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My goals for 2009

After writing so much about goals, including the New Year’s post yesterday, I have, of course, been asked what my goals are. Well here you go!:

Personal:

– Exercise at least one hour a week (not including all the walking I do).  Hey, like I always say, start small! The quickest way for me to fail is to say “exercise 3 days a week!”

– Read two books per month. One fiction, one non-fiction (It’s been a while since I’ve read any fiction cover to cover)

– Get 6-8 hours of sleep each night

– Have one FULL day off from work or ANYTHING work related each week.

– Get better at saying NO.

Professional:

– Work with clients 4 – 5 days a week

– Spend one day each week writing for all outlets I am published through

– Cultivate at least 3 joint ventures

– Delegate anything I possibly can.

– Consistently have a minimum of 2 events per month for my networking group.

– Create a marketing plan for the year

– Develop a semi-formal board of advisors

– Reorganize all my business cards

– Join 1 to 2 additional professional networks

– Drop out of 2 – 3 ineffective networking groups or groups that are in areas I don’t want to travel to

This is just a snippet of my goals list. I have a lot more! Some are way to personal for me to want to post here (sorry!) Some can be done in minutes, some will take all year. Others won’t take long, but they have to happen at a specific time. The key to the goals I set is that they are reasonable. I think it is fantastic to dream big – I do all the time, but the actual goals I set are attainable.

It is unrealistic to expect that I could buy a house this year. But I could start saving for one. I could say “I want to meet 10 new people every day.”  Certainly doable, but at what cost? How in depth would these meetings be? What quality of contact am I looking for? I could walk up to any Starbucks and introduce myself to 10 people in line that I have no intent of speaking to again. Or, I could sacrifice time normally set aside for clients to attend events where I can meet different people. A more appropriate goal for me would be “add two additional key players to my network each month that I would feel confident referring people to.” Another option “attend one event each month where I don’t know anyone in attendance.” Could I sort and purge every area of my apartment on Monday? Sure, if I cancel my client and meetings. Instead, why don’t I pick an area to tackle each day this week?

I’m excited about my goals because WHEN I achieve them, they all play a part in driving me closer to the ideal vision I have for my life. I hope you have some fantastic goals for yourself and that you really strive to achieve them.

– Alaia

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Personally, I do not make New Years resolutions. There’s nothing wrong with making resolutions. They make people feel warm and fuzzy. It’s nice to feel warm and fuzzy sometimes. The problem with resolutions is that most people drop them by the end of the month – some people simply state the resolution and never even really try. Do you know many people join gyms in January? A lot!

If you want to get organized this year, whether it is for your home, office, car, purse, or brain, I have a challenge for you.  Write down the resolutions. Post them up somewhere prominent. Put them in your planner. Tell your friends and family.  But don’t just stop with stating the resolution – turn it into a goal and turn that goal into your reality. Set manageable deadlines and milestones.

If you want to “get organized in ’09” stop being so broad. What do you want to organize? Even if you feel like you want to organize “everything,” list what everything means to you – your home, your office, your paperwork, children’s rooms, the garage, the basement, family photos.  List out what you want to do so you have a better picture of what is ahead of you.

You can NOT do everything at once – even if you have nothing else to do with your time. So break down the work. What is your goal for January? The office? Okay, great. So maybe at the top of your January calendar page you write “Goal: Organize my office.”  The next thing you should do is decide what you can do each week to get you closer to that goal. For example:

  • Week 1: Filing all papers so that all 2008 stuff is out of the way and I have fresh files for 2009
  • Week 2: Organizing all office supplies and making sure I purchase the appropriate ones so I have everything I need.
  • Week 3: Getting everything out of the office that does not belong in the office
  • Week 4: Rearrange the furniture, have a cleaning crew come through, creating a marketing plan for 2008, etc.

While “organize everything” and “organize my office” are broad goals, these narrowed down sub-goals are practical, achievable goals. Of course, you can break it down further. For week one, a daily goal could be to spend 15, 30, or 60 minutes a day filing (based on how much paper you have!). Of perhaps your goal is to schedule someone to come in during week one and do the filing for you. Perhaps you’ll hire a Professional Organizer. Maybe during week 4 you will with a feng shui expert, a cleaning crew, an interior designer, and a marketing consultant who can have you create a system for marketing your business.

This same formula can work for every area you want to organize. Just scale it appropriately. Maybe you spend a week cleaning out your car and set daily goals: toss all trash, buy a receipt organizer, buy small baskets for the car and talk to the kids about only having as much stuff in the car as will fit in the basket. When everyone gets out of the car, they put all of their stuff into their container. Purchase a mobile organizer that holds notebooks, pens, calculators, etc.

If you want to achieve your goals, whatever they might be, you have to do more than simply stating them. Take action. Start now while the calendar is fresh and there is optimism in the air. If you start planning now and work toward your goals, you will achieve great success this year.

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Girl Pouting Over Bowl of Cereal
Image details: Girl Pouting Over Bowl of Cereal served by picapp.com

Small changes can make a big difference. If you are trying to make big changes in your life, don’t be afraid to start small. All the small things you do to better yourself or change your situation prepare you to handle the bigger things. I personally feel that it’s better to start small and succeed, than to set an unrealistic goal, not reach it, and feel disappointed and angry with myself.

If you have something big you want to change, break it down and figure out which part of that big change you can handle first. I have a goal to improve my physical health (which definitely connects with every other kind of health) because that is an area where I can definitely be considered a slacker. Rather than trying to rush into working out five days a week, eat the best food possible every time I’m hungry, and so on, I broke it down. What can I do first? What can I do now? Well, I could grocery shop more than once every two months. Now I hit the grocery store once every two weeks, or once a week if absolutely necessary. I’ve saved money and fortunately, I’ve been able to make slightly better food choices. I’ve managed to start going to the gym once a week. Not much – but a vast improvement over never going.

When it comes to organizing, I often deal with clients who think everything has to change right now. That mentality often ends up making them feel overwhelmed and frustrated. So, I help them figure out where they need to start, and we work at a steady pace until we can take on a little more….and then a little more….

Here are some suggestions for a few small changes you can make that will help your progress if you are trying to (a) get more organized, (b) gain more control of your time, or (c) get better at getting things done.

Put things away when you are done using them. It seems easier at the time to just sit something aside when you are done with it. But when you’ve set 100 things aside, or let a sink full of dishes pile up, when you get ready to deal with it, it just seems like too much, and you could possibly lose your motivation. What happens then? Things keep adding up. Putting things back where they belong also will save you time the next time you need whatever it is – you’ll know exactly where to find it.

Stop trying to remember everything in your head. Tomorrow, you’ll suddenly remember something you really needed to take care of today. Trust me, I see it happen all the time. Make a to-do list, or keep a note pad with you. I love notepads because I have lots of random thoughts. Sometimes it’s a writing topic, other times it’s a person I need to call or an errand I need to run. I flip through the notes at least once a day for a quick refresher and cross things off as I get them done.

Shift your attitude. Decrease the amount of negative self talk you engage in. Negative self talk hold us back from all the great things that are possible for us. It’s best to get rid of all of it, but changing your thought habits doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Next time you catch yourself saying something negative, counter it with two positive things. Through the course of my studies and personal reading, the research I’ve read seems to point to 21 days. Steve Pavlina has a great article on his website called 30 Days to Success that I recommend if you are trying to break a bad habit of any kind. Next time you catch yourself saying something negative, counter it with two positive things.

Start this new month off by making a small change that contributes to a larger goal you have in mind. It will definitely make a big difference.

(This article was featured in The Seventeenth Edition of the Carnival of Improving Life.)

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