Many of us are doing plenty of visualizations every day.
I’m sure you can remember a time when you worried so much about something that it actually happened.
The problem is that most of us are doing visualizations to create the life we don’t want; we are often using it to imagine the worst outcomes of things or worrying about the future.
Interestingly, research By Guang Yue, an Exercise Psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, has found that people who imagine themselves performing a task, improve their performance in that task without physically doing anything.
Many athletes including Olympians use it to excel in their sports. Elite athletes use techniques like guided imagery and scripting in their training to do everything from simulate practice, to overcome fear, and even recover from an injury.
What is visualization?
Generally speaking, visualization means creating a mental image of a goal you would like to accomplish in the future. You use your thoughts to imagine a certain outcome, and what you will do to get it.
Despite popular belief, visualizing isn’t about wishing and hoping something will happen. That’s fantasy. Effective visualization is future-oriented but grounded in reality.
There are huge benefits when you use visualization.
According to psychologists, visualization helps you:
Master a new skills.
Achieve difficult goals.
Improve confidence, courage and resilience.
Improve memory & recall, focus, concentration & energy regulation.
It also helps you to:
Calm down when you feel anxious or stressed.
Think creatively to brainstorm possible solutions and strategies.
Improve athletic performance and strength.
If you’re anything like me, you shied away from the practice or dismissed it as non-scientific. Well, here’s all the proof you need.
The science of visualization
It turns out that the mind can’t distinguish between imagination and reality.
When you have a thought, it triggers the same cascade of neurochemicals, regardless of whether you are thinking about the past, present, or future. Your brain is stimulated the same way whether you’re physically performing an action or simply visualizing it happening in your mind’s eye.
When you think about yourself nailing a presentation or feeling a wave of pride after finishing a big project, your body and brain perceive that as being real in the present moment, even though it’s a far-off goal.
The neurochemicals stimulated go on to affect your motor control, attention, and planning, which spur you into action. Because neurons that fire together wire together, this process of imagining future outcomes creates new neural networks in your brain that help you form new beliefs, take new actions, and adopt new perspectives.
Take Control of Your RASS
In particular, visualization stimulates an area of the brain called the Reticular Activating System, which, put simply, scans your environment looking for new opportunities. That’s why when you start thinking about getting a new job or wanting to land a new client, suddenly new opportunities come your way. Your brain is scanning for them. Then, you take action on the newly available options and creative solutions you’re able to see.
Here’s another way of thinking of the Reticular Activating System RAS. Your brain is a gigantic detective. It is a filter. I just said your RAS is looking for new opportunities. Well, it is also constantly looking for evidence. It filters information. It lets certain information in, and blocks out other information. And guess who programmed that filter? You did and the people from your past.
If you’re constantly feeling like you’re unlovable, then your reticular activating system is going through the day looking for proof of that. It will find every piece of evidence that confirms that limiting belief you have.
If you think people don’t like you at work your RAS is constantly looking for evidence to confirm that belief all day long. It protects your brain from not letting everything in and only letting in stuff it agrees with.
This is why it’s so important to start reprogramming our RAS. You can reprogram your RAS to filter in meaningful, helpful information.
4-Step Visualization Method
According to science, you have to do visualization using this 4 step method.
Think about a goal you have and move through the following steps. Goal, Effort, Problem Solving, Emotions
For example, if your goal is to improve your self-worth I want you to visualize what your life looks like and how you’re going to feel about yourself when your self-worth has improved.
Step 1. Visualize the goal.
Specifically, visualize the outcome of your goal. Close your eyes and in your mind have a specific picture of what it looks like in your life when your self-worth has improved. You may see yourself speaking up at work, you’ll see yourself talking more about your business, see yourself leaving a bad relationship, defining boundaries, going to the gym, taking care of yourself.
Step 2. Visualize the effort
Visualize yourself doing the work to achieve your goal. For example, a writer can visualize sitting down to write for an hour every morning as a way of boosting their performance on that habit. Like a skier visualizing engaging her core, visualizing the work that goes into writing a book can be as important—or even more so—as holding the finished hardback in one’s hand.
Step 3. Visualize yourself problem solving
As you start to think about the future, worries will inevitably arise. All those “what-if’s”, fears, and anxieties will rise to the surface. When they do, use them as tools to make your vision more flexible. These are called “implementation intentions”. Think through the barriers that you might encounter, both internal(confidence, energy, etc.) and external (time, money, etc). Then, visualize how you’ll respond to each roadblock.
Here’s an example: I’m horribly uncoordinated and fearful of tripping over myself when I speak. Instead of letting that thought hold me back, I visualize the absolute worst case scenario (falling on my face) and what I would actually do if that came to pass (pick myself up and make a joke about it). I mentally walk through exactly what I would say — even how I’d breath to lessen the panic.
You can use an “If-then” framework to work through these scenarios: “If I fall on my face, then I’ll pick myself up and make a joke about it.” or “If the phone rings during my writing hour, then I’ll ignore it and check for messages later.”
Step 4. Visualize your emotions
When you start to visualize, I want you to consciously think of the positive emotions you’re going to experience. I’m going to feel happy, proud, to stand taller, going to be so grateful that I made this change.
Marrying the specific image with the emotions lets you see, there I am, getting a promotion, signing a new client, going back to school, being happy not in that abusive relationship, there I am happy. When you do this, you are training your brain to have a totally different filter.
You can try all the hacks out there, but if you keep picturing yourself failing, you will. Picture the goal, picture yourself doing the work and problem solving, and picture how you’re going to feel when you succeed. Watch how things turn around for you when you do.
Whether you’re starting and growing a business, making a career change, starting a new relationship, writing a book, or any other goal, they all require risk, nerve and a lot of courage, before confidence ever shows up.
But you need more than the knowledge and the skills.
Remember your thoughts create feelings ➡️ feeling create actions ➡️ and actions create results.
You have to stop thinking about your past fears, failures, mistakes and embarrassments. And this is why it’s so hard to do that.
This statistic completely blew.my.mind because it really hones in on the fact that what you thought yesterday is what’s holding you back today.
The way we think is a habit. And we can change habits. We can change the way we think.
YOU have the power to change your trajectory simply by saying “stop” to the thousands of thoughts that come today that didn’t serve you yesterday.
Here are 3 mindset shifts to help you hit your goals.
#1. Move from “I’m a fraud and they’re gonna find me out, “ to “Feeling like an imposter is normal when I do something new. “
Imposter syndrome is a regular visitor. It never goes away. Use it as a way to remind yourself that you’re putting yourself out there – that you feel this way because you are acting courageously and doing something new even though you don’t have all the answers and you don’t feel ready. Don’t use it as an excuse to stop.
Stop believing everything you think. Here’s how:
Acknowledge your credibility and success.
What’s something you’ve accomplished in your life that makes you feel proud? Feel that, acknowledge that. You have a track record of success. When you acknowledge that it’s easier to NOT to believe everything you think.
Be aware of the stories you tell yourself.
If you’re stuck in the story that you’re not credible or you’re not that original or you’re not going to be successful, that’s exactly where you’ll stay.
If you look at the proof of your credibility and accomplishments, you can use that to reframe your story that you are in fact successful, credible, and unique. Then you’ll start to show up with confidence.
Get out of your head and into your heart.
It’s hard to think you’re a fraud if you believe in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
If you’ve lost your WHY, revisit it now.
What was important about this goal when you started it? What excited you about it? Who are you serving? How will your life be different once you accomplish your goal?
Tap back into the heart of the matter and make the decision to move forward based on your WHY instead of the garbage thoughts of fear and self-doubt.
#2 Move from “I’ll just test the waters,” to “I’m going ALL IN even though I’m scared.”
It isn’t about making your first million or having a New York Times Best Seller right out of the gate. In the beginning it’s about you actually showing up and committing to playing a bigger game.
Go all in no matter how scared you are.
Playing small looks like – I’ll just send out a few emails or I’ll take a course on how to write a book, is only delaying your success – success that’s inevitable if you show up, if you do the work, if you put yourself out there and don’t give up.
Create weekly content, collaborate with others in your industry, create a habit to write every morning, invite that person to dinner.
It’s too easy to just sit on the sidelines. You may be doing enough to get by. But you’re not working on the big thing that could really move the needle.
So, stop making excuses.
Stop dabbling in your dreams.
Play full out.
#3 Move from “I gotta get it perfect,” to “Good is good enough.”
Stop overthinking everything and giving in to perfectionism.
Perfectionism is nothing more than procrastination. Yes, there are a million decisions to make related to your goal. You put off making any decisions because it’s all so overwhelming.
But remember, not making a decision is making a decision. You’ve made the choice to NOT try. To NOT go all in. To NOT move forward.
Here’s the underlying truth; making the decision isn’t the hard part. It’s the fear of the outcome, the fear of getting it wrong, the fear of anything less than the perfect right decision.
Here are a couple ways to move to this mindset of “Good is Good Enough.”
Become a Learner
Successful people aren’t perfect and they don’t always get it right. But they are learners.
You aren’t perfect and you have permission to not always be great, not always get it right, as long as you commit to being a learner.
Coach Yourself Through the Doubt
Ask yourself, if you did know what to do, what would you do?
Answer it, and then do it.!
It’s time to give yourself permission to do B+ work and take perfectionism off the table.
WRAPPING IT UP
Keep showing up. Your confidence will build over time.
Think about your first day on the new job you had. You didn’t know the systems, the people, or even where the bathroom was. But 6 months later, you solved a complicated problem, and you got a “well-done” from your boss. Things started to take shape.
And the same thing happens when you’re taking action on your goals. Once you start doing the stuff, you start figuring it out because you keep showing up.
Action and consistency will help create more confidence in you and your abilities to hit your goals.
Focus on the future you want and commit to taking the necessary steps to get there.
Is your planning system working for you? If not, check out my mini-course,
Have you ever made a list of goals and thought to yourself, “Tomorrow is the day! I’m gonna wake up and get started right away!”
But tomorrow morning comes, and you hit that snooze button a few too many times. Then you go workout (good for you, friend!) and your friend asks you to go for coffee. Of course, you’re excited to catch up, so you go. Coffee turns into several hours. Heck, you’re ready for lunch by the time you head home!
You realize it’s already past noon and you haven’t started on any of those things you promised yourself you would tackle.
Your desire to start fresh “tomorrow” has come and gone and you wake up the next morning thinking – why can’t I just make myself do what I say I need to do, especially when I want to do better?
You are not alone.
Making and keeping promises to yourself is what accountability is all about.
But let’s look at accountability from a different angle. I think it will give you some clarity.
Let’s dive into what accountability is NOT!
#1. Accountability is NOT something someone does for you.
One of the most common reasons people come to coaching is because they struggle to hold themselves accountable. They think that having a coach is magically going to make them do the things they say they’re going to do.
But, accountability isn’t something someone does for you. YOU do it for yourself.
You can say you’re going to use all the accountability strategies but they won’t work unless YOU put them in place. Makes sense, right?
It’s so important to make and keep promises to yourself. Come up with a few promises that embody the type of character you want to represent. For example,
I promise to try my best.
I promise to finish what I start.
I promise to start.
I promise to take care of myself.
You have to start acting like the person you want to be.
#2. Accountability is NOT the same as motivation.
You have to actually want to be accountable. You have to be motivated and accountability will follow.
In order to find motivation you need to have clarity and desire. Without them, you will find it almost impossible to keep your promises to yourself.
If you don’t know what your goal is and why it matters to you, what’s your motivation to do the work?
Get clear on your goals.
What do you want to accomplish?
Why is this important to you?
How is your life affected by not accomplishing these goals?
What is your first step in achieving your goal?
What potential obstacles do you anticipate and how do you think you can overcome them?
Now that you know your WHAT and your WHY you have the motivation to take action.
Remember, desire is created by the negative consequences or positive outcomes you’ll experience by holding or NOT holding yourself accountable.
You have to want to keep your job, get that promotion, show up for your friends and family or create that business.
Without clarity and desire accountability will always be an uphill battle.
#3. Accountability is NOT a one-time thing.
Accountability is a habit. And habits are not a one-time, sometime thing; They’re an all-time thing.
There are tiny daily habits that encourage and support accountability. And there are tiny daily habits that kill accountability.
Habits that Kill Accountability :
Hitting your snooze button.
Going in and out of sleep makes you more tired. It’s been found that you lose 2-4 hours of focused productivity each day you hit that snooze button.
Scrolling on social media.
I got a rude awakening when I started getting those notifications on my phone at the end of the week on the amount of time I spend looking at that screen every day and it was shocking. There is no reason I should spend 4-5 hours a day mindlessly scrolling. Honestly, what a waste of time.
Habits that Encourage Accountability
Making your bed every day.
Yes, I make my bed even when I’m traveling and staying in a hotel. It tells my brain it’s time to get up and start my day. it’s a small promise that I keep to myself. And doesn’t a made bed look pretty?
Planning your day the night before.
Do you get out of bed and just start your day without a plan? Even if you have a few anchor point to your routine, such as leaving the house at a particular time each morning, having a better map of your day can help you hold yourself accountable.
If you know you want to meditate, exercise, pay the bills, chances are they will not happen. Scheduling the tasks that are necessary to move you forward on your goals will help you hold yourself accountable.
Track your habits in detail for a week. It will help you become aware of how you are spending your time.
Accountability starts with awareness and happens because of the tiny habits that support you keeping your promises to yourself. Once you know your habits, tweak them to encourage a mindset of accountability.
#4. Accountability is NOT about you feeling ready.
We do not live in an ideal world. There are rarely perfect circumstances, so many things are out of our control. But, you still have the ability to make the best decisions possible and focus on the things you can control.
Begin by adjusting your mindset from an “I’m just so scared and uncertain” to an “It’s okay to do things and stumble along the way” mindset. To do this you have to acknowledge and accept the following:
Every choice has a consequence.
Long lasting change comes from long-term effort.
Stumbling and erring are part of the process, not an end to the work.
I need to be brave and face my truths, which sometimes means answering tough questions about who I am, what actions I take, and what I’m willing (and not willing) to sacrifice.
Investing in myself is important and worth the time, money and effort as needed.
#5 Accountability does NOT mean that you don’t get stuck.
If you’re doing anything new or challenging, you will get stuck! So it’s best to prepare for it.
Take a moment to think of what stands in your way of making progress and come up with strategies to help you overcome or bypass these situations.
Here are some common ones:
Identify your biggest distractions and come up with strategies to manage them. For example, if you’re distracted by your phone, keep it in another room and set your timer for one hour. When the alarms sounds, you can check your phone. Own up to what distracts you and figure out how to eliminate it.
How you choose to think and frame things can make all the difference with your approach and commitment to working on your goals. Instead of thinking, “I can’t,” replace these words with, “I’ll try.” Instead of spending time at the end of your day focusing on the things that went wrong, focus on the things that went right. The words and perspectives you choose are in your control, so create a can-do mindset.
Are you ready now to take charge and hold yourself accountable?
The bottom line is, no matter how many motivational posts or self-help books you read, YOU have to do the work. You have to hold yourself accountable for the choices you make and the consequences they bring.
What is one thing you’re going to put in practice from this article? Tell me in the comments.
Looking for the best way to plan your goals and make room for everything going on in your life?
Busy, busy, busy – mindlessly doing whatever pops up next.
This is how so many of us move through our day. We are constantly in reaction mode, pleasing everyone but ourselves. It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can choose to run your day instead of letting your day run you.
Let’s face it. Left to its own devices, your day can run you into the ground leaving you feeling like a failure at the end of every day.
Here are a few things that I avoid to stay on top of my game, especially when I start to feel a little burnout.
These things help me stay organized, on task and also give me a little bit of time and space to just breathe. What a concept, right?
#1 Avoid ending the workday without a plan for the next day.
I preach this over and over because it’s that big of a deal.
To stay on top of my game, I end the workday with a plan for the next day, and it’s in my calendar.
If I’m going to plan for five tasks tomorrow, five things that I’m going to get done tomorrow, like record a podcast, get on a call with my ads team, troubleshoot my quiz, whatever it might be, then I actually have time slots on my calendar for each of those tasks.
It’s called scheduling it. Give every task a time slot.
Have you ever sat down and wrote a list of all the things you’re going to get done that day, and then you only get half of them done?
Oh yes, I’ve done that and I’d look at that list and realize I never had the time to do all of it. There weren’t enough hours in the day to get all of this stuff done. And I was sick of feeling defeated every day, that I had a list of ten things, and only five got done. I felt like a loser at the end of the day.
The lesson here is don’t set yourself up to feel like a failure.
One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is a reality check of “What’s really possible today?”
It’s not about lowering our expectations, or going easy on ourselves. It’s about setting small, daily, attainable goals.
And when we accomplish these things every day it boosts our productivity, our confidence and our motivation. It creates momentum.
I always, always, always look at my calendar the day before. I’m never surprised in the morning about what’s to come. When I’m shutting things down at, let’s say 5p.m., I take time to look at tomorrow’s calendar and make sure I’m very clear about how the day is going to go. If anything isn’t sitting well, I’ll figure it out in advance, because I love to hit the ground running in the morning.
When you fiercely manage your calendar (and yourself), you win the day. When I’m done at the end of the day, I feel very accomplished and that hasn’t always been the case.
If you’re ending your workday feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, overworked, just mad that you didn’t get all the stuff done, try what I laid out for you here. You have to be really diligent and intentional, but you will win the day. I promise you that.
#2 Avoid hitting the snooze button.
How we set-up our day determines how we end our day.
It’s so common for many of us to hit the snooze button everyday. The amount of sleep you get never feels like enough, so you use your snooze button to tack on an extra 10,20, 30 minutes… whatever you can squeeze in.
Those stolen minutes – as delicious as they seem – aren’t worth it.
I’ve heard you should get up as soon as your alarm rings – but why is hitting that snooze button bad for your?
Turns our this habit is counterintuitive; instead of giving us a little more rest, it makes us more tired during the day.
The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in.
When that buzzer goes off a second time, your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in the groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you spent extra time in bed.
What’s more, this groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling can persist for up to two to four hours.
This sleep inertia ads to difficulty getting our day started. It’s harder to get in the zone and focus. Our attention span is shorter throughout the day. We get cranky more easily and we give up on ourselves.
At day’s end, we feel like garbage because we didn’t get our stuff and then we repeat the snooze button habit all over agin.
The answer here is simple.
Set your alarm for the time you really want to get up. When your alarm goes off, GET UP!
#3 Avoid jamming your schedule so tight that you can’t breathe.
I have full days, like head down, 8:30 to 6p.m.
But I also have cushion built in my calendar.
You’ll see 15-30 minute or one-hour chunks of time with literally the name cushion on them. That means that between coaching sessions, meetings, recording podcasts or writing blogs, I give myself a buffer where I have space to breathe, go walk or cuddle with Kipp, refill my water bottle, grab some lunch, whatever it might be.
I always have a built-in cushion because I don’t want things to be so tight that one coaching session runs into the next or other tasks that take me longer than planned screw up my entire day. It’s like a domino effect everything falls apart.
If you can start to get into the practice of adding a little cushion to your calendar, I promise you, you will not feel so depleted and tired at the end of the day.
Wrapping It Up
Again, here’s the three things I avoid to stay on top of my day.
The first is that I avoid ending the work day without a plan for the next day.
Second, I avoid hitting the snooze button. Now that you know how it kills your focus during the day, I hope you avoid it too.
Third, I avoid packing my day so tight that I can’t breathe.
It’s one day at a time. Avoiding these three things helps me stay on top of my game and get a lot done throughout the day, throughout the weeks, throughout the months, throughout the quarters, and throughout the year.
I hope they help you too!
Looking for more support on taking charge of your days? Check out
You gotta be realistic. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re only human. You’re going to fail.
And yes, it can be frustrating seeing everyone around you succeed while you’re having setbacks.
So what do you do when the person that you’re disappointed in is you?
There are 3 unhealthy go-to responses to feeling disappointed in yourself.
#1 Punishing Yourself
When you’re experiencing frustration with your choices, you punish yourself by not allowing yourself to enjoy good things, rejecting others’ praise or engaging in negative self-talk. – to name a few.
Sometimes when you’re disappointed in yourself, you choose denial as a response. You decide avoidance is best. It’s best to not talk about your failure, to pretend that it never happened.
Denying either that you ever set the goal in the first place or that you strayed from it will not help you improve or achieve future results. You must be honest with yourself (and others, where appropriate) if you want to grow.
#3 Giving Up
Giving up is so easy to do when you set goals for yourself and don’t complete them. When you’re faced with your own failures it’s sooooo easy to give up. You are harsh and judgmental with yourself.
It’s as if you’ve decided that only complete perfection is worth striving for. One mistake or failure is enough to disqualify the value of all your efforts. And that’s simply not true.
It’s normal to not always meet your own expectations, even when you’ve set realistic goals. But an “all or nothing” approach is not going to move you forward.
Here are 6 Healthy Ways to Bounce Back After Letting Yourself Down
#1 Accept What Happened
It’s part of grief, part of life, and yes, a part of disappointment.
The first step to getting over any shame or embarrassment is to simply accept what went wrong.
Avoiding or glossing over it won’t help you move on.
If you need a good long cry, go for it. (Been there.) If you want to wallow for a few hours, you’re entitled. (Been there, too.) But then it’s time to brush yourself off and figure out exactly where things went wrong.
Simply saying to yourself, “I’m disappointed because I didn’t meet the goal I set for myself,” might make you see that this big issue isn’t the overwhelming monster you believe it to be – it’s actually a series of events that you can learn from.
#2 Be Your Own Best Friend
It’s easy to judge yourself in these situations, but let’s take one or two steps to find a new perspective.
If your friend came to you with the same issue – she was disappointed in herself for not having a stellar quarterly review, or bombing open-mic night – what would you say to her?
Probably not, ‘I’m so disappointed in you. You can do better. “
Rather, you’d be supportive and kind and listen to exactly what went wrong.
Treating yourself and your disappointment like a close friend can help ease the blame and help you practice more self-compassion.
#3 Change the Soundtrack Playing In Your Head
If you’re feeling disappointed, it’s only natural that your thoughts run amuck to the land of self-doubt where every thought you have reinforces that feeling that you let yourself down again.
It’s so easy to believe everything you think. But, you have to know, thoughts are not facts. So, stop believing everything you think.
Instead of thinking, “I’m a failure,” think, “I’m a work in progress.”
Instead of thinking, “It never works out for me,” think, “I’m getting closer every day.”
Instead of thinking, “I can’t handle this,” think, “It’s here to teach me something.”
Instead of thinking, “I can’t do it,” think, “I’ll never know until I try.”
Disappointment is only the enemy when you give it all the power through your thoughts and words. Make disappointment your friend and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.
#4 Do an Honest Review
To make positive changes, you most definitely need to spend some time reflecting on what went right, and what went wrong.
Ask yourself questions about why and how you disappointed yourself. How did the circumstances affect your choices? Do your goals or the implementation need to be reexamined?
Take this time to learn more about yourself, your tendencies and what you want to do.
There are so many lessons to learn from these huge or little blips of disappointment.
The first major lesson?
You know what NOT to do next time.
When you’ve passed the “acceptance” stage, start to figure out where things went wrong by asking yourself these questions:
Did you give yourself enough time?
Did you do the necessary prep work?
Did you set clear boundaries?
Did you ask for help?
Digging into these questions will expose any of the flaws in your plan. Instead of saying “Oh well, I guess it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to,” or beating yourself up, you’ll be armed with knowledge and be able to pivot.
#5 Use It
Understanding where your plan went sideways is crucial to plotting your next big endeavor.
We’ve all heard it, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over agin and expecting a different result.”
But see, now you’re not going to do the same thing over and over again! Look at all you’ve learned from reviewing the entire situation! Yes, you’ve learned from this disappointing experience.
So, now that you understand how you ended up in this situation, you can make a plan to get back on track and avoid disappointing yourself in the future.
Your plan should be realistic to the demands of your life and involve small, attainable steps for you to get there.
Think ahead of potential challenges that could derail your goals and how you will tackle them. Set yourself up for future success.
#6 Realize This Is All Just Because You Care
Ah, yes, the most important lesson of all:
The thing about being disappointed is that it reveals what you actually care about.
You wouldn’t be so upset if you weren’t invested in the outcome, and that in of itself is a great thing.
Disappointment can act like a radar system, pinpointing exactly where you are – and where you want to be.
While you might feel like shying away from it if things aren’t turning out your way, listen to your instincts. You’re disappointed because you care, and that passion is what will keep you moving forward.
When you take the time to learn from your disappointment, you’ll be more prepared the next time a challenge comes up.
If you are disappointed in your actions, use that disappointment as motivation to find a solution and try again. Use your disappointment as a catalyst to make good choices. What matters in this moment is how you choose to move forward.
When I was growing up I kept a pretty, pink diary hidden under my mattress. And of course, it had a lock on it. OMG, I would’ve died if anyone read my deepest thoughts, dreams, and worries. And I’m sure there were some secret crushes in there that absolutely had to remain secret.
Keeping that diary was so good for me and I wish I would have never stopped “paper-thinking” – or today it’s called journaling.
The last few years have taken its toll on me (and I’m sure you can relate) so I started journaling and it’s brought me so much clarity, and reduced my stress and anxiety.
So I want to share with you the 5 Step Technique that makes journaling easy – that won’t leave you staring at a blank page.
All of my fellow journalers already know this.
Getting your thoughts out of your brain and onto a piece of paper is often all the relief you need. Thinking about what you are thinking about on paper is sometimes just enough to allow you to stop the spinning thoughts in your head.
Now, you might think that journaling is just figuring out the garbage that you are thinking about during the day. Yes, that is one way to journal. But there’s more.
Journaling can basically be broken down into 7 categories.
Things in the world
All of these are things you can journal and write about.
So many of us sit around thinking all kinds of garbage about journaling. When you hear, “you need to journal,” do you think…
Ugh, journaling takes too long,
I don’t know what to write about,
This aint gonna help me do the darn thing,
I’m scared of what I might uncover,
I’m so ashamed of what I think so I’d rather not do it,
I don’t seem to go deep enough?
Here’s the problem. If you don’t change your attitude about journaling, you’ll be denying yourself major breakthroughs, a path to finally doing the things you’ve been too afraid to do.
We all got mental baggage that we can’t see throughout the day. But, the problem isn’t the baggage. The problem is leaving our baggage unchecked and unsupervised each day.
When you don’t see your default thinking on paper that means you get to see your default thinking coming true in your life in the form of self-sabotage, overthinking, or worrying.
And when I say paper, I mean actual paper that you write on with a pen or pencil. I don’t want you to type on your computer. I want you to write it with your hand. I mean, call me old school, but there is something powerful about sitting in a quiet room with a notebook on your lap and physically writing it down. Studies have shown your are having a deeper experience than when you’re just typing it. I’m not going to quote the studies, but I promise they’re out there.
So, here’s how I set up my routine. It’s very simple. I’m committed to ten minutes of journaling 3-4 days a week. I’m working up to 5 days. Yes, I absolutely could do longer than 10 minutes, and sometimes I do. But you have to set yourself up for success. So for me, 10 minutes is something I know I can do and a short-enough period of time that I will not let myself make any excuses not to do it.
Here’s the 5-Step Journaling Technique I use.
Step 1: Observe
The whole point of journaling is to just notice what you’re thinking about in any give situation. You want to ask questions that will get your brain willing to respond, like;
What problem am I trying to solve? What are the things I’m worried about today?
Another great way to get your thoughts going and get words on the page is to make a gratitude list because you want to explore some of the great things that are happening in your life, too.
You could also start with your to-do list for the day. Then ask yourself, “What are my thoughts about getting this done today? What are the easiest things to do? What are the most important things I could do from this list?
Remember, journaling for today can literally be three sentences about what you’re thinking. You just want to notice what’s coming up for you.
Step 2: Accept
A lot of people are judgmental of their thinking. I am one of them. When they observe their own thoughts, they start saying judgmental things to themselves like, “I’m ridiculous,” or “What’s wrong with me?” “Okay, listen. This is terrible. But I was thinking…”
Listen here. It’s not terrible.
Everyone has thoughts that don’t necessarily serve them. It’s not weird and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Give yourself some grace. And when you do this, it takes the pressure off of journaling, meaning no thought is “bad”, anything goes, and it allows you to start taking some authority over this process of getting your thoughts and feelings onto paper.
Step 3: Neutralize
This is when you take all the inflammatory language out of your thoughts.
Instead of thinking and writing.
“Ill never be able to grow my business,” you instead want to write something like, “I’m in the process of trying to grow my business.”
You want to take everything down a notch. Take a look at the thoughts that you have that are highly charged with emotion and highly triggering.
I’ll go over my notes at the end. I’ll look for adjectives and adverbs and descriptors, and literally cross them out.
The goal is to strip your thinking down to a neutral place because it allows you to see more of the facts.
When the emotional charge is removed, you’re able to start thinking from a clean slate, which is way more productive and so much better for your mental health.
Step 4: Recalibrate
Ask yourself, “What’s my next best thought?“
If you’re thinking something like, “I’ll never be able to build my business,” and then you neutralize that to “I’m building a business,” your next best thought might be, “I am doing all the things I need to do to build my business right now.” So your next best thought is, “I’m in it. I’m doing it. This is happening.”
Step 5: Activate
Ask yourself, “What’s the next move I can make?”
It could be, to just let it go and stop worrying about things you can’t control. Or it could be, I’m going to call that person I’ve always wanted to collaborate with for my business.
Answer it. No excuses. And do it!
Your Next Steps
That’s it, friend!
I don’t want you to get to the end of your journaling practice where you just feel bad. I’ve been there. It’s like I just literally threw up on the page and I’m journaling all the challenges I’m worried and frustrated about. I don’t feel like it was cathartic. I feel like I just complained for ten minutes.
That’s why I make sure I do this 5-Step Technique, especially when I’m having a really hard time, and I put a lot of negativity on the page. I know I’m going to gently massage these thoughts into something factual, honest, and actionable.
If journaling isn’t part of your daily practice right now, I want you to look at your calendar and schedule 10 minutes – that’s it – 10 minutes to work through the process.
It takes some time to get used to, and you don’t have to do it for every journaling session. But I really do believe that it makes a huge difference.
Now, there is one final thing I’d love for you to do, whether you’re new to journaling or not. Take out your journal and write down the 5 steps on the inside cover or somewhere so you’ll see them. (Observe, Accept, Neutralize, Recalibrate, and Activate)
Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to make it through your to-do list?
The size difference between what I need to do and how much time I had in the day used to drive me bonkers.
But then I realized something helpful. I’ll always have more ideas, more projects, more tasks and more dreams than I can possibly accomplish on the to-do list.
That’s not failure.
That just means my imagination is bigger than my calendar. No puny calendar is a match for my ability to create new ideas and projects. What freedom that is!
So, I thought I’d share 3 ways that I manage my huge imagination and encourage you to keep dreaming and imagining.
#1. Get your ideas out of your head.
Everything doesn’t have to go on your calendar. I know, I know. How many times have I preached about having a plan?
Here’s the truth. Not every idea is meant to come to life. Maybe it’s simply an idea that will lead to another, and another and finally another idea that you will bring to life.
Get a notebook or an app on your phone, and write down these creative ideas to get them out of your head. As long as an idea is in your head, it’s taking a little bit of your attention. Keep a rolling list, and trust yourself to look at the list later and take action.
Don’t overcomplicate it. The goal is to be able to capture ideas anytime, any place. The act of writing it down might also be enough to make it stick in your memory.
#2. Tap into your creative energy.
Decide which idea you will explore first.
Which idea gets your heart racing?
Which idea have you shared with someone because, well, it’s THAT good?
Which idea is screaming, “Pick me, pick me.”?
Don’t overthink it. Listen to your gut. Pick one and get started.
Here’s a little secret. You don’t need to schedule a time to work on the idea you choose – unless you really NEED to.
Instead, dive in when you’re feeling that creative energy. If you’re more creative at night, do it then. Pay attention to the times of day your creativity is at its’ peak.
Sometimes, you’ve got to let your energy guide you to where you want to be spending your time.
#3. Let it go.
It’s okay to flirt with multiple ideas. After all, flirting is harmless.
But if you find yourself starting a hundred things and never finishing, try this.
Before starting a new idea, ask yourself these questions about the idea you have already started.
Am I still interested in this?
Does this excite me?
Why is this important?
What have I learned since I started this, that has change my energy around it? For example, you discovered you don’t have the money, time, expertise or you’ve learned the results would be harmful or goes against your values.
If your answers are telling you that your heart isn’t in it anymore that’s okay.
Cross it off your idea list, and call it done.
When we don’t finish something we are too quick to say ” I failed”. Not motivating at all. Instead, you need to “call it” – GAME OVER! Move on to something else. Give yourself that closure and move on to your next big idea.
Remember, you are a creative being. Share your ideas with others. Think the craziest things. Let your imagination run wild.
It’s actually our thinking – not our doing – that keeps us stuck.
We have all these thoughts – and we use these thoughts as excuses for not achieving a goal, or handling a problem, or not making the most of the opportunities life throws our way.
Do any of these sound familiar?
I’m afraid of making a mistake.
I’m just not confident enough to do this.
I just don’t have enough time or money.
I’m afraid of what others might think.
It just isn’t the right time.
Dang, we all think and say these things, quite often.
Excuses keep you stuck in limbo. You want all these wonderful things, but you will never have them because the excuses you make prevent you from moving forward.
The trick is to turn your excuses into action.
Excuse #1: I’m afraid of making mistakes… I’m hesitant because I’ll probably goof this up.
Turn it into action by accepting the fact that mistakes are a natural part of life. We all make mistakes. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes. No matter how much experience you have, you are still going to make mistakes. They help you learn and grow from the experience.
In fact, making mistakes is a natural part of success. As long as you take time to learn from your mistakes, they can lead to huge growth opportunities and insights that will help you move forward in a better way. Now, go make some mistakes. You’ll learn soooo much!
Excuse #2: I’m just not good enough… I’m just not confident enough to do this and make this work.
Turn it into action by acknowledging that self-confidence comes with competence (practicing skills) and experience. It’s perfectly okay and normal to lack confidence when you’re doing something for the first time. The more you do something the less scary it becomes. Familiarity breeds confidence.
Taking action is the fastest way to prove your fear wrong. When you take action, you learn that you’re safe and nothing bad happens when you try new things. Go do something new right now!
Excuse #3: I don’t have enough time or money… I’m sooo busy and I can’t even tell you where all my money goes.
Turn it into action by committing yourself to improving your time and money management skills. Managing your time and money is all about effective prioritization.
You will always find the time and money for the things you prioritize. Figure out what’s most important and then let go of everything else. Also, be cutthroat when it comes to eliminating distractions and wasteful spending. Make your time and money plans now!
Excuse #4: I’m afraid of what people will think… People are going to judge and criticize me.
Turn it into action by knowing that the only opinion that truly matters is yours! No matter what you do, you will NEVER EVER satisfy absolutely everyone in your life.
Stop trying to please everyone else and please yourself instead. Yes, there will always be someone who will judge and criticize you. You decide if you give that someone the power to hold you back. Now, keep your head down and focus on doing what’s important to you.
Excuse #5: This is just not the right time… I’ve got soooo much going on.
Turn it into action by acknowledging the fact that there is never really a right or a perfect moment to do something. Waiting for the perfect moment might mean that you miss out on opportunities that may never pop up again. With this is mind, commit to getting started in a small way today. Go take one small step right now and start!
Remember, all of these excuses – that keep you stuck in a constant state of procrastination – stem from a lack of confidence. Catch yourself when you are making these excuses and make a conscious decision to take action instead. Your future self will thank you!
Are you soooooo done with everything being so dang hard and stressful?
We make things unnecessarily hard for ourselves.
You don’t get a badge of honor for having so much “hard” in your life..
No, no, no!
The only thing you get is a pile of stress and a toxic mindset of “life is hard” that bleeds into everything you do.
The thought of “this is hard” is a sneaky one. It’s not accurate. What we really mean is that doing some things is uncomfortable. Ummm…. uncomfortable isn’t the same as hard. Hard is painful. Discomfort is something we can tolerate until we get comfortable.
Most people aren’t willing to experience discomfort. We are wired to avoid pain (or perceived pain) far more than gain pleasure.
What’s the worst that could happen if you put yourself on the line by doing something new, scary or intimidating? A feeling. A temporary bad feeling. It will not kill you or even hurt you.
90 seconds! We have more than 1400 minutes in a day, so I think we could all withstand almost anything for one and a half of them.
All emotions are temporary. Good and bad.
A courageous person knows that the cost of going for it is therefore worth it. Because what’s the risk, really? Experiencing some temporary uncomfortable emotions is as bad as it gets.
What would you be doing if you were willing to experience a negative emotion? Asking someone out or asking for a raise at work?
First, be willing to be uncomfortable and then try these 3 simple ways to let things be easy.
#1 Change the conversation.
The reason why things are hard is because we tell ourselves it’s hard.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is gonna be so hard.
I remember when I did xxxx, and I thought that was gonna be hard, but it really wasn’t.
This is huge.
It’s just a book, (just an instrument, just a talk, just a dish, just a class, just a test). Now when you finish that book drop the word “just”. Celebrate your accomplishment. When someone congratulates you, accept that and say “Yes!, I finished my book!” Not, “Oh it’s just a book. Lots of people write them.”
I don’t even know where to start.
Hmmmm. This is new. I don’t know exactly know what to do, but I’ll figure it out as I go.
The names you give your work matter, they have power. How you describe something impacts how you show up or don’t show up. Words can make things seem big, intimidating or scary.
#2 Start Before You Start
Starting is usually the hardest part of anything. Well, unless you’re the kind of person who starts tons of things but never finishes them. Wherever you are on the start-finish spectrum, starting before you start will make a huge difference in the perceived difficulty of any task.
First, set your intention for the day. End each day by writing the 3-5 most important things you want to get done tomorrow. Schedule those things on your calendar.
The worst thing is getting to your desk and scratching your head trying to decide what you should do first. Decide the night before.
I wear 20 different hats in my business. I can choose from creating digital products, to working on certification stuff, to administrative stuff, to networking, to writing blog posts, to personal stuff, and the list goes on. If I leave it up to how I feel in the morning, I guarantee you I will not be working on what is most important.
Finally, set up your workspace so all you need to do is sit or stand at your desk and start.
Let’s say I decide the first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is record a couple videos. Now I need to physically set myself up to start.
Tonight, I am going to set up and test all my equipment.
I’m going to make sure everything I need is charged.
I’ll also let my family know I’m going to be recording at a certain time, so they don’t bust up my recording unknowingly.
I’ll decide on what I’m going to wear and lay it all out.
# 3 Take Baby Steps
Don’t focus on going from 0 to 100. Focus on going from 0 to 1.
So stop worrying about where you’ll be 100 days from now. Put your head down and focus on what you can make progress on right now.
It’s the tiny steps you take every single day that will pave the way to achieving anything. You just need to develop the simple discipline to do it.
According to Mel Robbins, simple discipline is the practice of making and keeping promises to yourself. These promises are the foundation for your daily life, which is the foundation for achieving your goals.
The only way to change the big things in your life is to change the small things first – your daily habits, your morning routine, your evening routine and everything in between.
Start by making your bed every morning. Yes, I make my bed even when I’m at a hotel. When you make your bed in the morning it will automatically make you feel productive since you just completed something. And doesn’t it look nice?! You can throw your covers over the wrinkled sheets, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
One small task can make a huge difference in making you feel more confident to start your day.
Wrapping it Up: 3 Simple Ways to Make Things Easy
#1 Change the Conversation
#2 Start Before You Start
#3 Take Baby Steps
If you’re looking for more ways to confidently get through the scary and hard things in life hop on the waitlist for my on-line course opening this month
We are busy people. Our clocks are thin and tired, our schedules full and bloated.
But somehow we find a way to give our time to a host of wonderful distractions.
Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to finish that on-line course and then tell me about all those yummy recipes you’re going to try after watching hours of cooking shows.
Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to write your novel and then give me intricate plot details about the six shows you’re watching.
Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to update your resume and then update your social media accounts constantly.
There is a reason the average 21-year-old has played 10,000 hours of video games.
There is a reason the average American watches 35 hours of TV a week according to Nielsen.
Our minds running on auto-pilot is the reason!
We make hundreds of mindless choices every day that don’t naturally gravitate to things that matter or work we really care about. Our brains are always looking for the easy way out.
It’s all a big lie. You can’t control or manage time.
But you can control your choices.
It’s about managing yourself in the space of time.
You can’t createmore minutes in an hour or more hours in a day.
But, you can find more minutes and hours when you make better choices.
Here’s a better choice:
Wait 15 minutes to turn on Netflix and do something that matters to you. Work on a skill. Take a tiny step to move forward on a goal. Check something small off your to-do list.
I don’t care how busy you are. You have 15 minutes hidden somewhere in your day.
Ready for the challenge?
I dare you to rescue that tiny amount of time each day and then watch what happens this summer. That first 15 minutes will grow to 30 and then 45 and then 60. By the end of the summer, you will have worked for 1.500 minutes. You will have 25, on purpose, goal-crushing hours under your belt.
If you’re with me, pick one skill or goal you want to give your 15 minutes to and then get going. It’s possible to find time. All it takes is making a better decision.
When was the last time you completed a projected that truly mattered to you? When was the last time you set an important goal and you made it happen?
I mean, doesn’t it feel GREAT to check something off your list or complete an important project or say that something is finally DONE?
To take charge and be the BOSS of yourself and your goals is incredibly motivating.
Yes, of course, it feels amazing. I want you to experience that feeling more often. And to make sure that you really master this ability to finish what you start, AKA follow-through, I’m sharing the steps I use every day in my life and business. These steps create a little acronym that spells boss. B – O – S – S. Because BOSS is who you need to be to follow-through.
Now once you’ve mastered these four steps, you’re going to be way more likely to finish what you start. Okay, lets get started on building that follow-through habit using the BOSS Formula.
STEP #1: B stands for: Be Focused & Specific
Right off the bat, there are two big problems that get in our way of following through. First, most of us are working on way too many things at once. We allow ourselves to be pulled in too many directions. Instead of making meaningful progress on a single project that really, really matters, we wind up feeling constantly overloaded and overwhelmed.
Now the second problem. Oftentimes we are fuzzy about our outcome. Meaning, most of the time, we’re just working hard and trying to keep our heads above water and we don’t have a clearly defined, achievable result that we’re working towards.
The good news here is, we have the power to fix both of these problems. And when we do, we gain some serious momentum and we train ourselves to become a master of follow-through.
The very first step is this; we must FOCUS. Meaning, focus on what’s truly most important. And to be clear – I’m not talking about several things here, I’m talking about choosing just ONE thing. One TOP priority. One single goal.
What is one thing you could focus on (a single project or goal) that, if you finished it, it would make a tremendous positive impact in your life?
If you’re having trouble committing to JUST one thing, I want you to remember this:
If you’re unwilling to commit to one thing, you’re going to likely be distracted by everything.
Now once you’ve decided on the goal you want to focus on, you’re ready to Be Specific. Which means, define what success will look like when you get this done. You have to define what finished looks like. Yes, your goal has to be specific, measurable, and achievable. You should be able to say without a doubt – “Yes, I am finished and I followed through!”
Let’s say your goal is to reboot your health and you say to yourself, “Yeah, I really do want to feel better by the summer.” That, my friend, is vague and a fairly useless goal because it’s not well defined.
On the other hand if you said to yourself “You know what, I really need to reset my health and here’s my goal: for the next 30 days I’m going to eliminate gluten and alcohol and dairy and caffeine.” That’s WAY better right? Of course it is – because it is specific and measurable and achievable.
Your action item right now is to decide on ONE SINGLE goal and to define it in specific, measurable and achievable terms.
You’ve gotten focused and specific about your MOST important goal and now you’ve got to organize your life around achieving it. And in order to do that, we have got to face down the biggest BS excuse we can all use for not following through. You know what that is?
“You know what, I just don’t have the time.”
C’mon now… I know we’ve all said this. And you know what? It’s a pretty sad excuse, because we’re all given the same 24 hours each and every day. It’s just that some people have learned to use their time a lot more wisely.
You and I both know that we always make time for the things that truly matter. So if you want to master your ability to follow-through, remember this.
Meaning, if you don’t decide in advance exactly when and where you’re going to do the work, and have that time specifically blocked out on your calendar, you gotta face it, you don’t care that much about it. It’s not going to happen.
This is not just my opinion. In study after study, researchers have found ONE thing to be true. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, a professor at Columbia University,
Did you hear that? Double or triple your chance for success? Anyone?!
Open your calendar and decide exactly when and where you’re going to work to bring your top goal to life.
STEP #3: S Stands for “Set NO as Your Default Answer.”
Look, saying “no” to yourself and others is essential to follow-through. This isn’t about being an arrogant a-hole, this isn’t about saying no haphazardly. This is about saying no deliberately and strategically and, of course, compassionately.
You have GOT to give yourself permission to STOP trying to do it all. Stop saying yes to everyone and everything and every new idea. Because here’s the truth; everything you say YES to, means you’re saying NO to something else. In economic terms, that’s called “opportunity cost” and it’s a serious thing.
For example, you go to a bridal shower that honestly, you don’t want to go to, but you say yes out of a sense of guilt and drive hours to get there and spend the entire day regretting your choice. That’s time you can’t ever get back – time you could have spent working towards your goal, or just being with your family, or your kids, or doing something meaningful to move ahead.
Simply allow “no” to be your default response to all new projects, new requests, and new demands on your time.
You also need to say NO to spending hours watching TV or getting sucked into the comparison sinkhole of social media. You say NO to any and all time sucks and energy sucks and non-essentials.
Saying yes to too much only leaves you feeling frustrated, resentful and exhausted, right? It’s not a place from which you can do your best work.
When you train yourself to say yes to less, what you really get is more. More time and more space to do the deep and important work you were born to do. More breathing room. More white space. More freedom. More energy to devote to things that truly matter, like spending time with people you love.
One of the things that stop people from making their default answer “no”, is not knowing how to say no with grace and kindness.
No is a complete sentence. But c’mon now, I mean, let’s be real. If someone writes you an email asking for something and you just type back “no” and hit send, it’s not going to feel that good to you or them.
Here’s a simple and elegant way to say no.
“Thanks so much for thinking of me. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored I am to be asked.” or I’d rather not, but thank you SO MUCH for thinking of me.”
Elegant and honest, right? Just like you.
Your next action item is to re-examine your projects and your upcoming commitments. Is there anything on there that you can decline or get out of? Now of course, if you do, you’re gonna be classy and elegant about it – but honestly, from this moment forward, if it’s not a hell yes, let it be a hell no, because you and your goal matter.
STEP #4: S stands for “Start Before You’re Ready.”
The one mantra I use to start – especially when the goal or project that I’m working on is a little scary and outside my comfort zone. And that mantra is:
Start BEFORE You’re Ready.
Look. Most of us can talk about or think about an important project for months and sometimes even years before actually doing anything about it. But do not confuse activity with accomplishment.
You see, if you’ve had trouble following through, it’s not a lack of competence that’s holding you back. It is this nasty little fear-based lie that we tell ourselves called, “I’m not ready yet.” It is one of the deadliest, most insidious dream killer around. And if you’re honest, I’ll bet, “I’m not ready yet” has probably stopped you a few times in the past.
Well, my friend, here is the secret you need to know. The world’s happiest and most successful people never feel ready to make a bold move – they just GO! They understand that waiting to “feel ready” before taking action is the worst kind of procrastination.
That is why starting before you are ready is the key to executing like a champ and mastering follow-through. It’s helps you sidestep your fear and drive straight into action-based learning. Because when you stop thinking and you start executing, you literally create this energy that pulls you forward. All of the sudden there are appointments and deadlines and real life progress.
This last step is all about execution, once you get started, don’t stop.
When it comes to follow-through, tenacity matters more than tactics or technique. Be relentless about this, do not stop taking action until you can drop the mic and say, “You know what? This. Is. Done.”
Your last action item. Identify the single most important action you could take right now to execute on your goal – even if you don’t feel ready?
Is it making a phone call? Is it making an outside appointment with some kind of professional? Or perhaps it’s telling a few people you trust about your goal and your commitment to make it happen.
There is no right answer. But, I’ll bet you know it in your heart whatever it is what you have to do. Think about it, get moving, and start before you’re ready.
Let’s review our four key disciplines to being the BOSS and following through.
B: Be Focused and Specific: Choose ONE priority and define your outcome so it’s clear, specific and achievable, Set yourself up to win.
O: Organize Your Time & Schedule It: If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.
S: Set NO as Your Default Answer: No is your default answer to all new requests, eliminate non-essentials, and say yes to less.
S: Start BEFORE You’re Ready: Be relentless and don’t stop taking action until you’ve reached your goal.
And that’s it! Be the BOSS you are and make these four personal disciplines a habit and trouble with follow-through will be a thing of the past.
How many projects have you started and then dropped because you got bored or something newer and shinier pulled your attention away?
Within weeks or months, you realize the idea wasn’t as brilliant in practice as it was in your head.
It’s enough to drive you crazy. And then you beat yourself up, telling yourself that you’re not capable of finishing anything.
So wait, what happened? Shiny object syndrome, friend. Shiny object syndrome is what happened.
First, let’s get this straight – we’ve all been there irrespective of the field we belong to. We see a shiny object and chase it without thinking it through.
To be clear, shiny object syndrome isn’t a medical syndrome as such. It’s a name given to a condition that’s pretty common among several entrepreneurs and creatives.
Shiny object syndrome results in you being easily distracted, impulsive and unable to focus on anything long enough to finish it.
It’s human nature. We all do it.
And, if you happen to have ADHD, your shiny object syndrome probably appears more frequently and more intensely than those who don’t have ADHD.
You can tame the impulsivity to mindlessly dive into new things.
Here are 4 Quick Fixes to Prevent Shiny Object Syndrome from Winning
#1 Sleep on it.
When an idea first steps through your brain’s front door, don’t welcome it with open arms. Instead, stare it down with suspicion at first – have a cuppa with the idea and scan it top to bottom before deciding if you should sit with it for dinner.
Some prefer to call this “sleeping on the idea” or giving yourself some “thinking time”. The fact is any idea that sticks with you past the 24-hour think period is usually worth considering further.
#2 Make a doable plan to achieve your goals
When you don’t have any goals set, you give yourself permission to act impulsively and mindlessly jump from one thing to another. Setting goals grounds you. It gives you a framework to make decisions from. Set goals that speak to your soul.
Take your annual goals and break them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.
I start every week identifying the three big things that are going to move me close to achieving my goals. These are three things that I’m getting done this week, no matter what. These three things drive the specific tasks I schedule in my daily planner.
#3 Identify the cost of the shiny object
Setting goals is so dang important because when those shiny objects come in, you’ve got to have the discipline to ask yourself, “Does this fit into the goals I’ve set for this year?”
That’s how I avoid getting distracted. If something comes into my world and I ask myself, “Does this fit into the goals I’ve set this year?” If the answer is no, then I ask myself, “Do I really need or want this? Is this something I’ve overlooked but is really important?”
The answer is often no. Then I go back to the goals I’ve set, head down, do the work.
Now, once in a while, the answer is yes. And that’s when I have to decide, “Okay. Am I going to sacrifice one thing for another?” We all now that every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else and might not realize it in the moment, but you are.
If I say yes to something, I go back to rearrange the goals I’ve already set because this shiny thing I’m saying yes to wasn’t really part of my plan.
#4 Talk about your goals
Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I talk about my goals often and out loud to others, it almost brings them to life and they become more a part of me.
Talk about your goals often, and it becomes your North Star. You know where you are going because it’s just part of your conversations. It’s just a part of you.
Speaking about goals holds me accountable to myself and others and it reminds me of my game plan.
When those shiny objects pop up then I can decide:
Do I want to do them and change around what I’ve already done?
Is this something that I can put on a wish list and come back to at a different time?
Is this an opportunity I’m willing to miss because I know that I’m really clear where I’m going and how I’m getting there?
Taking a moment to pause, reflect and make thoughtful decisions is the most effective way to not mindlessly fall prey to shiny object syndrome.