- 5 Reasons Your New Years Resolution is Destined to Fail
- Thought for the Day: Values are Like Fingerprints
- Imagination: The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself for 2013
- 30sec Tip: Identify Your Peak Hour of Productivity
- Top Five Ways to Make a Successful Network
- A Case for the Wednesday Weekly Review
Posted: 03 Jan 2013 08:00 AM PST
It’s that time of the year again, and you’re scribbling down potential New Years resolutions on a cocktail napkin at your company’s holiday party.
You’re excited for the change: you can just see yourself in that bikini/car/house/condo in Fiji. What better time to finally hammer down on your goals than New Years?
It’s a definite and concrete point in time for change, and although you know the date is arbitrary, it just feels different—2012 will roll over to 2013, which might as well be a new decade as far as you’re concerned, and you’re going to party it up on December 31st so that you can have one last smoke or chocolate cake before the new you emerges on January 1st.
This all sounds great in theory, but unfortunately, it’s likely that you’ve already failed before you even began. Here are five reasons why your New Year’s resolution was destined to fail right from the start.
1. You’re Not Emotionally Invested in Your Resolution
When you say that you want to do something but you don’t feel it down in your bones, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.To succeed, you need to want something so much that you’re willing to do almost anything to achieve it.
With all change, there comes a time when the going is going to get tough, and if you don’t have enough emotional intensity behind your resolution, your resolve will easily wear down. When that happens, it’s only a matter of time until your new resolution is but a distant memory.
2. You’re Not Willing To Raise Your Standards
Some people get up every day at 5AM and go running. Others exercise every day after work, and there are those who make it to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. All of these people have different standards for the dedication they give to their health and body.
The state of anything in your life is a direct reflection of the standards you hold yourself to: anyone can literally see your standards by looking at your body—whether you smoke, have ambition, work out, etc.
If you want to quit smoking, then you have to hold your health at a higher standard. If you want to lose weight, you have to hold the appearance of your body at a higher standard, and you must hold to this standard with everything you have.
3. You’re Refuse To Burn Your Boats
If you decide that you want to stop smoking, but you keep ashtrays in your house (just in case), you’re not willing to burn your boats—your whole heart isn’t into the attempt, and you’re going to fail the first time your willpower is challenged. If you really want to resolve to do something, put yourself in a situation where you can’t go back at all, or at least not without great difficulty.
Burn your boats and believe that you’re going to find a way or make a way to stick to this.
4. You Don’t Have Strong Enough Reasons To Stick With Your Resolution
Internal motivations are always stronger than external motivations, and internal motivations that are backed by a strong emotional desire are always stronger than internal motivations backed by a weak emotional desire.
Make sure that your reasons aren’t external, and that they align with your values and beliefs. Then, back those reasons with strong emotions to increase your chances of success. If doing so just isn’t possible, maybe this particular resolution isn’t what you truly want.
5. You’re Married To The Belief of Who You Are Now
Do you find yourself saying to people, “that’s just who I am” whenever you talk about a weakness of yours? Maybe you’ve always been “big-boned” or “temperamental” or “distracted”. You may wish to resolve to be more organized, but you believe that you’re a “naturally disorganized” person.
You can’t resolve to make a chance that goes against your beliefs about your “self”: those beliefs are limitations, and you haven’t believed in them since birth. You can either choose to believe something else, or choose to hold on to that belief. If you choose the latter, don’t try to make a resolution that contradicts it since you will inevitably fail.
Rethink Your Resolutions
Now, how resolute are you really? Take a look at your resolutions and find where your weak spots are—be honest and true to yourself.
If you really want change, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of only wishing for something. It’s true that when you fail, you won’t be disappointed, but it also means that you’ll never make progress. Progress is growth and growth is life, so aim for some personal growth this year and make 2012 the best year yet.
Featured photo credit: Fortune teller with her crystal ball via Shutterstock
Posted: 03 Jan 2013 06:30 AM PST
Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do. By Elvis Presley
Posted: 03 Jan 2013 05:00 AM PST
2013 promises to be an interesting year, and of course we all want to have an enjoyable and successful one… so how can we go about creating a wonderful year for ourselves?
Create Inner Freedom
The best way to improve your life is to create some inner freedom.
Inner freedom is the ability to be flexible and adaptive in the face of changing circumstances, and we certainly have plenty of those! This inner freedom allows you to:
How We Lose Our Inner Freedom
Our preconceived ideas tend to render us predisposed to a particular expectation or experience. These learned ideas about life can cause us to define “reality” in such a way that we may temper our ambitions, desires, and most importantly, our sense of possibility. Often, our experiences lead us to a set of assumptions that foreclose possibilities, creating a closed-memory system that causes us to give up an important part of our minds: our imagination.
Imagination can seem like feeble competition for one’s memory, which builds its catalogue of events over time, defining what we perceive reality to be. When that happens, we have given our memories power over our lives when life is meant to be created anew each and every moment.
Are you letting this happen?
Are your past memories running the show of your life?
Do you fear a repetition of disappointments stored in your memory?
Are your memories limiting your sense of possibility?
The Emotional Overhead of Our Memories
The human memory has its value, but can be one of the most limiting forces in our lives.
We could learn a great deal from animals, who do not live in their memories, but in the present. Many animals, even if they have suffered serious abuse, will recover and leave the past behind in favor of a more joyful present and future. We humans are often less flexible, usually because of our memories.
Our memories—which are tied to a nonexistent set of circumstances—can cause diminished expectations, which in turn can affect how we operate in the present. If I believe that I “do not stand a chance” in regard to a specific situation, my interest in it diminishes, as does my motivation. Now my chances are really gone.
These beliefs are often based on a memory which caused you to have the expectation of failure before you even began, which is why beliefs and memories need to be reexamined. When people pump themselves up it is often to counter the effects of their memories’ hold on their expectations. Our memory provides us with a lot of emotional overhead that has to be either dealt with or maintained—like a hidden tax on our energies that we are often not aware of.
How about taking the emotional load off?
The Gift of Imagination
Our imagination lets us have a playful attitude toward the present that can let us solve serious problems more easily.
Embracing our imaginations and whatever possibilities exist in the present is not about pumping ourselves up to face another day, or challenging ourselves to do the impossible. It is not about proving ourselves or denying whatever harm we have experienced in the past.
So much of existing human infrastructure and achievements are a testimonial to the triumph of the imagination over memory, which is often riddled with fear.
What a great legacy we have to work from, and reminds us what a courageous bunch we are!
To a Great 2013
I suggest that you accept your memory as only one influential factor in your life: let it have its voice without letting it have the last word; let your imagination out to play as well, and help others to do the same.
Featured photo credit: Fantasy surrealistic background with an elephant with a hat via Shutterstock
Posted: 02 Jan 2013 07:00 PM PST
Identify your peak hour of productivity. Schedule your most important task for this period. Work on unimportant tasks during non-peak hours.
Featured photo credit: wooden sail ship toy model in the sea sand via Shutterstock
Posted: 02 Jan 2013 02:00 PM PST
"I get by with a little help from my friends."
Just as Ringo Starr sang in the famous Beatles song, I wouldn't have anywhere near the level of success I've achieved in my career without my network of contacts and friends. A strong network is one of the most essential tools to make your business work, and below, I've compiled the five best ways I've made my network operate successfully.
1. Social media is your friend
Social networks are a great way to sustain your already established network. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for instance, are great venues for staying in touch with your networks. However, they're not necessarily great venues for building your network—that's why in-person meetings still exist.
The key to maintaining a network via social media is to participate: people in your network are often curious about your activities, and by posting relevant information often, you can actively keep yourself present to your audience and network. However, don't forget that the phrase "too much of a good thing" exists for a reason: posting too frequently and over-sharing will often cause people to tune out your posts.
2. Be friendly and professional
Friendliness and professionalism need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, I've found that by treating business contacts with the warmth and affection that you might reserve for your dearest friends, you are often rewarded with that same respect and affection.
Many of my closest friends began as customers and clients. You might find that you and your new business contact are talking business one moment, and the next, he or she is travelling from Munich, Germany to attend your wedding (this actually happened!).
3. Execute a stellar introduction
It's no secret that introductions are tricky, but they can be your strongest tools when executed effectively. When introducing two people, I've always tried to think about the business needs at hand, and I try to determine ways the two can mutually benefit each other. Most people tend to just introduce the people and then expect them to connect directly. This works occasionally, but not all the time.
I've found that an almost foolproof method is to provide a summary of each person's background and the reason you're making the introduction. When the introduction is put in context, it allows the two people to join the conversation with ideas of how they might be able to work together, and they have you to thank for that valuable initial meeting.
4. Look for quality, not quantity
All too often I see people attempting to build a large network of contacts by having what I like to call "headcount" contacts: these are people that you've met, but who might not necessarily be there for you in a time of need.
Remember, just meeting someone doesn't mean that they're going to be responsive to your requests and favors. From my experience, it's more effective to have a smaller group of contacts that you can guarantee will be responsive to your requests.
To build these groups, think about reciprocity—you should always be on the lookout for ways to be of service to your contacts. If someone needs a hand completing a task, be that hand. If someone needs to get in contact with someone you know, be that link. Karma is a good friend to have on your side when trying to build a strong network.
5. Meet in person
Don't get me wrong—Twitter and Facebook are great tools for networking, but they're not the best. In order to build a strong network, there's no better way than meeting face to face. In-person interactions lead to quality time and help build a foundation of trust and understanding.
This might sound counterintuitive in the age of social media, but a wall post or re-tweet has nothing on a handshake; social networks are a great way to stay in touch with people after you've met. People almost always react positively to someone after they have met face-to-face and had a non-digital conversation.
Let your network increase your net worth
Connections are important, but even more essential are quality interactions with those contacts and a mutual support that benefits both parties. As your network starts to grow, keep these five tips in mind. They worked for me, and I can almost guarantee they'll work for you as well.
Featured photo credit: icons social network and happy group of finger smileys via Shutterstock
Posted: 02 Jan 2013 11:00 AM PST
If you practice Getting Things Done®, the productivity method authored by David Allen, then you should have at least heard about the "Weekly Review". Hopefully, you are also practicing it as well.
According to GTD, your weekly review should consist of an evaluation of your outstanding involvements. It's a time to empty your mind, process your inbox, and review not only your Calendar but also your various "GTD buckets": actions, projects, ticklers, someday items, and reference material. Most of us set aside one to two hours for the weekly review, in which the main benefit is to cultivate your trust not only in the GTD method but also in the tools you're using to implement the method.
I speak to a lot of GTD'ers, and discovered that many of them fell off the GTD wagon many times. When we drilled deeper we found that a very large majority of them (close to 90%) did not do a weekly review. Digging deeper still, we discovered that nearly all of them scheduled and planned to do their reviews on the weekend: there, my friends, lies the problem.
After speaking to many users, we turned inwards and realized that many of us in the office who were not consistent had, in fact, scheduled their reviews on the weekends. So we decided to change: with the exception of one person who does his review on Friday, the rest of us scheduled our reviews on Wednesdays. Wow, what a difference a few days makes. During the week, I'm in "work" mode: I’m highly focused on my targets, working on my projects, and gaining momentum gradually as the week progresses. I usually peak on Wednesday. It turns out that's the ideal time for the weekly review.
1. Use Weekends to Recharge
Your creativity is fueled with the fires of experience, but you can only be productive if you rest. It's a simple equation and it means that you need to spend your weekends doing the things you love, not reviewing various tasks and practicing your GTD.
2. Accountability Buddies
Having accountability buddies who will remind you to do a review is great. Hopefully, you are not the only one at the office that's practicing GTD; if you are, your next action is to get a GTD buddy at work.
3. Stay Focused
Most of us ride the same productivity curve during the week: we ramp up on Mondays and are running on full cylinders on Tuesday and Wednesday, but by Thursday morning we start to lose our steam. The mid-week review is great way to refocus and re-energize—by reviewing what we have accomplished and what is still on our plate, we get both a tap on the back and a kick in the behind.
Featured photo credit: Elderly and young men, working in very different fields of activity via Shutterstock
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