How Can I Challenge Myself In 2014?

2013 saw so many challenges, it was a year that saw my business gain more direction and focus and at the same time diversify, adapt and change.  There was a 3 day expedition for charity in the Lake District in May and a second fundraiser performing stand up comedy for Gingerbread.

I’m now looking ahead to 2014, and thinking that my few humble goals are nothing special.  A few carefully constructed action plans and a bit of dedication and motivation will see me through.  What they are lacking is the real challenge, the excitement of 2013.

How do I make my goals exciting?  How do I really challenge myself in 2014?

I’ve thought about this long and hard and concluded that most of the excitement in a goal comes from the challenge.  My goals seem flat and uninteresting because they are task based i.e.

  • I will take on x new team members this year.
  • I will do y task by z date.

These are just stepping stones to enable something bigger.  So I’m going to shake them up a little.  I’m talking more about missions than goals.  My mission should be all encompassing, challenging and exciting.  It should put my business on a new level and the tasks based goals will become obvious.

The mission will take my business to a new level.  And will look more like this:

I will be known as………..

Of course this question still needs to be answered.  It affects my goals, my branding, my business planning and I need to take time out to do this.

What will you be known for in 2014?

If you can’t answer that question, taking some time out for you to think about it can be a useful process and a coach can help facilitate your thinking and provide challenge.  If you want to know more about how a coaching session could help you or your business then CALL CAROLYN TODAY on 07714 216388

P1070982content and photo copyright Carolyn Trafford (2014)

 

 

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What Does Success Mean To You?

Watching Murray win Wimbledon certainly made me stop and think about success.  Success can mean so many different things to different people.  Have you stopped and thought about what it means to you?

This week we’ve seen Murray finally win Wimbledon.  Year after year the British have pinned their hopes on him, supporting him, willing him to win.  For many of us we’ll view his success as holding up the cup.

But what does success mean?  Lets face it success is different for everyone and whilst we can use it as a good example we have to relate the stages to our own dreams and ambitions, after all we don’t all hold the ambition to win Wimbledon.

Yes we can all see success in this photo and it is likely that winning Wimbledon was up there in Murray’s top goals list.  But how does he go from starting a tournament to holding up a cup?

Its important to break all goals down and celebrate success along the way. So winning Wimbledon is broken down by winning a numbers of matches, including a quarter, a semi and a final.

Each match requires you to win a number of sets, each set a number of games and each game a number of points.  Surely therefore it’s critical that each point is celebrated and if you follow Wimbledon you will see players like Murray celebrating each one.  It may be a punch in the air, a smile or a wave of a racquet, its still a celebration.

Its simple to apply this to our own dreams.  If realising our dream was just one step we’d have achieved it by now.  So what is your dream?  How can you break it down?  And do you celebrate each step as you get closer to the overall goal?

 

Woosh!! & You Missed It – Was That Your Goal?

Somebody reminded me this week that we’re half way through the year.  When on earth did that happen?

I’ve achieved lots already this year, I’ve joined a really great new networking group, I’m almost at the point of relaunching my website, supporting the Princes Trust and picked up an international client.  Some of these were goals at the start of the year – others have been happy surprises.

Either way the start of July is an excellent opportunity to review where you are with your goals and here is my 5 step plan:

  • Review Your Goals – Dig that action plan out from underneath the pile of filing, dust it off and take a good look at it – it could surprise you.
  • Celebrate What You Have Achieved – don’t be hard on your self for what you haven’t.  Write down your successes, record them in a journal, open some bubbly, share them on facebook (or in the comments below)  – it really doesn’t matter as long as you celebrate it.
  • Review What Is Outstanding – are they still relevant to you? Change some, dump some, create some and then create a new action plan for the second half of the year, but make sure its focused on what you really want to achieve.
  • View Them Regularly – its no good creating an action plan and shoving it to one side.  And if like me you find SMART goals a little tiresome, create your goals in a way that will inspire YOU. Draw them, cut pictures out of magazines, create a vision board.  I have my vision board in Pinterest feel free to take a look.  Some of the picture won’t mean anything to you but they mean a lot to me.  Having your goals in a visual format can really help them become meaningful.
  • Share Them – one of the biggest motivators in achieving goal success is to tell someone else you’re going to do it.  So share your goals with someone.  You could even share them here. I’d love to hear all about them.

© Brett Trafford(c) Brett Trafford Photography

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Does a healthy body really result in a healthy mind?

I’m not a scientist, I can’t say for sure, but its an ethos that I live by.  It started a couple of careers ago when I worked in a busy customer service environment and much that I hated going to the gym – I always found that a good session on the cross trainer helped to get rid of some of the stress and negative emotions that I was feeling. 

More recently, I found myself in a job that I was bored and demotivated in.  A good walk in the fresh air, even in the rain at lunchtime always made me feel better.  Although the problem didn’t really go away until I left the job, the lunchtime fresh air sessions were part of the catalyst for retraining.

Google the topic and you will find evidence to support this.  Recent studies by the  American Psychological Association (APA), have demonstrated that our mental, emotional, and physical health are closely linked.

Although technically not a value the principle of Healthy Body, Healthy Mind is firmly embedded in my business, particularly amongst my weight management clients, where we frequently have “walk and talk” sessions.

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I believe its important to nip negative feelings in the bud as longer lasting periods of stress can increase the risk of heart-related problems e.g. high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.

Depression can also be linked to a higher risk of developing high blood pressure,  heart attack.  But equally important is that a lack of excerise can also be the cause for stress and depression kicking in so its important that we manage and are aware of both.

So getting a balance is important, I’m not suggesting that anyone suddenly starts training for a marathon, but my one tip to anyone would be:

If you’re feeling the stresses and strains of your day, stop, take 5 and go for a short stroll.  You really will feel better for it.

 

New Year, New You?

 

As I start to write this blog post I’m worried about repeating myself. Why?

Well simply because as humans we are often creatures of habit.  I don’t know about you, but I feel myself going through the same motions every year.  1st January – come up with a barrow load of good intentions about what I’m giving up, losing weight or setting out to achieve.  The reality is that 25% of resolutions are broken within the first week or so I read somewhere on the internet so it must be true!!

So I sat down to write a post about having goals not resolutions.  Even the word goal suggests its something to aim towards rather than give up or deny. Only to realise that as a creature of habit I sat down to think all this through last year and even wrote a blog post about it.

So there we have it – a goal is a positive intention, something to aim for and if you wish to know more you can read about it in last years goal post (no pun intended).

I do however believe that the New Year is a really good time to be thinking about what we want to achieve and what we have already achieved.  So let me share some top tips:

  1. Complete a Personal Annual Review of achievements.  My post Achieving A PAR written last year tells you more, but just give yourself time to celebrate those successes.
  2. Make sure your goals have a positive intention, that is something that you want to aim for rather than give up.  My post about making goals count for you tells you more about making goals really work for you.
  3. Always keep goals in your vision.  Write them in your diary, create a vision board or whatever you need to do to remind you that you have them, but never ever be hard on yourself if you let your intentions slip or fall behind.  This is not a moment to give up, just the right time to refocus.

Happy New Year – I’d love to hear all about your goals and resolutions.  Please feel free to share them here.  Often telling someone else can help you remain focused.

 

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How Do You Eat An Elephant? – And What If You Have More Than One To Eat?

So how do you eat your  elephant?

The common answer is one bit at a time.  I’m sure many of you will have come across this before.  Its a common analogy for tackling your goals.  But its not always that easy is it?

At this time of year I start thinking about my goals.  All that stuff that I haven’t done yet but intended to do this year and all that stuff I want to do next year.  It can be a bit over- whelming.  And of course some of the goals require you to tackle many bits in one go – so the one bite at a time rule goes straight out of the window.

I quite like to use a priorities grid.   Simply draw a line right down the centre of your page vertically and then another one horizontally across the middle.  Label them:

High Priority – Quick to do

High Priority – takes time

Low Priority – Quick to do

Low Priority – Takes Time

Now you can list all your goals in the quadrants.  This tends to work best if you can break your goals down into all the little stages and split these across the quadrants.

Now start to tackle the High Priority – Quick to do tasks – it will amaze you how much you can achieve in an afternoon or even just an hour.  It’ll help you tackle that elephant one bite at a time AND multitask in getting more than one of those goals heading in the right direction.

 

So how do you tackle your goals? I’m sure my readers would love to hear your solutions too.

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The End Is Near – But There’s Still Time To Achieve Your 2012 Goals

 

Did you have goals/resolutions in January?  When did you last revisit them?

 

I sit here at my laptop, half of me thinking about keeping on top of my daily tasks such as social media, prepping for clients, writing …… the list goes on.  The other half of me is thinking about shopping, Amazon, lists, and turkeys.  Everyone is busy.

 

Christmas is less than 6 weeks away, then suddenly, just one week later we’ll be in January and thinking about goals, aims, business planning and new year resolutions.  I expect to be welcoming the new year in with friends, bubbly and wondering what happened to 2012.  Where did it go? And thinking about the goals I achieved and those that I didn’t.

 

Its not too late.  With just over 6 weeks to the end of the year I could achieve quite a bit.  So next week I’m going to make a bit of time in my diary for reviewing my plans over the last year.  Not only will that help me get closer to achieving them in 2012, but also give me more clarity about my 2013 goals.  In fact what better to do than think about them with some clarity now than try and do that with a headache on the 2nd January.

 

So why not have a look at that list of goals.  What can you tick off before the end of the year?

 

 

 

 

Why Life Is Like Knitting

 

Have you ever had to start over with something?  Maybe a project, a letter or a piece of work?

Don’t you just hate having to go back to the drawing board and starting from scratch?

I’ve recently taken up knitting.  Its something I’ve been meaning to do for some time, largely because I’m 42 and my mum is a fabulous knitter.  I’ve been putting off knitting but have to face it that Mum is not going to be around for ever and if I don’t seize the opportunity now then what a waste of those skills.  I’ve even joined a knit and natter group.  This allows me to network and enjoy my new hobby – bonus!

Its teaching me a lot.  I’ve recently had to unravel another batch of knitting, somehow I’d managed to twist it on a circular needle. I knew if I carried on the problem was just going to get worse and worse. Yet, I was so reluctant to have to unravel it and start again.  It felt such a waste of the time I’d already spent.  Yet my fellow knit & natter ladies were full of advice:

“Its not a waste, you’ve learned something about casting onto a circular needle”.

“Won’t you be much happier and feel much more fulfillment when you’ve overcome these challenges and finished the item”

It then occurred to me how similar this is to life.  I’ve had a bit of a wobble this week in regards to my business planning.  Where is my business going?  Can I really get the results I want to if I continue on the track I’m heading?

Cupcake Knitting needles

(Photo credit: Carissa Marie)

Yet the answer is staring me in the face.  I’m reluctant to take a step back and revisit my planning because I know that some of what I’ve already done could be wasted.  But it won’t be – its all learning and I’m looking for that sense of achievement when I’ve got to where I want to be.  I just need to take a step back and do a bit of unraveling but I know I will gain momentum when I have done this.

What is it that would be worth unraveling for you at this time?

Where are you trying to get to?

I’d love to hear all about it. Why not share it here?

How I spring Clean My Life

Wouldn’t it be good if spring cleaning your life was as easy as spring cleaning your house?

I know my friends in the South may not agree, however I’m a little fed up of rain.  I’ve been waiting for spring so that I can start my spring cleaning and it seems like all its done since the daffodils came out is rain, rain rain.

However I’m not just talking about spring cleaning my house.  I consider Spring to be a time to start new stuff.  Its a time when green shoots are coming up through the soil, lambs and chicks are being born and a really good time to feel alive.

Back in January I talked about achieving PAR (A personal annual review).  This was all about looking at the great stuff we had all achieved last year.  January is also a time for setting goals.  Something that many of us set out with good intention and then by April, if we haven’t already achieved them it is easy to let them fall by the wayside.

That’s the point when I start Spring Cleaning.  You see spring cleaning is all about looking at what is cluttering your life and getting in your way then if you want to – you can throw it out.  So here are my top tips on Spring Cleaning Your Life:

  1. Review your goals.  What have your achieved?  At this point give yourself credit for everything that you have succeeded in.  Its likely to be more than you think.
  2. Make a list of what is outstanding.  Ditch everything that is no longer important to you.  Cross it off your list.
  3. Review whats left.  Ask yourself a simple question for each one.  What is standing between me and achieving this goal?
  4. By each obstruction, jot down an action or step towards dealing with each one.  Remember no step is too small.
  5. You should now have a list of actions.  My preference is to stick them all down in an action plan and put it somewhere I can see everyday and tackle one regularly, i.e. one a day or 3 a week.

How will you tackle your outstanding items?

copyright Brett Trafford Photography

Goals – Making Them Count For Me

When was the last time you set some goals just for you?

We often find ourselves in the pursuit of goals because they have been imposed on us by underlying negative beliefs.  Typical examples include the words “should” and “must”.  Examples could be:

  • I can’t ask for help, it’s a weakness
  • I won’t make any mistakes
  • I should be the perfect partner
  • I always have to be the best
  • I must put others above myself

 

goal(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

 

When we set out to achieve goals that have been imposed on us, they become difficult to achieve, often with negative effects.  Good goals should be evaluated when setting them. Here are two simple rules:

  • Ensure your goal is valid.  Will achieving your goal result in a true and positive outcome?  If so, it is valid.  If it is based on an imposed or false belief and worsen your imbalance or problems then it is invalid.
  • Is your goal is ecologically sound?  By this I mean will achieving your goal have any negative side-effects for you or those around you?

If you find that your goal is ecologically unsound and/or invalid, you don’t have to forget about it. It might just need a little fine tuning.  Of course, you may also find that you don’t really want to achieve it and focus your attention on something you really want.

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