5 Steps to Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

By this time in January, the majority of people have already dropped the ball on their New Year’s Resolutions. What seemed like such a great idea/plan on January 1 has already been abandoned – so how can you avoid the same outcome?

To help you have a better chance of sticking with your resolutions, you will need to dig a bit deeper into your motivation and also to show yourself that you mean business – because let’s face it, we can be hard on ourselves and also let ourselves slide on our commitments all too easily.

Step #1. Understand your Motivation

There are 2 types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic – this means your motivation comes from inside. For example, you prefer jogging, going to the gym, or shopping by yourself because you like how you feel afterwards.
  • Extrinsic – you’re pushed forward by actions outside your personal scope. In other words, you prefer working out with your friends, and work harder when there’s a reward system in place.

Once you figure out your motivation type is, then all you have to do is put yourself in situations that make you more excited to accomplish even more.

If you prefer more intrinsic rewards, then you know that your prefer jogging vs. going to the gym, so don’t sign up for that gym membership, it will not help you reach your goal. On the other hand if you have an opportunity to join a running group, you will have to decide if that really what you want, but it may help you to reach your running goals, so it is a much better fit for your long term success.

If an extrinsic motivator works better for you, then you would probably do alright purchasing that gym membership and keeping your eyes open to find other individuals who may want to have some friendly competition to help you all reach your fitness goals. Now, I know that these examples or centered around fitness, but the idea is the same no matter what goal you’re trying to achieve, if you understand your motivation, you will better be able to reach your goals.

Step #2. Actions speak louder than results

Deciding on a goal for the New Year, and setting resolutions may be easier said than done. And in the long run, it’s the steps you take to reach that goal that’s will ultimately determine if you will find success. One great way to help you stay on track is to break each step down into smaller goals, allowing you to know what you “should” be working on at any given time.

As you complete each step, reward yourself and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Positive reinforcement is crucial to help guide you as you push toward your goal and commit to your responsibilities. All too often, we look ahead and think about how much more we still have to do, but if you stop and look back, you will find that you have done more than you think you have. And giving yourself the time to appreciate what you have accomplished will help to keep you going as you move forward.

Step #3. Be Honest and Realistic With Yourself

This may be the hardest step of all for some people. The more realistic your resolutions, the more likely you’ll see them through. If your goal for the New Year is to blog more frequently, then start small. Instead of planning a daily commitment, plan to blog 3-5 days a week, then once that becomes a habit, decide if daily is the proper next step or determine if your current schedule works for you.

If you say you’re going to blog daily and then you miss a day – suddenly you have failed, but if you set a more realistic expectation, you will be able to see accomplishments rather than failures. As you start seeing what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be pumped to do even more.

Don’t get caught in the “all-or-nothing” trap. Doing something, even if it’s a small piece of what you’d originally planned, is much better and more productive than doing nothing at all. Or, stop and take a look at what you have already accomplished to remind you that even if you are not where you want to be, you are still moving in a positive direction.

If you think that you can work on several goals at the same time, you may be disappointed. Make a list of your goals/resolutions, then prioritize them, and go from there. Once you feel the first one’s in the bag, go for the second, and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will channel your energy and efforts there, helping you reach your target faster.

Step #4. Have a Positive Mindset

Having a positive mindset is key when progressing towards your goals, but let’s be honest; every plan is bound for failure if you’re not careful. Be smart and anticipate these obstacles so that when they do appear, you’ll be prepared. There will always be obstacles, some you can anticipate and be prepared for, others will take you by surprise and you will have to find a way to get around or through whatever obstacle shows up.

By thinking about possible problems and solutions, you will be better prepared for those unexpected obstacles. For example, if you get worry about running out of what to blog about, you can set up Google News, and Google Trends alerts about what is happening in your area of expertise, ensuring you not only have content, but you stay on the cutting edge for your audience. If you hate creating images for your blog posts, find someone you can outsource the job too – or sign up for a graphics subscription and use images that fit your topic.

The idea is to know that there will be hurdles, but know that you have the tools to help you get over those hurdles. Your willpower will only get you so far, a positive mindset will take you much further in helping you reach your goals.

Step #5. Be Accountable to Someone Else

Accountability means you’re taking responsibility for the choices you’re making. This is huge. And, when you have children, you have to be accountable, they don’t let you off the hook, but when you are working on your own goals, having an accountability partner is so helpful. You can decide if you want to check in daily or weekly, I don’t recommend going any longer than weekly if at all possible.

You can enlist the help of a friend or find someone who is in a Facebook Group you are already a part of, or join a Facebook group that offers accountability as part of the membership. One I can highly recommend is Laptop Lifestyle YOUniversity, this group offers accountability and so much more. You can try to be your own accountability partner, but often, we are too hard or too soft on ourselves to be truly effective.

Of course, keeping your New Year’s resolution can seem scary at first, but any attempt at change is often scary. Hopefully these 5 steps will help you reach your goals, and stay committed to your New Year’s resolutions all year long. You may even find that once you accomplish your first resolution, it’s not only beneficial to your life and business, it’s also empowering!

3 Ways You Can Use Bullet Journals To Transform Your Business

Bullet journals have become a popular organization tool. They can be simple spiral bound notebooks or specific planners that have a dot grid pattern. These dots or grids make it easy for you to design beautiful pages that help you keep track of the various areas of your business and life. Here’s 3 ideas to try in your business.

Make Blogging a Regular Habit

As a busy business owner, blogging can too easily be pushed to the back burner. I know I am guilty of this too. I need to spend time working with my clients, and working on product creation is important. I also have a few niche sites that sometimes get my “writing brain” so my main site doesn’t get the full attention it deserves.

But at the end of the day, the truth is these are all excuses – it is up to me to make sure that I find a way to keep my blog regularly updated.

This is where bullet journaling comes in. I create a tracking page in my bullet journal that allows me to make notes as to whether I have written and scheduled a post for that day, or if I just have a topic idea – this way my content is planned in advance. I don’t blog daily except when I’m involved with a blogging contest or challenge. On a “regular” month, I aim to blog 3-4 times each week – a bullet journal tracking page will help me reach this goal.

If you are not blogging as consistently as you would like, consider setting up a blog tracking page in your bullet journal. If you are blogging consistently, but have other areas of your business that could use some tracking,

Prioritize Your Day

I know that when I was first given the advice to focus on the 3-5 most important tasks of the day, I thought people were crazy – I had way more than 3-5 things that must get done every day. But it turns out, the more I “tried” this method, the more it worked. I was able to focus on a few specific tasks and become more productive. 

I use my bullet journal as a place to write down all the things I want to get done, without an edit or a specific plan, then I take all those ideas and decide where I want to focus my attention. If you find yourself, jumping from task to task all day long without accomplishing anything, you may want to consider using your bullet journal to help you prioritize your day.

Make Changes In Your Business

If you find yourself wanting, or perhaps needing, to make changes in your business, finding a starting place may be scary or difficult. Using a bullet journal can be a great place to brainstorm the changes you want to make – and the results you are trying to achieve by making these changes.

For example, perhaps you want to add affiliate marketing to your business. You can brainstorm products you would like to promote, and make a schedule of how and when you will promote these items. If you are looking to add more passive income, you may want to create blog posts and share the posts on social media sites and/or share the posts via email.

Perhaps the change you want to make, is to better track your income or expenses. If you use paid advertising, you want to make sure your ads are producing income – you can use your bullet journal to track your results. Or, use the bullet journal calendar to remind you to check your results on a regular basis.

The more you use your bullet journal, the more ways you will find to use your bullet journal. I find that I prefer to at least start my thought process on paper, so the bullet journal allows me to do that and to keep everything in one place – no more wondering where I wrote that down.

If you like the idea of trying a bullet journal, social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram can offer tons of ideas. This is my Pinterest board for bullet journals here. You can also search using these common hashtags:  #bujo #bulletjournaling #bujojunkies #bulletjournal.

If you want to learn how to use a Bullet Journal in your Online Business, click here.

Have You Ever Tried Time Blocking?

Time Blocking is a concept that works for a lot of people, but can be a struggle to get started. This article from The Yarnpreneur Society discusses how to get started with time blocking and offers a great bonus tip!

As the author explains:

While the concept of time blocking is simple, it can be difficult in practice. It requires planning to get the schedule right for you and it requires discipline to stick with it long enough for it to become a routine. I recommend trying it out in small increments at first, so it’s not a shock to your system and current routines.

Her bonus tip explains how to use “buffer blocks” – read the full article How to Time Block Successfully here.

I’ve not tried this method before and plan to start with a 2 hour daily block for content creation. What would be (or is) your first idea for a time block? Share in the comments below.

Are You Letting the Hurdles Keep You From the Finish Line?

Sam Davidson doesn’t waste words. His posts are often short just like this one – The Hurdle is Not The Finish Line.

All too often we do stop once we get past the “hurdle” – I know I can be guilty of this – we lose sight of the real goal.

The hurdles aren’t the point. The finish line is.

Have you ever had stopped short of the finish line after crossing a hurdle?

If you have, next time, set a timer, take a short break to let your mind clear and then get right back to work – meet the goal, don’t just jump the hurdle.

Reading this short post is not going to be a hurdle 😉

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Do You Have a Process for Making Decisions?

Mel Robbins is one of my favorite motivators. In her latest post she talks about making decisions.

Sometimes the decisions you make won’t be the right ones, or they WILL be the right ones, but you’re gonna get sh*t on your shoes on your way to the clear path.

She does use curse words in her videos and posts, so if you are bothered by that, she is not your girl. I have no problem with her language and have found her 5 Second Rule to be so amazingly helpful.

The article explains the results of some of the decisions she and her husband have made, and the results of those decisions. Mel has 5 steps to help you improve your own decision making:

  1. Tune into your body wisdom.
  2. Decisions aren’t always made with just intuition, however.
  3. Imagine worst-case scenarios.
  4. Think positive.
  5. Reflect.

I know just last week – before I had read this post – I was pondering alternatives and imagining the worst case scenario really helped to make the decision easier. Read the full post from Mel Robbins here.

Are You Ready To Give Gutenberg a Try?

I have been hearing so much hype about Gutenberg, I wanted to give it a try. The new Word Press Block Editor – as I learned Gutenberg is now called is now the default on new Word Press installs, though you can change it to the Classic Editor. And I have to agree with Colin Newcomer, the author of this tutorial, who said:

While the new block editor does let you do some things that you weren’t previously able to do in WordPress, it’s also not always the most intuitive tool when you first sit down with it.

This article explains very well how to use the block editor, and discusses how to get around some of those shortcomings that currently exist.

I personally found it easy to use, and this article helped me better understand the “blocks” – I’m excited to dig back in.

Full disclosure, this post was created in the classic editor, I have not yet updated this site to 5.0. I have a new domain that I’m playing around a with a bit to learn how to use the Word Press Block Editor formerly know as Gutenberg.

Some of you have themes that already have the block system, have you tried the new Block Editor?

How Do You Know if You Can Self Coach?

I was reading an interesting article from Seth Godin. The premise is that most of us are able to coach ourselves 90% of the time – and that we only need a coach the other 10% of the time.

That basketball coach screaming from the sidelines? There’s no way the player can hear what he’s saying. That’s okay. The shift is happening inside.

Click here to read Seth Godin’s article on self coaching.

But how do you know when you are in the 10%?

When I first started working with a Life Coach, I didn’t really know what I wanted to get from the coaching and at a certain point, my coach cut me loose, nicely, because she was not able to help me go any further, I had to take action on my own.

I had to make decisions and set goals, no longer just talk about these concepts. And I did take action, but it still took me a while – I can be stubborn (just a bit). But I needed the foundation that I built with my coach, and we are still friends to this day, because I knew how important it was that she was willing to tell me something I did not want to hear, but absolutely needed to hear.

These days, I self coach and still reach out to my coach when needed, but Seth is right, it is on a much more limited basis.

So to answer my own question, how do you know when you are in the 10%? If you are asking yourself if you need outside input, that may be a sign, and once you find a coach that you can trust, they will help you know when you need them less. Seth says:

Sooner or later, all motivation is self motivation. And the challenge and opportunity is in finding the external forces that will soon become internal ones.

For me, I needed a coach to build a foundation, you may need a coach to help you reach the finish line, whenever you do, know that getting outside help, will help you help yourself in the future.

As coaches give us the skills to grow, the best we can do is to continue to practice what we have learned.

4 People Who Would Love to Get a Bullet Journal as a Gift

Many people choose to start bullet journaling because of the unique combination of being a planner, a calendar and journal.
For example, it can help you to de-stress because everything is in one place, no need to go looking around anymore.
Others start journaling because they believe they can learn more about their life through various tracking methods.
While some people buy a journal for themselves, a bullet journal is a very thoughtful gift for
someone special in your life. Here’s just a few people that may love a bullet journal
as a gift.

#1 New Parents

Bringing a new child into the world is one of the most life-altering experiences
that a person can go through, and a bullet journal can help them keep track of all those
new doctor appointments, and also record those special moments, while still
keeping their work life up to date.

Regardless of whether this is the person’s first child or fifth, the act of creating
a life and being responsible for raising that child successfully to
adulthood can be overwheling, having a place to write down all those questions and track all those milestones
is priceless. A bullet journal can also be a great place to write down all the emotions
that go along with being a parent. And a bullet journal can be shared with their children
when they are older.

I like this bullet journal for the new parents, since the pen stays with the journal:

 

#2 High School and College Students

High school and college years are some of the most formative years of their lives. They are
transitioning into adults. Each person has a unique journey to adulthood and a bullet journal
can help them keep up with classes and their social life all in one place.

More than that, the stress and drama associated with the transition into adulthood can stir
many emotions. Teens and young adults may be able to use their journal to explore their feelings
and to gain great insight about who they are and what they stand for.

This is my recommendation for students.

This bullet journal set includes stencils and pens to get those creative juices flowing.

#3 Seniors and Retirees

The analog design of the bullet journal appeals to many seniors, who feel that
this is when their life is truly beginning. Retiring is a new and exciting chapter for many
people, filled with experiences of being a grandparent, of traveling to new
places and meeting new people along the way. Bullet journals can also be great for keeping
track of the seemingly endless number of doctor appointments that seem to be a part of the
aging process.

Many older adults also understand that younger generations may want to learn more about
their life at some point. A bullet journal can be used to preserve thoughts and even to
share memories from many years or decades ago. These volumes can even be handed down from
generation to generation so that their experiences become a part of family history.

Since the older folks on your gift list may not need more instructions, try this:

 

#4 Online Business Owners

The reason many online business owners like the bullet journaling system is that they already spend
so much of their time online, it is nice to be able to work offline sometimes. Bullet journaling is
a great way to keep track of all the moving parts of an online business, and to keep up with their
personal life too. The ability to completely customize a bullet journal makes it appeal to many people.

Show them that you support their business efforts:

When you give a bullet journal to a friend or relative, you are showing them that you care and are trying
to be supportive. A bullet journal is a place for them to plan, dream and track.

There are many different reasons why you may give the gift of a bullet journal to someone
special as a gift. Journaling can be an enriching experience for all ages, but the
gift of a bullet journal could also tell that person that you find them fascinating and that you
know that they have many things to track and share across the pages of their journal.

Why Journaling Helps to Improve Your Mindset

There are many different types of journals and styles of journaling, to help you find what fits your personality best. You can use a traditional journal, or you can use a journal geared towards a specific subject or topic. And of course, Bullet Journaling, great for those who prefer an analog system that can be customized to suit many needs. Any journal that you use consistently can help improve your mindset.

Journaling Helps Change and/or Develop Habits

Journaling can really help a lot with your daily habits, changing existing habits, or developing new habits. You can use your journal to help you evaluate how you live your life on a daily basis and help you make conscious decisions to reach your goals. Read More →

Want to Journal? Hate to Write?

Journaling is a powerful self-help tool that is gaining popularity in business. Coaches and therapists are also using journaling to help clients, so you may want to consider it for yourself and your business. It is also incredibly easy to journal on your own in just a plain notebook.

However, all journaling has one thing in common and that is writing. So how can you enjoy all the benefits of journaling if you hate writing?

Draw Pictures

If you learn anything about me, know this I can’t really draw – what I see in my head never looks like that on paper. But if you are artistically inclined, you can draw from simple pictures to elaborate scenes. Any kind of picture that expresses your emotions and situation will help.

After you’ve drawn the picture you can label and annotate it. If you leave a blank page opposite your drawing then you can come back and review it at a later date and jot down any additional thoughts, emotions and responses. Quite often this simple method will actually get you writing quickly.

And I love color, and if you do too, you may want to consider colored pens or pencils. Like I shared in my previous post where I updated my progress with my bullet journal, I purchased a journal with a stencil set – you may benefit from using stencils with or without those colored pencils. All of these shapes and colors will hopefully make your journal feel more personal to you and that will make you more likely to use it.

Diagrams

If you are journaling about a problem, then you might consider using a diagram such as a mind map or decision tree. Diagrams are powerful because they are visual and help you to see patterns and connections more easily. If you think about a flow chart that is using shapes to have different meanings, the concept is the same here – but you don’t have to limit yourself to just the traditional shapes of a flow chart.

If you are trying to make a decision, then you can illustrate the different outcomes and results to help you formulate the best decision. Adding in color not only makes them more attractive but can help to highlight connections.

Use Prompts

I know that when I started journaling, I started with a gratitude journal, and so I was trying to right down what I was thankful for each day – but some days were harder than others to get started. Then I learned about journal prompts, I had never heard that term before, but the concept is so simple.

You use a simple prompt, such as a word or question, to help break the blank page syndrome and inspire you to unburden yourself onto the empty page in front of you. The prompts can be about any number of topics, so you don’t have to have just a gratitude journal, like I mentioned before. For business a great prompt for the first of the month is to write down your goals for the month. How much income do you want to earn? How many new followers do you want to attract on social media?

Then you can also build on these ideas for other days topics. It’s important that you don’t feel that you have to write a lot or even in full sentences. The journal and act of journaling has to relate to your needs at that moment in time and this will vary day to day. You can also use charts and graphs, instead of just writing.

You could consider purchasing a journal ready made for the specific use you need. There are lots of weight loss, gratitude, happiness and other journals available. Many of these will include prompts and recording methods that don’t require lots of writing.

Create a Collage

I like this project, because I feel like it has good green living implications. Get some magazines or newspapers and cut out words, phrases, paragraphs or even articles that relate to your situation or emotions at that particular point.

Add in pictures that you find that could demonstrate how you are feeling or want to feel. To make it more personal you can annotate the articles and pictures. Consider also leaving a blank page so that you can revisit and review at a later time and add in additional journaling.

Speak It

While writing using a pen and paper is probably the most powerful method of journaling you can also use dictation software such as Dragon. You’ll need the software and a computer with a microphone to use this method. It may be easier to start your journaling journey by speaking to the computer and imagining you are talking to a friend or just yourself. The software will ‘write’ what you say and you can save the document so that you can review it later.

You may decide to keep your journal electronically in which case you can review it and add in later thoughts and feelings by typing or dictating through the speech recognition software. Or you may decide to print it out and keep it in a binder. If you do print it out, then you have the opportunity to embellish it or make additional notes on the hard copy.

Be Flexible

Journaling does not have to be undertaken every day for a set period of time if that does not suit you. Many people journal every day for 20 minutes as that is the method that suits them best. However, it may be that once a week is enough.

Alternatively, you may decide that you will journal when you feel you need it. Some days it may be that you choose to use a prompt or picture to kick-start your writing. Other days you may find that the words flow and you can write without stopping.

The important points to remember are that the journal is a personal document designed to help you and that it is designed to be used and revised. It’s a living document and there is no right or wrong way to create or use it.

This is one of the reasons I love the bullet journaling system. I feel like I can use it as a planner and tracker, but it can also be a place for me to journal out my thoughts and feelings when I need to. You will also notice that most of these alternatives to writing work great in a bullet journal.

If you want to learn how to use bullet journaling for business, please check out my course on the topic here.