Small Bites of Motivation

March 21, 2015 by  
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I want to continue with some of the comments made by Jeff Rahill of Kauai that I shared in last week’s post. These were from a letter to me that we jokingly called a “book report” dealing with specific parts of my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, that he thought were particularly helpful.

Here’s some of what he wrote from different sections of the book:

On the subject of “The Bite-Size Miracle” Jeff said, “I definitely believe in achieving your goals, be it long range or the immediate task at hand, by taking it one bite at a time. I remember in the last half of the marathon at Ironman, telling myself that I just had to make it to the next aid station, which were one mile apart. Then I saw the handmade signs on the side of the road: ‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.’ Like you said, ‘Action is the key … keep moving.’”

That section of the book dealt with how to accomplish a goal by breaking it down into small goals so that, step by step, you would get accomplish that end goal. This can be used in almost any circumstances where the accomplishment seems too huge to tackle. In the book I used an example of a man who survived and literally dragged himself back from certain death by seeing each few feet he needed to cover to get to his base camp as one small goal. If you can just block out that overwhelming, seemingly impossible picture of the big goal by putting all your focus on the small goal, you can, one tiny goal after another, get yourself to that finish line.

I also really enjoyed Jeff’s comments on ‘The Surefire Way to Stick with Every Goal’ The secret is to know your benefits, reasons and motivations, and write them down.  Jeff adds a bit about his experience in how this relates to keeping fit. He wrote “I’m with you on the subject of fasting.  I’ve been fasting one day a week for over 40 years. It’s part of my health plan. Another part is being a vegetarian for that same period.”  By the way, Jeff looked to be in terrific physical shape and certainly seemed well aware of the benefits and reasons for his fasting choice.

Jeff had a few more choice comments I want to share and reflect on with you but we’ll save them for next time. These two lessons are big ideas that can make all the difference in reaching your goals. If you can just take and apply these to the things you are working towards right now, I bet you’ll see a big difference in just the one week between this post and the next one. Let’s see if that’s true!

The Magic of Small Steps

December 13, 2013 by  
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Everything you do is comprised of many small steps, tasks and moments. As mentioned last week, if you can break down your goals into these very small steps and just aim to accomplish each small thing, one at a time, you are more likely to be successful and will avoid feeling overwhelmed. Let’s take a goal that is on a lot of people’s minds this time of year—not gaining weight through the holidays. Whether you want to avoid gaining those holiday pounds or want to actually lose weight, here’s the thing you should try because it really does work!

Let’s say you’ve decided to set a goal to get back to your high school weight and stay there the rest of your life (and I do believe it’s always a better to set a permanent goal rather than just saying you’re going to lose X number of pounds which can be perceived as temporary). Once you have your big weight loss goal set, push it out of your mind and begin working on what it will take just TODAY or just THIS HOUR or just THIS MINUTE to keep moving towards that goal. And when you have gotten through that day or hour or minute (not doubt successfully!) do the same for the next small increment you know you can meet.

Taking on only small goals is about setting small time frames as well as small, easy to accomplish tasks. For instance, one trick that studies suggest is very effective when it comes to setting super small, short goals while at the same time building self-discipline is to not completely deny yourself the thing you want but rather, delay it. Say you have decided that you are not going to snack between meals but now it’s an hour before dinner and you are craving a treat that’s calling your name and the craving is driving you nuts. What you do is say to yourself “Ok. I’m going to give in and allow myself to have that treat BUT I’m going to wait 15 more minutes.” If you are like most people who have tried this you’ll start watching the clock and counting down the minutes, but when the 15 minutes have passed you’ll no doubt feel quite good about yourself and your self-discipline. That in itself is a treat and a reward. You have proved to yourself that you can in fact postpone a little pleasure so why not try another 15 minute delay in gratification? And after that 15 minutes do another and another till it’s time to eat dinner and you may or may not even desire that treat after a good well balanced meal.

You can do this same delay technique when you want to take a break from your work out or stop working for the day or crave a cigarette. Just give yourself small time goals to get past and see yourself get through the trying time with relative ease.

Using super small goals and steps can and will work especially if you practice breaking your goals down to manageable small items or blocks of time and do this every day. Try this on multiple types of goals that you set for yourself and you’ll see just how much you can accomplish one small step at a time.


Balancing Big Goals with Small Steps

December 8, 2013 by  
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Last August I wrote a blog titled “The Biggest Leap is the Small step of Getting Started“. In that blog I said a good way to stick with a particular tough goal is to kind of trick yourself by saying, “Ok, I might not be in the mood to do this right now so I think I will just spend 5 minutes with this project,” and all the time you know that there is a very good chance once you start the project you probably will keep going beyond the 5 minutes.  I know this sure works for me when I don’t feel like climbing on the stair master or the elliptical or any other exercise I know that I should do.

The “small step” method really does help a person stick with their goals, so I was somewhat bothered when I re-read my blog of November 2012 and looked at the huge printed sign that I had reproduced in the blog that said “Set a goal SO BIG that you can’t achieve it until YOU GROW INTO THE PERSON WHO CAN”.  I began to question myself for putting that quote on my blog.  Here’s why I question myself now, at least to a degree:  You see, if you set your goal way too high, your goal may scare you and you may begin thinking “There is just no way I can achieve something so big.” But I do believe there is a way around the problem that can allow you to set huge goals and be able to achieve them.

The great thing about setting big goals is that they can stimulate and excite our brains and body to keep pursuing what we set out to do. So, although it’s important for the brain to set big goals, the trick is to not set them so big that deep inside your mind you really feel you could never achieve them.

The real key here–and there is research to back this up–is to set the big goals that excite you to action then put aside that big picture and think about and work on the small daily or hourly goals that give you many small steps of achievement towards that big goal.  Keep telling yourself that you only have to reach “today’s goals” and remind yourself how good that is making you feel.

To quote David DiSalvo from his great book What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, “The happy brain tends to focus on the short term.  That being the case, it’s a good idea to consider what short-term goals we can accomplish that will eventually lead to accomplishing long-term goals.”

I’ve been doing just that lately.  I concentrate on just today or, sometimes, just this hour or minute and for the most part I try to totally forget my big goal. That usually gives my brain plenty of rewards and comfort.

Next week I will give what I think is the perfect example for losing weight–since it is the time of year that most people do the opposite—and when you read it, keep in mind you’ll do this one small, easy step at a time.

The Biggest Leap is the Small Step of Getting Started

August 2, 2013 by  
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Last week I spoke about the key to reaching your goals–taking small but regular steps towards what you want. The reason this works is because the small steps seem so do-able while the big leaps can feel overwhelmingly huge. Giving yourself just one small step at a time makes your tasks less daunting and you are more likely not just to start them but complete them!

For example, I apply this concept to my daily work outs to push myself to get them done. On the many days that I don’t want to climb on the stair master or put time in on the elliptical machine or go on a challenging mountain hike, I make a little deal with myself. I say, “Ok, since I am very tired or in the wrong mood I am only going to work out for just 5 or 10 minutes” Then, with only that minimal time to cover, I begin, knowing in the back of my mind that just “starting” is sometimes the very hardest part and knowing from experience that when I get to 5 or 10 minutes I will almost always just keep going.

This approach works for just about anything. I put myself in this mindset of just starting with a small goal to get myself going on my daily business tasks (especially since I really don’t have to work if I don’t want to), to the writing of this blog, or even working on a new book. Always keep in mind that just the “starting” can push you to make that big breakthrough on any project or goal that you have. Take that first step and you will see that the next steps follow more easily not to mention you will have the momentum of already working on it to keep you moving forward.

So what are you dreading doing today? Just set a small goal to get you started and see where that takes you. Daily small steps, daily small goals, even daily small acts of kindness and charity tend to compound and grow to be huge successes and can change your history, your life, make you famous or make you a fortune and even change, for the better, the history of the world. You’ll just never know what you can affect until you start!


How SSS may be Killing Dreams

July 26, 2013 by  
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Whether you want to hit it big financially, physically or just plain want to be famous, SSS may be the cruel “killer” of your dream! What is SSS? It’s simply the perceived notion of instant or overnight success in anything. It stands for “Super Star Syndrome”.

Believe it or not the super quick success of people like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame or the late, great Steve Jobs of Apple Computer can kill your big time dreams. How? Because what you see and read can make it seem like the billionaire ranks were made virtually overnight. So this kind of super-fast success gives too many people the idea that an overnight fortune, instant fame, super quick weight loss or getting into Olympic shape can be accomplished almost overnight. Those thoughts and ideas are stimulated and reinforced through so much clever advertising.

You’ve seen it many times–those promoters that have something to sell can be pretty enticing with their promise that you can lose 25 pounds in 30 days “guaranteed!” or make a fortune in 6 months with their “Sure Fire System”. Of course then they always show you several examples of people who used their method with tremendous success so even though you don’t know if those few testimonials are really true, their suggestion that it could also happen to you is brain washing you into thinking you will have that kind of success. You just have to buy into what they’re selling and it will happen!

The big problem is that some people do really reach super success nearly overnight and, yes, it is possible … for a very few, very select people in the world. Such success is so insanely rare and often more of a fluke of luck or timing—a combination of circumstances with aspects these people had no control over—that made it happen! But for 99.9999% of people it just ain’t gonna happen! And if you keep holding onto the thought that overnight success is just going to drop in your lap, that waiting game will eventually kill your big dream. Your dreams take action, not just more dreaming.

For the vast majority of people super success in virtually all things in life are achieved one step, one deal, and one hour at a time. If we burn that message into our brains we will keep moving forward knowing that success can be and will be ours in the long run. My wealth hero’s that gave me inspiration and motivation were guys like Conrad Hilton, J.W. Marriot, and McDonald’s Ray Kroc or more recently, Warren Buffet. It took these people many, many years and one step at a time to reach the point of “Super Success”.

To me, the real key is fully understanding that it takes lots and lots of baby steps, but those baby steps will eventually take you great distances. If we understand that principal and apply it daily it helps keep us going. So let go of the idea that you will end up with your dreams realized by sheer chance or by some guaranteed system or product. Do the work, one little step at a time and it will happen!