Lead a vivid life that does good

Tag: goals

Re-solving the New Years Resolution problem.

Happy New Year!

By now a few of you are 5 days into your New Years Resolution. While others, like me, are yet to set some as we come back from our summer holidays.

Wherever you are on your resolution cycle here’s a thought …

resolve - new years resolutionResolution comes from Resolve.

Resolve means to have a determination to take a course of action. Like going to the gym, or learning french, or blogging.

Resolve comes from two words ‘re-‘, meaning to do again and again. And ‘solve‘, meaning to find a solution to a problem.

And so a big part of having resolve is to know what problem you are trying to solve. The goal of going to the gym is generally not going to the gym. Rather its Losing weight, getting fit or having rock hard abs. Knowing what you are trying to solve is the key to the story.

Once you have the story, and the power for self-discipline is in the story. Use the story to ‘re-‘mind yourself almost daily so that you have the ‘re-‘solve, the determination to actually head to the gym.

Or learn.

Or blog.

Self discipline is hard. I believe for me personally it becomes almost impossible without ‘re-‘solve, without the story.

So when you start to struggle to meet your goal, and you will, don’t forget to remind yourself of the story of who you are trying to become, and remember …

You can and will achieve it!

The hidden power of belief

believe_in_yourselfI was reading a study where people were given the opportunity to buy the exact same pain-killer, but packaged in different ways and costing different amounts of money. They then followed up to see which drugs worked more effectively, and discovered that the more expensive the drug, the better people ‘believed’ it worked.

Think about that. We buy a more expensive version of EXACTLY the same pain-killer, and because we believe it’s better … it is better!

Belief is probably one of the most powerful predictors of success I can think of.

Want to lose weight? If you believe you can do it and believe in a programme, you are half way there.

Want to become a more patient parent? You need to believe you can be more patient.

Want to change a habit? Belief is critical.

You can achieve things you never thought possible.

You just need to believe in yourself.

The issue with belief, is so many of us have stopped believing we can. Which means that we believe we CAN’T, and changing what we believe is incredibly hard. Our self-talk is incredibly powerful.

Often believing comes from small successes, so if you are struggling with belief start by setting a really small, short-term goal (maybe 3 weeks away) and work on it every day.

You will nail it.

I know you will, because I believe in you!



3 ways to stay focused on your goals

FocusA number of years ago Bill Gates’ mother held a dinner party and invited both Warren Buffet (super rich guy) and Bill along. At the dinner party she ask what they believed was the single most important factor for their success. Both Bill and Warren gave the same one-word answer: “Focus.”

Focus is one of those annoying words that continually collides with my life. Historically I would not regard myself as a particularly focused person, but slowly over the years I have been improving. As I have improved I have realised that FOCUS requires constant, well focus, on three areas:

1. Turning Goals into Priorities

In order to be focused you must know what you are focused on. The word after all means “the centre of interest or activity.” Without having goals, both in business and personally, you won’t have interests or activity to centre yourself on.

But just as important as having goals, is reviewing them very frequently and setting actions. For me this involves a weekly review of my goals and strategies to set the course for the week, then almost daily reviewing these and setting actions for my day ahead.

Simply said. To focus you must have goals and resolve to take action daily.

2. Be in the Right Space

Now that you have your priorities you need to have a work-space where you can actually get on and do the work without too much interruption. As your all know, not all work spaces are the same. Some of us have our own office and others work in open plan.

The key thing to remember is that different focus, requires different spaces. Sometimes I need to work in my office as I need the tools there to do the work. Other times I can sit with my laptop in a café. Other times I go on a walk with a piece of folded up paper and a pen (so I can leave my phone behind). Depending what you are focusing on determines the space you should be in.

Once in the right space and ready to focus, it’s important to eliminate as many distractions as possible. This mainly involves communicating with the team around you that you are focusing a major goal for a period of time.

3. De-clutter ALL Distractions

I was reading yesterday that the average Facebook user in New Zealand checks Facebook 14 times a day. Social media is great for connection with people, but for most of us it distracts us from their goals. Similarly in our work-spaces there are distractions everywhere, so it is little wonder we struggle to focus. As I’ve become more focused I have had to take some pretty radical steps and a few of these are below:

  • Implement GTD (Getting Things Done). It’s a book. Buy it. Implement it.
  • Have a tidy work-space and try to only have the work in front of you, that you are focusing on. This stops distractions.
  • Turn off every type of email notifications on every device. My focus doesn’t last long, the last thing I need when a new email arrives is an excuse for my brain to get distracted.
  • Turn off notifications on your phone. All of them at first, then bring the critical ones back in. Social Media are unlikely to be the ones you turn back on. While you are at it, delete the most distracting apps from your phone.
  • Relentlessly remove yourself from email lists. The goal of an email is to distract you and get you to check in on their website. Our goal is to not be distracted and to have as much focused time as possible.

Distraction is everywhere which makes focus incredibly hard. If focus is important, you need to radically reduce the distraction. You can still clear Facebook, or check out websites. Just not when they prompt you and not when you are focused.

Becoming more focused is a constant struggle for me. I get constantly distracted and interrupted and I take on too much. All distraction comes at the expense of the goals I think are really important for me.

That said, the more I focus, the more I appreciate the value of focus and the more determined I become on my quest for more.

I’d love to hear if you have tips for becoming more focused, so comment and let me know what you think.