Blog post #226:  Do you REALLY want to?

Blog post #226:  Do you REALLY want to?  

We have been talking of SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) and reaching those goals.

Sometimes we set a goal that we ‘know’ we should set; but that we maybe aren’t excited about.  

Let’s take the stop smoking goal.  You KNOW that stopping smoking is the right thing to do – you are convinced that it is vital to your health.  (But … down inside … you really don’t want to stop.  You get some pleasure out of smoking.  It is a time to stand (probably outside) and think and take some drags off of a cigarette).  

You have a great goal – you have researched various methods, you might have talked it over with a friend or a spouse.  But you are NOT committed to reaching this goal.  You can go ‘cold turkey’ for a few days and then back in a routine slip back into the old comforting habit of smoking.  

So the issue isn’t that the goal is good – because the goal is very good for your health; the issue is not that you don’t know how to stop – you do know how to stop; the real deep issue is mental – you really don’t want to change.

So, you must change your brain, your attitude, your thoughts.  

This might be a place to put the pain / gain principle into play.  Figure out the pain – search for a website that shows the results of smoking (I just did – and it is pretty graphic).  Does financial pain affect you?  Figure how much money you are spending on smoking.  One site I looked at suggested it is about $2,500 a year if you smoke a pack a day.  For a year, you could take a very nice vacation on that money; for five years a good amount going to a new car.  

Compare the pain to the gain.

Personal – I’ve added a few pounds.  Yes, I’ve made the goal to be no more than 195 pounds by March 1st – but I really haven’t put enough pain / gain on it to make it work.  I’m good at rationalization – I’m not obese; I’m only a little over my ideal BMI (body mass index) – and the concept of I really do like to eat – especially candy and peanut butter – isn’t much of a pain point for me.  I need to work more on the pain side – like my pants are getting too tight.  

So … are you REALLY committed to your goal?  Or did you make the goal because making goals is a good thing to do at the start of a new year?

What do you think?

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

 

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Blog post #225:  Change part III

Blog post #225:  Change part III

We have been talking of SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) and reaching those goals.

So, let’s have a PARTY!!!

Sometimes we don’t want to be too vocal about our goals.  Maybe secretly inside we are worried that we announce our goals and don’t reach them, we’ll look silly.  So we think we should be quiet about our goals and … hey – if we reach it – good; and if we don’t reach it – nobody knows!!!

But – why not have a PARTY – announce it.  

Politicians have a party (or maybe more correctly – a press conference) to announce their candidacy for office.  Balloons, colorful streamers, maybe even cake – just to let people know they want to be your government, mayor, representative, or whatever.  

What if we announced our goals – loudly – to our constituents / friends / family?  What if I declared publicly that I am going to lose weight (or quit smoking, or find a great job or whatever).  What if I had a PARTY announcing my goals.  

Maybe I’m sneaking a candy out of the candy dish – and my wife sees me and reminds me of my goal to lose weight – or I’m eating at a fast food place and my friends see me ordering french fries?  Would they correct me?  Would it be more deeply embedded in my brain because I had publicly declare my intent – that is – my goals?

By announcing my goals loudly and firmly I’m placing myself in the crosshairs of others.  I think this will make me think – and change my mind – if I eat that sweet or take that cigarette.  

 

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

 

Bruce

 

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Blog post #224 – Change part 2

Blog post #224:  Change part 2

We have been talking of SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).  

Let’s face it – Change is tough.

As an Information Systems academic, I talked about change in my classes frequently.  In business, new technologies can make a company better, cut costs or increase revenues.  To not change as competitors do change can lead to falling behind competitors and losing market share.

The concept in information systems was:  (a) freeze; (b) change; (c) unfreeze.  Basically that meant prior to making a change in some aspect of an information system, to ‘freeze’ the current situation / software / hardware / systems; then to implement the new situation / software / hardware / systems; and then to make it the standard by ‘unfreezing’ it.

As an example, I was in charge of implementing a new development system.  It tied into reusable code libraries, better editing, and increased productivity.  We conducted training sessions on the new system (and I was even sent to an off site location to train staff there).  Staff saw the new systems and started embracing the change.  But, there was one person who refuses to use the new systems.  He had been trained on the new system, but proudly proclaimed “I will use the old system until it goes away”.  That is, he asserted that he wasn’t going to change until he had to.

The new system was implemented, productivity increased and the one stayed on his old platform until two months after the change was implemented, that system disappeared.  The person had to use the new system.

Many companies will encourage change with such things as parties, (okay, cake and beverage); balloons; banners promoting the change; t-shirts; other trinkets; etc.  The idea was to get the change firmly planted in the staffs’ brains that it was a change for the better.  

The reality is that change is going to happen – and will happen.  If change was not happening, we’d all be riding horses, plowing our fields with oxen and no cars, no airplanes, no television and no computers.

So … what is holding you back from accepting change?  Some phobia?  Think about it; embrace change.  And … in today’s environment, change is pretty much inevitable – change or die!!  (Well, maybe don’t die).

What do you think?  Ready to embrace change in your life, in your work?

 

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

 

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #223: Change – with pain or gain

Blog post #223:  Change Pain / Gain

We have been talking of SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).  But, to reach a goal, you need to CHANGE!!

Let’s face it – Change is tough.

My friend Lori just over 100 pounds – 100 POUNDS – WOW!!!  That involved LOTS of change in her life.  She had to embrace that change – make that more than a goal – but an ULTIMATE thought in her brain – “I WILL LOSE THE WEIGHT”

But change can be tough.  Let’s take an example – “I will weigh no more than 185 by March 1, 2018.  I can picture myself as fit and very happy, I can fit into my clothes and even get new clothes.”  But, the person comes home after a very stressful day and is feeling down – and eats a half-gallon of ice cream to feel better.

The suggestion is to make not-changing painful and make the change beautiful and inviting.  Example – the person losing weight.  If I stay at my weight, I will be at a higher risk for a heart attack, for diabetes, for a stroke.  I will be less attractive with my double chins.  I will waddle when I walk.  Staying at my current weight is just not an option.  But, if I change, my risks for the health related topics will decrease.  I’ll be able to wear stylish clothes;  I’ll be able to exercise more; I’ll be getting compliments; I’ll be feeling a LOT better about myself.

How about the quitting smoking goal.  The pains of not quitting are significant.  There is a suggestion that the person with the goal of quitting smoking should visit a hospital where people with resportative breathing issues causes by smoking and see the people with lung cancer and emphysema.  Then think of the gain / the rewards of not-smoking – the more money (since they are not buying cigarettes) – and maybe picture that new car; the new house – the increased savings for retirement.

Change is outside our comfort zone.  We’re going places we haven’t been before.  For the smoker example, he/she has probably smoked since high school.  It would be a common action to reach for a cigarette when stressed or ‘just because’.  Quitting is outside their comfort zone – it has been (maybe) 20 years since they started smoking.  They need to consider the pain and the gain involved in quitting.

[Aside – the only time I considered smoking:  I was working at a warehouse during my college summers.  Three of my co-workers were smokers.  Management gave them a smoke break in the morning and afternoon.  They would go out on the loading dock – sit down, light up a cigarette and smoke.  I went out one afternoon just to talk when the manager came out and said “Bruce, you don’t smoke – get back to work”!!  So, it was enticing to consider that smoking gave a person two breaks a day that I wasn’t taking!!]

So … for your change – you’ve set your goals; you are envision yourself; you are fixing your sights on your goals – and now you need to put pain on your current status and gain / reward on your future status.  

 

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

 

Bruce

 

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Blog post #222:  Visioning

Blog post #222:  Visioning

We have been talking of SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).  One well used technique of reaching goals is Visioning – seeing yourself as having reached the goal.  

Goals with emotion are stronger.  So, let’s take a couple of those common goals:  losing weight and stopping smoking.

Picture yourself (visioning) at the lower weight (assuming the goal of:  By <date>, I will weight no more than <goal>.  Picture yourself in the mirror – your double chin is gone; picture yourself getting dressed – the pants that have been too tight fit well now; picture yourself shopping for new clothes that fit you; picture yourself doing some exercise – jogging, walking – and you are noticing that since you have lost weight you feel good and you don’t have shortness of breath anymore.  See yourself climbing stairs and not having to stop half-way up to catch your breath and rest.  Picture those “love handles” (fat around the middle) gone.  

Likewise with the stopping smoking.  See yourself breathing deeply and smelling the roses, the pine trees, the fresh mowed lawn.  Picture your lungs changing from black back to pink.  Picture your clothes smelling fresh and not smelling of tobacco.  

You can using visioning for almost every goal.  Picture yourself crossing the platform at graduation with honor cords for Summa Cum Laude.  Picture your grandmother hugging you for graduating.  Picture yourself at work getting recognized for ‘employee of the month’.  Picture yourself getting the promotion to full professor or partner or a higher position. Picture yourself with your new Tesla car, bought with the promotion money.  

It is more than just ‘daydreaming’.  You have set a goal and now you are getting a vision of obtaining that goal and how it feels and looks.

Some people write their smart goals with the vision and emotional feel built-in like:  When I lose weight and am no more than 185 on March 1st, I picture myself smiling.  I will feel like a winner; I will feel happy and gratified; I will feel successful.  I see myself standing erect in my new clothes; standing proud.  I picture my wife / husband / parents/ boss / family / others applauding my reaching my goal.  And … down inside I KNOW I did it and I KNOW I am a success and a winner!!

So … how about you?  Do you deep inside yourself have goals that you CAN reach – that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely?  Can you put emotional images on reaching that goal?  Can you picture yourself reaching the goal and how good it feels? Go for it!!

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

 

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Blog post #221 SMART Goals: Timely

Blog post #221 SMART Goals: Timely

As we get into the new year, I’m reviewing SMART goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

Today – Timely

Timely:  Short term goals seem idea for specific and timely paired together.  Such as by March 1, 2018 I will weigh no more than 185.  (By the way, I could have said by March 1st I will weigh 185 – exactly – but that would limit me.  What if I got to 183?  Would I have to binge eat to get to my goal of 185?)

But, let’s say you are a college student majoring in Accounting.  You have had an internship in accounting and you loved it.  You have visiting accounting offices and you KNOW this is your career.  So, can you set a longer term goal – like by age 40 I will be a partner in an accounting company.  

Or an academic goal (like I had) by age 40 I will be a full professor.  

Longer term goals are harder to be specific, but  you need to set such goals.  A quote attributed to Socrates is:  “The unexamined life is not worth living”.  You do need to set goals; you do need to set your attitude to achieve them, you need to start working towards it.   

So, let’s think about the long term goal of being a partner in an accounting company by age 40.  You will want to break that down.  

How about:  I will finish my bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting by May 20, 2020; I will have graduated with a grade-point-average of no lower than 3.50; I will have offers from at least two of the big four accounting companies by the time I graduate.  

By December 2022 I will have completed at least a full year as an accountant with a manager evaluation of very good to excellent

By May 2024 I will have completed a MPA – Master of Public Administration degree.
By June 2026 I will have passed all my requirements for the CPA certification.

By June 2030 I will have completed at least eight years as an accountant with evaluations of very good to excellent.
Similarly until you get to “By age 40 I will be a partner in an accounting company”.

By-the-way; a person needs to do research on their goals – do they want to be a partner?  What does it take to be a partner?  What is the average age of a partner?  What does being a partner mean?  (In my research, I found that the average age to become a partner is 40)

Of course goals can be edited and changed.  The short terms (dieting, fitness, etc.) goals tend not to be changed; but what if you have worked five years in an accounting company and decide that the travel and work is too much for you and you want to open your own tax, accounting and consulting firm; or go to work for a smaller company.  

But, goals need to have a finish time (as well as specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant)

 

So … how about you?  Do you deep inside yourself have goals that you CAN reach – that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely?  Go for it!!

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

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Blog post #220 SMART Goals: Realistic Goals

Blog post #220 Realistic

As we get into the new year, I’m reviewing SMART goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

Today – Relevant

Relevant also is defined as reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based

Reasonable and relevant – makes sense doesn’t it?  

So, could a goal have all the other SMART factors and not be relevant?  Sure

Let’s try an example:  Bob is recently retired and has an estate that is estimated at 1 million dollars.  He has a goal:   By December 31, 2018 I will have built a single person aircraft in my backyard in my residential suburban neighborhood valued at 1 million dollars.  Assuming that he knows enough to build an airplane (attainable); it is measurable (by December 31 – yes – made it; no – didn’t make it); specific (this could / should be more specific – the type of aircraft / airplane).  Is it reasonable?  Maybe / maybe not.  If I built an aircraft in my suburban backyard, I’d have trouble getting it out of the yard with fences, other houses so close that I probably couldn’t get the aircraft out of my yard.  (Now, if he is on a farm or ranch, maybe the logistics of getting out of his backyard are not a problem.)  Then, how is he going to use the aircraft?  Does he need a runway?

If he is doing it just to say ‘I did it’.  That might be relevant – although to my mindset, not all that reasonable.  

Another example:  Sue has this goal:  By September 1, 2018, I will have built a 10 foot by 10 foot room at the top of a 45 foot pole in my backyard where I will live for the rest of my life.  Specific, measurable, attainable – but how relevant is it?  Again, if Sue wants to model some of the religious zealots of centuries ago; this might be relevant to her.  She could live up in this room with a bucket to bring food and things up to her – as well as lower the bucket down with body wastes and other wastes.  

Relevance depends on the person, but it should be relevant to their life, their jobs, their family.  For many people, losing weight is a solid goal and the relevancy is that it will improve their health and well being.

A friend has had hip trouble.  But, her doctor said in effect “We can’t operate on you since you are greatly obese.”  Since that time, she has set a goal to lose 100 pounds by January 15, 2018.  She has reached that goal and now is arranging for the needed hip surgery.  Very relevant as it applied to her health issues.  (The most difficult part was the ‘attainability’ of that goal – losing 100 pounds is not easy).

Do you career advancement?  Would getting an advanced degree help – like an MBA or RN or some other graduate level studies?  That might make a goal to get that MBA in a period of time a very relevant goal.  What if you have a goal to work for your company in France for a year – a subgoal might be to become proficient in the French language. 

While I’m a person who believes we can just about be whatever we want to be; but for me to have a goal of being the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in five years is not relevant to a man of seventy years.  (Aside, it might be attainable – if I had 200 billion dollars and could buy the team and name myself as coach AND starting quarterback – with the most likely outcome that the team (with me at quarterback) would lose every game in the season.

My dream / wish of climbing Mount Everest has past.  Could a 70 year old climb Mount Everest?  Maybe, but probably not – and why would I want to?  (Of course, the old answer to that was “Because it is there”).

So … are your goals relevant to you?  Are they for YOU – and not for others?  (Goal:  I want my wife to lose 30 pounds by July 1st 2018 – nice goal, but I have no control over it).

So … how about you?  Do you deep inside yourself have goals that you CAN reach – that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely?  Go for it!!

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

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Blog post #219 Attainable

Blog post #219 Attainable

As we get into the new year, I’m reviewing SMART goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

Today – Attainable

But first, I’m going to talk about two (or maybe just one) “desire” that isn’t quite a goal but is more probable than a wish.  I am thinking about two (or maybe just one) car.

My ‘desires’ are:  1) a Tesla Car; 2) an autonomous vehicle.  Let me elaborate pro and con.

Tesla: Over the past year, Tesla’s stock / company evaluation has soared into the top ten and even for a period of time, into the top spot over rivals General Motors and Ford:

Like so many Americans who are investing in Tesla, we are star struck with Elon Musk, with his dreams (and, really goals).  His concepts of an electric car that can go hundreds (or thousands) of miles without recharging, that is intelligent has captured our interest.  I took a picture a while back of me standing in front of a Tesla (and subjectively ‘claiming’ a Tesla in my future).

Autonomous Car:  I remember my father’s final driving experience (which resulted in a crash).  At age 92 he was generally a safe driver (no accidents or tickets for years).  But, as we age, our reflexes take longer and all too frequently children have to take the car keys away from their parents.

  

To me, autonomous cars (i.e. self driving cars) will be an immediate hit with the senior citizens.  No longer will the car be taken away from elderly as they can still sit in the car but now instead of driving to the grocery store, they can say to the control unit “Take me to the grocery store”,  “Take me to Church”; “Take me to my hair appointment”; “Take me to the doctor” – and even “Take me to my son’s house 800 miles away”.  (We have made that 800 mile trip many times.  Flying is hard and expensive for that trip as he and his family live a distance from a major airport.  Plus Grandma loves to shop for the grandchildren and we need a car to carry all the goodies to the grandchildren!!)

A friend (retired from Homeland Security added in a note to me recently:

  • Long haul trucking
  • Short repeatable trips in town
  • Ride sharing
  • No parking hassles
  • A 12-yo headed to a violin lesson
  • Disabled

I’ll add ‘and avoiding speeding tickets’ to that list!!  

I will have an autonomous car (note the I WILL affirmation).  But not sure when.  The news suggests that within 4 years almost all automotive makers will have autonomous cars.  I’d make it a goal but will want to know the expense and more before officially making it a goal.

I also said I had two desires but maybe just one as the autonomous car could be a Tesla!!!

But, back to the topic – Attainable.  Can I with just my background and strength – attain the goals I set?  Does my goal depend on others?  Can I have a goal of having the Minnesota Vikings win the SuperBowl?  Not really – I have NO control over the Minnesota Vikings – so I can cheer for them, but what happens is way outside my control.

Can I reach my goal?  Can I lose 10 pounds?  Can I lose 100 pounds (I hope not, I’d blow away in the wind!!).  Can I quit smoking?  (I don’t smoke anyway).  Can I be a millionaire? (Already done – at least on paper / logic as I throw in my retirement savings, home value, pensions, etc.) If I can reach the goal – it is attainable.

So … how about you?  Do you deep inside yourself have goals that you CAN reach – that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely?  Go for it!!

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

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Blog post #218 – Measurable Goals (SMART Goals continued)

Blog post #218 – Measurable

As we talk about New Year’s Resolutions, we are going through a series on SMART goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

Let’s look at measurable.  In some respects, this is simple – at the end of the specific (and timely) goal there should be a date – such as by March 1, 2018 I will weigh no more than 195 pounds.  That is measurable – yes, I made it; or no  I did not make it.    

You maybe came close – and you can be happy with that; but close is not reaching your goal.  Last weekend there were four NFL playoff games.  Of those only four times reached their goal of winning.  For example, New Orleans lost in the last seconds of their game with Minnesota.  They could say “We were ahead until the last seconds”; we almost won; we looked great in the second half; we had an amazing comeback.  But, ultimately, in the final measurement of winning and losing; that team lost.  

Coming close is nice – but reaching the goal is the ultimate.  I’ve read of climbers who came close to getting to the top of Mount Everest, only to turn back for one reason or another (and … generally very good reasons like a colleague is sick and they must get him down to safety and healing).  But, in the back of their minds must be the thought “We didn’t quite make it.  We didn’t reach our goal”.

I have academic friends who started a PhD program but didn’t complete it.  Doing the research and writing a dissertation (let alone defending it) is a significant effort.  I’m glad I did it and I’m glad I reached that goal.  And, I’m sure these friends who have the designation of ‘ABD’ – all but dissertation wish things would have worked out for them.  

Sometimes it isn’t you that keeps you from achieving the goal and that is understandable.  Maybe like the climbers, where a higher priority came into play – saving a person’s life.  Maybe like the academics, they were out of funds and took a position thinking they would still finish it off – but inertia occurred and they didn’t finish.  

It something is worthy of being a goal; then it is worthy of the of the effort to reach that goal.  You do you need to work harder to get there?  Is the roadblock to your goal one that can be overcome?  Is there another path to your goal?  Have you re-evaluated your goal and found that it doesn’t fit you anymore?  

But, don’t just walk away from your goals.  Examine your goals and examine yourself.  Create new goals.  Work towards them.  Follow your dreams (but make those dreams into goals).

Comments:  Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

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Blog Post #217 SMART goals and change

Blog Post #217 SMART goals and Change

Let’s look more at SMART goals:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

There are wants and there are goals and things in-between like “that would be nice”.  

There are things I can change and things I can’t change.

Last weekend in the National Football League playoffs, the Minnesota Vikings made an amazing comeback in the last 30 seconds of the game, scoring a touchdown to win.  So, my goal for the next month is for the Vikings to beat Philadelphia and then to be the other team and to win the SuperBowl!!  (Great goal – but definitely not attainable).

I have no control over the Minnesota Vikings.  The most control I have is whether to watch them on television or not. 

There might be a slight control factor (really beyond my reach).  I know friends who were praying for the Vikings to win.  Did that help?  I don’t know.  While I do believe in prayer; there were probably as many praying for the Vikings to win as those that were praying for the Saints to win (and … hey – Saints might have a better chance with God!!!).

What can I change?  Myself, my environment, my attitude.  What can’t I change?  The rest of the world.

There is an old story of the couple.  The man announces that he is in charge of major decisions; and his wife is in charge of minor decisions.  When questioned, the man says – “Yes, I am in charge of major decisions like what to do with North Korea; what to do about the weather; what Congress and the President should do.”  Then he adds “And my wife is in charge of minor decisions like where we live, what we eat, how we raise the children, how much money we need, how to spend our money and more minor decisions.”

The reality is pretty clear – if changes are going to be made, I can’t expect my wife, my doctor, my employer to do it – only I can really do it.  

We look for magical solutions.  I believe the Atkins Diet will work or the Keto Diet or Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or others.  But it isn’t until I make the decision to change that things change in my life.

Now, I can help other change.  I can vote.  I can write letters to my congressmen (or congresswomen).  I can express my opinions on Facebook or Twitter.  I can organize some groups for change or join existing groups for change.  But down inside I can only change me.

Even if I want other change (let’s say some governmental policy like healthcare).  Changing myself won’t make it.  But working the grassroots and talking to people and working with others with a similar mindset might eventually cause change at that level.  

So, in this new year, what are you going to change in yourself?  Are you complacent?  Are you in a rut?  Do you REALLY want change in your life?  Then make that a consuming fire – see the change in you; work on the change in you; make the change happen with passion!!!

Questions?  Comments?  Email me at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

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