Commitment


“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather

I hadn’t planned on reprinting yet another blog written by my wonderful former fitness trainer, Rose Zahnn, who owns a great fitness studio in downtown Sacramento, CA called Healthy Habits (www.HealthyHabitsStudio.com).  But darn it, once again, she’s identified a formula for success that is SO simple, SO true and SO helpful, I just had to share it with you!

Although her coaching specialty is helping her clients get fit and healthy, I am sure you can see that the success secret shared in this blog applies to ANY Big Goal you are pursuing in your life – business, relationship, career, financial, you name it.

The one thing you’re missing . . .

By Rose Zahnn

“There is one reason why most people haven’t yet reached their goals, and it’s a simple one. It’s something that I’ve struggled with in the past, and it just may be the one thing that’s holding you back from your big breakthrough.

That one thing is consistency.

Think about it. The difference that separates a fitness lifestyle person from a couch potato is the consistency with which the former applies to their diet and exercise routine. That’s it!

Look, I know you can exercise and eat right. You’ve done it before! But a fitness plan only works when you consistently stay with it. You start, stop, start again, take a few days off, then get back on track. This haphazard effort will never lead to a dramatic body transformation!

What if I told you that you’re 5 feet from gold? That if you simply dug in a little deeper, and stuck with the program with consistency, you’d finally achieve the big results that you’ve been hoping for all along.

You are 5 feet from gold; don’t stop now!

The fact is that anyone can stick with a fitness and diet plan for a little while. Anyone can complete a challenge. Anyone can finish a 30-day program. Anyone can put in 2 weeks of solid effort.

It’s those who click into consistency that see the big changes and experience the joy and triumph of real accomplishment.

I want this for you.

I know that you see how valuable consistency is, and you want to do it, BUT you get off track time and time again. How do you tap into the consistency you need to make a real improvement in your life?

Use these three steps…

See it: Define exactly what it is you want to be consistent on. For example instead of saying that “I’ll start exercising,” say, “I’ll do the 7am session on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.” And instead of, “I’ll start eating healthy,” say, “I’ll eat XX number of calories per day divided into 5 small meals.” The more specific the better!

Keep in mind that you are defining your actions – not your outcome. Don’t use this step to determine what size jeans you want to fit into. That outcome is a byproduct of you consistently doing the actions. Just clearly define the actions that you need to be consistent on.

Feel it: Now that you’ve determined the actions needed, let’s think about that outcome and clearly define it. Be specific! What will you look like? What will that new body feel like? How will your friends and family respond to the new you?

It’s time to get your emotions all tied up in your quest. Daydream about getting to that outcome, feel it, emotionally take ownership of the idea of owning it. FEEL the happy, excited, proud emotions as if it’s already happened!

Do it: You’re clear about what you want. You feel invested in getting the results. Now go about the business of taking consistent action toward your goals.

Yes, this sounds simple, and it is simple.

Be consistent and you’ll soon strike gold.”

Yep. Rose nailed it. The three steps to setting yourself up to reach any Big Goal: See it, feel it and DO it.  Get clear on what you must do, visualize and FEEL what it will be like when you have exactly what you have dreamed about.  Don’t let yourself be distracted by how close or far you are from your goal.  Just keep on executing your daily plan of action with clockwork consistency — and know in your heart that you are just 5 feet from striking gold!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

March 18, 2018

“Go beyond your own boundaries to your own possibilities.” – Louise Hay

Today’s blog is much shorter than usual.  It’s a simple, straightforward message that my clients need to hear, I need to hear, and I’m sure every one of my readers needs to hear at some point in their lives: Quit worrying about what OTHERS think of you and your Big Goals.

Only two opinions matter – Yours and God’s.  One of those beings created you and put those desires in your heart. (The word “desire” actually means “of the Father” in Latin).  The other one is YOU, the only being who has complete free will to pursue those desires or let them die.

If you want your desires to become your reality, your only option is to “Just Do It” with everything you’ve got.  You must shut out your well-meaning friends’ and family’s opinions about your Big Goals and how you should live YOUR life.  They don’t have to live with the consequences of you dying with your dreams unborn….YOU do. They don’t have to take the risks….YOU do.  They won’t reap the sweet rewards of your success…. YOU will!

Here’s a great perspective from my favorite tele-minister, Joel Osteen. The remarkable success of the mega church he and his wife Victoria lead in Houston has been the focus of some armchair critics who probably have never built anything in their lives.  Yet, thousands and thousands of people flock there every week and millions more watch on television to hear his messages of faith, hope and positivity, urging them to pursue their biggest dreams.

“Beyond Critical Voices

Anytime you set out to do something great in life, there will be critics.  If you’re going to be a great business person, coach, student, leader or employee, there will be opposition.  The more success you have, the more opportunities there will be for distractions. The higher you go, the more haters will come out.  When you start stretching to a new level and pursuing what God has placed in your heart, the jealous people, the critical people, and the small-minded people come out of the woodwork and start making negative comments but you don’t have to let that distract you.

If you are under pressure today, if the critical voices are coming against you, know that it’s because you are making a difference.  Don’t let them throw you off course.  Instead, dig your heels in, set your face like a flint and say, ‘I will not get distracted.  I will not get drawn into battles that don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what others think; it matters what God thinks!’

Today, look beyond the critics.  Stand strong in adversity.  Press forward to what lies ahead and win the prize of life that He has prepared for you!”

Scale that wall…. Just. Do. It.

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

March 11, 2018

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

The last blog, which was a reprint of one written by my awesome former personal trainer, Rose Zahnn, owner of a fitness studio in Sacramento, California (www.HealthyHabitsStudio.com), got a BIG thumbs up from my readers!

If you missed it, be sure to go to my website’s blog archives (Today is a Big Deal – Blog 296) because it delivers some sage advice about what it REALLY takes to reach any Big Goal.  Rose said, “At the end of the day, the sum of your [little moment-by-moment] choices pushes you in a direction” — either toward accomplishment or defeat.  Success is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. You have to pace yourself to keep moving in the direction of your dreams, one step at a time.

I can’t resist sharing with you one more follow-on blog by Rose that offers more helpful perspective on the topic of goal setting and fulfillment.  Of course, her particular focus is on health and fitness, but I’m sure you will recognize that these same principles apply to business, school, finances, relationships – any area of life, really.

“Have a goal? Here’s how to meet it.

By Rose Zahnn

Do you have a specific fitness goal you are hoping to achieve?  This goal could be a number on the scale or a clothing size.  Or maybe you are hoping to wear a certain cut or style of clothes like strappy tank tops, shorts or a bathing suit.

While having this goal is great, it will NOT guarantee success.

You knew that, though, because this isn’t the first time that you’ve had a fitness goal… a goal that you didn’t meet.  In fact, you probably know dozens of other people who also have struggled to meet their fitness goals.

Here’s the typical scenario: You get all pumped up to lose weight and get into shape by starting out completely gung-ho.  Your enthusiasm lasts about two weeks, before old habits and routine slide back into place, cutting your results off before reaching your goal.  Then your goal begins to fade from your mind and life goes on….

The problem was your initial focus on the result, rather than a sustained focus on the process.  Let’s break this down:

Fitness success is about focusing on your goals.  But even more important is focusing on the habits to make your healthier new lifestyle stick.

Of course, once you’ve gotten your fit lifestyle to stick, you’ll eventually meet your end goal.

The number that you’re hoping to magically weigh one day doesn’t matter one bit, and here’s why….

It’s about living in the Momentum.

Can you remember how it felt the last time that you ate super clean, exercised hard and got adequate sleep for a few consecutive days?  A feeling of momentum came over you, didn’t it?

There was a buzzing in your cells and a hop in your step.  You felt alive and empowered.  Never mind that you weren’t yet at your goal number; you were headed there!

Getting down to your goal weight and fitting into your size is the direct result of living in that state of momentum for an extended period of time.  You see, the momentum can be felt immediately, once you start eating clean, exercising hard and taking care of your health, whereas the “goal number” simply can’t be felt until it is achieved, and so it’s not as powerful a motivator.

My challenge and advice to you is to find the joy of living in the momentum, and keep that momentum going until your goal number is achieved.  Focus more on the momentum, less on the end goal.

Fitness is a way of life. Being lean is a lifestyle.  Neither of which can be had by going about it halfheartedly.

You have to create and re-create the momentum every day.”

If you don’t remember anything else from Rose’s wonderful column, I hope you will live by these powerful words, because they apply to EVERY Big Goal you have: “Find the joy of living in the momentum, and keep that momentum going until your goal is achieved.” 

Get into your groove.  Maintain a consistent pace …. one minute, one hour, one day at a time.  Don’t worry about how close or how far you are from your Big Goal at this moment.  Just keep living in the momentum and find joy in knowing you ARE on track to succeed — all you have to do is get up, suit up and “re-create the momentum every day”!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

February 25, 2018

“What we feel, think, and do this moment influences both our present and the future in ways we may never know.  Begin.  Start right where you are. Consider your possibilities and find inspiration…to add more meaning and zest to your life.” – Alexandra Stoddard

The following is a blog written by the wonderful personal trainer I used to go to who co-owns a popular fitness studio in Sacramento, CA. (www.HealthyHabitsStudio.com)

I believe that her wise words apply to ALL long-term goals — personal and business, as well as health and fitness.  All Big Goals require patient, committed one-day-at-a–time focus and one-step-at-a-time planning to reach.  If you take her advice to heart, and make it your own guiding philosophy, I believe you can and will achieve your BIGGEST personal, business and fitness goals this year.

Today is a big deal!

By Rose Zahnn

“You woke up this morning and began making choices.

You chose whether or not to exercise, to eat a healthy breakfast, or to do something productive. You chose whether or not to eat that donut, to sleep in, or to watch an extra hour of TV.

At the end of each day, the sum of your choices pushes you in a direction.

It could be pushing you in the direction of fitness and health, if your choices were predominantly healthy.

Or, the sum of your choices could be pushing you in the direction of weight gain, health issues and problems.

I find this perspective helpful when it comes to making a major body transformation. It’s tempting to feel overwhelmed about changing your body when you have many pounds to lose and much work to do, since you can’t do it all in one day.

However, by capturing the power of each day by making healthy choices, you will be pushed in the direction of weight loss and health day after day, week after week.

Until, one day, you’ll look in the mirror and see that you’ve arrived at your ultimate destination: a lean, healthy and fit you!

So, embrace the power of each choice that you make today, and allow a momentum of good choices to push you through to your goal.

Do This At Bedtime: The best way to ensure that you will make great choices tomorrow is to plan for it tonight. Before you go to sleep, jot out your plan for the next day.

Today is a big deal.

Today is all you have.

Make the most of today.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog and I are taking next weekend off.  Look for your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday, March 11, which also happens to be the start of Daylight Savings Time for most of the USA.  Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

February 11, 2018

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much.” – Jim Rohn

I hope you had a nice Super Bowl break and are now fully engaged in following YOUR plans for 2018 to go the way you want it to!

Today’s blog comes to us courtesy of my wonderful husband’s real estate newsletter, Rick’s Review: Tips on Everyday Life. (I get great exercise one weekend a month, helping him walk through our nearby neighborhoods to hang it on about 600 door handles.)

In his Review, Rick shares with his clients and future clients some of his own favorite recipes, plus inspiring or amusing articles. For January, he included one that really resonates with me.  He’s not sure of the originator, since it was emailed to him by a friend, so unfortunately, we can’t give the author the credit he or she deserves.

The list is amusing, pithy, and a great reminder that not all New Year’s Resolutions have to be about making major or difficult changes like getting fit, finding a better job or saving more money. Some opportunities for personal transformation may appear small, but they can measurably increase your happiness, productivity and fulfillment.  And what is life really about except creating MORE of those attributes for yourself and others, as you go about pursuing your passion and purpose?

So please enjoy these Tips for a Powerful New Year (original author unknown):

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.  It’s an ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. Live with the 3 E’s: Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  4. Watch more movies, play more games and read more books than you did in 2017.
  5. Make time to practice meditation, yoga and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
  6. Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  7. Dream more while you are awake.
  8. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants, and eat fewer foods that are manufactured in plants.
  9. Drink green tea and plenty of water, and eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds and walnuts.
  10. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  11. Clear your clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
  12. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
  13. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away, like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  14. Smile and laugh more.
  15. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  16. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  17. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  18. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  19. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  20. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  21. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
  22. Forgive everyone everything.
  23. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  24. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
  25. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  26. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  27. Get rid of everything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  28. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  29. The best is yet to come.
  30. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  31. Do the right thing.
  32. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  33. Enjoy the ride. Remember, this is not Disneyland, and you certainly don’t want a Fast Pass.

If you want to start making some of these upgrades in your mindset or habits, here’s my suggestion: Start with THREE that really resonate with you.  Work on those until you feel you have mastered them and they have become your new go-to thoughts and habits.  Then move on to the next three, etc. etc. etc.

Here are the first three I am committing to do NOW:  4, 9, 11.  I will let you know how it goes.  If you want an “accountability witness,” feel free to share YOUR three with me or with a friend of yours!

 If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to www.practicalprosperitycoach.com  and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

                                                                                          

January 21, 2018

“Today is unique!  It has never occurred before, and it will never be repeated.  At midnight, it will end, quietly, suddenly, totally. Forever.  But the hours between now and then are opportunities with eternal possibilities.” – Charles R. Swindoll

 I hope you have had a chance to complete your 2017 and create a vision for the brand new year that lies before you. If not, there is still time!  Go to my blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and use the past two blogs to guide you in these important steps to lay the foundation for a happy and successful New Year.

If you have completed these two steps, there is one remaining step for you to get your year off to a successful start and maintain order and ease throughout the year ahead – getting organized. If you practice using the plan I am about to share with you, I can promise your 2018 will be filled with more internal peace and ease and more external efficiency and productivity.

(What follows is a lightly-edited post I published in June, 2015 that is definitely worth reviewing to get your year off to a great start!)

One of the biggest challenges my coaching clients seem to face is how to sort out multiple priorities among all the important tasks and projects they want to accomplish each day. With a demanding full-time job and a side business to manage, along with a family that needs their time and attention, how on earth are they supposed to find time for their own personal needs like daily exercise and Personal Development time? Where is that elusive “life balance” everyone wants?

I show them how to prioritize and manage their many accountabilities with ease, using a simple system I learned years ago.  I call it the “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system, after a memorable demonstration by a time management/efficiency expert.

First, he placed a big glass jar on a table.  Next to it, he placed four glass jars containing rocks, pebbles, sand and water. He asked the audience in which order he should put the four substances into the jar so that ALL of them would fit.  Looking at the four containers separately, it seemed unlikely that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water could ALL fit into the one big jar, but he promised they would IF they were put in the right order.

Finally, someone got it: Put the BIG rocks in first, followed by the pebbles (which filled in the open spaces between the rocks), then the sand that sifted down into the cracks between the pebbles, and finally the water, which seeped down between everything, filling the jar to the top.  Yes, all four items DID fit into the available space, even though it looked impossible when you considered them separately.

The point he was making is that if you take care of your most important tasks (the “Big Rocks”) FIRST, all your other tasks can be managed with ease.  But if you eat up most of your day checking off a long list of meaningless “little stuff” – or worse, spinning your wheels trying to figure out what to tackle first — you won’t have enough time and energy left to accomplish the truly IMPORTANT things that will make the biggest difference for you.

In addition to this great prioritizing insight, I also learned another key principle of productivity from the book “Master Your Workday Now!” by Michael Linenberger. He asserts that, while you may like to think you attend to the most “important” tasks first, the truth is, we all invariably do the most URGENT tasks first, whether or not they are the most IMPORTANT to us.  These may or may not be your personal priorities, but they are tasks with a short deadline that your boss, church committee, spouse, kid’s teacher, Team members or customers say they MUST have your help with right NOW.  You will put out these annoying little fires first because alleviating the internal pressure caused by the feeling of urgency trumps all.

Linenberger believes that, as a rule, we can handle a maximum THREE urgent matters each day. When more than three urgent tasks are competing for your attention at one time, your brain loses the ability to prioritize and accomplish them. Most of the time, attempting to accomplish more than three urgent “Big Rocks” causes your brain to shut down and not finish some or all of them, or makes you to try to get them done in a slap-dash way that produces poor results.

What is the best way to accomplish your most urgent and important Big Rocks tasks each day?  Rule #1 is DO NOT schedule yourself for more than THREE Big Rocks per day. These are defined as tasks that must be done by YOU (meaning you cannot delegate them to someone else) AND must be done or worked on TODAY.  If it can be delegated, ask for help!  If it can be put off to a later time and still be done properly, schedule it as one of your “Big Rocks” for another day.

All this talk of urgency probably doesn’t sound very easeful, does it? So how do you accomplish three Big Rocks, along with the rest of your To-Dos every day with a feeling of ease and control?  Simply PLAN your Big Rocks in advance! Here’s how Mr. Linenberger’s book taught me to do it:

  • For 20-30 minutes each weekend, sit quietly with your long To-Do list of upcoming tasks and projects and your day planner calendar open to the coming week. Study your To-Do list carefully and decide which tasks are going to be your Big Rocks to accomplish during the coming week.
  • Schedule a maximum of THREE Big Rocks tasks per day into your weekly planner/calendar at the TIMES of day you think they should be done. Some Big Rocks will be appointments at set times, such as a conference call with a potential business partner at 10am on Tuesday, a dentist appointment at 3pm on Friday, getting your car’s oil changed on Thursday morning, going to your kid’s soccer tournament Thursday at 4pm, etc. Other daily Big Rocks will be projects and tasks that you must choose the best day and time for YOU to work on. In that case, you will be blocking out times on your appointment calendar that you feel are optimal for you and the results you want, such as making prospecting calls from 10am to 11am each day, writing a report that’s due by the end of the week from 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday, practicing the cello each day from 5 to 6pm, in preparation for a recital in two weeks, etc.
  • IF a conflict arises between a previously-set appointment (which, of course, you wrote in your planner the minute you set it) and a Big Rock task or event that came up later, your weekly planning time alerts you to either change the current appointment OR negotiate a time change for the task or event. Being in integrity requires that you notify anyone else who will be affected by such changes, just as soon as you become aware of them. If another’s expectations are not going to be met, alerting them ASAP allows them time to either get someone else to fill in for you or to negotiate a new time for you to accomplish it.
  • After scheduling the three Big Rock tasks and appointments for each day of the coming week, you then can fill in the rest of the open times with your “Pebble Tasks.” These are not as important as the Big Rocks and/or they can be done at flexible times, so you can fit them in after you see what the Big Rocks schedule looks like each day.
  • Next, come the “Sand” and “Water” items, such as errands. If these small items don’t get done today, it’s not a big deal; you can still fit them amongst the Big Rocks and Pebbles another day. Try to be efficient by looking at your To-Do list for multiple errands that can be done in the same trip and block those out for 30 minutes or an hour in a given day.  TIP: Always have something useful to read or listen to while you commute or are stuck waiting somewhere for a few minutes.  Don’t waste precious time playing games on your smart phone when you could be reading a good book or improving your skills via a recorded training call.

IMPORTANT CAVEATS: In order for this system to work:

  • You absolutely MUST keep a daily/weekly planner that has slots of at least 30 minutes for each day. (My coaching appointment calendar has 15-minute time slots from 8am to 8pm each day.)

AND

  • You must keep ALL of your appointments – business, personal, doctors, kids’ sports, social engagements, etc. on the SAME planner/calendar.  If you have multiple calendars going for different areas of life, you will inevitably double-book yourself for something important and tears will flow.

My clients who faithfully use this simple “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system report that it really works!  They have a greater sense of control over their time and no more stress and guilt from double-bookings or forgotten appointments. And they have a real sense of accomplishment at the end of they day because they were able to complete the things that really mattered to them, instead of just checking off a bunch of little tasks that can’t help them reach their Big Goals.

Is setting aside time each weekend to plan your week ahead worth the sacrifice of 30 minutes of precious me time or family time? I promise that, in return, you will gain a greater sense of personal control, lower your stress level, and begin to create that “life balance” we all crave. Seems totally worth it, doesn’t it?

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two weekends off for taxes (Ugh!) and Super Bowl Sunday (Yay!).  A brand new Cup of Caroll will appear in your in-box on Sunday, February 11th.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and request a complimentary session.

January 7, 2018

“Change always starts in your mind.  The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act.” – Rick Warren

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a great Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah!  Now that the Holidays are behind us, we can pause, take a breath and examine what lies ahead.

I don’t have to tell you that last year was one of the most tumultuous in the USA and across the globe in a generation.  Thousands lost their homes and many lost their lives from a series of natural disasters and unfathomable man-made tragedies.  Ugly rancor in partisan politics came to the forefront in the USA and across the world as viewpoints clashed on just about every important topic and even issues thought long-settled were re-litigated in the courts and in the streets. Frequently, our elected leaders seemed to have lost their collective way (and maybe their minds).

One outstanding bright spot was a few brave women who found their voice and began speaking their shocking truth about the sexual harassment and economic unfairness they had endured silently for years. This triggered a tsunami of truth-telling in all walks of life from politics to the arts to business and beyond by women and men alike.  Collectively, individuals stood up for their own dignity and worth and proclaimed, “We don’t care how powerful our oppressors are. We matter and we are no longer going to allow you to treat us with anything less than fairness and respect.”

With so much loss, rancor and division still swirling around us, it is important to give yourself time to sit quietly and reflect on your own personal 2017 outcomes before you attempt to move into a fresh new year. Like mine, I am sure your year was a mixture of joy, heartbreak, challenge and triumph. By taking stock of what happened, you can discover important life lessons that will help you create your next year to be all that you want it to be.

In my 13+ years as a Personal Success Coach, I have been blessed to help over 650 clients reach their Big Goals, so I know what it will take to make your next year turn out even better than the last one did. Creating your 2018 YOUR way requires a two-step process and now is the ideal time to begin:

Step One: Complete the Old Year.  You can’t create something NEW in a space that is cluttered with old stuff. So, if you want this next year to be more than just a replay of whatever you experienced last year, you must first complete your old year to make space for your new intentions.

The Reflections Exercise

A great completion process is simply to sit quietly and answer a series questions that make you think deeply about the outcomes of your past year – the good, the bad and the ugly. Answering them honestly will clarify your underlying beliefs, expectations, attitudes and actions that influenced the results you got.

This exercise is designed to help you look objectively at what you did (and didn’t) do that influenced what happened for you last year. Determining accurately what caused your past outcomes helps you to identify new ways of thinking and being that will cause you to take NEW actions.  Taking new actions will bring you new results, while continuing on “auto-pilot” inside of the same thought and behavior patterns pretty much guarantees that this year is going to bring you more of the same.

This year, I am using a revised list of questions that includes some old favorites and some great new ones.  The new ones were passed along to me by my dear friend, direct sales industry trainer and motivational speaker extraordinaire, Leslie Zann, who got them from her friend Robin Blanc Mascari (rbmascari@mac.com).  I have bolded the ones that came from Robin. 

Here are 14 KEY questions to help you complete your 2017 and set you up for a more fulfilling and prosperous 2018. They will only help you IF you will take the time to actually answer them!  If you are thoughtful and truthful, it should take just 30-60 minutes to journal your answers. And, if this introspection sets you up for a new level of success and happiness in the coming year, isn’t it worth making such a small effort?

Part 1 — Questions to Complete the Old Year

  • What was your biggest accomplishment in 2017?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  • What was the biggest surprise in your year?
  • What do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time and energy on?
  • What do you wish you had spent MORE time and effort on but didn’t?
  • What are you most thankful for regarding last year?

Part 2 – Questions for Creating Your New Year

  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2018?
  • What would you be most happy and fulfilled about accomplishing?
  • What skill would you most like to learn or master and why?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving in your work?
  • What are you most committed to changing/improving about yourself?
  • What is ONE positive habit you are committed to instill this year?
  • What brings you the most joy and how will you do/have more of that in 2018?

NEXT WEEK is going to be fun! 

We will do Step Two: Create Your Year Your Way. I will share with you my all-time favorite method for co-creating your new year with God/the Universe to be all that you would like it to be.  It’s a great adjunct to the Reflections Exercise. I have loved doing it for myself every January for the past 13 years and I know you will too!

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website at http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

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 To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

 

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