Bears, sharks & lightning

Bears, sharks & lightning…and not necessarily in that order.
What are you afraid of? 
For me, the very idea of setting off on an adventure continues to top by bucket list.
At least once each day I’m either day-dreaming about the possibilities of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, or setting off on a solo voyage across the ocean. Now, I don’t actually ‘actively’ hike nor do I own a boat, but the very idea of it all sends my heart into flutter mode. Of course that could also have something to do with the bears, sharks and lightning I mentioned above. 

I mean, I can deal with bugs, and I can deal with blisters and too much sun, and being dirty for days. I can even deal with eating the same meal day after day or any other similar deprivation which would result from removing myself from civilization for months on end, but I cannot for the life of me even begin to imagine suddenly finding myself face to face (eeek!!, I can’t even print it!) with a bear, shark or lightning encounter! This is where i get tripped up!
I read somewhere that our ‘real life’ is out there waiting for us. And I guess I think mine must be either in the woods or on the ocean. 

Stepping outside our comfort zone allows us to grow. It pushes us to tap into all our potential.  And I hear we all have loads of it if we’re open to it. All risks are growth opportunities; good and bad and the transitional skills we gain help us deal with changes in our lives.  

As we accumulate transitional skills we are able to move to the next ‘level’ kind of like Mario…storing up an arsenal for future challenges.

And as our arsenal of skills increases in size we may find we need a bigger comfort zone to house them in and that’s a win-win situation for everyone.

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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!

 

 

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!