Surviving Your Vacation with Your Goals Intact

I am republishing this popular blog to celebrate the special time of the year where we get to take a needed vacation.  I hope you enjoy it and I hope you survive your time away with your goals intact.

 

I am probably guilty here of making up a word, but I think every goal oriented person has suffered from this ailment.  Vacationitus- is the depression and grief we feel when we return from a vacation five or ten pounds over our normal body weight and suffering the pain of having to try to reconnect with the pre-vacation disciplines of eating and exercise.  Vacationitus is a setback, a reversal, a loss of ground toward our significant goals, and even worse a feeling of being unable to re-establish the good routines we once were on.  Having just recently gone through this crisis myself, I wanted to share five techniques that helped me over come Vacationitus and shed the excessive weight and get back to work.  Here they are.

1. Remind yourself of how successfully you have been in the past

For instance in the area of weight loss your thinking would go like this:

You lost 35 pounds in the last two years! People were walking up to you and  saying “Boy you’ve lost weight.”   Remind yourself how good those comments felt and remind yourself you have the power to deal with this issue.  The fact is       that since you have already done it once, you can do it again.  Your pep talk  should be,  “You know you can do this… you already have, just get your mind around it and start today.

2.  What are you about?   What are you up to?

It’s time to review your goals. A reversal is a great time to remind yourself of what you really want out of life and why you want it.  Again if the concern is vacation pounds, here are some good questions to ask yourself:

“Why is it necessary to lose the weight? “

“What are the benefits of staying in shape?”

My answers revolve around Self esteem.  I just feel so much better about myself when I am at my goal weight.  It is boost to my sense of personal worth    to control my weight rather than to be controlled by my eating.

I remind myself of that confidence is necessary to reach my goals, and that I am so much more confident when I am working out and my weight is under control.

3.  Start today

Every vacation ends, yours is over, you had a great time, and you ate what you wanted, now’s the time to get back to the real world.  Vacations are not the real world. They are meant to give us a break from reality and to free us from our disciplines long enough to relax, and that’s why we love them.  But vacations are meant to be temporary so grow up, get tough, and get back to the routines that have been bringing you success.

4.  Dealing with a setback.

There are other kinds of reversals than simple weight gain on vacation, but many of the same principles still apply. Maybe you have had an injury that is hindering your physical workouts. This can be very frustrating when you are pursuing physical training goals, but we have to be careful not to let it cause us to simply give up our pursuit of fitness.

I recently have been dealing with a knee injury that has slowed by workouts and led to much frustration on my part.  Here a couple questions I asked myself to get me going again in physical activity.

All right my leg is hindering exercise, but is it eliminating it?

Be honest, Kim, are there some things you can do physically?

Where can I get some good advice?  An injury is the time to invest in the cost of  getting good advice from qualified professionals.  Don’t quibble over spending  a few hundred dollars now, which might save you thousands in medical costs in  years to come.

5.  Others have done this, look to them.

This is the final technique and it’s an “oldie but goody.”  Success leave clues, and if others have overcome vactionitus and reversals in their lives they no doubt  have written or blogged about it.  Find them, read them, and copy them when they make sense.

Vacationitus happens to us all.  Reversals are part of life.  You can get back on track and reach goals.  So put down that doughnut and get out your workout gear and get started again on your dreams.

The Power of Quiet

Too many voices, too much noise, too crowded schedules, too many demands…. work that can’t get done, because it demands creativity and the noise drowns out your original thoughts.

You must get away.  You must unplug.  You must create a quiet space, or you’ll never produce anything original and deep. You’ll never be able to create quality material if you don’t get away from the “maddening crowd.”  Your mind has the ability to create new information for the world and problems you are facing.  Your brain has the capability to make new connections between the many streams of information coming at you and your team.  But, you’ll never make those connections if you don’t take time to listen to your own thoughts.

You must get quiet if you want to produce material that will make real noise in this world.

The reason why quiet works is because it combats the productivity loss of interruptions.  When we are in our office, our work can be interrupted five or ten times a day.  According to a study by Fast Company magazine, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to reconnect to the level of thought we were functioning in before the phone rang or someone walked into our office.  Multiply that time lost times ten and you’ve lost 230 minutes or nearly 4 hours.  That’s half the day!

The religious have long known this truth.  If you want to do serious work on the soul or deep thinking you must flee the crowds and find a place of solitude.   Jesus Himself, withdrew from the crowds to get alone during His ministry.  For God followers, that pretty much settles any argument we have against getting quiet and alone.

Why don’t we spend more time alone?  Usually it’s because we don’t think we can afford the time away from our busy office and constantly beeping computers and cell phones.  We are wrong.  The creative and mental output you can generate when you are alone is staggering.   I recently took a day to unplug and write.  It took me an hour and a half to get settled in my silent hideaway.  In the next four hours, I had written a chapter to lengthen the book my agent is trying to sell, written a Sunday School lesson, written a blog post, and written a chapter for my next book. Altogether, about 6000 words hit the page, or in reality the computer screen that day. That’s a lot of creative output and the amazing thing is I didn’t even feel tired.

You must get quiet if you want to produce some real noise in this world.

Quiet places are all around us:

  • For those who have access
    • Lake houses
    • Beach houses
    • A tent or RV in a State park
  • For those with less access
  • A coffee shop with good WIFI
  • Your home when everyone else is at work
  • The public library
  • Under a tree in the local park

It’s time for you to get away.  Do it for your business, your family, and your sanity. Get quiet so you can produce the kind of original work that will make some real noise in this world.

 

 

 

 

THE ONE CHARACTERISTIC THAT ALL WINNERS SHARE

Mental Toughness:  Relentless Optimism Rooted in Faith

 

Let me tell you a funny story and then a real one to illustrate what relentless optimism looks like.

 

There is the story of the little boy who was practicing his baseball skills.  He was throwing a baseball into the air and then attempting to hit it with a bat.  As he tossed the ball up, he was heard to say, “I’m the greatest hitter ever to play baseball!”  Unfortunately, he missed the first toss. He threw the ball again and repeated the phrase, “I’m the greatest hitter ever to play baseball!”  He missed again.  On the third try, he repeated his positive statement about his ability to hit, but he once again hit nothing, but air.   He stood there quietly for a moment and as he tossed the ball into the air, he was heard to say, “I’m the greatest pitcher in baseball!”

That story gives you a snapshot of relentless optimism.   The challenges of life are many and few people find success on their first swing.  You have to be able to keep on swinging, or if necessary, to be able to switch your efforts in a new direction without any loss of optimism.

Here’s my real story.  In the early days of my career when I was still struggling with the basics, I had devastating failure.  It was demoralizing and embarrassing and I was immersed in negative thoughts.  The enemy crawled on my shoulder and informed me that I should quit.  He asserted that I would never master the requirements to succeed in changing lives.  I was so frustrated and angry at myself that I almost took his advice. But, I can remember shaking my fist at the sky and with tears in my eyes I said, “I refuse to quit! I may never succeed, but I will not quit!”   Forty years later and having impacted thousands of lives through God’s help and power, I am glad I didn’t quit.  What enabled me to maintain mental toughness?  Optimism rooted in my faith.

Optimism (when it’s rooted in faith) contains several key components:

  • A realistic confidence about your talents and skills and how you can put them into play
  • A world view that sees abundance as opposed to scarcity.
  • A belief that God has a “soft spot” for those who just refuse to quit.

I want to encourage you to keep on building your mental toughness. Wherever you are at today, it’s not your final destination.  You can become the man or woman you dream of being and hundreds of lives will be impacted by your determination to relentless optimism.

When were you tempted to quit?  Make a comment below.  I’d love to hear your story.  Also, be sure and subscribe to this blog.  Next month, we will examine the fourth attribute of the mentally toughness, “the refusal to define yourself by the opinion of others.”

 

 

Stop Doing This Now and Start Moving Ahead

Mental Toughness Attribute #2

Refusal to dwell on past failures\regrets

I’ve had some monumental failures in my life. Some are humorous, and some make me weep.
I once asked a woman, whose name I was having trouble remembering, how her mother was doing? She looked at me with a shocked expression and replied, “Well, you performed her funeral service.” Ooops. I felt terrible, how do you recover after that?

Mentally tough people don’t sabotage their present life by getting caught up in reviewing past failures and regrets.

We all have failures in our lives. They range from the trivial, such as social blunders, to life altering mistakes in judgement.

Let me list a few failures:

Social errors:
• Public clothing mishaps
• Falling down on a busy sidewalk
• Getting people’s names drastically wrong
Leadership snafus:
• Making public promises that you fail to deliver on
• Unwise acquisitions for your business
• Hiring someone you later have to fire
Life changing failures:
• Bankruptcy
• Divorce
• Getting arrested

Everyone has something in their lives they regret, but tough-minded people push past those negative memories and move ahead. How do they keep their spirits positive after messing up?
• They accept that they are only human, and that mistakes and blunders are part of everyone’s life.
• They realize the foolishness of wasting the opportunities for a productive future on the lamenting of an irreversible past.
• They have a vision or dream that compels them to get back in the race no matter how devastating their failure.

I knew a Pastor who was helping his church to clear a downtown property for an expansion of their auditorium. When he was asked by the demolition company which building they were supposed to tear down, he pointed to the wrong building. The blunder cost his church thousands of dollars as they had to rebuild the partially demolished structure. He did not quit, but kept on serving his people and his church continued to grow and impact their community. He was mentally tough.

Make up your mind that the past is gone, and you will let the failures contained in it die. Extract any lessons for improvement from your failure that you can, and then put it behind you, and move on.

Success is difficult. Only those who can muster the continued energy to overcome obstacles obtain it. That’s why you need to be mentally tough, and mentally tough people refuse to let past failures and regrets steal their energy for life. Learn from the past, but live in today, and keep dreaming for your future.

Leave me a comment about how you have overcome regret and failure in your life.  I’d love to hear your story.

You Don’t Have To Be Serious All The Time to Be Successful

Whether you are a spiritual person or not you need faith.  Faith in yourself, faith in your opportunities, and faith in people.  Since it takes faith to keep chasing your goals you should learn everything you can about faith.

Reinhold Niebuhr  wrote, “Humor is, in fact, a prelude to faith; and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”   Why does humor often comes before faith?

  • Because we rarely laugh without feeling some kind of confidence about life
  • Because finding the silliness in situations demands believing that most things work out
  • Because when we laugh, we accept that we are not really in control in life

I’ve known a lot of people of faith.  Those with the deepest beliefs often had an easy sense of humor.  It’s those who can laugh who really believe the most.  Some of the craziness around religion would disappear if those who claim deep beliefs would learn to laugh a little.

What problem is robbing you of peace?  Can you find a way to laugh at it?

I remember an occasion when I worrying my way to an ulcer.  The problem was financial and I felt like I should know the answer.  I was released from my depression when a friend said he had two truths for me.  “One, there is a God,  and two, you’re not him.”  Then he stood there grinning at me till I started to smile and then we laughed together.

When was your last good laugh?  Can you laugh at yourself or some problem that troubles you?  Can you take yourself a little less seriously?  You might be on your way to faith.

Please leave a comment about humor in your life, I’d love to chat with you, and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog.  Thanks.

 

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

Cue the music…. Enter the sweet tenor voice of Neil Sedaka  1967


Down dooby doo down down
Comma, comma, down dooby doo down down
Comma, comma, down dooby doo down down
Breaking up is hard to do

Don’t take your love away from me
Don’t you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I’ll be blue
‘Cause breaking up is hard to do

This blog is not about romance or a trip down memory lane to my misspent youth, it’s about making difficult choices about successful disciplines.   A surprising trap for goal oriented people is getting stuck in disciplines that are no longer productive.   Have you had this experience?  You set a goal to lose some weight, and then you start a particular exercise routine.  You spend some money and get some excellent support and direction and it works for you.  You lose the weight and shape up and so you continue the program.  But, time creeps on and you find yourself a couple of years later and for varied reasons the discipline is no longer working for you, but you just keep following and paying for it.   New ideas catch your attention and you think about trying them, but you just can’t bring yourself to break up with your old discipline.  What’s going on?

Some of the very strengths that make you successful in life can cause you to get stuck in routines:

  • Successful people are loyal
  • Successful people are not quitters
  • Successful people know the value of positive habits

But let’s look at those traits again and apply them realistically to an unproductive discipline:

  • Loyalty should be to your ultimate goal, not the current technique you are following
  • Quitting can be a wise choice if you are merely switching techniques or programs
  • Habits are only valuable when they are positive, and they are only positive when you are getting results.

Breaking up is hard to do.   But, it can be productive and in many cases it will lead to greater success.  If you find yourself stuck in a routine, reexamine your ultimate goal and make the choices that will bring you success rather than pander to your habits.  Never underestimate the jumpstart that a new beginning can bring to your goals.  A new workout program, a new career coach or accountability partner, or a new morning routine could breathe fresh life into your career and personal success.   So go ahead, break up…. After all, you’re not Neil Sedaka and it’s not 1967.

 

 

 

IF YOU’RE NOT GOING USE YOUR LIFE, COULD I BORROW IT?

 

In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln became frustrated with his commander of the Army of the Potomac, when he kept putting off attacking the confederate forces in Virginia.  The army had been idle in Washington for over eight months. General George McClellan had built it into one of the largest and best trained armies in U.S. history.  Yet, he kept refusing to move out against the south, claiming his army was not yet ready.

On January 10, Lincoln met with top generals (McClellan did not attend) and directed them to formulate a plan of attack, expressing his exasperation with General McClellan with the following remark: “If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.”

There were undoubtedly many forces that shaped McClellan’s reluctance to move, but one of them may have been an addiction to planning.

Stop excessive planning and start taking action.

Planning is important and planning can be fun.  Planning can be exciting.  Planning is always safe, because it remains in the realm of theory.  No one is proved right or wrong until action is taken.  The bigger the endeavor, the greater the risk, and the more you will be tempted to remain too long in planning mode. At some point, you have to take action or your opportunity will be seized by others and your success in life will be limited.

How can you break out of the excessive planning mode?

  • Recognize the payoffs that may be tempting you to hesitate.
  • Check your self-esteem. If you are feeling insecure, it will tempt you to delay action.
  • Set a deadline. Make the commitment that by a particular date you have to do something.
  • Quit searching for the perfect plan. Accept that every action entails a risk of failure.
  • Comfort yourself with the knowledge that every plan requires adjustments once it has begun and have confidence in your ability to adapt.

Historians continue to debate whether or not George McClellen’s hesitancy to move, lengthened the war. Some theorize, that had he taken action sooner, many thousands of lives could have been saved.

There is no debate however, about the fact that excessive planning will limit your success in life.  No advancement in financial, career, or family success, is ever gained in the world of the imagination.  You have to take action.  You have to make the best plan you can and then boldly begin its execution. At some point you have to stop planning and take action.

“If he wasn’t going to use his life, I’d like to have borrowed it for a while,” would be a terrible epitaph to have etched on your gravestone.

 

Overcoming the “UGH” day.

Ugh Day

“Some days are diamonds, some days are stones, and sometimes the bad times just won’t leave you alone.” John Denver

You know what an UGH day is don’t you?  I first heard this phrase from Jim Fixx the author of “Running.”  Jim was a devoted runner, racer, and compulsive marathoner.  Most days he couldn’t wait to strap on his running shoes and hit the pavement.  But some days he said were UGH days.   Nothing felt good.  He never seemed to hit his stride and he never got into a comfortable zone.  From start to finish his usually joyful run was just one disciplined stride after the other.  He called a tough run like that an UGH day.

Have you ever had an UGH day?  I know I sometimes encounter them.   UGH days are     those days when you don’t have any drive.  Your motivation has deserted you and you are filled with negative thoughts and general malaise.  You waste precious time rethinking your career choices and trying to remember why you ever wanted to do the work you do.  Some time an UGH day can continue more than 24 hours although, I’ve personally never had an UGH week.

What causes an UGH day?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Physical exhaustion
  • Mental stress
  • Hormonal fluctuation
  • Uncompleted tasks
  • High tide or low tide or the phases of the moon

It really doesn’t matter what causes these days, what matters is that UGH days do happen and you need a strategy to get through them as quickly as possible.

How does a goal oriented, positive thinking, hard charging, worker get through an UGH day?

  • Exercise
  • Change your scenery even if only to walk around the block
  • Give yourself a good talking to….  “Kim, you are better than this, Snap out of it!”
  • Review your goals
  • Take some action on a task no matter how small.  Actions lead to shifts in your emotions.

You can’t avoid having UGH days, but you can shorten their duration.  Just lace up your “running shoes” and get going.  If you don’t enjoy this one run, well take hope and remind yourself that tomorrow is coming.