Sunday, December 23, 2012

Write 'Em Down

It's that time of the year again.  Resolution review.  As I get ready to set new goals and make new resolutions for the upcoming year, it's important for me to examine how I fared on last year's aspirations.  Like many other people, I almost always fail miserably on at least one goal or resolution I set for myself.  For instance, this year I was supposed to re-learn playing guitar.  With just 8 days left in the year, the guitar remains standing untouched in the corner.  I suppose that goal will be added to this year's list again.

This year's list.  Yes, it's an actual written list, as it has been for the past 25 years.  It's proven that writing down your goals is vitally important to actually achieving them.  So, whatever it is you're contemplating to accomplish next year, write 'em down!  Periodic review throughout the year is recommended to ensure steady progress, measure results, and adjust objectives if necessary.

I try to keep my list as simple and specific as possible.  I actually strive for a few specific personality improvements and then a handful of personally meaningful, challenging but achievable goals I wish to reach.  If I succeed at one of them, I can cross it off and add something new.  If I fail, like with the guitar, I can carry it forward or decide it's no longer a priority and take it off the list.  In other words, keep your list manageable.  If you put everything on your list all at once, you'll undoubtedly feel overwhelmed and struggle harder to achieve anything - often leading to complete surrender.  How many people do you know who fail in their resolutions year after year?  Find success - write 'em down, be reasonable and specific in your expectations, and include easily achievable goals to help build confidence for the more challenging goals.

To enjoy success and stay actively focused on your goals involves one essential element.  Discipline.  That's my first and most important Cornerstone.  Stay tuned - I'll begin discussing each cornerstone in more depth as the week progresses.  For now, start thinking about your list of objectives and write 'em down!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Never* Say No to Yourself

Never* say no to yourself.  This has become another personal axiom, adopted from a good friend of mine who taught it to me.  On the surface, it may seem selfish or arrogant, so let me explain exactly what it means, and just as importantly, what it doesn't.  (See author's cautionary footnote.)

Have you ever desired something that required action by someone else but then assumed they would say no, so you didn't even ask?  (ie: you'd like a raise, need a ride, or some other minor favor.) Instead by not asking, you essentially said no to yourself - probably out of fear of rejection or embarrassment, or a lack of confidence.  If you think about it though, getting a 'no' leaves you no worse off than if you hadn't asked.  The potential benefits of being surprised by a 'yes,' however, are enormous.  I adopted the "Never Say No to Yourself" philosophy 100% after my friend convinced me to ask for something I was 100% convinced would be denied.  Not only was I wrong, but they were delighted to accommodate my request.  I was pleasantly stunned - and became an enthusiastic practitioner ever since.  Of course, the answer sometimes comes back 'no' too.  Don't sweat it.  You're no worse off for having asked.

One last point - this axiom is not intended to be taken in a context of "do whatever you want" or "deny yourself nothing."  There are numerous instances when saying no to yourself is absolutely required and appropriate.  (You know exactly what I mean!)

I urge you to conquer your fear.  There are plenty of people who will say no to you.  Don't say it to yourself.  Simply ask.  See what happens.  You might, like me, be pleasantly surprised at the results!

*  Author's Note:  Never does not mean Never.  Apply axiom responsibly and as intended or suffer irreparable consequences of your own making.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Unqualified Sharing

Someone asked me recently, "what qualifies you to give life advice?"  Good question.  I'm not qualified.  I'm unqualified.  I'm also not giving advice.  I'm sharing my experiences and the lessons they've taught me.  You decide if there's something of value to apply to your own life.

The Reason 87 is really a vehicle for my own personal growth - sort of like a journal - that I've chosen to share.  I share my creative writing on The Twilight Blue.  I share thoughts on other topics on
3 More Monkeys.  Writing helps me think better, helps me work out my troubles, and helps remind me of the lessons I've learned along the way.

The Reason 87 isn't intended as "advice."  Think of it more as an invitation into my head.  If something resonates with you, benefit from it.  If it doesn't resonate, ignore it.  It's entirely your choice.  So, no advice - just unqualified sharing.