Thursday, March 31, 2011

Unachieved Goals

Today is March 31st and I set a goal six weeks ago to be accomplished by today, but it’s not.  The question is now should I be disappointed and upset?  Should I give up and say to myself, “You’ll never accomplish this goal, so why even try?”  I could, but that really wouldn’t be helpful to anyone.

So today instead I look at everything I have accomplished in the last six weeks.  I’ve done training, I’ve been blogging, I’ve been meeting with my accountability partner, I’ve been doing a lot of research and I have someone working on a website, business cards and letterhead.   I’ve started going to Toastmasters to improve my speaking and communication skills and I’ve started a draft for a speech.  I’ve also spent some quality time with my family, and achieved some other smaller, but equally important goals.  Considering I work a full time and have children, that’s not bad for six weeks, so when I see that I haven’t completed everything I wanted to by March 31st, I can still be proud of what I have done.  I know that if I stay with it, I will get there.  If I stop now, the one thing I know for certain is I won’t reach my goal.

Have you set goals and not achieved them by the date you wanted?  Losing 20 lbs by summer, or training for a marathon, starting a business, or getting a new job.  Whatever your goal, stick with it because it’s quite possible you are closer than you realize and you can be certain of one thing:  if you give up now, you will not reach your goal.  Look at all the small successes and be proud of yourself and celebrate everything you’ve done then look at your plan, re-evaluate and re-commit to a new timeline.  

When at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again and then again and again.  

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Calling in sick

So is a blogger allowed to call in sick?  Do you risk disappointing people who are regular readers?  It’s been a long day as my youngest has been sick and I think I was more worried about him then I let on and I haven’t slept well the last couple nights.  Now he’s a bouncing boy again, but I’m exhausted and yet I haven’t written tonight’s blog.  

I realized, I could go to bed and not post anything, but what does that say about the commitment I’ve made to myself.  I committed to writing a blog five days a week and although I’m sure readers would understand, I’d be letting someone even more important down.  I’d be letting myself down.  

People seem to say they are committed to things these days, but it doesn’t seem to have the same meaning anymore.  Even the commitment of marriage is now often treated as “something we’ll try out”.  Real commitment means doing whatever is needed to make it work.  In marriage, that means through good times and bad times.  Commitment to your goals is just as important, so follow through and just get it done.  Plan accordingly and don’t over commit, setting yourself up for failure, but when you finally come up with a workable, realistic commitment do everything necessary to keep that commitment.  Otherwise, you are consciously or subconsciously saying to yourself that your commitments to yourself are not really that important and you are not that important.  

To quote the Nike slogan “Just do it.”  You can be proud of your accomplishments when you know you did it, even when it was hard or inconvenient.

OK-tonight’s blog is done and I can continue to say that I have, without fail, posted five days a week since I started.  Still committed!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pace yourself

Today as I went out for one of the first runs of the season I was reminded of an important principle.  I have a program that I followed last year that involves walking and running in short intervals throughout the run.  Since I thought I wasn’t in bad shape, I started with 2 minutes of brisk walking, 2 minutes running and then alternated 1 minute walking, 2 minutes running for the remainder of my run.  The only problem is that I had only run 3 times all winter and started running too hard so that I was quickly out of breath and thinking I might have to cut the run short.  Luckily I slowed down and was able to do a full run.  I started to pace myself better so I could do more over the long run.

Sometimes we do the same thing when striving for goals.  We have a list of actions and we push ourselves to do so much that we can’t keep it up, or worse, we don’t want to.  Even if you are starting a new business and you need to put in long hours to get things off the ground, you still need to balance it with the rest of your life, otherwise what’s the point.  You still need to spend time with your spouse and family, you still need exercise and yes, you even need some time to relax.  Pace yourself by keeping consistent steady action that moves you forward, but don’t burn yourself out, after all life is about the journey, not the destination.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bring solutions, not problems

In Canada we have an election underway and I am amazed at the criticism and shots fired back and forth among the political parties.  These people will tell you all the problems, but don’t give much back in the form of solutions.  I am surprised, because I guess I was brought up in a family that respected our politicians, and maybe back then they deserved more respect, but I am saddened by the current state of affairs.  

I realize, though that I shouldn’t be surprised by this behaviour.  It seems that many people are ready to blame others and find fault, but rarely come up with good solid solutions.  It’s always someone else’s fault and we rarely see people take ownership of the part they’ve played in the outcome.  There’s a phrase that says “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”  We could all benefit from this principle even in our thoughts to ourselves.  We know what the problems are, we live them everyday, and of course there’s nothing wrong with making sure you know what the problem is and clearly defining it, but then it’s time to move on.  Come up with solutions.  Not every solution will be perfect or even all that good, but at least the focus will be on positive movement forward.  When you hear your self talk saying, you’re too fat or too lazy, you’re focussing on the negative or the problem.  What is the solution?  How can I be healthier so I lose unwanted weight? Or how can I take action and get motivated so I accomplish something?  If you focus on being overweight then that’s what you’ll get, but if you focus on how to become healthier then you will become healthier. 

In your relationship with your spouse, do you continually focus on the fact that your partner never listens or do you focus on ways that you can open lines of communication?  Do you complain that your kids never do their chores and their homework or do you instead focus on ways to empower them and make them feel better about themselves so they want to be productive members of the family and want to succeed in school? 
Politicians could take a cue from this principle.  Focus on what you do right and the solutions to the problems of the people.  I don’t need anyone telling me all the problems the other guy has or will create.  I want to know what you will do and the actions you can take to move us forward to a better place.  So please whether at work, at home, in your own mind or in the political arena, think about the solutions and stop focussing on the problem.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Death of Fear

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  Everyone is afraid.  Know this.  Courageous people are afraid.  The only difference is courageous people face their fear and move forward anyway.  When faced with a difficult decision, look at what it is you are really afraid of.  Often it is not the thing or action itself that we fear, but fear of failure or criticism. 
Have you ever been afraid of anything?  Silly question!  Of course you were.  You may have been afraid to dive off the diving board, or afraid to get behind the wheel of a car.  Perhaps you were afraid to ask for a raise, or afraid to talk to your spouse.  But how did you feel after you did it?  Once you dove off the diving board, even if the dive was far from perfect, you weren’t as afraid because the result was no longer completely unknown.  The more you do something the less afraid you are and the more confident you become.  

Our fears hold us back and keep us from trying the things that will help us achieve our goals.  Action is the death of fear.  This weekend, try one thing that you are afraid of and take note of how you feel after.  Then try it again and see if it isn’t a little easier.  Start with something small if you’d like, but be aware of how the feelings of fear decrease each time you do it.  

Have a great weekend and see you Monday!