Text 24 Apr How am I doing - really.

It’s that time already.  It’s always that time.  A goal without a plan is just a dream, but a plan never looked at is a buried treasure.  It’s time for me to review my year and get on track where ever I may have got off.  I’ve found this year that all the good intentions mean nothing if I don’t stick my values.

As I look back on this year I see myself letting fear and laziness get in the way of being the best me that I can possibly be.  It’s crazy how the fear of failure leads to the very thing that I fear.  I can honestly say that yes I’ve accomplished growth.  I am much more organized then I have ever been and I am in better shape then I have been in a while and my business is surviving.  

So, what’s missing for me?  The next level of intensity.  I’m not willing to be hardcore disciplined.  I need to step up my willingness to be hardcore disciplined and be honest with myself.  I can’t let fear get in the way of my success otherwise I will be stuck wondering ‘What if’ once again.  I have to ask myself, is it better to leave each day wondering ‘what if’ or experiencing the pain and/or joy of what really happened?  What that looks like for me is really making and keeping my commitments to myself.

I leave this post with this in my mind - For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 1 Timothy 1:7

Text 4 Jan 2 Simple Ways To Make Your Goals Stick

Ah a new year.  Have you ever stopped to wonder why the coming of  new year is so refreshing, so empowering?  I did.  

I thought about it this of this past weekend.  The new year has come and I, along with many others, have created goals and resolutions.  But why now?  Why is it that after 365 days, now I decide to plan to have a goal.  What happened to last year’s goals? I know what happened to last years goals, hope faded.  I can’t tell you how often I think I have a great idea or a goal that I want to reach and then after 15 - 60 days, hope and excitement fades.  So, this year I have decided to fight against losing hope.  I am learning that the best way to do that is to write down my goals, and track them each day.  In addition I must build a coaching/cheerleading team.  I will meet with these people each week to discuss my goals with so that we can help each other stay hopeful and realistic.

I believe a second reason that my goals go by the wayside is because I fail to plan my day and execute.  Stephen Covey would call this ‘living in quadrant one’ - In terms of time management, Steven Covey describes quadrant 1 as things that are urgent and important.  These are events that will derail the best of plans.  Like a car breaking down because I haven’t maintained it or having to run to the dentist all of a sudden because I didn’t take care of that tooth that has been bothering me.  I need to make sure I’m living in what Covey calls Quadrant 2.  In Quadrant 2 we work on things that are important but not urgent.  This requires planning and the willingness to stop procrastinating.  These items are usually associated with our core values and also the building blocks of our ultimate goals.  If I want to be a better husband or father, I can’t wait until it becomes urgent.  I have to invest in my family daily and put the building blocks in place.  These Quadrant 2 activities are easy to ignore because they don’t scream at us.  They whisper.

I know some of this may seem basic, but I believe that by taking the time to plan each day, thinking of what is important before it becomes urgent, and then having people who will keep us accountable - we can really see our lives change for the better each day.

Text 30 Dec 5 Great Online Goal Tracking and Planning Tools

So here we are at the end of one year heading full speed into the next.  So what’s the plan?  Is the plan to make a list of New Years resolutions that, most often, get forgotten and never accomplished or would you like to try something different this year?  I do.

So, in my quest to ‘try something different’ I turned to Google and all of its super powers to find out how I could use the web and the latest technology out there to help me meet my goals.  I found 5 different online Goal Tracking and Planning applications that I would like to share with you.

1. Lifetick.com  (Free and Paid Versions, Mobile Apps for iPhone, Android, and Palm)

LifeTick has a great user interface.  I love how it requires you to first define your core values, then you create goals that are related to those core values.  This tool allows you to setup a goal and setup all of the various tasks and dues dates associated with reaching that goal.  If you sign up for the paid version you can also keep a journal to track progress and notes and see visual representations of your status.  The free version allows you to get a feel for the application, but only allows 4 goals, no status charts, and no journal entries.  The paid version is only $20.00 per year, as of today (12/29/2010).  Another cool feature of LifeTick is that it has a Coaches portal where one can sign up to coach multiple clients, pricing varies for the coaching plans.

2. Stickk.com

Stickk.com takes  a unique approach to helping users reach their goals. You set a goal and a goal date. If you don’t hit that goal you’ve got to payout what ever money you have put on the line to the organization/person you designated.  They take your CC information up front, but don’t charge.  If you don’t hit the goal they give your money away!  I won’t go into complete detail about how all of it works here, but its worth looking into.  The psychology behind it is that people are more likely to finish their goals when it cost them something and they have accountability.  Right now they have over $5,000,000 dollars on the line for goals!

3. WeekPlan.net

Weekplan.net is FREE all the way around and structured more like a weekly planner.  If you have ever read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits book then you will understand the Roles and Goals planning system used here on Weekplan.net.  In addition to letting you setup your roles and goals for the week, there is also a vision section where you can put in your mission statement, your values, and your past achievements.  This a great free planning tool, especially if you are a fan of Stephen Covey’s methods.

4. 42Goals.com

42Goals.com is a simple and free goal progress tracking system.  With 42Goals you setup goals of different types -Numeric, Counter, Boolean, Timer. When you log in you are presented with a calendar displaying your goals.  You record your goal progress/value each day and the system keeps running totals for you off to the side.  This way you can see at a glance how you are doing with your goals for the year to date.  If you want a premium account it will cost $5.00 per month.  With that you can group your goals by tab and you get a stopwatch goal type as well.

5. 43Things.com

43Things is a site where you can create a list of things that you hope to do.  It’s a good community site for networking around your goals. Once you add an item to your list you can see others with the same goal, add journal entries, and mark goals complete to be stored on the ‘Things I’ve Done’ list.  This site is all about community and sharing your goals.  It integrates well with Facebook and syncs with 5 different blog platforms so you can add your journal entries to your blog as you put them into 43things.com.  This service is free.

Got any others?  Those are the ones that I liked best.  Let me know your thoughts and lets get to tracking our goals this year.  This time next year we’ll come back and post our ‘Things I’ve done’ list.

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Text 27 Dec What drives you today?

I feel sheltered from the reality of the world around me.  I see only what’s in front of me.  My problems are the only problems and my dreams are often times more important then my legacy.  Is life really all about me?

Each day millions of people going hungry, children being sold into prostitution, the world around me is a mess.  I feel sad.   I wonder what I live for.  I reflect on how I use my skills everyday.  

What drives me - money, family, love, other people?  Today I am reminded that what must drive me is a passion for something greater then me.  What I need to be driven by is a passion to serve God and others.

What drives you today?

Pause for a moment and imagine your death, your funeral.  What will be said about you?  What do you hope will be said about you?  Are you living in a way that those things will be a reality?  If not then what is the point?

Text 24 Nov TSA body scanners motivate me

With all this talk about these new TSA body scans, I figured I should chime in.  What does this have to do with personal productivity and self discipline?  Everything.  Okay maybe not everything, but I figure if my black and white faceless image is going to be seen by some stranger in another room, I better be in the best shape I can.  This is where discipline comes in.

Getting to the gym is hard for me and for many others.  It requires a great deal of self discipline to start a new habit like a fitness routine.  Recently I’ve started going to the gym again and I will say that starting is the best fuel for continuing.  As I’ve started to develop this new habit I love the way I feel, physically and emotionally.  I love that I feel accomplished in meeting my goal and I love that physically I feel stronger.  This is the fuel I need to continue this new habit.

New habits are hard because they require us to break the pattern of our current life, this is tough!  The hardest part is the tendency to settle back into an old life pattern - a rut.  A rut, according to Meriam-Webster, can be defined as a grove in which something runs.  The hard part about getting out of a rut is that we come to believe that life in the rut is normal.  Life outside of the rut is very different and very uncomfortable.  Don’t be fooled by the rut you are in.  If its not good for you then you don’t belong there.  Getting out of a rut requires that we know what is better for us - what life can be like outside of the rut.

Okay, so I know this started off talking about body scans and ended in a rut, but what I want you to take away from this is that life can be different.  Find your motivation, whether its the fear of being seen naked in a body scanner or the dress or pants you want to fit into for that special occasion.  Use that motivation to get out of the rut - and fight like hell for it!

Text 19 Nov Accomplishments are bricks

With the new year upon us, it is common for us to set goals for who we want to be in the coming year.  As we go into this season of dreaming up all of the ways we will be different this year, let’s talk about how your self confidence is built one brick at a time.

I’ve come to realize that setting goals can either build me up or tear me down.  More often then not, my goals have torn me down in the past.  Why? Because I’ve set the goal and not truly had a plan for accomplishing it.  Everytime I don’t accomplish a goal that I’ve set out to achieve it reduces my self confidence.

Accomplishments are bricks used to build self confidence and self worth.  This is why it is so important to measure your goals and make sure that they are acheiveable and realistic. Do not confuse the issue here.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t aim high with our goals.  I’m saying that with each goal, break it down into short term acheiveable pieces so that you can rebuild self confidence as you accomplish each piece.  Self confidence is key to accomplishing goals long term.  If you don’t believe in yourself you just won’t make it to the finish line.

Goals should be SMART
1. Specific - Specifically write out what you want to acheive in detail
2. Measureable - How will you measure success along the way?
3. Attainable - Can it really be done?
4. Realistic - Is it possible to acheive your goal with the resources you have?
5. Timed - When will you hit this goal by?

Text 18 Nov 1 note Do you lead you?

I discovered a weakness in my leadership ability recently.  I realized that I don’t do a good job of leading me.  I huge part of getting your day back is personal leadership.  To quote Michael Jackson, ‘I’m talking to the man in the mirror’.  I found in that each book I read on leadership and management, leadership always starts with me.  Its so easy for me to read about leadership principles and to want to apply the points that apply to everyone else.  As I read through Covey’s, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the first principles are all about personal leadership.

What does that mean for me in real life.  It means setting goals and accomplishing them.  It means take time to develop me as a leader.  I know some of this may seem very simple, but I’ve found that the concepts that make the most profound difference are the ones that are simple to say, but hard to do.

Steps to great personal leadership:

1. Have a personal mission - who are you and who do you want to be remembered as.
2. Set small goals, accomplish them, build self-confidence.
3. Keep learning from those who are in life where you would like to be.
4. Learn to stay ahead of problems instead of letting problems dictate your day.
5. Manage your time and keep appointments with yourself as you would others.

What can you add to what I’ve already listed here?  What do you do to effectively lead you each day?

Text 4 Aug My alarm clock stole my day.

Have you ever had an alarm clock that stole your day from you?  What do I mean by tha?  When your alarm goes off in the morning do you think “I’ll do it later…”  When the alarm goes off in the morning is no time be making decisions about the rest of your day. It’s one sure fire way to waste time and HATE the rest of your day as you chase after the time you lost.  When I’m tired in the morning and just waking up, my mind is one thing -  Getting back to bed!  Change this habit and become more effective one alarm clock at a time.

Here’s what I plan to do to fight against this:

1. Plan what I will do the night before, a week before, whenever just not in the morning when your alarm goes off.

2. When the alarm goes off, get up, get ready, and get out!

3. Remeber you will never catch the time your lost, it is gone for ever.  Don’t let your day run you.  Get your day back!


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