Tag Archives: Ten Days to a Happier Successful Career and Life

Day Ten: Renew, Restart and Revitalize to Continue

“What can you do with your days but work and hope:  let your dreams bind your work to your play.”  — Bob Franke

William Raspberry, in his  last syndicated column, reflected on why he was retiring from the column and what he wanted to do next with his life. Indeed, he is retiring from the column because there are so many more dreams he wants to accomplish with his remaining time.  Raspberry says, “The next step — or at any rate, my next step — involves two more questions: What is worth doing? What is within my reach?”

He goes on to say, “The answers can be as grand or as humble as inclination and resources dictate.” Profound words for all of us as we consider the number of choices life offers us. Opportunities to contribute, to excel, to attain goals, to create happiness are everywhere. You need to find those that best match your dreams.

You have the opportunity every day to decide how you want to spend your time on life’s journey. Make conscious choices to create the life you’ve dreamed of having. Every day is a chance to renew, revitalize, and restart any aspect of your career and life. Want encouragement?

You have no reason to stay in a job  you hate. Don’t like your current relationships? Change them. Not satisfied with what you are accomplishing or the direction you are pursuing with your life? Change course now. Don’t waste a minute of the time you have. As my Zen calendar entry says,

  • “On the day you were born, you begin to die. Do not waste a single moment more.”  — Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Or, you are happy with where you’ve been, but like William Raspberry, you have a whole list of additional things you still want to do. You can think about volunteering instead of changing careers. You can join organizations that represent your view point and contribute. You can spend more time with family and friends. The key point is that conscious choices are what bring success and joy.

The journey starts anew every single day of your life. Live consciously. Follow the tips in the nine earlier days of this Ten Day Success Program. Renew, restart, and revitalize to continue the journey. Life is an endless loop. You reach one plateau and more await your attention. Live consciously. Make great choices. Fellow travelers, the journey begins again – and again – and again.

By , About.com Guide


Day Nine: Network Your Way To A New Job

Career experts estimate that the vast majority of job openings are never advertised  or publicly announced, but filled through word-of-mouth or networking — known as the  “hidden job market.” The likelihood of a job opening not being advertised at all  increases with the level of the job. Yet, even with this knowledge, most job seekers  fail to fully utilize networking for all it’s worth.

Networking means developing a broad list of contacts — people you’ve met through various  social and business functions — and using them to your advantage when you look for a  job. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and  information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to other so that  you can expand your network.

The best place to start developing your network is with your family, friends, and  neighbors — and with their family, friends, and neighbors, but don’t stop there.   Talk to co-workers, colleagues in your industry, and those you meet at industry  gatherings, such as trade shows and conferences. Talk with former co-workers,  bosses, and teachers.

The key to successful networking deciding to put the energy needed to make it work.   First, you need to get organized (for example, keeping a business card file or computer  database). Second, you need to stay in contact (for example, through regular phone  calls, email, and holiday greetings). Third, you need to set goals for yourself  (such as 5 new contacts per week).

The Steps to Successful Networking:

  1. Develop a firm grasp of job search basics. A good place to start is to review  the Domino Effect.
  2. Conduct a self-assessment. An honest review of your strengths and  weaknesses is vital. A good place to start is with the one of our career  tests and quizzes. You should also make some decision relating to the types of jobs you  want and the types of companies and industries that interest you.  Unsure?  Examine some of  these career exploration tools.
  3. Prepare a strong resume. If you don’t already have a resume, now is the time  to develop one. You should ideally develop two resumes — one in traditional format and  one in scannable format. You can get information on both types of resumes by going  to Resume Resources.
  4. Decide how to organize your network.This step is crucial to your success.   If you have ongoing access to a computer, the best method is a database or spreadsheet  where you can enter key information, such as names, titles, company names, addresses,  phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and dates of communication. Keeping an  organized collection of business cards, where you can write notes and comments about  your network, is another alternative.
  5. Communicate with your network.It is extremely important to stay in touch  with your network, which you can easily do by phone, mail, or email. Don’t be afraid  to ask for their help. Most people like helping others, and you must communicate your  current needs with your network in order for them to be able to help you.
  6. Initiate informational interviews. One of the best ways to gain more  information about an occupation or industry — and to build a network of contacts in  that field — is to talk with people who are currently working in the field. The purpose  of the informational interview is to obtain information, not to get a job.   For everything you ever wanted to know about this type of interviewing, go to Informational Interviewing Tutorial.
  7. Follow up with your network. The key is keeping your network informed of your  situation and thanking them for their efforts. Never take your network for granted.


by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.


Day Eight: Practice Personal Courage in Conflict

Practicing personal courage is necessary if you want to really resolve conflicts at work. It is much easier and much safer to ignore the necessary conflict and play ostrich. Unfortunately, unresolved conflict tends to escalate. It never really disappears because it simmers just below the surface. Think of water that is coming to a boil. It burbles up in the pot sporadically and then finally reaches the boiling temperature. At that point, a full blown rolling, constant boiling is seen on the surface of the water.

Conflict behaves similarly. The water may seem calm, but every once in awhile, usually at the worst possible times, the conflict burbles up to the surface once again. Unresolved conflict does not go away; unresolved conflict can turn into a full boil at any time.

Many people are afraid of conflict resolution. They feel threatened by conflict resolution because they may not get what they want if the other party gets what they want. Even in the best circumstances, conflict resolution is uncomfortable because people are usually unskilled at conflict resolution. Finally, people can get hurt in a conflict and, at work, they are still expected to work together effectively every day.

The Benefits of Conflict Resolution

This century’s workplace makes conflict resolution more important, but also, more difficult. Team or work cell environments create more conflict as people with different opinions must choose to work together, often in close quarters.

Empowering work environments, in which the traditional reliance on a manager to solve conflicts and make decisions, bring coworkers into more frequent conflict, as they must work issues out for themselves. Conflict resolution also:

  • Causes people to listen to and consider different ideas.
  • Enables people to increase their alternatives and potential paths.
  • Results in increased participation and more ownership of and commitment to the decisions and goals of the group or person.

The goal of the people or the team is not to eliminate conflict but to learn how to manage conflict constructively.

You’ve decided resolving the conflict is more important than all of the reasons why people avoid conflict. Here are tips to help you practice less scary, less intimidating, more effective and successful conflict resolution, with an individual or a team.

  • Create an environment that is conducive to successful conflict resolution. Quiet, private settings work the best. Agree prior to sitting down together that the purpose of the meeting is to resolve the conflict. When you make this agreement, all parties arrive prepared.
  • Determine what outcomes you’d like to see as a result of the discussion. A better working relationship? A better solution to the problem? Increased alternatives for successful projects? A broadened understanding of each person’s needs and wants? Thoughtful solutions and outcomes are infinite if you are creative.
  • Begin by allowing each party to express their point of view. The purpose of the exchange is to make sure both parties clearly understand the viewpoint of the other. Make sure each party ties their opinions to real performance data and other facts, where possible. This is not the time to discuss; it is the time to ask questions, clarify points for better understanding and truly hear the other’s viewpoint.
  • Agree on the difference in the points of view. You must agree on the problem together to begin to search for a solution. Often problems are simply misunderstandings. Clarification can end the need for conflict resolution. Try to focus on the issues, not the personalities of the participants. Don’t “you” each other as in, “You always …”
  • Explore and discuss potential solutions and alternatives. Try to focus on both your individual needs and wants and those of the other party. After all, if one party “wins,” that means the other party “loses.” People who feel as if they have lost, are not effective coworkers. They harbor resentment and may even sabotage your project or relationship. Make sure you discuss the positive and negative possibilities of each suggestion, before you reject any suggested solutions. Build a discussion that is positive and powerful for all parties.
  • Agree on a plan that meets the needs of all parties and the organization. Agree on followup steps, as necessary, to make the plan work. Agree on what each person will do to solve the conflict. Set clear goals and know how you will measure success.
  • Do what you agreed to do.

With more experience in conflict resolution, you will grow more comfortable with conflict resolution. That’s a positive outcome for the workplace. It will foster idea generation, help people get along, minimize negative behaviors and promote the success of all in placing their attention where it belongs – on the customer.

By , About.com Guide


Day Seven: Identify and Live Your Personal Values

Values are traits or qualities that are considered worthwhile; they represent your highest priorities and deeply held driving forces. When you are part of any organization, you bring your deeply held values and beliefs to the organization. There they co-mingle with those of the other members to create an organization or family culture.

Value statements are grounded in values and define how people want to behave with each other in an organization, an institution, a company, or a family. They are statements about how the organization will value customers, suppliers, and the internal community. Value statements describe actions which are the living enactment of the fundamental values held by most individuals within the organization.

The following are examples of values. You might use these as the starting point for thinking about and articulating your values as a human being.

Examples of Values

ambition, competency, individuality, equality, integrity, service, responsibility, accuracy, respect, dedication, diversity, improvement, enjoyment/fun, loyalty, credibility, honesty, innovativeness, teamwork, excellence, accountability, empowerment, quality, efficiency, dignity, collaboration, stewardship, empathy, accomplishment, courage, wisdom, independence, security, challenge, influence, learning, compassion, friendliness, discipline/order, generosity, persistency, optimism, dependability, flexibility

Why Identify and Establish Your Values?

Your values are made up of everything that has happened to you in your life and include influences from:  your parents and family, your religious affiliation, your friends and peers, your education, your reading, and more. Effective people recognize these environmental influences and identify and develop a clear, concise, and meaningful set of values/beliefs, and priorities. Once defined, values impact every aspect of your life.

  • You demonstrate and model your values in action in your personal and work behaviors, decision making, contribution, and interpersonal interaction.
  • You use your values to make decisions about priorities in your daily work and home life.
  • Your goals and life purpose are grounded in your values.

Choose the values  that are most important to you, the values you believe in and that define your character. Then live them visibly every day at work and at home. Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you be the person you want to be, to help you accomplish your goals and dreams, and  to help you lead and influence others. Don’t waste your best opportunity.



By , About.com Guide


Day Six: Promote Your Personal Development

Are you feeling blah about your work and life? Does the experience of boredom make you unmotivated and unexcited? Are you having a mid-life crisis? You can promote your own personal growth, motivation and career development to overcome this inertia. Here are ideas and tools that will help you explore personal growth, set new goals, choose motivation and get your life and work back on a course that excites, motivates and fills your life with joy. My recent article, Create the Life You Want With a Mid-Career Crisis, sparked a number of reader comments about a mid-life crisis, in general, not just about their careers.

One person, in particular, said “I am bored, bored, bored with everything in my life – my friends, my job, my family and how I spend my time. I don’t feel any excitement and I’m not looking forward to anything in particular.” These thoughts are for you. You can make this a searching time or you can do silly things. The stereotypical mid-life crisis turns a conservative businessman and family man into a gold-chain-sporting, long-haired, red-Corvette driving hedonist. It doesn’t have to be this way. Mid-life crises, whether you are thirty, fifty or sixty-five years old, can be a time of awakening, self-actualization and new direction.

Guided Thinking Exercises

Take some time to do these exercises. The time invested will enable you to focus on the positive and the possible for your life. I recommended the first two exercises for your career crisis and I also recommend them for your personal growth. The rest are new.

  • List everything you’d like to do in your lifetime. These lists can run several hundred items. (Mine included walk frequently on the shore of Lake Michigan, write books, travel to every country in Europe and design two additional websites.) Your chosen lifestyle must allow the accomplishment of these dreams.
  • Write down your ten favorite activities, the ones without which your life would feel bereft. (Mine included reading, writing, creating new recipes, traveling, walking and more.) No life choice is suitable unless you get to do your favorite activities at least weekly, and preferably, daily.
  • Think of a time when you felt more positively about your life. What has changed between then and now? List everything that is different. Perhaps you will gain insight into what is causing your current dissatisfaction. Then, you can change the issues causing unhappiness.
  • If you are like many of us, you rarely take time to be alone with yourself. In fact, many people avoid this time and prefer to fill every minute of the day with activity. Schedule quiet, thinking time for yourself every single day. Spend time alone with yourself doing nothing. Some people call this meditation; others practice yoga. The key is to spend time in your head going gently wherever your thoughts take you. If those thoughts turn negative or self-deprecating, kindly change the subject.

Take Action Exercises

You’ll want to do these daily as you explore what makes you happy.

  • You have listed your favorite activities and the hundreds of items you’d like to do in your lifetime. Begin. Add one each day to your schedule. Minimally, do all ten activities you love in a week.
  • Do something that is totally new to you once each week. Get out of your comfort zone and try on new people, places and activities.
  • Write a journal that tracks your thoughts, the new ideas you are generating and the added life activities you schedule every day.
  • See a friend at least twice a month for conversation and to maintain the supportive and caring relationship.
  • Eat a balanced diet, get daily exercise, even if only for ten minutes, and sleep on a regular, refreshing schedule.

Here are more ways to explore your personal growth, development and motivation needs to create a life that excites you.

Personal Growth and Understanding Instruments and Surveys

In the midst of your new thoughts and activities, you will want to supplement your thinking with tests and quizzes that provide information about yourself. For your thoughtful consideration. What kind of cheese are you? (I’m brie.) How’s your emotional intelligence? What “type” are you? Take these Personality, Leadership, Career: Tests, Surveys, Profiles, and Quizzes to add to your understanding of yourself.

Read Books About Personal Growth and Motivation

Personal growth and self-motivation books fill an entire section of your local bookstore. There are also hundreds of websites online that profess to help individuals with personal growth and motivation. Explore by doing a search at http://www.google.com. Pages of articles and books are available. Take a look at these books for a starting point, especially those that Barbara Sher authored or co-authored. I also recommend Marlys Hanson’s Passion and Purpose: How to Identify and Leverage the Powerful Patterns That Shape Your Work/Life.

Take a Class

Your local college or university will likely have several choices of courses about personal growth and motivation specifically. Your exploration, in the earlier recommended exercises, may have targeted additional topics you want to study.


Take the time to explore your mid-life crisis to identify your needs for personal growth and motivation. Maybe it’s just the job that’s depressing you. Perhaps you have not focused on adding your favorite activities to your daily life. Maybe, in the daily “busy,” you have forgotten to think about your own need for solitude, thoughtfulness and exploration. I believe, that if you spend time exploring these recommended activities, you will find your answers, refresh your life view and put the joy and energy you deserve back into your life. As Brian Tracy reminds us, Change your thinking; change your life.

By , About.com Guide


Day Five: Stay the Course or Change the Course

“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

”Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” –Calvin Coolidge

Practicing the self-discipline and persistence to stick with the course you’ve set to attain your goals and purpose is the single most important factor in determining whether you will achieve them. Self-discipline to stick with the direction you have set, or to purposefully change it, allows you to persist every day on your journey. Note that purposefully changing your course, if you determine that the action plans you developed or the goal you originally set, are not the right steps or plans, is perfectly okay.

What is not okay is to drift off from your plans due to a lack of persistence, determination , and self-discipline. Drifting is synonymous with failure.

These ideas will help you stay on course to achieve your goals and dreams.

  • Renew your vision of what you are working to accomplish regularly. Use your mind to visualize yourself accomplishing the goals or achieving the purpose you set for yourself. A strong, powerful vision of an outcome you sincerely desire is the foundation for persistence and self-discipline.
  • Do something every single day to move in the direction of your desired achievement or goal. Whether you write steps in your planner or shoot from the hip, make sure you make progress every day. Progress becomes your habit.
  • If you find yourself drifting away from your course, analyze what is going on. You may find it is time for you to change your course, or tweak your direction, or that the plans you made are not producing the results you want to create. Maybe the goal is not the right goal for you any more. Do the analysis. Don’t just stop.
  • Involve a friend or network  in helping you achieve your goals. Having people to root you on aids persistence and supplies some of the discipline you need to keep moving.
  • When you fail – and we all do – place yourself gently back on the path. Don’t beat yourself up, call yourself names, or run a negative tape in your mind.

By , About.com Guide


Day Four: Chart Your Course

Don’t let your goals and resolutions fall by the wayside. Chances are that to achieve your dreams and live a life you love, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Goal setting and goal achievement are easier if you follow these six steps for effective and successful goal setting and resolution accomplishment.

  • You need to deeply desire the goal or resolution. Napoleon Hill, in his landmark book, Think and Grow Rich, had it right. “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” So, your first step in goal setting and achieving your dreams is that you’ve got to really, really want to achieve the goal.
  • Visualize yourself achieving the goal. Lee Iacocca said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”  What will your achievement feel like? How will your life unfold differently as a result? If the goal is a thing, some gurus of goal setting recommend that you keep a picture of the item where you see and are reminded of it every day.  If you can’t picture yourself achieving the goal, chances are – you won’t.
  • Make a plan for the path you need to follow to accomplish the goal. Create action steps to follow. Identify a critical path. The critical path defines the key accomplish-ments along the way, the most important steps that must happen for the goal to become a reality.  Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind.” He’s right.
  • Commit to achieving the goal by writing down the goal. Lee Iacocca said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” I agree completely. Write down the plan, the action steps and the critical path. Somehow, writing down the goal, the plan and a timeline sets events in motion that may not have happened otherwise. In my own life, it is as if I am making a deeper commitment to goal accomplishment. I can’t fool myself later. The written objective really was the goal.
  • Establish times for checking your progress in your calendar system, whatever it is: a day planner, a PDA, a PDA phone or a hand written list. If you’re not making progress or feel stymied, don’t let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals. No matter how positively you are thinking, you need to assess your lack of progress. Adopt a pessimist’s viewpoint; something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. Add these plan steps to your calendar system as part of your goal achievement plan.
  • Review your overall progress regularly. Make sure you are making progress. If you are not making progress, hire a coach, tap into the support of loved ones, analyze why the goal is not being met. Don’t allow the goal to just fade away. Figure out what you need to do to accomplish it. Check the prior five steps starting with an assessment of how deeply you actually want to achieve the goal.

This six step goal setting and achieving system seems simple, but it is the most powerful system you will ever find for achieving your goals and living your resolutions. You just need to do it. Best wishes and good luck.

By , About.com Guide


Day Three: Define Your Purpose, Your Mission …

Heed the advice offered by Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe and Stephen Covey. When you begin your new year with solid direction and desired outcomes in mind, you set yourself up for awesome success.

The new year is a beginning, so new goals and resolutions, new plans, new dreams and new directions fuel your thoughts. Whether it’s your fiscal year, your budget year, your religious year or the calendar new year, goals and resolutions are on your mind. These tips will help you achieve your goals and live your resolutions.

What is it about this annual “new” that causes us to reflect upon our lives and our accomplishments? I believe each of us has a natural inclination to grow our self-esteem and capability through new accomplishments. Most of us want to make a difference in the world. Most of us want to live life as fully as we can. Thus, we annually draw a new line in the sand and claim a starting point for our next chapter.

Goal Setting Success

Yet, for all the initial enthusiasm, keeping yourself motivated, committed and moving toward the accomplishment of your goals, is often tough. Tired of setting goals and making resolutions which fade fast from your daily thoughts and actions? Consider adopting some or all of these tips to experience awesome success in accomplishing your goals and living your resolutions.

The Goal Is Yours – You Own the Goal

Whether the goal is a promotion at work, a streamlined work process, a new customer,  a published article, an exercise program or weight loss, the goal must be your goal. You are unlikely to achieve your manager’s goal, your spouse’s goal or the goal you think you “ought” to work on this year. Your goals must generate excitement when you ponder their accomplishment. You must believe there is something in it for you to accomplish them.

Sometimes, especially at work, if you perceive the end reward is worth the work, you will take on challenges in support of the organization’s goals. These goals might not be as close to your heart as your personal goals, but you work to achieve them for the good of the organization and your success there.

Base Your Goals Firmly in Your Values

Hyrum Smith, the founder of Franklin Quest, later Franklin-Covey, Inc., developed a model for goal setting. Smith’s “Success Triangle” puts governing values at the base of the goal setting process. Smith recommends that every goal is linked specifically to a governing value. For example, if diversity in the workforce is a value espoused by your organization, then at least one goal must further diversity. Every goal should be linked to a governing value.

Short-term, mid-term and long-term goals are then established based upon the solid foundation of your values. If the goal you set is congruent with and allows you to live your most important values, you are more likely to accomplish the goal.

According to Gene Donohue, of TopAchievement.com, set goals in all aspects of your life, to maintain your life balance. The balance also helps you accomplish goals as each aspect of your life is represented in your goals. You are less likely to experience warring priorities if every aspect of your life has a value-based goal. He suggests goals in these arenas.

  • Family and Home
  • Financial and Career
  • Spiritual and Ethical
  • Physical and Health
  • Social and Cultural
  • Mental and Educational

Believe You Can Accomplish the Goal

Each of us has a little voice in our head. It is the voice of our sub-conscious, judging self. On a daily basis, we engage in self-talk; we comment on each situation we encounter. We discuss events and plans in our minds. Our commentary is both positive and negative. Positive thoughts and planning support the accomplishment of our goals. Negative thoughts and comments undermine our self-esteem and self-confidence, and negatively impact our ability to accomplish our goals.

Listen to your voice. You can change its tone by believing in yourself and in your ability to accomplish your goals and resolutions. Use this unconscious critic to positively support your goal setting success.

If you are a manager, one of your more important tasks is to support the development of positive self-esteem by your staff members. Your positive outlook and belief in their ability to accomplish great goals fosters their increased self-esteem and self-confidence. This, in turn, magnifies their ability to accomplish more and contribute more to your business.

Paint a Vivid Outcome

Traditionally, goals were established around measurable outcomes. This works well when the outcomes are measurable. Don’t tie yourself to setting only measurable goals, however; you may find yourself concentrating on the trivial, because it is measurable, rather than on your most important outcomes. Sometimes the most important goals, the non-urgent, critical goals, are hard to measure.

“Explore alternatives for a business in the World Wide Web,” is tough to measure, whereas the steps, once you make a decision, are easy to measure. “Learn about new options and thinking around performance management,” is tough to measure in any significant way. The next step, “design a new appraisal system,” is easier to define and measure.

As you move up the management ranks, you may find more of your goals are harder to measure. The key measurable aspects of your job will likely be the results produced by your reporting staff.

With goals that are hard to measure, start with a picture in your mind, that you commit to paper, that describes the outcome you are seeking. Make the picture as vivid as you can. I have a published book in my mind, while I am still thinking about and exploring potential topics.

Write Your Goals

Writing out your goal is your commitment to achieving the goal. Writing a goal is a powerful statement in comparison with half-formulated thoughts in the back of your mind. It is the conscious promise to yourself to pay attention to the accomplishment of the goal. Writing out potential action plans and due dates makes the goal even more powerful.

Share Your Goals With People Who Are Important to You

If you are certain your significant others will support the accomplishment of your goals, share them. Your manager is likely to support your goal accomplishment as your success is her success. Honestly assess the ability of family members, peers and friends to provide support. In close relationships, many different feelings, experiences and historical events are at play. If you don’t believe you will have whole-hearted support, keep the goals to yourself.

Check Goal Setting and Achievement Progress Regularly

One of the weaknesses of any annual appraisal system is the lack of frequency with which progress and success are measured and tracked. You are most likely to accomplish the goals you set if you review them daily as part of your normal planning process. (You do have a normal planning process, don’t you?)

Whether you use a paper planner or a hand held computer, you can enter your goals, and schedule daily and weekly actions that support their accomplishment. The discipline of the daily review is a powerful goal accomplishment tool.

Take Action to Identify and Eliminate Obstacles to Goal Setting Success

Simply tracking your goals daily is not enough. If you’re unhappy with your progress, you need to assess what is keeping you from accomplishing the goals. Ask yourself questions such as, “Is this goal really important?” (If not, why did you pledge to accomplish it; maybe it’s not important, or less important than other goals.)

”Are there specific obstacles you are experiencing which are interfering with your ability to accomplish the goal?” (In this case, make action plans to remove the obstacles or seek help from a co-worker, friend or family member.)

If you are not making progress on a particular goal, attempt to do a root cause analysis to determine why. Only by honestly analyzing your lack of progress can you determine steps to take to change this picture. In this era of the hand-held computer and PDA cell phones, picture your goals automatically forwarding for 365 days. Talk about a daily reminder about failure!

Reward Yourself and Celebrate Goal Accomplishment

Even the accomplishment of a minor goal is cause for celebration. Don’t depress yourself with thoughts about all you still have to do. Celebrate what you have done. Then move on to the next milestone.

Goals and New Year Resolutions Change

Periodically look at the goals you have set for this year. Are the goals still the right goals? Give yourself permission to change your goals and resolutions based on changing circumstances.

Don’t spend an entire year failing to achieve a particular goal. Your time is better spent on achievement than on beating yourself up for lack of progress. Maybe you made the goal too big; maybe you set too many goals. Do an honest assessment; change what needs to change periodically, and move on.

Paying attention to these ten guidelines can make all the difference in your year. Will this year be a year of triumph for you, a year of awesome success? Whatever your goals and resolutions, these tips can help power your success.



By , About.com Guide


Day Two: Your Thoughts Matter

“We become what we think about most.” Earl Nightingale’s apt summation of the power of your thoughts is one of the most significant statements ever made. Think about it. Your thoughts are always with you. And, they tend to play themselves over and over again in your head.  They either support you to think about and take positive action or the opposite. Your thoughts either criticize or they support the accomplishment of your goals.

Listen to the voice in your mind. You know the drill. Negative thoughts are overwhelming and they can take control of your mind for days. But, how to get even, how to replay or recast a situation that has already occurred, or how to make excuses or blame others is not powerful thinking.

When your thoughts are negative or unsupportive of your happiness and success, you have to change your thinking. Gently – don’t beat yourself up – redirect your thinking to thoughts that will support your success and happiness. Laugh, if you can, when you think about the time you spent obsessing over matters that are over and completed. Move on.

Your thoughts govern the success of your interpersonal interactions. Your thoughts are the headlights illuminating your path in the darkness. They always precede you and your actions. Said Nightingale, “The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominant thoughts.” Believe him.


By , About.com Guide


Day One: How to Take Responsibility for Your Life

You are totally responsible for your life. This is the foundation principle you must embrace if you plan for happiness and success in life and work. I coach a young woman currently, a manager in a small company. I am struck, every time we meet, by her failure to take responsibility for what is happening in her work and life. Everything is someone else’s fault. Every problem is explained away with reasons about why she can’t affect the situation or the outcome.

Blame and Excuses Are the Hallmarks of an Unsuccessful Life

On television, I briefly watched three jailed individuals who are seeking parole from the Parole Board, talk about themselves. I noticed the same pattern in their reasoning and approach to life.  Nothing was their fault including the incidents that landed each of them in jail. I suspect that if I interviewed more incarcerated individuals, I would find a pattern of “not my fault.” That is why taking responsibility for choices, actions, and direction is so powerfully important. Without taking responsibility, you’ll likely look at your life as a failure because you allowed yourself to be blown hither and yon, by any passing wind. And, you blamed the wind for how things turned out.

People who take complete responsibility for their lives experience joy and control of circumstances. They are able to make choices because they understand that they are responsible for their choices. Indeed, even when events that are not under your control, go awry, you can, at least, determine how you will react to the event. You can make an event a disaster or you can use it as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to cherish your faith, to hold loved ones close.

How to Take Responsibility for Your Life

The most important aspect of taking responsibility for your life is to acknowledge that your life is your responsibility. No one can live your life for you. You are in charge. No matter how hard you try to blame others for the events of your life, each event is the result of choices you made and are making.   Listen to the little voice in your head. And, observe yourself talking with coworkers, family members, and friends. Do you hear yourself taking responsibility or placing blame?

  • Listen to the voice in your head.  Eliminate blame; eliminate excuses. If the blame track or the excuse track plays repeatedly in your mind, you are shifting responsibility for your decisions and life to others.
  • Second, listen to yourself when you speak. In your conversation, do you hear yourself blame others for things that don’t go exactly as you want? Do you find yourself pointing fingers at your coworkers or your upbringing, your parent’s influence, the amount of money that you make, or your spouse? Are you making excuses for goals unmet or tasks that missed their deadlines? If you can hear your blaming patterns, you can stop them.
  • Third, if an individual you respect supplies feedback that you make excuses and blame others for your woes, take the feedback seriously. Control your defensive reaction and explore examples and deepen your understanding with the coworker or friend. People who responsibly consider feedback attract much more feedback.

By , About.com Guide