your brain will start getting creative and will begin to draft out steps you’ll take.  You probably won’t know every step needed to reach your dream.  But if you start in the direction your wise inner self guides you to, you’ll be led to the next step, the next person.

This is the power of planning.  To me making plans is like playing.  And to be honest, many of my plans go out the window.  The secret is, that while you’re following your initial plan, all kinds of unexpected and wonderful things occur. 

You meet just the right person who can help you with the next step towards your dream.  You stumble upon a book that has just the key you need to unlock some blocked area you had.  You stop into the “wrong” office and run into an old friend who can help you.

Planning in this way, loosely attached to the exact outcome, is the only way your dreams become real.  Action rocks.  You don’t have to create your entire dream alone…matter of fact, you can’t.  When you get in the game, and take action in the world, the world will meet you and give you more than you can imagine.

Would love to see your comments here.  Post a dream you have!  You never know who might have a missing link you need.

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