1. Set Goals Regularly to Live a More Meaningful Life

    October 9, 2013

    meaningful life

    by Adrienne Erin

    The importance of goal setting for a happy, productive life cannot be understated. The pleasure of working towards and attaining a goal brings happiness, satisfaction and pride. Too often, however, people think goal setting only applies to “big ticket” desires such as finishing school, saving for a vacation or finding true love.

    We tend to forget how helpful goal setting is on a daily basis. Plus, the more we use goal setting for small, daily tasks, the more skilled we become at planning, working towards and attaining goals of any size.

    Daily Goal Setting

    Every evening before I go to bed, I write down five small goals for the next day. They could relate to anything: work, volunteering experiences, enriching my relationships with loved ones, what I’ll cook for dinner or anything else. I organize these five goals in order of importance and when I’ll have time to do them.

    When I get up, I glance at the first item of my to-do list, and work towards its completion. I go down the list, completing each item and ticking it off as I go. At the end of the day, I brainstorm five new goals for the next day.

    More Than a To-Do List

    If you think this sounds like a daily to-do list, you’re right – up to a point. More importantly than a daily list of accomplishments, my daily to-do list is also a training tool. I practice the essentials of goal setting every day: brainstorming goals, prioritizing goals and working towards their completion. My daily to-do list is the foundation for attaining larger goals.

    In addition to my daily list, I make a weekly goal list at the start of every week, listing one or two goals I want to attain that week. I do the same for each month, every six months, each year, and five years. My goal schedule may look something like this:

    • Daily goals: Clean the bathroom, drop off son at karate practice, write four blog entries, surprise husband with supper, and weed front flower bed.
    • Week-long Goals: spend a day with parents, collect items for local food drive, clean out garage.
    • Monthly Goals: Paint living room, try five new recipes, use coupons more frequently to save money, find time to help at the local library.
    • Six-Month Goal: Save $150 a month for Christmas and $50 a month to donate to a charity.
    • Year-long Goal: Pay off car loan early by adding $50 a month to payments, spend more time for self-development and inspirational reading
    • Five-year Goal: Plan, save and prepare for Costa Rica hiking vacation with my family, learn Spanish.

    Your goal list will probably look quite different. What are the small tasks that just never seem to get done? It can help to start tackling those. If you’ve been dreaming for months now to repaint the living room, break the goal down into smaller tasks and incorporate them into your to-do list, like so:

    • Today: Stop by hardware store and pick up paint chips, choose a color.
    • This week: Return to store and purchase paint and dropcloths.
    • This month: Set aside several hours to move furniture away from walls, put down dropcloths, tape borders, and paint the walls.

    If you’re raising money for a local charity drive, your to-do list might look more like this:

    • Today: Post on Facebook about the charity, email coworkers about the charity.
    • This week: Raise $100 from friends, family, and other contacts
    • This month: Reach my $400 fundraising goal.

    The task was probably overwhelming until you actually took the time to plan out all of the steps you would need to take and when they need to get done.

    Start Small, Dream Big

    Goal setting can overwhelm people if they start with large, long-term goals. This is especially true if you’re coming out of a significant life change, such as divorce, the death of a loved one, or a long-term hospital stay.

    Start small, with daily goals. As you become more confident in your ability to set and attain goals, move on to weekly goals, then monthly and so on. While at first it may seem intimidating, coming up with six-month, year-long, and five-year goals, over time it will become more freeing. These will probably change little from week to week, but if you get a new idea for a long-term goal, add it to your list! A long-term goal can be almost anything, from “learn Russian” to “quit drinking.”

    Before you know it, you’ll be setting goals for five years down the road. With those in mind, what can you do to prepare for, save for, or start accomplishing those goals today? Mapping out your life with short- and long-term goals is immensely satisfying, and helps you identify how you really want to live.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian – http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/3028568109

  2. Motivational Strategies to Achieve Your Goal

    September 27, 2013

    power of motivation

    by Danielle Faith

                    Motivation is one of the most important psychological features because it commands us to act out of want or need. Without motivation, there would be no incentive to strive towards our deepest inner desires, wishes and goals. If motivation is necessary for our survival and happiness, you ask, then why is it so easy to become unmotivated? Fortunately, motivation is a basic part of who we are, and can never leave us completely. Instead, our motivation can sometimes become lost, and is often particularly difficult to find again. Losing motivation can happen for a number of reasons which include psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression; losing motivation can even be a subconscious coping method from anticipating failure. No matter how far your motivation has gone, you can find it again. With some of these motivational strategies, it won’t be long until you have enough motivation to complete everything that you’ve been wanting and more.

    Set Reasonable Goals

    It’s easy to get discouraged when you set high goals that are impossible to reach. When you try to do everything at once, or try to do everything too fast, you will burn yourself out. No one is perfect, so if you don’t reach your goal in the time period you set for yourself, the worst thing to do is give up. Giving up on goals is one of the easiest ways to lose motivation. When you set smaller, more reasonable goals for yourself, the satisfaction of achievement will give you that boost of motivation you need to keep going until you eventually are able to reach the bigger goals that you were striving towards all along.

    Build Momentum

    One of the easiest ways to keep feeling motivated is to stay active. Staying active doesn’t necessarily mean staying physically active and exercising. Instead I mean staying active in pursuing your goals. To increase motivation, you must also increase your momentum. If your goal is to run a 5K, then you have to run or jog every day to force yourself closer to your goal. If you want to write a novel, write every day! Doing the things associated with your goals, and starting them instead of procrastinating, is one of the simplest things you can do to increase motivation.

    Share Your Goals

    Everyone wants to achieve their goals, but if no one else knows about that goal besides you it’s easy to shrug it off and accept defeat. However, once you tell friends and family about that goal, you’ll be so much more motivated than before. Who doesn’t want to look smart, talented and motivated in front of those we care about? We all want to feel like our accomplishments are noticed, and we never want to look like a failure in the eyes of others. This is a huge and crucial step in working toward achieving your goals and staying motivated, but it can seem a little scary. Try only telling one person who will wholeheartedly support you at first, and then you’ll be willing to open up for others. Once you have a solid support system, failure isn’t an option anymore, and you will stay motivated to achieve.

    Set Up a Reward System

    Sometimes the feeling we’ll get once we achieve a goal is a big enough motivator in itself. Sometimes however, the goal is a long way away and the big reward at the end isn’t enough to hold our motivation. When this happens, that doesn’t mean you should give up! Motivate yourself by creating a smaller reward system along the way. Make sure the reward system follows your goals, and you choose a reward that will keep you motivated. If you want to get in shape, it might not be the best idea to reward yourself with cupcakes or sweets. Instead, your reward should be getting that athletic shirt you’ve been eyeing, or finally buying those new running shoes. This will not only get you motivated for the reward, but motivated to actually achieve your goal.

    Remind Yourself

    Once motivation becomes lost, it’s hard to remember why you started the goal in the first place. Don’t let yourself give up because you’ve hit a rough patch. Rough patches happen to everyone, and you will climb out eventually. Prevent this by posting motivational quotes or pictures on doors, mirrors or by your bed so you will be reminded of your goal every day. You can even get creative and make a motivational cork-board or a motivational collage. These strategies will inspire you to become motivated, and will remind you of that inspiration constantly.

    Motivation can be hard to find, but it’s never impossible. Rather than waiting for your motivation, sometimes it’s better to start working toward your goal anyway. Motivation will come eventually, but you don’t have to waste time by waiting. The most important step for become more motivated is the first one: starting.


    Image Credit: Henrik Mundal – http://www.flickr.com/photos/7283903@N02/5892715491

  3. Time For A Better Lifestyle: How Do You Begin Making Changes?

    July 29, 2013

    making changes

    by Lisa Coleman

    These days, it seems like everyone is looking to eat healthier and exercise more. It sounds easy enough, but for those of you who were not raised to eat your vegetables and start every morning with a jog, it can actually be quite challenging. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know where to begin. What matters is that you are interested in improving yourself. As long as you have the drive to get started and are willing to seek out healthy ways to motivate yourself, you will be on your way to discovering a better you in no time.

    Decide What You Would Like to Change

    Before you can set goals and make real changes in your life, you have to know what end results you actually want. Do you need to eat more vegetables or more fruit? Do you think your body may be missing out on certain vitamins and minerals, and if so, which ones? Are you generally in need of more physical activity in your life, or are you looking to tone and strengthen a particular area of your body? The more you know about what you want to improve, the easier you will be able to set specific goals to help you get there.

    Set Two Manageable New Goals Each Week

    It’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to change your life, and beginning with too many goals at once is setting yourself up for failure. Human beings are creatures of habit, so to really create change, you must start with a few healthy habits, like running in the morning, and get them ingrained in your brain. From there, you can build upon your progress and continue to tackle further improvements. Once you have your list of goals figured out, try setting one diet-related goal and one exercise-related goal per week and resolving to stick with them. That way you will be improving both areas at once, in a way that seems manageable for you.

    Consult a Life-Coach Directory

    If you’re struggling with getting motivated and defining goals for your life, don’t be ashamed to reach out and ask for help. Bad habits can become deeply ingrained and many people need an outside presence to help encourage them to change. A life-coach directory will connect you to many highly qualified life coaches in your area and help you determine the one that is best for your particular situation. By entering in a specific city and state or zip code you can find a large list local to your area. For example, by inputting Detroit, Michigan, all the available life coach Detroit area choices will be provided, along with all of their qualifications, specialty areas and reviews. Life coaches care deeply about helping others, but they are also often people who have overcome many challenges themselves, such as weight loss, or recovery from depression and drug addiction. When you find the right life coach, you can rest assured that he or she will not give up until you are well on your way to becoming the person you believe that you can be.

    Making change is always difficult, no matter how much support you have. The hardest part of change is taking that first step, so if all you do today is write out a list of goals, you have already made an important move in the right direction. Where you go from there is up to you.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian