Update on the Monday Challenge

I’ve posted a couple different times on how Monday is the ideal day to set a goal that you will work towards or maybe achieve depending of course on the nature of what you are seeking. My own score card is I have completed two of the three goals I set for myself. Instead of taking my own advice I set goals that were very difficult so 2 out of 3 is not so bad, and I have made some progress on the one that I cannot say I have completely mastered. This brings up another point about goal setting that we need to understand. It is vitally important that you set the goals so that you can begin to change your behavior, but realistically you will not always achieve them in the time frame you set for yourself. I’ve always liked the graphic below because it does a good job of simply depicting what really happens when we set a goal and work toward achieving it.

success looks like

Sometimes reaching your goals and the resulting success this brings you is a messy process, so I wanted to make sure you cut yourself some slack during this whole process. I found myself questioning the order of goals I set for the 4 or 5 weeks, re-ordering them, and even eliminating some to better suite my true desires when it comes to work and my personal life. I’m sure you will do the same as you make adjustments as you think about what you really want to achieve. While it is true that we will all struggle to achieve our goals, it is no reason to hesitate to move forward. The very fact that you may find the goals you set difficult to achieve means that you have set worthy goals. Continue to have faith in yourself and your dreams. Don’t fall back into old patterns of behavior as every Monday brings with it a new start, a new goal, and change.

Namaste

Comfort Zones

I’ve been reading a book by Joel Osteen called Break Out, and before you get judgmental regarding Mr. Osteen just hold on. In a previous post I talked about breaking patterns of behavior by using goal setting and then following up with the achievement of those goals. One of the things that is repeated throughout Break Out is the idea that we seem to settle in and get a bit too comfortable with our lives and we begin settling for less than what we are capable of. There may be other reasons like lack of self confidence, past failures, and our overall self image that holds us back, but what I am focused on is that success can also result in settling for the status quo.

Do Not Change

The graphic above really says it all. I’m doing well in my current position, or things are adequate in my relationships, so why make the effort to change it all up? Because you are stagnating, you are not living up to your potential, you are settling for the comfortable. Think about yourself does any of this ring true for you? Do the words stagnation or plateau describe your career or your relationships? Sometimes success brings with it complacency that can only be disrupted by leaving your comfort zone. I would suggest that most of our comfort zones are self imposed by our own thoughts about our abilities and potential. We reach a level of success, and we may say to ourselves this is adequate, I have found my niche and it would be the safe choice to remain right here. Wrong!

Use the Monday challenge I wrote about in Monday Motivation and Are You Repeating the Same Behavior? to break out of your comfort zone. Remember you have a vast amount of potential and should not be settling for anything less than utilizing it, in your work and in your relationships. Don’t settle for comfortable, adequate, or reaching some arbitrary plateau.

One other word of advice, don’t be surprised when you ask your friends or family if you should take a chance in your business life or personal relationships that they tell you to play it safe. Most people are risk adverse and will gravitate to a conservative approach; It’s best to just smile and thank them for the advice, and then go ahead and do what you wanted to do in the first place.

Life is short, so don’t let other people dictate what you do.

Namaste

Are you repeating the same behavior?

behavior sorry

Last week I wrote about how you could make Monday a new start by setting just one goal that you will accomplish during the week. The idea is that these goals would accumulate and you would certainly be on the road to changing your behavior, and not falling into the trap of repeating the same old stuff. I have found myself as guilty as the next person in falling into patterns of behavior that don’t support my goals.  For instance I ate well for two days in a row and then decided it was alright to eat that hamburger and fries, or I did two workouts from my three day split and failed to do the third on Saturday or Sunday, or instead of pursuing that business opportunity I failed to put out the effort and instead watched endless hours of television.

Yes we all need time to relax, but wasting your time in the evenings and on weekends is another example of falling into a pattern of behavior that leads to absolutely nothing. I’m not saying you should eliminate time with your friends and family because your goals are so overly important, but you should also not give into living everyone’s dream at the expense of your own. This is then about seeking some sort of balance, and yes making some sacrifices along the way.

balance

While I mentioned the word balance I am not a big fan of the term work life balance, the insinuation is that work and life are some kind of different categories of activity and that balancing them is desirable. My view is do what you want to achieve your goals and if that means you need to work more than you relax then do it. Don’t fall prey to patterns of behavior that do not support your goals, but always make sure that the goal you set is what you really want. Sometimes you will need to change your goals or even eliminate some of them as they no longer represent what you really want. There are perfectly good reasons to abandon one goal and pursue another, but don’t let your dreams be replaced by mediocrity and settling for less than you are capable of.

Most of us operate at about 50%-75% of what we are capable of, settling for a comfortable existence when greater things are in your future if you are willing to put in the effort and fully utilize the gifts that each of us possesses.  So make this Monday the day you begin to follow your dreams, set a new goal and just do it. Stole that little gem from Nike, sorry guys.

Namaste

Monday Motivation

Goals this week

Last week I wrote about how exercise and meditation that is focused on gratefulness sets you up for a great Monday morning instead of a difficult transition from weekend to work week. Today I would like to ask a little more, so instead of just starting out with a great attitude we need to view this day as a chance to start anew.  Pick something you want to change about your life, which shouldn’t be too difficult for most of us.  Here is a list of a few goals that apply to many people:

  • This week I am going to stick with my exercise program.  No excuses, no more days missed because someone else set your priorities.
  • This week I’m going to kick a bad habit I have.  This habit might be over eating, smoking, drinking too much, loving your cell phone more than your friends or family, too much time with video games, gossiping about family/friends/co-workers, and the list goes on and on. You know what is holding you back, so pick one.
  • This week I’m going to think about what I eat and make some good choices. You know what I mean; you don’t need to be a nutritionist to know when you are eating garbage.
  • This week I’m going to focus on positive interactions with everyone I encounter. What will it cost you, but practicing a little self-control, maybe a bit of empathy, or being less judgmental.

goals

So we are starting out a new week and we will make one change, from my list above or something else that has been weighing heavily on your mind. I’m not advocating you give it all up and join the monastery, we don’t have to make a radical change, but make a change and do it now. The result is these changes will accumulate, they will make you stronger, and they will build on each other.  Let’s take a look what 4 short weeks could do:

  1. Week 1 – I started running/walking 3 days a week
  2. Week 2 – I stopped drinking anything with sugar in it
  3. Week 3 – I volunteered at the local food pantry
  4. Week 4 – I stopped gossiping about people I work with

These aren’t huge things that take tons of planning, but you are now creating good things in your life.  After a month of just changing 4 things I now have a good exercise habit, rehydrating without the worthless calories, giving back to your community, and taking the high road with your co-workers.  Now that was just the first month.

Your homework should you choose to accept this challenge is to write down 4 goals, one for each week in the month and start working on one every Monday. When you reach the fourth week, write down 4 more. I just started a Google doc I called “Weekly Goals” so I can see how this flows over time. Sometimes we get hung up on making elaborate plans with no due dates or simply unreasonable ones; this method keeps you focused on one goal for the week not some daunting list. The approach is one step at a time and it is based on achievement, and it takes minimal planning. I also would start with those goals you can achieve, don’t set yourself up for failure, as you begin achieving some of your initial goals, you can make them more challenging, but you must first embrace the mindset that you can change and this takes time.

It is important that you choose 1 or 2 goals for the week and they should be those of the highest priority. This means choose a goal or two for the week that will have an impact on your personal development, family,  or career. Here is an example of goals I set for a 4 week period:

  • Week of 4/9
    • Study for the AWS Developer Associate certification
    • Meditate for 15 minutes each day
  • Week of 4/16
    • Study for the AWS Developer Associate certification
    • Create YouTube Channel
  • Week of 4/23
    • Review and take the AWS Developer Associate certification exam
    • Schedule a meeting with an attorney to setup a will and trust
  • Week of 4/30
    • Install new hinges and pulls on kitchen cabinets
    • Start writing a gratitude journal every night

Note that some of these goals you have committed to each week may be an ongoing activity that improves your life over time. For instance in the goals I mention above meditating for 15 minutes and writing in your gratitude journal are an ongoing process.

This methodology asks you to prioritize what is most important to you and requires a commitment on your part. On the flip side failure to follow your plan leaves you no where, and you continue to just exist, living the same life you have now.

Start slow and choose one small but significant goal for each week and over time you begin to feel a sense of achievement that comes with taking care of those important things that will enrich your life.

Namaste

 

 

Grateful on a Monday

grateful for this day

There probably is no more important time to count your blessings if you will than on Monday morning. Many of us struggle with the thought of going back to the rigor of a job after a nice weekend, others have no issue with it. I’m the former most of the time, so I have taken it upon myself to not suffer the transition from weekend to work week as some type of burden or weekly negative event.  Instead of starting the week out with some whiny negative attitude, the whole paradigm needs to shift. Here is my recommendation, start your Monday morning with a bit of exercise, which might be running, yoga, Pilates, walking, or chasing your significant other around the house, whatever gets you heart beating and breathing hard.  The intent here is to burn off some energy and get into a state of relaxation.  The next thing to do is sit down on the floor, close your eyes and meditate on the following:

  • Give thanks to (God, Mohamed, Buddha, or Yourself) for being alive and healthy
  • Think about the positive ways you will interact with everyone today
  • Be thankful for what you have (look around it is all relative)

As you are focusing on these few thoughts take deep breaths inhaling and exhaling through your nose and try to drown out the noise in your head that is wanting you to think about To Do’s.  See what happens when you get off the floor, get ready and drive into work.

Are you calmer?

Do you have a more positive outlook on the day?

Can you smile without faking it?

If you can say Yes to these three questions you have found a way to start out your Monday, and any other day of the week in the best possible state of mind.

What are you grateful for today

Namaste