From Brian Tracy’s Eat that Frog…Start NOW…

Happy Tuesday!  Here on My Pocketful of Thoughts I like to discuss topics that are affecting me. us all.  Today I thought I’d revisit Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy.  I started reading this book last summer and half of the pages are full of sticky note place holders.  As I’ve re-read sections to discuss here on the blog, I’ve run across something that I have been implementing and I share that with you today.

“…The Quick List Method
Here is an exercise that we use with our coaching clients very early in the process.  We give them a sheet of paper and then tell them, “In thirty seconds, write down your three most important goals in life right now.”

We have found that when people have only thirty seconds to write their three most important goals, their answers are as accurate as if they had thirty minutes or three hours.  Their subconscious minds seem to go into a form of “hyperdrive,” and their three most important goals pop out of their heads and onto the paper, often to the surprise of the people doing the exercise.

…When you force yourself to ask and answer each of these questions in thirty seconds or less, you will often be amazed at the answers.  Whatever your answers, they will usually be an accurate snapshot of your true situation in life at the moment.  These answers will tell you what is really important to you.

While you are setting goals and priorities, getting organized, concentrating single-mindedly on one task at a a time, and disciplining yourself to complete your most important tasks, you must never forget that your ultimate goal is to live a long, happy, and healthy life….” -Pg 50-52 from Eat That Frog!

I had the opportunity to go to a Brian Tracy seminar a few years ago, and we did this very exact exercise.  Brian asked a series of questions (that you can also find in this book), I reviewed the list at the seminar, and then stuffed the list into my notebook and completely forgot about it.  I know, I know.  Don’t we all do this though, we take valuable information, things to get us ahead in life, and we regard it as “nice things to know”.  What if we actually took the information we were given and DID something with it?  Imagine the potential.  Well, I found the list when I was going through my old notebooks, I read the items on my list and I had actually completed half of them.  I had goosebumps.

The first step to achieving any goal, is to write it down.  WRITE IT DOWN!  If you don’t already have your goals written out then I suggest you do it right now….go ahead I’ll wait.  Even if you never look at the list again, its in your head, your brain has already started to figure out ways to make it happen.

Speaking them into existence gets others to help you work towards your goals.  SPEAK YOUR GOALS INTO EXISTENCE.  Go ahead, speak them out loud, I’ll wait.  I found out my friend has written a graphic novel.  How awesome is that?!  But I would have never known, if she did not speak it out loud.  All she needs is an illustrator to finish the book and begin to publish it.  If you happen to know the process to finding an illustrator and how to self-publish a book, let me know in the comments section or send me an email by hitting the email icon in the right hand panel.  See what just happened there, I spoke it into existence to and now you’re thinking hmm do I know an illustrator or do I know anything about self-publishing.  She is now working on her goals with help.  This is why we must speak our goals into existence.

One of my goals this year has been to organize my desk.  In January I removed every single item from my desk area and piled it up onto the other side of my bedroom.  It is this monster of a pile.  I swear it speaks to me. :/ It kind of sounds like the plant from Little Shop of Horrors, when the plant says to Seymour, FEED ME.  I’m not going to lie, the pile scares the living daylights out of me.  Its this HUGE task that I think about and see every day.  So why don’t I act on it?  Why is my desk not organized?  Huge tasks scare us all.  This is why we should tackle all HUGE goals, one bite at a time, just eat that frog right?

A few months ago, my very good friend introduced me to a site called Me and You Health.  This site has a daily challenge that is sent every day to your inbox in hopes of changing your life with a task.  When I first joined the site I was interested in how the challenges might better my life.  As time went on, I thought it was nice to meet new people with similar goals and to hear their stories.  It wasn’t until I changed the track I was on to Clutter (You receive a different set of challenges depending on what you want to work on.) that a light bulb went on.  Every day I received a challenge to sort through/organize/clean for a 15 minute interval.  15 minutes was all I had to do.  It is a short amount of time, you isolate one thing that you can start working on and you get to it.  Once you start making progress you look up at the clock and an hour has gone by.  It makes the goal more approachable and it gives me confidence that I will get it done.  If 15 minutes is too long for you start at 5 minutes and increase how long you work on something over time.

Whatever your goals are, write them down, speak them into existence and start working on them today.  As Brian Tracy has said, Eat That Frog!  #GiddyUP

PS If you do happen to know the process of hiring an illustrator for a book you’re writing or the methods of self-publishing please share :)

Put your money in the cookie jar?

Happy first day of March :)  Its bananas how the time always seems to fly!  Here we are in the third month of the year and if feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the new year and trying to decide what our resolutions should be.  Take a moment if you haven’t to reevaluate your goals and see how far you’ve come in these past two months.  You might be in for a sweet surprise.

Last Monday I talked about how to prepare yourself for all the things that come at you unexpectedly, big or small with an emergency fund.  If you didn’t have one, and I did not fire you up enough to start one, today is a new day.  Unless that is, you were waiting to see where to put that money, today is your lucky day.

Years ago I did the research to see what was a good fit for me and what I needed.  There were four things that I looked at to see where I was going to put my money for the emergency fund.

  1. Will the new account make more money for me than where my money is currently?  Every account has a certain APY(Annual Percentage Yield).  I had always kept my money in a passbook savings account at my local bank, until i asked this question. The APY on that account was less than 0.25%.  I remember when i would update the passbook, my interest earned would never go over 11 cents.  Now I didn’t have thousands of dollars in there, as I was always just starting, it seems.  Money always came in and out.  Part of that was its accessibility.  
  2. How accessible is the money?  I personally know how tempting it is to finally see your savings start to grow and think to yourself, hmm what if I got that jacket I really wanted.  Its on sale and I could always use the jacket…Yes I think I need that.  Ok, so maybe a jacket is not the greatest example.  My point is that there will always be something that will come up that you’ll talk yourself into thinking that its a NEED and NOT a WANT. The passbook account was super accessible.  A short walk down the street and in no time I could deduct the amount that I needed. That for me was an issue.  That is not to say that I have NO self control, but making it harder for myself to access the money meant that I had to reevaluate my thoughts.  Is that really a need or a want?  I looked for an account that was a little more work to access, but one that would get me my money in a reasonable amount of time.
  3. Is there a minimum balance? Some accounts require you to put in a minimum of $50, some more, some less. I started my emergency fund with $5.  It was what I had at the time and it was what I could live with not seeing.  As you continue to get a hold of your finances and pay things off, you can continue to raise the amount you put in there.
  4. How reputable is the bank holding your money?  It is always a good thing to ask around and research where you put your money?  Ask friends and family who they hold their accounts with, or if they know of anyone who speaks highly of their account. 

The answers to all my questions led me to open an account with ING.  However, my needs are not your needs, so I have included the names of some sites to help you along in your research.

Once you decide on the bank you’d like to open the account with, always READ THE FINE PRINT before proceeding.  You never know when you’ll read something in the fine print that will change your mind. Once you have it opened set up the account for automatic transfers. Out of site, out of mind. Remember to BE patient!
Hope this all helped.
Until next time
djrelat7

We Can DO It!!!

Day 14, I’d like to say I’m happy to see you, as you are three days past the half way mark of my first 21 days towards my goal of spending less money this year. I realize with each passing day that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.  As Lit said, I am ‘My Own Worst Enemy’!  How are you doing with your first goal for the new year?  Did you pick your reward for making it to your first check point?  I have mentioned that I am looking forward to my shopping trip but never really gave the details.  Details are important in making any kind of goal.  If we are specific enough, then it is clear in our minds eye, and easier to achieve.

I will go shopping as my reward if I make it til the end of February.  While the thought of shopping does excite me, it also makes me nervous.  Where am I going shopping?  How much am I spending?  Will that reward be the final straw and break my self control?  See where details make a difference.  Be specific!

  • Pick a date.  I did state the end of February, but does that mean the 21st or the 28th?  I will go shopping as my reward if I make it to February 28th if I do not spend money on things I do not need.
  • Be specific with your reward.  I will go shopping in NYC at the Shecky’s Event on March 10th 2009 if I make it to February 28th if I do not spend money on things I do not need.
  • Make your goal positive!  Did you already throw in the towel towards making your goal for this year?  Was your goal positive?  If I tell a child to not doing something, what will they do?  They will do it.  The same thing goes for us.  If my concentration is on not spending money on things I do not need, that is what I will think about.  My focus is directed upon spending money on things I do not need.  How can you reword it?  I will go shopping in NYC at the Shecky’s Event on March 10th 2009 if I make it to February 28th and I spend money on only things I need.  Now I’m thinking about spending money on things i need.  When I am out and about, the question that will pop into my head is, Do I need this?  Yes, ok get it. NO, then I do not need it and do not need to buy it.  If I spend money on the things I need then I can go shopping in March.  See that just made me smile again.  Can I make this even more positive? 
  • Pick the proper tense.  Make vs Made, plays a larger role than you might realize.  “if I make it”, that seems to say i might not make it, so lets change that.  I am going shopping in NYC at the Shecky’s Event on March 10th 2009 with money i save, for making it to February 28th spending money on only things I needed. When I read that, I have already made my goal!  I am expecting to make that goal.  When I’m tempted by any random thing I think I can’t live without and do not need I will hear in my head, no i will not buy it because I’m going shopping in March.  I will get excited about the Shecky’s event and will feel better about the decision about leaving it in the store or online. :)
  • Keep yourself accountable.  The best thing to do if you truly want to hit your goal is to share it with someone who cares about you and wants to see you succeed.  Choose wisely!  I picked my friend Cristina to go with me shopping in NYC for the event because I know she will be quick to remind me of my goal and keep me focused. 

Do you have any tricks to keep yourself focused on your goals?  I am currently carrying around an index card with the words, Shecky’s and the numbers 3-10-10.  It is a visual reminder of my goal and my reward.  Seeing it throughout the day keeps the goal fresh and reminds me of why I am doing it.

Are you wondering what this Shecky’s Event is?  Vendors get together to sell their lovely products at a discount, a DJ plays and cocktails are served!  Shopping, music and yummy drinks, its no wonder I’m excited!  You have to be 21 OR older to get in of course. You can find some of the most unique and original items on the market; Did I mention at a discount?  Ladies its an event you do not want to miss, especially when a friend asks you where you got that awesome bag, or dress, or lotion, or…I could go on forever.  Gentleman, its an event to pick up something special for your lady or female friends/relatives!  It happens across the US, so check the site for a city near you!  Tickets are currently on sale until 1/15/10 for half price so don’t delay!  Click here for Shecky’s GNO tickets. : ) 

Until Tomorrow
DJRelat7

Visions of a Great Year…Resolutions or Wishful Thinking?

I’m sitting in my bedroom and do you know what I hear?  The sounds of a gentle breeze coming from the heating vent and the melodic flickering of the candle that sits beside me, provide the perfect backdrop for this entry.  While I am cherishing this partial moment of silence, I have to secretly admit that I miss the noise.  I survived a week of screaming children, non stop fights, back talk, hugs, kisses, video game playing, shopping, eating, cooking and I can’t wait to do it again.  Now of course these are all thoughts in retrospect as yesterday I was counting down the minutes until they were all gone, and now I find myself wondering what my resolutions should be for this year.

2010’s New Year Resolutions can officially start on Monday as this year’s list seems to be a long one…

  1. Spend more time with myself…I know you’re like what?!  I know for certain that one of the things driving me crazy this week was that I was responsible for other people aside from myself and at the end of the day I was tallying up all the things I didn’t do for myself and everything I did for them…if you don’t make time for yourself then you might start resenting the people who take up all your time and that can only bring misery to you…
  2. Get to a healthy weight…I’m sure this is on everyone’s list, so I’ll be one of the many people at the gym on Monday morning.
  3. Shop LESS, If there were a Shopaholic Anonymous meeting that I could find, I’d be there…Hi, I’m a Shopaholic and I admit I have a problem… In 2009 I spent quite a pretty penny on things that I had to have in that very moment of wanting it and so this year the goal is to cut back on shopping.
  4. Well you get the point, this list can go on forever…and I’ll talk about the others in blogs to come…

Now the thing to remember about New Year’s Resolutions is that if you do not have a clear picture of what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it then all you’re doing is WISHFUL THINKING!

First, start off with one thing on the list with a clear concise picture in your head of how you want it to turn out.  I’ll use my #3 on the list of shopping LESS for an example.  Today is my second day of not shopping at all, so YAY me. 

Next, take that goal and break it down.  Like everything in life, our goals should be approached one day at a time, but with the picture of our transformation looming in the background.  What happens with most of us every year is that we keep that goal in front of us, of how we’d like to be or what we’d like to do and day one goes by, we’re pumped up, its a new year, nothing can get in our way…and Point A of where you are now to Point B, where you want to be, seems like this outrageous quest.  Day two rolls around, you still feel strong willed but where you are today in comparison to where you were yesterday seems like no progress at all.  Day 7 strolls in and you’ve already waved the white flag in defeat.  So take that big goal and break it down into smaller goals that will lead you to that final goal. 

To make smaller goals you have to understand what your goal means.  For me shopping less is to aim for spending less money on things I really DO NOT need.  On top of the fact that I have debts to pay off still does not help my financial situation at ALL and with the current state of our nation and the jobs disappearing out there, its not at all wise for me to be spending my hard earned cash on whims.  Although there are many pretty things out there to buy still, I have to direct my money more wisely.  So this translates to MONEY!  So my first small goal is to spend less money on things that are not a necessity for the next two months. 

So instead of thinking of NO SHOPPING for the next year, I’ve broken it down to start with 60 days. Now with 363 days left its easy to see that you can become overwhelmed and give in to the voices that tell you to give up. 

Lastly, reward yourself at each check point.  To reward myself I will allow in my budget a small shopping trip with money I set aside. So once March rolls in I’ll be looking forward to picking up something pretty. 

21 days forms a habit and is a perfect mile marker to access how you have done so far.  You should be able to decide to keep steady on your path or make even smaller goals or reevaluate your final goal. On day 30 add another item to your list of things to tackle.  Letting others know of your goals will keep you accountable and finding others with the same goal will keep you motivated, but remembering that TOMORROW IS A DO OVER is words to always remember on a day that does not go according to plan.

I’ll keep you updated on my goal of spending less this year and to remind myself of my reward I’ve created a count down on my blog to keep me going.  Much luck to you in achieving all of your goals this year, may they all be resolved!  Feel free to share your goals with me and any advice you might like to share with others :)

until tomorrow DJRelAt7