It’s almost New Year’s Day, the traditional time for creating resolutions you want to achieve for the incoming year. Have you made New Year Resolutions before? Did you keep them? How long did they last? What goals did you set? If you didn’t achieve them, did you consider what happened and how you could change that?
OK Enough Questions
You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you always kept all the resolutions you made! So if there are things you want to do (goals to achieve) work you want to do, and targets you want to reach, how do you do it and still keep going, day after day, after week?
How The Sun Does It
In the northern hemisphere at December 29th, the sun has just completed the longest night of the year (and of course, the shortest day). It’s the opposite way around in the southern hemisphere. They have just had their longest day (shortest night). In the northern hemisphere, the days are now very gradually getting longer. When I say gradually, I MEAN gradually. Looking at a local table of sunrise and sunsets (ask Google), the 23rd of December had a day that was 5 seconds longer than the previous (shortest) day. Just 5 seconds. Did you notice that? Me neither. By 29th of December, the day was a whole 2 minutes and 30 seconds or so longer than the shortest day. I didn’t notice that amount of extra time either. Yet, by early February, the evenings will have lengthened by about an hour and the mornings will be lighter earlier as well. Those few seconds each day add up gradually, but inevitably, to a huge 9 hour difference in the amount of daylight EVERY day, 6 months later, by the time of the summer solstice. The actual amount of extra daylight varies by how far north or south of the equator you are, of course. But who would think that a few unnoticeable seconds every day could make such an enormous difference inside 6 months?
Tiny Steps Every Day
It takes just a tiny step every day to reach the biggest goal eventually.
Saving $600+ For Next Christmas
I read a great idea today about saving for next Christmas, that follows exactly the sun’s gradual change from winter solstice to summer. Get a jar, add a cent on 1st January. On 2nd of January, add 2 cents, on 3rd January add 3 cents. Keep adding one more cent a day, each day to your jar. By the end of 3 months, you will be adding about 90 cents a day to the jar and will already have reached $22 in savings. Once you reach 99 cents, then add a dollar a day to your jar, plus the cents. These are tiny amounts at first but they add up over the year. Even by the start of December, you will be adding only about $3.30 a day to your jar, perhaps the cost of a cup of coffee in work. But by Christmas, you will have over $600 in that jar.
What Is A Goal
A goal is something you want to achieve in the future and that you are willing to work towards getting. While a dream is not a goal, often a dream is something that starts you off on the work that is needed to achieve it. At that point, where you start doing the necessary work, the dream becomes a goal.
Goals To Set For 2020
Your goals depend on what you want to achieve. Maybe you want to :
- Lose Weight
- Pass an exam
- Declutter your mind or your home
- Change jobs
- Become Self Employed
- Write A Novel
- Improve your health
- Get fit or fitter
- Improve your IT skills
- Improve your game of golf or soccer or other sport
- Learn to dance
- Learn to draw or paint or improve your artistic skills
- Learn circus skills
- Earn more money
- Make the team in your chosen sport
There could be any number of goals you might want to achieve. There is an argument that you should choose one goal to concentrate on and if you want to pass an exam or make the team, that may take most of your energy for a time. There is also an argument that you could set smaller goals in a number of areas and enjoy reaching several goals. For instance, if you want to improve your drawing, you could draw a single doodle each day (like in Inktober) and this would allow you time to achieve other goals as well.
Any goal you choose to work towards should be set out as a smart goal – it should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.
A specific goal says what you will do, specifically, so rather than “lose weight”, you pick an actual amount of weight to lose, say 10 pounds, or 20 pounds.
A measurable goal can be measured. So it might be to lose 2 inches from your waist measurement.
Achievable means that it can actually be achieved. No point in setting a goal to lose 20 pounds weight in a week, if you have only 20 pounds you need to lose anyway. There may be little point in setting a goal to run 1 mile if you suffer from injured knees, for instance.
Realistic means that you will make sure you have the time and ability to dedicate to your goal. If you are already working a 40 hour week and spending another 20 hours on your commute, plus more time looking after a house and children, then finding 10 hours a week for additional study may not be a realistic possibility.
Timebound means setting a time limit on when your desired goal will be achieved. This could be 6 months or a specific date, eg for an event you want to attend.
A SMART goal for losing weight might be, “To lose 20 pounds and 2 inches from my waist in 3 months.”
A SMART goal for improving your writing or drawing might be, “To write 1000 words / draw one doodle, each day for the next 30 days, using the spare hour I have after dinner each evening.
A SMART goal for improving your fitness might be, “To be able to lift X pounds weight 10 times in one session by (date)”, or “To enter and complete a 5k run by the end of (date)”
Outcome goals are end results, such as losing 30 pounds in weight, getting a novel published, getting your painting hung in a public gallery, making the team or setting up your own business. These are more difficult goals because you don’t always have control over whether you will achieve them. You may improve your fitness greatly but might still not be picked for the team. You may want to start your business but can’t get a loan from the bank.
Process goals are what you do to try and achieve your end result. So, if you want to lose weight, you may set yourself a diet allowance of 1500 calories a day or decide to cut out all soda and candy or set out a walking schedule of one hour a day. If you want to start your own business, you may set yourself goals of creating stock to sell, finding premises, setting up a mailing list.
You are more likely to be able to control achievement of process goals more easily.
Fun With Process Goals
During 2019, one person I know decided they would achieve 20 goals in several different areas (20 for 2020). They liked writing, drawing, losing weight and getting fit and wanted to improve themselves in all those areas. So they chose their process goals to help with that. One of these goals was to write 20 articles and publish them. She chose several different sites on which to publish, some of which pay money if people read and interact with the articles. She ended up creating a new website on which to publish certain of her articles. Another goal was to walk a set number of miles in the year. This goal had to be abandoned because of an old injury, so she chose another one that still contributed to her fitness goal. If you want to achieve several goals, then choosing process goals that contribute to one or more outcome goals is a fun and motivating way to achieve this, even if the outcome goal is a worthy one instead of fun. While she did not achieve her target 20 in all of her 20 categories, she felt she was more productive than she had been the previous year. As they say for those taking up the “couch to 5K” program, which can be downloaded as a podcast (at least in the UK, it can) “no matter how slowly you run, you are still lapping the couch potato”.
To get and keep motivation, you need a clear method, setting out your action plan for achieving your goal. You will need one or more outcome goals (e.g. lose 20 pounds weight, make the team, complete a novel, pass an exam) and the process goals for getting there (choose a diet plan, cut out soda and candy, make a healthy lunch each day, attend training sessions, choose to take up the couch to 5k program, work out at the gym 3 times a week, write an outline, write character studies, write for 1 hour a day, etc). The process goals could be a step by step plan for achieving the outcome. For instance, if your outcome goal is to make more sales calls or to keep up to date with your laundry, you may not be terribly excited by that, even though you know it is vital for your well-being or for your job. That means you may not always have the motivation to keep doing it after the first flush of enthusiasm has worn off. If you use process goals and keep a motivation chart, seeing the points mount up can provide good motivation to keep going.
Process goals for making sales calls could include:
- look up the number to call and write it on a list;
- write down the name of the person you are calling;
- write a brief note on WHY you are calling
- write a brief note on the benefits of what you are selling
- write a reminder to ask for a purchase to be made.
- dial the number
Write down each of these process goals on a motivation chart and make a check mark each time you complete one. Give yourself a bonus mark when you complete all the steps and make a sales call to someone.
Process goals for keeping your laundry up to date might be:
- Put washable dirty clothes in laundry basket. Do not add dry clean only clothes;
- When laundry basket is full, put a load in the washing machine (purists might mention here about sorting laundry into different piles, I just get it done);
- Add the washing powder to the drawer;
- Select the program;
- once laundry is finished, hang it on the line or put it in the tumble dryer;
- Once dry, remove laundry from tumble dryer or bring in from line;
- Check laundry is dry, if not, return to dryer or hang on airer;
- Fold laundry and put in airing cupboard.
- Clean out lint and empty water from tumble dryer;
Write down each of these laundry process goals on a motivation chart and make a check mark each time you complete one. Give yourself a bonus mark when you complete all the steps to have a clean dry set of folded laundry.
For some goals, finding a buddy to workout with you can be very motivating, especially if it involves getting up early in the morning for a jog, perhaps. Buddies keep each other motivated and it’s always someone to talk to while you workout.
There are various writing habit calendars available for writers. You can find a 2020 writers’ calendar here.
Time To Get Motivated
2020 is now. Set your goals or aims and work out your action plan to move towards your goals. Remember you have more control over process goals and you can create motivation charts or get motivation calendars to keep you on track.
Happiness is a Choice
We all want to be happy in life. We talk about how we want to be happy, but most of us do nothing about it. Most of us believe in a lie. We believe that we can only be happy when everything in our life is perfect. We believe happiness is the relationship, job, ring, country home, vacations, beauty products, wardrobe, and weight loss.
The problem is, these things alone don’t create real and lasting happiness.
So, happiness becomes this mysterious thing we want but we don’t know how to get.
Happiness Does Not Depend On External Things
It’s not external – this is good news because that means we don’t have to wait for everything in life to be perfect, nor do we have to have control of everything to feel a certain way. We can have happiness NOW. Knowing this, is a game-changer because it means we can be happy right now. And something great happens when we do this: when we feel happy, our outward experience changes in ways we could never imagine.
It’s common to fall into the trap of thinking we’ll be happy only when everything in our lives is exactly the way we want it to be. And for us to be happy, we must work hard to control these external circumstances to make them “right.”
But, when we make these things happen, we want them to fill us up, validate us, or make us feel whole and complete. Even if they do for a while, these changes will not be sustainable. With luck, we eventually realize that external things don’t make us happy long-term.
Choose Happiness Every Day
For you to be happy, you must first understand what happiness is. Happiness is pleasure and purpose. Pleasure means feeling positive emotions, such as delight, joy, and surprise, in the present moment. And purpose is about living a life which is worthwhile to you.
When you are happy, you savor the food you eat, are more mindful in your daily experiences and appreciate all the beautiful things life has to offer. You count your blessings, are kind to others, and focus on being the best you can be. Every day you are mindful, appreciative and enthusiastic about life.
Making Yourself Happy
Being truly happy starts with being good to yourself. A few ways to do this include:
- Become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.
- Listen to your inner self. It’s pretty smart.
- Forgive yourself for past mistakes.
- Accept who you are in this moment.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Stop holding yourself to unreasonable standards of perfection.
- Take pride in what you’ve accomplished, even the small wins.
- Make yourself a priority.
- Remove negativity from your life.
- Set realistic boundaries and hold firm to them.
- Do nothing. Take time to simply be.
- Reconnect with loved ones.
- Start each day with intention.
- Find the positive in every situation.
- Do more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
- Practice gratitude.
- Find joy in the small things.
Loving and valuing yourself means accepting that you’re imperfect and choosing to be happy anyway. It means working every day to find fulfilment in your life. It means looking in the mirror every day and telling yourself “I love you and I choose to be happy.”
It all boils down to you. You have the choice to be happy. You have the power to be happy.
Do you have the courage to make the changes necessary to be happy?
30 Day Happiness Journal
Get the 30 day happiness journal that provides information on small steps you can take right now, to improve your level of happiness and a page for each of the next 30 days in which you can record what you are doing to increase your happiness and how it turns out.
How To Have a Good Life
This article contains affiliate links.
What is Mind Mapping
A mind map, also known as an idea web is a form of brainstorming that uses visual diagrams to help you understand how different thoughts or ideas could be connected. Mind mapping was originally devized by Tony Buzan but the idea has spread worldwide and is used in schools and businesses, by project planners and authors and by teams as well as individuals.
Mind mapping can help you organize and write a College essay, your next novel or technical manual, learn information for an exam, prepare a presentation, map complex documents, such as contracts and doctoral theses or visualise a company structure.
Simple To Learn
It is such a simple process to learn that young school children can use it and so flexible that it can be used for the deepest and most complex projects. The process is commonly used in project planning and presentations. Being able to share mind maps without having to scan a paper copy is a great benefit of cloud based applications and many of these also also allow teams to create and modify a mind map together.
How To Create A Mind Map
You can read up here on how to mind map or watch the video at the bottom of this page.
Once you know the principles of mind mapping (and they are very easy), here are some of the best cloud-based applications available for free mind map software. Most are free for personal use and also have paid options for greater use or for businesses.
Popplet allows multiple users to work on the same project. You can also add media such as images or video to your maps. Organization is helped by the use of tags or categories applied to the maps, so they are easy to sort through later.
Link – popplet
Coggle is signed into via your Google account. It’s free, and it’s also an easy mind-mapping application. Coggle automatically randomizes the color of each branch, as you create your map, although you can change it to any other color you want, by clicking on the branch you want to change. Mind maps can be downloaded and shared. And the people you share your mind map with can also edit the content. It’s helpful that Coggle also gives you the option to view your mind map from before you allowed other people to make changes to it.
Link – coggle
GroupMap makes team-based, mind-mapping activities easier. After you create or select a map, you can then invite a team to collaborate with you on it. They can comment and even vote on the best ideas. It doesn’t matter whether the people joining you are the quietest in the group, everyone gets to add their views. No one is drowned out by louder voices, so every team member has a voice when it comes to collaborating. GroupMap collects all the ideas and displays them in a group view. This is where commenting and voting can occur. GroupMap is easy to use and offers a free account option.
Link – groupmap
SpiderScribe is an online-based brainstorming and mind mapping tool. You can share your mind map with other people if you wish. SpiderScribe allows you to connect files, notes and even calendar events and you can design your map any way you want. These maps are then stored in the cloud, so you (and anyone you choose to share the map with) can access and edit it at any time. with SpiderScribe you can have a free personal account or you can upgrade to “pro” and “business” options for a small fee.
Link – spiderscribe
Bubbl.us is free for 3 maps. It’s a tool that allows you to create online “trees” to brainstorm and map ideas. As with any mind map, you start with a central topic, and add new topics as branches, either at the same level or a level lower. Bubbl.us formats your thoughts and notes into a tree automatically, but you can also move the bubbles around to suit your way of thinking and organizing. You can change the color and size of your bubbles to help make connnections clear. Bubbl.us is free, but an account is required to create or edit a tree.
Link – bubblus
Influence Maps Or Idea Webs
You can also use mind maps or similar visual mapping systems to show how one thought or idea influences another, so you can understand where the best means to insert a tipping point might be. If you need to brainstorm ideas before creating a mind map, you can see how to brainstorm here.
Mind mapping is a great tool and fun as well. It allows you to collect your thoughts together in a visual way, so all the ideas are visible on one sheet instead of scattered in a linear fashion over many notes, where it is hard to see the linkages. The tools listed above are just a few of the mind mapping tools available online. There are many other services available that provide mind mapping resources. There are also useful brainstorming tools available. Check these out to decide which is best to help you and your team organize your ideas for whatever you want to do.
Video On How To Mind Map
So What Would YOU Choose?
Which ice cream would you pick? Maybe you could eat all four. What if there were 8 or 16? Sometimes, we have to choose what to do because we can’t always have everything. If we have several options and they are all fairly alike, how to we decide which one to do and in which order? For some people there would be no choice. They may not like or be able to eat ice cream. But the same types of decisions are needed for almost anything.
Some possibilities are more highly regarded than others. In terms of ice cream, perhaps chocolate in any form is always preferred? Some courses of action are preferred over others. Perhaps walking away or maybe choosing one and saving the others in the freezer? There can be many choices: many courses of action. How do you pick a winner?
We all have to make decisions all the time. Some are trivial like which ice cream, though for some people that can be a life-changing decision if perhaps you are allergic or diabetic. There are also life-changing decisions like who to marry (or not), where to study or whether to start a business. Try watching the video and see whether you would survive – or not!
Decision-making is often an unconscious choice based on our values, beliefs and preferences. It can sometimes be life or death, such as if we are driving a car and have to choose the speed to approach a corner. These are the kinds of choices we have to make quickly and automatically, where we rely on mental shortcuts we learned from past situations or developed over the years.
Some times, choosing is a long agonizing process. Which ring (of several) should we choose, which bit of housework should we do first (they all need done).
Some of the things that make it harder to decide can include missing information, stress from urgent deadlines, and not enough resources. Stress can make it hard to make a decision. Our emotions and preferences can affect our decision making process. When we have to choose how to make a hard decision, we often are influenced by our prejudices (men don’t do housework), memories (my mother used to do this for me) and emotions (feeling sad, or the last time I did this, this particular thing happened).
Paralysis By Analysis
If you have to choose one of several possibilities, all of which are similar in terms of length of time to do, their importance or urgency, it can be difficult to choose which to do first and that can waste your time. Sometimes it is best just to make a decision – go for this one – work on it, complete it and then choose the next. If you only have two choices, flip a coin and go with the one that the coin indicated. If you find yourself dithering between which project of several similar ones to start first, a coin is not as easy, so then try this.
Lay out the projects in front of you, you could use sheets of paper with a title on each one, representing the project. Then use any of your old children’s choosing rhymes, you know, the ones where you chose a companion for your team. Ones like, “Eeny meeny miny mo”, or “Each peach, pear, plum, I choose Tom Thumb”. Point to each project in turn while reciting the rhyme and pick the one your finger lands on.
HERE’S THE IMPORTANT PART
If you pick a project and think, “Great, I’ll get stuck into this.”, then fine, get on with it and when it’s finished, choose another.
BUT, if at the point where your coin flip or counting rhyme indicates one project and you immediately have the feeling that you should flip the coin again, or do the counting rhyme again, then put that project to the side. With only two projects, then you start on the one that’s left. With several projects, do the counting rhyme of your choice again, leaving out the one that was chosen the previous time.
Often, our unconscious knows which one is most important or easiest to get stuck into or which one will give us the best “win”. You do not have to go with what the coin or rhyme picked out for you. It it feels wrong at this moment, then choose again.
What If There Are No Choices Left?
It is possible that you don’t want to do any of the projects. After all, if it’s a choice between doing the laundry or washing dishes, neither might be appealing. But they may HAVE to be done. In this case, use the coin or counting rhyme and don’t allow yourself any slack. Most of these kinds of tasks are done a lot more quickly than it takes to moan about them. Just get stuck in, you’ll be surprised how fast they can be done if you just do them. If you have several projects that all have to be done, then choose one and spend 15 minutes on it. Then stop that one and spend 15 minutes on the next. Keep doing this until you have completed some or all of your projects. If this is a long job, allow yourself a few minutes to rest each hour and make sure you drink water.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
A person’s perspective on life determines what they are capable of. For example, if you don’t believe you can move a mountain by simply using a shovel, then you live in a reality where it’s not possible. But then why are there people who seem to have the motivation to move a mountain? Because their reality is different, and as far as they are concerned, you just need to approach the mountain with the right plan. In other words, they start moving it one shovelful at a time.
Assuming you can adopt the same perspective for a second and indulge what – at face value – seems completely impossible, where exactly do you get the motivation?
First off, motivation isn’t some kind of magic potion only some people are naturally gifted with. Motivation is created by you, and it can be sustained by you if you get your mind in the right place. Because everything is a matter of perspective, and if you build a support system for your goals, there will be no lack of motivation to move that mountain – across the ocean if necessary – using only one shovel.
Set Goals For Moving The Mountain
There is nothing complicated about it. Setting goals means you are creating motivation to move a mountain. But it’s important that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Instead, think about your ultimate goal and break it down into smaller goals that are easy to manage and achieve.
Work Out Plans To Reach Those Goals
The next step is to work out plans for your goals. And once again, take it one step or shovelful at a time. What do you need to do right now in order to reach the bigger goal, which is getting that mountain to another destination? Yes, this is another form of motivation because you are getting things done. But you are still not where you need to be, which means moving forward to the next step.
Prioritize Your Goals And Execute
It’s time to get organized and make things happen. Keep a diary if you have to, but set aside time to do what needs to get done. For example, if you’ve found the most logical spot to start digging, stop putting out and start digging. Just make sure you have a durable shovel that can handle all the digging. Moving a mountain is not going to happen overnight, meaning that shovel is going to work for some time to come. If you have difficulty finding time, draw out a timetable for one week and block out everything you have to do, like sleeping or going to work. You can only put your shovelling into the blank areas and that may mean giving up your TV time for a while.
At some point, you may start losing the motivation to move a mountain. Maybe you just feel you are not developing quickly enough, and instead of digging, you keep looking at all the work that’s still ahead of you. Don’t fall into a negative perspective when you should only be focusing on the next shovel load you move to the next destination. That’s all that matters, the next shovelful.
Another good tip is to create a vision board. This will help to remind you of your goals, which is very effective for holding on to positive motivation. Just don’t spend too long looking at the pictures on the board when you should be moving that mountain.
Take A Moment To Look Back
Working all the time is not a healthy way to approach a big task like this. Pacing yourself is crucial if you want to sustain a healthy mindset, hence the reason for decompressing every once in a while. In fact, why not take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished so far? Look back at what you have already achieved. Don’t be shy to feel proud of yourself, and if you really want to, a reward might just be in order.
Be Grateful For Every Inch Of Progress
The trick with maintaining motivation is to maintain perspective. As mentioned earlier, it is easy to get caught up in what still has to happen, along with all the effort that it requires. But it’s when you try to handle everything at once, that’s when you begin to feel overwhelmed and negative.
Keep thinking small steps and one quality shovelful at a time. Eventually, the mountain won’t be where you found it originally. It’s going to be where you moved it, using the right shovel and some motivation.
A school newspaper is a great way to learn about what is going on in the organization. That is not the only benefit for those who are involved with this publication, though. There are many advantages of school newspapers and some of them will be shared in this article. Read on to learn how a school newspaper can motivate study skills and contribute to personal development as it does so much more.
1. Team Work. When creating a school newspaper it takes a lot of teamwork. While some students may choose to do the research and the writing on their own, they will need to collaborate with the other members of the school paper to help them decide what to write about, what angle to take, where to place the article in the paper, and more. Because of this, those who work on a school newspaper will learn important skills pertaining to team work. And when you are willing to learn how to work with others, this can help with your studies. Sometimes studying is an individual act, but many times it can be a group activity. With appropriate team work skills, the study sessions will be much more effective with a lot of learning taking place.
2. Research. Research is not only an important life skill, but it also helps with improving study skills. In order to write good articles, many times it takes a lot of research. Practising this skill while creating reputable pieces will help you with studying. By taking the time to read various pieces, talk with people, and dig through information, this helps to discern valid information from that which isn’t quite as credible. Learning how to critically examine information is part of education and studying as it allows you to determine what is most important in what you are learning about. Knowing how to focus on the main and valid information helps tremendously with school and life in general.
3. Time Management. Being a part of the school newspaper requires time management. When is the article due? When does the paper need to be complete? When does it need to go to the publisher? There are so many requirements that involve time management when dealing with a school newspaper. This means that anyone who has the opportunity to take part in this experience will definitely learn great time management skills. Not only is time management crucial in the newspaper world, but it is so very important in life and for studying. When you are trying to prepare for a test or have an assignment due, it is important to use time management. You will want to pace out your actions so you can obtain the knowledge necessary and complete the necessary actions to doing what is needed.
4. Quality Work. Performing the tasks for creating a school newspaper requires quality work. To ensure the layout of the paper is appealing: to sharing interesting and relevant articles: to readable fonts, there are many factors to consider when creating a quality publication. It can take practice, perseverance, knowledge, and more to do this. By spending time working with a school newspaper, you can learn the skills to create quality pieces. This transfers over into studying as it is important that the time spent studying and working on school activities is quality time. Plus, making sure that the effort of your actions are quality is important, too. For instance, if you have an assignment that involves writing a paper, you will want to make sure that you have followed the rubric shared and turn in a piece that reflects your best efforts.
5. Perseverance. Working on a school newspaper takes a lot of perseverance. There are times when the work is not ideal, but necessary. There are times when the work may be difficult. However, when you are willing to push through to the end, it is quite a rewarding experience. This type of perseverance is quite helpful in the learning environment, too. Studying may not be particularly exciting, but when you have the perseverance to do what it takes, the end result is very rewarding.
6. Social Skills. Interviewing people is a good way of learning and improving the social skills you need for improving study skills and for life after study. Asking questions, listening to the answers, critically examining the information you have been given and keeping the other person on course to provide the information you need for a good story are all great social and study skills.
In conclusion, a school newspaper is a great way to learn, use, practice, and refine many important life skills. Through being a part of the publication, you learn how to be a good team player and learn the important skills of research, time management, quality work, and perseverance all of which can help improve your study skills.