Just Do It

I am a part of the ‘Just Do It’ generation. In 1988, when Nike came out with the famous slogan, I was a young adult struggling to transition from the world of academia to the ‘real world’.  Just do it seemed a fitting mantra for those times.

Just Do It

Except do we ever just do something?

What exactly do we mean when we say ‘Just Do It”?

We must remember that thoughts precede actions, which precede change. I know of not one person who ever set out to reach a goal and just did it. First they thought of the goal. Then they planned how to reach the goal. Lastly they put themselves where the rubber meets the road and they just did it.

Are you trying to reach a goal by just doing it? Have you laid the proper foundation for success?

Here are some ideas for being successful in reaching your goal:


  1. Access your starting point.  For example if you wish to run a marathon, perhaps you need to talk with your doctor about your bum knee first. If you are anxious for a particular job position, access your qualifications first. Now you know your starting point.
  2. Identify the goal. This seems so simple but know what you wish to achieve. Name the race, or name the job. Create a photo of what reaching your goal looks like, either in your head or a real photo (more on that in a later post).
  3. Determine your course of action. Think of this as planning a road trip. Plan each step along the way.
  4. Now is when you just do it; and by just do it I mean execute the plan.
  5. Celebrate your success! My suggestion is that, depending on your goal, you celebrate as you reach the varying milestones along the way.

What are you waiting for? Get started!



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Take a Step in the Right Direction

Today I am sharing with you a post I wrote last September. I hope it will mean as much to you today as it did last year.

My friend Mary is an avid paddler. She holds a professional job and cares for her elderly parents but every weekend, you will find Mary in her canoe or kayak on some river or waterway paddling away her frustrations. This past weekend, Mary paddled a marathon (that is 26 miles for those of us who are not marathoners) on flat water (i.e. no current to carry you).

The day after the marathon event, I sat down with Mary to hear all about her adventure. She described her adventure as perfect because there were natural intermittent goals along the way.  The trip was planned around a Y-shaped waterway; the first leg was up the shaft of the Y and up the right arm. At this point, there was a dam and a place to stop for a ‘natural break’ as well as to take on sustenance.

When it comes to reaching any goal, having smaller goals within the goal creates a sense of accomplishment. The big goal does not feel so out of reach because you have the smaller celebrations along the way.

Whether your goal is running a marathon, writing a book, or cleaning your house breaking the task into small mini-goals is an ego boost. The time to pat yourself on the back and say ‘look how far I have come!’ You also have the opportunity to mark your progress. How do you eat an elephant? One-bite at a time. How do you reach your goal? One-step at a time.

Take a step today toward your goal.  A giant step or a baby step, it doesn’t matter, just take the step!


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Back to Basics

My friend Ted owns a successful retail business and a booming online shop. Ted volunteers in his community and has the usually family issues added in. Ted is a man with a lot of balls in the air.

Photo via flickr.com/photos/maximumac

Yesterday morning Ted called me. I’m sure neither of us remembers the real reason for his call, but we spent over an hour talking about why we do what we do. Ted had hit a wall in his life. He is working more and enjoying less. His statement to me was ‘why am I working so hard to be successful when it just means I work more?’ Ted’s passion for surfing is what made his business successful and yet, Ted no longer has time to surf.

It is one of those things that can happen to any of us. We begin a project or a business because it is something we feel passionate about. We are gung-ho and anxious to succeed. However, we forget to keep doing what made it our passion.

Ted shared with me that on the few times he had tried to surf this summer, he either felt such stress to catch as many waves as possible in the time he had allotted to surf or he felt so guilty that he couldn’t enjoy the experience. In the example of Ted, my advice was to take an hour three times each week to get back in the water and surf.

It is important to remember why you chose to begin. What passion drove you to begin your project? Are you still feeding that passion? Or have you allowed the project/business to steal your passion?


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Keep Your Workouts Fresh


The thing we all need to get us moving. No one crossed the finish line devoid of the motivation to start. Many of us find the motivation to start, but lack the motivation to continue. Much like the hare in the story of the tortoise and the hare, we start out motivated and strong but find our energy level waning until we end up napping. We lose our drive to the finish line.

When it comes to working out and exercise, we all know that having a partner can make all the difference in how successful we are in meeting our goals. A partner can encourage you to show up. A partner can help you to push a little harder. A partner can keep you motivated.

But what if you don’t have a workout partner? Well, I have good news for you! A new research from Michigan State University reveals working out with a virtual partner improves motivation during exercise. The research, published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, earlier this year found that ‘working out with virtually present, superior partners can improve motivation on exercise game tasks,’  Deborah Feltz, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology said. ‘These findings provide a starting point to test additional features that have the potential to improve motivational gains in health video games.’

Amazingly, researchers have found live exercise partners are not always the most helpful. ‘Individuals can become discouraged if they believe they can never keep up with their partner, or on the other hand, become bored if their partner is always slower,’ Feltz said. ‘With a virtual partner, this can be addressed.’

So get out the video workout games and let the exercise bring!

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When to Give Up on a Goal

Last week we talked about persistence. The tenacity to pursue a goal until you reach it. In that post I encouraged you to believe that success was just around the corner. While I still believe this is true, I also wish to point out the law of diminishing returns.

The law of diminishing returns says that there comes a point in time when it just doesn’t make sense to keep going. According to licensed psychotherapist and life coach Alyson Mischel , ‘the key to staying healthy – but still striving enough to make progress in your personal and professional lives – is to know when to call it quits’.

According to a study in the journal Psychological Science, Canadian researchers found that people who failed to give up unreachable goals had higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation tied to heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis – than did those who moved on when they were unable to accomplish their objective.

If just thinking about your goal makes you anxious, or you’re unable or unwilling to take the necessary actions to achieve it, it’s probably best to give it up, says Mischel. In many cases, it’s not a matter of completely chucking your ambitions, but of rethinking them

Perhaps when rethinking your goal you need to ask for help. Maybe you need to adjust your goal to downscale (losing 20lbs instead of 100).

If trying to reach your goal is causing extreme stress in your life; then maybe it isn’t the goal for you. There is no shame in knowing when you need help or when you should let go.


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SMART goal setting

Like it or not, goal setting is a central and essential aspect of life. For some of us, this is a mindful process, however many others are unaware of the goal setting act and therefore have very little direction or purpose. You may be surprised to learn that you are setting goals on a daily basis. Some are relatively small and seemingly insignificant such as deciding what you will eat for lunch, while others are more important and relevant to your potential accomplishments.

So today let’s talk about setting SMART goals in life; mostly the big GOALS, but also some of the small goals. A SMART goal refers to a method of goal setting and not just intelligent goals. It is a five step method of making your goals well-dressed and ready to be met.


= Specific

When you first begin thinking about your goal the goal may be very vague (i.e. I’ll eat lunch today) However, as you plan for your goal you MUST become very specific about your goal. (i.e. I am having lunch today at noon with Jane at my favorite restaurant).

A specific goal should clearly state what you want to accomplish, why it is an important goal, and how you intend to accomplish the goal.


= Measurable

You need to be able to determine, without question, whether or not you are successful in achieving your goal. In order to do this, you need to create a way to measure your progress and your end result.

A measurable goal should include a plan with targets and milestones that you can use to make sure you’re moving in the right direction during the process and should clearly tell you when you’ve completed the process.


= Attainable

While goals may often pull you out of your comfort zone and challenge you, if the goal and the parameters you have created are not realistic, you may be setting yourself up for failure. (i.e. I could set a goal to lose 100 lbs by next week; however, it is NOT an attainable goal)

Your goals need to be realistic and include action plans that break your overall goal down into smaller, manageable feats.


= Relevant

Does this goal seem worthwhile? Are you willing to work toward fulfilling this goal? If the answer is no to either of these questions, then this isn’t the goal for you….move on! If the answer is yes, get moving!


= Time-Based

Goals cannot be open-ended; every goal should be limited by a period of time. A goal with out a timeline is just a wish (i.e. Someday I’m going to learn to play the guitar). Your timeline may vary by weeks, months or years depending on what the goal may be, but a defined timeline is vital in order for you to commit to the goal.

What goals are you setting today?


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