You’re not going that way anyway

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Is there a go-to place you seek for inspiration or insight? The mountains fill that role for me. Before each hike, I ask: What do I need to know? followed by prayer for an open mind and heart to receive. Sometimes, I experience “ah-ha” moments; other times a surprise spotting of deer prompts me to look up and view the world in front of me. One fresh insight aligns with the latest writing adventure on which I embarked (see “My future self…”). Concerned that a few other trekkers chose a similar route as me during a recent outing, I feared disruption of much-needed solitude. Yet these hikers opted for a different trail, leaving me with unfounded worry—a reminder not to waste energy agonizing over choices that others make. This coincides with years of envying fellow writers, while seeking their “maps” to success. And realizing that each of us get to forge a path unique to our own journey.

How do you know you’re on the right path?

The home stretch: bidding farewell to 2019

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How’s the year wrapping up in your world? Mine resembles a project still in the works: missing pieces to the puzzle; loose ends, tangled and frayed. Unfinished business: words left unspoken; goals unrealized. As well as one certainty: I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life or the end of next year—or the end of next month—without seeing progress. Although baby steps still mean we’re moving forward, we might fall on our hindquarters, take two steps back for each one we advance or veer off the original course. But we shouldn’t drop to our knees where we are and stop—unless it’s to pray. So as we bid farewell to 2019, I pray for: a clear vision for the New Year, favor to succeed, strength to overcome, confidence in our convictions and the peace that passes all understanding. And that any loose ends or unfinished business or missing pieces to the puzzle serve as stepping stones from one chapter to the next.

Cheers!

Image courtesy of Krishna arts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to determine if you’re an amateur or a professional

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In a recent post, I talk about taking massive action to fight for your goals. The article I reference focuses on the importance of changing our mindsets. And that it isn’t just trying something once, or trying and failing and then quitting. It means trying until we get the results we want; i.e., mastering daily habits that ultimately lead to success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and the creator of the Habits Academy, it’s about the power of schedule and creating a daily routine. Clear says, “Stop waiting for motivation or creative inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.” Further, give yourself permission to deliver a less-than-average outcome. “The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.”

So what’s the verdict—amateur or pro?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I quit.

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One day, you wake up and just know it’s time to say, “I quit.” I quit the negative self-talk. I quit complaining. I quit obsessing (see “A time for everything…). I quit whatever no longer serves me—the toxic behaviors that harm vs. heal, the co-dependent relationships that eclipse vs. edify, saying “yes” when I mean “no.” I quit making excuses and, instead, take ownership of my decisions, my goals, my commitments, my successes—and my failures. I quit piling on the unrealistic expectations, and replace them with my victories, big and small. I quit dreaming new dreams without attaching wings: the tangible steps I must take to create the reality my heart envisions. One day, you wake up and just know it’s time to say, “I begin.” And embrace every thrill ride, every bump, bruise and disappointment because it means you’re alive and present in this moment. That you’re breathing and you were created for a purpose.

What do you need to quit in order to begin?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

New year new decade: 7 steps to success

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In my post, “It’s not too early…” I share a link on strategies to attract everything you want in 2020. With two months remaining in 2019, I challenge readers (and myself) to begin now. To recap: 1) Identify what you really want and be sure you really want it; 2) visualize your future self doing what it takes to get there; 3) believe that you can do it; 4) clarify your intention and give it your attention; 5) prepare for when the slope gets slippery; 6) hold yourself accountable, but be gentle with yourself and 7) practice gratitude every step of the way. It all sounds simple, right? I think where I struggle the most is at the beginning: What do I really want? Going forward into this new decade, the key for me is to keep it simple and straightforward. And one (major) “want” only. Otherwise, it looks a lot like self-sabotage and my best intentions go up in smoke. Every time.

What do you really want?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taming the monkeys: Part V and thinking SMART

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In my last post on taming the monkeys and “… what ‘not’ to do,’ I stress the importance of keeping our a.m. routines simple to avoid becoming overwhelmed. I also promised to touch on our evening routines. So why is an evening routine important? It prepares us for a successful tomorrow. Key focus areas in the p.m. might include: 1) spend time with family, 2) work on a task and/or goal; 3) review the day and 4) prep/plan for the following day. In addition, working SMARTer, not harder, is vital to success in every endeavor (in my opinion). And a second equally important component—or glue—holds it all together. But first, how do we work SMARTer? Create plans/goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based (Trackable). Over the past month and a half, I’ve discovered myriad planning tools, but here’s a good place to start: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm. More planning tips and the glue that holds it all together next time.

What does your evening routine look like?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taming the monkeys: Part IV and what ‘not’ to do

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In my post, “Taming the monkeys, Part III… ,” I began sharing insights on planning, plus a link to time-management thought leader Ben Hardy. Several of his articles tout the importance of planning because, according to another Ben (Franklin), If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. First thing’s first: plan a morning (and evening—more on that later) routine that sets you up for success. As Hardy says: You make or break your life before 8 a.m. Bonus material: here’s what not to do: change too many things at one time. Keep it simple, or you’ll become overwhelmed. Hardy, himself, swears by these straightforward steps: wake up, drink water, take a cold (optional) shower, get dressed, meditate/pray, visualize/set goals, create/work. Personally, I skip the cold shower and incorporate yoga stretches into my mornings. But allow Google to be your friend as you plan a customized routine. For more ideas, visit https://21dayhero.com/morning-routines-guide/ and https://www.scienceofpeople.com/morning-routine/. Coming up: think SMART.

What three things comprise your morning routine?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taming the monkeys: Part III and the definition of ‘planning’ according to me

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My recent post, “Taming the monkeys with practical tips…,” came to fruition when my new friend, KM, asked me: What would it take for you to feel unstuck? My response: “I really don’t know.” It turns out the process of planning offered half the solution [see “Taming the monkeys: Part II…”]. First, what is planning and what does it constitute? To me, it’s a way to organize my thoughts into action. In other words, putting the monkey mind to good use. But where to begin? KM threw out a name: Benjamin Hardy—a time-management guru already on my radar—and an expert on planning for success by incorporating X tasks into our morning routines before 8 a.m. Check out his website at  http://benjaminhardy.com for inspiration and strategies for rapid life improvement, including a.m. habits of the [rich and] successful. But beware: I learned the hard way what not to do. That’s up next (plus more planning sites to check out).

Describe your a.m. routine with one word.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Finding your support system can make all the difference

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You’ve hit the reset button and started the arduous, oftentimes painful and slow, process of reinventing yourself: your thought patterns, habits, goals. You’ve purged the old to make room for the new, and now you want to share your plans with someone you trust. Someone who will understand (at least) the basics. Beware: those who don’t “get it” may look at you like you’ve sprouted a third eye, and/or say things that challenge your convictions. But, those who generally understand will rally around you to champion your quest. Unfortunately, though, even the most well-meaning friends can inadvertently choke the life from the tender seedlings of progress we’ve begun to nurture. That’s why we must learn to discern our closest allies—the tribal few who know when to provide an ear, or a (virtual) hug or a word of encouragement, when needed. And, of course, to celebrate our successes. Growth isn’t easy, but a support system offers vital nourishment to help us flourish.

Who are your closest go-to allies?

Image courtesy of lekcha at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Where happiness + success intersect: overcoming the burden of expectations

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There’s something to be said about the correlation between loving what you do and doing what you love and vice versa. Similarly, theologian Albert Schweitzer once penned: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” And, recently, during an interview with WD magazine (March/April 2019), author Min Jin Lee talked about overcoming the burden of expectations. Which ultimately leads to joy. So how do we do this? In “Rekindle the excitement,” I pose the challenge to rediscover what makes us excited to jump out of bed each morning… by starting somewhere. Yet first we have to ask the question: If I removed expectation from the equation, including time and/or money, and if I could be or do that one thing I love doing, that brings me joy and spells success (in my book), what does it look like? And will I regret the not doing?

Are you doing what you love doing?

Photo source: pinterest.com.

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