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Archive for March, 2011

How can I motivate myself?

March 30th, 2011 No comments

Hand reaching for the sun

Are you motivated?

Real, long-term, consistent, positive motivation, begins with YOU.

It’s more than what your parents wanted, what your boss wants, what your partner or spouse wants.  It’s about who you are and what stimulates and inspires you.

Even more than that, it is YOUR responsibility to motivate yourself.  While other people might help you from time to time, you cannot expect them to do this indefinitely.

 

So, do you know how to motivate yourself?

You probably do in some areas of your life already, even without thinking about it.  Doing it intentionally, however, especially for something hard, may take a more deliberate approach.
The first step is to get to know who you really are and notice things that generate a positive internal response. If you know even a few things that excite you, you’re closer than you think.  This excitement is an indicator that you’ve found something important to your psyche.
Once you have this knowledge, you can use it as desired.

 

Most people never really think about it.

Because you’re here, reading this page, you’ve already moved beyond average awareness of self-motivation.  You’re now on the way to a level of self-discovery that most people don’t even consider.  Knowing that you respond to an idea, an image, or a song is incredibly powerful!  You can use this to create your own motivation by feeding yourself only items that excite you.

 

How does this work?

We interact with the world via our senses.  We have many ways of perceiving things.  We tend to allow information to pass through our senses more readily if the information generates a personal response.  This includes both positive, motivational responses and negative, depressing responses.

There are distinct advantages to living in the digital age.  Movies, pictures, and songs are all readily available.  The amount of information is immense!  To create your own motivation, you need to be deliberate in choosing what information you feed to your senses.  This is a big request, but don’t let it overwhelm you.

Start by listing your dreams and goals.  Not just what you’re doing today, but everything you’ve ever wanted to do! Next, find images that inspire you to each goal.  When you want to motivate yourself to work towards that goal, break out the image and stimulate your brain.

That’s all there is to it!  The better you understand what motivates you, the better your chance of achieving your dreams.

 

Is there an easy way to do this?

Organizing your goals and assigning images takes a bit of work.  This is where single-step motivational software can help you out.  It provides the structure you need to organize and use all the information we described above.  It gives you a way of looking at the various aspects of your life and how they fit together.  It also helps you to look at your goals, your motivation towards reaching the goals, and your priorities to get there.

 

Categories: Goal Setting, Psychology Tags:

Discovering Passion

March 19th, 2011 No comments

Fire buring

We all know passion.  In ourselves, it overrides reason and takes us to special, personal places in our minds.  In others, it inspires, teaches, and sometimes scares us.

Unfortunately, for a lot of us, our passion has become suppressed.  Countless critiques, thoughtless comments, and endless mediocrity lead us to the point that we may not even remember it at all.  How can we wake it up again?

To awaken yourself, try to find the threads of your passion and begin to gently tug.  Pull gently, teasing the corners of your mind.   One way to begin is with thoughts of your first love.

What do those words, “first love” bring to mind?  Did an image flash in your head?  Did you notice a mental attempt to suppress the feeling?  Perhaps to rationalize the experience, or alter the memory?  These are habitual traps that can kill passion, and you must learn to avoid them.

Go back to that first image.  Toy with it in your mind, teasing it gently for information.  Let the images come to you.

What kind of clothing did that person wear?  Was there a particular outfit you were fond of?  What cologne or perfume did they wear?  If they approached you from behind, how would they announce their presence?  What was the anticipation like, waiting for a chance to see them?

Now that you have an image, try to remember how fast time went by once you were together.  How it felt like it would be an eternity before you got to see this person again?  Can you imagine feeling this way today?

If not, be careful not to simply attribute this to the aging process.  Think about what changes you might introduce in your life to rekindle passion.  What pictures might you dig up to spark those feelings?

Images are powerful stimulants of the mind.  When images are chosen based on your personal response, they can help you find hidden corners in your mind that will lead to you do wonderful, powerful things.  Our software, single-step, is based upon this principle, and we encourage users to select images that touch their passions.

What can you do to find passion today?

Categories: Inspirational Tags:

Ten Days to Solid Goals – Day 10

March 7th, 2011 No comments

Diving into the unknown

How do you follow through?


The last challenge is the toughest. Once you have a solid understanding of your goals and of how to achieve them, you face another challenge: following through.

Many people make a good start, but then get distracted or just give up. Some never really never intended to put in the necessary work. Others may just need to adopt the mantra: Slow and steady wins the race.

 

Remember the turtle?

 

In the Turtle vs. the Hare, the hare got all the attention, but the turtle won in the end.

When starting out, choose goals that are just big enough to show some progress, but small enough that you know you can handle them. This way you can build habits.

After a while, you’ll get used to defining goals, breaking them down into microgoals, prioritizing them, and attacking them one microgoal at a time. You can then try more ambitious goals.

Do a little every day. Keep writing down your goals, go over them, keep them in mind. Constantly visualize them being completed, big and small. Give yourself plenty of credit for each step, remembering your successes and drawing strength from them.

What if I get distracted or sidetracked?

 

If you have lapses, don’t waste any energy at all beating yourself up for them. Put them behind you and tell yourself that only one thing matters: not giving up. No matter how badly you may have performed recently, as long as you start again, you have not given up and all is well.

 

Am I allowed to have fun?

 

You bet!  Accomplishing big things is hard work, but it is also exciting and fun. Allow yourself to have a relaxed attitude. Be confident that you are doing what you should, things are working as they should, and that your results are coming.

Life is always changing, and your goals change along the way as well; since you will always be going somewhere, you need to be able to enjoy the trip. This will keep you from burning out along the way, and perhaps even more importantly, when you succeed, it will make your successes meaningful.

 

That’s all, folks…

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our approach to goal-setting and motivation. If you’ve followed the steps we’ve outlined, by now you should have solid, well-defined goals, a clear sense of priority, and and understanding of the limits you will need to overcome.  You can do all of this on your own using just a piece of paper.  If you prefer, we offer goal-setting software that will help you be even more effective in reaching your goals.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Categories: Goal Setting Tags:

Ten Days to Solid Goals – Day 9

March 6th, 2011 No comments

Branch

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is a positive statement designed to counteract a negative belief that you possess. It should be written in the present tense and should re-affirm something that you want to become true.

By using an affirmation, you are attempting to convince yourself that you can do or be something even though your mind doesn’t accept it yet. Once you get a better understanding of this powerful technique, you’ll never view your weaknesses the same again.

You may already be aware of the mental conversations that run in your mind. There is a constant exchange running in our minds, demonstrating our beliefs about the world around us as well as what we believe to be true in ourselves.  Some may find this hard to believe, so lets take an example.

How about an example?

Imagine trying to push a large, heavy car on a flat surface by yourself.   If you haven’t ever tried this, it might seem impossible. You’ll see later why this isn’t the case.

You already know the car is extremely heavy. Unless you are a weight lifter, you might not believe you have the strength to move the car. If someone asked you to attempt it, your mind would probably fill with thoughts like “You’re crazy” or “I’m not strong enough”. You might not even be willing to try to move the car as you are certain that it is impossible.

Your thoughts express your beliefs to you.

Yet moving a car on a flat surface is not all that difficult. A car is designed to roll easily.  As long as you don’t need to lift the car, you can set it in motion with a good push. It is a task that a person of average strength can perform. Yet, because of an existing belief, when given a task to move a car, you might give up without ever really trying to move it

An affirmation of “I can move the car.” would affirm something that you may not believe at the current time. It would seek to break the old mental habits and replace them with a new belief. If you repeated this to yourself daily for a few weeks or months, you just might surprise yourself the next time you see that car.

What does this have to do with trains?

Many western readers have already been exposed to the idea of affirmations as children, although they may not realize it. Many children grow up with the story about ‘The Little Engine That Could’.  This story describes a train that affirmed “I think I can’ repeatedly to itself as it attempted an uphill climb.

In the end, the train was capable of making the climb, but it was the affirmation that gave it the confidence to do so. You will be astounded at how effective even a simple phrase can be in helping you succeed.

How do I create an affirmation?

In creating an affirmation, you want to build a phrase that encourages you to succeed. There are some guidelines that will help you build one effectively.

Guidelines:

  • Keep them in the present tense.
  • Make them positive.
  • Work with words that are right for your way of thinking.
  • Use words that have power and feeling
  • Keep them shorter rather than longer.
  • Make sure you are counteracting a negative belief.

What can I expect?

As you practice your affirmation within single-step, you might encounter resistance from your mind. This will emerge as thoughts that contradict your affirmation. It may be as simple as “I can’t really do that” or “This exercise is silly”. They may also be much more complex and subtle, such as “I’ll do this later, I have something more important to deal with right now”.

Either way, this is your mind working against you! You’ll be shocked the first time you catch your mind playing games with you!

As you encounter this resistance, single-step software allows you to record it in a thought log. This will help you to track your negative thoughts and become aware of them.

How can you keep this interesting?

Incremental change can be tedious. Just like a weightlifter, the changes come over time rather than overnight. But don’t worry, the single-step software has some tricks to make it more fun. You’ll see that it can actually be a very reward part of your daily routine once the habit is established.

When you look back on your progress a few months down the road you’ll be absolutely amazed at how far you’ve come!

Tomorrow we’ll bring it all together.

Categories: Goal Setting Tags:

Ten Days to Solid Goals – Day 8

March 5th, 2011 No comments

Calculations

Are you making progress?

If you are, how can you tell? If you want to progress towards your goal, you need to think about what you’re actually going to measure. One of the most common things to track is money. Whether it is savings towards a trip, donations towards a fundraiser, or retirement investments, we track financial goals all the time.

Another common item to track is weight. Weight loss and diet goals are all around us. Tracking some of the “softer” aspects of goals can take a bit more time and consideration. For example, if you want to track the quality of your relationship with your child, it may be tough to define the metrics. You might track the actual number of minutes you spend each day in good, quality conversation.

Are you tracking too much?

When setting out on a new goal, there can be a strong urge to track everything. This can quickly become overwhelming and lead to discouragement. Instead, try to think of the most important aspect to track and focus on this item alone.

What if I’m not making progress?

Great news! No, it isn’t great that you aren’t making progress. But it is great that you now have a method to detect that you aren’t making progress. And this means you can start modifying your approach to figure out what is going wrong. This feedback, i.e. the lack of progress, is exactly what you need to help identify barriers to success.

If you’re making slow progress you will also want to take this into account. Try to see what you can do to improve your rate of progress as you move towards your goal. Feel free to experiment. Some things may speed you up and others may speed you down. Sometimes you may be quite surprised at the things that sped you up!

Remember to have fun and focus on improvement, not perfection. There will always be bumps in the road. Focus on where you want to actually be.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss more about affirmations.

Categories: Goal Setting Tags:

Ten Days to Solid Goals – Day 7

March 4th, 2011 No comments

Couple viewing the sunset

Our minds are creatures of habit.

They will follow their well-worn pathways to the same dead ends until a new path is sufficiently established.Generally, most of our mental energy is wasted following old paths, inefficiently diffused among ten thousand worthy, unworthy, and completely counter-productive activities and preoccupations.

Affirmation and visualization are related techniques that help us mobilize and focus our mental resources on our intended goal, and help bring it into being.

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is simply a statement, directed towards yourself, that what you want to happen is happening. “My sales are increasing.” “I will finish my program by October 1.”  Write your affirmation down, ten or fifteen times in a row, every day. The repetition of this positive idea, over and over, lets the deepest centers of your brain know that this is to be taken seriously. This is your task, it tells your brain; this is what all available resources should be directed to.

The key here is that your mind is capable of doing some very amazing things when properly directed; when you can truly mobilize its resources to accomplishing a task, you should be prepared for some powerful results.  The technique of writing affirmations can be very useful in overcoming limiting beliefs.  Telling yourself, “I am excellent at writing reports,” or “I feel relaxed and comfortable taking exams,” every morning, gradually establishes this idea in your mind, even when you previously believed the opposite.

What is visualization?

In visualization, the object of your desire is pictured in your mind as vividly as possible.  First put yourself in the most relaxed state of mind you can reach. Then spend some time concentrating on your desire and imagining it as if it were already here.  See it in your mind, picture the details: smiling faces, your nameplate on the door, the sounds and smells of your new car on the highway.  Imagine the elation you feel at your moment of triumph and feel it already, right now.  Know that this is, in fact, going to happen.  Combine the process of visualization with your written affirmations and your brain is going to respond.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss how you can track your progress.

Categories: Goal Setting Tags:

Ten Days to Solid Goals – Day 6

March 3rd, 2011 No comments

Staircase

Once you know what you want, the next step is to plan how you can get there.

A big goal is best broken down into smaller, bite size goals. We like to refer to them as microgoals. They are the individual steps that lead to the final result. The set of these smaller goals is your plan towards success.

If your goal is a vacation in Bali, figuring the total cost and when you want to go will tell you how much you need to save each week.

What is a microgoal?

Each week, then, saving that amount is your microgoal. More microgoals to this end might be packing a lunch two days a week or working a few hours each Saturday for extra cash.

If you want to write a novel, a microgoal of a first draft of one chapter this week is far easier to face than a goal of “write book this year”.

Each small success brings satisfaction and bolsters your confidence, so that, one step at a time, the miles get crossed. Setting microgoals also helps clarify exactly what is necessary to achieve your particular goal so that no important steps are missed.

Can you picture some of the steps needed to reach your goal? Have you ever taken the time to write them down? Once you spend a bit of time organizing your plan, you’ll realize that your goal is not that far away.

This sounds too easy…

And sometimes it is. However, as you work towards reaching your goal, you may discover an unseen force working against you, fighting to keep you from succeeding.  It can be discouraging to realize that this force is actually your own mind.

Yes, your own mind can work against you reaching your goal. And even worse, it is very effective. But there is hope. As you read on, you’ll see that there are things you can do to help you succeed.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about how you can change your mind to help yourself succeed.

Categories: Goal Setting Tags:

Ten Days to Solid Goals – Day 5

March 2nd, 2011 No comments

Big clock

Most of us have more than one thing that we want.

More likely, we have so many things that it can be hard to even keep track of them.  What’s more, since working towards each one requires time and effort, they can often interfere with each other.Setting priorities, then, is absolutely essential.

So, how does one prioritize?

First, write down all the goals you can think of, everything you want to have and achieve.  Next, put them into categories based on how important they are to you.

This process won’t necessarily be easy. Your list also may not remain static, as your priorities will change as events in your life change. This is ok.

Having the list in the first place, and taking the time to consider why your goals are important will help you to make better decisions when conflicting demands for your time arise. Try to realistically evaluate which and how many goals you can actively pursue at once. After you reach this limit, be fair to yourself and push some goals off for a later date.

In considering what is the most important, you also need to take into account what is the most urgent.

Importance vs. urgency…

You may decide your most important goal is preparing for your dream job within a year, while your most urgent goal is paying back a creditor within two months.  A solution could involve setting microgoals of working every Saturday to earn the money you need, and training yourself for your new field Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Prioritization alone won’t get you there, however.  You have to put a plan together to achieve your goals.  Seeing the way to reach a goal is a big factor in staying motivated.  This is especially true when life delivers a setback.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to set some smaller, microgoals. You will want to break your goal into microgoals to help you put a plan in place to succeed.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss microgoals in more detail.

Categories: Goal Setting Tags:

Ten Days to Solid Goals – Day 4

March 1st, 2011 No comments

Head in the sand.

How can we identify limiting beliefs?

Our limiting beliefs, the unquestioned but erroneous assumptions we hold about our own capabilities, are often held far below the level of our everyday awareness.  To move ahead, you will need to become aware of your own assumptions and counter them.  One clue that you might be holding yourself back in a particular area is the simple fact that you are having trouble making progress.

Think of the goal that you are in the process of setting.  Try saying to yourself, specifically, that you have what it takes to achieve it – “I am a fantastic designer”, “I have superior negotiating skills”,  “I am irresistible to women”.

You might even want to say it out loud.

What is your subconscious telling you?

What is your immediate mental response to the exercise above?

Does it feel wrong to tell yourself this?  Did you think back to yourself, “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m really not very good”?  Your hidden assumptions are making themselves known!

Grab onto that resistance and figure out where it’s coming from.  The single-step software provides a place for you to record these thoughts as they appear to help drive out your beliefs and let you recognize them. As you use the software regularly, you will discover that these thoughts get weaker and weaker.

Where did these beliefs come from?

Try to consider your deep, inner beliefs about the type of goal you are pursuing.  Write down every idea you have about it.  Getting things in front of you on paper is important.

A few examples might be:

“There is a lot of competition and I can’t compete.”

“People in this field are very cutthroat and I don’t want to be that way.”

“Women like men with money so I’ll never meet anyone.”

“It’s who you know.”

Some of your responses may surprise you once you start writing them down.  If you’re really interested in challenging yourself try writing them down with your opposite hand and see what comes out. You might be really surprised by the results.

Now what?

Once you have spent some time identifying your beliefs, examine each one.

Ask yourself:

Does this make sense?

How did I learn this idea, and from whom?

How does believing in this idea affect me?

Does it help me succeed or does it hinder me, and how?

If your belief is hurting you and your performance, picture in some detail exactly how. Think about the things it has been keeping you from, the pains that it causes you, feelings of discouragement and lost time.

If your belief is deep and long standing, it may be difficult to destroy even once you see it is false.  Awareness of the pain it causes can provide you with ammunition to finally challenge this belief.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about goal prioritization.

Categories: Goal Setting Tags: