So, is this really where you thought you'd be? You're 25, or 35, or even 50 or ?? And you're not doing the job you thought you'd be … or you're not living where you thought you'd be. Maybe you have not written that novel you wanted to? Maybe you have not traveled to all those places you dreamed about as a kid? Maybe your health is not so great. So, what's gotten in the way of your dreams? Tough question is not it?
"Right Wendy … easy for you to say! I've got a mortgage, kids, I can not just dump all that and walk away!
That's definitely NOT what I'm suggesting you do, but what I am suggesting is that you start to make some plans for what you want out of life. Did you know that a recent survey of Harvard graduates showed that of the 5% of them who WROTE DOWN THEIR GOALS 90% ACHIEVED THEM !! Those sound like GREAT odds to me!
I'm one of those people who learn from the lessons of others – good and bad. That Harvard lesson is one I'll take to heart. If writing down my goals will work I'll do it – hey I've done it before and it's worked.
Here's a few other bits of inspiration! Michelangelo was 71 when he was appointed Chief architect of St. Francis. Peters Cathedral in Rome. George Bernard Shaw wrote "Farfetched Fables" at 93. Picasso was still painting at 90. So you see it's NEVER TOO LATE!
I've created this very simple tool to help YOU get started. I call it Wendy's Personal Commitment and it allows you to keep focused on your goals by writing them down, and breaking them down into small, manageable, easy to do parts. By looking at them daily and taking action on them in small increments success comes much more easily and has a higher "staying power".
Here's an example that everyone (pretty much) can refer to at this time of year – LOSING WEIGHT! Let's say you want to lose 30 pounds – you're fed up with being overweight and feeling really lousy about yourself for not being able to lose those extra pounds. You have FINALLY decided "THIS IS IT". You have gotten so uncomfortable you are now willing to make a change. (* Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.) Losing 30 pounds should safely take you about 15 weeks – 2 pounds per week is what doctors tell us is safe, and by losing it at that rate we are Much more likely to keep it off in the long run. Who wants to lose all that weight only to have it return? So let's do this right, and keep it off!
So, let's use our example of losing weight, and our goal of losing 30 pounds in 15 weeks. If today is January 1, then the final goal date for losing all the weight is April 9. Each pound of fat contains 3500 calories, so we know we need to burn 3500 calories to reduce one pound of fat.
Why not go online and find out how many calories are burned by doing various activities and include those in the plan? Here's just a few:
1 hour high intensity aerobics 400 calories
Basketball game 473 calories
Bowling 177 calories
Swimming, fast, freestyle 550 calories
By including these calculations into the plan you can see how many calories will be used by exercise. Next, design a food plan that will provide you with the nutrients you need, while tasting great and going overboard on calories. Again, my first resource is the internet – there are literally thousands of sites to search that have recipes and food plans for every kind of diet you can imagine – low fat, low calorie, low carb, vegetarian – you name it – you'll Find it!
There's an old joke "How do eat an elephant?" – "one bite at a time" – it's the same for ANY GOAL. Break your goals down into smaller chunks or pieces that are manageable. Work backwards by putting the large goal at the end and then work your way back to where you are today.
If you know that by January 8 you should have lost 2 pounds, by January 15 you should have lost 4 pounds, and so on, your goal becomes "do-able", and easier to reach.
1) Have a buddy – either close a friend to what you can report in your progress to, or a professional coach or email friend. There's nothing like knowing you've got someone cheering you on to keep you going when you feel like giving up!
2) Have a contingency plan for those "tough days". Example: for tough diet days have some really luscious low calorie or low carb snacks that stave off the urge to blow the diet – save them for special trips only. For tough days in other situations related to other types of goals think up other rewards that really make you feel special and nurtured – you deserve it for working hard!
3) Keep a journal – writing down your feelings and emotions – good and bad – is a great idea. It will help provide you with something to look back on when you've reached your goal, plus if you're tempted to cheat you can see your hard work in black and white and that will help you stick to your plan. Who knows, maybe you can even turn your journal into a book and make some money from it?
If the Commitment below were to be used for the example of losing weight that was discussed above, it would have some of the following information included in the columns.
Weight 150 Plan weekly menus, call personal trainer
January 1, 2005
Weight 148 Work out with trainer 3x, try new meal plan
January 8, 2005
Weight 120 Celebrate reaching goal!
April 9, 2005
MY PERSONAL COMMITMENT
Commitment for ___________________________________________
I, ______________________________________________________, have declared, on this day,
__________________, of _____________________, 2_____, that I am ready to make a change in my life! I am
Strong, confident and prepared to move forward and make positive things happen in my future.
The change that I will make is: ____________________________________________________________
And this will be completed by this date: __________________________________________.
Since this is a large goal a number of smaller goals must be met before this large one is fulfilled. Below is an
Outline of these smaller goals, and the dates that they are to be met:
Goal Action (s) Date
I am truly excited about being able to make this change in my life, and realize it is just the first of many things in
My life that I am finally able to take control of. I will post this commitment to myself where I can see it daily and
Be reminded of it as I work toward my final goal.
Signed __________________________________________ Date
NOTE: The above exercise and worksheet is an example of one of the tools that I use when working as a coach with clients