Tag Archives: ideas

You can do anything

You can do anything you set your mind to but you can’t do everything. Really.  The clue is right there in the sentence.  If you are trying to accomplish everything than you really haven’t set your mind to something.  You can have more than one goal but it definitely helps to be able to pick out a few top priority goals to work on.  The tricky part is how to determine what to set your mind to.  That is, what are your goals.

I’ve come across a great little game to help people prioritize their goals.  Take a pile of index cards and write out possible goals, one to a card.  Try to be very specific with each card.  Instead of writing, “make a lot more money” write “make $10,000” a year.  Adjust to your own income level.  You can put goals that cumulate on multiple cards, so you could have five “make $10,000” index cards or “lose 10 pounds” for example.  It helps to put a time limit on your goals.  For example, you might want to focus on goals you could achieve in the next year.

The goal on your goal cards, is to have, at least, twenty cards.  Feel free to overachieve.  Here are some prompts to help you fill out as many cards as you can:

Financial goals: making more money, saving for specific goals, increasing retirement, paying down debt

Health/fitness goals: losing weight, increasing ability (jogging more miles), lowering cholesterol, playing with the kids

Romantic: number of dates with spouse, getting a spouse, divorcing a spouse

Spiritual: attending church, praying, going on a retreat, taking a trip, meditating

Stress reduction: having flexibility at work, finishing nagging tasks

Growth: taking a class, reading a number of books a month

Joy: spending time with friends and family, getting a pet

There really isn’t a limit to the types of goals you put on your cards.

Once you have your cards all filled out, shuffle them face down and deal yourself five cards.  (If you really overachieved on the number of cards you wrote, you may want to start with eight cards in your hand.)  Look at that hand.  Is this the hand that equals goals for your next year?   Take a card from the deck and add it to your hand.  Now choose one card to discard.  Repeat with every card in the deck.  Your final hand is your hand of goals for the next year.

To really make it challenging, after you try it with five cards, reshuffle the entire deck (including the cards in your hand) and try doing it again but with only three cards in your hand.

What is your final hand?  Post it in the comments.  Sharing your goals can be a great motivator.

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Starting habits

I had a great habit a couple years ago of walking in the mornings.  When I say walk, it was a fast paced 60 to 90 minutes all over town.  I’d come back covered in sweat and out of breath.  I also came back with determination and clarity about my goals for the day.  I was healthier and happier after the walks.  Things happened and I got away from that habit.  Here’s how I’m restarting it.

First, I’m starting small.  I leave the house with the intention of a 20 minute mosey instead of a 60 minute power walk.  As this becomes a habit, I’ll lengthen the duration and up the intensity.

Second, I make it as easy as possible.  My sweats and sneakers are all set so I can grab them and go without walking up anyone in the house.

Third, I have a secondary goal in mind.  For today, I wanted to take the above picture.  On other days, I went to see how a neighbor’s new landscaping was coming in.  On another, I walked by a house for sale my wife mentioned.

Fourth, I combined walking with another morning task.  One of the things that got in the way of me walking is that I also started writing in the morning.  By walking to get the above picture and plotting out in my head what I was going to write, I was able to accomplish both goals.  By combining a couple of tasks, usually one that you want to do with one that you should do, you are much more likely to get both done.  Another example is when my wife and I used to go out for Indian buffets for Sunday brunch.  That was before kids by the way.  We really enjoyed it be a buffet is heavy on the calories.  Therefore, we combined walking with the brunch by walking to the restaurants.

Just a little

Have you ever known the person who suddenly becomes a vegan, starts spending hours in a gym despite never being away from the couch for more than twenty minutes and loses twenty pounds in a month?  They look great.  They feel great and other than an annoying habit of talking about animal rights while you’re trying to enjoy a bacon double cheese burger, they seem incredibly happy.  A few weeks later, their running shoes are collecting dust, they gained back all of the weight and they are eyeing your bacon double cheese burger.

When you are looking to make a change, the most important thing to consider is how sustainable that change is.  Think of it this way.  If you are trying to save money, if you start putting away $1 a day, you are probably not going to notice it but after a year you will have saved $365.  Now if you go super aggressive and decide to suddenly start putting away $50 a week, you will notice it.  But if you are only able to keep it up for a month, you have only put away $200 dollars.  The little amount that you can keep doing makes a greater change than the a massive change you can’t sustain.

When you making a change in your life, start small.  So small that it is easily sustainable and repeatable.  Make it easy to do, so easy that you will barely notice.  Once you have secured that change, you can make the change even a little larger.  Not much.  Over time, these little changes will add up to significant changes over time.

Just 10 Ideas

I was listening to a pod cast with James Altucher.  He explained one of his daily tasks that I thought was worth sharing.  Every day he writes down ten ideas.  He may write down ten ideas about how he can grow his business, ten ideas how have a better relationship with his wife or even ten ideas on how Coke could make its products better.  It doesn’t matter, just write down ten ideas.

There are two big benefits from this.  First, James does this to keep his problem solving skills fresh.  Second, this is a way to force yourself to stretch your own ideas.  If you spend a few days writing down ideas on how to solve your client’s problem, you are going to come up with some new and good ideas.  Sure, you will come up with a lot of tired or even bad ideas but that is ok.  This practice is similar to the 20 ideas in 20 minutes I’ve written about and have suggested to my clients in the past.  Those that actually do it have pushed themselves to new levels.

I think the ten a day will be a little less stressful and longer lasting.  I start today.