Realistic daily steps for goal setting

I want to share my realistic daily steps for setting & accomplishing goals, it also works for starting a new positive habit, because it’s time to focus on your goals!

Anyone can use this method…

  • If you have a goal you are currently working toward & want to stay focused
  • If you want to start a new goal or positive habit, but unsure how to start
  • Or if you are searching for something meaningful to dedicate time to

The steps I’m sharing with you are ones that you can put into place each day and each week whether just starting a new goal or habit or wanting to stay focused on a current one. Each day allows an opportunity to take a step toward the future you want, the goal you want to accomplish or the new positive habit you want to start. These easy to follow steps make it easy to add to your daily routine and you can use this over and over with any goal or habit!

You can start on any day, but I like utilizing Wednesday as a start day…why? It’s a good mid-week point, but I don’t really have a scientific reason why! There is no right or wrong day to start working toward accomplishing your goals! You can adjust this as needed.

Let’s get started!

  1. Why not Wednesday – Define what you want to focus on, something you are passionate about or confirm what you keep thinking about, but have not quite committed to yet. Define it in one or two sentences and include at least one ‘why’. Example – I want to focus on my health and feel better. Why? – So, I can be more active with my family or participate in more outdoor activities, run a marathon or travel more. Once committed you can move forward with steps and actions toward it. Even if it’s a year or five year goal, defining your goal or habit is the most important step. You can set aside time in the morning, over lunch or in the evening to focus, but don’t overthink this definition, most likely you have a main goal in mind. If you find yourself unable to focus on just one, write down a few and then be honest with which one you are most excited about and focus on that one this week. If you need help focusing please contact me and I can help with some tips!
  2. Tackle it & Transform Thursday – How will this goal or new habit transform me or my future? What is my expected outcome? Envision your goal or habit in motion (tackling it), how do you want it to transform you personally? Example – When I’m healthier I can train for that marathon my sister and I always wanted to run together. When I’m healthier I can spend more active time with my spouse, children, grandchildren, friends…When I’m healthier I can travel more and go hiking. When I’m healthier I can feel better and start another new goal or habit.
  3. Focus on it Friday – Research tools and resources needed to accomplish your goal or start your new habit. Do you need to study or complete certification to accomplish it or using the health example above – I plan on exchanging my fast food breakfast each morning with a smoothie so I’m going to buy a blender or get mine out of storage. I plan on incorporating more steps into my day and want new shoes or a step tracker. Maybe you want to join a gym or find a walking partner. Discover what you need to start your goal, again don’t overthink it, just what you need to get started then adjust as needed as you grow and succeed. Keep the list short for now.
  4. Celebrate successes on Saturday and Sunday – I encourage you to spend some weekend time celebrating successes on Saturday and Sunday! Review what you have already accomplished; confirm your mindset toward your goal, envision how your future will look with the goal or new habit in place, seek out at least one resource and get ready for Make it Monday!
  5. Make it Monday – Create a list of a few steps that will get you started. I suggest a to-do list with about three steps, but no more than five to start. Example – Purchase groceries to take for lunch instead of eating out. Walk each morning or evening for 30 minutes. Make a smoothie for breakfast each morning and be more conscious of meals and snacks. Cook at home at least 3 nights a week. The steps you choose are ones that are simple to incorporate into your personal unique lifestyle. Make these steps realistic for you and don’t make all the changes at once. Add in other steps once you are comfortable with these; once the to do list becomes a comfortable part of your routine.
  6. Try it Tuesday – Try the to-do list you created. Put action behind your goal defining and research! Start turning your goal or new habit into reality. Celebrate the week of work you have already put in and keep going! Add your to-do list to your daily routine! Don’t get upset if you miss a day or something comes up, just pick up where you left off, just don’t quit!

You can use this same method to track your success, stay focused and motivated by adjusting as follows –

  • Why not – confirm your goal instead of defining it, confirm why you are focused on this particular goal/habit
  • Tackle it – How is this goal or new habit transforming me? What outcome am I experiencing?
  • Focus on it –  Are the tools and resources I’m using working for me? Do I need other tools or resources, what would make this more productive?
  • Successful Saturday and Sunday – Continue celebrating accomplishments, fitting in additional time for your goal or habit as time allows. Share successes with friends or track online or in a journal. Confirm your mindset toward your goal and accomplishments.
  • Make it – Keep creating a weekly list of what you need to accomplish your goals. Once that list is a comfortable routine, add to it. I suggest each weekend creating your weekly list to stay focused.
  • Try it – Stay focused on your to-do steps and incorporate new ones as you feel comfortable. Stay active toward your goal or habit! Remember, celebrate those successes!!!

I suggest keeping a weekly calendar or journal to record your steps and celebrate your accomplishments! Join me in the daily journey with doable steps, tips & encouragement! Share your progress below or email me at successencourager@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading! For more details about services, tips and professional experience check out my ABOUT ME page!

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Dear Vulnerability,

June 7, 2018

 

Dear Vulnerability,

Your rare appearance the other day was actually a welcome sight. I have spent years avoiding meetings with you even taking a longer path or avoiding a journey entirely at just the slight chance we may have briefly interacted.

I’ve grown over the years though. I’ve learned from heartache, forgiven my wrongs and those of others and grown confident despite my insecurities. Through these lessons I have realized just how beautiful you are.

Without knowing you, learning from you and sharing that knowledge with others there is no way to truly discover love. Without your insights I don’t think I’d truly know myself which is key in letting others know me.

Your teachings are valued beyond what my words can express. Thank you for the enlightenment. I believe we will be seeing a lot more of one another, my dear friend.

 Respectfully,

Dana

 

More information about me on my ABOUT ME Page!

sealed letter

Dear Rudeness…

June 2, 2018

 Dear Rudeness,

You show up in the least likely of places at times. I admire your boldness, but you still surprise me periodically. Yesterday, after a calm productive morning filled with errands and appointments, I let my guard down. I assumed my full afternoon would be as enjoyable, but you had other plans, didn’t you? In the midst of one of the simplest errands, the shortest interaction of the day, you stepped up.

Your cold words felt like a slap across my face. The chill surprised me and as much as I wanted to slap back, I didn’t. Your attack was not personal; it said more of you than me. I saw in your eyes that my smile and lack of words struck you harder than a ruthless matched comment could of. My well wishes for a pleasant afternoon to you as I walked away seemed to shock you into a speechless frozen state of confusion.

Thank you, Rudeness, for reminding me how even simple phrases can hurt and to take care of what I say to others. Thank you for awareness, especially with strangers whom I only have a brief moment to leave a positive memory with. I pray whatever pain and negativity you are struggling with is replaced with healing and love.

I am sure our paths will cross again and you may lash out, but I will pause before reacting and share patience and positivity in hopes that you will do the same when given the next opportunity.  

 Kind regards,

Dana

Do you have any tips for handling rudeness?

 

More information about me on my ABOUT ME Page!

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Image by Joanna Kosinska http://www.instagram.com/joannakosinskadesign

Journal Club – You’re invited!

I’m excited to announce the launch of the Success Encourager’s Journal Club!! I want to invite you to join me. Whether you are an experienced and active journaler / letter writer or simply looking for tips and want to get started I invite you to join the club! It’s easy, simply connect with me on Instagram (successencourager), follow this WordPress blog or read updates and posts on my website (www.danabuchanan.com). Feel free to email me with questions! successencourager@gmail.com

Why a club? I have shared my love and enthusiasm for journaling and letter writing in past posts and typically find a creative way to bring it up in most conversations…some would say I get overly giddy or even obsessive about them. OK, I may see their point, but isn’t holding your favorite journal or stationary and handwriting a recap of your day or jotting down your dreams for the future you foresee yourself living or writing warm wishes to a dear friend and mailing them off almost magical? I know I am not the only one that feels this way!

I journal professionally and personally. I have shared my journaling methods and my love for letter writing with others. I greatly appreciate every opportunity to share this ‘obsession’ with! More details about this are on my website.

So what does this club do or offer? I’m so glad you asked! The club is a creative outlet, not stressful, no deadlines or membership fees, it’s simply a fun way for me and other members to connect with others that share our love of journaling and letter writing or connect with those wanting to learn more! I will post prompts and ideas, I welcome shared journal and letter photos on Instagram (#sejournalclub) and encourage comments to blogposts.

I’m even working on a monthly letter giveaway…more details soon, but here is a hint – it’ll include a personalized hand-written encouraging letter from me and a blank card or stationary to be ‘paid forward’ to someone you want to encourage and may even include a journal and/or book giveaway (if you have published a book with a journaling or letter writing theme or journal and want to donate a copy for a future giveaway, email me!!!!). 

I’m so excited (giddy even) about this and looking forward to seeing how it will evolve!! Comment below if you’re interested in joining or email me and look for future updates and announcements coming soon!!!

A couple of tips and ideas to get us started

  • Create a list journal; travel, goals, ideas, books, recipes, events, concerts, etc. that you want to participate in, attend, read, cook, etc. Focus on one list and create a few steps toward making it a reality. For example if you want to cook more or experiment with new recipes, choose three or four to start, make an ingredient list, set aside time to create this culinary masterpiece and record what you liked about it, who you enjoyed it with, what you would change, etc. Recording your accomplishments encourages confidence and future goals…anything is possible with the right steps, action and accomplishment tracking!
  • Create a journal for the next generation. Whether it’s your child, grandchild, friend’s children, nephew, niece, sister or brother…start a journal that records details of family gatherings, milestones, quotes from family and friends, and those days that would otherwise seem routine yet are so special. Include a pocket for ticket stubs, notes, photos, etc. and give it all to the child on a special birthday.

What are you journaling right now? Who was the last recipient of a letter or card you sent via ‘snail mail’?

Check out my ABOUT ME page for additional information!

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Professional Development Value

Professional development is key to not only successfully performing your career choice but also for enjoying the position! Continuing to learn new skills and enhance the ones you have helps you be more productive but it also brings about a sense of pride and creativity. There are several professional development opportunities available through articles, books, webinars, online courses, conferences and peer to peer communication and sharing resources.

Some resources are free or very low costs while conferences or online training can seem costly and require justification. When talking with other assistants, from a variety of industries, the cost is always a concern.

A simple justification is that the best way to find relevant resources is by attending a conference. Last year, when I attend the Accelerated Assistant conference by Office Dynamics I learned so many great tips over those four short days from the professional speakers and during the team activities. Joan Burge shared her experience and resources with the group daily. The learning did not stop there though! After returning to work, I followed up with subscribing to a few of the newsletters from the speakers and read their blog posts, which offered time-saving and organizational tips and highlighted apps and programs. I shared those sites and posts with my coworkers which offered several additional communication and learning opportunities.

So, how do you justify travel and conference fees? I did a lot of research before attending the conference including costs, speaker topics, and experience, balanced with team and networking opportunities and chose the best conference for my needs and learning expectations. I typed up a justification form to present to my manager. I highlighted several topics of interests and the speaker’s credentials and experience, relating the topics to several of my yearly performance goals.

I also detailed the costs; hotel, registration, and flight. Breaking down the total cost of an average conference which is about $2600.

  • $217 a month
  • $50 a week
  • $7.12 a day

That is a bargain for continued education that would provide resources for me to be even more productive!

Luckily, I have a professional and respected working relationship with my manager. When we met and went over the document and talked more about the conference and what was offered his only additional request was that I present my experience with coworkers after I returned. About two months after the conference I completed a presentation to about 20 of my coworkers. I shared my experience, discussed the temporary support team I had worked with daily at table 28, shared websites of the speakers, newsletter links, and books that were suggested.

Most conferences detail the agenda and speaker information while providing justification letter templates or suggested content for meeting with managers to help you through the process. Office Dynamics offers this information as well. I highly recommend attending a conference to open resource doors, to continue your education about your industry and position and to learn time-saving tips that will benefit you long after you return to work!

Almost six months after attending the conference I still utilize resources and relationships I formed during that training. I continue to share tips with my team that I receive via weekly newsletter subscriptions, blog post readings, etc. I’m also looking forward to attending this year’s conference – The Stellar Assistant. With all new speakers, additional content, learning labs and unlimited online access to the videos, participant guide, and bonus materials. I’m anxious to share even more reading suggestions, tips and speaker websites with my team!

What are some of your favorite professional development resources? What books do you suggest?

A few of my favorite reads are; Tribes by Seth Godin, just about anything from Wallace Wattles, Permission to live the Big Life by Joan Burge, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, A Beautiful Questions by Frank Wilczek, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, there are too many to name!

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions about a sample justification letter or how to talk with your manager about professional development opportunities please contact me and I’d be happy to share more of my experience!

 

Read more about me and the professional services I offer on the ABOUT ME Page.

Turning resolutions into lifestyle

Even if you work full-time and average 8 hours of sleep each night you have about 6 hours each day to dedicate to your goals and passions. I’m going to share a schedule that I personally use to create a lifestyle I choose, I feel excited about and can help me achieve any goal! I have a lot to share so I will break it down over the next few article posts.

There are several popular articles with great tips on keeping resolutions and setting personal and professional goals. A simple google search will provide several!

First, I want to share my categories that help me stay focused when planning my day. I ‘assign’ a category to each part of my daily schedule to keep me focused. If I can’t find a category to fit it in, then most likely it isn’t necessary. For example, excuses and complaining do not have a category in my life (something I’m working on!). And all four categories are intertwined, so they can and should overlap, but separating them out helps me focus (which is what I personally need!)

My nourishment categories:

  • Well-being – Mental and physical health; stretching, walking, meditation, conscious eating, plenty of water. Ask yourself – What are my health goals, what are my limits?
  • Spirit – Self-care, gratitude journaling, positive affirmations, create, hobbies. Ask yourself – What brings joy and peace? What nourishes me?
  • Circle – Mutual relationships that allow you to give and receive support; family, friends, work friendships, recovery groups, clubs or hobby groups. Ask yourself – Who balances with me? Who supports me and invites my support?
  • Productivity – Daily routine; work, volunteering, care giver, budgeting, learning. Ask yourself – What is my current daily schedule (define it). What do I want my future schedule or routine to look like and consist of?

Once your categories are defined you can create a ‘schedule’ and fit it into a category. Seeing your schedule written out helps not only see how time is spent, but also provide accountability opportunities. You are the only one you need to be accountable to. This is your life, your future and remember your passion is worth your time!

Here is my schedule/routine and how my hours are spent. As you can see I have no excuses that should start with ‘but I don’t have time’. It’s right here in writing. Yes, I have time for me and my passions and goals. Excuses have no category!

Typical Monday through Friday:

  • 6:00 am – Wake up and shower
  • 6:30 am – Coffee in hand, reflection time begins, meditation (just 5 minutes), positive reading and quiet time with hubby
  • 7:00 am – Get ready for work (Makeup, hair, dressed, gather work meals to go)
  • 7:30 am – Start commute
  • 8:00 am – Clock in and begin morning work routine
  • 11:30 am – Lunch (eat, reflect, 1 minute breathing exercise via Headspace app)
  • 12:00 to 4:30 pm – Afternoon work routine
  • 4:30 pm – Start commute back home
  • 5:00 to 10:00 pm – Five evening hours. These hours include various activities such as appointments, errands and time with my mom, errands for my aunt, one on one with my husband, dinner/cooking, reading, writing, research, library events, creating lists, reviewing research and outlines, article writing and research, learning and anything unexpected that can pop up
    • between my hour or so in the morning before getting ready for work, my 30 minute lunch break and my five hours before bed, I have 6.5 hours a day I can plan just about any way I want
  • 10:00 pm (sometimes 10:30) – Bedtime

Typical Saturday (16 hour day, after 8 hours of sleep) :

  • 7:30 am – Coffee, reflection, couple time, positive reading
  • 8:30 to 10:30 am – Cook breakfast with hubby, conversations, reading
  • 10:30 am – Shower, dressed, prepare for day
  • 11:30 am – Review and/or create weekend lists, write out outlines for articles
  • 12:30 pm – Errands and drive time
  • 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm – Family time with my sister and nephew (and 45 minutes driving each way)
  • 7:30 to 11:30 pm – Couple dinner/cooking, conversation, reading, writing, research
  • 11:30 (ish) pm – Bedtime

Typical Sunday (about 15 hours after 8 hours of sleep):

  • 7:30 am – Coffee, reflection, couple time, positive reading
  • 8:30 am to 1:30 pm – Cook breakfast together, write outlines, writing research, read
  • 1:30 pm – Shower, dressed, etc.
  • 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm – Errands, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.
  • 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm – Cook dinner together, cleanup, conversations, lists for upcoming week
  • 8:00 to 10:30 pm – prepare work lunches/snacks, read, write, outlines, research, learn

I can easily fit each item into a category. For example reading and writing are spirit and productivity for me since my writing is a main focus and will continue to be (I like owning my future and goals..writing it  out helps me a lot!)

Obviously, some hours are not as flexible as others. If you work and have set hours to work or care for someone those hours are typically always the same, but several hours a day are flexible for me once I’m done at work and on the weekends. Seeing this written out helps me focus on accomplishments, not just goal setting!

I have a lot more to share, but this post is long enough! I appreciate your time reading it and I hope this encourages you to write out your current schedule/routine, so we can travel this journey together.

I encourage you to document how your spend your hours and think about how you want to spend them…If you have any questions please ask! Any additional tips? Please share!

Thanks again for reading!

 

Personal goals from a professional conference

This week I attended the Accelerated Assistant Conference by Office Dynamics.  The conference was created by an amazing woman, Joan Burge. I highly recommend reading more about her and the conference if you have not already! The conference was focused on the administrative professional career, I learned several tips to take back to my office. I also walked away learning so much about myself and my personal goals. I was reminded what I am passionate about; writing. As I listened to the amazing speakers, especially Peggy Vasquez and Lisa Olsen, I felt my desire to focus more on my writing stir inside me and scream at me – “Hey remember me?! Hey, I’m right here…listen to me…Acknowledge me!” 

I can’t remember a time I did not love writing. I would fill Big Chief writing pads from the time I could write. In middle school and high school I wrote story after story and even wrote a one ‘girl’ play in high school. In my early 20s I continued my fiction writing and filling notebook after notebook. As life went on, I had less and less time to focus on my fiction writing. I still fed my inner writer by creating short articles, newsletters, volunteering for non-profit programs, etc. But my professional life demanded more of my time. My mind always drifted to my writing and I would have spurts of writing energy and write in my notebooks or type up my ideas in a special folder on my computer or laptop. But, I didn’t allow it to be front and center as it once was as a child and young adult.

As I listened to Peggy and the other enthusiastic speakers I felt that excitement again. I love my day job and those I work with. I enjoy the challenges and projects I am a part of. I am grateful to have a voice and years of experience to offer my team and manager. But I also realize for my own wellbeing I must write. It’s my gift. Even if I am not the best writer, I was reminded during the ongoing sessions that I am a unique voice, as we all are. My desire grew each day, each session! I would call my husband…”Honey, this conference is amazing…I’m a writer!” His response each call would be, “of course you are I’ve always known that.” Says the man I grew up with, have dated since high school, celebrating a 20 year wedding anniversary in December with and has helped me organize those book bags filled with my writings over the past 27 years (or more!) He knows this…he has told me this for years…Why has my inner writer been hibernating?!

I had the privilege of meeting Peggy Vasquez in the hall after her key note talk and during my sprint to my hotel room to check out in time to catch my flight home. I felt like a school girl; a rambling excited school girl on a sugar/ice cream high running into my hero on the playground. I tried to calm myself, I took a deep breath…I walked up to her…introduced myself, thanked her for her inspiring talk and encouraging words. I handed her a little business card I had printed myself about me being a ‘success encourager’. I rambled by intertwining a number of thoughts running through my head that went something like, “I want to be a writer, I am a writer, my husband says so. I can’t fail with that kind of support, right? I have notebooks full of proof. You make speaking look so…easy.” As I rambled my eyes started to tear up. I apologized. She was so kind and professional…she smiled at me, was so humble…she mentioned a speaking engagement she had with thousands and mentioned her nerves, she assured me my watery eyes were no reason to apologize…she looked at me intently and said, “You are being spoken to here; listen.”

I wanted to hug her, but not frighten her. I smiled. I thanked her again, I felt like I was on a cloud, a cloud that allowed me to own and accept my passion; my passion for writing. Why can’t I excel at my job and write my career articles, finish the children’s book my nephew has inspired and (yes AND) finish my novel? Why not?

Sure I am more tired some days than I am others. Sure I have other responsibilities in life than work that keep me running a race some days. Sure my body aches some days, sure I can make excuses, sure I can….Sure I can do this.

I took “As a Man Thinketh”, by James Allen with me on my trip. This book (if you are not familiar with it) is an inspiring read and it was written in 1903! Despite being over 110 years old, it is a very relevant read, in my opinion. The reading seemed to tie in perfectly with the ongoing conference message of focus, positive thoughts, etc. A couple of my favorite quotes from the book are:

  • “When we begin to reflect upon our condition and to search diligently for the law upon which our being is established, we then will become wise masters, directing our energies with intelligence and fashioning our thoughts to fruitful issues. Such is the conscious master, and we can only thus become by discovering within ourselves the laws of thought – which discovery is totally a matter of application, self-analysis, and experience.”
  • “The human mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild. But whether cultivated or neglected, it must and will bring forth.”

Not only did I learn a few new things during my trip, both at the conference and during self-reflection time, but each speaker had something to say that I related to and each reminded me of a few goals or daily tasks that I ‘use to do’. I’ve made a goal list. Some goals have been on and off lists for years. Some are new, some are even things I do ‘most or some of the time’, but this is now, not goals belonging to the grade school girl, or 20-something me, today I am renewed, I have experience and skills…I have new goals even if they are familiar…I make a commitment to my inner writer...I vow to listen to you, to embrace you, to thank you for your patience, to show gratitude for you never giving up on me, to allow your light to shine bright and become my focus, to blend our professional and personal talents into one inspired and inspirational being! And hopefully….encourage a few others along our journey.

My new goal list, that will be ever-evolving, but always writing focused:

  • Not walk pass my ‘banner’ hanging on my vision board that reminds me to wake up with a grateful heart, to be thankful, to welcome the offerings and blessings of today….Instead of walking by sleepy eyed, I will stop and read the reminder and take a moment to follow my own advice!
  • Sign up for an ongoing yoga class
  • Continue my health focused goal by eating healthy, moving more and stressing less
  • Write in my gratitude journal daily
  • Schedule time daily to write; finish and publish my children’s book; treat it like a class or scheduled event
  • Contact the local library and reserve a small room (which they offer for FREE!) and make no more excuses for not writing. Go to my ‘classroom’ at the library, focus and write!
  • Create the outline to the ‘grown up’ version of my children’s book about politeness
  • Write the entire ‘grown up’ version and share it!
  • Create my weekly schedule by breaking down each day; I have five to six hours each evening between work ending and bedtime! Utilize that time more wisely and productively. Maintain my two to three evenings a week spending time with my mom, sister and nephew! And all of the amazing adventures and daily routines with my husband!
  • Follow through and focus….FOCUS!

Thank you so much for reading this. If you have any tips or would like to share an accomplishment, please comment below or email me. Questions? Please do not hesitate to ask.

Thank you to Joan, Peggy and all of the speakers and event coordinators for making it possible for me to attend and gain so much insight!

Thank you!

 

Read more about me and the professional services I offer on the ABOUT ME page!

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coffee and typing