Ep010: The Jar of Life

How do you manage your time and energy each day? Do you have enough of each to be sure the important things in your life are taken care of? Do you know how to identify the important things from the less important and the insignificant?

Today, I share the story of The Jar of Life and challenge you to make sure you are fitting the most important things into your life.

I start the episode by sharing my own version of the Jar of Life, with a tale of fitting everything I need for winter camping into my suddenly-it-seems-so-small backpack.

Donna with a pile of camping gear that MUST fit in that tiny pack!

How do you fit a tent, a cold weather sleeping bag, winter snow clothes, food, first aid supplies and more into a pack?

Loaded backpack

You start with the biggest items first. Then pack the rest in and around the big stuff.

If you need help figuring out how to stuff everything you want to do into a 24-hour period, please join my Facebook group Start Today and Continue Tomorrow. We are a group of like-minded people who are sharing our goals, struggles, and successes to ensure that we accomplish all we’d like to do.


Healthy Habits

Do most of your days look like the days that came before them? Do you find yourself making the same choices and experiencing the same feelings of dissatisfaction?

For most of us, our habits–our daily routines–define most of the actions we take on a daily basis. It only makes sense that if we are feeling less than fulfilled in our lives, we need only take a look at our current habits to see if they are helping or hindering our happiness.

Take a mental run thru the course of your typical day. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you get enough sleep?
  • Did you eat fairly healthy foods?
  • Did you stay fairly hydrated?
  • Did you connect with the people who are important to you?
  • Did you participate in a form of physical activity?
  • Did you actively pursue one of your goals?

If you answered no to more than a few of these questions, it may be time to take a good look at your daily habits.

Changing habits can be difficult. It’s easy to fall into the pattern of sameness and difficult to break free of it. It takes thought. It takes focus. It takes mental energy that we are not used to expending.

But it is possible.

Here are three tips to help you “heal thy habits”:

1. Declare a specific goal

Pick one habit you would like to develop or change. Write the goal down. Place your goal in a prominent location so you can’t forget you are working on it. Tell people about the new habit you are building and ask them for support.

2. Know your “why”

Write down the reason WHY you want to develop or change. The reason you want to change your behavior is a key motivator in staying on track. Oftentimes we fall into patterns because they are easier. No thought was given to developing these habits, so it can be fairly easy to make adjustments to them. When your why is powerful, old unhealthy habits will soon be your “I used to be…” statements.

3. Celebrate good choices and good days

Acknowledge the small, incremental improvements you make in your daily routine. If you smoke fewer cigarettes each day, that is something to celebrate. If you drink water instead of soda, celebrate that. If you walk extra steps, celebrate. It takes time to develop new habits. Some researchers suggest it takes 21 days, others say it takes even longer. Just know that it will take time, so allow yourself the time to change and grow.

Think about the life you have and the life you want. How are your daily actions supporting that vision? You have it within you to make the changes you want to make. You have it within you to live a healthy and happy life.

As always, the choice is yours. If your habits are not currently healthy ones, you still have time to heal thy habits!

Ep009: Changing Your Direction

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~Lao Tzu

If you would like support and guidance as you change directions in your life, please join my Facebook group Start Today and Continue Tomorrow. We are a group of goal-getters who face the same struggles of balancing the many aspects of our lives with our dreams and goals as individuals.

How Do You Measure Success?

How do you know if you’ve successfully achieved a goal? Is the definition the same for every area of your life or do you have different definitions for different things?

When setting and working toward your goals, I believe it is important to have a clear definition of success for each goal you are working towards. Success can usually be defined in many ways for one goal. I also think it is important to pick the definition (or prioritize them if you have multiple definitions) that is your primary focus.

Here’s an example:

Your goal is to pay off a credit card within the next 12 months.

Success can be defined in several ways:

  • Each month you pay the minimum balance plus $100.
  • Each month you do NOT use the credit card for new charges.
  • Each month you pay the bill on time to avoid late payment charges.
  • At the end of 12 months the credit card has a zero balance.

Each of these measures of success can help you along the way to achieving your goal. Each one provides an incremental measure of your progress. Each one can help you keep the momentum going over the course of the 12 months.

One of the challenges with long-term goals is that they can seem sooooo far away that you always think there is time to make up for lost activity toward that goal. Sometimes that is the case, but oftentimes it just makes us give up on achieving that goal.

Remember that achieving goals is an incremental process. Most goals are not accomplished in a day. There are short, mid, or long term activities that take continued focus to reach and then maintain. Setting good definitions of success will help you develop the habits and thinking that will keep you moving toward your goal even if you are not successful every day or every week.

Another example is losing weight. You determine you want to lose 20 pounds in two months. Guidelines on weight loss recommend setting weight loss goals of 1-2 pounds per week or 10 pounds per month. This goal should be doable.

How do you measure success?

Is it simply whether at the end of the two months you have lost (success) or not lost (failure) 20 pounds?

But what if you’ve lost 18 pounds? Does this mean you failed? I don’t think so, do you? If, however, you’ve been using that 20 pounds as your standard for success, you may not be fully satisfied with your accomplishment. That, to me, would be sad. Because losing 18 pounds is not easy. It takes focus, commitment, and a change of behavior. To not celebrate that success (with a non-food reward!) would be a shame.

You can, however, measure your success in different ways.

In this situation, I do not recommend that you focus on the loss of 1.5 to 2 pounds per week. Body weight fluctuates too much based on sodium intake, hydration level, hormone levels, and more. So using this as your goal could be de-motivating if you fail to show that “needed” weight loss each week.

Another way to track success toward this goal would be daily tracking of the food you are eating. Success is accurately tracking everything you eat for 6 or more days a week. Fewer than that may mean you have to refocus on this goal.

When you set a goal, especially a long term goal, don’t forget to consider what progress toward that goal looks like. Just as you defined the goal, you get to define the milestones along the way. These will be your stepping stones; they will keep you motivated and focused on your ultimate success.

If you’d like continued support as you work toward your goals, please join my Facebook group Start Today and Continue Tomorrow.

Ep008: Start Today and Continue Tomorrow

Do you start and restart the same goals over and over again? Are you frustrated that life gets in the way of your dreams? Would you like to have a safe place to ask your questions, share your frustrations, and revel in your successes?

Today I invite you to join my Facebook group called “Start Today and Continue Tomorrow.” Learn more in this week’s podcast episode!

Today, I heard a quote that was attributed to Michael Port. He said “Life doesn’t get in the way. Life IS the way.”

As we are trying to develop our potential and achieve our goals, we mustn’t forget that there are other things in our lives, too. This Facebook group, “Start Today and Continue Tomorrow” will be there to support you as you work toward your dreams.

I hope to see you in the group!