Achieve your Goals!

New Beginnings – Change & Moving Forward

Woman sitting on sofa writing in notebookChange is never easy and neither are new beginnings, even when they are by choice.  They push us out of our comfort zones and force us to stretch and grow.  It’s uncomfortable letting go of familiar things, habits, people, but sometimes it’s necessary.  A new home, a new job, a new habit.

Regardless of the reason for the change, it’s important to embrace it!  Change can be healthy.  If you haven’t had a noticeable change in your life in a long time, you may be overdue.  You may be feeling stagnant and restless, longing for things that aren’t present in your life.

Making the change is the challenge and your situation will be different from everyone else’s. The question is: what do you do once the change has happened?  What do you do when it’s time to start over?  If the new beginning is by your choice, you may be feeling excitement mixed in with the anxiety of the uncertainty of the future.  If the changes are not your choice, then feelings of fear and despair may overwhelm you, but a simple shift in perspective can make a world of difference.

Let’s look at this change as an amazing opportunity to design the life you love!  Life will never be 100% perfect, but we can still love the life we build.  If we look critically at the life we have been living, chances are there were things we didn’t love, things we wished we could fix or change.  How often in the past did you say, “I would be happy, if only…”?

Those “if only” moments are opportunities to transform your life!  Take some time to think about those moments and what you would like them to be.  Perhaps it’s a better paying job, perhaps a different job altogether.  Maybe you want to own your own business or work from home.  Have you been longing to write a novel or start a YouTube channel?  Would your life be better if you went back to school or learned another language?  Maybe your only desire is to have a tidy and organized home or take a much needed vacation.  Whatever the desire, take some time to write down all of the things you want to be different from this day forward.  Don’t waste time regretting the things you haven’t done.

Once you write them down, they instantly become goals that you can work toward achieving.  Each one has steps you can take to get closer to achieving your goals.

Step 1: Write down everything you want to improve or change in your life.  Do not edit the list.  Do not censor yourself.  Go ahead and dream big.  This list is just for you!

Step 2: Pick 3 items that you think will bring you the greatest joy, satisfaction, and feeling of accomplishment.

Step 3: Answer a simple question for each goal: WHY do you want this?  In reality, this is the most challenging part.  What is your motivation for wanting to achieve this goal?  Is it for you or for someone else?  If you find that you don’t have a WHY for one of the items, pick something else from your list.  Your WHY is your motivation.  Without motivation, REAL motivation, you’ll find yourself procrastinating down the road or giving up altogether.

Step 4: For each goal: List three action items you can do THIS WEEK to get started.  Don’t think about all of the things that need to happen or all of the reasons it might not be possible to achieve the final goal.  Just think about the first three things that need to occur.

For instance, if you want to go back to school, you might write:

  1. Look up the application requirements for XYZ University
  2. Call the Financial Aid Office to see if I qualify for grants
  3. Look for a school with online courses

If your goal is to become debt-free:

  1. Gather ALL of the statements for my outstanding debts
  2. Get a copy of my credit report
  3. Download a budget worksheet

Don’t limit yourself with the seeming impossibility of the task!

Step 5:  Do the three action items for each goal THIS WEEK!  Don’t procrastinate it.  You’ve waited long enough to have the life you want.  Today is the perfect day to start building it!

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Achieve your Goals!

Networking Tips

I used to be extremely awkward at networking, especially in a room full of strangers.  I had two problems:

First, I have resting bitch face with a wonky eye-brow that just does whatever it wants.  This means, that if I’m just standing in a room, not talking with someone, I have a look on my face that seems cold, disapproving and judgmental.  I definitely am not very approachable when I’m looking this way.  The reality is, I’m just standing there feeling awkward and not sure who to approach and feeling WAY out of my depth, but with that face, no one wants to strike up a conversation with me and so these opportunities were lost on me.

Second, I am NOT good at small talk.  I don’t really know what to say when someone comments to me about the weather.  I live in Arizona.  In the summer it’s HOT.  But if you live in Arizona, this isn’t news.  Here is the scenario:

Stranger: “Wow, it’s really hot today.”

Me: “Yeah, it is.”

And the conversation peters out because really, beyond an agreement or disagreement, there really isn’t more to say.

To combat these issues, I’m sharing some easy and quick ways to get more out of networking opportunities.

Elevator Pitch

This is by far the easiest and most important thing you can do to improve your response and engagement during any type of networking event, and the formula is simple:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. For whom do you do it?
  4. What do you do for them?
  5. How does this affect them or better their lives?

Number 1: Easy, it’s just your name.

Number 2: This isn’t your job title, but rather, how you define yourself and what you do.  Now, I do many things and I could sit there and list everything I “do”, but rather, I want to define what I do by the thing that means the most to me.  So, you could be a writer, an educator, a motivational speaker, a mechanic, a fire-fighter.  Whatever it is, you should really feel that it defines who you are or who you really want to be.

Number 3: The people who benefit from your knowledge and skill, the people you help.

Number 4: One to three things you do for them specifically.

Number 5: How they benefit from those things.

Example: I’m Reyla.  I’m a writer.  I help people who are motivated to improve their lives, learn how to set their goals and create a plan to achieve them so they can achieve success and contentment in their lives.

I’m John, I am a mechanic.  I help people keep their vehicles safe and in top working condition by providing high quality vehicle repair and maintenance at competitive prices so they can keep their families safe.

This shouldn’t take you very long to create.  But the awesome thing about this is, you don’t even have to memorize the entire thing!  Simply take your answers to 1 and 5 and put them together.

I’m Reyla, I help people achieve success and contentment in their lives.

I’m John, I help people keep their families safe.

The brilliant thing about this approach is that it opens up a dialog immediately.  When you say this, your listener is going to have to ask a question: “How do you do that?”  And then you can explain more about what you do.  It makes you more interesting and more memorable because you are stating a plain fact about yourself and this exudes confidence.  And this formula works for anyone.

The nice thing about this pitch is that it can be used anywhere.  Whenever you meet someone new, when they ask what you do, now you have a quick answer.  You never know where you’re going to find your next client, or friend.  Have it ready to go!

Small Talk

Being bad at small talk is actually fairly common.  Many people don’t know what to say to someone they don’t know.  The easiest way I have found to get past this and make it fun and interesting for me, is to devise five questions that I genuinely want to know about a stranger.  The only rule about these questions is that they cannot have a yes or no response, they must be open-ended.  Simply adapt them as necessary to the event or situation.

  1. What do you do?  By far the easiest, but not the most original.
  2. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned at this event?
  3. What brought you to this conference today?
  4. How does this event compare to others you’ve attended in the past?
  5. What have you learned that you can apply immediately?

I attend conferences more than anything else, but that means that I’m meeting people with whom I already have something in common.  Try to come up with five questions to ask before each of your events.  This will make things much easier when someone makes a comment about the weather.

Stranger: “Wow, it’s really hot today.”

Me: “It really is.  So, what brought you here today?”

And the conversation has begun.  Don’t forget to ask follow-up questions.  Eye-contact, nodding, and actually listening are really needed to make this a successful encounter.  Also, if you can manage it, rephrase things they say in your response.  This is a subconscious way people feel heard.  Just try not to be awkward about it.

Stranger: “I came today because I want to learn more about how to market my business online.”

Me: “Online marketing can be really challenging these days as technology changes so quickly.  I’m hoping to learn more about that as well.  What have you learned so far to help you?”

Just this quick acknowledgement and repetition of the topic (online marketing), helps the stranger feel as if you are really listening (which you are) and will encourage them to continue the conversation.

Business Cards

Whether or not you have a business, you should have cards on you at all times.  This should include whatever contact information you wish to share with someone, your name, and a little something about you.  This way, when you meet someone randomly during your day with whom you’ve had a conversation, you can easily share your information.  You never know when you’re going to meet your next contact.

If you have a business, or you are attempting to gain new clients for a project, make cards up for that project and don’t be afraid to add your tag-line to the card.

John Smith

Mechanic

Keeping Families Safe

Even if you’re a stay-at-home-mom, you can still create a personal card with your name, whatever contact info you want to share, and a tag-line, even if it’s as simple as “Emily’s Mom.”

The other important thing to do in this tech-savvy world is to create your contact on your phone.  So many people prefer electronic contact information to paper business cards.  Each phone is a little different, so take the time to Google how to create and send your contact information on your phone and practice with friends or family a few times before using it for the first time at an event.  There are plenty of YouTube videos and how-to articles out there to help you get this done quickly.

At events, after I have left a new person, I like to take a second to write on the back of their card (or on their contact info in my phone) a bullet list of things I learned about them, things we discussed, etc.  This helps me remember the person once I get home.  Then I scan their card (front and back) or put their information in my phone or email contacts.  For people with whom I want to reconnect, I send them a follow up email.

Reconnecting and Follow-ups

For those with whom I want to follow-up, I make sure to have immediate notes to refer back to the following day.  This is something you shouldn’t procrastinate.  The day after an event, set aside time to send emails to those with whom you want to create a relationship.

The email can be very short, but should be personalized to each contact.  Whatever you do, please do not copy and paste the same email to everyone.

Jane,

It was great meeting you yesterday!  I really enjoyed our conversation about online marketing.  The conference was great and I got a lot of information that I think is going to help me launch my business to the next stage.  Would you like to meet for lunch next week for a brain-storming session on how we can each implement these new ideas for our businesses?  As we’re both in similar situations, I am hoping we can help one another move forward in this area.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Sign your email with your name, business name and your tag-line.  This should be your signature for all of your emails, including your website and any other contact info you would share with anyone.

The email you send should reference one or two of the topics you discussed, an invitation to connect again, even via Skype, and a specific reason that is beneficial to them for accepting the invitation.  Try to avoid saying things like, “I’d like to help you,” unless they specifically asked for your help.

These follow-up emails should be sent within 24 hours, while the event and the conversations are still fresh in people’s minds.  After this time period, you run the risk of your connections becoming distracted with other things.

Resting Bitch Face (RBF)

Last, but certainly not least…Resting Bitch Face.  This has been one of those life challenges for me.  Most people overcome this simply by smiling, but I’ve always felt that my smile, when forced, seems unnatural, fake and awkward.  I always feel weird just standing on the side of the room smiling by myself.  Instead, I have learned to simply start the conversation.

It’s hard the first few times, but force yourself to simply walk up to someone who is standing alone and start a conversation.  If they are at the event with you, chances are pretty good that you have something in common.  My opening goes something like:

Hi, I’m Reyla.  I figured it was time to stop standing on the sidelines and just meet people.  I always feel a little awkward at these things! 

And I smile a genuine smile.  I’m much more animated when I talk, so my RBF goes away.  I do this even when that person has RBF themselves.  As a fellow sufferer, I understand that it can be difficult for them to get past it as well.

Generally, this opening works with those who are not already engaging with others.  It’s just a guess, but it seems like the wallflowers at an event aren’t certain how to approach others, so they always seem grateful when I do so.

Joining a conversation that is on-going is also something that works at these mingling type of events.  If you overhear a conversation about a topic you know nothing about, jump in and ask a question:

“I couldn’t help but overhear.  I’m unfamiliar with that particular style of advertising, how does it work?”  Go ahead and state right out loud that you don’t know something and ask for more information.  People generally love imparting what they know, but avoid being disingenuous by pretending you don’t know something that you really do.

Finally, try to avoid being a “know-it-all.”  When we get nervous, some of us tend to overcompensate by talking too much or imparting advice to garner respect.  The reality is, people like talking about themselves.  Asking questions and showing genuine interest in people helps them feel a connection.  Being genuine with them when they ask questions of you and not pretending to have it all together is also a great way to create that connection.  It’s okay to admit when you have a weakness in an area that you are trying to improve.  By showing this small vulnerability, you seem much more approachable and human.  Everyone has something that they’re trying to improve about themselves.  Share yours and see what happens!

Please comment with your best networking techniques or ways to get past RBF!

 

 

 

Achieve your Goals!

Me Time: Stress Management Tip

After a highly productive day yesterday, the night ended with a huge bummer and a lot of irritation.  I’ll save you the suspense, but I had a sty in my right eye.  It was red, swollen, leaking and so painful.  The drops helped, but I knew I just needed to wait it out.  So my evening was not very productive at all.  It’s difficult to do much of anything when you’re holding a compress to your eye with one hand.  In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t major.  It wasn’t a car crash, or death…it was a sty.  But to my schedule, it was a huge disaster.  All of the things I had planned to do, I simply couldn’t do one handed.  I was sorely disappointed and with Christmas coming so quickly, I have so much still to do!

Now, you may have guessed by now, I’m very much a type-A personality.  I am a classic over-achiever and a perfectionist.  And I absolutely hate it when my body (or in this case, my eye) is the reason my accomplishment is delayed (or denied in some cases).  I work through illness, pushing myself harder and harder as if to prove to my body that it doesn’t control me.  As I’m getting older, however, I’ve had to learn the hard lesson that sometimes, my body will not cooperate with me.

About 8 months ago, I was killing it at the gym.  I dead-lifted 195lbs, bar-squatted 135.  Not bad for someone who was a good 75 pounds overweight and only 5’4″.  I had been working out with a trainer for a several months and had worked my way up to those lifting weights.  It was a lot of hard work and dedication.  That week, I also decided to start running.  I decided that I was going to lose the damn weight no matter what.  I ran 2.5 miles.  I was so freaking proud of myself!  And then a few days later, I had pain in both knees.  One MRI later, and my orthopedic sat me down to explain something:

“You’re old.  Your body can’t do the things it used to be able to do.  You can’t just decide to go for a run.  In fact, you shouldn’t be running at all.  Lay off the weights.  Do body-weight or light weights only.  Increase reps and intensity instead.  You have arthritis in your knees and stress fractures.  Why don’t you try yoga?”

I was shocked.  I wasn’t OLD!  I mean, I’m 42.  It’s middle-aged, right?  But the fact is, another doctor told me something similar a few months later when we were talking about stress.  He explained that we adjust to stress, so if the stress doesn’t go away, we adapt and it becomes our new normal.  After he learned about my life, he asked me, “On a scale of 1-10, how much stress do you feel on a regular basis?”  I thought about it.

“Unless something crazy happens, my stress level is usually about a 3 most of the time.”  Because that was how it felt.

He actually laughed, right in my face.  He said, “So, you own your own business, do the books for another business, you sleep 4-5 hours a night, you volunteer, you teach, you have a boyfriend, you’re a single-mom with a daughter and now a grandson, you have at least one doctor appointment per week, exercise 3 times a week, and have a medical condition that requires a special diet and regular maintenance…Oh, and you have three dogs.”  He let the silence descend as I considered what he said.  “You don’t know what stress is, but if you don’t manage it now and decrease it, you will end up giving yourself a heart attack.”

He was absolutely right.  When I heard him say it, I realized that I do so much and it’s just my new normal.  So we worked on it, for several months, getting everything in order within me.  And I started to notice that my stress levels, my anxiety, my worries, and my racing thoughts, not to mention my symptoms, started to calm down.  I was able to sleep longer, woke up more refreshed, had a more positive outlook, and more energy.

Now, I still do plenty of things and I’m always busy, but the difference is now, I’m taking time for myself each day doing things that bring me happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.  Sometimes, it’s taking two hours on a rainy day to watch an old movie that I love.  Other times, it’s painting a wall in my house or refinishing a piece of furniture that I picked up at Good Will.  I know that doesn’t sound like “me-time,” but I love making my home beautiful.

It’s a challenge to find time every day to do something that I love, just for me, but I schedule it in daily.  I made a list of all the things that bring me joy, help me relax, or help me feel good about me.  Some things take almost no time at all, like have a cup of tea and listen to some music for 5-10 minutes while doing nothing else.  When I made my list, I tried to put things on there that varied in time so that even on a really busy day, I can squeeze in the Me-time regardless of how busy I am.

I challenge you to make your own list and schedule time daily to do something just for you.  If you’re looking for ideas, see my list at the end of the article.

This morning, after an unproductive evening last night, my to-do list hadn’t magically shrunken overnight, and I was feeling rather stressed.  While some of my deadlines are self-imposed, some of them are not.  I quickly went through my list and prioritized the things that absolutely had to be done today.  I did those first, as quickly as possible.  I finished up around 11am (I started at 4am).  As I went to grab my list to see what I should do next, I realized that I had a headache and my heart rate was a little too high for the activities I was doing.  Before I continued, I really needed to take a small break for some Me-time.

As I’m working from home today, and it was almost lunch time, I decided to try out a new recipe for home-made mayonnaise that is SIBO friendly.  Cooking, trying out new recipes, is definitely something I love to do and I find it relaxing to just play around in the kitchen.  I told Alexa to play spa music and got to blending.  I combined my Me-time with lunch and sat listening to relaxing music as I cooked and then ate.  Not only does this help my digestion, but it was exactly what I needed to refresh myself for the rest of the day.

We don’t think of our lives as stressful until something unexpected or out of the ordinary happens, but with the constant bombardment of technology and information, with the multi-tasking, rushing from one place to the next, sitting in traffic, not to mention all the little things that seem to fill up our day without us even noticing, stress can easily take over.  In order to be more productive, I’ve found that taking a time-out during my day is essential.  I get more done, have more energy, and feel much more positive when something unexpected does occur.  I can handle these bumps with grace now, most of the time, anyway.

Reducing stress is different for everyone, but doing this one thing will help you get started.  Remember, if you find yourself thinking that you just don’t have time for this…aren’t you worth 15 minutes of your time?

You will spend your entire life, from first breath to last, with only one person…You.  Give yourself the love, care, compassion, and attention you need on a daily basis.  Learn to forgive yourself for mistakes and misjudgments.  Learn to treat yourself with the same compassion and patience that you give to others.  Learn to accept that you are doing your very best and that is all you can ask of yourself.  Lastly, remember to pay attention to your body and what it’s telling you.  When it’s telling you to slow down, take the advice and give yourself a little break!

What ways do you reduce the stress in your life?

Wishing you peace and rejuvenation,

Reyla

 

Me-time List

Mental Activities: Read a book, write, journal, Sudoku, meditation, yoga, listen to music, watch a movie, play games on tablet

Crafty Activities: Color, paint, craft, DIY projects, make bath products & lotions, try new recipes

Self-care: Pedicure, manicure, bath, body scrub, hair treatment, massage

Learning: YouTube videos or articles on new topics, self-help books, motivational videos and books, attend a class,

Physical Activities: exercise, yoga, take the dog for a walk, garden, ride a bike, clean, organize, rearrange furniture

 

 

 

 

 

Achieve your Goals!

Overcoming obstacles to achieve success!

It’s not always easy to achieve our goals, especially when we have things holding us back or standing in our way.  Fear, lack of desire or will power, excuses of no time/money/energy, or simple procrastination.  The good news is, these things are COMPLETELY in your control!  Let’s tackle them today and clear the way for a new and improved you!

Fear

We all have fears that hold us back from our own success.  Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown.  Sometimes the fear is simply that we’ve tried in the past and didn’t accomplish the goal and we’re afraid to try again.  Whatever your fear, it’s time to let it go.  The past is over and today is a new day!  Let’s try it again!

It sounds simple, but I know it isn’t.  When fears pop into your mind, the best thing to do is to simply acknowledge it, “I seem to be feeling a fear of failure right now.”  And then thank your brain for trying to keep you safe, “I appreciate that you’re trying to keep me safe, but I’ve got this!”  And move on.  Fear is our brain’s way of reminding us of something that happened that we didn’t like.  It’s trying to keep us safe.  But so many of our fears are of past mistakes.  Did you learn from that mistake?  Did you make the change necessary in your life to avoid it in future?  If so, let the fear go.  That was then, this is now.  You’re a different person.

The other thing I like to do is ask myself, if I knew then what I know now, would I have made the same decision?  Usually, the answer is no.  So I forgive myself because I made the best decision I could at the time with the information I had available.  If I had had more information, different information, I would have made a different decision.  I try to give myself a break because we can’t know everything.  If we did our absolute best but didn’t have all of the information, then we can ask nothing more of ourselves.  Forgive yourself for being young, or uninformed, or for not seeing what someone was hiding, and move on!

Wallowing in our fears is the Number 1 way we hold ourselves back from being our absolute best self.  It’s time to stop standing in our own way and get moving!

Lack of Desire, Will-Power, Determination

Many times we aren’t successful in a goal attempt because we simply lack the desire to achieve it, or the will-power, or the determination.  How many times have we promised ourselves that we were going to get healthy and then chose a doughnut for breakfast at the office because they were there and available?  At those times, we might beat ourselves up for choosing poorly when we’re trying to get healthy, but the real question to ask yourself is “Why?”.  Why did I choose that?  Why did I not walk away?

Generally, the answer is pretty simple.  It’s habit.  It’s exhausting trying to be “good” all the time.  I’m tired of denying myself what I want.  Or, I’m not achieving my goal anyway, so I might as well go all-in and accept that this is my life.  We’ve all had these thoughts and these moments.  I call them my “moments of self-pity”.  Achieving a goal is NOT easy.  It requires dedication, determination, and will-power.  It requires the ability to force yourself to do it anyway, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’re tired or sick or depressed.

The awesome thing about this, is that by forcing yourself to do one thing to get one step closer to your goals, you feel better and more motivated.  Don’t believe me?  Try it!  I made a goal to make my bed every single day.  It sounds silly, but the bedroom is the first place you see in the morning and the last place you see at night.  Shouldn’t it be awesome?  Even those mornings when I’m feeling terribly lazy, or sick, or just exhausted, I MAKE myself make the bed.  It only takes a minute, but afterwards, I feel so much better!  I feel like I accomplished something and am able to check it off my list.  It helps me get motivated to tackle one more thing on my list.

Another area where I must sometimes force myself to do it, is exercise.  Some days, I just don’t feel like doing it, but I force myself to do it anyway.  Once I begin, I forget that I didn’t want to do it at all and by the end of my workout, I feel amazing and accomplished.  It’s the little tasks that we don’t feel like doing, but we force ourselves to do anyway, that really help keep our momentum going.

I also make a list of things to do every day which includes all the little things like making the bed and exercising, as well as the daily tasks I’ve laid out to achieve my goals.  I cross them off the list as I do them.  On those days where I feel like I “didn’t get anything done,” or it was just a really challenging day, I am able to look over my list at the end of the day and see all of the things I actually accomplished.  It helps to keep things in perspective.  One big challenge does not mean that the day was a waste.  And remember, tomorrow is a new day!

Excuses

We all have them.  I don’t have the time.  I don’t have the money.  I don’t have the support.  I don’t have the energy.

I’m extremely busy.  I do WAY too much every day and I know that.  I used to tell myself that I didn’t have the time for something.  But the reality was, I didn’t want to make the time.  If it’s important to you, make the time.  Where in your day can you cut something out to make time for that important goal task?  I cut out Netflix.  I only watch one movie per week and I don’t have cable.  I never turn on the TV unless my grandson is visiting or it’s my movie night.  TV takes SO MUCH of our time!

I also watch a TON of YouTube videos!  I watch the videos that give me the information I’m looking for, or are motivating or inspirational to me.  I limit this to my morning coffee time and my end of day before bed time.

Social media is also a place where time can be cut back.  I reserve Sunday mornings for Facebook.  I catch up with what is going on with my family and friends then.  I do not count the work-related social media posts I do, but then, I’m not scrolling through watching videos on recipes and DIY projects, I’m just posting and moving on.  If I happen to see a video that I want to watch while I’m working, I simply save it for later.  I love this feature!

Lastly, we have games.  These are designed to keep us playing and to become addictive.  I love my games, but I have also cut back on those, keeping only the ones that I really love and removing the rest from my devices.  I have dedicated “game time” every day, time to unwind and veg-out.  That is at the end of my day as well.

So look at how you spend your time and ask yourself…where can you cut back to make room for your goals?  If you find that watching TV or playing games is more important than your goals, then perhaps you’re focusing on the wrong goals.

All of these same questions can be applied to the “no-money” excuse.  Are you spending money on things that really add no value to your life?  Can you cut back on that morning latte and treat yourself once a week instead of every day?  Can you make your lunch rather than buy lunch every day?  How often do you really need to eat out?  There are areas of our lives where we habitually spend money that don’t add value to them.  Find those areas and try cutting back to once a week and see what happens.

I don’t have the support is an excuse I hear a lot.  I want to eat healthier, but my spouse refuses to do it with me.  How can I eat a healthy diet when my partner is always bringing junk-food into the house?  The real question is, why are your partner’s choices affecting your behavior?

I have Crohn’s Disease and was recently diagnosed with SIBO.  I was already on a special diet for Crohn’s, but when the doctor told me about the SIBO, it meant an even more restrictive diet plus more medication.  I wanted to feel better.  My goal for a “healthy and active” lifestyle meant that I needed to address ALL areas of my health and lifestyle.  If the key to getting rid of the SIBO was changing my diet drastically, then that was what I was going to do.  The SIBO Diet, isn’t fun: no sugar, no carbs, no grains and fruits and vegetables are extremely limited.  I was supposed to do it for at least 30 days while I was taking the antibiotics.  My boyfriend understood that this was my diet, but was uninterested in doing the diet with me.

What I found was that, in choosing to be healthy and get healthy, it didn’t matter what he chose for himself.  I didn’t have a problem with him eating that candy bar in front of me, because I knew it would make me sick and I was finally feeling great!  I wasn’t sick all the time, wasn’t in pain all the time.  I had more energy and felt better than I had in years.  I was also working on my goal to live that healthy and active lifestyle every single day and I felt great about that!

So the support you think you need, you don’t really need it, you want it.  And if you’re honest with yourself, I think you’ll find that you can still find a way to achieve your goals without it.  It might not be as easy or fun, but it’s still possible!  So, what are you going to choose?

Lastly, no energy is a real issue.  We are all so busy that it’s not easy to do it all.  Like time-wasters, look at what is taking up most of your energy throughout the day.  I have the most energy first thing in the morning and for about two hours in the evening.  I choose those times to work on my goals.  Look at your energy levels throughout the day and find a way to rearrange your schedule to accommodate that.  If you’re goal is important to you and you really want to achieve it, do it when you have the most energy!

Procrastination

This one is HUGE.  Most of us do it.  There is a task we really don’t enjoy and we put it off and put it off until we HAVE to do it.  The problem is, when we do this, we are looking forward to something that we really don’t want to do.  It makes things that much harder.  Whatever the task is, do it first.  Sounds crazy, I know, but try it.  Every day there is at least one thing on my to-do list that I really don’t want to do.  I do it first and cross it off.  I also do it as quickly as possible!  I don’t want to think about it anymore, I don’t want to dread it anymore.  I just want it done and gone.  When I do this, I feel so much better and it usually takes me less time than I think it will.  Additionally, I feel lighter and happier about the rest of my day!  For this reason, I always schedule the dentist for the first appointment of the day.

Other Tips for Overcoming Obstacles

~Schedule time for maintenance tasks.  These are the tasks that you need to do regularly, i.e. laundry, dishes, take out the trash, etc.  Basic things that we all need to do, but generally put off until “necessary.”  If you put them on a regular schedule, you avoid the piles of laundry on laundry day, or hand-washing the dishes that don’t fit in the dishwasher.

~”Lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on mine.”  This is one of my favorite things!  Just because a friend or family member calls you with an “emergency,” does not mean you need to drop everything to help them.  I’m talking about those fake emergencies.  Oh, I forgot to do X and I need it done by tomorrow…can you help me?  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Learn to say no when these fake emergencies come up.  Don’t lecture them about time management or procrastination, but unless you really WANT to help, really have the time available, you can say something like, “Wow, that really sucks, but I’m sorry.  I am all booked up today.  I bet if you just sit down and start now, you’ll be able to get it done really quickly!”

If you bail them out, they will continue to come to you with these fake emergencies.  Let them feel the pressure of their own procrastination.  It won’t damage the relationship if you’re kind about your refusal, but it will let them know that they need to dig themselves out of this situation.

~Along those same lines…Learn to say No.  If you’re reliable and dependable, chances are people are always asking for your help with this thing or that.  When someone asks you if you can help them with something, learn to pause.  Say something like, “Oh, that sounds great, but I need to check my schedule to see if I can make it work.  Can I let you know tomorrow?”  Take this time to think about their request and whether or not you really want to do it.  If it is something that will bring you joy, that you’re looking forward to, or that will bring you closer to your goals, then of course, say yes!  But if you sigh when thinking about it, aren’t excited about doing it, feel that you have to say yes simply because you’re feeling obligated, try saying no.  A simple, “Hey, I looked at my schedule and as fun as that sounds, I can’t make it work right now.  Maybe I can help the next time around.”  It’s a refusal that is kind, but firm.  Don’t get dragged into the “what is more important than my garage sale” discussion, and don’t defend your answer, simply let them know, “that’s not going to work for me.”

~And finally, Boundaries!  Know your boundaries and hold the line.  I require at least three days notice for events, but I would like a week.  So if my daughter asks me to watch my grandson the day before her event, I won’t always say yes.  I do love spending time with him, but if I’m already busy, already have plans, I say no and I don’t feel bad about it.  She has learned to ask me well in advance so I can plan.

The same thing goes with friends.  As I work from home, they used to contact me and say, let’s go to lunch today.  I kindly let them know that today isn’t good.  Can we schedule it for next week?  I used to say yes to everyone for fear of hurting their feelings, but I quickly realized that if I’m feeling resentful about my day being interrupted with an unplanned event, the only person I could blame for that was me.  It’s much better to say no and reschedule for a time when you can be joyful and present with your friends and family.

The phone, text, email is another place where boundaries are VERY important, otherwise they can suck up your entire day!  As almost everyone has a phone these days, it’s easy to get in touch.  But sometimes, it’s too easy.  When we’re working, trying to get things done and we are getting texts and emails, it’s easy to get distracted.  I finally created a “work-day” schedule.  I answer business emails twice a day, personal emails about once a week.  I check my text messages about four to five times a day and respond only to those that are urgent at that time, otherwise I will answer text messages once a day.  As for phone calls…I don’t have my phone on me when I’m working.  I have a voicemail.  If it’s important, they can leave a message.  I call people back when I can.  If it’s a friend to catch up, I call back when I have a free moment.  If it’s business related, I return calls twice a day.  If it’s my daughter or my boyfriend, they know to text me if they’re calling for a “reason” that isn’t just to check in.  Without these distractions and interruptions, I’m able to get much more done.

How can you start overcoming the obstacles that are standing between you and your goals?

Tackle them today!

Reyla

 

Achieve your Goals!

Planning your success!

We have known for some time that success isn’t easy.  It requires hard work and discipline.  We are even willing to do that, but for some reason, we aren’t moving toward our goals as we would like to be.  It gets discouraging.  Maybe, it was the wrong goal, or maybe the plan wasn’t well thought out or executable.  Or sometimes, it is just a timing thing.  Whatever the case, I believe the time is now, and you need to believe it, too!

Believing that you can control your actions, your behavior, your choices is the first step toward success.  You have to want it and be willing to put yourself out there, regardless of the goal you have set.

One of my current goals is to completely declutter and deep clean my house by the end of the year.  It sounds simple, right?  Just clean and purge!  And yet, I am doing this while working seven days a week, during a busy holiday season, while trying to close the year on two businesses, dealing with my health issues,  along with starting a YouTube channel.  (I’ll keep you posted on that!).  It sounds impossible and crazy.  Don’t I have enough going on?  But if now isn’t the time to do it, when is the time?  The answer is, there is no time like now.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, so all we have is today.

In order to do this, I had to break down my goal into manageable steps.  I created a 30 day decluttering plan.  I also looked at the problems I’ve faced in the past when I’ve tried to do this and didn’t succeed.  I looked at my strengths, my weaknesses, the threats to my success, my opportunities, and lastly my fears.  And I problem-solved.

My strengths: I’m good at organizing, excellent at purging.  Less is more and I truly believe that!  Plus, I love it!

My weaknesses: I am easily distracted by my boyfriend, daughter, grandson.  My energy level varies depending on the day.

My opportunities: There are days that I have more time than others to devote to this goal.  I marked those on my calendar and planned the most time-intensive areas for then.

Threats to my goal: Time-wasters (I’m addicted to Seeker’s Notes), motivation, lack of “me-time”, procrastination.

My fears: What if I finish decluttering and deep cleaning my home and I don’t feel less stress?  Don’t feel happier?

And then I planned some more.  I addressed each and every issue.  I created My Daily Routine for maintenance cleaning and wrote out a plan to address one new area each day.  I also plan my day out every morning, making certain to put at least one thing on my list for each goal I’m working on.  Those are my priorities, everything else is secondary, well…except for appointments!  I don’t always finish everything on my to-do list, but my priorities, I do my absolute best to finish.  I encourage you to see each day as a new day and create your to-do list daily.  We don’t always know what each day will bring so be flexible when you need to be, but never forget that you are a priority, too!  I made this easy to use Daily To Do List.  I laminated mine so that I could simply reuse it daily.  I don’t need to remember what I did yesterday, I simply need to focus on today.

If you filled out the No Limits Worksheet, you should know which of your goals are best suited for you right this minute.  The SWOTF worksheet, helped you narrow down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and fears.  I like to plan by addressing my threats, weaknesses and fears first, then looking at my strengths and opportunities.  So how will you overcome the things that have kept you from achieving your goals in the past?  Once you know this, the planning becomes much easier.  Use the Goal Worksheet to make the plan for each goal.  List the major steps and then break them down with daily tasks in your daily to-do list.

I prefer to plan backwards.  But a true goal has a “final” date.  I will declutter and deep clean my house by the end of the year (i.e. December 31, 2017).  That is a final date.  Whatever goal you give yourself, make sure to have an actual date.  Sometimes we say, we’ll do it in the next three months.  I’ve found this doesn’t usually work.  We need a calendar date.  Something to circle and keep ourselves accountable.  So instead of three months from today, we’ll say March 18, 2018.  It makes it seem much more attainable and decisive.  So working backwards from your date, mark down all the tasks that need to happen in order for you to achieve your goal.  Short-term goals should have daily tasks when you want to achieve them as quickly as possible.  You have three months.  Try to get it done in two.  I bet if you actually do something for your goal every single day, you’ll get it done faster than you think.

When you have extra time in your day, add in another task to help you take one step closer.  If you’re visual, try creating a graphic in your notebook or put it on your refrigerator.  Something you can look at daily like a thermometer tracking your goal.thermometer template

Make each line representative of the number of tasks required to achieve your goal and fill it up as fast as possible!

I would like to caution you about making goals that may not be fully in your control.  Weight-loss is one of those goals.  For years I tried to “lose weight” and I failed miserably.  I was unaware until a couple of years ago that I had a medical condition that made this very difficult.  I was always discouraged and depressed because I could achieve any goal but that!  I felt like a failure, despite the fact that I had accomplished so many other things in my life.  While I would still like to lose the weight, I have changed the goal to something within my control, “Lead a Healthy and Active Lifestyle.”  This is completely in my control.  There are things I can actively do to make this a reality, and I’m doing it.  Now, after a year and a half of working out, most of that with a personal trainer, I am finally losing weight…slowly.  But not because I am trying, and not because of my awesome trainers.  It is actually a result of finally getting my medical condition under control.

My doctor told me in April, that I could work out and diet all I wanted, but I wasn’t going to lose the weight until I found the right management for my condition.  So I began looking for something new.  That was when things began to change, when I stopped looking at the scale and started looking at my lifestyle.  I found a new doctor who helped me find those areas that needed my focus more than my weight did.  Stress-reduction was a huge part of it.  Supplements and sleep also played a huge part.  Now, my focus is simply on living that healthy and active lifestyle that I want to live.  What do I really care what the scale says so long as I feel good in my body, have more energy, less pain?  These changes are so much more than I ever thought possible that I don’t think about the extra weight the way I used to.  It is truly liberating.  I encourage you to ditch those goals that make you feel depressed and discouraged.  They are the WRONG goals.

The last thing we need for true success, is to evaluate our progress on a regular basis.  Look at your progress weekly.  If you are on track, great, how can you speed it up?  If you aren’t on track, why is that and how do you address it now before it gets out of hand?  Every day is a new day to get back on track.  Just because yesterday was difficult and you didn’t get anything done, doesn’t mean that today has to be more of the same.  Get up, make your bed, and get on with your list!

Wishing you all the best!

Reyla