4 Tips for Setting Powerful Goals

making goals

We all have two choices: We can make a living or we can design a life.

Here’s how to do the latter.

The most important benefit of setting goals isn’t achieving your goal; it’s what you do and the person you become in order to achieve your goal that’s the real benefit.

Goal-setting is powerful because it provides focus. It shapes our dreams. It gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve everything we desire in life. Goals are great because they cause us to stretch and grow in ways that we never have before. In order to reach our goals, we must become better.

Life is designed in such a way that we look long-term and live short-term. We dream for the future and live in the present. Unfortunately, the present can produce many difficult obstacles. But setting goals provides long-term vision in our lives. We all need powerful, long-range goals to help us get past those short-term obstacles. Fortunately, the more powerful our goals are, the more we’ll be able to act on and guarantee that they will actually come to pass.

What are the key aspects to learn and remember when studying and writing our goals? Here’s a closer look at goal-setting and how you can make it forceful and practical:

1. Evaluate and reflect.

The only way we can reasonably decide what we want in the future and how we’ll get there is to know where we are right now and what our current level of satisfaction is. So first, take some time to think through and write down your current situation; then ask this question on each key point: Is that OK?

The purpose of evaluation is twofold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments and your pursuit of the vision you have for life. Secondly, it shows you where you are so you can determine where you need to go. Evaluation gives you a baseline to work from.

Take a couple of hours this week to evaluate and reflect. See where you are and write it down so that as the months progress and you continue a regular time of evaluation and reflection, you will see just how much ground you’re gaining—and that will be exciting!

2. Define your dreams and goals.

What are your dreams and goals? This isn’t what you already have or what you have done, but what you want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? Have you ever taken the time to truly reflect, to listen quietly to your heart, to see what dreams live within you? Your dreams are there. Everyone has them. They may live right on the surface, or they may be buried deep from years of others telling you they were foolish, but they are there.

Take time to be quiet. This is something that we don’t do enough of in this busy world of ours. We rush, rush, rush, and we’re constantly listening to noise all around us. The human heart was meant for times of quiet—to peer deep within. It is when we do this that our hearts are set free to soar and take flight on the wings of our own dreams. Schedule some quiet “dream time” this week. No other people. No cellphone. No computer. Just you, a pad, a pen and your thoughts.

Write down all of your dreams as you have them. Don’t think of any as too outlandish or foolish—remember—you’re dreaming! Let the thoughts fly and take careful record.

Now, prioritize those dreams. Which are most important? Which are most feasible? Which would you love to do the most? Put them in the order in which you will actually try to attain them. Remember, we are always moving toward action—not just dreaming.

3. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

The acronym S.M.A.R.T. means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.

Specific: Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.

Measurable: Always set goals that are measurable. I would say “specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific.

Attainable: One of the detrimental things that many people do—with good intentions—is setting goals that are so high that they are unattainable.

Realistic: The root word of realistic is “real.” A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make “real” or a “reality” in our lives. There are some goals that are simply not realistic. You have to be able to say, even if it is a tremendously stretching goal, that yes, indeed, it is entirely realistic—that you could make it. You may even have to say that it will take x, y and z to do it, but if those happen, then it can be done. This is in no way to say it shouldn’t be a big goal, but it must be realistic.

Time: Every goal should have a timeframe attached to it. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end—a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it. As time goes by, you work on it because you don’t want to get behind, and you work diligently because you want to meet the deadline. You may even have to break down a big goal into different parts of measurement and timeframes—that is OK. Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time. A S.M.A.R.T. goal has a timeline.

4. Have accountability.

When someone knows what your goals are, they hold you accountable by asking you to “give an account” of where you are in the process of achieving that goal. Accountability puts some teeth into the process. If a goal is set and only one person knows it, does it really have any power? Many times, no. A goal isn’t as powerful if you don’t have one or more people who can hold you accountable to it.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

11 Benefits of Being Positive

The Benefits of Positivitypositive thinking3

1. Positive people live longer. In a study of nuns, those that regularly expressed positive emotions lived an average of 10 years longer than those who didn’t (Snowdon, 2001).

2. Positive work environments outperform negative work environments (Goleman, 2011).

3. Positive, optimistic salespeople sell more than pessimistic salespeople (Seligman, 2006).

4. Positive leaders are able to make better decisions under pressure (Institute of HeartMath, 2012).

5. Marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions, whereas when the ratio approaches 1-to-1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce (Gottman, 1999).

6. Positive people who regularly express positive emotions are more resilient when facing stress, challenges, and adversity.”

7. Positive people are able to maintain a broader perspective and see the big picture, which helps them identify solutions, whereas negative people maintain a narrower perspective and tend to focus on problems (Fredrickson, 2009).

8. Positive thoughts and emotions counter the negative effects of stress. For example, you can’t be thankful and stressed at the same time.

9. Positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation help athletes perform at a higher level (Institute of HeartMath, 2012).

10. Positive people have more friends, which is a key factor of happiness and longevity (Putnam, 2000).

11. Positive and popular leaders are more likely to garner the support of others and receive pay raises and promotions and achieve greater success in the workplace.

The Cost of Negativity:

1. Ninety percent of doctor visits are stress related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. A study found that negative employees can scare off every customer they speak with—for good (Rath, 2004).

3. At work, too many negative interactions compared to positive interactions can decrease the productivity of a team, according to Barbara Fredrickson’s research at the University of Michigan.

4. Negativity affects the morale, performance, and productivity of our teams.

5. One negative person can create a miserable office environment for everyone else.

6. Robert Cross’s research at the University of Virginia demonstrates that 90 percent of anxiety at work is created by 5 percent of one’s network—the people who sap energy.

7. Negative emotions are associated with decreased life span and longevity.

8. Negative emotions increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

9. Negativity is associated with greater stress, less energy, and more pain.

10. Negative people have fewer friends.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

How do you want people to see you as a leader?

leade 3

…..as honest and full of integrity, or dishonest and full of deceit? It’s your choice.

For a leader, honesty and integrity are absolutely the keys to success.

A lot of people don’t realize how closely they’re being watched by others. But do you remember when you were a kid in grade school, how you used to sit there staring at your teacher all day? By the end of the school year, you could do a perfect imitation of her mannerisms. You were aware of the slightest nuances in her voice—all the little clues that distinguished levels of meaning and told you the difference between bluff and “I mean business.”

As a child, you were able to do this after eight or nine months of observation. Suppose you had five or 10 years—do you think there would’ve been anything about your teacher you didn’t know?

Now fast forward and use that analogy as a manager. How much does your team know about you right this minute? Have you been completely honest with them, or do you feel like you’ve gotten away with small dishonest things?

An act of dishonesty can’t be hidden, and it will instantly undermine the authority of a leader. However, an act of integrity and kindness is just as obvious. When you’re in a leadership position, you have the choice of how you will be seen—but you will be seen, one way or the other.

In any organization, people want to believe in their leaders. If you give them reason to trust you, they’re not going to go looking for reasons to think otherwise, and they’ll be just as perceptive about your positive qualities as they are about the negative ones.

Yet we all know people who have gotten ahead as a result of dishonest or unethical behavior. But like the old saying goes, “Hope of dishonest gain is the beginning of loss.” I don’t think it’s refering to loss of money. I think it actually means loss of self-respect. You can have all the material things in the world, but if you’ve lost respect for yourself, what do you really have? The only way to ever attain success and enjoy it is to achieve it honestly with pride in what you’ve done.

Do you have a good reputation as the boss? Try incorporating the actions of effective leaders into your daily routine to make sure you do.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

The Biggest Challenge You’ll Face as a Leader

LION Team

Once you’ve set a goal for yourself as a leader—whether it’s to create your own enterprise, energize your organization or lead your small team—the challenge is finding good people to help you accomplish that goal. Gathering a successful team of people is not only helpful, it’s necessary.

To guide you in this daunting task of picking the right people, here’s a four-part check-list.
1. Check their background or history.
This might be the most obvious step, but it’s vitally important. Seek out available information regarding the individual’s qualifications to do the job.
2. Check their interest level.
Once you’ve learned their qualifications, gauge the potential employee’s genuine interest. Sometimes people can fake their interest, but if you’ve been a leader for a while, you’ll be a capable judge of whether somebody is merely pretending. 
Arrange face-to-face conversation and try to gauge his or her sincerity to the best of your ability. You won’t hit the bull’s-eye every time, but you can get pretty good at spotting genuine interest. The most interested prospects are often good ones.
3. Check their responses.
A response tells you a lot about someone’s integrity, character and skills. Listen for responses like these: “You want me to get there that early?” “You want me to stay that late?” “The break is only 10 minutes?” “I’ll have to work two evenings a week and Saturdays?”
You can’t ignore these clues. They indicate his or her character and often reveal how hard he or she will work. Our attitudes reflect our inner selves—so even if we can fool others for a while, our true selves eventually emerge.
4. Check results.
How else can we effectively judge an individual’s performance? The final judge must be results—and there are two types of results to look for.
The first type is work activity, and it’s simple to follow up on. Within a sales organization, you can request a new salesman make 10 calls his first week. If he starts telling a story or makes excuses for poor results when you follow up on his progress, it’s a definite sign. If his lack of activity continues, you’ll soon realize that he may not be capable of being a member of your team.
The second area you need to monitor is productivity. The ultimate test of a quality team is measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time. Be up front with your team as to what you expect them to produce. Don’t let the surprises come later.
When you’re following this four-part check-list, your instincts play a major role, and they will improve each time you go through the process.
Remember, building a successful team will be one of your most challenging tasks as a leader. The good news is that it will reap you multiple rewards for a long time to come.
Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

Are you a Shark or a Goldfish?

  sharkgoldfish

If you are facing a challenge and anxious about your situation, I know how you feel. I lost my job in 2001 during the dotcom bust. The company was losing money faster than we could raise it and eventually the company sank faster than the Titanic.

I thought it was the worst event of my life. I was two months away from being bankrupt. I had a wife, two young children, a mortgage, no health insurance, and very little savings. I was a paycheck away from losing it all.

It sounds bad. It felt bad. At the time it was bad. But one day I decided that I wasn’t going to let this challenge take me down. And that’s when I knew I had to change what I was thinking and doing.

I read a few books including Who Moved My Cheese and Rich Dad, Poor Dad which helped me make some important decisions through the change. Eventually these decisions would lead to the work I do now as a writer, consultant, and speaker.

My layoff led to my life’s mission and purpose. What I thought was the worst event in my life actually lead to the best. I’m not alone. Gallup did a study and asked people to identify the worst and best event of their life. They found that there was an 80% correlation between the two events.

There was also a British study of 500 “charmed” people. They seemed to have it all; wealth, success, great relationships, etc. The researchers were surprised to discover that every one of these “charmed” people had bad things happen to them. They all experienced challenges and adversity, however, each one of them turned the bad into good and their misfortune into fortune.

The truth is that challenges and change are a part of life. The waves of change are always coming our way. But when the wave hits we have a choice. We can embrace it and ride it to a successful future or resist it and get crushed by the wave.

Embracing our waves of challenge and change is all about how we perceive and respond to the events we face.

We can’t always control the (E) vents in our life but we can control our (P)ositive response to these events and this often determines the (O)utcome.

When the change hits instead of focusing on the challenge we can choose to look for the opportunity. We can ask what this event is teaching us and identify how we can grow stronger and wiser from it. We can live in fear or move forward with faith and take positive action.

We can decide to be a Shark instead of a Goldfish? Goldfish become paralyzed by fear. They stay in their comfort zone and wait for someone to feed them. On the other hand Sharks (nice sharks) move forward with faith and take action. They trust that their best days are ahead of them, not behind them. Instead of waiting to be fed they venture out in the ocean of possibility in search of food. Their beliefs and actions create a self filling prophecy; because they expect to find food and take action to find it, they do.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

The Power of Daily Practices

best practiceSuccess, world-class health, internal fulfilment and sustained happiness don’t just happen. These elements of your best life are created. All too often we look at a human being playing their best game on the playing field of life and assume they got lucky or were born into their lofty condition. What we don’t see is all the devotion and discipline that went into crafting the extraordinary results we see.

What I’m suggesting is that personal and professional greatness takes work. I’m not someone who would ever tell you that you could get to your dreams without having to make some sacrifices and pay the price in terms of dedication and self-control. The best amongst us make it all look so easy. I call it The Swan Effect- elite performers make personal excellence look effortless and seem to make things happen as gracefully as a swan moves along the water. But like the swan, what you don’t get to see is all the hard-work taking place below the surface.

The best way to create spectacular results in the most important areas of your life is through daily practice. In my life, I have a series of practices that set me up for a great day. Yes, sometimes life sends you unexpected challenges that knock you off track-that’s just life happening. But with a series of practices to keep you at your best, you’ll stay in a positive state much more often.

Practices that will lock you into your best state include a morning journalling session where you record your feelings, thoughts, and the blessings you are grateful for. Or you may start your day with a strong workout and an elite performer’s meal. I often listen to music for 15 minutes, as it not only energizes me, it just makes life better. I also use success statements or affirmations to get my mind focused.

Success and joy and inner peace don’t just show up. You need to create them. Find your series of practices, perform them with consistency. And then go out into this beautiful world of ours and shine.

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

Accountability

The whole notion of being accountable to somebody isn’t new.  

As humans we’re forever condemned to our comfort zones.  

It’s that warm cosy place where mediocrity lives.

But venturing out into the cold tundra that is the risk-taking-unknown without our Canada Goose Jackets is where we’ll see the most progress in life.

And having someone to handshelp guide us – having someone who we’re accountable to – gives us that daily push to give more and to really help us towards our goals.

Because as humans – even though we’re supposed to be self-motivated – we’re a natural co-operative being that doesn’t like letting other people down.

That’s what’s hard-wired into our system as people – lone wolf or not.

In the 90s, Michael Jordan used accountability to prepare himself physically to carry the Chicago Bulls to double 3-peat NBA Championships.

Each morning around 6am he would get up and meet Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant (or Ron Harper the 2nd time around) and they would head to the gym and lift weights for 2 hours.  

After that they would go eat breakfast together.  This was done BEFORE their regular practices.

They called themselves “The Breakfast Club

They did this every day of the regular season for 3 years without fail.  

Routine.  

Dedication.  

Accountability to each other.  

6 Championships.  

Would MJ have been able to get up and lift weights every morning by himself?  

But getting his 2 best team mates and friends involved solidified the chemistry needed to achieve their ultimate goal – his ultimate goal – winning an NBA Championship.

Having the accountability to each other is arguably what made that happen.

So who are you accountable to in your life?

Who’s there holding you responsible for your actions (or lack of actions) towards your goals?

Find that person or people and set something up – goals, action steps and consequences – and I guarantee that you’ll accelerate your path to success.

Reproduced with Kind permission from Robin Sharma

How to Grow Self Discipline

self discipline

Learning the latest science + methods to improve your willpower is one of the best ways to create immense success.

At the base of all legendary performance in business, sports, music, relationships and life lies a strong character—born from well practiced self-control.

Study Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer. Gandhi and Zuckerberg. Darwin to Gaga. They all rose to where they are via the vehicle of inner strength.

You see it takes self-discipline to:

–put in the 10 years of practice research like Anders Ericsson’s has taught us is the minimal amount of training time needed before genius-level performances begin to present themselves.

–make the sacrifices needed to be made to get epic results. You can play video games for hours each day or become the undisputed master of your craft. But you can’t do both.

–to be relentless and display the grit needed to stay in the game and remain loyal to your vision long after the initial inspiration has vanished.

–keep learning each day, iterating your moves and optimizing your performance.

–remain focused, centred and devoted in the face of the inevitable ridicule and laughter that your aim for iconic will generate. People residing within The Cult of Average don’t like to see others rise. It threatens their security. And spotlights their low self-worth.

As well, it’s my humble observation that we live in a world that doesn’t value the development of willpower so much. We revere the over-selfied TV stars and pedestal the viral video “fails”. But…

…the crafts person quietly making art in her studio gets no due.

…the startup entrepreneur who gave up his luxuries to launch the dream is considered crazy.

…the mother or father who resists many social obligations to spend peak-quality time with their children is called an outlier.

…the manager who awakes at 5 am to run their morning ritual so they fly at work is labelled an eccentric.

Society invites us to pursue instant pleasure + fast bursts of joy + quick hits of feeling good.

To have the results only 5% have, you have to do what only 5% are willing to do.

And high on the list is the pursuit of self-discipline. So here are some of the keys (many confirmed by recent research and good science) to help you to install world-class willpower:

#1. Please know that self-control (scientists refer to it as “self-regulation”) has been found to be a lot like a muscle: the more you exercise it the stronger it grows. It’s pure myth that elite achievers are born with gifts you don’t have. And buying into that idea is a great way to avoid the discomfort of doing the work you need to do to enjoy the success you deserve to have.

#2. Research is also revealing that, every day, we draw willpower from the same reservoir. This means that checking your social notifications, watching the news, surfing the web and shopping online steals the self-discipline that could be used for developing a core skill, scaling your business, getting ultra-fit, nourishing a gorgeous family life or strengthening your internal world.

#3. As you exercise the muscle of your will by making decisions, taking actions and pursuing activities, your self-control “muscle” depletes. One of the world’s foremost researchers in this field, Roy Baumeister (definitely read his superb book Willpower) calls this phenomenon “ego depletion”. This explains the behavior of celebrities that have destroyed their careers by one foolish move: they used up so much of their self-discipline energy on their crafts/practicing/performing that they had none left to wisely handle a temptation.

#4. By installing a daily routine to ensure “willpower renewal”, you’ll avoid ego depletion–and perform at your highest level. I suggest you schedule practices like visualization, conversation, smart entertainment and even napping into your day to make that happen.

#5. By pushing yourself to do what’s important but not easy, your self-control reservoir will expand. The places where your discomfort lives are the places where your power lies.

#6. Science also confirms that when we are tired, under stress and depleted, we have low glucose in our systems. And low levels of glucose diminish our self-discipline. By eating low glycemic index foods like meat, vegetables and nuts, you’ll avoid that crash. And getting enough sleep also keeps your glucose levels where they should be. Sleep-deprived people don’t do beautiful work.

 Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma #1 best selling author of “The Leader Who Had No Title”

How to Turn Ideas into Action

Being genuinely disciplined requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don’t need to be too hasty, but you also don’t want to lose much time. The time to act is when the idea strikes us—when it is hot and the emotion is strong, before the feeling passes and the idea dims. If you don’t, you’ll fall prey to the law of diminishing intent. A month from now, the passion will be cold—a year from now, it won’t be found.                      take action

action

So take action. Set up discipline when the excitement is high and your idea is clear and powerful. You’ve got to take action—otherwise the wisdom is wasted. The enthusiasm will soon pass, unless you apply it to a disciplined activity. Discipline enables you to capture the emotion and wisdom and translate them into action. The key is to increase your motivation.  

The greatest value of discipline is self-worth, also known as self-esteem. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But once we sense the lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to just ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth.

There is a problem with even a little bit of neglect—neglect starts as an infection. If you don’t take care of it, it becomes a disease—and one neglect leads to another. Once this has happened, how can you regain your self-respect? All you have to do is act now. Start with the smallest discipline that corresponds to your own philosophy. Make the commitment: I will discipline myself to achieve my goals so that in the years ahead I can celebrate my successes.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

Climb that Mountain

climb that mountain

I rode my mountain bike the other day with my three year old son in the child’s seat. As we rode along the edge of the TPC golf course we noticed a boy running up and down these three little hills on the edge of the golf course. I knew what was coming next. My son said “Daddy, I want to run up the hill.” So, I stopped the bike, helped him get out of the seat and said, “Go ahead and climb that hill.”

He stood at the bottom looking at the hill. To him I could tell it seemed like a mountain. He started up the hill but then stopped. His momentum could not carry him up the hill. It was pretty steep and he looked nervous and scared.

I wasn’t sure if he would be able to climb it and neither was he. Then I said, “step back and then run up it,” so he did fearlessly.

When he reached the top his face beamed with pride. He just stood there looking at the view from the top; his view and perspective changed by a few seconds and a climb up a little mountain.

From the look on his face, which I will never forget, I could tell his confidence was at an all time high. He proceeded to run up and down the three little hills like a human roller-coaster. When he reached the bottom of the third hill we walked back to the bike and went on our way.

I realized at that moment why we all need to climb a mountain every now and then. When we climb mountains, face challenges, hurdle obstacles and learn from difficult situations we are reminded that we have the strength and power to overcome life’s challenges.

At first even a little mountain may seem like a big insurmountable mountain. But when you step back and climb it you realize, “I can do this.”

The mountain, no matter how big it is, is no match for your faith and desire to climb it. Mountains are meant to be climbed. Wounds are meant to be healed and problems are meant to become learning experiences. They all serve a purpose. They make us stronger mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

While we often can’t control what happens to us we can control how we see and climb the mountains in our life. We can look at mountains as being in the way or as “the way” to growth.

We have a choice. We can stand at the bottom and say, “it’s too hard, it’s too high and I can’t do it” or we can dig down deep and find the very best in ourselves and fearlessly run up it.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon