Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category
When you sit down to create your New Year’s resolutions, what is the first step that you take – even before you begin to identify the goals that you would like to focus on this new year?
Many people begin by brainstorming possibilities, or meditate on their ideal day. Others review their long-term plans, or go over last year’s goals. What do you do?
Before you do any of that, there is one step that you must take to increase the odds of accomplishing your goals. It is a step that most people forget – but it is key to realizing your dreams.
You must create a vacuum in your life by eliminating those things that stand in the way of accomplishing your goals.
Take a look at how you spent the day yesterday. How did you waste your time? Do you really want to be wasting time? You only have so much – is that how you really want to use up your precious minutes?
What can you eliminate from your life, beginning today, that will open up space & time for better things? Will you do what needs to be done?
What about those things that you feel you should do, even if it does not contribute to your values or enjoyment of life?
In your life there are people who take too much of your time, or contribute in only negative ways. Get rid of them. Not violently, of course, but do what you must to get them out of your life.
Next, eliminate those responsibilities that once were important but now mean nothing. What groups can you resign from? Who can you say “no” to? You’re not nearly as important as you think. They will find a way to go on without you.
What hobbies, routines, tasks, goals or activities no longer give you joy? Just quit doing them. Hire someone to take care of it for you, if it must be done. If that’s not an option, consider trading tasks with a friend – you do her laundry (which you enjoy) if she takes care of all of your auto maintenance (which you hate).
Before adding new & wonderful dreams to your life, you need to shed the old skin that you are wearing. You’ll open up space for others to take your place – and you’ll create the room in your own life for your dreams.
Why use rewards to help you accomplish your long-term personal & professional goals? Isn’t accomplishing the goal reward enough?
Oftentimes, no. Although there is satisfaction in accomplishment, you spend much more time in the process of working towards your goals than you do in the moment of completion. And if you work day after day on a project without results, it can be hard to maintain your motivation.
Rewards are used to mark your progress along the way. Used correctly, rewards are given for effort – not for results.
Before you begin using rewards, first determine if they work for you. Not everyone is motivated by the same thing. Spend a few minutes thinking about your last great accomplishments. What are you most proud of? When you were working towards those goals, were there milestones & rewards along the way? Did you find them motivating?
If yes, what types of rewards were they? Did you treat yourself to something relaxing? Was it a tiny bit of luxury? Did you reward yourself with time? Alone or with friends?
Take a few minutes to write down what rewards work for you. This list can be used the next time you have a large personal or professional goal that you are working towards. Use a small reward each time you do something that scares you – and remember to use the rewards for your effort & behavior, regardless of the results you receive.
What is on your list of rewards?
If you have long-term personal & professional goals, it’s likely that you review your progress monthly or quarterly. Here are seven questions to ask yourself during your goal setting review:
1. Do I still care about this goal?
Why keep working on something that is no longer important to you? Of course, don’t let fear talk you out of reaching your dreams – only a genuinely unimportant goal should be dropped.
2. Is the timeline still realistic?
Or even better: Is the timeline scary & motivating?
Miss Persimmon prefers intense deadlines for her goals, but that’s just what works for her. Does your deadline still seem doable – even if you have to stretch a bit?
3. Am I on target to reach this goal?
You are tracking your progress, correct? How close are you to reaching your goal? Have you veered off down the wrong path?
4. If you are not on target: What do I need to adjust or fix to meet this goal?
Assuming you still do want to reach this goal, what do you need to eliminate or add to make sure that you’ll reach your intended destination?
5. What’s the next step I have to take?
Whether you are on target or not, reaching every major goal is just a series of tiny actions. What is the next action that you have to take?
6. If I succeed at the next major step, what is my reward?
If you are motivated by rewards, what is the next scheduled reward-point? Do you have the reward planned out?
7. If I succeed at this goal completely, what’s next for me?
Oftentimes, I leave this question out until I’m at least 80% of the way towards reaching my big goal. It’s too scary otherwise. But it’s nice to have plans for after you accomplish your major goal – even if the plan is to spend a weekend relaxing in the hot tub. Otherwise you may find yourself goal-less, which is a very scary place to be.
For your small business
5 Things Your Blog Readers Wish You Knew at Blacksburg Belle. All 5 of these are things I’d like to see everyone work on (including myself).
How to Make the Most of your Fourth Quarter Profits at Crafting an MBA. Great advice, from a great source!
Lessons from Less at Zen Habits. Doing just one of these “less” things will improve your life – it’s an inspiring story to think about as you make your New Year’s resolutions.
How Building a Community Can Help Your Freelancing Business at Freelance Folder. What’s the point of having an online presence, if you aren’t building and participating in a community?
And for fun
What Would Emma Pillsbury (from Glee) wear? Not only does this blog have great screen shots of Emma’s outfits, but it then sources all of the clothing items for you. Genius!
Creative types usually have very big and passionate dreams for their life. The dreams of right-brained thinkers tend to be grander and more detailed than their logically-minded friends. Yet, so many creative people shy away from setting goals to reach those dreams. Why is that?
Fear of failure – The fear of putting yourself & your dreams out there, and not reaching them, is crushing. Especially when you start to feel that the only reason you didn’t reach them was due to your own inadequacy. Why even attempt something when there is such a huge risk of failure?
Why? Because failure makes you a stronger person. How would your life be different if you started chasing after failures, instead of chasing your dreams? Failure is a necessary part of success – you can never have one without the other. What’s the worst that could happen to you if you attempted to reach your dreams, and failed?
Fear of success – Even scarier? Success. What happens if you do reach your dream? Who do you then become? Every notion of who you are and what you are capable of will need to be rewritten. You may lose friends as they lash out against your success. Your family may not recognize you. Your own desires will change. What happens then?
Of course, change is natural and unstoppable. But that doesn’t make it easy, does it? Since you will be changing anyway, do you want to become someone stronger & with greater clarity? How can you prepare yourself for success now, before you need to?
Fear of the rigid plan – Goal setting seems to have been designed for people who think in a linear way. First you choose a goal, then you map out exactly what you must do to reach it, and then you measure every step along the way. At least, that’s the way you should do it, right? Is there any room for creativity in goal setting?
Your goals can be as focused or as defined as you need. Do you need to know the whole path before you get started? Of course not. You only need to know the tiniest next step – and repeatedly ask yourself, “What is the next tiny step?” as you accomplish each one. Your creativity is your greatest asset. Use it to dream up a dozen different ways to accomplish what you want.
Fear of commitment – Once you commit to a goal, there is no veering from that path, correct? How do you know you chose the right goal? What if you change your mind? How can you choose just one thing?
Your dreams are always in flux, and commiting to a goal doesn’t have to tie you down. You commit to taking the tiniest next step, that’s all. If you truly want to reach your goal, your fears will put up walls in your path – but each tiny step will allow you to climb over the wall or find a more scenic detour.
Fear of monotony – You have far too many interests and desires to choose just one goal, so you have a dozen different things happening at once. You have so many roles in life – how can you choose just one goal that will suit them all?
You are not defined by your dreams & goals. You are so much more. Once you create a vision of your ideal life, use that as your ultimate goal. You may be working on a half dozen different smaller goals, but each will take you closer to your dream.
Miss Persimmon, who has an equal mix of both right-brained and left-brained preferences, likes to focus on a new goal each month – often with crazy deadlines. Knowing that next month she will be focusing on a different goal means that she never feels like she is “missing out” – plus it’s amazing how 30 days of intense focus can create a new habit that lasts after the month is over.