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If You Want To Achieve Every Goal You Set, You Should Know This Magic Loop

If You Want To Achieve Every Goal You Set, You Should Know This Magic Loop

How One Year Is Too Long As A Feedback Loop

Decisions to change behavior normally begin with one choice. But the challenge is to stick with the plan to alter a specific behavior for one whole year. This one decision equates to multiple changes in a person’s daily life.

One year.  That’s a long time.  And waiting until the end of those 12 months to assess our progress is also problematic.  How can we properly or successfully identify areas of weakness or areas to pay closer attention if we wait 12 months, 52 weeks to make adjustments?  Most likely, we will have bailed on the project long before it had a chance for successful completion.

Tracking our progress is important.  And, if we begin to track our progress sooner rather than later, we may enjoy different results.  It is called the magic loop.  Assessing progress daily, weekly, monthly or every three months is one way to magically achieve results.

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The Magic Loop:

Daily Motivation and Reflection

Les Brown says we should review our goals twice a day to be focused on achieving them.

This may look like spending time planning each step.  In this step, a set of positive, encouraging affirmations to start the day can keep us focused on our goal and prepared to win.

Try telling yourself each day, “Anything worth achieving will always have obstacles, but I can do it!”

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Another suggestion is to regularly review the day’s progress, also known as daily reflection.  Ask yourself, “Did I work towards my goal today?  What did I do?  What did I skip?  How can I do better tomorrow?”

These questions and their subsequent answers will help us gauge our daily progress and improve on our results the next day.

Weekly Planning

Planning to succeed is vital, but so is celebrating our success.  At the beginning or end of each week, you can write out a plan to help you reach your New Year’s Resolution goal.  In this way, the newly desired behavior will become a habit instead of an “I tried it and I failed” attempt at success.

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For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds by the end of a three-month cycle, you could plan your meals for the week making sure you stay under the caloric intake.

By following your weekly plan, then doing daily reflection, you can magically advance towards your goal.  Then, at the end of the week, you can make another assessment to see how far you have come.

Monthly Tuning and Celebration

Hopefully, you are writing down your daily progress, which will help you remain focused. You can also review your daily notes on a weekly basis. Try writing a weekly summary as well or journaling your experience. At the end of the month, you can re-read your notes. Take the time to pay special attention to where you have come from and where you are going. Celebrate the successes with low or no-cost activities that affirm your hard work.

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Conclusion

Change requires action. Even the best and most prolific leaders do a review of the work they have done to see if it is paying off. Sometimes that action is multi-layered, like the magic loop. But the above-stated actions will yield results that will make you smile at the end of the year.

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Michelle Owens

Freelance Writer/Editor

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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