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Friday, January 13, 2012

Pre-Planning 101: 100 Day Life Challenge

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It's really hard to get ANY where if you have no idea where you are going. What are the immortal words that are plastered on numerous inspirational posters? Failing to plan is planning to fail.

So in preparation for the 100 Day Life Challenge we are going to use the weekend to really understand where we're going. I have divided life into seven separate categories and created goals for each of them. You don't have to do this but I thought it would be helpful so that you can truly narrow down what you want to work on.

Get out a notebook and start jotting down how you would change your life in the following areas:

  • Spiritual-Are you secure in your spiritual walk? Do you have true peace about your beliefs? Do you spend time daily connecting with your spirit, your God, or the universe?

  • Career-Are you looking to work outside the home for the first time in years? Maybe you want to find a work-at-home job. Maybe your current career is stagnant and you are ready for a change.

  • Marriage-Ask yourself how happy are you in your marriage. Are you content, happy, or simply comfortable? Maybe you're miserable. It's up to you if you want to change it.

  • Family-Are you teaching your children the basic skills they need to live on their own? Are you happy with the amount of time you spend together or are you lacking?

  • Home-Your home should be a refuge for you and your family to escape from the outside world. Are you happy to come home or does the chaos and clutter in your home make you sad or overwhelmed?

  • Health-You should eat to live, not live to eat. Ask yourself if you are eating foods that are going to fuel your body so you can do the activities you love or if you are making your body into a waiting heart attack. Are you at your optimal level of health in size and weight or are you unhappy with your body?

Not Just Wishful Thinking
In order to make these goals actually become reality there are a few steps you have to follow. Hitting your goals is like hitting the target during an archery contest. You must find the target, aim your arrow and shoot. The chances of you hitting the center of the target the first time up are slim. As a matter-of-fact, you may not even hit the target at all. You have to learn the right way to hold the bow and release the arrow. THEN you have to learn how to account for any outside influences that will effect the outcome of where your arrow will land. This can be anything from noise to wind to an obstruction that moves only long enough to sneak an arrow through. Are these obstacles or challenges going to stop you from doing your best to get the arrow in the center of the target? Without learning and practicing the proper steps you will almost never hit the bulls-eye. Meeting personal goals are no different.

Create SMART Goals (and write them down)
Some of you may have read about SMART goals before but a refresher never hurts.

  • S-Specific. You cannot say "I want to lose weight." or "I want to be rich." Write down how much you want to weigh or how much you want to earn this year.
  • M-Measurable. What does being rich or successful mean to you? Maybe being successful in your marriage means you have a standing weekly date night or that you renew your wedding vows. If you can't measure it then you aren't being specific enough.
  • A-Attainable. If you only finished high school then completing college in the next 100 days is impossible. Pick something that is reasonable for you. Someone that is a couch potato cannot expect to run a marathon within a month.
  • R-Realistic. Again this goes back to taking into account your current lifestyle and the demands on your time matched with our 100 day time goal.
  • T-Timely. This is where your current situation and how much you are willing and able to put into (in this case) the next 100 days.

Once you have written down your SMART goals for the next 100 days you will need to read over them every morning when you get up and every night before you go to bed. This helps keep them fresh in your mind and reminds you to stay focused throughout the day.

Breaking the Elephant Down
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So take your goals list and break it down into manageable steps. Start with the ultimate 100 day goal and work your way backwards.
Example: If your objective is to lose 30 pounds in 100 days you must lose just over 2 pounds a week. You will need to reach 15 pounds lost by the 50 day mark and 7-10 pounds at the 25 day mark. In order to make this happen what steps should be taken each week? Take the weekly goals and break them into daily steps. I would aim for 1-2 daily steps for each of your goals. Read over these steps in the morning with your goals list and read over tomorrow's steps with your goals list at night.

Whether you use a notebook or a blog to record your goals and the steps to reach them, your rate of success increases exponentially if you write them down and study them daily. Are you up for the challenge?

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