Blog Post #229 Stuff Happens

Blog post #229:  Stuff Happens

Even with goals – life still happens.  You are progressing nicely on goals; your short term goals are on target.  You think you will meet and exceed your goals early.  Then <boom>.

Stuff happens:

  1. A hurricane drops 20 plus inches of rain on your house and you can’t work; you can’t get out of your house; and when you do; you end up in a motel for several months while a cleaning crew takes out your wet, moldy drywall and rebuilds.
  2. You are driving your car through an intersection and another car / driver runs the red light and slams into you.  That goal of running a marathon this year is out the window.
  3. You are mowing your grass and suddenly you feel light headed and collapse on the ground.  You are having a heart attack.  Your goals are in the dust – as your new goal is to survive and get well
  4. You are celebrating reach a goal and you are taking a cruise when the cruise ship runs aground and you can’t get home for an extra week.

Yes, stuff happens – life happens.  You can control yourself – but you can’t control all the variables.  You can set a goal for running the marathon, but you can’t set a goal of stopping a driver running a red light.  

You need to back up – face the new reality – create new goals that will fit with the new realities.

And … in all these things you need to be positive – and have a great attitude.  I’m reminded of I Thessalonians 5:18: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you”.  In all circumstances – hurricanes, car runs a red light; heart attack; whatever – give thanks.

 

What do you think?

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

 

Bruce

 

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Blog post #228:  Perseverance

Blog post #228:  Perseverance

So, let’s see … you have set your goals – they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART).  You have been working on them for a month – and doing great.  Then something happens and you are tempted to drop that goal.

Let’s see what that might be:  Your goal is to lose weight – maybe something like:  By March 1, 2018 I will weigh no more than 150 pounds.  I envision myself as happy; I will feel great; I KNOW I can do this.  But, you are going to a conference in another city.  The hotel breakfast has bacon, eggs, Belgium Waffles, syrup, all kind of breads and rolls.  You see the bagels and the cream cheese and you are tempted to eat all the favorite food.  You are at a table with good friends who are not losing weight and they are enjoying the great food.  Then there is a conference lunch.  There is a plated lunch, and you see a plate with a chicken breast covered with a gravy / sauce; there are rolls with butter (and you love butter); then the dessert comes – a luscious bowl of ice cream covered with chocolate sauce.  Again, you are with friends and laughing and enjoying life.  You said something about trying to lose weight, and your good buddy Bill looks intently at you and asserts “You don’t need to lose weight – you look great”.  Your other friends at the table agree with Bill.  Then that night after a conference dinner loaded with carbohydrates, fats, sugar you go out with your friends for a couple of beers.  You remember a comment that beer is like liquid bread – full of unneeded carbohydrates and sugars.  

So how do you resist?  Two ways – way one is to not eat everything on your plate and to drink water rather than beer or cocktails.  The other way is to enjoy the meals and beer in moderation.  Another quote you remember is “a slip is not a fall”.  You can have a ‘slip’ this weekend at the conference – enjoy your friends and your time away from home – and then get back on the course when you get home.  

Some people can handle the second method – enjoy in moderation and get back on your routine when you get home.  For a couple of days you can probably make it.  That might be you – or it might not be you.

Others cannot handle it – and have to push the food away and drink water.  One of my friends had an alcohol problem (now over 20 years ago) and was an alcoholic.  He quit cold turkey then and even now goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings monthly.  He refuses to go out to bars – even with close friends.  He has it in his brain that one drink will lead to two and to many, many – and he will become an alcoholic again.  While I don’t know that is true or not, I do understand him and understand his stand and I will not pressure him to go out to a bar to hear the music.

So, what person are you?  It also may vary with the goal.  What about a smoker who is working hard on quitting smoking?  Can he go to a smoke filled bar with friends (all of whom are smoking) and not want a cigarette because everybody else is having one – and his brain is yelling at him “Just for tonight”.

These are situations of being ‘tempted’.  How good are you at resisting temptation?  What if a girl in Las Vegas tries to pick you – and after all what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?  What if the clerk in giving you change gives you a $100 bill instead of a $10 bill – will you take the money and run?  

Is there some temptations you can overcome – and some that you are susceptible to?  Maybe you need to know your limits – and when you are at a boundary that will put you at odds with your goals – and your beliefs / life? Saying “no” is not a problem in most cases.  If a friend is pressuring you to say ‘yes’; and you will offend that friend if you say ‘no’ – maybe it is time to downgrade that friend to an acquaintance.

What do you think?

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

 

Bruce

 

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Blog post #227:  Do You REALLY want to – part II

Blog post #227:  Do You REALLY want to – part II

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

Yesterday we talked about setting goals that we maybe aren’t fully committed to.  (Like losing weight).

We have talked about declaring our goals openly (“let’s have a party” to declare our intent / goals); we’ve talked about imaging – picturing ourselves as having reached the goal; and even to the basics – the goal is attainable and relevant.  

So, how to get committed?

Is this a good goal?

Is this a GREAT goal?
Does this goal consume a good part of your thoughts?  Is this goal like my friend Lori who recently lost 100 pounds so she could get hip surgery?  

And … to the basics:  Is this relevant to me?  And … is this attainable?

If I was Lori – who lost 100 pounds someplace between the first lost pound and the 100th lost pound, I might have said “to hell with it.  I just get a wheelchair and let my life pass away”.

Lori proclaimed her goal on Facebook – told the world – or at least told her Facebook friends.  Not once did I see somebody write back to her “Give up Lori”.  As Lori posted “I’m down 10 pounds, her friends on Facebook give “love” replies and posted “Go for it Lori” comments.  The same happened for her other posts when she weighed in.  She had publicly stated her goal, the relevance of the goal, and her friends supported her.  

Another friend recently has set a goal for personal fitness – especially weight training.  She posts once a week about how much weight she has bench pressed, how much weight she has deadlifted; how much accumulated weight she has lifted and more.  Her total in her most recent post was over 6 TONS!!!  Impressive.

What is YOUR goal – are your really committed?  If so, go for it – proclaim it; live it; make it part of you; and if you are not really and fully committed – drop that goal and find one that can be a passion for you.

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

What do you think?

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

 

Bruce

 

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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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