Taking It On

You’ve been RACK’d! (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness)

It’s finally the holiday season!!! I love the holiday season, don’t you? It’s my favorite time of the year for so many reasons, but the one I’m focused on today is giving! Giving, giving, giving! Giving makes my heart sing! (Haha) There is absolutely no better feeling than when you give, often time something small, to someone who didn’t expect it. I love the pure look of joy. Giving even the smallest of things can turn someone’s day from a frown fest into a joy fest.

I also love seeing my daughter give. It is so wonderful watching her learn giving is more rewarding than receiving.  That is why one of our favorite holiday activities is RACK. We started this a couple years ago, I have to admit we slacked last year, but we are back in full force and ready for this year!

If you haven’t heard of RACK, it stands for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. We did a RACK calendar in lieu of an Advent calendar and my daughter loved it. However, I’ll be honest it was quite a challenge to get in all the items. So this year we are going to approach it a bit difference. This year we are going to do 12 Days of Christmas. Our goal will be to get 12 RACK’s in before Christmas. We are going to keep it simple and post our RACK ideas on the wall and mark them off as we complete them.  Typically weekends were the easiest days for us to complete RACKs, since school days are usually filled with activities and home work.

If you haven’t tried RACK, I highly suggest it! It is so much fun.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for RACK:

  1. Teacher’s snack
  2. Extra Chore to help mom and dad
  3. Buy a stranger a meal or coffee
  4. Pay for someone’s order in line at checkout ahead of you
  5. Leave a dollar in the dollar store hidden on a shelf
  6. Tape popcorn to the screen of Redbox for someone to enjoy with their movie
  7. Candy Cane Bomb cars in a parking lot
  8. Buy a friends snack at school
  9. Angel Tree
  10. Donate to Toys for Tots
  11. Help someone with the door
  12. Help someone reach something from a shelf
  13. Help senior citizen unload groceries
  14. Offer to help grandparents with a chore
  15. Send a just because I love you care package to someone special
  16. Make a list of top ten things you love about someone close to you and send it to them.
  17. Help at a soup kitchen
  18. Donate to a food bank
  19. Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child
  20. Do something unexpected for someone
  21. Pick up leaves in the neighbor’s yard
  22. Give a stranger a free coffee gift card
  23. Make breakfast in bed for a family member.
  24. Leave an anonymous gift on someone’s door step- it can be something as simple as a sweet snack and a wish for a nice day.
  25. Clean out toys and fill a bag with toys for charity.
  26. Random contribute to someones GoFundMe account that wasn’t expecting it! (S

 

We like to include a gift tag that says “You’ve been RACK’d” and explains what it is and wishes them well. We haven’t designed this year’s tag yet. I’ll be getting on it next week, I hope! When I do, It will be posted here as a free download.

 

Do you have any RACK ideas to share?

 

Talk Soon,

Tonya

Taking It On

Self-Confidence in 6 Steps

In order to take charge in your life and get where you want to be, you have to believe you can. That means you have to have confidence in yourself to do so. Thus, I wanted to talk about self-confidence. If you know you are awesome, no need to read any further. If you sometimes doubt, then keep reading.

I cannot stress enough the importance of self-confidence. Being confident does not mean you will never have self-doubt. Self-confidence is also not the same thing as arrogance. Self-confidence is about knowing yourself. Self-confidence is about appreciating yourself and being comfortable and secure with who you are, all of you. Self-confidence is self-worth, it is about knowing you are worthy.

There were many years of my life where I had very little self-confidence. When I was young my self-confidence was so low that I honestly believed if a boy spoke to me it was a joke. I always had my guard up waiting for the punch-line. After I graduated college, I started working on my confidence and it took me years to figure it out and I’d like share with you what I learned.

  1. Accept Responsibility

You have to accept that it is up to you to change. There is no white night riding up to fix things. You are in control of you and you have the power to fix you.  Even if someone else tried they couldn’t. It has to be you who fixes you. Accept it is your responsibility.

 

  1. Fix the Self Talk

 

This one takes practice. You have to consciously change the voice in your head. You need to squelch the voice from knocking you down. If you have someone in your life who feeds the self-talk, then if possible you may want to create distance or address the issue with them. And remember if they are putting you down, it is usually the result of an issue they have and has little to do with you.

 

Here is a game you can play to help fix the self-talk. It takes time and it takes practice, and it may sound silly, but it works. When you find your inner dialogue going negative and beating you up, telling you about all you did wrong – STOP. Then consciously go positive. For every negative thing you tell yourself, find at least one positive counter point to tell yourself. I know at first this can be hard. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there is anything positive, but it is there, you just have to find it. I use to make myself come up with three positive things for every one negative thing.

 

  1. Positive Plays

Are there songs that make you feel good or remind you what you are working towards? If so, create a playlist filled with these songs. Get some positive, encouraging, kick ass things in your head. Music has an amazing way of putting us in the right frame of mind.

 

  1. Stop Comparing

Don’t compare yourself to other people. Your goals and objectives need to be based on what you want and who you want to be for you. If you compare yourself to others you will always fall short in the end because we can always find someone who on the surface looks more put together, more financially secure, more of whatever. The fact is they may or may not be, you really never know someone else’s real situation. You don’t know what they have or haven’t had to overcome and you don’t know what their inner demons are. We all have them and we all try to put our best foot forward in our own way and do what we can with what have. It’s not a race, it’s not a competition, we all get where we are going in our own time and in our own ways. Don’t compare.

 

  1. Accept the Imperfections

 

We all have imperfections, accept it. Own it and know that imperfections are a part of life and are what make us who we are. Our imperfections are sometimes the things the people around us love most. Your imperfections are what make you, you, and you are awesome. Imperfections make you human. Learn to laugh about your imperfections, own them, accept them as a part of you.

 

  1. Get the Toxic Out

You deserve to be loved and appreciated. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Unless you are the boss, you probably don’t have control over all the people you surround yourself with at work. In addition, we all know we don’t get to choose our family either.  However, even in those situations if there is a toxic person you can minimize your exposure. In addition, you also can stand up for yourself when someone crosses a line. You are worthy and deserve to be treated with respect. Remember when people are spending their time trashing you personally, it is usually because they have issues. Try to feel empathy for them, but don’t let their toxic inside you. You are worthy and surround yourself with people who appreciate you and your imperfections. This doesn’t mean kick people out of your life if they get frustrated sometimes and act like jerks occasionally. We can all do that, but if they are a jerk most of the time, you might want to create some space between you. Fill the space with people who appreciate you and build you up.

 

The bottom line is, you are in control and you rock. If you have a hard time believing that then you need to work through the steps above and make some changes. You deserve to feel good about yourself and you should. If you want a good life, the first step is believing you deserve it.

In addition to the steps above, if you really want to dive into the topic of self-worth I highly suggest you look up Brene Brown. She is pretty amazing. I would recommend starting with The Gift of Imperfection. And I don’t want to hear the excuse that you don’t have time to read. If you don’t have time to sit down with a book then get audible and listen on your way to work or whenever you find yourself in the car or out walking for more than a few minutes. You can always find time for what is important. You are important, so find the time to make you better. Here is a link, it is an affiliate link (my first). You can get the book in any form you like. Give it a go!  I am personally an audible gold subscriber. I’ve been a subscriber since 2011 and I love it. Try it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

 

 

Until next time,

 

Tonya

Motivation, Productivity, Taking It On

Making Time

Have you ever said to yourself,

 “I’d love to (insert goal ), but I just don’t have the time.”

Or,

“I need more time.”

Sound familiar?

In today’s busy world we all say it and we all kind of lie to ourselves. The hard truth is, typically if we really want to do something we find the time to make it happen. By not finding the time what we are really saying is, I really don’t want to ( insert goal here ) as much as I want to relax, surf Facebook, and watch Joanne and Chip Gaines create someone else’s dream home.

I will be the very first to admit I do this. Fixer Upper is the bomb! Can you blame me! Hello, they are fabulous! But would we know how fabulous they are if they weren’t such doers? Would we know how funny Chip is or how talented Joanne is if they sat home and wasted hours doing things that really do nothing to improve their life? How about we find time to show the world how fabulous we are!

We all need down time, but we have to recognize when we are recharged and then get back to doing. Especially those of us who are spread thin. If you are trying to build a business after your nine to five or after the kids go to sleep or both, then you really have to ask yourself what do you want – to see pictures of someone’s brothers cousins baby on Facebook or an extra thirty minutes to work on a goal you really wish you had time for? Sometime what we are filling our time with is what we really want, like time with loved ones and that is ok. We just have to own and recognize that what we are saying is we want this more than that.

The choice is always ours and we have to make it daily. Remember our lives are what and where they are because of the decisions we make daily, good or bad. Decide where you want to be and make the decisions to get yourself there.

Motivation, Taking It On

Ten Tips to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with all the stuff you have going on in your mind and on your to do list that you can’t even focus?  Sometimes I get so stressed. I feel like I can’t handle one more thing or I’m going to snap. I feel like the world is closing in around me and like there is no way out, like everything is going to crumble. This is what happens when I try putting everything on my own shoulders. I realize I do this to myself. I don’t think I’m the only one who does this, am I?

Well, I’ve been practicing ways to squash the anxiety and stress that I create for myself and I’d like to share what I’ve learned thus far. If you find this useful, please share and please let me know.

Ten Tips for Minimizing Stress and Anxiety

Tip #1 Do a brain dump. Make a list of all the things that are on your mind. If it crosses your mind write it down.

Tip #2 Go through your brain dump and create categories, sometimes I do this while writing them down. I sometimes create sections like home, work, random thoughts, projects.

Tip #3 Look for the items you can delegate. Is yard work on your list, is it possible to have someone else in the house handle it or what about hiring an outside service?

Tip #4 Identify most meaningful items that are actionable.  It is amazing how much it helps with stress and anxiety to make progress on something important. Thus make sure for each day you have at a minimum one meaningful item on your list, up to three is max. These are items that help you reach bigger goals, not the mundane stuff that weighs us down.

Tip #5 Schedule the mundane items. One example of this is my Saturday morning cleaning schedule. I schedule 7-12 to clean. I use to do this religiously and it made a huge impact and thus I’m going back to it. Having a deadline made me focus more and it was amazing what I could get done. As soon as 12:00 hit, I was free to be with family and do fun things without guilt or nagging chores calling. This method works great with all kinds of tasks, just don’t get carried away scheduling yourself.

Tip #6 Patience, remind yourself that Rome was not built in a day, and the challenges in life won’t be solved in a day either. Take it one task and one day at a time and focus on what you can control right now, not tomorrow.

Tip #7 Make self-care a priority. It is amazing how something as simple as coffee with a friend can help alleviate stress. Make time for you, it is important.

Tip #8 Keep clutter at bay. It makes a difference. Studies have shown that clutter increases stress and anxiety, so do your best to minimize clutter.

Tip #9 Avoid perfectionism. Sometimes we want to obsess over completing a task versus recognizing when we have hit good enough and can move on. It feels good to let go.

Tip #10 Processes and routines. This is sort of related to schedules, but a bit different. If there is something you can create a process or routine for than do it. For example during your scheduled 7-12 cleaning time create a routine for what you will do first, second, and so on. By doing this when it’s cleaning time you will find you are actually more relaxed while doing the task. You might even find you go on auto pilot. This takes practice to implement and to be honest it is something I want to do during my 7-12 cleaning.

These tips have really helped me improve my stress and anxiety levels. I still have my days where I totally freak out, but a lot fewer. I’m still working to master these tips myself. It takes time and practice. I hope this helps!

 

 

Motivation, Productivity, Psychology, Relationships

Perfectionism on Steroids: All or Nothing

Are you an all or nothing kind of person? All or nothing is a perfectionism issue people often don’t even realize they have. Many people don’t realize that by being inflexible, you are really saying I want it all or nothing.

The problem with this approach is that quite often it gets you nowhere. Instead of getting to realize the gains that could come by being flexible you often end up sitting at the starting line all alone. Is that where you really want to be?

When it comes to work related issues, one of my favorite quotes is by Mark Cuban, “Perfectionism is the enemy of profitability.” The all or nothing mentality is perfectionism on steroids. Thus, all or nothing is not just the enemy of profitability, it is also the enemy of progress. And for our everyday lives, take out the word profitability and replace it with any goal. Replace the word profitability with success, happiness or any other goal you are striving for and it still stands true.

All or nothing is the enemy of ___________ and progress.


You have no idea how many projects I’ve seen crash and burn in the professional world because of the all or nothing mentality. Each and every project cost the company both a ton of money and progress. I’ve seen projects survive perfectionism, but very seldom do they survive all or nothing.

The fact is we need to be steadfast in our overall vision, we need to strive for excellence, but we need to realize the final results will vary and that is ok. And do you know what is amazing? If we open ourselves up to being flexible, we often end up with an end results that is better than our original vision. Yes better! That is one of the reasons the all or nothing train wreck is so hard to watch. It holds you back!!

We need to understand our objective, sometimes the stated objective is really not what we are after. It can distract us from being able to identify what is really important and thus where we can be flexible. You have to be able to step back and see the big picture. And when you can’t, it is like trying to navigate a dark dense forest without a map or orienteering skills. You will end up lost or nowhere.

Let’s use an example pretty much everyone can relate to, relationships. I have a friend who use to refuse to date guys based on height. What was her goal? Was she looking for someone who just looked good on her arm or was she looking for a relationship that would last? Who knows! As it turns out when she found the one, that height criteria went right out the window. So obviously, she didn’t find that criteria all that important to her real objective.

I have another friend who refuses to waver from her list for the ideal mate. She is single and the few people I’ve known her to date have all met the requirements on her list, but none of those relationships end up lasting. Could it be that by having shallow requirements, down to hair color might I add, that she is missing out on something better. That she is missing out on meeting the one who really is her one?

There is no such thing as perfect. It’s a fact. There is exceptional, there is fantastic, there is good enough and a thousand other things, but there is not perfect. We set ourselves up for failure when we decide things have to be perfect. Know what you want, strive for excellence, but open yourself up to possibilities you haven’t considered and see what happens.

I’d love to hear your experience with this topic.

Motivation, Taking It On

What is Stopping You from Reaching Your Goals?

You know how it is, you set your mind on a new goal and you are really excited to get started. Things seem to be off to a good start. You are making progress. Then…something happens. You hit a wall. It could be something as simple as losing motivation or something way more complex. Either way, bam the progress has stopped, the excitement is fading. Here is the deal though, no matter who the person is or what the goal is, this is going to happen, there are inevitably going to be setbacks. There are going to be to be forks in the road, obstacles that feel insurmountable, and distractions that seem to lure you away from your task at hand. These obstacles and setbacks are going to happen, they are going to happen regardless of the size of the goal or complexity. I know you don’t want to hear it, but these setbacks are part of the process.

These challenges, these rough spots along the way are where growth happens. This is where you decide to persevere or give up, where you figure out what is important to you or what isn’t. These crossroads are where you figure out who you are and what you are made of. This is where you have the opportunity to become your best self, or not, it’s up to you.

These challenges can be scary, but often the fear we are feeling is a fake out. It’s the brains natural reaction to the unknown. The brain likes the status quo, it likes predictability. When you enter a challenge or come to a crossroad you don’t know what is ahead and your brain tries to alert you to that fact.  If you get scared, this is when you have to pause and ask, what happens if I try and succeed versus try and fail? If you think about it, often the worst possible thing that could happen by trying and failing is that you end up a little embarrassed and back where you started. If money is involved, you might end up with a little less than you have today. And the best possible thing? Well, that depends on the goal. I am willing to bet it is something good, or you wouldn’t have set the goal in the first place.

The fact is you have to try.  If you try and fail you have at least faced the fear of trying. That may not sound like much but it is. It makes facing the fear next time that much easier. And that in itself is an accomplishment. Giving into the fear and not trying, letting fear win, that gives fear strength. You do not want to give fear strength, you want to give you strength and you gain strength by trying and doing.

I’ve been on all sides of this equation. I’ve tried and succeeded, tried and failed, and not tried at all. The only regrets I have are the ones where I didn’t try. When I went after my goals, I didn’t always know how things were going to work out, but hell or high water I was going for it. If I made a little mess along the way, like when I tanked my credit in college (a story for another day), fine. It didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was reaching my goal. I’d figure it out, I always did. I was often scared, but not trying wasn’t an option I would even consider. When I went after my goals I felt a sense of accomplishment, I learned I could rely on myself, I grew as a person, I built self-confidence. The more I pushed through hard times, the more I grew into a person I actually liked and was happy to be.

As things in my life got easier, more comfortable, as I started feeling like I had things worth losing fear saw an opportunity. Fear reminded me of all I had to lose and I started to give in and not try. I was scared to rock the boat. I would tell myself I was trying by making little gestures of effort, but I wasn’t giving my all. That is what happens when fear is allowed to win. It gets harder to try, harder to get past the setbacks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

What I ultimately realized is that regardless of life’s situations fear is still nothing more than a fake out. Regardless of our situation in life, we have to go after our goals. We need to take risks, we need to face fears, and we need to keep growing. For me, yes, I have more to lose, so the kamikaze approach of my youth as fun and freeing as it was, is no longer the best path forward. But there is still a path, multiple paths, there is never just one. And fear, it goes away when you confront it. The obstacles, the challenges, they may not be easy, but pushing through and finding a way is always worth it. There is only one way to move forward on any path and that is trying. The act of trying is a win in itself, so don’t hold back. Go for it. Recognize when you are at a crossroad, when the hard part is coming, when the distractions are luring you away and pause. Then brace yourself, remind yourself what you want to achieve, and keep pushing forward. Keep trying, that is how you will reach your goals and that is how you grow.

 

 

Motivation, Taking It On

The One Characteristic You Don’t Want to Have

Growing up, I wanted to escape my circumstances. In order to figure out how, I watched people. I noticed how people responded to things. I noticed how people who were where I wanted to be acted. I noticed how people acted who were not where I wanted to be. I noticed everything. And you know what, there were commonalities between the people who were where I wanted to be and commonalities between the people who were not where I wanted to be.

As I grew up and the people around me grew up, I watched and saw how these characteristics predicted over and over again where people would end up. There were several characteristics that seemed to be indicators, but there was one that stood out.

I don’t want to say the one that stood out predicts the have and have nots, because that is not exactly what it does. This particular characteristic is more of an indicator of stability, happiness, success, overall wellbeing and self-sufficiency.

The interesting thing is this one characteristic, which I tend to think of as a disease kind of like addiction is just like addiction. It is like addiction in that it is something that some of us may be more prone to and others less, but regardless it is something that can be conquered by doing the work.

You are going to be disappointed when you find out what it is. If you suffer from it, you might even get downright mad.  It’s a pretty common reaction by people who have this characteristic or disease. It is lack of personal responsibility, also called whoa is me disease.

Do you have it? Do you know someone who does?  I bet you at least know someone with it. I know quite a few.

It’s hard to watch. For me the hard part about it is seeing people who are capable of so much, make excuses after excuse. Watch and listen. The people who are floundering, the ones who can’t get traction, the ones who can’t get ahead, who can’t hold a job, who keep finding themselves in bad spots over and over…listen to their words. I guarantee it will be there. I guarantee you will hear over and over how it is not their fault. These things happened to them. If it wasn’t for these outside forces, they would be fine.

This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to good people. Horrible things happen. There are definitely things that are out of our control. We don’t choose illness, losing someone we love, and a thousand other things. The fact is no matter the situation we have a choice in how we deal with it. Even in the most horrible situation we have a choice. There is always a choice.

The whoa is me group, the people who lack personal responsibility, they look outward. They look outward to blame. They look outward for solutions. Others are to blame and others are the solution. In my experience this mindset leads to a difficult life. The life it often leads too is way more difficult than the alternative.

In my experience, the path to a good life is as easy taking responsibility and owning that there is always something we can do to impact our situation.

There is always something we can do, absolutely always.
Tonya Signature

Psychology

Mistakes Define You or Defining Moments?

Everyone makes mistakes, it a fact of life. Mistakes are how we learn. Mistakes help us figure out what we are made of, what we are capable of, but they don’t define us. Often mistakes lead to some of our defining moments, those moments that are game changers.

The list of mistakes we make in life is endless, and we start making some whoppers at a pretty young age. The important thing to remember is doing a bad thing is different from being a bad person. Doing a stupid thing is different from being a stupid person. And so on and so on, you get the drift, right?  Often people make mistakes and they feel like those mistakes are them, but they are not. They are not unless you let them be. We all have been given this wonderful gift of free will and as such we have the ability to take responsibility for ourselves and make choices that are in line with who we are or who we want to be at any time. We don’t have to let bad choices we made, in the past or even in the recent present, be our future. That is our choice.

Sure, if you make a big enough mistake you may have some hefty consequences to deal with, that comes with the territory, but you are the one who decides how to deal with those consequences. Are you going to feel sorry for yourself? Are you going to play the if only game? Are you going to blame the source of the consequences? Or are you going to take responsibility, learn from the mistake and make a better choice next time?

When I was a kid, I was probably the kid you didn’t want your kid around. In eighth grade, I had this best friend who was everything I wasn’t. She was pretty and popular. She was funny and just so much fun to be around. We started skipping school. Then at the mall we purchased a few things like a belt, hair barrette, and wallet using the five-finger discount. Next, in ninth grade we came up with this bright idea to run away. We funded this runaway excursion with fund from bad checks we cashed at a local five and dime stores. We made it seven hundred and fifty miles from home. We used our funds to buy bus tickets. We would get stopped along the way and questioned by police, who were looking for two run away girls. We even had to stay in a couple shelters. All along the way I found myself asking, what were we going to do when we reached our destination? It occurred to me we wouldn’t be able to go to school, runaways can’t exactly register for school. I wanted out of my horrible existence, but was this really helping?

In the end, I ended up back home, in court, and on unsupervised probation for a year. I will never forget the terror I felt being questioned by the cop about the checks. My sweet grandmother, the woman who I believe I owe my life to, paid the $363.63 court costs and then it was time for me to go back to reality.

When I went back to school, I had two choices I could keep going down the road I was heading or I could pick another path. I chose to pick another path. I chose to own my consequences, suck up my current situation and do what I needed to get out. For the time being that meant surviving in order to graduate high school so I could go to college.

I knew school was my ticket out and I knew going forward I had to focus on that. Luckily for me I was able to make some new friends. Friends who walked the straight and narrow and for whatever reason were gracious enough to accept me and welcome me into their fold. I never stole anything ever again. From that point forward I knew my life at home might be bad, but school was my way out. I was going to graduate and I was going to go to college and that is exactly what I did.

Some people, some adults even, probably looked and me and saw a bad kid, a bad person they didn’t want their child around. The truth was, I wasn’t a bad kid. I was a kid trying to figure out how to survive a bad situation. Yes, I made some whopper mistakes, but those mistakes didn’t define me. Those mistakes turned out to be the first major defining moment in my life. A defining moment that put me on the path to the life I have today, a life so different from the existence I knew in my youth. And I am beyond grateful for my life. I have a good life, I life I achieved by making mistakes and learning from them.

 

Tonya Signature

Motivation, Taking It On

Bias for Action- Part II: Tips for Success

In Part I, we talked about how to identify the bad habits we have created in order to avoid acting. If you haven’t read it, please do. I promised you next we would talk about how to actually have a bias for action. So, you want to know how to stop avoiding and start acting? For the longest time I wanted to know the same, so what did I do…you guessed it, research….but it wasn’t an avoidance tactic this time! Holy moly!

Would you like to know what I learned? Here are my top 5 tips for creating a bias for action:

  1. Like the Nike ads say, “Just do it!” Don’t give yourself time to think. When the idea hits- act immediately, don’t give self-doubt time to take hold. Sometimes taking action is just hard and it’s going to be that way. It is that way for everyone.

 

  1. Have goals and write them down. Put your goals where you can see them, if you can. This is good for small and big goals alike. A small goal may be keeping the sink clear of dishes. When you walk by your sink with a few dishes, you may be inclined to avoid doing them or say you will do it later. When you walk by and you happen to see your goal posted on the fridge to keep the sink clean, you may be more inclined to turn around and go back and do those dishes.

 

  1. Make a plan. Yep, planning is a great way to take action, but here is the deal…you don’t have to have every step and every action laid out. This is where many, including myself can take action and turn it into avoidance. It has something to do with the perfectionism bug so many of us have. The key here is to figure out what the first step is, and figure out how to take it. As other steps or ideas about how to reach your goal come to you, take note and add them to your list of ideas or plan of action.

 

  1. Make to do list, but not your typical to do lists. Either the night before or first thing in the morning, take some time and decide what your key tasks for the day are, there should only be a few, three or four at max. These key tasks should be items that propel you towards your major objectives. In The Productivity Project, Chris Baily, talks about how easy it is to get caught up doing tasks that really aren’t being productive.

 

  1. Take action on little things. You know what your goals are, and I bet in your list of big and small goals you have some little things you can address. By making yourself take action on the little things daily, it becomes easier to take action on the bigger things. This doesn’t mean little things like checking email repeatedly, this means little things you otherwise wouldn’t do. Little things that further creating new habits. We can sometimes trick ourselves with mindless tasks that make us think we are being productive, when we are really not.

 

And here is a bonus tip…

 

  1. Be aware of your avoidance tactics. Knowing what your avoidance tactics are makes it easier to notice when you find yourself wanting to slip into old habits. Don’t do it. If you feel yourself falling into one of your bad habits used to avoid, go to step one and just do it. Or like Mel Robbin’s suggests, use her Five Second Rule.

 

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Maybe you have some tips you can share on how you make yourself get moving and do hard things? If so, I would love to hear about them. Do you practice any of the above tips?  What are your thoughts? Do they help you?

 

-Tonya

Motivation, Taking It On

Bias for Action -Part I : What is Stopping You?

“The distance between your dreams and reality is called action” – Unknown

“Eighty percent of success Is showing up.” -Woody Allen

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” -Estee Lauder

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  -Wayne Gretzky

Have you heard these quotes before or any like them? There are quotes like this flying around everywhere and I’m definitely guilty of posting them on Instagram myself. I won’t lie, I love these kinds of quotes. I love up lifting quotes, but more importantly, I love quotes that talk about taking action.

There is this thing that exists called a bias for action. Mel Robbins talks about it in her book the 5 Second Rule, as do many other authors. Basically, what it boils down to is pretty simple, stop thinking and start doing, stop dreaming and start …take action!

There are some people who are truly shining examples of what it looks like to have a bias for action. These people are the ones who blow our mind with how full of life, open to living, and how successful and confident they seem. They are doers. The truth is anyone can be a doer. We may not all end up living a life as wildly successful and exciting as Sir Richard Branson, for example, but we can have a rich full life. The key is having a bias for action. Want to know how?

First off, what we need to do is identify the things we are using to avoid taking action. We all have ways to avoid the hard things and even the not so hard things in life. We all know we do it. We avoid things we just don’t want to do. The more we do this the more we move away from having a bias toward action. That is why it is important to identify your methods for avoiding. Here is a list of several common ones, many of which I am or have been guilty of myself.

Research. I can research like nobody’s business. It’s amazing the information I can gather and ultimately do little with it. You may not think this is a common one, but how often are you on Pinterest? How many items did you pin to cook for dinner last night? Maybe cooking isn’t your thing, but I bet there is something you like to do and I’m willing to bet you have found yourself getting lost in looking for information or ideas on the subject versus actually doing. Maybe sports are your things, how many articles did you read about your sports team and their stats, where did that get you?

Over Planning. Granted writing down a plan can be a form of action, but you can’t plan, re-plan, fix the plan, and repeat over and over. At some point, what you are doing is called avoiding. A plan is meant to be an estimated course of action that is honed over time, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Excuses. Oh, I can’t work on that today, I really need to “insert numerous excuses here.” I can come up with a thousand ways to avoid. Let’s not even talk about the numerous excuses I can come up with for not going to the gym. Excuses are little lies that we tell ourselves and others and we often know it when we are doing it, but do it anyways. When it comes to excuses there are two main reasons we do it, we either really don’t want to do whatever it is or we are scared.

Overthinking. I can overthink things to the point that I’ve missed the window of opportunity. It’s amazing how many times I can talk myself in and out of something in a five-minute time span. I do it all the time. The longer you think about something the more excuses you are going to come up with to not do it. Fear is going to slowly sneak in and before you know it…fear has won and you are right where you started- nowhere.

Mindless Tasks. How often do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, E-mail? Or how about binge watching Netflix? Ok, I still do that one sometimes… Yes, we all need down time, but how much is it us really doing these tasks to relax vs mindlessly using them to avoid doing what we know we need to be doing?

Lack of Focus. Sometimes we want to do too much. We take on too much, we are overwhelmed and end up going in circles getting nothing done.  Sometimes we can’t help but have a lack of focus, like right now as I write this my child and dog are making some serious racket. It definitely hurts the focus when every two seconds I hear “Pearly” yelled across the living room followed by the crinkle crinkle sound of some toy that sounds like a water bottle being crumpled up.

These things are a fact of life. Interestingly enough, avoidance tactics often don’t start out as avoidance tactics. They often start out as good intentioned tasks. Tasks that were intended to help take action or relax us, but over time they became bad habits that prevent a bias for action.

Have you figured out which ones you’re guilty of? Are they listed above? If not, share what you discovered and maybe it will help someone else identify what is stopping them.

Identifying the road blocks is the first step to removing them and getting closer to a bias for action.  Check back later this week for Part II of this post and let’s talk about having a bias toward action.

If you found this post interesting, share, like and comment below. What are your insights on the topic?

 

-Tonya