Decide

When it comes to reaching your goals… I have found that you are ready, when you DECIDE you are ready! It really is like Nike says, “Just Do It”. If you keep thinking that you need to learn one more thing or that you need to wait until you are more prepared, you are just making excuses. Excuses kill dreams. Believe me. I know where you are coming from! I always feel like things need to be perfect before I do this thing or that thing. You are just fooling yourself if you think the time is EVER going to be PERFECT to start the quest for your goals!

Your dream is waiting for you to decide and to take action. I’ve said it before and I will say it again… Even if you just take one action towards your goals every day, you WILL get there. You will lose the weight. You will earn more money. You will be successful. The only thing that can hold you back is not making that decision to take action.

There are three key decisions to reaching your goals

1. Decide what you want

When you are trying to determine what you want, make sure that you are passionate about your goal. If you are not passionate about what you are aiming for, you are either trying to reach for someone else’s goal or you need to dig deeper to find that motivating factor. If you determine that your goal is really someone else’s goal… Stop! And choose a goal that is yours!

If you need to dig deeper to find that motivating factor, write down your goal and then keep asking yourself, “Why?” If your goal is to lose weight, that can be a great goal but just saying “I want to lose weight” is not going to get you to jump out of bed in the morning, excited and ready to tackle the day. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to lose weight?” Your answer might be, “I want to lose weight because I want to have more energy.” That’s great, but again, not exciting or motivating. Why do you want to have more energy? Now your response might be, “I want to have more energy so that I can keep up with my kids during vacations. I am tired of feeling exhausted all the time and not having energy at the end of the day to spend quality time with my family. I also want more energy so that I can do what it takes to be successful in my career.” Now we are getting closer, but keep asking why. Why do you want to be able to keep up with your kids? Why do you want to have more energy to spend quality time with the family at the end of the day? Why will more energy help you to be more successful in your career?

Get my drift? Keep asking yourself WHY until you find that REASON that will get you excited to jump out of bed every day and give it everything you’ve got to attain that goal!

2. Decide when you want it

You need to have a timeline for your goals. What I find helpful is to take one goal and determine five high level action items that need to be done to reach that goal. Then put timelines to those five things. Then, for each of the five, dig deeper and outline what needs to be done to complete each one of those five action items and put a timeline to those detailed actions as well. For example, if you want to write a book, a timeline will help you break things out into smaller chunks so that the whole idea of writing a book does not seem so daunting. You may determine that you will write one chapter every week, or write five pages every day. Either way, thinking about only having to write five pages a day is much more doable than trying to think of writing the whole book. You can always write more than the five pages, but now you have a baseline to drive your work every day.

3. Decide to commit

You must be committed to your goals which means that you will do whatever it takes to reach success. Commitment is a decision. If you are not committed, you are just interested. If you are interested, you will let excuses get in the way of attaining your goals.

If you have reached the right WHY (see Step 1), this should be easier. However, you can also gain commitment if you start planning a celebration for when you reach your goal.  Pick a day and time and start inviting people to your celebration! When you tell others about your goals, you add a sense of urgency to making sure that you meet that timeline. You can even go a step further and find someone to be your Accountability Partner. An Accountability Partner is someone that will hold you to your goals and action items. You will want to meet with or have a call with your Accountability Partner at least once every two weeks. I have found this to be a huge help in the attainment of my goals!

Once you have a strong why, a doable timeline, and have committed to success, I am confident that you will accomplish more than you ever imagined. With every goal that you reach, your confidence will soar and you will reach the next goal, and the next, until you are living the life that you’ve always dreamed.

To your success!!

Find Your Focus

We have all experienced successes and failures in life. Ask yourself, do you feel focused? Or do your find your mind wondering off when you are trying to get things done? Think about one of your successes. Can you determine why you were successful? Now look back on a failure, can you determine why you failed? Why you didn’t reach that goal? While there are many reasons for not meeting your goals or timelines, for many people, it can be due to a lack of focus. Here are a few things that you can do to help stay focused:

SCHEDULE your day – Outlining the actions that I need to take for the day and then actually scheduling time for each item on my calendar has made a huge impact on how much I get done in a day. If I don’t do it, distractions find their way into my day much easier. You can either use the first 30 minutes of your morning to outline your plan for the day or you can do it the night before. Whatever works best for you.

Work in BLOCKS – Another tool that really helps me stay focused is a productivity tool that I learned from Eben Pagan. He trains to work in 60-60-30 blocks. You work for an hour and take a five-minute break and then work for another hour. After the second hour, you take a 30-minute break. During this longer break you can take a quick nap, have a small meal, workout or meditate… whatever you decide but you need to totally unplug. Per Eben, this 60-60-30 plan can actually help you double your productivity if you plan your 60-minute blocks so that you are working on the tasks that will make the most impact on achieving your daily goals. I actually break my time out a little differently and work for 60 minutes, take a 5-minute break, work for another 55 minutes and then I take my 30-minute break. You can play with different blocks to see what works best for you but I would not recommend working for more than 60 minutes without a break.

WRITE it down – Write your goal with your reason (your WHY) on a few note cards as well as 1-2 positive affirmations on several note cards. Post those note cards throughout your house. Put a card on your bathroom mirror and read it while you brush your teeth. Put a card on your refrigerator so you can read it while you prepare your meals. Put a card in your car and read it before you start your car and before you get out at your destination. This helps you keep that goal at the forefront of your thoughts. Your subconscious will begin to create the actions to making that goal, your reality.

Limit DISTRACTIONS – There are so many distractions these days. Text messages, emails, apps, etc. With emails, I find it helpful to check my inbox twice a day for about 30 minutes each. I schedule my day’s activities by 8:30am and then I check my email. I check it again around 3:00pm. Texting is a little more difficult to avoid, especially when you have kids. They prefer asking questions or let you know where they are via texts. However, try to limit how often you check texts as well. Definitely do not check them during your work blocks.

These are just a few of the ways that will help you stay focused. One other thought that I feel is important to mention, especially at this time of year when everyone is thinking about New Year’s resolutions… Limit the amount of things that you focus on. Like I have mentioned before, if you have too many goals, you can’t possibly find time to fit everything that you have to do into the 60-minute blocks in a day or even a week. Prioritize your goals, determine what actions will get you the closest to your ultimate goal and focus on those first. Out of 10 goals, for example, prioritize and pick 2-3 goals to focus on first, finish those, then move on to the next. You will find that you get much more done. If you only finish 7 out of the 10 goals for the year, that is better than completing 10 goals half-way!

I would love to hear what you do to keep focused. Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Small Changes Create Big Results

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Do you wake up feeling motivated by your life? Or do you just want to go back to sleep? Are you stuck in a comfortable routine? Do you feel that there is something better out there waiting for you? Maybe it is a better job or a better ____ (you fill in the blank) – but you just don’t know where to start? The door to that better job or better ____ is waiting to be opened. The key to that door is… to START! The very first step you have to take is to make a change. A small change. If you are ready to start feeling motivated to get out of bed in the morning, or to go to work, or go to the gym it is time for you to think of small changes that you could make every day! When you have something to look forward to (that new or better … whatever you choose) it is easier to jump out of bed and get started with your day.

Think about Newton’s first law of motion which states that “an object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. If you want to get unstuck from the same day-to-day activities of your life, leverage the power of making small changes.

If the change that you want to make in your life seems huge to you right now, there are several ways to work past that overwhelming feeling. Don’t focus on the big change you have to make. You will just keep wishing, waiting and hoping for something to change instead of being the catalyst for the change. Break that big change down into more manageable, smaller changes. I learned this trick from Brendon Burchard, a popular personal development trainer and author, and from my many years in project management – Whatever your desired change is, break it into five easier, less intimidating steps. Then, if necessary, take each one of those five steps and break them down into smaller action items. (To learn more of Brendon’s tips, check out his new book High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.)

Now, the next step is super important… give each step and action item a deadline. One of my favorite quotes by Napoleon Hill is “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Some people think of deadlines as negative things and they let deadlines stress them out. I get it. When it comes to your job, a deadline can be stressful. But if you have a good plan, you will make it to the finish! This is your life that we are talking about here! Giving yourself a deadline is just one way to encourage yourself to take action. Your deadlines can be as short or as long as you need… just be doing at least one thing to reach your goal every day. Like I’ve said before, even if you were to take one hit to a tree every day, sooner or later the tree will fall.

Another way to push yourself to take action is to get an accountability partner. This is someone that will push you to reach for your goals, even when you are faced with competing priorities or are tired or simply don’t want have the energy. Your accountability partner can be a friend, a family member, or someone that you work with. (If you find that a friend or family member doesn’t push you the way that you need to be pushed, your accountability partner can be someone like me, a Results Coach.)

The ultimate goal here is to take make a small change. Even small changes, every day, over time, will eventually get you to where you want to be. Small steps and small changes lead to more change. Just do something different. Even if you have to start by taking a different route to work, or drinking water instead of soda, or wearing suits instead of casual wear… making small changes gets you into the change mode. Before you know it, you will be making bigger and bigger changes with ease.

I use this technique too. I used it when I wanted to start my coaching business. Everything seemed so overwhelming… business name, website, training, marketing, etc. I just started making little changes every day that would get me closer to my goal. And I got an accountability partner.

Recently, I decided to use this technique with my health. I want to lose 30 pounds (and keep it off this time) so every week, I am implementing one positive change for my health. For example, week one, I started drinking at least 64 ounces of water every day. Week two, I started adding 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week. Week three, eat at least one serving of fruit every morning. Etc. Then, once I get to my goal weight, I will implement small changes to maintain my weight.

There is a second piece of Newton’s law of motion that says “an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. IN other words, continuing to make small positive changes will keep the ball rolling in the direction of your goals. This technique enables you to skip having to find the courage or the motivation or the willpower to tackle a big change or a big goal.