Your Epic Life: How to become your dreams

Your Epic Life: How to become your dreams

Dreams Goals Planning Resolutions Solutions

The one thing that I see many people do is create goals for themselves and then store all of that in their heads. They may state their goals out loud but don’t go as far as writing them down. So what happens? Time slips by. Day after day goes by without them making a conscious effort to work toward them until 6 months elapse and they still haven’t achieved what they wanted to achieve.

Conversely I also see people overcommit (as we discussed in Steps 1 and 2). The problem with overcommitting is that it leads to under-delivering. Everything we do takes up physical time in our lives. Without putting things on the calendar, it’s easy to plan way too much. Too much that leads to overwhelm which leads to the opposite of progress.

Step 8

Put in on your calendar

Take a look at the goals and the habits that you’ve committed to over the past few steps. Begin to place each into various months. While doing so, be conscious of your life. For example, if you know you’ll be traveling all of June, then don’t expect huge results that month. If some of your goals will take the whole year to complete, then fill in your minor tasks in the months where you will take the action.

Goals, habits and outcomes by month

calendar for goals

Step 9

Create accountability structures

We tend to keep our word much better with others than with ourselves. Pick at least four people close to you to tell about your goals. They become your accountability allies. Walk them through this process. Explain why it’s so incredibly important to you and even give them a copy of your goals and plans. Ask for their help. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know how important it is to have a support network. Most singles do not have enough people in their lives to lean on, thinking that their romantic relationship needs to meet all of their social needs. This is an excellent opportunity for you to practice leaning on friends and family members.

Accountability ally:                                                                                                                             
How they will keep you accountable (ex.: weekly check ups, whip cracking, etc.):              

Step 10

Routinely review your progress

To see massive progress, you must keep your plans front of mind. Create a routine that allows you to review the above at least on a weekly basis. Anything more in frequent than weekly makes it too easy to keep the ideas and dreams just that – ideas and dreams. They only become reality when we consistently address them and make small, gradual progress. In one year, that can become enormous.

Write down when you will review your goals on a routine basis.

Day of week:                                                                                                                                                  
Time of day:                                                                                                                                                   

Next, do something now – no matter how small.

Never leave a planning session without taking some action to get you closer to victory. It could be the tiniest thing in the world. Maybe send a short email or make a quick list. Pick something that only takes 5 minutes or less. And then do it. Let the momentum build.

Pick 1 small task for your top few goals that you can do right now to get you closer.

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2.
3.
4.

You can become your dreams — just add consistency

Congratulations! The fact that you have finished this process means you are nearly guaranteed to experience your dreams. As long as you do one thing… work!

Dreams, aspirations, andgoals don’t become reality merely by dreaming. That is the very first and simplest step. The magic happens when a consistent process of dedicated and inspired action is applied to the things that matter most in your life. Make no mistake – massive hard work is required.

When you are committed on such a level, the sky is literally the limit. That is what turns the impossible into the possible and is what makes the difference between an epic life and an ordinary one.

Every life can be epic in its own way.

All we have to do is want it badly enough. That part is up to you. So here’s to a year of life on your terms. I’ll see you out there!

floral border

Is one of your goals to create or improve your ideal career, or to create a strong support network, or to find the love of your life? I think I can help.

It turns out that 80% of singles over 40 don’t enjoy their lives. You’re not alone – and yet it doesn’t have to be that way. The good news is that last July, I created a self-study course called Create a Life You Love to help with those exact goals.   It contains six easy to follow modules with exercises to complete to ensure your success and there are also workbooks, 2 complimentary coaching sessions and weekly action plans that comes with it.

Since it’s the new year in this topic mean so much to me, I’m offering a 20% off discount code for the first two weeks of February for those who have completed this blog post series. To get your discount code, simply email me your notes from this process. But remember it’s only good until February 14th, 2016.

Here’s to a new year of finding passion and creating an epic life!

Click here to learn all about the Create a Life You Love eCourse.

 

Your Epic Life:  What’s your WHY?

Your Epic Life:  What’s your WHY?

Dreams Fulfillment Goals Planning Solutions

In this post, we’re going to explore how to give yourself leverage in terms of achieving your dreams – meaning, finding a compelling and emotional reason why you want to do what you want to do. When I coach my clients, one of the first few questions I ask them, when they state what they want to achieve, is “What’s important to you about that? What do you care about here?” Knowing your why can often mean the difference between achieving the goal or not, since a compelling and powerful why usually springs from a very deep need and is often influenced by our values.

This kind of emotional leverage can come from one of two places. You can focus on the wonderful things you’ll experience if you complete your goal – i.e., happiness, personal freedom, finding love. Or you can focus on the awful things that might happen if you don’t – i.e., loneliness, a heart attack, or the death of a loved one. Positive or negative, discover what will make it an absolute must to accomplish your goal. One success guru I follow likens leverage with the father who couldn’t quit smoking until his 6 year old daughter walked into his home office one morning and said daddy, “I don’t want you to die before I’m 10.” He never smoked again. Now that’s emotional leverage.

Need to catch up? Please check out the following blog posts, in order:
Make Your New Year Epic
Create Better Habits
Think Big and Get Specific

Step 6

What massive reason can you find for making your goal and must? It could be fitting into your wedding dress or being sure you’re alive to teach your grandson math. It’s your call. Just be sure there is a need your emotional reason behind it.

List one why for each goal.

your why chart

Step 7

Creating baby steps

Thinking of a long term goal as a single item to accomplish can be massively overwhelming. Yet every goal has all kinds of 5 minutes or 1 hour task leading up to it.

In this step, we’re going to take each core goal and divided into 3 to 5 minor steps. This is called chunking down. Chunking is a way of breaking down larger goals into more realistically achievable steps. The process helps you to understand all the smaller tasks that are involved in achieving a bigger aim, and create a timeline to get them done. By creating a series of realistic mini goals along the way, you can also feel a constant and building sense of achievement, spurring you on to work even harder.

From there we will create 3 to 5 baby steps for each minor step. You may need more or fewer steps, depending on the size of your goal. Feel it out.

 

chunking down goals

So… how excited are you getting, now that you’ve come this far to clearly and definitively articulate what you want to achieve, why it’s important to you, and then to start breaking it all down into small steps? We are nearly done with this exercise … so stay tuned for Steps 8, 9 and 10.

whats-your-why

Your Epic Life: How to think big and get specific

Your Epic Life: How to think big and get specific

Dreams Fulfillment Goals Resolutions Solutions

Before we move on to Steps 4 and 5, let’s look back at the areas of attention you defined in Step 2 because you will need them here. Remember that it’s easier to focus on less than 8 areas. By being judicious, you’ll prevent burnout and a sense of overwhelm.

Now it’s time to start thinking big. I don’t mean you have to think massively, although that certainly makes this process a little bit more fun. The work we’re doing in Steps 4 and 5 primarily has to be meaningful to you.

It’s also not necessary to pick something for every single category or area of attention, yet I encourage you to do so. I want to make sure that you are creating joy in all the areas of your life that matter.

Always remember, however, that balance is key.

List one to three goals per area of attention.

Area 1:                                      Goals:

Area 2:                                      Goals:                                                                                                            

Area 3:                                      Goals:                                                                                                            

Area 4:                                      Goals:                                                                                                            

Area 5:                                      Goals:                                                                                                            

Area 6:                                      Goals:                                                                                                            

Area 7:                                      Goals:                                                                                                            

Area 8:                                      Goals:                                                                                                            

 

Step 5 – Getting Specific

This is where we’re going to define what you really want for yourself. It’s not enough to say, I want to be healthier, or I want to find someone special, or I want to make more money. You need to create goals that are quantifiable and measurable. And you need to be in control of whether they happen – meaning they need to be attainable. You can’t control whether you find the love of your life yet you can control how often you get off your couch to participate in life and how often you practice better communication skills. You can’t control whether you actually lose 10 pounds yet you can control what you eat and how often you exercise, which is what really leads to losing the weight.

So take a moment now to define what you want exactly. If you want to write a book, for example, then how many words a day can you commit to?

List the quantifiable outcomes and the specifics of each goal below.

goals table

So that is it for today. You’ve built a great foundation to creating an epic new year. Come back in a few days for Steps Six and Seven through which you’re going to create compelling reasons why you want to achieve these goals and then you’re going to create baby steps toward achieving them. Meanwhile, have an amazing day!

anything-is-possible (2)

Your Epic Life: how to create better habits

Your Epic Life: how to create better habits

Dreams Goals Planning Resolutions Solutions

Welcome back! Hopefully by now you’ve had some time to write answers to the questions in this blog post (here). Today, in Step 2, we are going to define your areas of attention. This is where you’re going to list the core areas of your life where you want to get results. Examples of core areas include: your health, continued learning, helping others, marriage or relationships, career, finances. The more creative you get with your naming in this area, the more committed you will be. For example, you could use the phrase “Expand the mind” instead of continue learning. Anything goes.

If you have any trouble identifying these areas, refer back to your answers in Step One.

Helpful Hint:  Don’t list any more than eight. In truth, it’s even better if you identify fewer than that. The point here is to know the areas in your life that matter the most and have fun with them.

Areas of attention

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2.

3.

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5.

6.

7.

8.

 

Step 3

Define resolutions and habits

Before we start thinking through massive goals, it is a good idea to start with general themes of improvement or change that you want to work on. Regard them as habits or resolutions. Habits differ from goals in the sense that goals are things you eventually accomplish or check off your list. Habits are things you want to adopt as a part of your life going forward. They are actions or behavior patterns that are regular, repetitive and unconscious – they are so ingrained that they are automatic. Some examples of habits include being early, scheduling less, slowing down, spending less time on email, simplifying or decluttering, getting more sleep, eating more healthfully.

The thing is, fully 95% of everything we do or say is determined by our habits, whether good or bad. Successful people have good habits that lead them to engage in constructive, fruitful behaviors throughout their lives. Unsuccessful people have inadvertently developed bad habits that cause them to act, or fail to act, in ways that lead to disappointment and frustration. Now we’re not just talking about career or financial success here – this applies to all areas of your life, including your health, friendships, and romantic relationships.

The thought of changing habits can be daunting for many, yet there is a really effective and simple approach to changing habits that I’ve adopted — it’s best to focus on one new habit or resolution at a time. Ideally you should focus on no more than one a month. If we do that one thing for a month straight, it will likely become a part of our routine. The good news is that for the super ambitious, this still allows for 12 new habits a year! However, I’d recommend fewer.

If you’d like to learn how to create better habits in 21 days or less, log on to my website
and order my free ebook called 21 days to Love, Joy and Prosperity.

So go ahead and list up to 12 habits you’d like to focus on for the New Year.

Habits and resolutions

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So those are Steps 2 & 3! Tune back in in a few days for Steps 4 & 5. You are on the verge of creating core goals in each area that you’d like to improve in your life, as well as getting specific in defining what it is that you really want.

do epic things

How to make the New Year epic in 10 easy steps

How to make the New Year epic in 10 easy steps

Dreams Goals Planning Success

There’s nothing like New Year’s Day to make us take stock of our lives – to see what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve failed to accomplish. Most people I know use this holiday to beat themselves up over their failures while simultaneously making vague “resolutions” to achieve more.

Usually this approach brings the same results.

As a life coach, I enjoy helping my clients move toward the realization of their dreams – to help them create a life they love – so there’s nothing that pains me more than seeing people not get results, give up on their dreams, to give in to inertia, to not live up to their potential.

Let’s make sure that you are among the few who DO get results.

In that spirit, I wanted to give you some exercises to help you get crystal clear on your new goals and the actions required to make them happen. The key is to keep all of this simple, actionable yet at the same time exciting. Life should never be boring.

So here goes.

Preparation

Clear your calendar and get out your journal – be prepared to put pen to paper. Then make sure you’re somewhere where you can remain undisturbed for a period. Allow yourself to think in terms of “awesomeness”.

Step One

Reflect and Review:

What made last year awesome and not so awesome? What have you accomplished and what are you proud of? List these out on a sheet of paper. What about the low points of the year – what don’t you want to repeat? List these out on a sheet of paper, too.

If you were a journalist writing about your year, in an objective way, what would your headline say?

What are you most proud of in the last year? What new dream for yourself did you achieve?

What unfinished business did you want to resolve before the end of the year? When will you do it?

When were you most excited about life this past year? What are you doing? Who were you with? What was boring to you this past year that you want to change for the New Year? What made it boring?

Looking back at the previous year, what would you have done differently? Where did you let fear hold you back from a goal you had? When did you have the courage to try something different?

Take some time to write out your answers to these questions. This foundational exercise was meant to get you started – we’ll build upon what you’ve written down here.

Then, tune in over the next few days for Step 2 where we define your areas of attention as well as Step 3 through which we define your resolutions and new habits. From there, in Steps Four and Five, we will create a core goal in each area you want to improve and then we’ll get specific about what you really want. In Step 6, we’ll figure out a compelling reason why you want to make these changes — from there, in Steps 7 and 8, we’ll create baby steps to get you moving forward as well as get all of the steps on a calendar. Then finally in Steps 9 and 10, we will create accountability structures and how we can routinely review your progress.

So stay tuned!

New Year resolutions

Let Go: The key to being blissful

Let Go: The key to being blissful

Freedom Goals

I sat down today to write this blog post and thought: am I repeating myself? For your sake, I hope that I’m not yet I feel like I am.

I keep encouraging singles to first embrace themselves and their lives before getting out there to find a partner with whom to create a great relationship. Yet I know so many people who are still stuck. Still overly obsessed with finding partnership and running around in circles, chasing their own tails, trying to achieve their dreams but just not getting anywhere.

Yes it’s true that our desire to love and be loved is a powerful – and neccessary – goal. But I’ve seen so many people to fall into a hopeful wishful obsessive trap where they yearn for a partner so fervently that everything else falls to the wayside.

I’ve seen a lot of emotional suffering and pain arise from this attachment to this desire, yearning, and goal. I see so many singles cling to the myth that relationships are the cause of happiness, as in: “I’ll be happy when I have a romantic partner.”

Too many singles think happiness is contingent upon external circumstances and situations, rather than upon their own inner attitude toward themselves, or toward life in general.

letting go leaves fallingThey become attached to outcomes.

When I was in high school, I used to fall into this trap a lot. I remember hoping and praying that the universe would bring me a special, uber-person who would see me as the divine creature that I am. I will never forget that burning feeling in my heart as I longed for a relationship that would “complete me”.

And what did all that praying get me? Desperation and mania and countless relationship mistakes.

Again – don’t get me wrong. Wanting to love and be loved is one of the greatest things we can do and experience.

The trouble comes when we get driven about our dreams and goals – grasping after them, insisting that they continue, craving and clinging, taking it personally when there’s a hitch, or getting pushy.

The art is to pursue our goals and dreams with enthusiasm, discipline, and skill without getting all hot and bothered about them – and to enjoy life’s pleasures without getting attached to them.

The truth about over-attachment to our desires

Attachment to outcomes or to a goal is based on fear and insecurity. As mentioned previously, you begin to believe that you need something outside of yourself to make you happy. It’s easy to think, “I’ll feel good when I have more money in the bank, lose 15 pounds, find my soul mate, pay off my bills, etc.”.

This obsessive attachment reflects our mind’s struggle in response to challenge – in this case, the challenge is being single and looking.

Yet none of us want to struggle. Most of us want an easier time of being single and an easier time of dating.

Ironically, letting go, particularly regarding outcomes, is key to being peaceful. You set your intentions and take whatever action is needed, and then relinquish your attachment to the outcome. When we get so caught up in our yearnings, such as the idea that we must be in a partnership to be happy, we can’t see the trap we’re setting.

I recently read a poem by the 5th Century Tao poet Chaing Tsu that summarizes the Catch-22 we often set for ourselves:

The Need to Win

When an archer shoots for nothing he has all his skill.
When he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous.
When he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind, or sees two targets.
His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him.
He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting,
And the need to win drains him of power.

So think about it – the more attached we become to the outcome (finding a perfect partner), the more we over-react emotionally and the more we hinder ourselves. In fact, using this poem as an example, we hinder ourselves in two ways:

Emotionality: If the archer needs to win, the prospect of failure is threatening and produces an emotional reaction – nervousness – which undermines the steady hand required of the task.

Distraction: The archer will perform best when his attention is focused on shooting to the complete exclusion of everything else. To the extent the archer thinks of winning rather than shooting, the prize divides him and the need to win drains him of power.

Benefits of non-attachment

When you understand the true meaning of non-attachment:

  • Expectations no longer rule your life.
  • Emotions arise, but you have perspective.
  • You have a clarity of mind so you’re able to see through to the truth of things.
  • The problems of this world evoke compassion rather than anger.
  • You don’t chase after happiness. You just enjoy it when it’s present, and release it when it dissolves.
  • You’re able to allow life to unfold without needing to control everything.
  • You don’t stop loving. You love even more.
  • Your heart only grows bigger and bigger and bigger, when you see all the unnecessary suffering in this world.

The Let-go How-to:

OK I love this image but letting balloons drift into our atmosphere is not great for our environment... I know, Buzz Kill.

OK I love this image but letting balloons drift into our atmosphere is not great for our environment… I know, Buzz Kill.

So here are some tips on how to let go of attachments while pursuing your goal of finding a partner:

Hold lightly.  The best principle I’ve found for navigating the tension between wanting a goal to manifest and being peaceful is to be intentional, but hold it lightly.

In other words, have a goal, but don’t be so bound by it that you miss out on the opportunity to learn. Take a stand, and be open to surprises and new learning.

If you practice this basic principle over and over again, you eventually develop an instinct for how to assess risk and navigate uncertainty. If you move without clarity about your intentions, or if you hold on to those intentions too tightly, you will likely fail. If you hold onto your intentions too tightly, you miss out on the learning.

Practice letting things be. That doesn’t mean you can’t actively work to create a different tomorrow. It just means you make peace with the moment as it is, without worrying that something’s wrong with you or your life. Learn to operate from a place of acceptance.

Question your attachment. If you’re attached to a specific outcome—a dream job, the perfect relationship—you may be indulging an illusion about some day when everything will be lined up for happiness. No moment will ever be worthier of your joy than now because that’s all there ever is.

Notice. One of my favorite psychologists, Dr. Rick Hanson, talks about being aware of wanting inside your mind. Try to notice the ways in which desiring feels subtly tense or uncomfortable. Notice the emotional pain of not getting what you want, including disappointment, frustration, discouragement-perhaps even hopelessness or despair. Notice the discrepancy between the rewards you expected to get from a want, and what it actually feels like to fulfill it. Similarly, notice that the anticipated pain from the things you want to avoid – especially things that would really be good for you to go after – is usually worse than the discomfort you actually feel.

In the end, the key to being an empowered single, whose experiences are blissful and easy breezy, is to set sail and chart a course of action yet still allow the tides to carry you along.

Life doesn’t happen by osmosis

Dreams Goals Planning Success

… Don’t let your regrets outnumber your dreams

I had the pleasure of attending a “women in business” networking event yesterday (on a Saturday – at 8:30 in the morning – in the middle of winter – with an hour drive to the venue – I might add just so you can gauge the level of my commitment to this group) during which one of the panelists stated: “Life doesn’t happen by osmosis”. A little while later, another panelist said: “You don’t age until your regrets outnumber your dreams”. These quotes struck a chord with me and got me to thinking about the change process, since at the core, my role as a coach is to be a change agent, a role filled with paradoxes and irony. Ironic because most people want to improve their lives in some way (make more money, get a better job, lose weight, find and keep true love) – yet at the very same time, most are deathly afraid of making the needed changes to achieve what Continue reading

How to be successful in everything you do

Attitudes Courage Dreams Fulfillment Goals

 – including in your relationships

Over the course of my career, as a life coach and in the world of advertising, I’ve been fortunate to learn from people amazingly successful, and wise, in both the realm of their professions and in their personal lives. (Note: I define “success” here as achieving what matters most to you – not as some objective measure of outer wealth, accomplishment or achievement.) Observing people who are living fully on their terms and loving it, I’ve seen how they think, react, interrelate, and problem solve.  I’ve applied these lessons to my own life, and to those I coach.

I’ve seen these people not only engage continuously in life-supporting (and generous) behaviors, but also avoid certain negative actions and mindsets that other, less successful people habitually get lost in. Here’s an overview of 8 limiting beliefs and behaviors these people avoid: Continue reading

“Survey Says!”…dating & relationship statistics

Attitudes Dating Dating Skills Fulfillment Goals Planning Relationships Solutions Women

Because I am a research geek (I love surveys and statistics), I was cruising around the interwebs, looking to see if I could find any recent stats on Singles in the U.S. I found a site that I’ve now bookmarked, statisticbrain.com, just in case I have the urge to know more about how many people visit national parks and things like that. They did have a pretty cool table that highlighted findings from a survey chronicled in a book called Sex in America, A Definitive Survey. As you can surmise, researchers like clarity, even in their book titles. I’m summarizing the stats that I found super-interesting here – some of which I think you should consider as you map out your scouting strategies – and of course, Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions: Stretching for the stars

Courage Creativity Dreams Fulfillment Goals Homework Planning Resolutions Solutions Success

True confidence can only be found if we put our creative vision for our life to the test, and stretch our selves to the utmost.  – 3 of Wands

What you are is what you have been, what you will be is what you do now. – Buddha

If you’re like me, the New Year always brings with it an element of nostalgia – or better yet, regret – because I realize that I didn’t quite accomplish what I said I was going to do. When you look back at 2013, what are the things that you most regret NOT doing? In the early months of 2014, are you on track to NOT DOING them again? Rather than beat myself up, however, I look at January as an ideal opportunity to transform regrets into opportunities, or goals, for this coming year. And then, because I like to focus on the extraordinary, think about how these goals can S*T*R*E*T*C*H. I love stretch goals because they challenge us to break out of the routine. Are you ready to stretch your goals and give yourself a good mental/emotional workout? Continue reading