Here you go, folks!
Have a great Monday!
Until next time…
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
I believe that planning is more important than the goal itself. Obviously, we have to have goals, if we want to accomplish anything in a systematic and organized way. The real question for me is how will we achieve what we set out to do? We can only do this by putting together a plan.
Plans can be simple or very complex. It all depends on the goals you want to accomplish. A goal of simply going to the gym would be less complex than writing a novel, for example. The key to planning is realizing what you need to do and then coming up with an order of operations to achieve what you want.
One of my goals each year is to read 60 books. This works out to 5 books a month or about 1,25 books each week. Do I get this detailed? No. I just keep reading continuously throughout the year, reading multiple books simultaneously, and knock them off of my list in Goodreads. I monitor my progress, but my plan is pretty simple. Read an hour a day, a minimum, and you’ll get there. So far, so good. As you can see, the plan is pretty simple. It has also delivered consistently over two years.
Diet and exercise can be more complex. You have to monitor what you eat, monitor the supplements you are taking, and track the exercises you are doing, the weights you are lifting, water intake, sleep schedule, etc. This one is more complex than reading books. You have to put a bit of work and planning to ensure you hit all of the checkmarks required for achieving your goals, whether it be weight loss, improved cardiovascular capability, or strength gains.
I also set goals for myself when I play video games. My current favorite is Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War. I am currently playing the Zombies part of the game and each day I set out goals that I want to accomplish. Do I want to earn a particular camouflage for this weapon, clear out a particular reticle for a sight, or do I want to earn so many crystals? I realize you may not understand what I’m talking about, but you can set goals for literally anything you want to. I like setting goals for daily activities, because it makes it more of a game to me, and keeps my motivation up when I achieve a milestone of sorts for all of my goals. It also makes it easy to measure and assess that I’m on track with a goal or not.
Plan folks. If you have a plan you can adjust it as you go, particularly if it isn’t working. Without a plan, you really don’t have any ability to gauge what you are doing or measure where you are. Both add difficulty and frustration to everything you will try to achieve. When this is added in, it is highly likely you will quit, because you aren’t seeing the success you need and you don’t know how to troubleshoot what you are doing to get something done. Make sense?
Have a great Monday, folks!
Until next time…
Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.
Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.
A goal is a dream with a deadline.
Napoleon Hill was an American author best known for his Think and Grow Rich book. His book, among others, had a huge impact on the self-help genre.
Have a great Wednesday, folks!
Until next time…
Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
All of us have regrets of some sort. Minimize them by doing what you want to do and get to doing them. Act as if you could not fail, and you will avoid much regret in your life.
I used to be a huge procrastinator until I read some books that stated that the bulk of procrastination is caused by a fear of failure. Eliminate failure, and you’ve won half the battle.
The next contributor to procrastination is perfectionism. You say to yourself, “I want to do this thing, but it has to be perfect.” Then you delay and delay and delay some more. Why? Because you will never attain perfection. You will only achieve your best, and you know what your best is.
Take any art, be it book writing, drawing, anything that involves creativity. You decide when you’ve hit your best. You’ve decided when it is done. It doesn’t matter what other people say. You accomplished what you set out to do. And you know, the people that will like it are out there. But you have to get your creation out there for other people to notice.
When I first began blogging, I was so worried about what other people would think. Did I put enough time into that post? Are there any grammatical errors? Did I talk about the right topic? The answer: YES. Your readership likes what you are writing. They like what you talk about. They enjoy seeing what you’ve done.
Do everything as if you cannot fail, and don’t worry about what others think. I know that’s hard to do, but trust me. You’ll be much more productive and you’ll start knocking things off of your to-do list more quickly if you do the best you can, with what you have, be it time, resources, or any number of possible constraints.
You’ll feel better. You’ll feel more confident. You’ll enjoy what you are doing when you grant yourself the freedom to screw up.
Happy Wednesday, folks!
Until next time…
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
Have you ever attempted to do something you’ve never done before?
Initially, you’re excited. You are gang busters to get this new thing done. Then, reality hits. You start running into problems. You don’t know how to do this; you don’t know how to do that. Then you make a breakthrough, and you are motivated all over again. The cycle continues over and over until you finish.
Think about how many things you would like to do, but blow off because you are afraid you’ll fail. This is when Henry Ford’s quote comes into play. When you see failure before you begin, you will probably not do that thing. You figure, I’m going to screw it up, so why put in the effort.
Let me fill you in. You will always fail when you try something new. Why? Because it’s new. You can do some research to see where others have failed, but we are all creative. We’ll figure a way to screw up that no one else has figured out.
Here’s a technique you can use to achieve your next goal. Visualize what you want. See yourself complete it. Feel how you will feel when you’ve achieved the goal. The visualizing is more powerful when you can visualize how you will feel.
You see, we are wired to scan our environments for hazards. This is how our mind is built to ensure our survival as an organism. When we see obstacles to our goals, we worry, we get stressed out; we visualize what would happen if we hit one of those things. The negative visualization and the feelings we automatically associate with these visualizations are automatic.
To overcome these negative visions, we have to replace them with a vision of success and combine that vision with the feelings we will have when we complete our goal. This is all associated with the Law of Reversed Effort. When we reverse the way we look at things, we can achieve them. You see?
So here’s what you do. Whenever you get frustrated or stressed out over pursuing one of your goals, take a few minutes to close your eyes, visualize achieving the goal you’ve set for yourself, and add feeling to these visuals. You will immediately change your viewpoint and your body will react in kind, just like it does with the automatic negative feelings you generate without too much thought. This is how you take your mind off of the obstacles in your way and reset your sites on the achievement of your goal. Practice this. At first, you may not reap the benefits you are seeking. Keep at it. Once you develop this skill, you will no longer be plagued by the obstacles that are in your way and achieving goals will become easier and easier, despite the difficulty.
I hope this helps those of you who are struggling with self-defeating thoughts.
Until next time…
It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
As we wind down 2019, I wanted to use that time to address failure.
Failure is a teacher. It is not something to get upset about or worry about. Failure shows you how not to do something. It teaches us where we went wrong. If we pay attention. If you fail and learn nothing, the true failure is failing to learn something.
I set some stretch goals at the beginning of the year. Did I meet all of them? No. Was I planning to miss the mark? No. That’s what stretch goals are about. You stretch beyond what you did previously to see if you can pull it off. I’ll get into detail in a later post when I do my end-of-year evaluation and reset for next year, but when you achieve more, feel great! When you fail to achieve what you set out to do, learn from it. Did you stretch too far? Did you miss some principle or lack the technique or ability to do more? This is where the true wins are. You can fail over and over and over again. The key is to keep going.
Here’s my weekly schedule:
When you set your goals for next year (hopefully sometime this month), keep in mind that you may fail to achieve some of them. That’s OK. Goals are meant to stretch us. Sometimes you can’t stretch enough to achieve them. The real benefit of this exercise is to continue to do better than you did yesterday.
Until next time…
Quote courtesy of http://www.briantracy.com
Failure. We all fear it. It’s interesting when you think about how our brains work. The brain doesn’t like change. It doesn’t like trying new things. It doesn’t like this because change is fearful to that part of our brain that warns us about danger.
Why? Well, our ancestors needed to be warned about everything by their primitive brains because mistakes could be deadly, particularly when there were creatures all around that wanted a meal. The brain’s warning system worked pretty good. We are still here after all.
How do you counteract this part of your brain to try new things? Our brains are much different from our ancestors’ brains. Our brains are much larger and have evolved to a point that we can override this prehistoric brain. We can choose to make changes despite our brain’s warnings.
Our ability to direct ourselves to do things that are unknown or challenging is a gift. We still have to deal with the fear of failure and all the rest, but now we have the ability to reason with ourselves. We can evaluate an action and deem it safe, despite the risks for failure and move forward. This is challenging, but possible. It merely requires us to be persistent and push forward with our goals.
All of us are unique. Some of us see a threat while others see an opportunity. What I have found to ease my angst is to get out there and learn from other people. I learn from books, online courses, and YouTube videos. If you see someone else doing something you want to do, the fear dissipates somewhat. I say to myself, “If they can do it, so can I.”
Then there’s practice. It’s hard to learn something new without getting your hands dirty. You can read about a topic, learn about a topic, and even watch someone else does something, but it is so much different when you do it. You will make mistakes. You will mess up. Each time you mess up, you learn. You learn that this is not the way. Then, if you are paying attention, you’ll avoid that mistake in the future and go on to the next step.
Fail. There is nothing wrong with it. Learn from it. Start again. Persist. You can’t lose if you don’t quit.
This week is a busy one. I’ve got a few books to finish, a chapter to write in my book, workouts to do, and of course, posting to this blog. It’ll be a great week!
Until next time…
Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination—William Longgood
It is so easy to get bogged down with the trivial in life. We binge-watch television, we explore the postings in social media, or we gossip with our friends. The trivial things in life create nothing, contribute nothing, and accomplish nothing.
If you could accomplish anything you wanted in life, with no possibility of failing, what would you pursue? Keep this in mind while you list 100 things you’d like to do before your life ends. What did you write down? Did it involve traveling? Learning? Building a skill? Starting a business? Getting in shape? Seriously, use your imagination and dream a little. Whatever is on that list you can accomplish it. Dream big!
Once you have a list, go through it. Find that one thing on your list you can get to work on right now. Got your item picked? Good. Now look at what that finished task or goal looks like when you’ve achieved it. Do you have a good picture in your mind? Can you feel how good it will be when you’ve accomplished it? Who in your family is celebrating with you? Where are you when you complete this task? What colors are prevalent in your picture? What smells? How do you feel? Now, go backward from that moment and begin writing down all the things that need to happen to accomplish it. Now go through that list and make sure your tasks/milestones are in place. Is the time you’ve allotted between milestones realistic? Did you make sure your tasks are in order? In other words, are there any tasks that must go before another can be started?
Now commit. Commit to begin working on your dream task tomorrow. Begin working toward your first milestone daily until you hit it. Then look at the next milestone and begin working toward that. Stuck? Look at the milestone and your list of tasks, you may need to break these milestones down into even smaller tasks to get the job done. Do that. Get these milestones broke into small chunks that can be completed in 25-minute chunks. Now schedule these 25-minutes each day. Is it on your calendar? Good.
Does this seem easy? It is. The problem most people have when trying to accomplish something is they fail to take themselves or their dreams seriously. They dream about doing something and it stays in the dream state. The dream stays where it is and we get bogged down with our chores, our day job, or something else. These day-to-day commitments become a ball and chain that prevents us from pursuing what we’d really like to do. We let the mundane become more important than what we dream about. As the years roll by, we are still dreaming and not any closer to achieving the dream.
Everything in our lives become one big distraction, one more reason to delay, one more excuse waiting to happen. After a while we become like the circus elephant trained to believe that the small rope spiked to the ground is impossible for us to break. We learn how to be helpless. We create our own prisons. We give up the dreams that could be ours and replace them with the mundane. Instead of working on our book for 30 minutes a night, we get caught up in a television series about zombies. Instead of taking that trip to Iceland, we waste our money on junk food or material things we don’t need. Instead of pursuing that business idea we play video games. You get the point.
You don’t have to join the crowd. You can begin today and start living your life. Pursue that dream you have in your head. Plan it out as if you could not fail. Begin taking steps to accomplish it. You will be floored when you achieve it one day and the journey you take to get there will be something you will always cherish for the rest of your life.
You’ll wake up one day and look at yourself in the mirror with a pride you’ve never experienced before. You did it. Hell, you may even tear up because you’re so proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Your family and friends will be proud. At the end of that glorious day, while you lay in bed, you’ll begin thinking about the next thing you’d like to do. And you know what? The next day you’ll begin planning and setting up your calendar to pursue your next dream.
Think about Edison, Ford, Lincoln, Washington, Einstein, Disney, Gates, Buffet, and Musk. Think about Keller, Curie, Earhart, Roosevelt, Thatcher, Rowling, Beyonce, and Oprah. The stories are alike. They started from nothing, with huge obstacles to overcome and naysayers in the background. They all had a dream and pursued it. Was it easy? No. Did they suffer at times? Yes. Did they experience failure and shortfall and doubt? You bet. The difference between you and them? They went for it. While their friends were diddling around with the mundane, they pursued their dreams. They stuck with it. When they failed, the got up, dusted themselves off, and started again.
It’s Wednesday, the 24th of April 2019. Over the next few days, put together your 100 list. Pick one thing you’d like to pursue. Get your plans set to begin execution on May 1st. You can do it. I believe in you. You have nothing to lose but the opportunity to learn more about yourself and gain the satisfaction that comes from starting your journey.
I wish you well.
Until next time…
“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
Are you afraid of making mistakes or failing what you set out to do? If you are, I have an exercise you can work through. This exercise provides you a way to brainstorm your future. Write 100 things you would like to do before you die. This will be your personal bucket list. Assume you will accomplish these goals. You have the skills, talent, knowledge, and the money to do whatever you want. Try this. It is a great exercise and is the way I came up with my personal bucket list. This bucket list drives me to learn new skills and identifies new plateaus to shoot for.
I’ll be working on the 2nd draft of 5 chapters this week. I’ll be checking my writing for grammar errors. I am scheduled to finish my 2nd draft this month. Rewriting processes vary from author to author. I am working through my process hoping I can solidify this process for future non-fiction books. My writing efficiency will improve dramatically once I have this process completed.
My workout routine will stay at home using exercise bands. I got a new set this week that duplicated weights up to 50lbs. My home routine will be the routine I stick with while the weather here in Michigan makes driving conditions too dangerous to drive in. My goal is the same as last year. I want to get to 200lbs with about 10% body fat. I’ll get there. I’m slowly chipping away.
I’m on track with my blogging. I am at 516 followers, with a 1000-follower goal by year’s end. I use Sunday to read other people’s blogs and follow blogs I am interested in. I follow back everyone who follows Daily Ramblings. I am continuing to refine my content to continue to deliver top-level content that will keep and attract new followers.
My meditation schedule is daily. My reading involves 5 books. One book is a fiction book, another book is a history book, another book is spiritual, another book is on philosophy, and the final book is a self-help book. Each time I finish a book I replace the finished book with a book of the same category. I’m on track with my reading plan for the year. I finished book 8 of the 48-book goal I have set for this year.
I am also on track with my course load. I am taking a lecture series on YouTube, a political course on Coursera, offered by the University of Pennsylvania, and I am plugging through my programming course on Codecademy. The goal this year is to finish the Web Path I am enrolled in.
I hope all of you are on track with the goals you set in December like I did. If you are having trouble with deciding about what to do, take time and write 100 things you’d like to do, assuming you will not fail. When you have completed your list, write the reasons you would like to pursue these goals. The goals that have the strongest reasons are the ones you should focus on. Goals that motivate you will be the goals that are easier to incorporate into your daily schedule. Goals that don’t have a solid “why” will be those goals you place on a someday/maybe list. Your goals will change. Some will stick while others will teach you are not willing to pay the price that goal requires. It’s ok. Try things out. You never know.
As always, I wish you a great week!
Until next time…
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”―Frank Herbert,Dune
Fear. It causes us to pause, to procrastinate, to react to all those hidden demons our minds create. Fear warns us that we are not good enough. Fear predicts our total ruin. Fear predicts the destruction of our reputation. Fear is an enemy to be dealt with if you are going to do anything meaningful with your life.
We all deal with fear in one way or another. Fear can come in many guises. We can be fearful of a confrontation with a colleague or a loved one. We can be fearful of failure. We can be fearful of standing up for ourselves. We can be fearful of moving forward with a project we really want to accomplish.
I have found that the best way to conquer fear is to eliminate the ego. How many wars or arguments could have been avoided if both parties put their egos to the side. The ego is something you’ll never get rid of, but it can be put to the side. When you are creating something new, you will make mistakes. Embrace mistakes. Embrace failure. These are two things you have to get through if you are going to achieve anything. If you avoid assigning failures and mistakes to yourself personally, you will feel bad, upset, angry, etc. Instead, play a game. Laugh at yourself. Realize what you’ve learned. Look at the failure or mistake and dissect it. How did it happen? What did I miss? More importantly, how can I avoid this mistake in the future?
Set your goals, establish a plan to achieve the goals you have set, and stake out actions to move you through your road map. Make your daily contributions so minuscule that you’ll do them without resistance. You’ll make mistakes. You will discover your plan has problems and needs to be adjusted. Failure occurs only when you fail to act or give up on your goals and dreams. Keep this in the forefront of your mind—failure occurs when you quit. You avoid failure if you keep moving forward.
I had a heck of a time yesterday with my Dad watching the Superbowl. We were a little disappointed in the game. The commercials were OK, but not barn burners. The game was exciting toward the end, but the first half was boring. In the end, however, it was nice watching the game with my Dad.
Tomorrow is the State of the Union and I’ll be engaged with that most of the day. This week I’ll continue my reading, writing, exercise, meditation, and learning schedule. I interact with a lot of authors online and discovered a great writing tool. It’s called Scrivener. I just downloaded it today and will be working through tutorials and such for most of the week. Once I’ve got a good idea of how to use the tool, I’ll begin moving my book to it. I discovered that using a word document straight up is probably not the most efficient way of putting together a book, particularly now that I am in the re-write phase of the operation.
That’s it for today folks. Have a great week!
Until next time…