Monday, February 4, 2013

Goals failing for 2013 ALREADY?? Its fixable.

What you want is on the other side of what you won't do...Dr. S. Pierce

So many of us set goals in December 2012 and here it is February and if asked, we couldn’t tell you WHAT they are. We lack something that causes the “stick to it-ness” that it takes to be successful. We recognize the cycle. Make a plan, get excited about the plan, get back to everyday life, and forget the plan. What’s missing that will get us out of the rut of chaos?

We turn our nose up at “Twakinisha” who may be a stripper at the local club. We say that her business is demeaning, inappropriate and unsuitable for a lady. I happen to agree, BUT there is something to be learned from her. Twakinisha will work out 4-5 times a week to keep her body tight. She needs to be in top form in order to do her job, so she makes the sacrifice in what she eats, she rehearses her routines until they are second nature. She will also stay up until 2-3 o clock in the morning if that what it takes to make her money.

Hate her if you will…but she has something valuable that many of us lack. Discipline; plain and simple discipline. Discipline is defined as training or a regimen to ensure proper behavior. Most of us don’t keep a steady regimen for anything that we do. We start an exercise program, and 2 weeks in we’re done with it. We start out going to work on time and after a while our laziness creeps in. We make goals on December 24th for the New Year and within the first month you find yourself clearly behind schedule (* writer raises hand and ducks under the table :/ ).

What do we need in order to develop a cadence or a regimen for making and completing our goals on time, every time? I have determined that these four things helped me JUST THIS WEEK to realign my discipline to be successful and get back on track:

Make your to-do list “bitesize” so you can get them done easily and feel a sense of accomplishment (I had a lot to complete in January, but I kept getting overwhelmed by the massive plan I put on myself. Once I broke the tasks down to “Monday, I will do this piece and tomorrow I will do this section” I felt like I could breathe again). I’m going to lose 20lbs in a week is not a safe and doable task, but I will not eat any fast food or drink any soda this week is doable and will challenge you.

Have a circle of accountability. People that will straight up ask you…How is your book coming? Did you get to the gym this week? I have an awesome circle of people that not only care about me, but they care about what I am trying to do. When I am off track or slacking, they check me and they check me HARD. We argue, fuss and fight. BUT I am grateful to have matured enough to know that, I don’t need people that make me feel “swell” about how wonderful I am and pump my ego. I need people that see what I can become and push me even at the risk of getting on my nerves..until I get there. People in my circle have pure motives. It’s not for what they can get from me or manipulate me to do for them, but they wish to simply see me succeed. You can’t buy that kinda circle; you have develop it from the ground up and be willing to pay a steep price for it.

Don’t get flustered and throw the baby out with the bath water. That’s an “old folks” term that means not to get out of sorts when things don’t go as planned and throw away the good with what went wrong. Would I throw away my entire plan for the year because I got behind the 8 ball in January? Of course not, regroup and give yourself some grace. I do my best to stick to my plan, but life WILL get in the way and I have to get better at making allowances for that and moving on.

Be willing to adjust the plan. Your overall goal may be to put 5000.00 in savings this year or take a vacation to Fiji. But to save 2000.00 over 6-8 months and take advantage of a deal you received to go to a resort in Key West for 1/3 of what you would have paid for Fiji is NOT a bad thing. Make the goals adjustable and overarching. In this case the goal is to go on vacation in a warm climate and to save more in your savings account this year than you did last year. Where you go and how much you save are adjustable details that you don’t need to stress about.

So back up a few pages in that journal or look at your Facebook page or twitter feed in January. What did you commit to do? Make a DOABLE bite size plan to work toward that goal, don’t get flustered, be willing to adjust your plan and appreciate your circle that is pushing you to be great. No, I am not suggesting we all become strippers and Twakinisha may not be your cup of tea, BUT she is working a principle that applies to ANYONE who does it..The diligent hand SHALL bear rule. Even an evil, nasty farmer can plant a seed, water it and see a harvest. Work the PRINCIPLE and you will reap the benefits

Friday, December 14, 2012

This year think S.M.A.R.T....and plan ahead..

Before you know it, 2013 will begin. But before 2012 becomes a memory, why not evaluate where you have been and where you would like to go so that when January 1, 2013 arrives, you will be prepared with a clear plan in mind.

More often than not New Year’s Eve events are full of more celebratory moments than reflective ones. So I have learned to start the entire year-end process beginning in mid-December. I spend time during this month thinking about the year as a whole and what changes I have made to my character because of the things I have experienced. I also begin to turn over ideas of things that I would like to accomplish in 2013.

 While most are involved in last minute hustle and bustle of gift buying and wrapping, on Christmas Eve night, I will start a fire in my fireplace, and get a very comfortable seat. Armed with my list of goals and plans from this year and a new journal/planner for 2013, the work begins of planning for a purposeful new year. There are many strategies and approaches to do this, but this is the way that has worked best for me.

1. Congratulate yourself for what was accomplished in 2012. Think about everything that happened over the year (going through your planner or calendar on your phone will help you remember). If it was a memorable moment to you, challenged your paradigm or represents a once thought ‘impossible goal” document that in the back of your 2012 journal. Also include any lessons learned and what you learned about yourself. This year, I was honored as a Michigan Chronicle Woman of Excellence. The things I learned during that experience were priceless, surely a highlight of the year.

2. Develop the new goal list. What changes do you plan to make in the New Year? What new skills do you hope to learn? What places do you hope to visit? What projects need to be completed? Perhaps you can choose 3-5 general areas in your life you want to improve (i.e health, relationships, finances, education, organization, exposure etc..) and then define the goals you want to achieve within these areas.

3. Be precise. The S.M.A.R.T goals system is a GREAT method for goal setting– (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). Why is this imperative? When you clarify what you want to accomplish, what it will look like when completed and the process as to how you will attain it, you designing a guide of how and within what time frame the change should occur if you are on task. In short, accountability. If people have no measurable goals in place, it is usually because they want NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

4. Create a plan (think small steps). In keeping with the SMART goal approach, break down the various elements that need to be completed in order for your goal to materialize. Pull out your planner and set up daily, weekly, monthly goals based on what is necessary. Set up recurring reminders on your phone. Example for 2010 I wanted to make a conscious effort to pray for my daughter about school every day. I pray for my family regularly but I wanted to specifically target school for her. So I set up a recurring reminder on my cell to go off while I am driving to work. When it rings it is a reminder to pray for her. It was a small step, but now even two years later, it’s a habit. I automatically set my phone up at the beginning of the school year and even note her teachers’ names, classes etc. in the reminder so I can include it as well.

5. What’s your motivation . . . What is your-Why? Once you have made a list of the goals/projects you want to achieve in 2013, ask yourself WHY you want to pursue them. What is your motivation and what do you believe the goal will bring into your life? Is it for self-improvement, self-fulfillment or is it for someone else? Setting goals with someone else in mind isn’t always a negative thing. My “why” for my business building has very little to do with me. I am building it for my children and my grandchildren.  When times get tough and you don't feel like studying or exercising or reviewing the accounts payables again..your "why" can give you the push you need to continue.

December is a month of festivities, love, family, giving, activities, big surprises and the perfect month to begin to dream beyond what you can see. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to plan your future. Start today and come New Year’s Day 2013 be ready to implement the strategy that will catapult you into your next level.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Give the gift of "slack"

Being in a Superfamily, we actively deal with at least 3-4 family schedules every holiday not including our own household. First of all, there is my family. That includes my kids, my parents, my sister, brothers, in laws, nieces and nephews. Then there is my husband’s family. He has his children, a brother, two sisters, nieces, nephews and in laws. Then there is my husband’s kids family (his former wife's relatives) which include their grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. On top of that we have 5 kids that are married with families and in-laws of their own.

So you figure it out...who do you go see first? Who do you say no too? What happens when it is your turn to host on "your side" of the family but it’s your spouse's sister turn on the other side? Or what happens when your kids want you to see their other parent’s family which of course cannot include your current spouse and their side of the family. So say yes means leaving your spouse and their children behind and spending time with your former family. To say no means disappointing your children.

Welcome to REAL "Stepfamily" life and it is a far cry from what is displayed on the 70’s show The Brady Bunch. There is no Alice to help clean up messes and NOTHING gets solved in 22 minutes plus commercials. It’s enough to leave you in heap of frustrated tears, if you allow it. You stretch yourself so thin and in the end without fail someone is left disappointed-usually you.

Every day we face new awkward complexities and the Holidays intensify those complexities. Sacrifice and disappointment are inevitable, but how you deal with it can make the difference.

Our holiday advice for stepfamilies or any complex family:

1. PLAN ahead. Do not wait until the week of, or day of and think that you can manage a complex family situation-it won't work. Communicate your plan ahead of time and listen to (and consider) your spouse's suggestion about the plans. Work toward compromise but not at each other’s expense.

2. Relax, ignore the stereotypes and learn to say NO. Sometimes to your kids, sometimes to your family, sometimes to your job, church, neighborhood or club. You cannot do everything. Get over it and let other people know they need to get over it too. Don’t allow people to say what you should do just because it’s what they do. Do not let "other people's normal" pressure you or get you in a state of foolish expectation. Do you.

3. Understand and accept that this is your life now. It will only get more complex from here. Our children will have to visit other family members as well as us, their grandparents etc. Accept where you are so you can plan effectively for where you are headed.

4. Enjoy where you are, wherever you are. One holiday we were split up and my husband was supposed to join me later. He didn’t make it. BUT I could have ruined the holiday for me, my family and my kids if all I did was worry about if my husband was coming or if I constantly called him, bugged him, texted him, wondering where he was or if they were going to make it. Instead, I put my phone in my purse, made punch, ate dessert with my nephew, played a hilarious charade game with the whole family and let the chips fall where they may. I assume that my husband and his family had a good time together as well. BE where you are.

5. Protect yourself. If one and/or both of you have crazy or insensitive family members that you simply don't want to be around (and everybody has them), set up a signal or a time limit ahead of time as to how long they can stay or how long you will be there. Never ruin or sacrifice your holiday by being someplace more than 60 minutes where you don’t want to be. Don't do it. Stop by if you must, keep the car running, be polite, wave from the door, send a pie, but don't subject yourself to any absurdity. Both of you and your family deserve better, especially during the holidays.

6. Don't give ultimatums. Why not? Because simply put-it’s stupid, as ultimatums usually are. Don't try and force someone else to make a decision. I tried it, and it doesn’t work. You and what you want may not be the priority in every case. Make no demands. You are going to have to spread the love around and share her/him, so deal with it. They had family when you met them and they will have family should you leave. So, instead of being jealous or possessive, be grateful that they have family that love them and that they have the heart capacity to love others. Send them on their way if you can’t work out a viable alternative and go have a great time yourself.

7. Carve out time with just the two of you during the season to reflect on the year and dream for next year. Last year my husband and I did a breakfast on Christmas Eve at a restaurant and it was great to slow down from the hustle and bustle and jusy enjoy being together. That time alone together more than made up for the few hours we missed together on Christmas. As a matter of fact, I am choosing that again this year.

8. You can do the “one hour at each house” thing. But why drag your kids and spouse all over town? None of you are really connecting with anyone because you are on time limit to get to the next stop. Pick a side of the family for thanksgiving, another for Christmas and maybe even another for the New Years. If it works, great, continue to manage it effectively and keep your sanity as the priority.

Let some expectations go. It’s a sure fire way to keep stress down and reconnect with the people that are important to you. Put a different gift under the tree this year..try giving each other some slack this holiday season. When you give the gift of choices, you receive the gift of liberty.