Checking In On 2017 Goals by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Way back in January, you set your yearly goals. January is an exciting time for many people, as it offers the chance to start over with a clean slate. You get to think about all the exciting and productive things you plan to do for the year, and put those ideas and goals on paper.

The time you spend making goals in January is wasted, however, if you aren’t revisiting those goals throughout the year. October marks the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year, and is the perfect opportunity to check in once more on those yearly goals. We’re three quarters of the way through the year, and moving into the home stretch on accomplishing our goals. Here are some tips on conducting your check in.goal

  1. Be honest. When you review your progress, don’t skip over anything. Take a hard look and what you said you would do compared to what you’ve actually done.
  2.  It’s likely you’ve met some of your goals, and can clearly see that you’ll meet others by year’s end. Take the time to celebrate crossing the finish line on goals and being on track to complete others.
  3.  Track what got in your way. You may find that you haven’t reached, or are not on track to reach, some of your other goals. Take a look at the obstacles that kept you from being where you wanted to be as you move into the fourth quarter. Some of your obstacles may be self-inflicted, while others may be completely out of your control.
  4.  Make adjustments for the final quarter. Where you’re lagging behind, evaluate the adjustments you should make to make up for the lag. If you find that it isn’t possible to meet the original goal, adjust the goal so that you’re still striving for improvement. Press the reset button and accomplish the most that you can for the remainder of the year.

Don’t give up on your goals. Even when you see that you can’t meet your original goals by year end, it’s unwise to totally scrap the goal. If you’ve found that a goal you set at the beginning of the year is no longer relevant to your success, replace it with a more relevant goal and keep moving forward. If you can’t accomplish all that you wanted for the year, make the most of the time you have left and do the very best you can. If you’ve given a goal all your effort, you still have plenty to celebrate at year end.

The Importance of Metrics by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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It’s that time of year! Everyone is back at the gym, and making all sorts of resolutions about how they’re going to change their life in 2017. Resolutions are great, and a new year does offer all of us the chance to hit the “reset” button by setting some new goals and making some much needed changes.

However, we’ve all seen resolutions broken and new plans abandoned sometime in February or March. One of the best ways to help ensure your goals for the year don’t get thrown by the wayside is to measure and track your forward movement. We often get discouraged about meeting our goals because we don’t see progress. Here are some ways setting up metrics can help you.index

  • Metrics let you know where you started. In order to track your progress on any goal, you must make note of your starting point. When you feel discouraged about your progress, look back at where you’ve started for reassurance.
  • Metrics help you set intermittent goals. Small goals that add up to big goals can help you stay focused and prevent burnout. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, set milestones of 10 pounds, for example. When you reach each ten pound goal, you feel energized to keep going.
  • Metrics pull you back on track. If you set goals and appropriate measurements to follow, you’ll see when your efforts are not where you expected them to be. By taking an honest look at the metrics, you can see how to get back on track.
  • Metrics give you reason to celebrate. How can you know when you’ve done well if you don’t measure your efforts? Metrics let you know when you have reason to celebrate, helping you stay motivated and ensuring you feel good about your efforts.

So, as you’re busy setting goals for the New Year, remember to set up some ways to measure your progress against those goals. Don’t forget, as well, to set some reminders so that you remember to take regular measurements. Tracking your progress as you move toward your goals is the easiest and most effective way to keep yourself on track as you work to meet your 2017 goals.

Why Willpower Is Not Enough by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Commitment is one of the most important aspects of success, regardless of the type of goal. Commitment, when it is true and deep, is a great fuel for moving forward. It is important to understand, however, even when you are deeply committed to a goal, you must have the systems in place to help you meet that goal.images

Too often we want to rely on willpower to help us meet our goals. However, relying on willpower is often ill-fated, as it is a resource that runs out quickly. We only have so much mental and physical energy to support willpower, and soon we give into our old habits because we are drained of this energy.

Rather, to meet goals, it is important to have systems in place to help move you forward. These systems will operate when your willpower fails, helping you to stay on track.

A simple example is of the proverbial dieter, who has vowed to give up cookies. This dieter is much more likely to be successful if she ensures that she doesn’t have access to cookies in her home than if she buys cookies, ostensibly for her family, relying on her willpower to refrain from eating them. It is likely that there will come an evening, after a long hard day at work, when she is tired and hungry. The cookies on the shelf will seem to be calling her name, and it will be too much for her willpower to overcome.

Systems set you up to be successful. Systems can be routines that help you stay on track, or even support people who hold you accountable. Systems can also be substitutes, helping you to replace problems or obstacles with more acceptable means. Using the example above, support systems might include dieting with a buddy, while substitutions might include buying low calorie cookies to help avoid a feeling of deprivation, allowing the dieter to have a snack.

Change is difficult, and making real change takes a period of practice. Having the systems in place to help you develop the right habits and keep them, will help ensure your success in making the changes you need as a leader.

Visualization Can Make a Big Difference by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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There are many techniques you can use to increase your chances of meeting your goals and being successful in your endeavors. Things like indexorganization, keeping a calendar and learning to prioritize are all important skills when it comes to making the most of your time to ensure you complete the activities that will make you successful. But, there is one activity that you might be neglecting that could have a powerful effect on achieving your goals. This activity is visualization.

Simply put, visualization involves imagining yourself achieving your goal. Imagine how you will feel, look, or what specific qualities will exist when you have reached the goal you’ve set. For example, if your goal is losing weight, you might visualize yourself in the perfect outfit at the perfect size, or imagine yourself being able to run a mile, or reach the finish line of a marathon. If business success is your goal, you might imagine winning a business award, reaching a certain revenue, or having an office full of employees. Seeing yourself having what you desire can help you achieve it.

Here’s why.
Your brain has the capacity to grow and develop. When you learn something, you change your brain. This is something you likely already know. What you may not know, however, is that your brain, as powerful as it is, cannot distinguish between actually experiencing something and imagining it.
According to a research paper by the Coaching Academy on neuroscience and visualization, “if you exercise an idea over and over (in your mind) your brain will begin to respond as though the idea was a real object in the world”.* As your brain visualizes the achievement of something, it is training itself for the actual achievement. The longer you do it, the easier it is to visualize, and the more likely you are to take the other steps needed to make the goal happen. And, there’s other science to suggest that the mere act of visualization actually moves you toward your goal.

A study at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio compared people who worked out at a gym with people who had virtual workouts in their minds. They found that those who actually worked out showed a 30% increase in muscle strength, as might be expected. However, those who engaged only in regular virtual workouts showed a muscle strength increase of 13.5%.*

So, as you’re making your list of tasks for reaching your goals; don’t forget to include visualization of yourself achieving that goal in your daily routine. It just might help you get there faster and easier.

*www.activeacuity.com

Building Momentum by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

As you face any new challenge, momentum helps you to ensure that you have the power and resilience required to meet your new goals. Momentum can help keep you focused when your enthusiasm may wane and can help keep you energized, momentum12preventing you from throwing in the towel when facing obstacles. Here are three ways to help build momentum early in a project that will see you through to the end.

1. Plan. A roadmap is critical in any long race. Having a plan in the beginning helps you to envision the steps required to meet the challenge. Though you may have to alter the plan throughout the course of the project, having an initial plan helps you to ensure you’re continuing to move in the right direction.

2. Gather resources. We rarely achieve great things alone. Be certain you have the human and capital resources you need to get the job done. It is very difficult to keep up momentum if you run out of people, money or equipment.

3. Envision the finish. Every project has ups and downs. The down times can make it difficult to rekindle the momentum you have in the early days of the project. Imagining the pride you will feel when you’ve accomplished your goals is a great way to ensure you keep the momentum going for any long-term goal. Recapture the image of your success as often as needed to help you keep your eyes on the prize.
Each of these ways of helping build momentum is fairly simple, and each can easily be a part of any type of project. Yet, as simple as these steps can be to take, these can also be critical to your success. Safeguard your project’s momentum from the very beginning, rather than trying to rekindle it when it wanes. Doing so will help you ensure that your project always moves steadily in the right direction.