Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Start Working On Your Dream Life Today!

 

The holidays are here, and we’ll soon be starting a New Year. What are your goals in 2017?  Maybe you want to lose those last ten stubborn pounds, exercise regularly, take a vacation, change careers, or spend more time with your family.

According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans set New Year’s goals, but only 8 % are successful in achieving those goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals will give you a clearer vision and focus, and make it easier to track your progress. Here are the keys to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific: There will be no doubt that you have reached your goal. Example: My goal is to fly to Italy.

Measurable: Can your goal be measured? Let’s use the example above. Will you meet your goal when your plane lands in Italy, or do you have a more specific destination in mind such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Florence Cathedral?

Achievable: Taking your current circumstances and skill set into consideration, is it possible to reach your goals or will you have to take some classes, get a mentor, relocate, or work extra hours?

Realistic: How realistic is your goal? Do you want to fly to Italy this month, but your bank account is overdrawn? A more realistic goal would be to budget a certain amount each month until you have enough to complete your trip.

Timely: The last key element of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is to add a time limit to your goals. I will fly to Italy by June 30, 2014. If you have not reached your goal by the time limit, you can adjust your goals and plans accordingly.

When Your Life is a Mess

Help is Always Available!

I’ve certainly had my share of problems, and if I had a dollar for every time I’ve made a mess of things I would be a rich woman.

I know you’ve had your own problems, and it can often seem like you’ll never find your way back into the light. This is the time to call on God or your Higher Power to see you through.

Here are four tips to remember when your life is a mess:

Trials Make You Stronger

I didn’t say that trials are enjoyable, and you can’t always control what happens to you. As you pray, God will use these trials to strengthen your faith. It may not seem like it at the time, but every trial you go through has a purpose.

Choose to Be Thankful

When you’re going through a rough patch, it’s tempting to complain to anyone that will listen. Focus on the things that are going right and give thanks. A thankful heart and a positive attitude make things seem a lot brighter.

Trust God’s Timing

If my life is any indication, things tend to move a lot slower when you’re working in God’s timing. I tend to want to run ahead of God, but when my prayer is answered, it’s always better than anything I could have done on my own.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Hard times are often lonely, and you feel like you’re out of step with the rest of the world. No one else seems to be struggling, but always remember God is walking beside you. You may not feel it, but He is always there.

How do you get through the hard times in your life?

 

Thanksgiving- A Time to Count Your Blessings

What Are You Thankful For?

Do you remember the Mac Davis hit “Stop and Smell the Roses?” Let me refresh your mind by posting the lyrics to this thought-provoking song.

You’ve got to stop and smell the roses
You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday
You’re going to find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way

People always seem to be in a hurry in our modern-day world. Car horns beep from annoyed drivers, and video games and TV have replaced meaningful conversation. People are so busy that they are texting while driving, eating in a restaurant, and even in the movie theatre. Is it any wonder that people are so stressed out?

This Thanksgiving stop and smell the roses. Shut off the electronics and reconnect with your loved ones. Eat dinner together and have some real conversation where everyone contributes. Go outside, get some fresh air, and admire God’s handiwork.

We have so many things to be grateful for, and when we slow down long enough to count our blessings, even the smallest things in our lives take on a new meaning.

Encore- 4 Benefits of a Gratitude Journal

 

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Let’s face it some days just suck, and you feel like digging a hole and crawling in it. A pity party is in order and no one better rain on your parade.

Yes, I have certainly had my share, but even in the midst of chaos, there is always something to be thankful for. Here are 4 benefits of a gratitude journal:

More Positive Attitude

Writing down what you’re grateful for puts your life into perspective, and you’ll realize that you have more than your share of blessings. Don’t forget about the bad things that seemed hopeless at that time, but you made it through, and emerged stronger with a more positive attitude.

Better Health

Writing down your feelings in a gratitude journal helps alleviate stress. You feel better so you’re more inclined to take care of yourself. As a bonus, you’ll sleep better without all that worry weighting you down.

Stronger Friendships

No one wants to be around a negative Nellie, and people want to be around those that are strong, confident, and in charge of their life.  Your current friendships will be stronger, and you’ll soon find yourself making new friends.

Find Joy in Small Things

It seems like we are often waiting for big things to happen in our lives. You may not win the lotto, get that big promotion, or vacation in Cancun. However, you can find joy in small things such as a beautiful bed of roses, a walk at sunset, or the smile on a baby’s face.

What are you grateful for?

4 Amazing Benefits of Giving Back

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

 

I’ve been reading a lot about abused animals, and the resources it takes to give them medical care, food, housing, and find a forever family to adopt them.

There are endless opportunities to give back. You may prefer to donate money to a favorite charity or  roll up your sleeves, and get to work.

Helping others is one of the best ways to skyrocket your personal growth.

Here are 4 amazing benefits of giving back:

Improves Physical Health

Of course you feel good about yourself when you’re helping a good cause, but you may also notice a difference in your physical health. According to a Canadian study, 85% of Ontario volunteers rated their health as good, compared to only 79% of non-volunteers.

Lifts Depression

When you’re depressed, you’re constantly thinking about your own situation, but helping others puts everything into perspective. You have your health, a place to live, food to eat, and some of the people you will help would love to be in your shoes. It’s very humbling to meet someone in desperate need of help with the basic necessities of life, and suddenly your problems seem a lot smaller.

Provides a Needed Service

Your job may appreciate your work, but you are getting paid to perform those job duties.  When you feel like you’re truly needed and appreciated, it motivates you to continue because people are depending on you.

Develops New Career Skills

If you volunteer at the ASPCA for example, you may find you enjoy working with animals so much that you want to make a career change. There might be paid opportunities right where you are. This is something you may not have considered if you hadn’t volunteered.

Never Quit

Last week I had the opportunity to write for a new client, but a few days in, we mutually agreed that it was not a good fit. That was discouraging to say the least, but looking back I know it was the right thing to do.

That started me thinking about the hard times that you go through, and how easy it is  to give up on your dreams. I found this poem that has been so encouraging to me, and hope it  helps someone else along the way. This poem was written anonymously.

Never Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must; but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out,

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup.

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned upside down;

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit;

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

 

Broke at 49, Retired at 50

Most people have at least one goal, that would make their life better and allow them to make a difference in the world. At first, the goal is exciting and you’re going full-speed ahead, but you’re not progressing as fast as you would like, so you give up.

You may be closer to your goal than you think. That was certainly the case when I decided I wanted to retire at age 50.

I lost my husband to liver cancer in 2002. My company offered me a few free sessions with a financial planner. Financial planners usually give advice to celebrities like Brad and Angelina, not a single woman who was paying half of her paycheck in rent. But hey, it was free, so I signed up.

The nicest man called me from Texas. The financial questions were answered quickly. No I didn’t have stocks and bonds, no 401(K), or gold stashed in a safety deposit box. I did have a minimum balance in my checking and savings accounts.

There was a long pause on the other end of the line, and I thought he was probably trying frantically to make something out of nothing, but bless his heart, he was willing to jump in there and give it the old college try.

He gave me a pep talk about saving so much of my paycheck, taking advantage of a company 401(K) plan, and cutting my expenses. Then he asked me at what age I wanted to retire. My dream was to retire at age 50. Ok, how old was I now? I would be 49 in three months.

Well of course,  that seemed ridiculous with my finances, as he was quick to point out. I had to agree. The only way I could retire at age 50 would be to hit the lottery or marry someone who could support me. Both options seemed like longshots.

Let me put this in perspective for you. I lived in a town of 170,000 people and I didn’t know one eligible man. Oh well, I appreciated the sessions, and maybe I should plan to work until I was at least 70.

I did in fact retire at age 50. I tried online dating, and after kissing many toads, I met the prince. So if you have a dream goal, go after it, even if it seems impossible.

4 Ways to Kickstart Your Morning Routine

iha31 / Pixabay

Mornings seem to be the most hectic time of the day. It’s easy to oversleep, and the hungry people in your house need to be fed. You need to shower, change into clean work clothes, and take the kids to school. By the time you arrive at work, you’re tired out and in a bad mood.

That’s why it’s important to have a morning routine. You may have to get out of bed earlier to get everything done, but you’ll discover that you actually save more time, and feel better in the process.

Drink Water

You’ve been asleep all night without hydration, so drink a tall glass of water so you’re more energetic during the day.  Water flushes out toxins and impurities. As an added bonus, water can raise your metabolic rate, which can help you lose weight. Add a wedge of lemon to detoxify the liver and maximize your enzyme production.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Eat slower digesting carbs to keep your blood sugars level. Nuts and seeds taste good, are easy to grab,  and also provide needed protein. Try some new combinations. Spread peanut butter on whole wheat bread, or toast cheese on a corn tortilla. Oatmeal can be dressed up with fruit, and fills you up until lunchtime.

Quiet Time

Sit down in a quiet place and take some deep breaths. Just focus on your breathing. Thoughts will pop up, but just let them go. After you get into a routine, you’ll get better at clearing your mind and improving your focus.

If you prefer, read something inspirational, pray, or listen to music.

Exercise

Depending on your schedule, you can hit the gym for a workout, or if you’re crunched for time, simple stretches get your blood flowing, and kick your body into gear.

What is your morning routine?

 

3 Reasons People Don’t Change Careers

Menopause is a time when your body changes, and it may be the perfect time for you to change careers. It doesn’t get much better than working your dream job. However, making the transition is not always easy, and many people would rather put up with a stressful job than try something new.

Here are 3 reasons people don’t change careers:

Too Expensive

Your dream job may require working your way up the salary ladder, or you may need to pay for additional training.  These extra costs may mean postponing the family vacation, eating fewer meals away from home. or putting home improvements on hold.

Takes Too Long

Changing careers is exciting, but learning the ropes of a new job takes time. After a stressful day, and commute, you may just want to pop a cold beer, play a few video games, and watch the next unlucky couple get booted off the dance floor on Dancing with the Stars.

Fear of Failure

What if this new career didn’t work out, and you ended up broke and on the street? You don’t want to look foolish in front of your friends and neighbors, and what if your old job wouldn’t take you back? Many people are not willing to take that chance.

Stop and Smell the Roses

It's a Beautiful World Out There!

 

I was out for a routine morning walk, and saw the most beautiful  roses. Remember the song, “Stop and Smell the Roses” that was released in 1997 by singer Mac Davis?

Let me refresh your memory and post the melody:

You’ve got to stop and smell the roses

You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday

You’re going to find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road

If you don’t stop and smell the roses on the way

People always seem to be in a hurry in our modern-day world.  Car horns beeping at slow drivers, cell phones are constantly in use because you don’t want to miss any important conversations with your friends. People are texting in church, in a movie theatre, or in the doctor’s office. What is so important?

Video games, TV, and surfing the net have replaced real conversation. Is it any wonder that we are a stressed out nation?

Stop and smell the roses. Shut off all the electronic toys and have some real dinnertime conversation where everyone contributes. Go outside, breathe in fresh air, and admire God’s handiwork.

Sure, there are bad times in our lives, but there are so many things to be thankful for. When you slow down and count your blessings, even the smallest things take on new meaning.