goals

What you can do now to help you reach your goals

You know things don’t happen by themselves, that your plans, dreams, aspirations, bucket list items, things you’ve always wanted to do…don’t just happen by themselves. 

Action is required. Your action. 

At times of uncertainty, goals may be the furthest thing from your mind.

Like now, when the world seems at a standstill and COVID-19 is affecting communities, families, and individuals directly, it’s easy to think, what I want is not important right now. 

Maybe your dreams and aspirations aren’t a matter of life and death, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. 

And if you take action now, you’ll be in a better position to reach your goals when the Coronavirus crisis is history.

Here are some things you can do now:

Set your goals. 

Time goes and goes. Days turn to weeks and weeks to months and months to years…you get the idea.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do but have never developed a plan for how to accomplish it, there’s a good chance it’s a wish and not a goal.

What makes it a goal?

  • First, believe you can do it, even if it seems like it could never happen.
  • Then accept the vulnerability that comes with that big goal.
  • Next, and possibly most important, you must devise a plan to make it happen. 

If you take those first steps toward your goals, you’re on your way. If not, it may be just a wish.

Goal or Wish?

I’ll give you an example of something I used to want to do, but only ever wished it, like a dream, and never made it a goal. 

I used to, in a Walter Mitty kind of way, want to be a backup singer. I dreamed of doing the moves old school, like the Pips did for Gladys Knight. 

Never did it. Probably never will, but OMG that would have been amazing.

Either because I didn’t think I could, didn’t know how I would, or just didn’t have the courage to make it real, without a plan to make it happen, being a backup singer stayed a wish for me, not a goal. 

Now, the only backup singing gigs I have are in my mind as I dance and sing in my living room or on the occasional Karaoke night : ) 

Don’t let this be you!

Set your goals. It’s okay if they seem slightly out of reach, maybe even crazy and unattainable.

Then come up with a plan to make them happen.

If you’re not sure exactly what goals you want to set for yourself, you’re first step may be to dig deep and explore some ideas about what you’d like to do.

And try not to look at it as a test. There are no right or wrong answers and it’s okay if you start something and then find it’s not what you thought it would be. You’ve learned something in the process.

Have a plan to work toward your goals. 

Don’t keep them all in your head. Write them down, post them someplace, come up with a plan to meet them, jot down incremental goals in your calendar.

Find whatever works to help you keep them at the forefront of your mind. Break the steps into small, attainable goals to keep you from being overwhelmed and giving up before you start. 

Do what you can. 

These days of social distancing and sheltering in place are not normal. You may not be able to do everything you normally would, but you can still do a lot.

Reach out to people who you trust and who may be able to help or advise you about how to move forward. You may find there’s a lot that’s out of your control, but even if you can’t do everything you’re used to doing, there’s still a lot you can do. 

Approach with enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” 

Think about it. Why would you want to work toward something you’re not excited about? When I was working on my first book, I had days when I felt not even an ounce of enthusiasm about what I was doing. Those were long and dark days, perfect for giving up. 

What a different experience to approach with enthusiasm. I felt a greater sense of accomplishment when I met my daily goals, felt greater compassion toward myself and my work, knew I was in it for the long haul, and felt more determined to finish. 

Doing these things:

  • Setting goals
  • Developing a plan
  • Doing what you can
  • Approaching with enthusiasm

are simple first steps you can take now to help you build momentum toward reaching your goals.

I don’t believe it’s End of Days. We’ll get through this uncertain time, but it’s a good reminder that none of us has forever to do what we always thought we would do.

Action is required. Do what you can now to move you closer to your goals.

Need some inspiration to get started on setting your goals? Check out If not now, when? on the blog.

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Kick off 2018 with a goal and a plan

Happy New Year!

It’s time again for Mindset Monday (on a Tuesday this week in observance of New Year’s Day holiday) .

For a few years now I’ve practiced focused reflection on the past year and looked forward to the new year by laying out goals in all areas of life, like personal, fitness, professional, etc.

Sometimes I’m pretty ambitious without realizing it. Like a couple of years ago, I wrote down a fitness goal to get to 100 unbroken double-unders (turning a jump rope twice around with every jump). I think at the time my record was like 10 in a row. Well, at the end of the year when I looked over my goals that year I realized I hadn’t even come close to my “goal”. In fact, I’d forgotten all about it.

Does that tell you anything?

Either I didn’t have a plan, didn’t work the plan, or was so half-hearted about doing double-unders I’d forgotten about it by February.

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I didn’t care enough about it to work at it.

Whether you make New Year’s resolutions or not, the start of a new year is a good time to think about what you want to do over the next 12 months.

What do you want to do this year?

Scratch of one of your bucket list items perhaps?

Travel to another country? Read War and Peace? Join a hiking group? Skydive? Make volunteering your time part of your routine?

Maybe it’s something you’ve been putting off for someday.

Do it. 

First – Whatever you say you want to do has to matter enough to you. Make it something that gets you excited or sentimental (finishing a triathlon) instead of filled with a sense of dread (doing double-unders).

Then, make a plan. Write it down or put it on your calendar. Visualize when and how you’ll do it. Break down the steps to make it happen if necessary.

Next, get started and do a little at a time until it’s done.

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Make someday happen in the next 364 days.

The thing about time is that it keeps going. Set yourself up now to look back on 2018 feeling accomplished, knowing that you set out to do something that mattered to you, you had a plan, and you stuck with it. That thing you meant for someday? Check.

You can do it.

I wish you a healthy and happy new year full of taking care of and doing things that matter to you.

Share what you’ll be doing this year. Post in the comments : )

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Make everyday better with an attitude of gratitude

Gratitude is a small and simple thing that can have a powerful effect on every moment of every day.

It can take you from grumbling about traffic to be thankful that you have a car, from being angry about something annoying thing your friend/spouse/relative did to feeling sincere joy that they’re part of your life.

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It’s like magic.

And even though gratitude works like magic, adopting an attitude of gratitude can take practice.

A few daily strategies to try are:

Write it out. Keep a gratitude journal. List 1 – 3 things/people/circumstances for which you are thankful.
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Count your blessings. Literally count 10 things you’re grateful for.

Be mindful. Bring to mind the people and things you’re grateful for when you feel frustrated, stressed, or anxious.

Give it a try. See what a difference it can make. And then keep doing it.

Do it for your own good.

It can be good for your health. (Read WebMd Boost Your Health With a Dose of Gratitude)

It can be good for your wealth. (Read Being Grateful for what you have now could make you richer in the future on BusinessInsider.com)

Getting in the habit of bringing to mind, letting your loved ones know, and/or writing down the people and things for which you’re grateful puts them at the forefront of your mind. And that changes everything.

Have a grateful attitude especially when you feel anxious and discouraged. You’ll feel better about your day, better about your life.