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Achieving Your Goals in 2013: Preparing Your Survival Kit

Achieving Your Goals in 2013: Preparing Your Survival Kit

As the new year has started, it’s time for us all to begin thinking about what we’d like to achieve over the next twelve months.

In setting out in pursuit of your goals in 2013, it’s likely that you’ll first throw yourself headlong into the incredible adventure ahead, filled as it’s likely to be with its own successes and struggles, monumental triumphs and maybe the odd moment of tragedy, yet—like all adventures—it pays to be prepared.

Without proper planning and preparation, and without packing your all-important survival kit, chances are that you’ll encounter all kinds of hazards and situations which you won’t be able to deal with effectively. With that in mind then, here are four vitally-important tools you should arm yourself with as you set out on an adventure in pursuit of your goals.

1. A Map

Pretty obvious right? After all, who sets out on an adventure without a map?

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In this particular case, the routes plotted on your map won’t be highways and byways drawn by some skilled cartographer. Instead, they’ll chart a course from your present location to that magical destination known as success.

When you create your map, you need to draw up three crucial things:

  • Point A 

Where are you now? What is your life like? What do you hope to change or improve by setting out on this adventure?

  • Points B through X (and any others you may need to stop at) 

These are milestones you’ll need to reach in order to make it to Point Z. Without keeping an eye out for these milestones, how will you know if the pursuit of your goals is on course? Plotting your Points B,C,D and so on will also help keep you motivated: as you pass one milestone after another, you’ll be more determined to keep going.

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  • Point Z 

These are your completed goals—the hidden treasure that is the whole purpose of your adventure.

2. Your Compass

Most intrepid adventurers require a compass of some sort. Most often, these tell us which way is north, which is south, which way we should go and which we shouldn’t.

For our pursuit of goals however, we need a different kind of compass. We need one which will tell us which action is right, which action is wrong, what we should do, and what we shouldn’t do.

Like a number of people, I prefer to think of this as a “moral compass”. You may decide to call it a list of values, your own personal Ten Commandments or anything you like. The point is to have a good idea of what is driving you, what values you hold closest, and what you are (or are not) prepared to do to complete your adventure.

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Some people write this out as a manifesto, others don’t. Do what works for you, but don’t set out without your compass!

3. Supplies

Only a fool would set out on adventure without taking adequate supplies with them.

The brave explorers who cross deserts, oceans and even deep space may take food, fuel, medical supplies and tents: on our adventure, we’ll need to take anything we feel would help us pursue our goals. Before setting off, take an inventory of what you have at your disposal. Consider things such as:

  • Material possessions
  • Financial assets
  • Books, computer programs, reference materials
  • Friends, family members, or colleagues who could help you

Ask yourself how what you have right now can help you achieve the things that matter the most to you.

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It’s also helpful to take an inventory of the things we don’t have, but will need at some point down the line—that way, we can barter, trade and negotiate with all the fellow adventurers we’ll meet along our journey to help each other out.

4. Journal

When the day comes that you’re revered as the most excellent adventurer on the planet, when you’ve reached the summit of your goals and find yourself sitting by an open fire smoking your victory cigar, other people will want to know how you did it. Make sure that you never forget both the highs and lows of your adventure; that you document how you overcame obstacles, discovered things you never thought possible and ultimately achieved your goals, by documenting the process.

Keeping a journal also has another, perhaps even more important, benefit: it allows you to track your progress. Keeping tabs on where you’ve been so far should at best keep you motivated, and at worst, keep you on course. Keep a hard-copy journal or start a blog—do whatever you need to do to make sure you never forget the epic journey you’re about to undertake.

Got all that? In that case, I wish you well, oh brave adventurers, and hope you have a wonderful and successful 2013.

Featured photo credit:  Survival kit on a wooden table via Shutterstock

More by this author

Chris Skoyles

Writer, coach, and trainee counsellor specialising in mental health and addiction.

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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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