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The #1 Killer of Your 2013 Goals and Resolutions

The #1 Killer of Your 2013 Goals and Resolutions

It’s the new year and time for all those goals and resolutions to come to fruition. Or die. Whichever you choose.

For me, I’ll choose the former and not become a statistic in about 2 months. But, in order to make sure I don’t become sucked into the mediocrity of this world, I’ll have to take careful notice of why I set these goals in the first place.

Remember those Goals?

Yes, those goals: the ones you set maybe a month ago…or even just days ago. Hopefully you haven’t forgotten them by now. Or maybe it’s just one resolution that you will not stay in your sweatpants all weekend long, every weekend.

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Whatever your goals and resolutions for this year, you’ll quickly fall off the bandwagon of “gung-ho” unless you think back to why you set them. Was it part of a larger goal? Was it a bet? Maybe just something you’ve been “planning” to do for years? Seriously, why did you decide on the ones you have?

I’ll venture to guess that there’s more to it than just a whim of a decision. I’d bet you had a much deeper reason for wanting to make such a drastic change. Or maybe it’s just a minor change—that’s okay too, but you have a deeper reason than “just because” or “I felt like it.”

…or at least you should! Goals with no essence behind them are useless, and you will undoubtedly fail to meet them. Why? Because there’s no solid passion behind it. And I know you have passion, right?

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What You Stand to Lose.

You stand to lose quite a bit actually.

If you’re betting with someone, you’ve already got the stakes figured out. Maybe you’ll have to serve them breakfast in bed for a month straight or do laundry for 8 weeks without complaining. I don’t know what your wager is but I know you don’t want to lose.

Aside from those who have wagers in place, there are those of us who don’t necessarily “lose” a bet, but do lose if we don’t meet our goal. There are those of use who wouldn’t get the satisfaction of achieving that thing we set out to do—we wouldn’t get the sense of accomplishment or the ability to move onto bigger and better things after achieving success in our chosen scenario.

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Yes, we all stand to lose a lot by not reaching that goal we’re striving for. So the question again falls back to “why?” Why did you set that goal? Why do you even care? Why have you forgotten to remember why you set it in the first place?

Or have you?

The Takeaway.

There is just one thing that must be remembered for everything we do in life: whether it’s setting a goal, working through a strategy, painting, reading or anything else, we always need to start in one place. That one place isn’t physical—in fact, it’s more emotional than anything. The one place where all our aspirations should start is “why.”

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I ask you to remember this question as you progress through the year. Don’t neglect why you picked that goal in the first place; don’t look back in 4 months after working on it only to forget why you started. Keep “why” at the beginning of all you do, and you’ll always know exactly where you’re going.

Remember why.

Is remembering why you set a goal in first place something you have experience with? What other pitfalls can you think of that cause people to fail their goals?

Featured photo credit:  magic tree via Shutterstock

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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