The One Thing by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Self-reflection is a critical part of growth. This applies both to our personal lives and our businesses. We must consistently take stock of the things we’re doing, and the impact they’re having on our lives, so that we can adjust as needed. Making regular adjustments helps us to capimagesitalize on the things that are making a positive impact in our lives while allowing us to quickly eradicate those things that hold us back.

As we begin a new year, it’s a great time to make changes in our habits, and put actions into place that will make us happier and more successful. To make the shift easier and more likely to succeed, start by choosing one thing you can do to improve your life this year. It may be helpful to make a list of issues, both positive and negative you would like to address first.

Consider the issue that causes you the most stress or unhappiness, or the one that most stands in the way of your productivity. Think of it as the issue that is most likely to make you lose sleep at night.

Once you’ve identified the issue you’ll work on, start brainstorming ways to resolve it. This is generally the most difficult part, since it’s likely that if this issue had an easy resolution, you would have already resolved it.

Involve others in your brainstorming, if appropriate. For example, if the issue is an ongoing problem with your spouse, make an appointment to sit down together and discuss. If it’s a problem at work, talk to others who have an impact on the problem.

In some cases, your issue may not be a negative one, but rather a failure to do something you need to be doing to create a positive impact. For example, if you want to grow your business, you may need to add specific tasks to your routine that help you to attract new clients or increase sales.

Starting with a single issue to resolve can help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed about making changes in your life. Once you’ve made strides toward resolving the first issue, you’ll likely feel energized about moving to the next item on your list. This momentum can help you move through the most important issues in your life as you feel ready to tackle these. Before you know it, you’ll see a significant impact in your life as you address the issues holding you back.

Looking Back to Move Forward by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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As we reach year end, it’s natural to pause for reflection on the past year and to anticipate the year to come. One of the best waysindex to ensure productivity and mindfulness in the coming year is to combine those two efforts into an exercise that helps you use the past to shape the future.

As the year ends, take the time to reflect on all the things that went well in your business, and to consider what you can do to replicate those things in the coming year. Set goals to go even further than last year, if appropriate, using the data from this past year to help you list the tasks you must carry out to reach your new goals.

Take a look, as well, at the things that didn’t go as planned in your business. Were the goals the wrong goals to begin with? If the goals were appropriate, list the things that got in your way and kept you from reaching the goals. Adjust for the coming year and mark your calendar to check in on your progress and make adjustments quarterly.

Reflect on the things that brought you happiness this past year. Whether it was a great vacation, extra time spent with family, or rewarding volunteer work, be sure you’ve noted its impact on your life. Then, make sure to include more of it in your plans for 2018.

Finally, make note of the things from 2017 that caused you unhappiness. Determine how you can rid your life of these things, or at least minimize their impact on your happiness. If you have toxic relationships, vow to fix these or leave these.

Once you’ve reflected on all these areas of your life, be sure to take into account new things you want to bring into your life in 2018. Have you neglected to pursue interests or relationships because of work or other commitments? If so, make a plan to add these activities to your life.

Every year brings a new opportunity to improve our lives. Reviewing the past year and using its events and results, both good and bad, can help us to see the areas where we are excelling, as well as those where we need to make adjustments. As you celebrate this holiday season, don’t forget to look back and look forward.

 

Holding Yourself Accountable by Ciindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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As leaders, we regularly hold others accountable for their actions and for doing their jobs. In many cases, we find it easier to hold others accountable than ourselves. It’s easy to make excuses about our bad habits or our failure to stay focused. images2

Learning to hold yourself accountable and ensuring you live up to the standards you set for others is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself as a leader. To help ensure you stay true and accountable, begin practicing the following skills.

  • Write down your goals. Know what you’re working toward and when you plan to have achieved it. Monitor your progress regularly and make adjustments when progress isn’t going as planned.
  • Write down your tasks. This is the first step toward holding yourself accountable. Make a list of what you will do either daily or weekly, in order of priority. Work on high priority items first, and then move to lesser priority items. At the end of the day, if you haven’t made it through your list, decide how to handle this issue, either working late to complete the items, or moving them to the next day’s list. Over time, you’ll get a good handle on how much you should get accomplished in a day, and you’ll begin to see patterns emerge regarding what gets in your way of accomplishing your daily or weekly goals.
  • Have an accountability partner. Work with someone who will hold you accountable and you hold them accountable.  Have regular check in calls and document progress.  Work with someone who is comfortable to call you out when you get off track and visa versa.
  • Give yourself incentives to ensure you get work completed or meet goals. You can use positive or negative reinforcement to help you stay accountable. For example, promise yourself you can have a special night out if you complete all your tasks this week. Conversely, you could deny yourself something you normally do because you enjoy it if you don’t meet your weekly goals.

Holding yourself accountable takes discipline. These exercises are designed to help you develop this self-discipline to the point that you don’t even have to consider whether or not you’ll meet the requirements you set for your self. Once you have this self-master, you’ll be well on your way to being the leader you’ve set out to become.