Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge believer in setting goals. Of course that’s the major them of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Goal setting grabbed my attention in a very big way even back when I was in high school.
As a pole vaulter then and in college my goals were in feet and inches. As soon as I reached a certain height, I would set a new goal a few inches higher–from 10 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 9 inches then 11 feet. After a ton or work, trying over and over again, I finally was consistently clearing 12 feet and eventually I peaked out at 14 feet 1 inch. Back then, in 1962, the world record was just over 16 feet, so I wasn’t doing too badly. But, no, I didn’t set the world record. Still setting those goals kept me completely engaged and excited about life. Such physical, self-competitive goals aren’t the only goals that can do that for you. Just about any goal will do that for you if it’s something you really want.
To get that jazzed feeling every day, be sure to constantly set goals for yourself. It will keep you passionate about your life and living and of course there is a Big Bonus in that you end up accomplishing so many things. So my message this week is push yourself to set more goals, and tough goals, in all parts of your life –physical, mental, family, charitable and, yes, don’t forget financial goals. I promise you as you do this you will enjoy each hour and each day more.
By the way, as you may already know, it helps to tell people that are close to you (as long as they are positive people) what goals you have set for yourself because when you know they are watching, you are more likely to stick with them and they also can act as a cheer leader for you. I myself have been sharing with you my goal of working out every day until I turned 70 and just knowing I told you about that makes even more dedicated. I just can’t let you down.
So you know. I am still on track with that goal which is 46 weeks from now. I was sick one day last week and hurt my back on another day but I still got a work out in. Yes it hurt physically but, wow, I sure got a huge mental boost from sticking with my goal! That’s 83 out of 84 days that I have kept up my work outs. Pretty good! Now, what goal do you have?
Not too long ago I was in Costco buying an elliptical machine. (These machines are a great way to stay in shape without hard impact on your knees, hips and back.) This 26 year old guy helped us load the machine into the back of our car. I couldn’t help but notice he had a certain sparkle in his eyes and was full of energy. He was so very helpful and friendly I just had to give him a little extra reward so I gave him my financial book The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You.
A couple days later he’d tracked me down via the internet thanking me profusely in an email. He wanted to tell me what a huge impact the book had already made even though he’d only read a few chapters. The very day I gave him the book he went to his bank and took care of some financial things he’d been putting off and he said because of the book he had reignited his life goals and was super inspired to really accomplish what he’d set out to do before but had let things slip.
Well, I couldn’t let his enthusiastic response end there, so I wrote back and invited him up to the house to talk. That day, before he got to the house, I couldn’t help but think of how a couple books I’d read had also hit me like a ton of bricks and changed my life forever. Now my book was making a difference in this young man’s life! Not that this was the only email and success story I’ve heard from those who’ve read my books but I don’t often get to meet them.
We had a great chat. This young man talked about how he has set news goals and renewed old goals and was already acting on them. Not just financial goals either but some very wonderful life and living goals. I could tell that he really got the message that money should be a means to a greater end not the end itself. As I have said many times “with the right formula, combined with drive and determination most anyone can make millions of dollars, especially if you are motivated by a higher and greater cause.”
As he left I just had to give him a copy of How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. The “passion book” gives you specifics about the best way to set goals with a specific formula that helps you stick to those goals until they are fulfilled.
My great reward–and it truly is a great reward–is seeing people light up and take the necessary action to go out and do what they need to reach their dreams! Whether it’s the huge success story of guys like Dell Loy Hansen–who read my book in college and made a half a billion dollar fortune (his story is in the beginning of the Financial Genius book) or if it’s the beginning success of a young struggling couple that were able to buy their first home along with two small rental duplexes, all these stories warm my heart and help me feel fulfilled, motivating me to keep on “paying if forward”.
I ran across this quote on the net recently …
Something about this statement sticks with me. With my recent health scare I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals. I don’t usually set easy goals but I do usually set goals that fit with who I am at the time. However, I have been thinking more about who I want to be and what I want to change in my life so when thinking of my challenging goals, I need to focus on not what my present self wants but what the future version of me should do.
The thing is, sticking with what is easy – with what we know is comfortable and safe – isn’t usually very fulfilling. Challenging yourself to be, and do more, than you think you can is not only exciting but gives every day a unique and motivating reason to get up in the morning. If you stick with it. taking on the challenge will make you change and grow until you become the person you need to be to accomplish that goal.
How much do you push yourself? You are never so far down the road that you shouldn’t keep trying to make yourself better. Keep challenging yourself with big goals!
I think most of us know that busy lives are usually happy lives. But I think we’ve also been sold a bill of goods with our thinking that if we could only make lots of money then we could quit or retire and sit by the pool drinking Mai Tai’s the rest of our lives and be happy as pigs in slop. I am here to tell you that it just ain’t true!
We think this because when we are working hard and staying busy and then we take a break –going on vacation or a quick getaway–it makes us feel so good and refreshed that we mistakenly believe that if we could just do that all the time we’d have a permanent refreshed and a super great feeling. But it doesn’t work like that. The fact is, if we don’t do the hard work then it’s really not a break and it doesn’t give us any reward or, at most, very little reward. We must all burn into our brains that the pause or the break should always remain as just that and never become a permanent thing.
Look at the recent London Olympics. Think of the four years of work that lead up to the moment we watched those young people step up on the award platform. Those award ceremonies were their break and their reward and you could see how immensely they enjoyed it. But what would become of those athletes lives if they sat back, doing nothing, trying to make that super reward moment last the rest of their lives without doing any more hard work? We can all imagine it, their lives going quickly downhill because each day there would be nothing to look forward to.
We all need to take a much harder look at our own lives and make sure we don’t ever turn the pause into a permanent state of living. Passionate, fulfilled lives come from action and staying busy. Push yourself hard then, and only then, take a break and celebrate your hard work and accomplishments.
I was getting myself better organized the other day and came across a list of 20 questions that I used in the past to help me focus on qualities I wanted to see in myself in order to have my own “Super Success”. I wrote the list back in December 2003 but reading it over, I found it just as relevant now as I did back then, so I wanted to share it with you all. I believe these, or your own personal variation, can help just about anyone.
Here are the first 10 and next week I will post the second group of 10. Read the list and ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I being pro-active?
2. Do I believe in myself (How’s my self-esteem doing?)
3. Am I being “time conscious? (Life is very short so I want to live every day to the fullest. Even if I live to be 80 years old, that’s only a little over 700,000 hours!)
4. Do I spend time, planning, calculating, and running the numbers on various projects that I want to see succeed?
5. Do I make decisions that need to be made? Am I decisive enough and realize that it’s better to make more decisions and be wrong than to not be decisive?
6. Am I staying organized and do I keep working on being better at it?
(I test myself by observing my desk, my files, and even the backseat of my car.)
7. Do I do what I say I am going to do, both to myself and to others?
(My word needs to be my bond—my reputation will follow. My honor is my greatest power)
8. Do I have high ambitions and enough energy to follow through?
(I remind myself often of how I can create extra energy–like having great ideas and dreams along with focus for extra energy.)
9. How do I stick with a project?
10. How is my discipline factor? (I must remember that if I want to rule the world or any part of my own world I must rule myself first.)
If you find this list helpful–please feel free to pass it on to others that may benefit from it. And I would love it if you would drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how you liked this blog. —MOH.
2011 is being called the Year of the Protestor. From the uprising in Tunisia in January that ignited the courage of others in nearby countries for months afterwards to the Moscow rallies in the last weeks of the year, the common people rose up to protest injustice and oppression and forced people to hear them and to change. It was inspiring to see what people could accomplish when they stood up and rallied against the powers that be but it was also sad to hear of the violence and pain that had to be endured to enact the changes the protestors were after. But change did come in many countries simply because so many people persisted even when it was terribly difficult and even when it was life threatening. They were unshakably dedicated to their purpose and that made all the difference.
I wish the protests did not have to include the violence and pain and I hope that things will soon settle down with peace and freedom for these people that have suffered for so long. But pain or discomfort or just frustrating moments usually accompany change and is the reason why people commonly shy from fighting for it.
We are very lucky here that what we have to fight for are not basic freedoms or a life without constant fear of pain or death. We have our hard times, but the choices we have are, for the most part, within our grasp and what we have to work through is not so hard compared with what people in so many countries we watched this past year went through.
How about making 2012 a year of real change here, in our own lives? Let’s choose to take on the challenges that will make a better life for ourselves, our family, our friends and everyone we work with. All we need to do is keep focused on our goals, those end results, that will make our lives so much richer. And if it gets tough, just think of those people who rose up against their oppressive governments and what must have stuck in their mind to keep them so determined. You can be so determined too. Just keep your eye on the prize and keep in mind what the change will mean for your life.
One last note on this positive/negative inner chatter issue–well, maybe not my last note ever but at least for a while. As I’ve said before knowing something is not useful until you actually do something with the knowledge. We’ve talked quite a bit about this subject here and there the last few months, but have you done anything to actually improve your inner voice’s attitude?
Years ago I really got into programming my brain with lots of positive thoughts and positive affirmations but I’ve been slipping on that the last 10 or maybe even 20 years because I thought that I was beyond that kind of stuff. The thing is, I didn’t lose the knowledge but I did fall out of practice with it, and that was key. You can’t say you’re a great tennis player no matter how well you know the sport, unless you’re actually out there practicing and playing! With my loss in the final round of the Huntsman World Senior Games tennis match in which I had sabotaged myself with all my negative self-talk, I really started to think seriously about how much I let my thoughts turn pessimistic with worry and self-induced stress. I knew it was not helpful. I even knew how to combat it. I had just stopped putting this knowledge into practice.
The great thing about this is that once you get the hang of it and practice enough you can use this positive reinforcement to change and improve just about any part of your life. From losing weight to overcoming addictions to making more money, you can stop worrying about so many things that add unnecessary stress to your life and actually live! Try it and I promise you that it works, especially if you keep practicing. So here’s what you and I must do … No. 1– start observing what that inner chatter is saying and, No. 2–feed yourself positive thoughts and affirmations, every single time you observe the self-talk going the wrong way. It’s not hard, it just takes practice!
I wanted to mention this book that Craig Horton, who I shared a letter from in my post last week, recommended. It’s a powerful book about mentorship titled “A Game Plan for Life-The Power of Mentoring” by John Wooden and Don Yaeger. Craig considers this one of the most powerful books he’s ever read. He’s not the only one.
The retired basketball player and coach mentored and inspired unknown numbers of people through his work as a coach and through his publications and lectures. In this, his last book, he first focuses on the people who helped foster his values then, through interviews excerpts, he turns the reader’s attention to number of his most successful mentorees, giving us an inside view of the affect good mentoring can have on an individual, not just as athletes but as human beings. Wooden is particularly focused on being successful without having to sacrifice principles. That is a focus I am behind 200%.
I really like Wooden’s philosophies and know you’d get something out of reading this book if you take what he says to heart. You see, how well you live is not purely about the success you have, even though in your mind and actions, it sure seems like it. The real measure of a successful life is how much you improve the lives of others. You can do this by sharing your success—be it monetary, career, personal, emotional, relationship, etc.–with others in ways that help them achieve and fulfill their lives as well.
It’s not only me that believes keeping up friendships is important to your health and the quality of life. I recently came across an article on the Mayo Clinic site (that highly respected health research and educational organization) about just how important it is to maintain your friends and social circle.
According to this article friendships can:
• Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
• Boost your happiness
• Reduce stress
• Improve your self-worth
• Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
• Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
Now that’s a lot of benefits for something most of us would like to have more of anyways! So why don’t we keep up with our friends better?
It’s because life just gets in the way. We are constantly drawn away by other priorities such as work, caring for children or elderly parents, or trying to make a dent in that long to-do list that is always hanging over our heads. We also move around a lot in this country so even well-established friendships start to fade with the distance between us all. And then it’s hard to find the time and even motivation to go out and make new friends. But it would seem, we can’t really afford not to.
It’s not that we need to have a lot of friends to get these benefits, but rather, according to the Mayo clinic article, it’s the quality of the friendships–do the friendships you have fulfill your individual need for a certain kind of closeness, comfort, and availability? It’s different for everyone but the important thing is to value those friendships, take time to call, visit, write or whatever else is appropriate for the relationship you have with your friends. Don’t let time and distance get in the way of acquiring all the great benefits friendships bring you and giving those same benefits to others.
If you’d like to read the Mayo clinic article, you can find it at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/friendships/MH00125
I have a colleague starting up a new business. There are many unknowns and lots of reasons why she might worry and she does. But she does something odd. Instead of trying to stop the worry, she sets aside time for worrying. First thing in the morning while making coffee and eating breakfast, she worries. She writes down her worries, adds tasks to her to-do lists if the worries warrant further research or planning, and then goes on with her day.
It actually makes sense. Although worry is a major cause of stress, it’s still a necessary process. Worry provides forethought, planning, and often forces us to think creatively to solve or prepare for issues. The problem is not worry itself, it’s how excessive we let our worries get, how much time we waste worrying about the same things over and over, and how we let worry halt our progress. So really, it’s a balancing act to be a good worrier.
If you find worry getting the best of you, try setting aside time for worrying and write down your concerns to get them out of your head. Once you’ve gone over them and determined what you need to do, if anything, don’t allow those worries to take up any more of your time or brain power, at least until your next worry session. This will make worrying more productive (now doesn’t that sound strange?) and you are less likely to stress yourself out to the point of taking no action when you need to be taking some risks. This will take some ‘living in the moment’ skills but then, I do think that is the best way to live.