New Years

FALLING SHORT DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN FAILURE...BUT SOMETIMES IT DOES

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you’ll land among the stars.”

- Norman Vincent Peale

Happy 2019!

RESOLUTIONS CAN BACKFIRE

Have you made resolutions for this coming year?. Are they the same ones you didn’t quite realize in 2018? 2017? Earlier? If so, you are not alone. As you have probably heard, 80% of resolutions fail by February and only 8% of those who set resolutions achieve their goal.

Personally, I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. For many years I told myself “this is the year I will lose weight” or “this is the year I will be more spontaneous.” At the end of the year, when I had not done those things, I just felt bad about myself. Frankly, it was a little depressing.

CHANGING YOUR MINDSET

Resolutions have often led me to have a “black and white” “I did it or I failed” mentality. If you know me or have been reading my blog, you know that I believe that small changes in daily habits can have a profound impact. So, rather than set resolutions, which make me feel like it has to be “all or nothing,” I focus on progress…moving forward one step at a time.

I frequently set goals for myself but rather than simply focusing on the end result, I try to enjoy the small achievements along the way. This reminds me that I am continuing to make progress and enables me to enjoy the process; not just the result.

SOMETIMES FALLING SHORT = BIG FAILURE

To be clear - there are times where a goal must be met or it is a major failure.

Examples that come to mind include:

  • The airlines employ staff to make sure an airplane has enough fuel to make it from NY to London. If the employee falls short of this goal, the airplane lands in the Atlantic Ocean. Epic failure.

  • When a cardiac surgeon performs bypass surgery, not meeting the goal of the operation may mean death for the patient.

  • An air traffic controller who only gets it right 95% of the time, could cause terrible accidents and many deaths.

My point here is that there are times where goals are black and white…all or nothing. Anything less than perfect is simply unacceptable.

However, I don’t think that’s true for most people’s yearly goals or resolutions.

SETTING KEY GOALS

My key goals relate to fostering the relationships that are most valuable in my life, growing my business, pursuing personal growth and development, and taking care of my body and mind.

Some of the measurements I use to encourage me to take care of body and mind are:

  • I participate in the Goodreads annual challenge to track the books I read.

  • I use the US Masters Swimming Fitness Log to track my swimming and other exercise activities.

  • I wear a WHOOP strap that tracks a range of fitness data including sleep, activity level, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability.

For me, tracking data in these areas gets me to read instead of watching more Netflix, swim when I’m feeling lazy, sit less, and sleep more.

For some people, tracking this kind of data can be distracting and make them a little nuts. If the numbers start to cause stress, it defeats the purpose of promoting a healthier lifestyle.

The most important thing is to find what is right for you.

What motivates you? How can you break large goals into small steps that are achievable?

It’s okay to set big goals. As the quote at the top of this post highlights, even when you fall short of a lofty goal, you may still be accomplishing a lot.

BOTTOM LINE

While it is true that falling short of some goals equals failure, there are many instances where falling short still means you have made significant achievements.

If you intend to read 50 books in a year and read 45, that is still worth celebrating! If you have increased earnings by 23% instead of your stated goal of 25%, take a victory lap!

Goals can motivate you to move in a given direction.

You may not reach your destination, but each step along the path is worth reflecting upon and appreciating.

MOVING FORWARD

As we enter into 2019, take the opportunity to look back on your achievements from 2018 and celebrate them. Look forward and create big goals that can be achieved one step at a time.

Most importantly, enjoy the journey!

THIS YEAR, TO GET MORE TIME, RESOLVE TO GIVE MORE TIME

What?!

Give more time to get more time? How is that possible? Last time you checked, there were still only 24 hours in a day.

It's counter-intuitive, but here's what I recently learned (and how nice that it's backed up by science)!

OVERWHELMED?

It' s not uncommon to feel as though there is never enough time. In addition to work or school, you may want to spend time with family and friends, workout at the gym, or pursue a hobby. How will you ever find time to catch up on the last three episodes of "This is Us?"

GIVING TIME GIVES YOU TIME

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In 2012, Psychological Science published an article, Giving Time Gives You Time, that was written by researchers at Wharton, Yale, and Harvard (Cassie Mogilner, Zoe Chance, and Michael Norton, respectively). The results of their experiments were that although we all have the same 24 hours in a day, you can actually increase your subjective sense of how much time you have.  

The researchers compared giving time to friends or strangers with wasting time, spending time on oneself, and even receiving "free" time. They found that giving time increases your perception of having time. The feeling of having more time (what they refer to as time affluence) is driven by an increased sense of self-efficacy. You can learn more about self-efficacy here.

PRESSED FOR TIME

Unfortunately, when you feel starved for time, you are more likely to devote any spare time to yourself. However, the research suggests that you might actually feel less time constrained and better able to complete your work and/or tasks, if you spend time with others.

While it is not defined, the researchers admit that there is likely to be an upper limit at which giving time may have negative consequences and impact your ability to get your own work done. Only you can determine where that tipping point is.

2018

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In 2018, perhaps you can seek out opportunities to give of your time, even when (or especially if) you feel like there isn't enough! The next time a friend really needs to discuss a pressing issue or a colleague desperately needs your help solving a problem, it may be best to find the time.

Remember, giving time, gives you time.

What is your experience with giving time?

 

Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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YEAR-END HABIT CHALLENGE. ARE YOU IN?

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

There are 11 more days until the ball drops in New York's Times Square and we ring in 2017. Have you started thinking about your New Year's resolutions?

DON'T BOTHER!

Each year, millions of us make promises to ourselves on January 1st. According to this recent article on StatisticBrain.com, 45% of Americans make resolutions, and only eight percent successfully following through.

THE TOP 5 RESOLUTIONS ARE:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Stay Fit and Healthy

Is it any wonder resolutions fail? These promises are overwhelming, vague, and extremely difficult to measure.

WHAT'S THE ALTERNATIVE?

I am proposing a year-end habit challenge. What does that mean? Rather than waiting for New Year's, start a new habit NOW. Start it today.

By New Year's Eve, you will be well on your way to having a new, positive habit, without the pressure of an overwhelming, unrealistic "resolution." Instead of agonizing while sipping champagne, why not relax and enjoy your evening?

HOW DO YOU START?

Pick a new habit that will take you less than 5 minutes a day.
Five minutes is short enough that you will not be able to use the excuse "I didn't have time." We can all find 5 minutes each day for a little self improvement.

Here are some suggestions (but please do anything that works for you!)

EACH DAY:
1. Floss.
2. Two 30 second planks.
3. 5 push-ups.
4. Make 3 entries in a gratitude journal.
5. Write down one thing you have done for someone else.
6. Get at least 7 hours of sleep.
7. Meditate for 2 minutes.
8. No soda.
9. Compliment someone.
10. Don't sleep with your phone next to your bed.

Even if you are tempted to do more…JUST DO ONE THING!
It is helpful to print out a blank calendar and cross off each day to mark your progress.

DON'T BREAK THE CHAIN

The "Don't Break the Chain" theory is often attributed to comedian, Jerry Seinfeld. As the story goes, a young writer asked Seinfeld how he motivated himself to write each day. Seinfeld pointed to his large wall calendar and explained that each day that he wrote, he would put a large X through that day.

After a few days, a chain would start to form, and he did not want to break the chain. So he kept writing.

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Although Jerry Seinfeld claims no credit for the concept, it still makes a lot of sense. Give it a shot and see for yourself.

On the first of December, I started a 21 day challenge (using #5 above.) You can see my calendar... one more day and I will have created a new habit!

 

WILL YOU TAKE THE CHALLENGE?

What would it take to decide on one small thing you could do differently between now and New Year's Eve? It's only 5 minutes a day...maybe less... and on New Year's you can celebrate ringing in 2017 with a new, positive habit well underway.

Let me know how it goes!

For more great tips, check out these recent blog posts:

CHANGING YOUR MINDSET

WHEN EMPLOYEES REFUSE TO TAKE VACATION

ACCEPTING CRITICISM

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