Category Archives: Action

Diary of a New Year’s Junkie: Resolutions Rock!

It’s January 1st! I always love opening a new journal in a new year with a new plan, and a new pen. Most important to have everything shiny and new. Clear the mind of all of last year’s clutter, especially those unfulfilled dreams, and the too many sweet indulgences, leading to the unfulfilled weight loss plan of 2014.

Oh well, operation clean slate starts right now.A good time to start something new.

How exciting! I wish every day felt so fresh and full of promise. It’s like the first day driving home your brand new car with a huge grin plastered on your face, your new baby so clean and perfect. It feels like the world pauses in awe, all the stoplights are green and people smile at you in appreciation as you sleekly whiz by them. But not silently, as if driving an electric car. That’s just creepy, coming up on people unawares and scaring the crap out of them. No, this car sounds confident and powerful, but not deafening. Too loud is just as insensitive to people as too quiet. Now if they could just get rid of that ‘new car smell’, all would be perfect. Gives me a massive headache…

So, back to the point. New year, new plans, new purpose, brand-new motivation. New is good. Brand-new is even better; no previous failures to sully the waters of this new start. I used to think I had motivation, but when days, weeks, months go by with no progress, evidence tends to point to motivation missing in action. Now, though, this time, I feel more connected to doing the best things for me. And why not? Who else will lose the weight for me? Who could possibly care as much as I do if I learn to speak Italian? Why would anyone else come over and cook all my meals for me?

Well, they wouldn’t, would they? It’s all up to me. I am in charge. I’m the boss. When you want something done…

Starting to sound a bit lonely. But, when you get down to it, you really are all alone in the world. People come and go, some you enjoy, some you tolerate, some you even pawn off on unsuspecting friends, but a few you love. A lot. And they make everything else worth it.

Okay then. Time to get serious. One fantastic year coming up. I am in charge, and it will be full of fantastic times with the people I love, trips to places I’ve never been, a new wardrobe in a size 8 (or 6!) and many impressive interactions (perhaps cooking?) with other fluent Italian speakers. Si! Molto bene!

 


Bring Your Life into Balance

The ability to find and maintain balance in your life is a skill. Some people may be more or less skilled at keeping up with all the responsibilities in their lives than you are. If you already feel pretty good about this, you probably can share this article with someone who may need it more than you. If you feel overwhelmed, and not sure how to keep it all running smoothly, then you’re in luck. Finding and maintaining balance is a skill, and because it’s a skill, you can learn or improve it. It’s also a habit. and once you learn a new habit, it gets easier and easier to keep it up. Ready?

beamazingSimplifying life is the easiest way to find and maintain balance. This means finding ways to streamline all areas of your life, so you are not using all your time and energy in only one or two areas to the detriment of others. For instance, you may be working long hours at work, and continuing to work once you get home. As a result, your relationships with family, friends, and your physical health may start to suffer.

It’s like the Plate Spinner at the circus. Perhaps he is capable of successfully spinning 6 plates at once. He starts with one, gets it going smoothly and adds another, and another until all 6 are aloft. Each requires minimal periodic attention to keep it going.

If he skips a plate, or spends more time on another than necessary, the others start to wobble, and eventually fall. Life is like spinning plates. You have your work, your home, your relationships, your physical needs, your spiritual needs, your social responsibilites, and perhaps others.

Take a quick look at how you utilize your time each day, and week to get a glimpse of how many plates you successfully have spinning. This is not to make you feel inadequate if you have only one or two up in the air. It is just to help you determine if some of the plates-or life areas- which aren’t spinning are keeping you off-balance. You’ll notice if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry about situations which you wouldn’t have before, or are feeling tired, out of shape, lonely or unhappy with work or life in general.

Simplifying life then is to find a way to include the missing relationships or needs. To find a way to spin a couple more plates will require you to spend less energy on the one that demands too much time. This could mean finding ways to delegate responsibilities, or saying no to nonessential requests, or combining activities that can spin plates in more than one area. For instance, taking a walk with a spouse or friend  adds relationship and physical value to your life. Enlisting help at work can be social as well as working. Make a list of some activities commitments you can drop, and some ways to combine your life areas.

Simplifying life is like cleaning out your closet. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need and doesn’t suit or fit you. Keep only the things which you love. You and your closet will have more space to fill with the activities which make you feel fulfilled and happy.

 Get simplified, and enjoy more…life.


Be More Successful by Adding Gratitude

You want to have success in your life. Be something important, do something that changes the world, even if only your corner of it. Do you know how to do it? Or are you stuck, wondering what will get you there? Chances are, you need a better plan, and to appreciate your life where you are now. Let’s speed things up for you.quotethankyou

What is success, but an accomplishment of an aim or purpose? You dream up goals for your life, and when you achieve them you are successful. The key first step is having goals that you want to tackle. Not just ideas, dreams, wishes, which can get the creative juices flowing, but real goals with deadlines and steps to get there. If you don’t have these written down, that would be your first step to success. Know what you want to achieve.

When you have a plan, sometimes it just stays a plan, much like a resolution to join a gym or lose ten pounds. It sounded great on Jan. 1, but you have to act on the plan to make it happen. What could be keeping you from jumping in and getting things done?

Sometimes it’s a fear of failure, or success. These can keep you frozen, inactive. Or it may be a lack of belief in your worth, ability, experience, etc. You may not know what is hindering your success, but you can circumvent it.

The magic solution is gratitude.

Gratitude is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. And gratitude begins with appreciating all you have right now. You can be grateful for all you’ve experienced in life that has brought you to this moment. You can even be grateful for all the painful learning experiences in life, for the lessons you learned.

What does this have to do with success? Well, you need to combine the two ideas to speed up your progress. Look first at things you’ve successfully completed in the past, as simple as learning to ride a bike to completing a marathon. Make a list. Then add to it some current ones. Earned an award at work, or bought a new car. We all have countless examples of success.

Now, look over your list of ‘Successes’, and read each one. After each say, “Thank you for my success at (fill in the blank). Make sure you do this for each item. Make it fun. Thank other people who supported or helped you achieve any of them. Pretend you’re giving an acceptance speech.

You may have heard that what you spend your time/energy on multiplies. So instead of spending time worrying or complaining about how awful things are, turn it around and be grateful, for everything. Especially those things you want more of. Concentrate on appreciation and you will be rewarded with more things to appreciate.

Now, go find (or write) your list of goals. Take the steps to get there, celebrating with gratitude each small success. Be thankful for the opportunity to achieve more great things.

Want to learn more about using Success and Gratitude to live the life of your dreams? You should check out my new Project/Course on Simpleology to get step by step guidance.


How to Get Where You Want to Be in Life

Getting where you want to be in life seems hard and confusing sometimes, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to. It’s quite similar to using your computer or GPS system to guide you from one location to the next.

There are a couple of basic requirements for GPS to work. You need to know where you’re starting from, and where you plan to go. The more specific, the better. You can say you want to travel from Chicago to San Francisco and get most of the necessary directions. If you add specific addresses to both locations, you have a plan that takes you from door to door. How simple is that?

You have your own ability to go from one place in your life to another. It’s called your Inner Global Positioning System (GPS). It has the same basic requirements as the auto GPS; you still need to know where you are and where you want to go.

This question, however is a bit more involved. Not all of us know where we are, or where we want to go. Your Inner GPS can’t give you any help without this information. You are at a standstill, or you are lost.

What does it mean to know where you are now? This involves asking some tough questions and giving honest answers. Start by taking stock of your life in these areas:

  • Career/work
  • Family life
  • Education
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality

 

Think back 3, 5 or 10 years and ask yourself, “Where did I hope to be right now in these areas?”. If you regularly set goals for yourself, this should be fairly easy to determine. If you don’t set goals, or write New Year’s Resolutions, you may not have a yardstick to use as a measure.

This is a critical first step to calibrating your Inner GPS. Even if you have goals or life plans, updating them every 6 months or so is an excellent habit to keep you on track, as you never know when construction detours by way of unforeseen circumstances (lost work, sickness, divorce, etc.) can impact what you want for your life.

Take some time and write down where you are in your life right now. If you don’t know where you are, you won’t know how to get to your desired goals! Make this a priority so you don’t wander aimlessly through life.

The next step is to know where you want to be with your life. Do you want to start a new career? Are you itching to live someplace warmer? Have you thought about your family size? What about feeling healthier and happier? What specifically do you want to accomplish in these areas?

These are the next questions you need to clarify. Using goals and visualizations in all areas can help you stay focused on getting you going in the right direction. The clearer you are about your plan, the easier for your Inner GPS to lead the way, and show you the steps to take to get there.

It’s time now for you to turn on the GPS and start taking steps to your ideal life. Start today, don’t look back 3 years from now and say, “I wish I had started sooner”. For more help, see some of my other articles on Goal Setting on my website.

Enjoy, and may all your traffic lights be green!


Make Your Dreams Happen With SMART Goals

SMART goals. Use them when you want to make sure your goals have the best chance of success.

This means that instead of just having pie in the sky wishes like, “I want to be the next Oprah Winfrey, (or Roger Federer, or Steve Jobs)”, you get very specific about what you want. How do you do this? Use the SMART way of writing your goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

Let’s say my goal is to be the next Oprah. What are the particular qualities or attributes about Oprah am I wanting? Do I want to be a single 50-something woman with a lot of money? Do I want to own (no pun intended) a cable channel and a magazine? Am I interested in meeting and talking with leaders and change-makers from the world over? Can you see how there are an infinite number of ways to define this?

What SPECIFICALLY do I want? This is the first step in setting a good SMART goal.

Next, you want to make sure your goal is MEASURABLE, in other words you will clearly know when you have reached it. Continuing with our goal to be more like Oprah, let’s say you wanted to have enormous amounts of money like her. If you state it in terms of a specific amount, then it is measurable.

GOAL: I want to have 12 million dollars in my bank account. This is specific and measurable.

Now, is it actionable? Are there steps you can take to make this happen? Yes. How you do that is the key, and will most likely have many smaller steps to complete. For instance, perhaps you want to buy and sell real estate to make money. Or buy and rent it. Or develop land into commercial properties. Or write and sell a book on How to Make Money in Real Estate. Endless options. You do have to DO something to make it happen. So let’s say your goal will look like this:

GOAL: I will buy/sell real estate properties until I have 12 million dollars in my bank account. Specific, measurable and action-oriented.

Next we ask, is this a REALISTIC goal? Do you believe I can do it? Certainly it has been done many times by many people, but the key here is your belief in my ability to do it. You may want it, but are you willing and capable of following through? The test isn’t if you are afraid to do it, but rather do you feel passionate enough to push through the fear and do it anyway. Any worthy goal will usually cause you to stretch outside your comfort zone – Outside the Box, if you will. Take some time and make sure you feel up to the challenge your goal presents. Also, take the time to envision what your life will be like once you achieve it. This is very powerful. Then, we tweak the goal or reaffirm it.

GOAL: I will buy/sell real estate properties until I have 12 million dollars in my bank account. Specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic.

And last, the goal needs to be Time Constrained. To say that you want to have 12 million dollars is great, but unless you have a deadline you could be working toward this the rest of your life. By when do you want to have this accomplished?

GOAL: I will buy/sell real estate properties to accumulate 12 million dollars in my bank account by December 31, 2014. Specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time limited.

Now you have a SMART goal. Of course this goal is going to take a bit of time and effort. To reach it you will need to break it down into smaller goals. Examples might be:

  • Buy and resell 12 properties by 12/31/12.
  • Hire 6 new agents to work for me by 5/31/12.
  • Secure Investors for 5 million dollars for subdivision project by 4/30/12.

These are a few examples, and you may need more, but with mini-steps with deadlines, it will be much simpler to stay on track to reach the Big Goal! For more examples of SMART goals, see more articles!


Your Life Currency

quotescointime.1
by Tyra LaRocca
Many, if not most people believe that the most valuable currency available in this life is money. While it is important and can make life more comfortable, it is not the most valuable. Time is the most valuable currency we each have. And we don’t know how much of it we get to enjoy.

We are all born into this life with nothing, only the comforts and blessings which our parents or caregivers share with us.The only thing we truly have, and have responsibility for is our time and how we spend it. We may not learn how to manage our time until we are adults (or at all…), but we still learn lessons about its importance.

Who hasn’t been late for an important meeting, or a movie and felt the pressure of getting there before it’s too late? Have you ever missed a plane, or a train? What a huge difference a few minutes can make, right? Of course, there are times when we may not have control over the circumstances, weather issues, or your car breaks down. Most of the time, you have more control than you think.

How would you spend your time if you believed you were in control of it, and you may not have as much left as you’d like? What are those dreams and lofty plans that you’ve pushed to the back burner of your mind? Learn to play the piano? Visit a foreign country? Take a painting class? Get your first massage? Pick one, dust it off, and let’s get started.

What could you do if you carved a half hour of time from your day? Could you do some research on the class/trip/activity to take the first step? Of course, it may seem nearly impossible, but we all have time that we let slip by in mindless action or inaction. Who doesn’t spend much more time than necessary checking email-messages-Facebook? Ask yourself if this activity adds to your enjoyment of life in proportion to the time you spent.

Or my favorite, the television. Since the advent of the DVR, I can watch all my favorite shows any time I want. But, there are too many for me to justify the time. So, I’ve been slowly deleting the ones that I don’t look forward to seeing, keeping only the ones that I choose to watch first. This has saved me so much time currency that I am now spending on doing things I love that feel good. I write more, I go outside, I plan trips, and I am learning to speak Italian.

These goals and desirable activities will only happen if I choose to spend my limited time on them instead of other ones which are less gratifying and satisfying. You can do this, too.  Start small, say a half hour a day. Work up to longer periods, or more days and before you know it, you will be craving to do more of the things that you genuinely enjoy. Spending your time currency just the way you want to. You can’t save your time, or take it with you. Choose wisely each day and your time will be richer.

Start NOW, don’t waste another minute…


What is Your True Purpose in Life?

Don’t know? No problem. We have ways of helping you figure that out…

THE Big Question...
THE Big Question…

One great way is to do some brainstorming. Pull out some paper and a pen, find a comfortable place to sit, preferably a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted, and set a timer for at least 20 minutes.

At the top of the paper write this question: What is my true purpose in life? And then, just start writing down whatever comes to mind, no censoring or judging, just let it spill out.

You will most likely have some lulls, and during that time look around you and consider your surroundings and what they may mean to you, or what you find interesting about them.

Are you outside and can look at the beauty all around that you may take for granted? What does it inspire in you?Are you inside, looking around at a room you have decorated lovingly with items that have meaning to you? What does that tell you?

Are you surrounded by reminders of things you have started but given up on? Projects, classes, unpacked boxes? What can you glean from the way these things make you feel?

This should help you get the juices flowing again. If the timer rings, keep going if you still have more to write. You can certainly add to your list over time when something pops into your head. Here are some examples from my brainstorming session.

  • Helping others
  • Traveling
  • Writing
  • Writing to help others
  • To dream of new things
  • To give life to other people’s life stories
  • To find the joy in every day
  • In every thing
  • To explore new places
  • To fit in anywhere
  • To spread joy in little ways
  • To observe people to learn
  • Writing creative interesting stories that have a deeper meaning
  • To try new things, make things better
  • Do little things every day that make a difference to others
  • Invent something that changes the world

There are quite a few, as you can see. But that doesn’t end the search. In some ways it started it. But then as I studied the list, some similarities stood out, some categories started to form. One of them is writing. Of course that seems to be one I am pursuing. Another was helping people – perhaps by spreading joy in some way.

Look at your list. Is there any item that stands out more for you, that draws you in? Or is there some way that you can combine some topics as your purpose?

I think that is the beginning of finding your purpose- writing down what you are passionate about. Ask yourself, ‘what would you do if money weren’t an issue?’ Ah, that may put a different light on the idea. Those are the things your heart longs to do. Pay attention to them, for they will reward you with joy and fulfillment beyond imagination.

Take your time, but come back to your list often, add, subtract and contemplate on ways you could be acting on the items that mean the most to you. Take a step forward to live your passion as soon as you can. And every day you can. It can change your life.

Until next time, Be AMAZING (just be yourself)!


Step into Nature, Connect to YOU!

When the temperature dips, and the wind starts blowing the changing  leaves, I get excited. The beauty of nature always amazes, and never more than during the fall season for me. I love the feel of the crisp air as I walk. The crunch of the fallen leaves, the contrast of clear blue sky with cooler-than-it-looks temperatures. It makes me smile, and feel very happy to be alive. Do you feel this way, too?quotenatureteacher

When the sun retreats at an earlier time each week, it reminds me to savor the daylight left.  It’s hard not to get caught up in the busy excitement which starts as we prepare for the upcoming holidays. As I settle in to the time change, I start to evaluate the year to this point.

Am I where I wanted to be? Have I completed the goals and projects I set forth at the beginning of the year? The good thing about asking these questions now, is that it isn’t too late to finish some of them (or all of them…). More than likely, at this time of year we think more about getting through the holidays and preparing to start a new year, when we’ll set new goals.

It’s a plan.

But how will you feel at the end of the year if you give up NOW on completing the bright and shiny plan you made back  in January? I know I feel the weight of it niggling at the back of my mind, like a gnat that you can’t see, but you know it’s there for the periodic buzzing around your head.

How about this instead. Take a half hour to sit or walk outside, and while you notice and enjoy all the beauty around you, go over your plans and how far you’ve come this year. Celebrate your accomplishments (Well done, you!). Then take a look at what you haven’t yet finished. Like the seasons in nature, there is a time for everything, and as we near the years’ end, it’s the time to wrap up the loose ends of some of those plans, so they can be safely put away for the winter. If you clear out the  business of this year, you will be free to dream about new and amazing plans for next year.

Get rid of the buzzing gnat first. Free your mind of the niggling unfinished business. You may find that finishing some items could be easier than you thought. Some of the goals you may be able to cross off your list because they don’t fit any more. Either way, if you can find a way to put your goals to rest for the year, you’ll be free to enjoy the holidays, the slow winter season. And once completed it will feel like you do when  watching a beautiful sunset. Ahhh.


Now Is the Time For NOW!

quotetwainYou’ve probably heard that you can’t live in the past, or the future. You can only live in the present, NOW. How often do you find yourself thinking about what you did last week, and how you would do it differently if you could? Or how much you are looking forward to finally going off on the vacation you’ve been planning for the last six months?

Are you able to change what happened last week? No, of course not. Do you know what will happen on your well-earned vacation? Anything could happen between now and then.

Which leaves you only able to deal with what’s happening right now. Look around you. Are you doing something which you enjoy (of course! reading this…)? Is there something you wish you were doing today? Then why are you not doing that? What are you waiting for? The future is not guaranteed.

Seriously, though, how often have you sat down at the end of a long day or week and wondered where the time went, and why you feel like you really didn’t accomplish much of importance. I know I do more often than I care to admit. One thing that helps me to do more of the meaningful things is to make them the top priorities. If the plan is to do those things first, chances are so much greater that they will meet a successful completion.

The other thing that helps me immeasurably is to turn off the TV, or any other distraction that may beckon for my attention. If I follow up with turning on some motivational music, it’s almost impossible to stop me.

What small change could you make to be doing what you need to right now? And, what would be the best thing for you to do right now to get you one step closer to your dreams fulfilled? Take a moment, really think about those two questions. Write them down.

Then, dial down your distractions, and turn up your motivation for success.
One day, one NOW at a time.


Walking Out of the Fog

quotesseefartherHave you ever driven in rain so intense that it was hard to see what was five feet in front of you? Or walked around on a foggy night where even the most familiar surroundings seem foreign? What do you do during times like this? Pull off the road until the downpour subsides? Slow your speed to a crawl? Walk tentatively while disoriented?

But do you eventually make it to your destination? Of course. Was it easy, or enjoyable? Perhaps not. But if you kept moving forward, you got there. Because even when you can only see five feet ahead of you, with every step that five foot window moves forward with you. And when you did reach your destination, it felt amazing, didn’t it? You did it, in spite of all that nature threw in your path.

Sometimes the things we want most in life are similar to being in those times of uncertain direction.We may know what we want, but not how to get there, or what to do. But if we can’t see clearly what we need to do, or where we need to go, we just stay where we are, waiting for the fog to lift, and the rain to stop.

What ends up happening instead is we get wet, and continue standing in the same spot. It’s like standing in the blazing sun and waiting for a cloud to show up when the sky is perfectly blue. There is another way.

The key here is not waiting for circumstances to happen TO US… but to take action and move to a dry or a shady location. If something is important enough to you, you will need to take the steps to fulfillment of that dream or goal.  Taking action doesn’t have to be something huge and scary. Stepping out of the rain is action. Buying an umbrella to help you stay dry while walking in the rain is an action. Talking with a new friend while waiting inside for the rain to subside is action. Any of these small actions might lead to the right person, place or thing that you need to keep moving toward your goal. But, you’ll never know if you just stand there, waiting.

And so it is with your goals. Small, simple steps will lead you where you want to be. Trust that taking a step in the right direction will reveal the next step, and the next. Before you know it, you will have reached your destination or life goal. Way to go, you!  Then, find a new one. After all, the journey is where everything happens.

Enjoy the journey, one step, one action, at a time.