Posts tagged ‘goals’

June 30, 2012

Watch Where You are Going!

When you have a goal in mind, keep your thoughts and attention on the goal that you want to acquire. It is best to focus on what we want instead of all the possible obstacles. For example, when I am snowboarding or mountain biking down a mountain, I keep my eyes focused on the path that I want to take. If I see a rock or a tree, I quickly focus on the path around the obstacle and keep going down the hill. If I keep looking at the rock or tree, it is likely that I will keep moving towards the obstacle and will likely hit the tree.

It is best to keep you thoughts focused on the goal that you want. Your internal dialogue should include positive statements of what you want to acquire. For example, if I think, “don’t hit the tree”, my metal image is that of hitting a tree and I would be more likely to hit the tree.  Just that other day, I had an example of what can happen when you unintentionally envision what you do not want. I was surfing near a reef of exposed rocks and the last section of the wave was closing out on me. Knowing that there were rocks close by, I quickly thought, “I can’t let go of my board”. Instead of focusing on grasping the tail of my board, I unfortunately let the board slip through my fingers and it ended up getting pretty dinged up on the rocks.

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May 8, 2012

The Joys of Deadlines

Photo Credit: Emily Dolton amazing wife, mother and artist

Most people do not envision a joyful scene when they hear the word “deadline”. In fact, the word has “dead” right in it. If we said “lifeline” instead, you would think you were on “Who wants to be a Millionaire”.

All kidding aside, deadlines have their benefits. I imagine that most people have at least some aspect of their job that they find less enjoyable than other aspects of their work. Since most work situations require all of the tasks to be done, there are tasks that may need a little boost of motivations. That is where our friend the “deadline” comes in. Once we have established that a task has a deadline, it now has a perceived priority or urgency. This task will then find its’ way to our “to-do” list and placed in the cue to be worked on.

At work, if I did not have deadlines, I would most likely relegate assessment report writing to the status of perennial procrastination.  Luckily (for the fate of my reports) each of these reports come with tangible unyielding deadline. Fortunately for me, having a report deadline helps me prioritize my job responsibilities so I can make the most of my workday.

Recently, our family was motivated by a “deadline”. On May 5, 2012, our garden was a participant in the “Clairemont Garden Tour” (see video of garden here). Before even considering the Garden Tour, we had already accomplished a lot around the house. All the hard-scaping and structures were completed last summer. The main thing that we had not completed was painting our house.  Finishing painting the exterior of our home is the task that benefitted the most by the “deadline” of May 5, 2012. I had started painting our house last September. Over the winter, we had many wet weekends and our kid’s activities and other fun weekend events took priority. A month ago, just about one half of our home was completely painted. A week ago, only one side of the home remained. On May 4th, 2012. The task prioritizing effects of the magic “deadline” facilitated the painting of the complete exterior of our home. I am very thankful for the effect of this deadline since I now have a significant life task off my proverbial “plate”. I would be remiss to leave out that this deadline also helped get the entire home clean from inside and out. The house looks the best that I have seen it!

Another benefit of deadlines is that deadlines can stimulate the decision making process. When you are “down to the wire” on a deadline, you really need to consider what is essential to your mission and take the necessary action. When my wife (who is the creative genius behind the garden endeavor) was performing her finishing touches on the garden, she had to leave out a few artistic elements from the final reveal. She ultimately focused on the tasks that would generate the greatest amount of benefit for the moment fellow gardeners started visiting.

The next time you hear the word “deadline”, remember that this tool can actually help you decrease task stress by giving you a method to prioritize your work. Deadlines help kick things in gear and encourages you to make the “tough decisions”. Deadlines are just another form of a “lifeline”.

April 20, 2012

Get Back on The Horse!

On Day 18 of the “Habit Change Challenge”, life got in the way. I decided to stay up late playing “Ping Pong” with a couple of friends. When I got home, my youngest child kept me awake the remainder of the night and early morning since he had difficulty sleeping. I chose to sleep next to him so he would feel more comfortable and sleep better. Since I did not get much sleep, most of the night, I decided to sleep in to 7 AM. Therefore, I did not exercise or meditate in the morning. In the evening, my wife and I had a birthday party to go to after work. When we got home, I feel asleep with my youngest when I put him to sleep. So, I on this day I strayed from the habits of logging my gratitude, successes, meditating and exercising.

I almost made it! I hope that if you took up this challenge that you are still going. If this is a competition, I hope that you beat me.

I am not a victim of certain circumstances. I made decisions about life priorities that allowed my new habits to fall into the background. I chose to spend time with people that I do not see as much and I had a lot of fun doing so. I had a great time playing games with my friends and going to an adult birthday party without my kids. I choose to prioritize sleep over my target habits. The sleep that I got felt good! I do not feel badly about the choices that I made these last few days.

I am “jumping back on the horse”. I am not giving up on my new habits. I am starting over with the resolve of going another 21 days of being consistent exercising, meditating, listening or reading affirmations and logging my successes & gratitude. I have made progress and I choose to reflect on my “setback” as “feedback” instead of “failure”.

From this setback, I had a few thoughts about “falling off the horse”:

  • 1)   Get back on the habit as soon as possible!
  • 2)   Look at the larger goal of what you want to change
  • 3)   View the break of habit as a “blip on the screen” and start over
  • 4)   Commit to the new habit “one day at a time”
  • 5)   Avoid letting the exception become the rule! If you break a rule once, do not think that it is OK to do it again since you are already “off track”.
  • 6)   Focus on how awesome it feels to keep moving forward towards you goals instead of any possible shame of making a “mistake”
  • 7)   Analyze what happened that lead to you getting off track and use that feedback to get back on track
  • 8)   Forgive yourself!

Remember, the ultimate goal is to appreciate all the good that is a part of your life and make choices that bring more opportunities to appreciate what you have. Have fun with your own adventure!

-Andrew

 

April 17, 2012

Priorities

It is very challenging to get where you want to go without establishing some priorities. Without establishing priorities, everything has equal weight or equal urgency. This could result in either a) everything needs to be done NOW and you feel overwhelmed and panicked or b) everything could be done “whenever” and progress is easily procrastinated.

In my job, I have had more experience working with people who have difficulty placing everything in the “oh no it’s a crisis and everything needs to be done now” category. In my opinion, these folks are easier to help than the class of “why should I bother performing my basic job duties” or the “if I procrastinate long enough, someone else will do it” group. People in the “crisis now” category are motivated to take action; they just have more difficulty knowing what to do first. Setting priorities helps classify work tasks into “what needs to be done now” versus “I will get to this when I can”. By establishing what needs to be accomplished first, we can focus on one thing at a time and give our full attention to the present moment.

When working in an organization, it is helpful to understand that organization’s institutional priorities. In almost all jobs, there are essential tasks that absolutely must be completed. Additionally, most jobs have time sensitive projects and tasks with absolute deadlines. We can also determine what aspects are important to our supervisor. Therefore, in most job situations we can determine the job priorities just by paying attention to our work environment or by collaborating with our co-workers.

Setting life priorities help us organize all aspects of our daily routines. Priorities help us budget time, energy and finances to the things that we hold to be most important. A very important element of setting our own life’s priorities is being honest. We need to reflect on what is truly meaningful in our lives instead of following a dream that was dictated to us by our parents or by copying the lifestyle of our peer group without some level of reflection. For myself, time with my family is the highest priority. If will re-arrange my work schedule (if allowed by my supervisor) to make sure that my family is taken care of. I make sure that I spend time each day to spend with my children. There are other people that I know that do not have children and prioritize engaging in leisure activities. In this example, our life priorities are just different and it is pointless to label one’s priorities as “good” or “bad”. However, I do feel that it would be harmful to prioritize a life activity that has little meaning in our life.

Many people know Randy Pausch for his book and viral YouTube video “The Last Lecture”. However Randy Pausch also gave a great lecture on time management during the last year of his life. One of the best strategies he shared on time management was based on priorities. The first step of this exercise is to establish you basic “to do list”. Once you have everything listed, you sort each item into four categories; important, due now, unimportant due now, important, due later, unimportant, due later. Most people habitually prioritize based on due date. The crucial point of this exercise is that you prioritize based on importance! Therefore, your classification would be:

  1. Important, due now
  2. Important, due later
  3. Unimportant, due now
  4. Unimportant, due later

Once we understand what is important to us, we can allocate our resources appropriately. Since our time is described as our most valuable resource, it is best that we spend it wisely.

I hope that you are able to find the time to do the things you find most valuable in your life!

April 13, 2012

Finding your Rhythm

When changing a habit or when adding a new activity to your lifestyle, it is helpful to find a time for this new habit/routine.  If we do not know where to place this new habit/routine into our schedule, it is very easy to forget to perform this activity. Once you habit becomes a part of your daily rhythm, it is a lot easier to maintain.

For my own “habit change challenge”, I found that that only way that I could be consistent with implementing my target habits was to find a regular place for them in my daily schedule. Since I have two young children, I found it was best to add my new activities during times of the day when my children are asleep. In the morning, I exercise, meditated and listen to positive meditation podcasts. At night, I blog, journal my successes and list the things for which I am grateful.  Having this structure in place has helped immensely. I have been waking up early and exercising for over a year. After exercising, I have just enough time to shower, get dressed, make lunch, eat breakfast, kiss the family goodbye and leave for work. I have found that I needed to meditate and perform my affirmations before my workout since it was better to have a slightly shorter workout than to miss the opportunity to perform these activities all together.

What works for you! Please share your ideas of ensuring that you have time for some positive time for yourself.

April 12, 2012

Success may come….

… when you least expect it

Sometimes progress or goal completion come to fruition in due time. There have been many moments in my life when things appear to “happen” without much effort.

For example, I will a bunch of items on my “To-Do” list and then forget to look at that specific list for a couple of weeks. The next time I look at the list, I notice that about 90% of the items have been completed. In this case, the items written on the initial list were likely incorporated into my unconscious processing. Therefore, I kept on working towards this list without much conscious thought. The thought behind the practice of looking at your goals / vision board/ mission statement / affirmations on a daily basis is that the more that we consider where we want to go, it is more likely that our unconscious thought processes will problem solve the way to our envisioned destination.

Other times, things just happen when the right conditions are in place. You may wait for years for a project or an idea to be approved. Once there has been a change of management, you find that your idea now has a lot of support.

Honestly, all I really wanted to say is that my son started riding his bike without training wheels yesterday. I am very appreciative for this accomplishment. We had been trying to get him to ride his bike a few times without training wheels with limited success. He would let the bike fall over or he would be completely resistant to the idea of riding his bike. Since he was not showing any interest in riding his bike, I did not think of asking him to ride his bike since last November. In the last few months, he has had more fun riding his kick-scooter. Yesterday, I thought we would just bring the bike to the park. At our local park, there is about a 100-yard path from the parking lot to the play structure. I thought practicing biking on the way to the play structure would be a worth attempt for the day. The first time my son started pedaling, he required some support on his seat. The 2nd through 5th attempts, he tried to pedal on his own. On his 6th attempt, he was up and running. For the rest of the day he did not need any help. He started pedaling the bike on his own and he demonstrated great balance. As we were packing up at the end of the trip, he asked to bike some more. Some things just need time.

The next time you “hit a wall” or roadblock, it may be helpful to place the project aside for a while to give yourself some breathing room. You may just find that when you come back to it, a solution to the roadblock will become apparent or the roadblock will no longer be there.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

April 9, 2012

Failure Vs. Feedback

 

Most people fear failure. There are many things that I have not tried in my life since I was afraid of “failing”. Fear of failure can cause “action paralysis” where people do not even try something new or something out of their comfort zone. There are a lot of cultural references that reinforce a negative association with failure such as the common phrase  “Failure is not an option”.

I want to be careful not to overgeneralize. Of course we want people to do their best to make goods, services and infrastructure as safe as possible. No one wants airplanes to fall out of the sky or for buildings to “fail” due to poor construction.

The importance re-examining the concept of “failure” is that “failure” can be looked at as a form of feedback about our performance.  For example, if you “failed” a math test you could a) review the test answers to see which concepts you need to study or b) you can view yourself as a “failure” who is not good at math. The first option is most likely to lead to a better grade on the next exam.

When we set personal goals on where we want to achieve in our lives, it is important to be flexible in our thinking and realize that when things do not go exactly how we imagine they would, that these situations provide feedback on how we may need to adjust our plans to move forwards. When we acknowledge the feedback that life provides, we are more likely to move forward and continue to perform actions towards attaining our goals.

Our feelings about “Failure” are often connected with our internalized beliefs about ourselves. It is very important to reflect our your personal beliefs and move away from beliefs where we see ourselves as “failures”.

March 29, 2012

Change Starts……Sunday

“Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!”

April fools will not be a joke if you decide to participate in a “21 day” habit change.

“Why 21 days?” Why not! The intent is that by all of us  monitoring our daily progress on a set of skills for 21 days that we will build momentum and achieve our target goals.

“Why are you posting this challenge?” There is more unity with a community! If a group of us move forward together, we can keep each other accountable.

“Didn’t you post about this yesterday?” Yes! But Lem from identityspecialist.net reminded me that I forgot to post the start time.

Considerations for Life Change

  1. Accept full responsibility of where you are in life. – It is very difficulty to take action moving forward if you feel it is someone else’s responsibility.
  2. Find you Passion! – It is easier to gain momentum to work forward if you are passionate about where you want to go.
  3. Set Clear Goals! – If you don’t know where you want to go, how could you get there?
  4. Reflect on your beliefs – Are your belief’s appreciative or depreciative? Are your unconscious beliefs holding you back?
  5. Habits – This is what this 21-day challenge is all about. Let’s build some daily habits that have evidence to leading to improving our perception of happiness.
  6. Action – Take positive daily action to work towards you goals!

Research Based Suggestions for Habit Change!!!!

– A fellow blogger “MyLifeIsASmorgasbord” posted a link to Shawn Actor’s Ted Talk. Shawn’s talk provides us all with the research for the proposed targeted habits for the “21 day habit change challenge”.

  • Gratitude – The more that you record what you are grateful for, the more you look for things to be grateful for and the more you will experience gratitude.
  • Journaling (blogging) – Journaling about the daily positives help you re-live these experiences in your brain and you increase your positive daily experiences. I suggested journaling your successes because it is important to acknowledge the progress that we make every day.
  • Exercise – There is a lot of research on the positive effects of exercise on mood and health.
  • Meditation –  The article linked here is the most comprehensive article I have read so far on meditative practice. I will speak from personal experience that when I practice meditation daily, I have a much better control of my emotional response.

So far, I only have one blogger accepting this challenge with me. Currie Rose, you Rock!

The 21 days will officially start Sunday. Every few days I will post a “feedback” blog where everyone can comment on his/her success.

To Success!

-Andrew Gilbert

 

 

 

March 26, 2012

GRATITUDE 4 the 7 X 7 Link Award!

First and foremost, I would like to show my appreciation to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award. Marcy has been very encouraging of “Influence Versus Control” and she always provides great comments. Marcy’s site includes great information about her children’s books as well as some cool photography.

And now, the rules for the 7 X 7 Link Award

  1. Give thanks and acknowledgements to the blogger who nominated you for this award
  2. List 7 of your previous links in the following categories. Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Beautiful Piece, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Pride Worthy)
  3. List 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award.

Here are my SEVEN Links:

1.) Most Helpful – Setting Personal Goals

2.) Most Popular – Personal Responsibility

3.) Most Beautiful Piece – People First!

4.) Most Controversial – Identity

5.) Most Surprisingly Successful – Being Sick

6.) Most Underrated – Find Your Passion!

7) Most Pride Worthy – Scripting For Emotional Success

SEVEN things about myself (Andrew Gilbert)

  1. The most important thing to me is being a good father. I prioritize spending time with my children as much as possible.
  2. My wife, Emily Dolton, is an inspiring member of the local community and she does much as she can to address the needs of people with special needs. She is also an amazing artist/ muralist (http://www.insideemilyshead.com/)
  3. I have a child that has “special needs”. I definitely feel that his needs do not define him and are just an attribute (see People First blog). The love that I have learned from this “little guy” and overcoming his early health obstacles have been the main inspiration for changing my overall life outlook from “totally cynical” to a “recovering cynic”.
  4. As a “recovering cynic”, I admit that I am not perfect. I have not “been to the mountain top”, but I have seen postcards. I practice every day to be more positive and collect more data to reinforce a more optimistic worldview.
  5. As a school based occupational therapist, I have collaborated on two programs that utilize movement as an instructional strategy. One of these programs was demonstrated to improve vision skills, the other was demonstrated to improve handwriting / penmanship for Kindergarten students. I feel that movement is vital for all of us and that movement is a vital instructional strategy.  (http://occupationaltherapystrategies.com/)
  6. I love to surf. It helps clear my brain and it is great exercise!
  7. When the surf is blown out  or too small, I like mountain biking.

For this award, I did my best to “spread the love around”. There are some great bloggers that I follow I want to acknowledge Jay Rondo for the Versatile Blogging nomination and “a kiss of bliss” for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”. Thanks again to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award!

The SEVEN nominated bloggers for the 7 X 7 Link Award are:

  1. http://davidkanigan.com/ – For positive words and art.
  2. http://positivecookieattitudes.wordpress.com – More than just positive baking advice. Consistent positive blogging action!
  3. http://identityspecialist.net/ – Total honest, in your face blogging action!
  4. http://gyatoday.wordpress.com/ – This blog reminds us that it is always better to give than receive.
  5. http://everythingvnothing.wordpress.com/ – This blog provides consistent inspiration.
  6. http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/ – The name says it all. This blog keeps the joy moving.
  7. http://currierose.wordpress.com/ – A wonderful spirit! I love the whimsy and honesty.

 

Thank you very much for stopping by “Influence Versus Control”. Please stop by and say “Hello” to the great bloggers listed in this award.

March 14, 2012

Momentum

Some times, life presents obstacles that appear to stand in the way of your goals. However momentum can help us move forward.

For example, I have made a promise to myself that I would post something every day when I started my blog. When I hit my first obstacle (a major report deadline that took all the free time available to write), I only missed a day of posting. I have the momentum and the established habit of writing and I was able to get back into the routine once I had met all my report deadlines.

Another recent example was getting sick recently. It is very challenging to exercise when you have barely enough energy to get out of bed (and coffee did not help much either). To keep the momentum going, I needed to change my exercise pattern to light stretching and greatly reduce my exercise time.

When we are establishing a pattern, it is best to find some way to keep it going.  A moving object likes to stay in motion. When obstacles present themselves, it is better to slow down, do what you can and keep your pattern of behavior moving instead of stopping your pattern and hope that you will pick it up again later.

Blogging Irony – This blog was written to keep my own blogging momentum going. I am actually fighting sleep, but I must post!

I hope this post is valuable!