Category Archives: Goals

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!

 


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…


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.


Do You Feel Lucky?

doublesixIt’s March, and considering that I’m part Irish, the topic I’ve chosen to explore is LUCK. But really it’s about making your own luck. It’s also about believing you have good luck, as what you believe and expect is what you will get.

A lot of people swear that they have bad luck, and can prove it. They will regale me with stories of misfortune and pain ad infinitum. There are also those who don’t believe in luck of any kind.  And there are those who believe they are “lucky”, most likely in the good luck category.

Let’s start with a definition of Luck from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

a: a force that brings good fortune or adversity

b: the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual

c: favoring chance; also: success <had great luck growing orchids>

 Let’s look at definition A. a (unnamed) force that brings good fortune or adversity. Interesting. There are so many ways to interpret this. Is this force a benevolent one which brings us what we need at any given time? Is it akin to Fate in that it’s what is written for our lives, but seems not to have logical circumstances? Or, could it be the result of our plans and dreams and actions that spur the behind the scenes activity which appear to bring us good fortune or adversity?

I used to spend quite a bit of time with my grandmother. She considered herself very lucky.  I would go with her to play Bingo and she would win at least once. Me, not so much. She had a weekly date with lottery scratch-off tickets. It was exciting to watch her scratch and reveal her winnings. She seemed to break even or better most of the time. As I grew older I noticed that she referred to herself as lucky, a winner. And it was true- especially in relation to others (myself included) who considered themselves unlucky.

Definition B: the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual. Similar to the first definition in that the operation of these circumstances and events is by some unknown force. Could we turn this around and say, An individual in the midst of events which operate for (good luck) or against (bad luck) them. And this can and does change constantly- from circumstance to circumstance. Now, we can see how we have some control over our luck. We can do things which help to bring about events that work for us- like introducing ourselves to someone in the field we would love to work, which leads to an interview for an opening that would be a perfect fit. Or, by not having our vehicle serviced regularly and having a breakdown on the way to an important meeting. We call it luck, but is it really so out of our control?

Definition C: : favoring chance; also : successAh, here’s a new wrinkle, success. Defined as:

A: degree or measure of succeeding

B: favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

The example in this definition uses luck and success interchangeably as related to growing orchids. I suggest it can be used in relation to anything we want to have, be or do. We still have to take care of the orchids, to do those things that will ensure their growth: water, appropriate light, drainage, etc. But when we do we find success, or have good luck.

I used to consider myself unlucky, as if the universe didn’t like me enough to share its abundance with me. Over the years I have changed my paradigm on this issue. I know more about what I want and will follow my instincts to move in that direction. My kids will tell you that I am lucky; I win things all the time. And it’s true, over the past year or so I have won concert tickets, ballet tickets, gift cards, a beautiful hand-carved bench, and more because I believe that I can and will win. These are things I love and enjoy experiencing.

This version is also tossed around when people describe others who become very successful, sometimes ‘overnight’. You may hear their success described as being ‘lucky” or ‘being in the right place at the right time”. The idea being that this success was somehow beyond their reach without the luck factor.

I sometimes wonder if we use the term luck to take the responsibility of success off ourselves and onto fate, or some other unnamed source. I prefer to think of this luck as something I create for myself, whether good or bad. Either way, my successes or failures are mine, duly earned by my thoughts and actions regarding the situation.

So, I ask you now. What type of luck are you making for yourself? How do you see yourself, lucky or unlucky? How can you get to a place of good luck-success in your life?

Think about it. Now is not too late to have the success you’ve always wanted. In fact, you can make it happen, just believe it can, and take a step in that direction. Before you know it, you may hear others referring to you as ‘lucky’. But you’ll know better. Good Luck…


Top 10 Things I Want Most (that don’t exist)

***This was written in 2008 in response to a prompt. I have brought it out, dusted it off and am working on a book that pulls this wish list into my world of how to live my own dream life- and how you can too.  Enjoy, and look for the book soon!

This is an exciting question. I generally like to think of myself as an idea person, so I choose to address this in terms of things I want most that do not currently exist. Think outside the box, so to speak. Others have called me a dreamer, or a round peg in a square hole, or just shake their heads. That’s OK, being different is my mantra.

Here are the Top 10 things I want most (off the top of my head):

  1. One of those microwave-type magic meal makers, like in the Jetson’s

It would make life so much easier to walk over to it and say, “Lobster Newburg for 3” and have it pop out in a flash. Not to mention, our menu would then have more than the present 7 choices.

  1. A retractable roof above my bathroom and bedroom

Like my very own superdome. A homedome Now, on starry summer evenings I can watch for shooting stars to wish upon from the comfort of my own bed. Or from my bathtub, complete with candles, music, a glass of fine wine, and maybe my own special McDreamy…

  1. A device that allows me to flawlessly speak and understand any language known to man at the press of a button

It would be such fun to wander aimlessly around the world and fit in like a native. It would also be interesting to eavesdrop on conversations others feel sure you don’t follow-just because.

  1. Chocolate that won’t melt, until I want it to

Beyond the M&M, it would be the richest milk chocolate mixed with my favorite flavors which I could take with me anywhere, even in my pocket, to enjoy at me leisure.

  1. A debit card that works like my kids think it does

They seem convinced that just because I have the card with me, it should be able to purchase anything, any time. I remember thinking the same thing as a kid, “Just write a check, Mom”. If only it were true.

  1. To be able to pause real life

Ever have those moments, when you look back and wish, If only I had said/done this? Well, this would prevent those. Provide the extra time to formulate the perfect action or response to the situation. Or to take a cat nap without missing anything exciting happening in your life. Or to brush your teeth before that kiss. The possibilities are endless.

  1. To dance on stage with Mikhail Baryshnikov, or front row seats to a tennis match in person between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, or Roger Federer and, well anyone.

I know, both of these things may have been possible- at some time. That is, of course assuming I can dance well enough to share the stage with Baryshnikov (oh, well, that’s different- has always been a dream of mine though).

  1. Kids who do their own laundry, and cooking (unless we had a Jetson-wave)

I have actually heard of such kids existing, but never personally met any.

  1. Cats who learn how to use the toilet

The one chore that everyone seems to want to hand off to someone else is cleaning the cats’ litter box. I have always lived in households with cats, and love them to death because they are self-sufficient in so many areas. If they would just learn to use the toilet, I’m pretty sure they would be the perfect pet.

  1. A camera that automatically takes off 10 years and 20 pounds

You’ve heard how the camera adds 10, 20, even 30 pounds (depending on who you ask, and how much less they wish they weighed). Well, this miraculous camera would do just the opposite. Imagine fantastic photos all the time, looking your best, and 10. 20 or 30 pounds lighter (depending on how much less you wished you weighed). I might actually update my family portrait from the 10 year old one on the wall. Oh, to look younger and skinnier. Almost as good as feeling younger and skinnier (that would be number 11).

Well, that’s my wish list for today. Tomorrow I may dream up a new one. These will be so yesterday by then.