goal setting

What Do Instead Of Making a New Year's Resolution

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During this time of year there is a big emphasis on setting goals and “bettering” ourselves. Sayings like “new year, new you” are everywhere. People are setting aggressive money saving, weight loss, dietary, or workout goals. I’ve seen a lot of people on social media saying thing to the gist of.. “2018 was a terrible a year, but here I come 2019. I’m going to turn it all around.” 

hmmm…

As much as I love goals and focusing on how to bring more intentional design to our lives, new years resolutions aren’t the way we successfully shift our lives.

Here are some harrowing statistics.. 

These aren’t hopeful …

So instead of engaging in something we know doesn’t work for most people, what can you do to actually make 2019 one of the best of your life?

Most of us have broken promises to ourselves much more than we have kept promises to ourselves. What would happen if you had a friend who said they would meet you for coffee at specific date and time and kept either no-showing to the date or making up last minute excuses? You probably wouldn’t trust them. Same goes with ourselves.

When we tell ourselves we’re going to loose weight or save money or change our diet or do more exciting things and we just continue to do the same things we’ve always done, we start to break trust with ourselves. We stop trusting ourselves. 


Then when we set big goals that involve intensive changes to the status quo it’s only a few days or at most a few weeks before we break our promise and go back to our old ways. 

Think about it this way..you’re not going to go on a week long trip to Mexico with your friend who keeps no-showing on you for coffee and you’re not going to trust yourself to eat “clean” and work out every day when you’re not even able to wake up an hour earlier each morning.

So what we need to do is build trust with ourselves in small ways. We need to go for the low hanging fruit. We need to make small changes that are relatively easy and build up from there. The daily habits. This isn’t a sexy proposition, as most people want to make big sweeping changes and see big sweeping results.. but big sweeping results are built from small, steady, consistent daily habits. 


I don’t want to completely disregard goal setting, so I do strongly encourage you to set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for one, three and five years in the future. These an adjust and change as our lives and desires do, but we should always have a plan for where we’re headed if we want to live an intentional, consciously created life. 

However, the most important thing to do during this time of year when we’ve got all the fresh, new year energy is to choose five daily habits you know would make you feel better right now, in this moment.

We don’t want to focus on what we want to change as that is heavy and brings into focus how far we’ve got to go. Not a very motivating thought. But we do want to think about what could we do right now that would make us feel better, right now. That feels doable and empowering. Then make those actions daily habits by committing each one for 30 days before adding the new one.

Here are some examples of daily habits I’ve used this method with. 

  • Drink half your body weight in ounces (eg if you weight 200 pounds you would drink 100 ounces of water) in filtered water each day. 

  • Consistently take my supplements.

  • Add green veggies to every meal

  • Meditate for 20 minutes each morning (this could be 5 minutes if you’re new to mindfulness).

  • Sweat each day

  • Spend one hour undistracted with your partner or kids in the evening

  • Stop work at 6pm 

These daily habits are what is going to build a foundation upon which you trust yourself and keep your own promises to yourself.

So what are is the first daily habit you’re going to adopt this new year? 

 

Part 2: How I Stay Organized | The Tools

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Last week I wrote about the mindset of staying organized, managing your time, making time for the things you value most, and reaching your goals. This week let’s get into the tools I use for time management, goal setting and staying organized, and next week in the final piece of the series I’ll tie it all together.

Number one tool I use all day e’rrr day is google calendar. If you want to be more organized or are confused or at a loss about how to make more time for yourself and the things you value and you don’t have a calendar system, get one stat. It will create healthy boundaries around your time, plus take a lot of the decision fatigue out of your days, so you save your precious brain power for the important stuff. I love using the digital system because then it can sync with other peoples’ calendars, people can send me invites to meetings or appointments, and I can edit it from any of my devices; so it’s always available. Key here is using it religiously; for everything.

I know this may not be for everyone, but I schedule EVERYTHING. I schedule my morning meditation practice, my workouts, my coffee dates with friends, entering all my expenses into quickbooks, and even date nights with the hubs. It doesn’t sound sexy, but it works, and it’s the only way I manage to be relatively highly productive while also never feeling like I’m “too busy.”

Now, of course sometime life happens and my schedule doesn’t go as planned, but that is the exception; not the rule.

The next tool I use the most is trello. This is a relatively new tool for me (thanks to Cass of the The Wellness Rookie for encouraging me to try it out). I used to use google sheets in a very similar way to trello, but trello is for sure more aesthetically pleasing and fun to use.

Trello works as a project management software. One key to being able to take consistent action on big, hairy projects and goals, is breaking down the big stuff into small daily tasks. If you want to write a book, you gotta write the first paragraph and the the first chapter, so it’s easier for our brains to focus on the small achievable tasks. I like to take my big goals or projects and break them down in to 2 hour tasks.

Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. Trello also syncs on all your devices so you can also refer back to your projects no matter you are. Again, accessibility is key to actually using it. I also love that no matter when or where inspiration strikes I can always make notes in trello so that when I’m ready to sit down and work I have all my notes and ideas in one place. This is incredibly useful for staying organized, but still tapping into inspiration which isn’t something that comes on demand.

For example, let’s say you’re committed to starting a blog and building an online following. You’ve read that putting out consistent content is a big part of attracting readers and search engine optimization. So you decide that you will spend one hour writing a blog post every Tuesday at 10am. You’ve got all sorts of ideas! But then Tuesday at 10am rolls around your mind is totally blank. Nothing seems exciting to write about. Now, if you had been keeping a list of topics every time inspiration struck you could look over that list and start writing away, Trello is a place to keep all the to-do lists and organize tasks.

We can’t talk about organization and time management without talking about how to arm yourself against the onslaught of distractions that is our daily life. You cannot be focused, responsible with your time, and intentional if you don’t have some sort of policy around email, texting, social media, etc.

The tools I use to make sure I’m not spending lots of time just scrolling or replying to emails are called “screen time” on my phone and “stay focused” on the computer.

Screen time is a feature available on all iPhones. This feature allows you to set time limits for certain applications. So, for example, I set a 30 min time limit for facebook and instagram so once my 30 min is up for the day the app itself is blocked off. Stay focused works the same way for websites on your browser. You can get similar programs for android phones as well.

These are the main “tools” I use for intentional time management and organization.

Next week I’ll be back with Part 3: How I Stay Organized | Life Design.

Can You Be Trusted with More?

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We talk a lot about what we wish we had. We tend to talk a lot about how “nice” it must be to have more money, a new car, a dream home, hired help, fancy vacations, great relationships and friends, and on and on. We tend to talk a lot with people and in our own heads about how things would be different if we just had a partner, or more money, or a different body. 

We don’t, however, spend a lot of time considering if we could actually handle what we say we wish we had.

Can you be trusted with more money, deeper relationships, more influence or power, a more fancy job, a nicer/bigger house, more happiness?

What if you were given everything you say you want tomorrow.. without going through the process of creating it.. would you keep it for very long?

There is a much quoted fact about lottery winners...in most cases in a few short years the winners end up in the exact same financial situation they were in before they won lottery.

Every time we “level up” in life, it comes with a whole new host of challenges, requirements, and responsibilities. Can you handle those? 


The truth is: you can have whatever you want. You have the means to decide to go after pretty much any goal you can think up. This world has so many opportunities for you..it’s figuratively dripping with them. You’re not any different or less capable than Beyonce or Bill Gates. They’re human too. They have just the same amount of hours in the day that you or I do.


The problem is it’s really easy to think about what we want and feel like a victim because we don’t have it and focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have. It’s the norm. It’s the everyday vibe permeating most of our society. It’s really easy to say, “I wish I was a millionaire with the happy marriage and rocking health.” But it’s a lot harder to actually do the things that would lead to having those things. So we just decide it’s not for us, and keep pining over someone else’s life. 



So my message to you today is this: next time you find yourself wishing you had something else, ask yourself, “Could I be trusted with it?” There is no secret sauce, no different kind of person. We’re all just people. Some people have just decided to focus on what they do have control over and slowly, over time using those things to leverage themselves into whole different realities. 


If you want deeper, more fulfilling relationships, are you committed to staying open and vulnerable, even when it’s super uncomfortable? Are you committed to being honest, but kind with the people around you so that you feel fully understood, but also respect your partner’s or friend’s or family’s feelings? Are you wiling to take time away from what you want to do, to spend time doing what other people want to do. Are you willing to be available to your partner or friend or family member? Having deep, full and mature relationships requires that we become more deep and mature ourselves and that typically requires discomfort, doing things our ego would rather not do, and showing up over and over again.


If you want to be healthier are you able to decide to go to bed at a reasonable hour, skip social engagements, and make more time for yourself? Are you committed to speaking love to yourself and giving yourself compassion when you fall into old habits (news flash: self-berating doesn’t work!)? Are you willing to take advice from others who have done what you want to do as far as health? Are you willing to change your lifestyle? To be healthy and vibrant we need to have a lifestyle that supports vibrancy.


If you want more money, are you willing to gain financial literacy, make sound investments, and actually look at your bank accounts, credit cards, and loans? Are you willing to take risks financially and invest in your future? An issue I see with most people when it comes to money making is that they are too scared to put in the initial financial risk to get the return. Money wants to be in flow, it doesn’t want to stagnate or pool. To make a lot of money, you’re going to have to take substantial risks and get WAY more comfortable and literate in finances. 

There is never any “destination” in life. There will ALWAYS be challenges and hardships and growth required, no matter what you have. That’s the beautiful nature of being a human. As you gain more of the things you want, you will be required to change and shift. 

So the question isn’t whether or not you’re “lucky” enough to have the things you want. It’s "Are you actually willing to make those changes and shifts that would make the kind of life you say you want possible?"

It’s actually COMPLETELY OK if you are not willing. Maybe there is something you’ve been saying you wanted forever and you realize that you’re actually not willing to do what it might take to get it. 

That’s good. Now you know. You can take that space in your brain back and fill it with something you are willing and excited about doing.

Deciding we are willing or deciding we are unwilling to do things both give us power. Knowing where we stand gives us the solid base for jumping off and changing our life. Maybe for years you’ve been wrestling with the idea that you should work out every day to be healthy. But when you really sit down and examine it, you realize, you actually aren’t willing to do that. You’ve got too many other things going on. You do realize that you are willing to workout three times a week, however, or just on the weekends. This is SO much more productive mental health-wise and physical health-wise to know that’s what you’re willing to do. Then you do it and you save yourself all the grief of worrying about not working out every day. 


We get to decide what we’re willing to do and what we’re not. It’s not about getting all the things, it’s about remembering we get the choice to decide what we’re willing or unwilling to do. And move on from there. 

I’m with you.