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

Achieve your Goals!

Why resolutions don’t work

Setting goals seems easy, just decide what you want to do and then do it.  If New Year’s resolutions have taught us anything, however, this just isn’t the case.  So why do we have so much difficulty sticking to those resolutions and achieving our goals?

It’s the wrong goal.

Maybe this is a silly thing to suggest, but how realistic is your goal?  How long is it going to take you?  How much will it cost, both financially and personally?  Do you know the smaller action steps you need to take?  Are you willing to put in the time, effort, persistence it takes to make it happen?

Sometimes, the answer to these questions is simply…No.  If that’s the case, it’s the wrong goal for you.  A good example is weight loss.  Many of us want to lose weight.  We know what to do.  Exercise and eat healthy foods, in smaller portions.  Despite knowing this, many of us have been trying to lose the same 20 or 30 or 50 pounds for years.  Every year we tell ourselves that this is the year.  We get a gym membership or maybe order that new exercise program, so we can do it at home.  And we do really well…for a week.  Then something happens, and we take a day off, or we’re busy and the kids want pizza and we don’t have time to cook.

You know what I’m talking about.  The one day off, the one night of pizza turns into a second day.  Maybe we try the exercise program the next day and find that it’s really hard and we’re tired.  Maybe just another day or two off and we’ll get back to it.  And then our goal that we were so pumped about just a week or so ago, is nowhere in our heads and those pounds are just going to have to wait.

We tell ourselves that we just don’t have the time, or the energy.  We complain that our kids or significant other want pizza and junk food, and how can we possibly maintain a healthy diet with all this temptation?  We tell ourselves that this exercise program is just too much for us to begin with, so we’ll scale back and do some stretching and walk the dog before we try again.  Substitute weight loss with any other goal/resolution you’ve ever made that you didn’t achieve.

Maybe you didn’t achieve the goal because it was the wrong goal for you.  I’m not saying weight loss shouldn’t be a goal, but it probably wasn’t realistic in your mind.  Did you write it down?  Did you plan your action steps?  Did you hope you would lose five pounds a week when 1-2 is more realistic?  Did you set yourself up for failure?  Were you holding yourself accountable?  Did you tell yourself that you’d start “tomorrow”?

Real goal setting isn’t easy, neither is achieving those goals, but there is a way to help you be more successful when you decide that it’s time to kick ass and get it done!

First, make a list of everything you want to accomplish.  Remove all doubts and limits.  Don’t think about the likelihood of it happening, or how much it costs, just write it all down.  Don’t be realistic.  Be the kid making his Christmas list for Santa…put it ALL in because Santa is magic and doesn’t have a budget!

Once you’re done with your list, THEN we’ll talk about the rest.  You can use a scrap piece of paper, or use the No Limits Worksheet.  Just concentrate of filling out the first column.  We’ll get to the others next.  Here is a snippet of my list.  It’s pages long, but this will hopefully give you some idea of what types of things you can put on your list.

My list:

Magical Powers

Live a healthy and active lifestyle

Be debt free by the time I’m 45

Retire by the time I’m 50

Write a Best-seller

Appear on Ellen

Have a successful Youtube Channel

Help people realize their potential

Run a successful business

Have a healthy relationship

Travel to Scotland

Remodel the master bathroom

Put in a pool and spa

Get a Roomba

Have a clean, clutter-free and organized home

Be motivating and inspirational

Do small acts of kindness daily

 

Think of everything you might possibly want for your life.  Do not limit yourself!  The first step in goal setting is to have a clear picture in your mind (and on paper) of what you want.  In addition to making a list, you may want to create a visual representation for yourself in the form of a dream/goal board.  Something that you will see every single day to remind you of your goals.  When you read my list, you’ll notice that there are some very practical things on there, and then some that seem highly unlikely.  I will never give up wanting magical powers, but I have to admit that it probably will not happen.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s staying on my list because I still want it.

Are your goals attainable?

Now that you have a list, go through it again and ask yourself if your goal is realistic.  Put a Y in the Realistic? column if it is, and an N if it isn’t.  If it’s possible, just not highly likely, then put the Y.  Dream Big here!  If someone else has done it, then you can do it too!

The next question to ask yourself is: Can this goal be broken down into smaller, actionable steps?  If so, do I know what they are?  Put a Y into the Steps? column if you know how to break it down and what the steps are, a Y? if there are steps but you don’t know them, and an N if there are not actionable steps you can take to achieve the goal.

Time is always a factor.  Think about the time it will take you to achieve your goal.  Is it a reasonable amount of time?  Only you know if something is reasonable.  The better question might be: are you willing to work hard for that amount of time to achieve your goal?  If yes, then put a Y in the column.  If no, put an N.

Finally, what is the cost?  Is the cost reasonable to you?  The “cost” may be monetary (as in school tuition) or it may be emotional (leaving your family for months to travel abroad).  Cost could also be anything else you’d have to give up.  If one of your goals is to run a marathon, the cost may be your free time, lunch with friends, etc.  If the cost is reasonable, put a Y in the column.

Where do we begin?

Now that we have our information, find the goals that have all Y’s in the columns.  These are the goals that have the highest chance of success.  Are there any that jump out at you, any that you’re really moved to attack right now.  Not tomorrow…right this minute.  Are you excited about this?  Are you ready to get going NOW?

If these are goals that you have been working on for years and not achieving, there may be other factors.

What are your fears regarding these goals?  What is holding you back?  What is standing in your way?  Now is the time to be honest about it and get out of your own way.

What are your strengths?  What parts of these goals can you totally rock?

What are your weaknesses?  What skills or changes do you need to make in order to achieve these goals?

What threats are out there, keeping you from achieving these goals?  How can you overcome them?  Having a plan now will help you when they arise.

What opportunities do you have for success?  Are you giving yourself the opportunity for success or are you denying yourself?  Has someone else given you the opportunity…why aren’t you taking it?

Try using this worksheet to help you think through these questions.  You can fill one out for every goal if you like, but if you’re like me, most of them are the same regardless of the goal.

Monday’s post will pull this all together and we’ll get started on finding that motivation and making a plan to achieve our goals NOW, as quickly as possible.  Take the next couple of days to really think through what you want and how quickly you want it.  Achieving your goals is possible!  Let me help you 🙂

I wish you an amazing weekend and I look forward to hearing from you!

Reyla