Why do you train?

I’m not a runner, I’ve never trained for a marathon, but I have trained for presentations, content for short stories, job interviews, and learning new skills. Although, it’s all different forms of training a decision to accomplish a goal has to still be made.  Every runner in a marathon makes the same decision to train and run the best they can. The reason behind that decision varies though.  The ‘why’ behind the decision to train for a marathon is similar to the why behind any decision to focus on a goal.

Your ‘why’ is your motivation.

Maybe you want to travel, advance in your career, change careers, move out of state (or the country), spend more time with your family…whatever your ‘why’ is…use that to motivate your action behind focusing on your goal.

A goal to write a book, finish a degree, learn a new program at work, get healthier or accomplish something that will bring you pure joy deserves as much focus and training as one does for an intense marathon.

Once you define the goal you want to focus on you can start to train.

  • Dedicate time to it daily
  • Celebrate accomplishments
  • Accept the fact that you deserve to run your race your own unique way (for your unique reason why)
  • Even when it seems tough, keep going
  • Remind yourself of your ‘why’
  • Remember setbacks are not the same as quitting
  • Keep going, keep training, keep accomplishing

So… how do you train…why are you training?

 

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Nick Morrison via Unsplash.com

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The Book Muse Society

I hope you have been enjoying the weekly goal setting tips. If you missed the first post check it out here!

I’ve enjoyed hearing from so many of you as you share goals! Several of you have shared the desire to read more! Whether it’s for self learning/education and personal growth or to escape into a fictional world for a few minutes or few hours it’s been a popular topic!

If reading or reading more is one of your goals or something you’d like to treat yourself to more often I encourage you to visit your local public library (in person or online) and discover some new releases or close your eyes and pick one out of your own collection.

Reading just a few pages a day can easily turn into a book a month – a 300 page book can be read in a typical month by reading just 10 pages a day!! Imagine what you could learn or discover in 12 new reads a year!

Places to read:

  • Lunch break
  • While waiting for an appointment
  • On the bus or subway
  • Traveling
  • During a child’s sport’s practice or music lesson
  • Waking up earlier in the morning or setting aside time each evening
  • Audio books open up many other options; while driving, working out, during certain routine job tasks, etc.

And if you are the adventurous reader looking for a unique personalized reading discovery I encourage to join my fun (or silly) new adventure – The Book Muse Society!

What is The Book Muse Society?

Since I enjoy combining my love of bargain hunting and reading I’d like to share that joy with an opportunity for fellow readers through the book muse society. For those who enjoy the mystery of discovering new authors and books including options for adult, young adult, and children!

How does it work?

  • Email me with the subject line Book Muse Society – say hello and why you are interested.
  • I’ll personally respond with a few questions about your reading preferences, genre likes and dislikes, etc.
  • I’ll go on the hunt and search out an interesting gently used book surprise chosen just for you!
  • All gently used books will be like new or very good condition. Some books will be in new condition, recently published or well known classic and/or popular reads.
  • For a small fee to cover the book cost, shipping, packing and time I will send you the surprise treasure wrapped with an encouraging quote and positive challenge.
  • Enjoy the reading discovery and let me know a few of your favorite book quotes
  • Also, makes a unique gift for adults or children!
  • Currently, only available in the United States (due to costs). I hope to expand this in the near future!

The official launch will be announced soon through a free giveaway for two winners to receive free personalized book discoveries!  Details coming very soon!

Whether you are interested in a gently used unique treasure or not, I encourage you to read as often as you can, learn as much as you can and read out of your comfort zone now and then!

What are you reading?

 

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Why Not Wednesday

If you are not sure what a “Why Not Wednesday” means, you can read about it and the rest of the week here. It’s an exciting opportunity to start working toward a goal you want to accomplish!

After several conversations with friends and colleagues, one main topic is a desire for a better morning routine. So let’s focus on some details.

Why Not Wednesday is a perfect day to define what a perfect morning routine would look like. It might look something like one of these:

  • I want to read 10 pages of a book each morning and meditate for 15 minutes without interruption. Why – Because I have a long book list and have not been able to find time to finish a book in a long time and it brings me joy. Meditation will help me decrease my stress. Once my stress is less I can focus on more goals!
  • I want to meditate and do yoga before work each morning. Why? I feel stiff and tired most days. I think meditation will help clear my mind and yoga will help me relax and stretch my muscles.
  • I want to wake up in time to make a healthy breakfast before I leave for work. Why? I don’t eat as healthy as I’d like once I leave my home. Eating at home will be healthier, cheaper and provide a creative outlet since I love to cook!
  • I want to start walking in the mornings with my spouse. Why? We have talked about it for a long time, but never committed to actually doing it. I know we will enjoy the quiet time together and once we feel healthier we can focus on other exercise goals and maybe even train for our first marathon together!
  • I want to write 10 pages of the novel that I have put off for way too long. Why? It’s quiet in the morning and I could easily get up 30 minutes earlier and only write, no edits, just write every day. Once I finish my draft, I can edit and submit it to an agent!
  • I want to paint the sunrises in the mornings. Why? Painting has always relaxed me and mornings are quiet and offer nature in a beautiful light. Once I have a few finished I might try to sell them at a local craft show!

See how each “I want” is followed up with a why? And how some of those lead to other goals. That is how it should be…one goal should inspire others!

Why Not is the first step (it’s that simple!). You don’t have to figure it all at once. Have you defined a goal today? Congratulations! Share it below! I encourage you to start tossing around ideas for Tackle it & Transform Thursday.  

 

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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!

Categorize your goal

Goals are easier to focus on when you can categorize them and have a ‘why’. The ‘why’ is what you envision your future being once the goal is accomplished. I have listed some categories below.

For example learning to decorate cakes could fit into the Spirit category as a hobby or creative outlet. The ‘why’ could be to personalize a celebration cake for a birthday, shower, special anniversary or as a positive outlet since you already enjoy baking and want to expand that skill. This goal could even turn into a new full-time or part-time career.

Once you have a category and a ‘why’ it is easier to prioritize and focus on the steps. Using the example above, decorating cakes, the first step might be to research cake decorating classes, estimating cost, timeframe and what supplies might be needed. Another step could be saving for the training, purchasing supplies and organizing your home so you can hone your skills after the training. A future step might be researching the requirements for starting a small business or working for a baker.

Prioritizing and accomplishing a goal can encourage you to explore more and offer endless possibilities.

Well-beingMental and physical health; stretching, walking, meditation, conscious eating, plenty of water. Ask yourself – What are my health goals, what are my limits?

SpiritSelf-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?

ProductivityDaily 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?

ENDED – The May giveaway announcementI’m offering a FREE goal categorizing session to the first five people to contact me that are interested in creating a beginner’s goal priority. We will work through a few questions via email focusing on a goal you’d like to make a priority with suggested first steps. Email me if interested! successencourager@gmail.com 

Thank you so much for reading! What goal category is your focus right now?

 

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!