I love a plan! I enjoy the process of making a plan. There is just a special joy about deciding a course of action to deal with a specific problem. Left to my own devices, I usually stick with the plan. As a matter of fact, I often find myself in the position of wondering why something did not happen….and my response is ‘BUT, WE HAD A PLAN’.

The reality is that having a plan and implementing a plan live at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Make a Plan

So here are steps to help you accomplish what you are planning:

1 – Make your plan realistic. When making a plan it is tempting to want to see everything in a Pollyanna, pie in the sky way; DON’T DO IT! Have lofty goals and reach for the stars but make your plan for accomplishment rooted firmly in realistically what you can accomplish.

2 – Get the entire teams buy in. If you are a boss making the plan, you can demand compliance but if your team doesn’t understand the reasons and agree with the plan, the implementation will be less effective.

3 – Document the plan. It is easy to lie to ourselves. It is easy to ‘modify’ the plan in our minds as an excuse to not implement it. It is also easy for a team member to claim they didn’t understand the plan.  If the plan lives in a written format there is no chance for confusion and less chance of mental justifications.

4 – Create visual cues. I like to do this in my calendar (or in a task manager that offers a ‘pop up’ on my computer or a text message reminder). For example, I have a pop up that says, ‘Go to the gym’.

5 – Build a reward into the plan. Everyone loves to be rewarded for a job well done. So, feed your team, give a bonus, or relax your dress code for a day; whatever reward works for your team.

Meeting your goals is just a matter of knowing where you are going and how you are going to get there!

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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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Chart Your Progress

Write it down! It seems to be the catch phrase of goal setting these days. Want to lose weight?  Keep a record of everything that passes your lips. Want to save money? Keep a record of every dime you spend. Record keeping is a useful tool and milestones Are Crucial to reaching a goal. Milestones tell you if your efforts are working. They’re also the benchmarks that you can use to know if you are moving in the right direction toward your goal.  However, extreme record keeping can become overwhelming, causing you to stumble and fall short of your goals.

What I am doing is what I call recordkeeping light. I started, for example, by writing down everything I ate for a week. This created a baseline for my caloric intake. I then set my goal for what I wanted my caloric intake to be and began my journey. Three to four weeks in, I again kept a journal of my foods for a week and plotted these numbers into a graph.  I use ChartGizmo a fun free program to create and track my progress.

After several months I was not overwhelmed with the record keeping and I also was able to keep a close eye on my progress and on whether or not I am reaching my milestones.

This method may not be for everyone. Why? Because of the cheat factor; the days of record keeping MUST be as normal as the every other day.  However, it can be a great solution to the often overwhelming task of record keeping and can assist you in moving forward.

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The Power of Time-off

Americans Are More Stressed-Out Than Ever And Crave Time Off, But Work Woes Keep Majority From Taking All Their Vacation Days, Says New Survey By Westin Hotels

Nearly 70% Feel Healthier and 60% Feel Less Stressed after Vacation Though 75% Too Busy to Take Much-Needed Time Off

Use it or lose it, companies say. But with jobs at risk and economic woes lingering, more than half of American workers are too worried and busy to take all their vacation days, according to a survey released today by Westin Hotels & Resorts.

According to the Westin Hotels “Wellness in Travel” study of 1,500 Americans, more than half of workers fail to take all their vacation days. Just how desperately is America in need of some time off? More than half (58%) of respondents feel they are in more need of vacation than last year and 64% have canceled vacation due to work worries. The cancellations come even as respondents pine for the benefits of time away from their desks. More than 67% feel healthier on vacation, while 64% sleep better while taking some time off. Married folks take note – rest and relaxation can also contribute to wedded bliss. More than half of those surveyed feel taking vacation contributes to a stronger marriage.

Live happier, live longer, give yourself permission to take time off.

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Who is cheating on you?

While enjoying some down time with some friends, a hypothetical question came up. If you knew someone was cheating would you tell? It brought about a lively discussion and a few confessions. It also made me consider how I cheat. No, not how I cheat on my spouse. But how I defraud myself. Every time I make an excuse for why I can not go to the gym, I am conning my health. Every time I procrastinate I take away from my future productivity.
Sometimes I feel like I have gotten away with cheating. However, like cheating on your spouse, all cheating will catch up with you.  It is only a matter of time before the little cheats become big deceptions. Sure you can cheat on your workout regiment occasionally, but if you are habitually skipping, it will start to show. This is true for any goal.
The more often you cheat the easier it is to justify doing it again. With enough practice, you can forget you ever had a goal. Are you a cheater? You wouldn’t cheat on your spouse? Why are you cheating on you?
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Rules to Live by…

Today I want to share with you some of my rules to live by.  Please note these are my rules. I challenge you to make your own list.

  1. Know your values in life and start living by them;
  2. Be curious about life and the things that happen around you;
  3. Don’t give your power away by letting others dictate how you feel;
  4. Say ‘I Love You’ and mean it when you say it;
  5. You do not know what someone else thinks. So, ask them (and really listen to the answer);
  6. Always admit to your mistakes and try to make it right;
  7. Enjoy the great outdoors everyday;
  8. Take responsibility for your life (including mistakes);
  9. Believe in your ability to change your circumstances;
  10. Trust your instinct;
  11. You can’t change the past, stop letting it ruin your future;.
  12. Do not gossip.
  13. Believe in your own higher power, nobody else’s.
  14. Listen to others, don’t just sit thinking about what you want to say when they stop talking;
  15. Stay in touch with the people who matter to you;
  16. Don’t compare yourself to others, this is your path not theirs;
  17. Prepare in advance for your own confidence;
  18. Hug as much as you can;
  19. Cut down on your TV time;
  20. Love your partner with everything you have, but do not depend on them for anything;
  21. Learn to argue fair;
  22. Give everyone one chance. They may surprise you;
  23. Exercise you mind and body everyday;
  24. Never forget to say Thank You (and mean it);
  25. Embrace learning; Learn something new every day and teach something every day;
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