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The Easier Way to Reach Your Goals

November 12, 2016 by  
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Okay, first of all, there is no particularly ‘easy’ way to reach your goals but there are certainly easier ways and harder ways. Whether your goal is to make a million dollars, write a bestselling book or visit 100 different countries, the easier way to reach those goals includes a very simple thing … making lists. And I don’t mean in your head. I mean writing that list down. Why does writing out a list make reaching a goal easier? Because if you write it down it does some very good stuff inside your brain.

Chapter 7 in Henriette Klauser’s wonderful little book entitled Write It Down, MAKE IT HAPPEN tells the great story of her friend Sydne who turned her life around mainly from the single action of writing down her list of goals. Klauser says, “Writing a list gets it out of your head. Heads can be dark swamps, the conversations, the constant chatter, whatever you want to call it, keeps interfering. Writing a list gets it out of the swamp, onto paper. You can see a list in black and white and it’s real. When you reduce your goals to a list, it helps keep your focus.”

So, if you write your goals it basically changes things in your brain. She goes on to say that if your lists are very specific your brain will more likely help you reach those goals. “When you are vague and general, you are safe. Get to the essence of it; that’s when things happen. Nothing can happen when you’re generalized and safe–nothing changes.” When the writing of those lists put Sydne on the path of reaching virtually all her goals, her motto then became simply “Do it easy.”

The author’s advice is to “use listing as an opportunity to crystallize your intent–to learn what matters most to you.” She goes on to say, “Keep that list handy, and look at it regularly, especially if you lose heart or feel scared. Emblazon it in your mind. Repeat to yourself ‘This is what I want and it is waiting for me.’” Remember, keep your list very specific even for things such as buying a car. As the author says, “Don’t simply write ‘car’, write the type of car with make, model, and mileage.”

I must say that goal setting and writing down the specifics has changed my brain and improved my life in many and huge ways. When I was 27 years old I set the very specific goal to make a million dollars by the time I was 30 and yes I wrote it down and looked at that written goal on a regular basis. I went to work to find ways and means, along with great help from a couple of fantastic mentors, to hit my target. Oops I missed the goal, that is I missed the date by one year but reached it at age 31. Pretty much the same thing happened when I set the written goal to write a bestselling book. That book was How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You which eventually sold over one million copies.

I am absolutely convinced that writing it down did in fact change my brain and made it all happen.  I know that it works and if you are not already writing your specific lists of goals down, I hope you start doing so right now.

 

 

Notes from THE WILLPOWER INSTINCT

February 28, 2014 by  
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Ok … this week I will give you what I think are some of the high points from Kelly McGonigal incredible book, The Willpower Instinct. These are more of those notes taken from my summary sheets that I make and keep from the best books I read and want to revisit and remember.

The Willpower Instinct is a truly life changing book if you put the concepts and findings into practice.  I highly recommend you get it and read it carefully.  Below are the points that jumped out at me. In some cases I am giving you quotes and in others I am giving a summary in my own words.  The subtitle of the book is great: “How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More”. The book covers all this and more.

Mark’s notes from The Willpower Instinct:

P. 20 Most of our choices are made on autopilot.

P. 20 Self-awareness is one big key to will power.

P. 21 When you are distracted, your impulses usually over rule your long term goals.

P. 21 To have more self-control, develop more self-awareness.

P. 23 The brain is remarkably responsive to experience.

P. 24 Ask your brain to _____________________________ (you fill in anything you really want) and your brain ends up helping you do it.

P. 26 Meditate on a regular basis — it will help you increase self-control. For example: lose weight, kick bad habits, etc. Meditate 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

P. 42, 43 Exercise is like meditation it makes the brain bigger and faster and improves willpower.

P. 43 A big mood booster is a simple 5 minute walk outside.

P. 45 Exercise gives you more energy than you spend.

P. 69 If you are looking for a big change of any habit, look for small ways to practice self-control.

P. 129 When we free ourselves from the false promise of reward we often find the thing we were seeking happiness from was the main source of our misery.

P. 132 We must distinguish between wanting and happiness.

P. 144 Many studies show that self-criticism gives less motivation and worse self-control and is the biggest predictor of depression.

So, without even reading the book, you can see the value of the information just in these notes. And how easy is it to review and remind oneself of this great information this way?

Making it Through a Hectic Day

June 11, 2010 by  
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You might have already noticed that no matter how well you map out the steps you need to take to reach your goals or how intent you are on hitting every deadline you set for yourself, you don’t always manage it. Sometimes unexpected circumstances arise and other people need your time, attention, and support. It’s important that you make the needs of your family and friends one of your priorities-—helping them and others is a big part of living a fulfilling, passionate life–but you must never forget to take care of yourself as well.

I know this can often be very difficult and some days you just want to throw your hands up in surrender. Well don’t. No matter what is happening you really can help the people you care for, keep making progress on your own goals, and keep sane all at the same time. The way to do this is to use that “L” factor I talk about in Chapter 8 of my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living–list making.

Lists are the ideal life line for when things get hectic so be sure you make a list of what you want to get done for yourself and others every day. Then when the proverbial wrench gets thrown into your plans get the issue resolved or the interruption wrapped up as soon as possible and return to your list. Don’t worry if it takes hours to get back on track or even the next day. The important thing is to keep the list as the guideline for your day so you don’t get sidetracked or lost in the chaos.

You will also find that if you complete the items according to their priority for that day that even if you are interrupted, the most important things still get done. Anything left undone should be transferred to the next day’s list and made a priority for that day. If one or two of your top priorities are steps toward accomplishing your goals, you are certain to make the progress you need to keep up your enthusiasm and eventually accomplish what you are after. Because, in the end, it’s not how quickly you reach your goal but that you have something to strive for that fuels your passion and creates a life worth celebrating.