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!

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

Achieve your Goals!, Home Organization

Organize and Clean your Space

Poster above sofaWhether it’s your bedroom, living room, home office or your entire house, living in a cluttered and dirty space distracts you from your goals.  I know, no one likes cleaning and many of us have no idea how to go about organizing.  But I promise you, doing this first will help you achieve your goals and help you find the motivation to achieve them as quickly as possible!

Organizing/Tidying…not cleaning…your home.

Tip 1 (time to complete…5-10 minutes):

Walk through your home with a notepad.  Write down each room and underneath, list the top 5 things that bother you in that room.  This will probably be the first 5 things you notice.  Walking through my home, this is what I found (even after cleaning and organizing!).  I like doing this about once a quarter, just to make sure that everything is going well.

Living Room

Coffee table clutter

Flat surface clutter

Shoes

Dog area

Entryway clutter

Kitchen

Keys, sunglasses, phones, etc.

Dirty Dishes

Spots on the floor

Fingerprints on the Refrigerator

Dirty Microwave

Master Bedroom

Robe on the bed

Things on the counter

Laundry Hamper

Closet clutter

Nightstand

Loft (TV Room)

Spots on carpet

Clutter on bar

Bookcase clutter

Toy clutter

Blankets

Guest Bath

Dusty Baseboards

Fingerprints on the light switch

Trash

Cleaning products

Guest Toiletries

 

Tip 2 (time to complete…30 minutes):

Once you have your list, choose a room every day and tackle it!  You will need: a garbage bag for trash, a garbage bag for donations, a bin for items without a home.  The trick here is to do this as quickly as possible…and be ruthless!

Tackle the trash first.  This includes: broken toys, clothes with holes/stains that you will never wear, old papers, magazines, newspapers, junk mail, pens that don’t work, etc.  I take my in-house recycling bin to the room I’m decluttering to make this process easier.  Recycle it or trash it.  Just do it quickly and then take the bags to the outside garbage bin.  Don’t forget to go through cupboards, closets, and look under furniture!

Second, donate, trash or put away.  Be ruthless here and challenge yourself to find a random number of things to donate or throw out.  When I first began, my house was so cluttered that I just simply put everything I didn’t use or didn’t love in the donate bag (or trash bag if it wasn’t donation worthy).  I filled the back of my SUV with donations every day for a week and still had so much left over, it was embarrassing!  Now, I use a random number (depending on how I feel that day) between 20-50.  Most people use 20-30, however I really love purging and some days, I really love being able to remove 50 things from my home or even a single room!  This may seem overwhelming, but I promise you, once you begin, it becomes easy.

With what you have left, put it away.  Don’t pile it to put it away later, because let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen.  If you’re in a common room, like the living room, you can take a basket (laundry basket works great), and collect things that belong to the kids, things that belong in their bedroom or play room, and make one trip.  But don’t just set it in there, actually put it away.  By doing this, you aren’t moving your clutter to another time/day and you’re saving yourself the time and energy you’d be exerting later.  “Do it now!” needs to become your new motto!  Or if you have older kids, a spouse, etc. make a bin for each of them to address and put away when they get home.

For everything that doesn’t have a home, that you don’t know what to do with it, put it in a bin.  We’ll find homes for these things later, put it in a designated spot in your home where you will put all of your items without a home throughout this process.  We aren’t stuffing!  We’re simply waiting until the entire house is decluttered before creating homes for these things in the extra space we’ve created by purging the stuff we no longer need, use, love.

You will want to do this process in every room in your home.  Choose one room a day and get it done!  It’s a lot of work at first, but I promise you, you will not regret it and you won’t miss all of the clutter!

Tip 3 (time to complete…5-10 minutes):

Cleaning the room.  Yes, we still need to do this!  But we’re going to do a quick surface clean, not a deep clean, right now.  Start at the top and dust.  Use a rag or a dust catcher and move quickly in the room from top to bottom, removing all the dust (and cobwebs?) from ceiling fans, light fixtures, picture frames, shelves, etc.  Anything that catches dust, dust it!  This should only take about 3 minutes; you just want to remove any visible dust.  I like to time myself to see how fast I can do it.  I’m always trying to beat my previous time.  Next, it’s time to wipe down the surfaces.  Use a multipurpose cleaner or a wood polish (for wood furniture), to quickly wipe down all the surfaces, removing finger prints, excess dust that the dust catcher left behind, sticky spots, etc.  Again, as fast as possible!  Last is the floor.  Vacuum the floor really quickly.  Even if you have a tile floor, vacuuming is faster than sweeping.  On your tile floors, if you notice any dirty spots, after vacuuming, simply take your multipurpose cleaner and a rag and quickly spot clean those areas, or if you have a Swiffer or similar quick mop, use that.  Just remember…we’re surface cleaning, so don’t start scrubbing grout.

When I first started this process, I spent about 2 hours in each room.  But my house was VERY cluttered and dusty and gross.  I have four dogs and yeah…the dog hair was insane…and everywhere!  I couldn’t simply just vacuum and spot mop…I mean, I could have, but it bothered me so much that I really couldn’t.  I was on a roll!  If you find that you’re on a roll, finish the process through Tip 5, and then go back and do a deeper clean.

Tip 4 (time to complete 5-10 minutes):

Remember that list you made?  Time to tackle it.  These are the areas that most bother you that need to be cleaned or need an organizational fix.  A good example is my kitchen counter.  It is VERY far from the front door, however it’s where everyone puts everything.  I have a small kitchen, so a pile of mail, a set of keys, a wallet, phones, etc. just makes it seem dirty and cluttered.  The problem I have is that when I clean everything and clear all the clutter, someone sees the nice clear surface and decides that it’s the perfect place to put their things.  After years of frustration with this, it’s time for me to make a “landing pad” and a charging station for our devices!

Address the areas that are quick and don’t require a “make-over”.  Bins are a great way to do this.  For my shoe problem in the living room (which is just off the entry way), I put bins for each member of the household, labeled with their name.  Ideally, they put their shoes in the bin when they take them off, however if not, I can easily and quickly put them away so that shoes aren’t littering the living room.  For the areas that require some serious thought and a plan, leave those to last as you tackle the rest of your list, one room at a time.

Tip 5 (time to complete…varies):

Time to find homes for the stuff you collected in the bins and start your small project list for those “serious thought” issues from Tip 4.  This will take the most time and may not be completed in a single day.  Think about the things you’ve collected that do not have a home.  Do you use them often?  If so, put them in the room where you use them.  You should have plenty of room for these items now that you’ve cleared some space.  If you don’t, leave it in a bin in the room until you can devise a storage method for it.

If the things in the home-less box are things you don’t use, but don’t want to get rid of because they have sentimental value, cost a lot of money, aren’t yours, etc. then you have some tough decisions to make.  For those things that are sentimental to you, but are things you don’t want to display, make a memory box.  Get a pretty box, put your memories in it, and place the box on a book shelf or in a cupboard that you’ve designated for memories.  This can be done rather inexpensively with a shoebox and some contact paper, wrapping paper or wall paper.  Just cover the box and put a label on the outside for the memories contained within.

For those items on which you spent a lot of money, but aren’t using…it’s time to accept the fact that the money is gone, and you can’t get it back.  Can you resell it?  Can you gift it to someone who will really appreciate it?  An excellent example of this is my flute from high school.  It’s a really nice, rather expensive flute.  But I haven’t played it since I was sixteen years old.  A few years ago, there was a donation drive for families who lost everything in a very large fire.  I was donating items and I wanted to donate my flute.  I never use it, it’s in amazing condition.  I figured if someone didn’t play the flute, they could at least auction it off.  It just needed a quick clean and polish, which I did.  I was so happy at the thought of it going to someone who really would appreciate it.  My boyfriend saw it, heard what I was doing and was adamant that I hold onto it.  He said it was my history, a memory, and I should keep it.  I did keep it, but it has bothered me ever since.  I came across it in my recent purging and decided that this time, it’s going to a good home.  I don’t love it.  I don’t display it.  I don’t play it.  It’s just taking up space in a closet that I could use for something else.  And somewhere out there is a high school student who would love a beautiful flute.  The item doesn’t create the memories.  Those memories exist in my mind and heart, with or without the memento.

Your kids’ artwork is also something that is very difficult to get rid of.  When my daughter was small, I would keep all of her artwork for the year.  After school ended, we would go through it together and she could keep her top 5 pieces.  We also went through the rest of the items she had set aside in previous years.  Sometimes she would see something that she had saved and ask, “Why did I even save this?” and toss it.  Involving her in the process meant I didn’t need to feel guilty about it.  It was her work and she was deciding.  Plus, it taught her to look at things for how much they meant to her, rather than to simply hold onto everything because she created it.  I still have her bin of items.  It’s a rather small bin, but they are things that have remained important to her over the years, and so we have them.

I will caution you about purging items belonging to your significant other.  What I do when I know they are things that he never uses, but I ask him if I can get rid of them and he says no: I put them in a box in the back of the closet.  This began early in our relationship.  He would bring home all kinds of work papers and leave them out.  I asked if he needed them and he would say yes, they were important.  So, I left them where they were, cluttering up my counter, table, bar or whatever.  It really bothered me, but after a few weeks, I noticed that he never touched them.  I created the box in the back of the closet and from then on, any “important” papers went there.  The first time I showed him the box, we had been together five years and the very large box was full.  There were papers in there from before we met, old magazines, receipts, etc.  None of it important.  I asked him sit down and go through it.  Ninety-eight percent of it was garbage.  Now, I ask him to go through the box more frequently.  I still won’t throw out his things, but I really don’t want a closet full of papers that have absolutely no significance.  He understands that I need this and goes through a much smaller box without complaint when I present it.  After seven years together, however, I do take the liberty of throwing his t-shirts that are stained, ripped, etc. into the rag bin.

Now make your small project list.  This is a list of projects for which you will need more time, materials, thought, or planning.  The list might include items like a landing strip (for keys, purse, wallet, backpacks, etc.), a place for mail and bills to be paid, a decorative way to display a collection, adding a bookcase or cube case to your room for extra storage, or adding Command Hooks to a wall, cupboard, etc.

Final Thoughts

Once this is finished and you’ve gone through every room in your home, look around and feel the sense of accomplishment!  You’ve accomplished a goal in record time!  How quickly can you get this done?

Please send me your questions, areas in which you want help, or comments!  I’d love to hear from you!Poster above sofaposter-above-sofa-PVJEF9B.jpg