Posts tagged your goals
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “30 days” in the subject line and I’ll send you the details.
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.
Those of you who’ve been hanging out with me for awhile know that my credo is “Everyday a Vacation Day.” I want to wake up every morning with anticipation of new adventures ahead of me. I love feeling excited, fresh and light – light in spirit, mind AND body. And like many others, in my pursuit of enjoyment I sometimes overdo. Combine that with some genetic tendencies towards a full body, and my scales have gone into the obesity realm several times in my life.
I’m happy to report that I’ve been heading back down the scale away from the obesity category and it’s not so difficult this time. I think I’ve finally got a handle on the balance between eating/drinking what I enjoy, moving my body and feeling light and healthy. I’m also motivated when I realize the high cost of obesity. Not only do those extra pounds make us feel less attractive and make it more difficult to move around, they also lead to diminished health and outrageous obesity related medical costs.
Here’s a report from the McKinsey Quarterly that gives more detail. You have to register on their site to read the complete article -it’s free.
“An obesity pandemic has put pressure on health care systems throughout the world. The United Kingdom, for instance, spent more than £4 billion on obesity-related medical costs in 2007, and that could rise to £9.7 billion by 2050. The United States currently spends about $160 billion—twice what it did a decade ago—and that amount could double again by 2018.
Yet these huge numbers represent only a fraction of the pandemic’s total economic burden on societies. Obesity indirectly costs the United States at least $450 billion annually—almost three times the direct medical cost. The situation is comparable in other countries as well. To learn more, read “Why governments must lead the fight against obesity” (October 2010).” http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Why_governments_must_lead_the_fight_against_obesity_2687
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!
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!
Do you ever find yourself having to make 3 trips to get out the door of your house because you keep forgetting things? Or found yourself standing in the shower and you couldn’t remember if you’d rinsed out your shampoo yet? I’m not talking about memory loss…I’m talking about mindfulness or the lack of it in most cases. If you’re like most of us, your mind tends to wander to the future or to the past most of the time.
The downside to letting your mind run you this way is that you aren’t fully in the present and the present is where life happens. James Joyce wrote, in his short story, A Painful Case, that “Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.” Can you relate? I can. There’s been too many times when I’m “in my head”, writing away, only to realize later that my body has been trying to send me signals to relax my shoulders or stretch out my back.
Years ago, I was introduced to mindfulness meditation when I read a book by Jon Kabat Zinn, who at the time was a physician at the University of Massachusetts teaching mindfulness meditation techniques to patients with chronic disease in an effort to help them live with and reduce their pain. His research was sound and showed many benefits to being mindful – I highly recommend his book “Wherever You Go, There You Are” if you’re interested in learning more.
When you’re mindful, you are acutely present, you are paying attention, you are experiencing moment to moment non-judgmental awareness. The principle is fairly simple. With our Iphones and blackberrys it’s not so simple. I have been an early adopter of most technology and enjoy my gadgets thoroughly; however, I have to admit, I resisted getting a smart phone. I often used the free minutes waiting for an appointment or standing in a line to just “be”. To be aware of what was around me. I knew the temptation of checking emails and the web might wipe out many of mindful moments. I have managed to find a balance. I don’t reach for the phone every free minute, but when I am working on a project with a deadline, it’s convenient to be able to exchange information quickly no matter where I am.
Anyway back to the technique. You can do this in just a few minutes. Become aware of your breath. Feel it rising and falling in your chest and your belly. When thoughts start to crowd in, just let them go by bringing your attention back to your breath. When you’re ready start to be aware of all parts of your body. And then from there open your awareness to the world around you, continuing to bring your attention back to your breath when your mind wonders. What will mindfulness meditation bring you if you do it regularly? Awareness and calm. Less stress and stress related illness. Seeing the world for the first time. Discovery that the world is full of small delights, many that you’re probably overlooking. And, a greater ability to be present to others. Pretty powerful stuff. And it’s free.
So go ahead, have a mindful moment or two. I’d love to see your comments here once you try it!
I’ve been happily traveling for the last few weeks. I actually like airports -weird as that might sound! I spent a day in New Jersey with Mike Michalowicz, one of my coaches, and author of the infamous Toilet Paper Entrepreneur – he shared ideas about effectively using email marketing -a golden nugget from him – make the emails you send to your prospect list text only and write as if you’re writing to a good friend. I see a lot of successful women entrepreneurs who use fancy email templates with several sections in their email newsletters -but the guys I watch tend to use just text. What do you think? I’ve been doing the fancy route and am now testing out the plain text -I’ll let you know how it goes.
After the NJ adventure with Mike, I spent several days in Providence, RI visiting family and gathering info for my Providence Lover website.
And then, I spent five amazing days with Barbara Sher and nine other powerful and provacative people at the cozy yet sprawling 17 bedroom Saluda Inn in North Carolina. Most of us were interested in learning how to write a nonfiction book and how to get well paid speaking gigs…but the real meat of the retreat (retreat my a**, I worked my butt off!) was getting very clear about what we love and how we can spread our message. A nugget from Barbara “You can’t think of anything you can’t have -if you get to the heart of it -you can have it.”
You KNOW that this is my mission -to get you to acknowledge what you love and to do whatever that is – and yes, if you’re hanging out with me, I’m sure there are many things you love and YES you can do them all! So do something today that makes you happy -even a tiny step is good. Would love to see you comment about what you plan to do or tell me your opinion about that email thing – fancy vs text.
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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.
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What do you do when you hit a problem in your business? Maybe it’s how to generate more income, how to build a client list or how to create an information product. Too often you might find yourself getting stopped by a problem and just giving up. Here’s what you can do to get past those problems and on to doing what you love to do.
Jim Rohn, the wonderful motivational speaker, said to go inside first and see if you can come up a solution. If that doesn’t work, go to a book or internet sources to see if you can find an answer. If that doesn’t work, ask someone else who is where you want to be. This is good advice. Let’s explore further.
1. Go inside. You have an extraordinary amount of wisdom right inside yourself –from your past experiences and from your natural preferences. One great way to get your answers from within is to take some time to get quiet. Make a list of teachers you’ve had that made a positive impact on you. Some may have been conventional teachers; others may be people you met who were not in a classroom. You can even consider famous people, people who have died or you haven’t met in person but you learned something valuable from them. Now choose one that jumps out at you right now.
Now write out a dialogue between you and this person. Ask him/her for advice. I can bet you will find some powerful insights into how to solve your problem
2. Get some more information. When someone tells me they’re stuck on a problem, I quickly assess whether it is a lack of information that is the real problem. It often is. I’m amazed at how many people don’t take the time to seek information through books and the internet. Often there is someone out there who has solved a problem similar to yours and you can quickly get ideas about how to solve your problem.
3. Ask someone else. If you still can’t figure out how to get past your problem after going inside and doing some research…now is the time to ask someone else. Most people are willing to share information and help you IF you show them that you have done some research prior to asking them. It’s startling how many people ask me for advice and information and when I ask them what they’ve done so far to solve their problem…they say “nothing”.
I’ll give you a concrete example. You want to run a tour business. You don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed every time you think about this idea…but it just won’t go away.
First, you take time and journal with your teacher within. You have a dialogue and get encouragement from the teacher that you are on the right track. You even get some ideas about where you would like to lead tours and get a strong sense of the feelings of satisfaction and joy you’ll get when you achieve this goal.
Now you think, “I don’t know how to start. What insurance do I need? How do I hire a bus? What kind of outdoor microphone will I need so that people can hear me? How will I find people to enroll for my tours?”
So you go to Google and type in “how to lead tours”. You get nothing useful. So you try, “how to be a tour guide”. Bingo. You get a great article with lots of information and a link to an online course on the topic. You subscribe for the course. You then do an Amazon search and find a book that looks great on this topic so you order it.
After you’ve taken the course and read the book, you are about 100% confident that you’d like to achieve the goal of becoming a tour guide but you’d like to talk to some people who are actually doing it to get the real scoop on what it’s like and maybe ideas on how to break into the field.
Now, if you don’t already know someone in the field, it’s time to look up a few people in the field, approach them by email to request a 20 minute informational interview by phone. Send an email that says that you are interested in entering the field, you’ve taken a course and read about the field and now want to get some real world information.
Tell them that you’ll have 5-10 questions prepared before the call and that you’d be happy to email the questions to them prior to the call. You might want to ask what the best part of their work is and what the worst part of their work is. Don’t ask specific salaries, though you may ask what would be an expected range of pay for a beginner and for someone advanced in the field.
People are generally very happy to help out, happy to share information about work they love AND they will be impressed that you did your research prior to seeking them out.
So go ahead. What’s a problem you have? Try the 3 steps above and get unstuck now!
I’ve thought a lot about how to accomplish goals and whether or not I should bother. Probably like you, I was never taught to set goals as a child. When I hit college, I had an amazing writing instructor who gave us a long list of fiction novels we’d be reading and weekly writing assignments.
She set us up for success. Now this may sound simple, but to me it was a huge aha moment. She told us to look at the number of pages we needed to read that week and to divide that number by the seven days we had to read and voila! I now knew how many pages I had to read each day…and I knew if I skipped a day to go to the beach, that I’d have to add those extra pages to my daily reading for the rest of the week.
It really hit me that I had been living a life with no goals. Oh…there were vague yearnings about things I wanted to do like travel and things I wanted to have…but I never set an actual goal to achieve them.
Other times, I think that living without goals sounds best. Just get up in the morning, see what the day brings and do what I’d like.
For now, I’ve settled on a happy medium. I believe that setting great goals has stretched me into being even more of who I am and serving more people with my talents and strengths. It’s also helped me increase my income while doing things I enjoy.
AND, I’m sure to allow plenty of time each week to just follow my heart with no goals in sight.
This works for me… I’d love to hear your comments about goal setting!