Tag Archives: measurement

Resolving to Be Happier: The Happiness Project

The Happiness ProjectI’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions, thinking that creating them all too often just sets people up with unreasonable expectations and too much pressure, but after reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, I’ve not only changed my mind, but I created 36 resolutions of my own to follow in 2010.

As you know, Someday Syndrome has three different varieties: Someday My Ship Will Come In, I’ll Get Around To It Someday, and I Might Need It Someday. I’ve found books that I would recommend for the first and the last (The Comfort Trap and Unclutter Your Life), and now that I have Gretchen’s book in my hands it’s become the book to recommend for people who suffer from I’ll Get Around To It Someday.

The book is ideal for those who have a good idea of what they want out of life but don’t really do anything to achieve it. I’m the sort who learns from and gets inspired by people’s personal stories. Gretchen’s twelve month experiment in being happier while not making major changes in her life is exactly what I needed at this moment.

I don’t suffer from Someday Syndrome, having cured it with the help of The Comfort Trap, but I do need reminders periodically to stay on track and to stay mindful of the present. The Happiness Project has inspired me to do just that. And The Happiness Project Toolbox that’s the companion piece to the book and blog provides the additional push to follow through.

Early in the book, Gretchen says that she’s not the sort to look at whys or wherefores. She’s not interested in exploring her past to figure out why she acts a certain way. She embraces who she is and goes from there.

I’ve spent a good portion of my life figuring out why I act certain ways and even created the I’ll Get Around To It Someday ebook to help others figure that out, but at some point it’s time to stop looking in the past and to start doing now in the present.

Gretchen has a passion for research and yet doesn’t bog down her story with lists of facts. I love the book because she’s done the research that doesn’t interest me (yes, I know myself well and research is very NOT Alex). Reading her book gives me all the information I need to create my own Happiness Project without having to do any of the boring background work.

Plus her take on resolutions convinced me to try them out for 2010. Instead of goals to reach, I’ve set up my 36 resolutions in 12 areas of my life as mindfulness reminders – things to pull me out of the future or the past, turn off the autopilot and fix me squarely in the conscious present.

Basically, if you’re the sort who’s inspired by personal stories and love a good read, then go now (yes NOW) and order yourself a copy of The Happiness Project. I don’t recommend things very often, so if I’m telling you to go order it (you have clicked a link, haven’t you?) then you know it’s a good product that’ll rid yourself of your Somedays.

P.S. If you want to see what other books I recommend as Someday-Busting tools, check out my December post over on The Bridgemaker.

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Measuring Success: The Lab Rats Review Their Progress

  • Someday Lesson: Don’t just assume success or failure – measure it against where you started to be certain.

Darcy McCarty on flickr.comOver the past three and a half months we’ve watched Horatio, Lizzie, Wendee, and Alessio go through the Someday My Ship Will Come In ebook, chapter by chapter. We’ve seen their weekly progress and watched as they struggled with their Somedays.

Since we’ve come to the end of the process, I’ve asked each of the Lab Rats to take a look back at the maze I put them through and examine each twist and turn to see exactly how much change has occurred for them and how they feel about participating in the public experiment.

Here’s what each had to say about their progress.

Horatio

Horatio’s big issue was work. He hated it, felt isolated and lonely and watched his fitness and wellbeing slip away because of it. In fact, it was such a big block to his dreams that less than halfway through the process he decided to solve the problem in the most radical way possible – he quit! Without a new job to go to.

Instead of creating fear and more problems, this decision actually freed Horatio to pursue his dreams. He feels intense relief at disengaging from the toxic environment, he’s caught up with social connections and feels less lonely, he gets more regular exercise and is each better and has finally broken free of the belief that he could only get drudgery-like jobs.

Of course it’s not all sunshine and puppies. He is out of work and while there are a few well paid jobs out there, Horatio is human and experiences bad days, dark moments and massive procrastination.

He credits the massive shift in thinking to the early listing of problems and what sucks. He called the experience “a mildly traumatic exercise” but the exercise made him look at what he hated about his life and he saw that as an essential step to everything that followed.

Wendee

When Wendee went back to her original mind-dump of what sucked about her life, she noticed that most of what she had written was very emotional. Going through the list at the end of the process proved to be much less emotional, more rational and more action focused.

In fact, in going through her before and after list, I noticed that what’s changed most for Wendee is just that – she now realizes what choices are available to her and is taking action instead of complaining. By being more aware of the choices she has, she can derail negative thoughts and patterns before they bring her down, and can initiate an action to keep up the positive energy.

Specifically she has this to say about the process:

The best thing was writing down and being able to assess and change some of my thought patterns. I tend to be able to work through issues on paper, but committing to my written word is a little harder for me, still. Although, in working through and saying that I wouldn’t take on any extraneous volunteer positions, I actually held that thought in my mind and did bow out of elections for more volunteer positions – giving myself the permission to protect a much more simplified life.

Lizzie

In Lizzie’s case, she dealt with some of the mundane things that were really bringing her down. Things like getting the puppy train, dredging the pond and widening the driveway, finding work again, and finishing her taxes are now done and off her worry list.

Lizzie’s learned to put the energy into getting things done instead of being wide eyed and panic stricken at 3am. By shifting the focus of energy, she’s gone from worry to action, from internal to external and the payoffs have been huge.

And although she didn’t achieve one of her big goals (weigh loss), she has let herself relax and is now more comfortable in her own skin and in her (slightly messier) house.

When she started the process, Lizzie felt she knew exactly what she needed to do and was hoping a stern taskmaster (which I’m so not!). But in the end she learned to examine her priorities and to let go of perfection (her stepdaughter’s name for her is “Monica Geller Bing”).

I need to quit working on being perfect and start working on being happy.

Alessio

Alessio’s journey was about the most straightforward of the Lab Rats. He took the path with the fewest detours, but created slow and steady progress along the way. He started out not knowing what he wanted or where he was going and ended with creating a compelling future and a direction to work towards. The whole process taught him self-awareness, which has helped not only in this instance but will help him greatly in the future as well.

He also said that the worksheets in the order I presented them allowed him to narrow down what it was that he wanted, clearing the whole picture up, and making his future exciting yet realistic at the same time. Working through the workbook made it seem much easier than he had expected it to be.

Thank you so much for helping me through ‘the maze’, I’ve learned a lot and am very grateful for your help and for giving me the tools that I needed to help me find and realize my dreams.

Why the Public Participation?

All four Lab Rats found doing the ebook publicly meant being more accountable. As Horatio said:

It’s all very easy to pick up a self-improvement book, and read it, maybe doing the exercises in your head and perhaps thinking of the principles vaguely for a week or two. Being obliged to actually carry it out and write things down turns it from a casual exercise into actual work.

Wendee and Lizzie at first worried about what others would say in response but quickly learned that the Someday Syndrome community isn’t interested in judging and that the whole process was totally non-threatening.

Your Someday Journey

Next week I’ll introduce you to the next batch of Lab Rats who will be going through the next ebook in the Someday Syndrome Cure Series: I’ll Get Around To It Someday (launching soon!).

In the meantime, I encourage you to consider making a public commitment of some sort and make yourself accountable for busting your Somedays.

(And if you check back in here tomorrow, you’ll find an offer that will do just that for you!)

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The Right Kind of Action

  • Someday Lesson: Curing Someday Syndrome requires not only action, but the correct set of actions.

.Bala on Flickr.comIn one of my many past work-lives (yes, I’m a typical artist with a million different jobs on my resume) I was a website usability specialist. I would review and design sites based on how they looked, how well people could find information and how readable that information was.

When I was a Professional Organizer, I would periodically go through the websites of my fellow Canadian Organizers and rate them, giving them grades from A through F. The majority of these sites received a D or lower.

In other words the businesses probably would have done better not having a website at all.

Now that I’ve moved my business to coaching, I regularly do the same with other coaching blogs that sell coaching services and products. And guess what? Many of the sites I visit get the same failing grade.

Why? Because the design is shoddy or too cookie-cutter like, because finding what they do, how they do it and what they charge is like a scavenger hunt without clues, and because their blogs jump all over the place, covering a million topics, many of which would be of no interest to potential clients.

So what does this have to do with Someday Syndrome?

By having bad blogs and websites, these coaches are wasting valuable time working on something that actually damages their ability to bust their Somedays of becoming good income generating coaches with many loyal clients.

And that can apply to anyone looking to bust their Somedays.

The Wrong Kind of Action

I often talk about how action is king when it comes to busting Somedays, but it has to be the right types of action. For example, in my own case, getting my fiction published, I could spend a lot of time reading writer and agent blogs and publishing bits and pieces of my writing online to share with the world and build up a following. While these are both possible ways of achieving my goal, they’re not the most effective.

Given the limited time I have to write fiction, I do much better focusing on actually writing novels and short stories, then polishing the writing until it’s ready to submit and then actually submitting the writing to agents and magazines.

Because I want to follow a traditional path to publishing, the final task of submitting is the most important step in the process. By self-publishing bits and pieces of things and by reading instead of doing, I would be putting a lot of effort into something that won’t get me anywhere and might actually damage my chances of getting published in a traditional manner.

Just like the Professional Organizers and Coaches who may be damaging their chances of building up clients by not having professional blogs and websites, you may be damaging your chances of realizing your dreams by focusing on a misdirected task or by doing something in a way that might feel like it’s helping but actually hinders your progress.

The Right Kind of Action

So, how can you be sure you’re helping and not hindering yourself?

Return on Investment – yes that’s right ROI. Just like in a business, if you want to achieve profits (ie, progress on your dreams), you need to invest your time, effort and money in actions that will provide benefits.

Let’s take the example of a fictional failing blog. The coach behind the blog took the time to develop the blog, come up with articles and to promote the blog to others. But when people come back to visit they see a site that’s not distinguished from other blogs in any way, the paragraphs are too long to be easily readable online, they don’t see any call to action anywhere on the blog and finding out how to hire the coach requires the skills of a master maze-solver.

All that time, effort and money the coach has invested in the blog therefore is not only not producing clients, it’s actually sending them away.

Much better for the coach to focus on an area of marketing that he or she totally rocks at, like maybe face-to-face networking and forget about the world of blogging. Or if the coach is really dedicated to the idea of blogging, he or she could delegate the design and learn how writing for the web is different from any other sort of writing. By doing so, the coach will get the return on the effort invested in an online presence.

Knowing the Difference

If you want to know if you’re getting a good return on investment for your efforts here are a few simple things you can do:

1. Ask someone else: While many of us hate asking for help, getting a different perspective on our actions helps guide us in the right direction. I do this all the time and the recent changes in the blog navigation here at Someday Syndrome are the direct result of asking (paying) someone else.

2. Measure progress: Decide on your starting point, what you’ll use as a measurement, choose a period of time, and then at the end of that period look back at your progress. For example, I recently started the Accountability Clinic email course. I had a goal for subscriptions and having not just reached that goal, but having doubled it, I know that my efforts are worth continuing.

3. Review what others are doing: In business, checking out the competition often provides clues on how to improve customer service and product offerings. In my writing, but belonging to a writing group and checking out what other writers are doing in their efforts to get published, I learn tricks and techniques to move my own goals forward.

So, are the actions you’re taking to bust your Somedays moving you forward or are they in reality hindering your progress? And if so, what will you do to change it?

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Looking Back Without Turning to Salt: The Lab Rats Review Their Progress

  • Someday Lesson: You can’t know you’ve moved forward without looking back to see where you were.

Cervelli Orfeo ed EuridiceA lot of times you hear the phrase: “Full steam ahead. No looking back!” In the Bible, Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt for looking back. In Greek myth Eurydice dies for a second time because Orpheus looks back too soon.

If you want to know how far you’ve come, however, you need to look back. As the Lab Rats come to the end of the program (has it been three months already?), I asked them to look back at the first nine weeks and see how things have changed from when they did each of the exercises.

Not surprisingly Brett noticed the most change, but then again he was focused on a very specific task: decluttering and remodeling his basement. Cat and Jim, since they were after less concrete goals, slid around more throughout the nine weeks. That’s okay though because for them the process has been more of an internal journey than an external quest. A quest goes straight to the source, while a journey meanders more. With both you learn a great deal, but in the latter the lessons are hidden in the twists and turns of the journey itself rather than reaching the destination.

***

Specifically, this is what the three Lab Rats had to say about their progress since doing each lesson:

Lesson 1: Wallowing
Cat: I definitely feel like I’ve had a shift in attitude. A lot of the stuff on the list still annoy me, but not to the extent that they used to. I remember after writing this list, I felt a huge weight off of my shoulders. I think just KNOWING what was bothering me was a huge thing, and by knowing what it was that was bothering me I could then take steps to change it. I’m studying for both Japanese AND the GRE. I went through a spurt where I was writing almost every day, if not at least two to three times a week. I still hate asking for help, but I’ve sort of learned how to do it a bit more gracefully.

Jim: Since I had a master list of 105 sucky things, I’ll have to summarize and say that, yes, some of the things are still sucking, but they still are mostly a question of attitude.

Brett: I had a massive list… After reviewing this, I was able to distil the list somewhat as many of them were similar enough to be the same.

Lesson 2: Creating Desires
Cat: I feel like I’ve made some progress. My desk….well…. I won’t be sending you any pictures. However, I’m learning how to wait for the big payoff and take small, manageable steps instead rather than get frustrated when things don’t immediately go as planned. I’ve yet to finish anything, per se, but I think I have a clearer idea of the projects I need to finish.

Jim: I still desire to break free. I’ve done some research into freelancing and composing… but I’m no closer to breaking free than I was. Heidi is going to be moving back here in the fall. I have to remain focused.

Brett: Well, as I mentioned we are on our way. New carpet and vinyl flooring is in, builder is putting together their plans and electrician will be in soon to start.

Lesson 3: The Big Picture
Cat: I actually completed that plan. Well, all except for the whole maintaining it. I think I could probably learn to file things better. Or at least figure out a filing system that actually works for me, since what I have now clearly doesn’t. I think the general plan was helpful, in the sense that it just told me the big bullet points I had to accomplish, and depending on what the situation was that day, I could adjust my approach accordingly.

Jim: It’s hard to say if I’ve made progress. I’m still struggling with the same issues. Heidi thinks I’m making progress, but it is too small or gradual for me to see. I am working on the things in my list, but I have not come up with the strength for a major change.

Brett: We did get downstairs packed up. The very fact that everything is out makes this a resounding success for me…

Lesson 4: Naming Fears
Cat: I think I have a better handle on my fears. Not so much that I’ve conquered them. However, I’m much bettered prepared to deal with them. I think I’m much more comfortable with the idea of dreaming than I was. I’m still concerned about my potential loss of interest in grad school/my field, but I think I’d be happier failing there than where I am right now.

Jim: The same fears are still present, perhaps even stronger right now (I’m having a pretty bad week). I’ve backed away from them as I’m afraid to make forward progress. I’m going in circles right now, including being distracted by “other” priorities at work and home.

Brett: Well, my fears are still there, more so on some days than others. however, noe that they have been identified and I are aware of them, I can feel when my fears have influenced me and stop, step back, refresh, and reload…

Lesson 5: The Someday Check-In
Cat: My office is still cluttered. However, I did get the old printer out (finally). However, it was done at one point for maybe the span of a day or two. Should probably go tackle it again. Organization has never, ever been my strong point.

Jim: I made my goal of composing and arranging the song. Strangely, I don’t feel that great about it. The song is good… I’ve just forgotten about it completely. Heidi reads the lyrics every now and then. I haven’t given it much thought since I was done. There has been no momentum.

I’m still seeking balance…

Brett: When I review my Big steps, I can see that I am progressing, I have completed half of my first big step (emptying downstairs and new carpet) as well as progressing on the rest of that first big step. As we all know too well, the first step is the hardest.

Lesson 6: One Page Plan
Cat: I’m still just studying for the GREs. I’m anticipating to start hitting the books hard this week, now that I have my mornings back.

Jim: (no comment) 😉

Brett: My plan is on track… we have made a slight correction, for the better I think. We are going to go with a builder rather than try and do it ourselves. This will reduce the pressure on us to complete it and will also get it done a lot faster…

Lesson 7: Supports
Cat: Again, it’s amazing what being mindful of your supports will do. I listed “vegetate” (i.e. watch TV, surf the net) as one of my supports, and since week 7 I’ve been doing much less of that and more of the other, more productive things that support me. I’ve been seeing friends more often. I read more. I bake more.

Jim: Heidi has really been a strong supporter of me, in all things. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve had a pretty rough week. I haven’t slept well in several days, I’m having issues dealing with my ex-wife, etc. Heidi will be visiting again in a week’s time, and her physical presence will emphasize the support she is providing. Simply put: I need a hug 🙂

Brett: I do believe that identifying my supports and letting them know that they are my supports has strengthened the relationship with each of those people. All of them have been crucial in the last few weeks of getting these renovations done without “incident”.

Lesson 8: Asking for Help
Cat: Asking for help is still something I struggle with. For the most part, I’m not exactly sure who would be able to help, and also I don’t think what I’m doing right now requires much help. I know when I start writing application essays, I’ll ask for friends (or, perhaps, even my mom! *gasp*) to look them over for me.

Jim: Yes, I’ve asked for help again. As above, I talked to Heidi when I got discouraged about composing. She’s given me suggestions and support continuously.

Brett: My relationship with my wife has certainly improved over the last few weeks, mostly in areas where I didn’t think there was an issue, primarily communication. The fact that I have not gotten (too) frustrated or lost my temper during these (admittedly early) days of the renovation, have been a revelation for us both.

Lesson 9: The Personality Zoo
Cat: Personalities have been…quiet, for the most part. I’m sort of aware of them, but I ignore them. Again, I don’t think I’ve been challenging myself enough to make them raise their heads too much, though.

Jim: I think the same cast of characters are there. The negative ones have been pretty vocal of late. I may not be able to immediately tame them, but at least I hear them as distinct from the “real” me.

Brett: As with Week 4, identify these different “personality types” means that I can short-circuit their effects on me and stay focused. Also, my sister helped me identify a number that I wasn’t aware of:

  • Witty Brett – who comes up with the quickest one-liners
  • Humble Brett – who doesn’t put himself above others
  • Caring Brett – who’s always been kind and generous, especially with kids.
  • Transparent Brett – who just can’t lie because it shows
  • Reader Brett – the walking encyclopaedia
  • General Knowledge Brett – who can recall said encyclopaedia
  • Tech Help Brett – who always helps out newbies
  • Dutiful Brett – who doesn’t forget his obligations, even if painful
  • Fun Brett – who hasn’t forgotten how to play.

I need to spend more time focusing on the positive ones and less time with the negative ones.

***

Next week the Lab Rats are going to get some tips on maintaining the momentum they’ve created and then the week after we’ll hear back from them on what they thought of the journey as a whole.

Plus don’t forget – I’m looking for a new set of Lab Rats! Get your application in before June 11th. Click here to get details.

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Moving Forward Bit by Bit: Lab Rats Week 5

  • Someday Lesson: Finding the right level of focus for your Someday actions can be a real challenge.

A few weeks back I checked in with my Somedays, seeing how I’m doing with each of them. This week I got the Lab Rats to do the same. (And make sure you read the bottom of this post for a special offer to all of you.)

On the surface this seems like a really easy exercise: name your someday with a due date, list what needs to get done, what you’re doing now and what you’ve already done, and then note what’s missing.

However, the challenge lies in finding the right level of focus. We can be too narrow with our Somedays or too broad. When we get too narrow we focus only on the moment and lose the big picture; when we go too broad we can overwhelm ourselves with the amount of work required.

And then we have the abstract Somedays, the ones that are hard to measure – how do we go about checking in on those?

I wrote a separate post with the Lab Rats’ lists, so go over there and check it out before coming back for the discussion. Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you…

Done? Excellent. Let’s discuss.

Over the past few weeks Cat and I have been tossing back and forth the pros and cons of being concrete and abstract. Concrete gives her measurable goals and something to feel that she’s actually moving forward on, but there’s not a whole lot of passion behind it. The abstract has fewer measurables, but creates a strong reaction and I can feel Cat’s passion for the subject in her answers.

Without knowing the full details of her situation I would say that she’s making excellent progress with both the concrete and the abstract Somedays, except for one small thing that has me concerned. Cat mentions that she is: “starting to tackle a project that I really don’t want to do and have put off doing for over a year now.”

A lack of passion kills our desire to do things, and strongly not wanting to do something makes every step forward feel like we’re wearing one hundred pound shoes. Given that Cat has expressed a lack of vision about the future in other posts, I wonder if this remark offers us a clue as to why. If the future is full of things we would really rather not do, then why would we want to look to the future at all? There’s nothing exciting or interesting there, just drudgery and hard work.

Perhaps there is something else she might do that will produce a similar goal but displease her less. Or (my favorite) don’t do it at all and find something that does interest her.

Jim also started with a very abstract goal, which last week he made concrete with his desire to become a composer/songwriter. This week he took that new goal and focused right down to the level of writing and recording a song and doing it in under two weeks.

I wonder, however, if that is just a step in the process to getting rid of his Someday – a kind of test to show that yes, he can do and yes, he has a passion/talent for it.

Perhaps a single step backwards where the song composition/recording is one of several stops along the journey might serve Jim better, but I actually like that he’s chosen this. He’s giving himself a quick victory and then once he’s achieved that he can make a broader plan.

Jim definitely gets bonus points, however, for recognizing his distractions and named them. They are all productive things, but in this case they act as distractions to his current goal, so he needs to be aware of when he’s using them for procrastination.

Let’s go the other end of the spectrum now with Brett. He wants to renovate the whole house by the end of the year. A great goal and depending on how much work needs to be done, it could be doable. However the label he uses would overwhelm me – the whole house in eight months? If I were in his shoes, I would likely drop out at some point after the first piece of the larger project was mostly finished. I just can’t hold that many details in my mind at once.

Maybe instead Brett could pull out each of the pieces: downstairs, upstairs, kitchen, bathroom, and shed and make each one of them a Someday. That way he could work on any piece of them at any one time, maintaining interest in the whole project while moving everything forward bit by bit.

Some people pay off their credit cards by paying the minimum on each one except for the one with the lowest total (which they really concentrate on) then when that gets paid off, rolling the full payment of that one into the next card, building a momentum of cash until all the cards are paid off.

Perhaps Brett could do the same with renovations. After he figures out what would be the equivalent of a minimum payment in each space (likely clearing out and organizing) he could move each piece forward bit by bit but focus his main efforts on the area that requires the least amount of work.

Then when that’s done he could devote all the time and energy that the first project took to the second and so on until all five areas of the house are finished. There’s no sense of being overwhelmed because it all moves forward and momentum will carry Brett through the more difficult pieces of the project because he will already have some victories and will be in practice of working at a certain level.

And now let’s finish off with Barb’s Someday. She’s got the balance just right. It’s a concrete goal that’s also broad enough to include the big picture. She doesn’t know exactly how long it will take her, but she has set a deadline for getting started. And with the work she’s already done, I have no doubt that in September we’ll see Barb back at school.

And now a bonus for the readers. If you put your Someday checklist in the comments below or send it to me via the contact form, I’ll give you feedback on it, just as I did for the Lab Rats. Deadline for submission will be next Wednesday (the 22nd).

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A Someday Check-In with the Lab Rats

This week I asked the Lab Rats to check in with their Somedays. Read the next post for an analysis of their answers.

Cat: Specific Goal

1.   What’s my Someday?

  • To get my desk/office area organized and keep it that way

2.   When do I want to complete it?

  • Ideally within the next two weeks

3.   What are the big steps to get there?

  • Finding places for things that don’t have a specified place yet
  • Keeping clutter from piling up to begin with

4.   What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • Making sure that I don’t add to the clutter
  • Finally sent old/broken printer packing out the door
  • Leaving unfinished work in the middle of my desk to attend to first thing when I come in

5.   How much progress have I made since starting?

  • Actually, a fair amount.  A couple trouble spots, specifically on the floor by my feet where no one looks, but I have almost completely killed my pile of papers I don’t know what to do with.  The space under my desk has been reclaimed from the defunct printer. And I moved a box of files into the storage room.

6.   Anything missing?

  • The confidence that I’ll be able to keep it organized once I finally reach that point
  • The desire to try and find places that make sense for things that never really had a place to begin with (<—this is the part that I’m really struggling with)
  • The energy to just buckle down and get it done

Cat: General Goal

1.   What’s my Someday?

  • Being able to start new things and finish the things I start within a reasonable time frame

2.   When do I want to complete it?

  • It’s going to be a lifelong journey, but I’d like to kick a large part of the fear that’s preventing me from starting anything big within the next five years.

3.   What are the big steps to get there?

  • Figure out what I want to do or what needs to get done
  • Figure out how I’m going to accomplish the task at hand
  • Start at step 1 and go until I finish.  Don’t stop until I get there.

4.   What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • I’m starting small, proving to myself I can get things done by tackling them a day at a time and not giving up or getting overwhelmed.
  • I’m trying to imagine my life beyond my current set of circumstances
  • I’m trying to figure out what I really want to do
  • I’m getting scared of the unknown, that I might make the wrong decision, but I’m also  fighting to not put my brakes on

5.   How much progress have I made since starting?

  • Well, my desk/office project is almost complete, in theory
  • I’ve made some attempts to start studying for the GREs again
  • I’m starting to tackle a project that I really don’t want to do and have put off doing for over a year now

6.   Anything missing?

  • Still not sure if the desk will or will not slide back to where it was
  • Confidence that my decisions won’t come back to haunt me
  • Confidence that I won’t fall back into old habits

Jim:

1. What’s my Someday?

  • To compose and arrange a song (lyrics, piano, guitar, etc.) and record a rough demo.

2. When do I want to complete it?

  • 10 days (I have an internal deadline)

3. What are the big steps to get there?

  • Complete the lyrics and song structure
  • Identify the melody and chord progression
  • Lay down simple tracks (piano + guitar)
  • Record vocals
  • Add percussion, strings, etc. as appropriate

4. What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • I’m working on completing the lyrics, as the melody seems to flow in my head from that.  Then the remaining pieces should fall into place.

5. How much progress have you made since starting?

  • I’ve got a couple of verses and lyrical fragments written down.  That’s a good start.  Some of the fragments have suggested melodic ideas to me and that will be next.

6. Anything missing?

  • I’m a strong starter, but a weak finisher.  I’m also a perfectionist, though I’m getting much better at dealing with that.  I’m afraid whether people will like it or not, so I must summon some internal courage.
  • My biggest concern is introducing distractions, other things I feel I must do, but that serve only as a procrastination device.  I don’t procrastinate by doing nothing.  I procrastinate by telling myself I have other things to do, stealing time from the things that are more important.  I have trouble knowing what is truly important and how to appropriately balance the things that are. Some of the distractions I’m dealing with:
    • I have a couple of paintings that I started.
    • I am building a climbing wall in my garage.
    • I’m decluttering and organizing my basement.
    • I want to decorate my house better.
    • I have a speech to write for Toastmasters.
    • I’m starting to date again.
    • I’m increasing my climbing and cycling training.

The key is to find balance… the right priorities to let me make progress to my goals.  I also need to identify which goals are secondary and should wait, in order to increase the focus on the big ones.

Brett:

1. What’s my Someday?

  • Finish renovating my house..

2. When do I want to complete it?

  • I would like it finished by Christmas…

3. What are the big steps to get there?

  • Empty Downstairs and fit new carpets, walls and furniture
  • Paint and decorate upstairs
  • Renovate Bathroom and Kitchen
  • redo shed to make proper Man-Cave

4. What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • packing up the Junk/Stuff to move out
  • booked a date when carpet guys are coming

5. How much progress have I made since starting?

  • A little, some boxes are packed.. Not as much as I would like though

6. Anything missing?

  • Time.. so it seems anyway..
  • Energy… I always feel so exhausted by the end of the day, both mentally and physically

Barb:

1.   What’s my Someday?

  • To be a Psychologist

2.   When do I want to complete it?

  • Not sure on the end date; but I know I want to start back to school in the Fall ’09.

3.   What are the big steps to get there?

  • Find a school, get accepted and figure out how I’m going to pay for it.

4.   What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • Figured out that I can I be more successful if I take small-steps and decided to not focus on the end but rather the start.
  • Stopped feeling guilty about doing something for me.
  • Still battling the feeling that I’m too old; but since that feeling hasn’t won…I guess I’m okay.

5.   How much progress have I made since starting?

  • Not enough.
  • Went from feeling like it was totally unachievable because of time and money; to feeling like if I just started with one course it wouldn’t cost too much or be too overwhelming to life.
  • Found a college nearby with a good program; still need to do more research

6.   Anything missing?

  • Good study habits!  (Never had them even when I was young either!)
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Checking in with my Somedays

  • Someday Lesson: If we don’t run a spot check every once in a while things can start breaking down and we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of nowhere with an engine that refuses to start.

Here is a six-point Someday check list:

  1. What’s my Someday?
  2. When do I want to complete it?
  3. What are the big steps to get there?
  4. What am I doing right now to move things forward?
  5. How much progress have I made since starting?
  6. Anything missing?

It’s been a while since I’ve catalogued my own Somedays and examined where I’m at with them, so here goes. I have three Somedays. And guess what? I’m doing really well (except in my food choices, but hey, perfection is overrated 😉 ).

Someday Number One: Fiction Writing

1.    What’s my Someday?

  • Becoming a published fiction writer with a book a year coming out.

2.    When do I want to complete it?

  • By 2026 (started in 2006 with a twenty-year plan).

3.    What are the big steps to get there?

  • (((write something)edit + submit)repeat)repeat=success

4.    What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • Submitting finished novel
  • Writing a second novel
  • Writing a short story
  • Taking writing workshops

5.    How much progress have I made since starting?

  • Published two short stories
  • Wrote a novel
  • Novel has reached quarterfinals in a contest

6.    Anything missing?

  • Sometimes I let my fiction suffer due to outside pressure. I want to develop an attitude that fiction almost always takes priority. Exception being the basic need to eat comes first.

Someday Number Two: Someday Mentoring

1.    What’s my Someday?

  • A full roster of clients supporting my lifestyle and funding my retirement

2.    When do I want to complete it?

  • As soon as possible, but realistically by March 2010 (started August 2008)

3.    What are the big steps to get there?

  • Build reputation
  • Develop and set up services
  • Market, market and market some more

4.    What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • Providing tester services to tweak the systems I’ve developed
  • Editing ebook
  • Marketing in soft ways (virtual networking)

5.    How much progress have I made since starting?

  • Reputation continues to grow
  • Developed services and launched them
  • Almost ready to launch first ebook

6.    Anything missing?

  • Hard marketing, but I am looking into something to solve this challenge

Someday Number Three: Fitness / Health

1.    What’s my Someday?

  • To run a 20K race in November 2009 & to not experience food-related pain

2.    When do I want to complete it?

  • November 2009

3.    What are the big steps to get there?

  • Train physically
  • Improve my nutrition

4.    What am I doing right now to move things forward?

  • Running and walking roughly 30km a week
  • Beating myself up for eating poorly (not that progressive) 😉

5.    How much progress have I made since starting?

  • Went from not being able to run for more than 2 minutes without stopping to 7km in 40 minutes
  • Did a severe cleanse last year that achieved my ideal body weight but it was too severe to maintain

6.    Anything missing?

  • Willpower to not eat wheat, sugar, fried foods.

Your turn – how well are your Somedays moving along?

P.S. And because life isn’t all about work, we’re off to see Fangoria and Las Nancys Rubias tonight in Bilbao.

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