Category Archives: Hints and Tips
I was thinking about the above quote today and realized how important that one piece – discipline – is, if you want to reach your goals. You may remember how much of an advocate I am of bucket lists, and I’m a huge believer in setting goals and creating a process to achieve those goals. But the link between all those things you want to do and actually getting them done is self-discipline (and maybe a little motivation).
Self-discipline helps you to do the things you think you should do, and it helps you overcome any feelings to the contrary you might be having in the moment. For instance, if you know you should pay your bills, but you feel like watching television instead, it is self-discipline that spurs you to get moving on those bills.
Sometimes that means sacrificing the immediate pleasure of what you’d rather do, but it’s for the greater cause of accomplishing larger goals.
Self discipline also gives you the power to follow through on plans or decisions you have made, without changing your mind and taking the easier route. When you have self-discipline, you decide (and act) on your actions that are most likely to lead to your own self-improvement and success. You also have the inner strength to overcome procrastination, laziness, and the temptation of instant gratification when you choose to take a stand against those things and follow through on the things you decided are important to you.
If you think about it, it’s very easy to say you will tackle a home-improvement project or that you want to write a novel or that you will get your finances in order. But what good are goals and plans and ideas if you won’t discipline yourself to accomplish those things? Without the self-discipline to work on the goals that matter to you, all you end up with is emotional clutter that feels like extra weight when you constantly have those projects in the back of your mind, always undone.
What Will Self-Discipline Help You Do?
When you develop the skill of self-discipline, it helps you to:
- Overcome habits that aren’t beneficial to you, like overeating, smoking, not getting enough sleep, etc.
- Resist temptations like gossiping, drinking more than you should, or spending too much money.
- Tackle big projects by disciplining yourself to regularly take on the small steps needed to accomplish the goal.
- Overcome procrastination.
- Continue working toward a goal long after the initial rush of enthusiasm has gone.
- Say “no” when you need to and follow through on the things to which you have said “yes.”
- Be punctual, dependable, honest, patient, and diligent.
- Realize dreams!
I know that sounds like an awful lot of benefits from learning one skill, and you might think I’m over-promising, but I’m not! Self-discipline will take you far, and it really is the key to achieving all your personal and professional goals.
So now that you recognize how important self-discipline is, I hope that means you are ready to build yours! Tomorrow’s blog post will feature all sorts of ideas to grow your self-discipline skill. Don’t worry – you can start small and then keep building as you get better. Before you know it, you’ll be making decisions every day that move you toward all the things that you value the most! And, for the record, I can really use some bolstering in this department too, so I’ll be growing with you. It’ll be fun (and rewarding) – I promise! 🙂
Many people have stressful days at work, and then they go home and have even more stress dealing with everything that has to get done there. Sound familiar? What you might need is just a few minutes to yourself between the time you get home and the time you start tackling all your evening responsibilities, to de-stress and then move forward with a fresh and relaxed outlook. Try some of these ideas, and see what works for you!
21 Quick Ways to Unwind and De-Stress
1. When you get home, before going in the house, sit on the front steps for a few minutes, maybe sort through the mail or just enjoy the fresh air – and then go in the house.
2. Play a quick game of hide-n-seek with your kids.
3. Kick off your shoes, take off your make-up, and change into some comfy clothes for the evening.
4. Pick some flowers, bring them in the house, and put them in a pretty vase.
5. Spend a few minutes reading a magazine article.
6. Sip a cup of tea before you even think about what’s for dinner.
7. Do a few stretches – touch your toes (or shins or knees), roll your head in circles, raise and lower your shoulders as far as you can.
8. Jump in the shower to signal to your body that you’re shifting between work time and family time.
9. Throw a ball for your dog, pet your cat, or have a chat with your bird.
10. On your way home, park a block away from home and walk the rest of the way. After dinner, walk back and get your car.
11. Take a few minutes to meditate or daydream about your next vacation.
12. Before going in the house, have a quick chat with your neighbor.
13. Before you leave the office, turn off your phone’s ringer. Challenge yourself to leave it off all night.
14. Eat a quick energy-boosting and satisfying snack, like a banana or a handful of almonds.
15. Play catch with your kids for a few minutes.
16. Water your flowers and talk to them while you do it!
17. Tidy up the kitchen a bit before you start dinner.
18. Before you get out of your car, sit quietly, close your eyes, and take three long, full breaths.
19. Listen to your favorite music on your way home.
20. Warm some soothing essential oils to freshen the room and relax your mind.
21. Hug your partner, your kids, your pets, your neighbors, and anyone else you can find!
I hope these tips give you some ideas on healthy, calming ways in which you can transition from work to home – with a little break for you in between. Let me know which ones work for you!
I’m experimenting with a new blog series called, “Just For Today.” I’m going to use it to suggest one small change you can make, just for one day, that can be a little health boost for you.
I talk a lot about big changes you might make in your lifestyle, or significant changes you can make to help your relationships, and all sorts of other things that might require a bit of commitment. But there’s also something to be said for one small change, even if it’s just for one day. I think it’ll be fun, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!
Today I’m going to suggest that, Just For Today, you eat a balanced breakfast.
You’ve undoubtedly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Here’s why:
Energy – Think about it…you haven’t eaten since dinner last night. A healthy breakfast refuels your body, allowing you to increase your physical activity during the day.
Focus – Studies have shown that regular breakfast increases concentration, attention span, and mental focus.
Mood – Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you maintain a positive mental state. Skipped meals can cause your serotonin levels to drop, making your mood a little less predictable. If you’re like me and you’ve ever felt grouchy when you were hungry, you know what I mean!
Balancing Your Breakfast
It’s not enough to just grab anything for breakfast, though.
Protein helps you maintain and replace the body’s tissues, and also helps you stay full longer.
Whole grain carbohydrates are a great source of fiber and also provide you with energy.
Fruits and vegetables deliver antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
So when you balance your breakfast (even if it’s Just For Today), here’s what I would suggest:
If you usually just have cereal and milk for breakfast, add some fruit on top.
If you tend to opt for toast and coffee on the run, add a hard-boiled egg for some protein.
If you sometimes just grab a banana, try slicing it instead and putting it on some whole grain toast with a little peanut butter or almond butter.
You get the idea! Just for today, eat a balanced breakfast that includes protein, whole grain carbohydrates, and fruits (or vegetables if you’re making an omelet). And if you’ve already had breakfast today…do it tomorrow! 🙂
We all have ideas about things we want to achieve. Maybe you have small goals like eating healthier or spending more time with your kids. Or perhaps you created a bucket list, and now you want to figure out how to achieve all your dreams. Regardless of all your ideas, you need to have a plan to achieve them. Different people are motivated in different ways, so it’s important to find a way to set goals and stay motivated in a way that fits your personality.
Define your goals in a way that work for you
Some people are very specific and detail-oriented. They often prefer very concise directions when learning to do something new. They are more mathematical, analytical, and logical. If that’s you, try setting your goals by utilizing the SMART acronym. The letters stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely
Specific – Set your goals with very clear parameters. Instead of setting a goal of exercising to lose weight, make your goal “I will do a cardio workout for 30 minutes three days per week and do 45 minutes of strength training twice each week.”
Measurable – Create goals that have a numbers element to them – something that you can literally measure to see your progress. Instead of planning to save money by eating out less, plan to cook dinner at home six days per week. Or if you have a weight loss goal, set it in terms of calorie intake or body measurements or percent body fat – whatever is most important to you.
Attainable – Your ultimate goal should be something that is attainable. In other words, something you can work toward and ultimately achieve. Of course, there is very little you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it, but just make sure it is indeed something you can ultimately see come to fruition.
Realistic – Make sure your goals are realistic in terms of the amount of time you have to spend reaching your goal and also the amount of work you are able to put into it. Don’t plan to wake at 5:00 every morning to workout if you are not a morning person and most likely will just keep hitting the snooze button. Don’t set yourself up for failure!
Timely – Set a time frame as part of your goal, such as “I will read five new books by the end of the summer” or “I will clean out two closets by the end of the weekend.” Adding a time factor to your goal creates a sense of urgency and helps you avoid procrastination.
If you’re not the analytical, logical type and you’re already feeling overwhelmed by all the requirements of setting a simple goal, don’t worry! I have a plan for you too. If you would describe yourself as intuitive and more a feeler than a thinker, you’ll set your goals differently. The steps are simple:
Choose a goal – Think about something you want to achieve and write it down. It might be “I want to get more exercise” or “I want to spend more time with my girlfriends.”
Lay out the steps – On a sheet of paper write your current status at the top (“I occasionally go for a walk, but that’s it for exercise”) and your goal at the bottom (“I want to exercise more”). Then in the space in between, write all the steps it would take to get you from top to bottom. You might need to buy workout clothes, load music on your iPod, recruit friends to join you, and set time in your schedule to go for a walk.
Some people find this method works best if they start writing their steps from the bottom and work their way to the top. Using that method might help you visualize your goal and can keep you motivated to stay on track.
Staying motivated to achieve your goals
Just like goal-setting, different people are motivated in different ways. Find the one you think would work best for you.
Track your progress
This might be another one for the numbers people! Whenever I’m working toward a goal, I find it really helpful to keep a list of what I’ve done toward reaching the goal, and I also like to track my progress in some other way. If you’re like that too, and if you have exercise, healthy eating or weight-loss related goals, there are some great journals you can pick up that provide you with a system to track every metric imaginable.
One is called I Will Get Fit This Time! Workout Journal. It divides all your exercise into categories, so you can track each one and each type. The food log has a space for everything you might want to record, such as calories, fat, portion sizes, etc. It also comes with a pocket journal, so you can keep one with you all the time, and it includes additional information about assessing your fitness level and creating plans to meet your goals.
Another great one is 90-Day Fitness Journal: Your Complete Fitness Companion. If you like LOTS of details, this one’s for you! You can record all your different goals, and then for each day you have spaces to record your daily goals, amount of food, calories, type and time of exercise, calories burned, and much more.
I reviewed both of these books pretty carefully, and I can recommend them both, depending on your needs and personality. Choose the one you think would work best for you and your lifestyle.
If you are someone who gets motivated by having a formal reward system, I suggest you read my article on 5 Simple Steps To Making Life Changes That Last. It contains detailed ideas and suggestions for setting small goals and rewarding your progress along the way. If you know you respond well to mini-rewards along the way, that’s a great way to stay motivated!
Can you already visualize what you might look or feel like when you accomplish your goal? If you’re someone who gets inspired by dreams, I bet you can find motivation by reading other people’s success stories. If you want to start your own business, do a google search on others who have done the same, and read their stories. If one of your goals is to travel the world, look for people who have done that and read about their experiences and how they made it happen.
Sometimes finding your motivation is as simple as reading about others who have already accomplished similar goals. Suddenly you find yourself renewed and recharged to keep moving forward!
What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish this month? What about this year, or in the next five years? Let me know in the comments, or connect with me on twitter at @onemoveforward. I look forward to hearing from you!
You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there. – Yogi Berra
How many times have you tried to make changes in your life, only to have it end just as quickly as it started? We can too easily lose our motivation or get discouraged or simply give up. I’ve talked a lot this week about making changes to your diet to make it a bit healthier, how to change how you communicate to make it more effective, and even changes to how you spend your family time. It’s easy to think about making changes and even to implement them in the beginning when your motivation is strong. But how do you make those changes stick? Here are five easy steps to get you started:
1. Focus on just one change – If you have a big goal (for instance, to get healthy), that can mean you need to make a lot of changes. But too much change at once can be overwhelming, and when it all feels unfamiliar, you may feel like you’re losing yourself in the process. It takes a few weeks to make a change into a habit. It takes even more time if the old habit has been around for a while.
If you want to create a healthier you, start with just one change you can implement right away. You might decide to take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, you might eliminate fried foods from your diet, or you might try to start exercising three days per week. But just one! More changes can always be incorporated after you master the first.
2. Prepare for the change in advance – Rather than just jumping in, really think about what it will take to implement that change. If your one change is that you want to start walking for exercise three days per week, that’s a great place to start. Go out and get some new workout clothes! Buy some new shoes if you don’t have a suitable pair. Load up your iPod with music you’d like to take with you. Preparing for the change allows you to get excited about your new goal and also builds excitement for the upcoming habit – both of which will be beneficial when you are trying to make your change permanent.
3. Get support – With anything you go through in life, it’s helpful to have a good support system. This is especially true during times when you might falter. So prepare in advance by rounding up the troops. For instance, you could let your family know which three days each week they can expect you to leave for a walk after dinner. Then it won’t come as a surprise, and they know to expect it. Invite them along if you think they might be inclined!
You can also ask a friend to go with you on your walks. Having a buddy system is invaluable when you are trying to make a change. Two people trying to make that change can support each other, and invariably on the day you are thinking of blowing off your walk, she will be at your door and ready to go.
4. Celebrate milestones – Rewarding yourself for a job well done probably isn’t something you do too often, right? Sometimes having your reward in the back of your head, though, can make all the difference when you are tempted to let your new habit slide. Working toward your milestones is a great way to keep on track.
Have a plan for how you are going to celebrate your success. Maybe your spouse will promise you a foot rub after you complete your first week of walking. After a month, treat yourself to a pedicure. After another month, maybe the seasons will have changed and you can reward yourself with warmer or cooler workout clothes.
You know best what will motivate you, so don’t forget to outline your rewards in advance. Making changes is hard enough – take care of yourself along the way, and it will be that much easier.
5. Savor success – You will reach your goal of making your change permanent if you keep at it. Even if you falter, don’t beat yourself up. If you miss a day of walking, go the next day. If you miss two days, think about how many days you did walk, pat yourself on the back, and hit the trails again in the morning. Always try to keep in mind where you started and where you are now. Take pride in your accomplishments!
People who are most successful at turning a change into a habit usually stumble a few times along the way. What’s most important is that you keep at it. Go back to what you know works for you. Turn to your support system, and go back to Step 1 if you need to. Be persistent in your positive change, and you will soon have a habit of which you can be proud. And then – go on to the next one.
What changes do you want to make? Where do you think you might start? Share your ideas with me in the comments, and we’ll talk more. Good luck!