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Setting Good Life Goals

Life Goals

Why Goal Setting Matters

Goals setting is the foundation of administration. To administer means to attend to the running, overseeing or operation of a business or organization. If you want to create positive change in your life: financial, physical, educational, whatever it may be for you, life admin is critical to getting it all handled. Good admin works to break down big goal into a series of little goals that can be accomplished by a specific action or behavior.

Good Goals vs. Bad Goals

A good goal can become a win by doing one very specific thing, for example go to bed before midnight Monday through Friday.

A bad goal is go to the gym, eat breakfast every day, do taxes and go to bed before midnight every day for the next year.

Lets break that down: if my goal was to go to the gym I wouldn’t do it. I hate going to the gym. I could go to a class at a gym, I could meet a friend at the gym, I could have a session with a trainer at the fancy gym downtown. Going to the gym is too general of a term so without more specifics, to me, it sounds really crappy.

Examples of Good Goals

If my goal was to eat breakfast every day, I would know I wouldn’t do it. Sometimes just want tea. But if i’m taking a class, teaching or running around that is a different story. I will need the fuel and eating breakfast becomes an important goal. All I need to do to reach my goal is to hard boil a few eggs, buy yogurt, oatmeal and do some basic prep to have days worth of grab and go breakfasts. Good goals are incredibly specific and don’t involve a lot of complicated steps.

Meal prepping is something I have a lot of experience with, so making three breakfasts at one time is not a big deal. Prepping three days worth of breakfasts is an example of good goal involving a few simple actions. By setting specific goals, I am able to zero in on my priorities and identify the specific actions that can help me accomplish that particular goal.

Goal Setting Allows Preparation

Doing my taxes t was once something that gave me anxiety. After one particularly stressful tax session, I made it a goal to never stress like that about taxes again. Approaching tax time in an organized way has been critical to my success. The fact that I respect, trust and like my accountant is also a deliberate part of my process. Reducing tax time anxiety was my larger goal and I figured that I hated taxes because I didn’t feel prepared and wasn’t sure what to expect.

Now that I know how to prepare myself, I have broken down tax time into a series of goals that are easy to accomplish. By breaking down doing my taxes into specific goals, I am left with a series of actions: make appointment w/accountant, organize receipts, find last years return, go to my appointment, sign the papers, pay my taxes and pay accountant $200. The overwhelming goal of doing taxes is infinitely more manageable as a series of actions.

Good is Good Enough

There is no reason to expect 100% compliance on most goals. There are exceptions to those rules: certain goals in and of themselves demand 100% compliance (fidelity, sobriety, lack of criminal behavior, abuse, bullying, etc). Unless your personal goal demands 100% compliance due to nature of your old habits, expecting perfection is unnecessary.

A lot of benefit could be had by going to bed before midnight every day you have an an early morning. However life loves to get in the way. The failure to accomplish a goal in it’s entirety can feel like a discouraging setback. Good goals can involve compromise. Setting a goal for bedtime before midnight three nights a week can be more reasonable than doing so all week long.

Set Specific Goals

Get fit is a very general goal. The goals of an expectant mother are very different from a former college athlete looking to tone up. A bodybuilder is going to want a different diet than a high schooler looking to improve their acne. A moody former vegetarian who does Krav-Maga six days a week has vastly different needs that a 40-something suffering from depression and back pain. Words that describe an ideal example of fitness help to clarify and refins a very general terms into helpful and specific goals.

Goals Need To Be Scheduled

Lack of a timeline can be a huge obstacle. My example of update website is perfect here. Ok, so am I going to update my whole entire website in one day? When will that be? Do I need to ask for time off work? Should I rent an office for the day? Go to a coffee shop?????

Update the about page and publish it on Thursday is pretty specific. It is reasonable as while it contains two parts, updating it and publishing it: the parts are manageable. The steps I have to take have been done before so I know how much time it will take. Also, I know I will have time to do it Thursday because I have scheduled it in.

A goal to fit into my favorite pair of underwear and not feel like they are super tight is one of my favorite workout goals. Simple and effective, I will know when that has happened and I know that scheduling 3-4 days of yoga a week and avoiding sugar will pretty quickly do the trick.

Goals as Wins

The better you can become at setting specific goals that can be accomplished in a measurable amount of time, the easier it will be for you to move your goals into the win column. Celebrate your successes and stay committed even when facing a particularly challenging goal. Perhaps you can revisit the goal itself and further break it down in a way that makes it easier for you to accomplish.

I want to hear about your goals, so let me know what specific things you are looking to accomplish this week.

Positive Change

Positive Change

Positive Change

Waiting tables has introduced me to all kinds of people. One couple that I served at Church and State restaurant stand out in particular. Once as he looked at her, he said to me that, “they believe in the power of positive change”. I can only imagine what that meant to them: an obviously in love, slightly older couple. He with frizzy salt and pepper hair and large, chunky framed glasses. She was tall, with very short hair and had beautiful ebony dark skin and sparkling eyes. This memorable couple were  a pleasure to be around. Obviously successful, they were into food and took control of their own experience in a very positive way.

They believed in the power of positive change.

Old Habits

Yes, they say old habits die hard. They can linger long past their welcome and are oh so easy to fall back into.

I know I am not the only one in the world who would sometimes just rather not. Rather not cook (and I love to cook) or grocery shop (I REALLY love to grocery shop) and rather not do anything to do with my yoga mat. Somedays I’d rather not take my supplements (read about my routine here) and I would sure rather not write anything. There are plenty of times when I’d rather not do my admin or workout or shower or brush my crazy hair.

I have some old habits. Some deep dark secret habits. Some lazy habits and some habits that I had just before I knew better, or maybe it was before I really cared. My old habits are things that used to give me some degree of comfort, or distraction or relief from fear and anxiety.

Old habits are how resistance has manifested in my life. These are the habits I know I want to change, need to change, should change and work on changing most days. At the most extreme, my old habits get in my way. They hold me back, distract me from my goals and create drama in my lives.

Power of Positive Habits

By building positive habits into my routine, I have created powerful change in my life.

The benefits of a physical practice coupled with a nutrient dense diet show themselves quickly. A diet filled with traditional foods can work with a physical practice to quickly boost energy levels. Dietary modifications can relieve anxiety inducing health issues.

I know that when I worry about anything to do with my health, or even when I feel less then my best, overall I experience more anxiety in my life and struggle to cope with any unexpected challenges.

Positive changes in our lives, such as committing to losing or gaining a healthy amount or weight, reducing toxins in our diet and immediate environment, improving our quality of sleep and cultivating a physical practice are simple steps to more effectively administrate and live our lives.

Replacing Old Habits

For me, what works is crowding out and replacing old habits, foods, routines and even jobs that no longer serve me. Ending toxic relationships are a sure way to usher in positive change, and the same theory can help untangle yourself from an unhealthy situation. Positive change is personal and will vary from person to person, but adopting new routines, people and habits into your lives you can refocus energy into what truly matters to you.

Crowding Out the Crackers

I used to be obsessed with Triscuits. As far as it goes Triscuits used to be one of the worst things I used to eat. All day,  I would graze on Triscuits instead of eating the nutritious foods my body needed.

At the time I was teaching spin classes and just beginning to feel the exhaustion that accompanies over-training. ON the outside, I looked fit but on the inside my body was in bad shape. Constantly dizzy, I had to take naps, my period stopped and my mom thought I had an eating disorder. In retrospect, I firmly believe it is truly unhealthy to do that much cardio. However, my diet had to change fast.

What helped me get off the wheat crack was adding in the traditional foods that I still eat today. Broth based soups, traditionally prepared grains and legumes, fermented foods and lots of high quality fats. I eliminated all sources of trans-fat, all industrial vegetable oils, genetically modified foods, most conventional products and feedlot, commercially produced animal products. I essentially kicked the Triscuit’s to the curb.

I would have never gotten rid of the Triscuits if I hadn’t read the ingredients and realized that very little of what I was forcing my body to digest, provided actual value. It became my theory that most of the foods I chose to avoid, waste rather than provide, my energy. By adding more foods into my diet that enhanced my energy levels and were easily digestible made avoiding the foods I used to eat by now viewed as old habits easy.

By eating other foods, Triscuits were crowded out of my diet and pushed out of my life.

Belief in the Power of Positive Change

A bad attitude will kill positive change dead in it’s tracks. Resistance to change, positive or otherwise is part of the human experience. For many, the devil we know sure can beat any devil we don’t. It can also be hard and scary to admit to yourself that you deserve, desire or demand better.

A willingness to believe, an ability to profess your commitment to that belief can be an important first step in allowing positive changes to take place in your own life.

Reinforce Belief to Overcome Resistance

The cultivation of positive habits can work to further reinforce belief, as you begin to experience the benefits that accompany the changes you work to make. A lack of belief that you can reach your goals, can stop you from ever starting.

Overcoming resistance by identifying old habits and cultivating new, positive habits is where change begins.

Believe in your own power for positive change and start setting your own goals today. I would love to hear about them.

 

Celebrate Your Wins

Celebrate Your Wins

Admin For Your Life

The meeting of our daily needs must be handled. Admin is all about administering to the adult tasks of life, in an organized, deliberate and professional way. Tracking gratitude, goals and wins is an important tool in my personal admin, along with celebrating and acknowledging my wins.

The Admin Story

I use a system of journaling that I learned in an “admin group” at the Beverly Hills Playhouse (BHP). Admin groups are small groups of people that weekly meet outside of acting class. Group members hold each other accountable to their goals. The journaling method I still use, was introduced to many students at the BHP by the amazingly funny and talented comedienne, storyteller and actress, Suzanne Whang.

Journaling

Each page in my admin journal looks roughly the same. I keep one dedicated journal just for admin.

Each page represents one admin session. At the top I write the date and then begin my admin by listing my gratitude. Gratitude is one specific thing I am grateful for in that moment.

After I have acknowledged my gratitude, I write a bullet point list of just five wins. If you are kicking butt you may have more than five wins, yet try to identify the top ones. If things are a little slow lately, get more creative and identify what I like to think of as micro-wins.Micro-wins can be the smallest thing, examples like “i took a shower” and “apologized to …..” and are nothing to be ashamed of. Find five, even if you have to dig.

After wins, compile a list of just five very specific, time sensitive or scheduled goals. This is not the place for a giant master to-do list of every little thing you need to do for the next six months. Five specific goals. With proper administration, goals are broken down into bite sized, one line chunks.

Goals you accomplish become the Wins for your next admin session. Celebrating wins can be as simple as writing them down as one of your five wins as acknowledgment. Or celebrations can become goals.

For example:

win: finally got my car fixed.

goal: celebrate getting car fixed by getting a car wash.

More Goals & Wins

By setting goals and tracking progress, positive change becomes real. Over time, there will be leaps of progress and giant spurts of growth, change and improvement.

Documenting Progress

Re-reading my admin journals is incredibly inspiring. Looking back, I get to retroactively root for myself as I plug along through challenges. Some of my wins are huge and when I see them on paper, I get to feel kinda badass. The best wins are ones that as goals, scared the stuffing out of me.

Breaking Down Big Goals

Goals that have taken a lot of time are also especially sweet when the are moved into the wins category. Some of the goals that reappear over and over can be further simplified by being broken down into a smaller group of little micro-wins.

Update website appears as a goal over and over in my admin notebooks. What exactly does that mean, at what stage could I make that a win? Update website was not a good goal.

When I wised up and broke “update website” down, my wins begin to show progress. Things like: updated theme, got shopping cart, designed new headers, organized pictures, all began to move from the goal list to the wins.

When I finally started breaking it down, as you can see, I got down to the specific tasks that are a part of updating my website.

Wins are right on the other side of your goals and by tracking your goals, you can also celebrate all your wins along the way.

My Kind of Party

A good yoga class, sleeping in on purpose, thrifting, going to the library and watching tv during the day under a blanket are some examples of some of my favorite celebrations. Simple things I want to do but that I don’t always let myself indulge in are my favorite types of celebrations. One of my favorite ways to celebrate is a “fancy” bath: candles, epsom salts, my ultra-granola blend of essential oils: lavender, patchouli (not sorry) and tea tree, cucumber-lemon water, salt scrub and a face mask.

Sometimes It’s Enough Just to Write It Down

Not every little win is going to need a specific celebration. Sometimes after I work through my admin journal, I move right on to the next task at hand, as just writing down the win is enough to acknowledge it.

Celebrate Big Wins

The bigger wins, the ones that often had a few lives as different reappearing goals often feel so incredibly good to write down as a win that i get excited and that feeling is how I know it would be right to celebrate this win in a more specific way. Bigger wins often demand more acknowledgment and it is so important to celebrate those wins.

For big wins, I might spring for a treat like a scrub at Wii Korean spa. Looking forward to something special is one of my favorite parts of a celebration. Big goals don’t always need huge giant big celebrations, they can be whatever you most desire in the moment, even if that something is as simple as a good nap.

No matter the size of the win, celebrate by acknowledging yourself for what you have achieved. Celebrate your amazing progress in ways that fuel your creativity, energy and make you feel good.

Don’t Celebrate Wins With Tequila

I try not to celebrate with junk food, alcohol, sugar or expensive purchases. It’s easy to think that eating ice-cream and drinking bourbon sound pretty celebratory to me, but that, I have learned, can lead to a belly full of regret. By saving booze swilling and ice-cream eating for rare other occasions, I celebrate my wins in a more meaningful way.

You are Celebrating Progress

By tracking and recording your goals, you see the progress towards meaningful change. The powers of administration and journaling can improve your eating habits, your finances, relationships, and help build your career. As you write down your wins, you acknowledge what you have achieved. Along the ways, you knock out some big goals and you celebrate all you did to get there.

Specific positive things you can do for yourself, a little treat or experience you have been craving or even my go-to fancy bath are all ideal ways for you to take an extra moment for a simple pleasure. Your celebrations are important to your progress and can help you to overcome challenges and inspire you to reach your bigger goals.

Take a moment to think of a few things you could do to celebrate your next win. Or maybe you can think of something that you recently accomplished that could do with being acknowledged with a meaningful celebration.

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