Two Ways to Achieve Your Summer Goals

Summer Goals 2017When you think of setting goals what comes to mind? Do you think it’s a bunch of ‘woo woo’? Do you think it’s only for the ultra-motivated athlete or business person? Do you think setting goals sets you up for failure?

In my mid-twenties I landed my first management gig at a large retail chain. I was responsible for almost 20 people and a multi-million dollar operation. This position required me to set goals for the sales of our store as well as each individual team member. So, I read everything I could from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People in hopes of leading my team and store to success. I learned a lot from books, my mentors and life. Thankfully I was able to string together some goals that we not only achieved but blew away.

Those lessons have evolved over the years and I’ve applied them to multiple areas of my life including my health. I’ve realized that when I set goals I’m more likely to try and achieve them. As Wayne Gretzky has been quoted over and over, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Having goals gives me something to take a shot at.

Over 150 days have gone by this year. Did you have resolutions 151 days ago? How are those going? Is it time for a reset? Is it time to renew?

There are hundreds and thousands of ways to approach goal setting. There’s a flavor for everyone and no wrong way; if it helps you then go for it.

Here’s how I’ve set and achieving goals.

Small Goals

This goes against my nature and probably your nature. A few years ago I would set the goal of losing 30 pounds in 30 days. I would say this is the week I’m going to hit the gym every day. My goal would be to not eat any sugar for the next 30 days.

The problem for each of those was that they were totally unrealistic. For 45 years I had developed habits that were totally opposite. Think about that; I thought that by setting a goal was going to magically turn around 45 years of bad choices. The goal needs to be realistic and 30 pounds in 30 days isn’t very realistic, especially if you are making a lifelong commitment to health. If you are making a lifelong commitment then the next 30 days are a drop in the bucket, they are important but they aren’t the end goal.

48 Hour Goals

I took the approach of making two day goals. The next 48 hours seemed much more achievable than 7 days or 30 days. Out of those 48 hours I would be sleeping at least 12-16 so that left only 32-36 hours that I needed to manage. It’s not that I didn’t have goals that were further out, it was that I was focusing on achieving more immediate goals.

Wins Create Momentum

Getting some early wins keep you motivated to go after more wins. Achieving goals can easily take on a snowball effect. And when you start getting wins you start creating momentum and that is priceless to your success.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Behaviors That Position You To Win

Did you wake up this morning and think to yourself, “I want to feel worse than I did yesterday?” Or maybe you said to yourself, “I want to have less money in my bank account than I did yesterday” Or, did you say to yourself, “I want my relationships to stink?” My guess is that you didn’t wake up this morning, or any other morning, thinking any of those things to yourself.

Most likely you woke up saying to yourself, “I want to be healthier, wealthier and wiser.” There was some part of you that wanted to be at least a little better than you were yesterday.

Three years ago I found myself in the worst health of my life (you can read more of that story here). After a fateful trip to my doctor I realized I had to make changes. At that point a tiny fire was lit and I began to capitalize on it. I began to do many things that turned my health around but there have been three behaviors which have been major keys to success, winning and getting healthier.

JOIN A CHALLENGE

One of the most motivating things for me is being part of a challenge. When I’m competing, achieving milestones and working towards an end goal I’m at my best. And when there’s a reward at the finish line, even better.

When you intentionally put yourself outside of your comfort zone you have to find strength you didn’t know you have had. You have to dig deep and learn new things that help you rise to the challenge. Authors Adam Morgan and Mark Barden explain that authentic success is really about changing our stories from “We can’t, because,” to “We can, if.”

BECOME PART OF A COMMUNITY

Laird Hamilton says, “A lonely place is an unmotivated place”

The first couple of years on my health journey were done without a lot of interaction with other people. I kept to myself and didn’t think connecting with others about exercise and diet would help much. But last year I was part of a few different health challenges that changed my perception on a community.

Last year I connected with a number of people who were at different points in regards to their health. I met coaches and trainers who have been helping people achieve their health goals for decades. My path crossed and I connected with people who had great insights on nutrition and supplementation. There were others that were in the same spot as me; they had been getting healthier but wanted to go to the next level. And then I met some who were where I had been, just getting started and needed encouragement to begin.

Throughout the year I got to know a lot of people and through those relationships experienced the best year of my life in regards to my health.

MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE

You will have daily opportunities to turn back to where you came from. If you are going to make long-lasting, long-impacting change it takes daily commitment.

When you are part of a community there’s accountability and encouragement to change and stick with the commitment. You have others around you, on the same journey and pursuing similar goals that keep your tank full. And when you have a “why” like a challenge, there’s a purpose that drives you and helps you stay on track.

Change takes time which is why you have to stay committed to the process. You have to be patient. And if you are looking to lose weight or change the composition of your body you have to change your thinking and know it will be a lot of work and effort. I found that taking pictures of myself along my journey helped me to see the changes that the scale didn’t reveal. In addition to the photos, I also took my body measurements every couple of months because those also revealed what the scaled did not.

SUCCESS AND WINNING IS YOUR DECISION

You are not at the mercy of your circumstances, body type, personality or anything else. Getting healthier begins with a decision to get healthy. Putting these three behaviors; challenge, community, and commitment to change into practice will help you maintain that decision.

 

 

 

Enter The New Year With No Regrets

39 Days Until 2017Regret is something that I have become intimately acquainted with over the years. One of my earliest memories of regret, loss and sadness happened during the celebration of my sixth birthday.

My parents welcomed my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on the evening of January 20th, 1975 and my heart filled with excitement. Everyone walking through the front door carried a present in their arms for ME! The presents were placed on the kitchen table next to my Evil Knieval decorated cake and my excitement grew.

evel-knievel-stunt-cycleWhen Your Shirt Catches On Fire

The time came for the singing of happy birthday and the opening of the presents. The lights were turned low and voices sang in my honor. With one big blow I made the flames on the candles disappear. As I would open a present one of my relatives would take it and stack them on the kitchen counter.  Somehow, no one noticed the huge candle burning, which was on the same counter as the presents were being piled.

About halfway through through the unwrapping ritual I opened up a navy blue and yellow shirt. If you are from Michigan (like I am) those colors can only mean one thing and that’s the University of Michigan – Go Blue! That shirt was promptly placed on the growing pile of presents (next to the lit candle) and I moved on to the next gift. As I began unwrapping it the room quickly started to smell like something was burning. Everyone looked to the counter and there was my U of M shirt going up in flames as the candle set it ablaze. My dad grabbed the shirt as it continued to grow into a ball of fire. He threw it out the back door and into a snow bank where it was quickly extinguished.

Crispy Shirts And Breakdowns

As I saw my dad throw my shirt out the door there was sadness and loss that overcame me. I ran to my bedroom, leaving everyone in the dining room, and threw myself onto my bed, crying my eyes out. One of my parents, I don’t remember which, came and comforted me. My breakdown probably only lasted ten minutes but 40 years later, as I write this, the emotion of that moment is still very real.

Was there anything I could have done about my shirt burning to a crisp? No, I wasn’t the one that even put it near the candle. But I still felt regret and loss. I did have the thought, even at that age; ‘what if I had held onto my shirt – it wouldn’t have went up in flames’.

Regret Can Last a Lifetime

My experience with regret and loss at the age of six, in the grand scheme of life was small. But regret is something that I have struggled and wrestled with throughout my life. Things like my parents divorcing when I was twelve to not making the sixth grade basketball team opened the door for regret. As an adult the regret of not speaking up for myself or family in different situations has happened more than once. Decisions I made caused undue stress on my kids that brought on regret. Even throughout my professional career, there have been plenty of situations where I didn’t make the right decision and it led to me carrying more regret than I should.

Three Tools to Deal With Regret

I have by no means totally conquered the beast of regret BUT there are some practices that allow me to properly assess the regret and put it in it’s proper place.

Here are three things I try to practice when regret raises it’s head.

  1. My tendency is to take too much blame, whether or not it is appropriate or not. Because of this I always need to step back from the situation and understand the part I play in what has caused the regret.
  2. I try to look at my situation from a different perspective. What can I learn? How can I help others learn from the situation I experienced? Trying to have a long term vision instead of focusing on the immediate outcome.
  3. If I have done all I can to change a situation, and still don’t see a change, I have to come to a place of peace. I have to get to the place of letting things go. Again, for me and my personality this is one of the most difficult things to do. But, regardless of what does or doesn’t come naturally it’s something I have to strive for.

Put Regret In It’s Place

So, as you approach 2017 don’t hold onto the regrets of 2016. Take responsibility for the things that you need to but don’t take more blame than you should. Put your failures in perspective and learn from them. And come to peace with the things you can’t change.

Enter 2017 with a clean slate and free from regret.

One Last Thing

Earlier this year, I came across this great article on Psychology Today that goes even deeper into the topic of regret. Take a read for even more on the topic of regret right here.

 

 

40 Days To Prepare For A Great 2017

40 Days To Prepare For A Great 2017

40 Days!

You are 40 days away from 2017.

How will you end this year?

Will you spend time thinking and preparing to position yourself for a great new year? Even if you didn’t achieve the goals or aspirations you had at the beginning of this year don’t let that hold you back from looking forward with faith and hope.

Regret

At the beginning of this year I chose three words that would frame my year; you can read that post here. One of my three words was regret. As I mentioned in that post, regret is a powerful two edged sword. You can let regret overcome you and cause you to be depressed or you can let it fuel you to become better. This year I chose to embrace the word as a positive. Throughout this year I asked myself the question, “If I don’t _(fill in the blank)_ what will I regret?” If I don’t continue to improve my health, what will I regret? If I don’t continue to grow in my professional skills, what will I regret?

In This Together

Over the next 40 days let’s link arms, take specific and intentional actions to end 2016 as strong as we can. And just as important, let’s use these next forty days to get ready for an amazing 2017.

During the next 40 days will you do whatever it takes to leave this year behind with all of it successes and failures? Will you resist getting caught up in regrets from things you didn’t accomplish? Will you take time to remember the good things that happened in 2016?

Through the end of the year I’ll be posting strategies and ideas that will help put us in the best position we can to make 2017 great.

Are you with me?

Let’s roll!

 

 

 

Are You Fed Up With Failure?

I Can Accept Failure - I Can't Accept Not Trying AgainThis post is part of the Last 100 Days of 2016 Series. As of today there are 90 days left in 2016, what will you do with them?

How many times have you tried something only to fail? If you are breathing you have had a long history with failure. When you were learning to ride a bike, you would fall, get back on and start pedaling and trying again. Go back a few years before that when you were learning to walk, you would fall, get back up and try again. Think about your career; a growing and thriving career requires that you continually learn new things. And let’s face it, most times, we don’t pick up new skills right away – it usually takes a while. 

When failure presents itself it provides you with the opportunity to make a critical decision. And that decision is this; will you try again OR will you give up? Will you make the decision to go after that gaol one more time OR will you become stuck in regret?

Trying again starts with your mindset. If your head, your mind, isn’t in the right place the ability to try again is almost non-existent. Here are three practices that will help you maintain a strong mindset that will enable you to try again and not give up.

Change Your Perspective

Instead of labeling the failure as the end all reframe failure as a learning experience. Step back and take a look at what worked and what didn’t work with your plan. Learn from it but don’t take it as a death sentence.

Kick Fear in The Face

One of the greatest enemies to trying again is fear. You begin to think you can never do the thing you’ve set out to accomplish. You let fear tell you that you don’t have what it takes. You let the fear of what others will think of you “trying again” hold you back. You have to put on your boots, face your fears and then…with those boots…KICK FEAR IN THE FACE!!!

Good People

Surround yourself with people who will pick you up and push your forward. Good people and good relationships are good for the soul. After you have experienced some kind of failure you don’t need people around you that will bring you down even more. Find people that want the best for you and tap into their positive energy and encouragement.

Remember – it’s only failure when you stop trying – don’t stop – keep going!

You Can Overcome Resistance

Overcome ResistanceThis post is part of the Last 100 Days of 2016 Series. As of today there are 98 days left in 2016, what will do with them? 

The Resistance is Real

In his book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says, “Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

The moment you make a decision to change something in your life is the moment resistance raises its head. Resistance can happen from within yourself or be an outside pressure and in many cases it’s both. The proof that resistance is real can be found when you consider some of these stats from Statistic Brain about New Years Resolutions:

  • 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution
  • 49% have infrequent success
  • 24% never succeed and fail on their resolution each year

If you wan to be part of the 8% you absolutely can. Overcoming is within your reach. Here are three ways to push through resistance and make the change you desire.

Jedi Mind Tricks

You don’t need to be Luke Skywalker or Master Yoda and possess Jedi powers to overcome the resistance but your mind plays a huge role. You either decide to give in to resistance and accept defeat or make the decision to push back, fight and conquer it.

From the big to little decisions it all counts. The choices you make in the next hour, day, week or month will be reflected in your future. Choose wisely and with purpose. 

Define & Write It Down

Research shows that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. At the beginning of this year I chose three words that would define my approach to 2016. I wrote those words down in various places so that I’m always reminded of my focus and my goals.

Accountability

Being part of a community and having others that know the changes you are attempting to make is a big part of success or failure. When you have someone or many people that you know will ask you how things are going there’s an added level of commitment.

At the beginning of this year I was part of a couple health challenges. In one challenge I was part of a team. Me and four others knew each other’s goals and were committed to helping each other. We would text, work out together, email and stay connected through social media. Our relationship had two main purposes in the beginning; 1) hold each accountable 2) encourage one another.

Find at least one person who’s up in your business and see the kind of difference it can make.

Don’t lose heart – keep fighting against whatever is resisting you, your goals and your progress.

Finish 2016 strong!