Adrift

Have you ever felt adrift – as if you’re moving but not really in any particular direction?
I have – for several months now.

Since that’s not exactly a bad feeling to have, I’m not sure why it’s been bothering me as much as it has, but even still, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s causing it and also what to do about it.

Several months ago I found myself at the finish line after setting (and achieving) a couple of significant goals. And when I say these goals required me to stay focused that is truly an understatement; I was living a very restrictive (self-inflicted) lifestyle in order to achieve these goals in the limited timeframe I’d set for myself.    

During this process though, I learned a couple of things about myself: a) I can actually stick with something once I make up my mind to do so, and b) I had the power all along!!  

Knowing this has opened up a world of possibilities.  

In other words: note to self: “The meter is running…what else ya got??”

That would explain the ‘floundering about’ feeling I’ve been having.

So, if you happen to be like me and view your life as one, big, outstretched map before you – deciding where to put those little map flags on the map is almost as much fun as actually going to the ‘places’ (insert any goal here) they represent. You’re determining the path you will take that will lead you to your next adventure (whatever goal that may be). And the goals you set and achieve along your route are nice reminders to propel you further along, reminding you that you have what it takes to decide where you’d like to ‘go’ next.    

Now, I know there are tons of blog posts/self-help books out there about goal setting (I’ve read the majority of them) but no matter how much I read about it, nothing helped quite as much as going through it myself and looking back on it now.  

But the first and most important thing I learned was this little nugget of information:  

You have to want it badly enough. READ THAT AGAIN.  

You have to want it badly enough.

If you don’t want it badly enough you won’t stick with it long enough. End of story.  

Had those authors put this little disclaimer on the cover of all of those self-help books and blog posts I’ve read, I would have saved myself SO much reading time!

But here’s the good news – if you DO want it badly enough – here are three things I’ve learned to help get you there.    

1. Staying focused and goal oriented is a great confidence builder. But you have to be very specific about what you will or won’t allow and stick with it. NO EXCEPTIONS. This is important. Be honest with yourself about what it will take to reach your goal and keep that goal in sight at all times. If veering off the path at any time will cause a setback; make sure you are aware of this so there will be no surprises or disappointments. Keep track on a daily basis because….

 2. When you have a lot of confidence you can achieve a lot of stuff. Knowing where you are on the path at all times will help you stay on track. Seeing your progress is a great motivator. And don’t buy into the ‘I’ve done so well I will treat myself’ downward-spiraling mindset either. That is the worst thing you can do! And try…

 3. Working under pressure of a deadline – it ups the stakes significantly – the goal is no longer just something you’d ‘like’ to achieve – it becomes the very thing you want badly enough! Remind yourself every time you think about straying how it will impact your ability to reach your goal. It will keep you from getting the thing you want most. How dare that temptation!! And after working so hard to get where you are… In the beginning stages of goal setting it’s sometimes necessary to be in an ‘all or nothing’ mindset – at least until the process begins to move forward (with little extra effort). Momentum is very important. Your goal will become very personal at this point and that’s a good thing.

 

 So ask yourself: What goal do you want to achieve?

 and

Do you want it badly enough??

 

 If so, then just remember this:

 Be Specific.

Monitor and defend it.

Own it!

 

It really is that simple!

 

 

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Space-Time Continuum

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I’ve commented often (and have even written a blog post or two) about the speed in which time seems to be passing. People will always say that time just passes faster once you get older but, in all honesty we know this really isn’t true.

I still hold on to my theory that time seems to be passing faster now because there are no longer ‘start’ and ‘stop’ markers to our day; that cell phones, emails, texts and computer access have made it too easy to be available 24 hours a day.

I still think this is a large part of the problem and since I don’t see this life-style changing anytime soon – we need to figure out a way to work around it. And I think I may have stumbled upon that ‘way’ totally by accident!

If you really want to slow down the clock – set a goal. Nothing slows time like anticipation!

And not just any goal – a goal you actually plan on achieving. One that is important to you and that requires a little bit of focus (well, maybe just a little more than a little); nothing too painful though. The goal needs to be one that is within fairly easy reach (that you can achieve within a reasonable amount of time) and one that will give you measurable results (i.e. pounds of weight loss, money saved for a vacation, paying off a credit card, etc., etc.).

Here are the steps:

1. Set your goal.

2. Decide on your method of attack.

3. Commit to it.

It really comes down to that.

This plan doesn’t work for people who set goals and then give up after a day or two – sorry; this will only work for people who are serious about reaching their goals. You have to be at that place – you have to want it bad enough. I know this all too well because I’ve been ‘that person’.

The best part is – all this goal-setting has a two-fold benefit. Not only does it help to slow down the clock, it will get you excited about the future. Setting and reaching goals is a very productive way to spend your time – not to mention being very empowering. Once you accomplish one goal, you will be motivated to set another. And then another.

“In a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.”

What a great quote – and so true – and what better way to spend all the extra time you’ll now have!

Wish Brainstorming

I was doing an on-line search for ‘personal mission statements’…

A personal mission statement is a brief description of what you want to focus on, what you want to accomplish and who you want to become in a particular area of your life over the next one to three years. It is a way to focus your energy, actions, behaviors and decisions towards the things that are most important to you.

but what if you don’t KNOW what it is you want??

This led to more on-line searching which led me to this page (found on timethoughts.com) about ‘wish brainstorming’.

Thought it was interesting…

Wish Brainstorming for Goal Setting

Wish brainstorming is a tool that can help you figure out what you really want.

Wishes are a simple way to capture things that you may need, desire or want without necessarily committing to doing them.

Because your wish list only represents things that you may want to pursue, it’s easier to release any judgments about how/when you are going to do these things and focus instead on what you truly want.

Rather than trying to wish for everything that you want in all areas of your life, it is useful to focus on one result area at a time. Once you’ve brainstormed your wishes for this area, you can move on to another area.

Wish Brainstorming Guidelines

Brainstorming works best when you use questions to stimulate your thinking. You simply try to come up with as many answers to the questions as you can. It’s simple because your mind is programmed from early childhood to answer questions.

As soon as you ask yourself a question, your brain will shift into high gear trying to come up with answers. All you have to do is listen for the answers, and write them down. You should try to write every thought that pops into your head, whether it looks like a good answer or not.

The key is to reserve all judgment, criticism and doubt until later. The first step in brainstorming is to generate as many ideas as you can without thinking about them. So go ahead and write down any crazy, silly, weird or seemingly useless ideas. The reason for this is that judgment, criticism and doubt block the stream of ideas and shut down the creative process.

If you get stuck at any point and can’t come up with anything else, ask yourself the question again and wait for a few seconds. Repeat this a few times. If nothing comes, read a few of your answers. Reading your answers can often inspire related ideas or thoughts.

Wish Brainstorming Questions

Use the following questions to help you get started with your brainstorming session. Each set of questions is divided into one of four categories corresponding to the types of wishes that they help you think about.

Wish Type One – Want and Don’t Have

The first wish type represents the things that you want and don’t have. This is the most common type of wish and is based on a motivation toward things you want, desire or find pleasurable.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you want and don’t have:

  • What would you wish for in this area of your life if you had unlimited financial resources?

  • What have you always wanted to do or accomplish in this area of your life but have never attempted? Because of lack of time? Money? Experience? Resources?

  • If you could have, do or be anything that you wanted in this area, what would you wish for?

  • What would you wish for in this area if you were absolutely confident that you could accomplish it?

  • What habits, skills, abilities or personality traits that you see in others would you like to develop?

  • What knowledge, experience or expertise would you like to gain in this area?

  • What would you like to learn? (Learn to speak Italian, Learn to cook, Learn about astronomy, Learn to Tango)

  • What positive traits or habits would you like to develop? (Be more patient, Be more confident, Manage my time better, Read more often)

These questions are designed to stimulate your thinking while removing common barriers such as fear and doubt.

Wish Type Two – Don’t Want and Have

The second wish type represents the things you don’t want and have. These could be things like an extra ten pounds, a lousy job, or a mean boss. This second wish type is useful because many people find it easier to list the things they don’t want. This is based on a motivation away from things you dislike.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you don’t want and have:

  • What would you like to change, remove or eliminate from your life? (Lose extra ten pounds, Change jobs, Less stress)

  • What bad habits or personality traits would you like to get rid off? (Stop interrupting people, Eat less junk food)

  • What do you currently have that you don’t want in your life? (A mean boss, Too many demands)

Wish Type Three – Want and Have

The third wish type represents the things you want and have. Wishes of this type could represent things you want to appreciate or treasure more, good things in your life that you want to have more of, or things that you want to preserve.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you want and have:

  • What about this area of your life do you like and want more?

  • What do you enjoy doing but haven’t done in a while?

  • What would you like to improve or enhance about yourself?

  • What are the blessings in your life that you would like to appreciate more?

  • What good things in this area of your life do you want to preserve and avoid neglecting?

Wish Type Four – Don’t Want and Don’t Have

The fourth wish type represents the things you don’t want and don’t have. Examples would be things like heart disease, bad health, financial problems, and other risks that you want to avoid.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you don’t want and don’t have:

  • What problems or pitfalls would you like to prevent?

  • What bad habits or negative traits would you like to avoid developing?

Turn the Negatives into Positives

While the “Don’t Want and Have” and “Don’t Want and Don’t Have” wish types are useful during brainstorming to help you identify wishes, especially if your motivation style is away from things you dislike, they don’t make good long term wishes.

In goal setting, it is always better to focus your attention on the things you want rather than on the things you don’t want. A useful exercise is to convert all your negative wishes into one or more positive counterparts.

For example, if one of your “Don’t Want and Have” wishes is to get rid of an extra ten pounds, you would convert this into a positive wish: “I weight a healthy XXX pounds,” where XXX is your target weight.

Similarly, you can convert “Don’t Want and Don’t Have” wishes to their positive counterparts by wishing for things you can do to prevent or avoid these negative wishes from being realized.

Prioritize Your Wish List

Now that you’ve created your wish list, it is time to prioritize it based on what is most important to you.

A useful prioritizing tool is the ABCD method. In this method you prioritize wishes into one of four categories:

  • A’s represent things you really want

  • B’s represent things you want, but not as much as the As

  • C’s represent things that are nice to have, but you don’t necessarily want at this time

  • D’s represent things you definitely don’t want to pursue at this time

Why include the C’s and D’s in your wish list? Because you already went to all the trouble to think of them, you might as well write them down. You never know if you might want to change your mind later.

Once you’ve categorized the wishes, go over the A’s and rank the top five to ten items (A1, A2, A3…) based on importance and urgency. Try to find the wish that you really want the most right now and make it your A1 priority. Then proceed to find the second one, and so forth.

Another way to prioritize your wishes is to ask yourself which of them would have the most positive impact on this part of your life? Review your priorities from this perspective and make any necessary adjustments.