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Entries in goals (7)


I Double Dog Dare You

I often ask the question to groups that I speak to, “How many of you set New Year’s Resolutions or Goals?”  I am always amazed at how few people raise their hands.  I then follow up with the question, “Why?”  I almost always have someone reply with something like, “If you make a goal or resolution and don’t achieve it, you feel like a failure.” 

There are a couple of paths that you can take as you fail to achieve a goal.  You can make a resolution and then not do anything about it.  No execution.  Yes, that can be disheartening especially as you make the same resolution year after year (that goal of losing that extra 20 pounds comes to mind). 

You can also make a resolution, work hard at it and still not achieve it.  The first scenario is unfortunate but the second scenario has benefits to it.  You tried, you stretched, you worked, and you did so much better than you would have done had you not set the goal. I don’t even know if I would call this a failure. 

I love the quote by the famous philosopher “Anonymous”; “He who dares nothing need hope for nothing.”

Dare to do mighty things!  Set goals.  Work at them.  Don’t be afraid of failure.  Failure is the stuff that success is made out of.


Biting Off More than You Can Chew

I can remember when the gum, Bubble Yum was introduced in 1975 by LifeSavers.  Prior to that, as a young man, I wasn't a big bubble gum customer.  But, when Bubble Yum came out, I was hooked.  It was the first soft bubble gum made and came in big, thick, flavorful pieces.

One day as a little leaguer, I bought a pack at the baseball diamond "snack shack" just before a game.  Now, I had watched a number of "big league" games and had noticed that "big league players" always chewed a wad of what I naively thought was bubble gum.  So wanting to be like them, I unwrapped the whole pack of Bubble Yum and shoved each piece in my mouth.  Well, the results weren't pretty.  I had a hard time talking, I was drooling bubble gum juice down the front of my uniform, my jaw hurt and eventually my Mom walked over to the dugout (much to my embarrassment) and told me to spit my gum out because I looked like, "a cow chewing its cud."

"Biting off more than you can chew" when it comes to taking on too many tasks, assignments, goals, etc. can be disastrous as well.  It is easy to confuse all the things that you "can do" with all the things that you "should do" or better yet that you "choose to do."  You can't juggle elephants!  It is impossible.  You need to be selective with what you take on and where you put your focus since you have limited time and resources.  Focus on the important things and don't blow it – pun intended.


Getting More Standing Ovations in 2012

Before you simply start tackling the bazillion emails in your inbox or trying to get your thoughts around 2012, why not take a short intermission and begin developing a plan to get more standing ovations in 2012? To get started, download our 3 Ring Worksheet and do two things:

  • In the rings at the top, write your purpose statement or desired outcomes for each ring in 2012. Don't list specific tasks or acts, think more about outcomes or your overarching purpose.

  • List the key projects (acts) under each ring that need to be completed this year for you to best accomplish your purpose or achieve your desired outcomes.

Having done these two things, you can start 2012 as a better Ringmaster of your circus!


Tricking and Rewarding Yourself

Recently, I was emailing back and forth with my good friend who lived across the street when I was a kid. He had just finished reading Juggling Elephants and we were discussing some of the concepts and how they applied to our lives. He currently juggles a career as a physician and a "relationship ring" that includes his spouse and three young children. He shared with me some great insights and ideas around motivation and sticking to a "healthy self ring routine" – even when it is not easy. With his permission, here are some of his thoughts that I found very helpful:

"I exercise 3 - 4 times per week in the winter, 5 - 7 times per week in the summer, mostly cycling (more spinning in winter). I know that I MUST exercise REGULARLY in order to have the energy and endurance for the rest of my life's activities. Ironically, although I LOVE to ride, and I do it often, I almost NEVER FEEL LIKE RIDING. I consistently work 9 -12 hour days (or nights). So, when I get home, I am "beat". I FEEL PHYSICALLY TIRED, although intellectually, I know that I am more MENTALLY EXHAUSTED than physically tired. Either way, I honestly don’t feel like jumping on the bike to exercise. But, I know that exercising REGULARLY means YOU HAVE TO DO IT EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT, just like having a job means going to work even when you don't feel like it.

By far, the path of least resistance is to grab a snack and hit the sofa. My mind and body are telling me that I am too spent to exercise. But deep down, I know from experience, that it probably isn’t true. So, I have to "trick" myself into getting on the bike instead of getting on the couch (or plopping down in front of the computer). I tell myself that I'll just ride to the mouth of the canyon, a short 6 minutes from my house. I tell myself that if I still feel "lousy" when I get there, I'll allow myself to turn around and go home to the couch, guilt-free. This gets me over that important first hurdle: changing into my cycling clothes, mixing a bottle of Gatorade and getting out on the bike, turning the cranks in fresh air.

I am sincere in my promise to turn around if I still feel poorly at the mouth of the canyon, but I have done so less than a half dozen times in more than 10 years (the rare occasions when the "test" proved that I REALLY WAS too exhausted, or too ill to ride). The overwhelming majority of times, I feel a LITTLE BIT better by the time I get to the mouth of the canyon. So, I tell myself, "just up to the Cutler Trail head (about 1/3 of the way up the canyon), and if I'm not really into it by then, I'll allow myself to turn back". Again, I've turned back at the trail head a half dozen or so times. But nearly always, I feel QUITE A BIT better (or at least no worse, ha ha) by the time I get there. So if needed, I make myself another "deal" and so on. More often, by the time I hit the trail head, I have forgotten all about feeling poorly and my mind has moved on to better things. I'm able to clear my mind and do some of my best thinking on the bike. Before I know it, I'm summiting the canyon, mentally AND physically refreshed. With the day's stress left behind and my thoughts freshly focused, I can continue the ride or return home energized to DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE rather than vegetate the rest of the evening.

It is funny. I've "tricked" myself literally 1,000's of times this way over the years, but it has never lost its effectiveness. By breaking it down into manageable bites, I am able to get through a great workout that I would have otherwise skipped. While some would say "I don't have time to exercise", I know that I simply can't afford the time I'd waste if I weren't refocusing and re energizing through exercise.

Another "trick" that I use to motivate my exercise is buying myself "treats" for cycling. It is the one place (OK, one of a FEW PLACES) in my life that I truly indulge myself. Nice bikes, nice bike shoes (just got some REALLY sweet ones last week), nice bike clothes, etc. I am cheap enough that it somehow motivates me to "get my money's worth" by using them often. Plus, and perhaps more importantly, it makes me FEEL GOOD when I'm on the bike. I'm comfortable no matter what the weather, and I look like the pros that are also often grinding up the canyon (not like the "poser" that I really am, ha ha).

I also draw motivation from others when possible. Until recently, Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael, lived near the top of the canyon. His CTS athletes, the Olympic Training Center athletes, U.S.A. Cycling Federation athletes and other serious riders are constantly in the canyon. On one memorable ride several years ago, despite a sunny start, I found myself grinding up the canyon in a driving rain, with lightning crashing down on the peaks above me. It was my annual "birthday ride", a long, hard, mathematically-defined ride done as close as possible to my birthday each year. Given the weather, I was the ONLY one still out. But, I was a little over half way through the ride and was hell bent on "getting the job done" regardless, if not in spite of, the adversity. I felt someone behind me in an SUV following close, but not passing. They followed for a mile or so, then slowly passed and gave me the thumbs up. It was Chris, in one of his CTS support vehicles. I FELT like a pro! The rest of the ride seemed effortless. It is stuff like that, that helps us keep going! We hang onto it, internalize it, and use it the next time we need a little inspiration to get out there and keep those cranks turning."


Goals-How Rare Are They?

How rare are goal setters? There are estimates as low as only 5% of the population have written goals. That sounds low. Organizations probably do better since there are team, department and organizational goals. Earl Nightingale stated a survey (back in 1956) that 19 out of 20 workers had no idea why they worked or even why they got up in the morning.

Mr. Nightingale had some wonderful thoughts. He said, "The moment you decide on a goal to work toward, you're immediately a successful person. You are then in that rare and successful category of people who know where they're going. Out of every hundred people, you belong in the top five. Don't concern yourself too much with how you are going to achieve your goal-leave that to a power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you're going. The answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time."

Be a goal setter. Be a goal striver. Be a goal achiever. Write them down. Don't be afraid to dream. "All you have to do is know where you’re going."