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The Good Habits Challenge Blog

Time Management- from the Wind Storm to a Stairway

First, shift focus off learning how to manage time. We manage ourselves, not time. Time management starts with personal improvement: learning and developing new skills and implementing new habits that create productive work days with high quality time off.

Does your approach support your success, or are you in a wind storm pushing through obstacles and handling circumstances where ever the wind blows you? To create change, alter your habits. Simply by making small revisions you can begin to see greater, more productive results. Here are some traditional time tested tips along with some you may not have heard in the past.

A Productive Day Begins the Day Before

Take 15 Minutes to Map Out Your Day
 Planning the day before allows you to wake up knowing what actions to take which leads to efficient days and more qualiy time off.

-- Put priorities first on your schedule.
-- Complete a to-do list. Attempt to eliminate half of it by letting go and delegating.
-- Determine a strategy to complete tough tasks (put them first or early in the day).
-- Optimize energy by booking time for exercise and regular 10 minute rejuvenation breaks.

Speaking of energy…

Be Intentional About Fueling Your Body

-- Plan actions based on natural energy peaks and valleys. Handle high energy tasks when energy is up and lower energy tasks when energy wanes.

-- Establish an ideal bedtime and wakeup time that supports a gratifying day. Studies have shown that early risers tend to be more proactive, better planners, get better sleep, exercise, and have more family time.* Work out a schedule that yields the best rest and gets you up early enough to make plenty of headway before noon.

-- Drink lots of water. Nourish your body with a healthy breakfast and high quality foods. Choose the fuel that supports you to be and do your best.

Tips to Be Proactive and Hold Focus

-- 20-30 Minutes of Focus- If you get distracted easily block small manageable slots of time for intense focused action. Work diligently doing an excellent, high quality job. Pause- reflect- then refocus on the same project or move to the next.

-- Set Deadlines- Deadlines are boundaries to protect your time. When making a call, checking email, having lunch with someone, etc. decide how much time you will allow and stick to it.

-- Create a Completions Craving- Create a craving by acknowledging the feelings of achievement, the benefits of doing what you do, and the value of using time wisely as you complete tasks. What is unfinished always lies ahead but resist sitting with it. Recognizing your progress, accomplishments, and the benefits of your actions is energizing whereas just staying with the undone is draining. Your brain will help support productivity as you develop new thought patterns and feelings that motivate you to act.

-- Prevent Problems and Anticipate Needs- Being aware and acting (or not acting) in advance to prevent problems and anticipate needs is a huge time saver.

In the past as a restaurant owner we prepped everything between busy times. There is a nearby sandwich shop that has yet to learn this. They run out of important items and run to the back in the midst of rush hour for needed items.

In another example, sometimes not speaking and just listening and acknowledging can help you to better understand while avoiding a potential problem.

Lastly, packing in advance of a trip can reduce stress and still get you to the airport on time if you end up getting sick or having car trouble or another issue at the last minute. Life happens. When you anticipate the more time you have remaining for fun! Of course, do not over do it! Over-planning can be a time waster as well. Seek balance.

As you learn to manage your SELF and build new good habits for higher productivity, you will shift out of the wind storm and progress up the staircase to achievement.

Be Unlimited Action Challenge

Choose one change you will make to your schedule over the next 30 days to enhance productivity.

- Put structure in place to support the new productive habit.
- Add a trigger to remind you to take the new action.
- Plan a strategy for what might throw you off.
- Believe in yourself!

For help with new habits, visit the Develop Good Habits page. Go ahead… get started. Be productive… StartingNow!

* Goudreau, Jenna. “The Secret to Being a Power Woman: Wake Up Early”. Forbes Woman. 16 Nov 2011. Forbes. 18 Sept 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/11/16/secret-being-power-woman-wake-up-early-sleep-success/#


mon, september 23, 2013 | link          Comments

Procrastination to Productivity

Get moving on important actions that open doors and bring you fulfillment. Whether it is having a productive work day every day, decluttering your home or office space, or learning to get more life-changing completions behind you; the following tips will help you shift from frozen to finished.

Get to the Source-
Are you exhausted? Rejuvenate, then take action. Feel confused about what to do? Gather more information. Is fear binding you? Rev up your courage and just do it. Is this something you really want? Decide. Is overwhelm causing massive brain overload? Get your to do list out of your head, onto paper, and get started. Is there a habitual thought pattern in place that needs a shift? Develop a new story (strategy) and take action for new results. Notice that each issue can be resolved with action.

You Do Not Have to ‘Feel’ Like It-
Over the years as a professional life coach, clients have attempted the ‘I just didn’t feel like it’ phrase as reasoning for not taking action. Successful people do not wake up and feel like exercising first thing in the morning. They do it because they know it is the best choice for the results they want. Once they build the new habit it becomes routine. Take action to build the new habit.

Block Time and Bundle Actions-
Instead of trying to take action on various areas each day block time for peak performance. Set a nice chunk of time for a high priority project, bundle smaller action steps, to do’s, and errands into another block, and a creativity day for product development. Keep like-minded activities together. Keep your energy levels in mind as you choose when to block actions.

Time’s up! -
Your clock is a tool to get started, stay on task, and be efficient. Right now, set the timer to 15 minutes on a project you have been avoiding and work quickly to complete what you can even if it is taking small steps. Use a clock to schedule email check times and to limit time handling email. By the way, create a system to limit email to your smart phone. Avoid having to go through email twice. Slice the time a project normally takes and work to complete it faster. When mastering deadlines you will automatically work to eliminate activities that waste time. You become more efficient and productive.

Prioritize To Do’s and Do in Priority-
Rank action steps in A B C order so you are clear on essential steps and what can wait. You may hesitate on top-ranked activities because that is where the most potential for growth lies. Discomfort is normal. Get it done first and you will feel amazing for having the gusto to follow through.

Lazer Focus- Avoid Multi-Tasking-
  Are you driving your day or is your day driving you? Our brains were not built for toggling. Maintain focus on excellence, efficiency, and enthusiasm on one activity at a time. Overwhelm is paralyzing. Choose your focus, take action, and watch the anxiety of overwhelm fade away as you make progress that creates positive change at work and home.

Right now. 5 minutes, 10, 15, whatever you can do right now. Take action! Begin shifting thought patterns from “I can do it later” to “I want to be fit… have a growing business… be an expert… or get that promotion so I am taking action now.” Keep a Completions Victory Log until you get 100 successes under your belt. Small actions count such as cleaning out a drawer. Incredible shifts in confidence happen around 60-70. However, if you are one to avoid what is most important use a Victory Log only in your top priority area and aim for 25 completions.

You are so kind to continue reading but now it is time. What is the one area you have been procrastinating on? What is the one area that you know can bring you the greatest positive long-term fulfillment? What is one small step you know you can complete to ignite the flame. Break the task down into what you know you can do and begin. Make the shift from procrastination to productivity… Starting Now!

tue, march 5, 2013 | link          Comments

UPDATE: LinkedIn Stocks soar 4th Qtr 2012- Net income climbs 66 percent with CEO describing 2012 as a "transformative year for LinkedIn."-- Charles Cooper, CNET

Elevate through LinkedIn’s 200 Million Members

This week LinkedIn got my attention. For one, I received one of the 20 million letters from LinkedIn honoring the top 1%, 5%, and 10% of most viewed profiles for 2012. Brilliant marketing! However, since the topic of becoming more influential was on my mind I immediately recognized the unlimited value of access to LinkedIn’s 200 million business professionals/members right at our fingertips. So today here are some essential tips and fantastic best-of-the-best resources to expand your network, elevate your career, opportunities, or business, and achieve goals through LinkedIn.


- LinkedIn currently has 200 million members in 200 countries  
- Executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn
- Used more for business than any other social media platform

Essential Tips:

- Profile Picture- LinkedIn is about building relationships. A profile with a photo is 7 times more likely to be viewed. A clean, professional, well lit photo can help to build trust. I rarely add a connection that does not take the time to add a photo.

- Add a Branding Professional Headline-
Add your professional headline at the top of your profile. Use keywords or a headline that pops to brand and boost profile views through searches.

- Add Keywords to Links in Your Profile-
When you add backlinks use the Other: option instead of Website, Blog, etc. in order for the benefit of adding titles with keywords which is more SEO friendly. Your links are under your Contact Info at the top of your profile.

- Create a Personal URL-
Below your photo you can create your custom URL. Think this through as you cannot edit it at this time. Using your name is recommended so friends and associates can find you more easily. It is more professional when included on business cards and in email signatures.

- Share Value through the Update Box-
Engage your community regularly with valuable information. You can also extend your update to your twitter followers.

- Compelling Summary-
Let’s face it. Your community is interested in you, but they are busy. Allow them to get to know and like you with a compelling summary which is close to the top of your profile. Mentioning your website does not create a link but makes it readily available to the reader. Bullet-pointed lists are clear and concise.

- Clear Focus and 100% Complete Profile-
Include who you are as a professional, who you help, and the problems you can solve. Help develop trust, professionalism, but also personality to help set yourself apart from others. Include keywords when possible, particularly with job titles, but not overkill. Yet also be honest, creative, and descriptive. Use bullet-pointed lists versus paragraphs.

- Recommendations and Endorsements-
Elevate your profile search rank with the more you get. Aim for 10+ as a start.

- Add a Share Button to Your Blog Posts-
Easily share value with your LinkedIn Community with a Share button on your Blog.

- Categorize You Audience-
Use tags to categorize your connections.

- Connect- Connect- Connect-
Build your network and the know-like-trust factor. Create a plan to be a regular user (15 minutes or however much each day) . Find contacts through search or contact connections. Engage people through personal notes and compelling questions instead of sales pitches or promos, say thank you, post updates, join groups and participate in the conversation. Think problem solving and relationship building versus promoting you and your company. Groups can also improve profile SEO when the group name appear in your profile.

In 2012 through LinkedIn my daughter and I were invited by one of Houston’s television anchors to tour and watch the evening news broadcast, simply through a question I asked, and the fact that my profile built the know, like, trust factor. Keep in mind Houston is a city of 4 million people. It was quite an honor.

- Cross Promote-
Cross promote over Facebook, Google +, Twitter, etc. growing your network through different channels.

- LinkedInToday-
Visit LinkedIn Today to see what is happening in your industry by clicking the News button at the top of your home page.

Fantastic Resources:

Card Munch- A free iPhone app that turns business cards into contacts. Take a picture of the business card and the app transforms it into a contact. Add those you meet and start building quality relationships.

Founded by LinkedIn superstar Lewis Howes, LinkedInfluence has become a popular online program that teaches you how to drive tons of traffic to your site, successfully network with high profile individuals, stand out from the crowd, and get job offers. Howes, who immersed himself in LinkedIn following an injury has skyrocketed in popularity, being interviewed by every major press and media outlet, and spoken on the topic of Entrepreneurship at the White House.  Review the program and scroll all the way down at LinkedInfluence to check out the video testimonial of how Jean’s step-son got 37 job offers in 2 weeks after a long period of unemplyment. One tip: If you choose the program, take action to follow thru step by step to reap the rewards. You can do it!  

So go ahead and get started tapping into 200 million connections on a regular basis. Deepen relationships. Develop your influence. Watch your business, opportunities, career, and dreams elevate as you continue to be unlimited…  StartingNow!

UPDATE: LinkedIn Stocks soar 4th Qtr 2012- Net income climbs 66 percent with CEO describing 2012 as a "transformative year for LinkedIn." Read more here .

mon, february 11, 2013 | link          Comments

Is Your Mindset Holding You Back? Develop a Growth Mindset & Build Extraordinary Abilities

“I have always been deeply moved by outstanding achievement and saddened by wasted potential.” Dr Carol Dweck

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Dr Carol Dweck explains, “For 20 years my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”  Dr Dweck initially discovered the benefits of a growth mindset in achieving higher levels of success and shared them in her book, ‘Mindset, The New Psychology of Success’.  Learning how you approach daily activities is significant in determining whether or not you are on track to fill the gap to your potential. At the end of this article I hope you move forward with a better understanding of how your current mindset is supporting or holding you back. And also have new information and resources to continue developing a growth mindset that expands your abilities and possibilities!

First, what distinguishes a fixed mindset from a growth mindset? Dr Dweck states, “a person with a fixed mindset believes we are all born with a certain set of skills and competencies. We either have a talent for something or we don’t.”  In contrast she explains, “If you have a full-on growth mindset, anything and everything is possible. If there is something you have an interest in yet don’t know how to do, you do whatever it takes to learn it.”  One with a fixed mindset may initially appear talented. The fixed mindset shows up when they encounter negative criticism, obstacles, or feel threatened by someone with greater skills. Ego takes over. Time is spent attempting to appear talented, avoiding challenges, or quitting rather than striving to grow and develop. A person with a growth mindset may first appear awkward or inadequate but they know they can improve with practice. Failure, critiques, and being with those who are more successful are not threatening and embraced as opportunities to learn and improve. Obstacles are simply glitches to overcome. The growth mindset builds motivation, drive, and a hard work ethic to learn, grow, persist, and master leading to great achievements.

The good news is that we have the ability to choose. We can change at anytime from a fixed to growth mindset and it is relatively simple with some focused attention. Which mindset fits you today? Which one of the sentences below best matches how you feel?

~ People are who they are with what they have been given. Your basic intelligence, talents, and personality traits do not change much.

~ People have the ability to substantially develop their intelligence, talents, and personality traits through focused effort.

The first statement is characteristic of a fixed mindset, while the second is indicative of a growth mindset. So how do you make the shift when the fixed mindset is holding you back?

Notice the Evidence-
Think about something that was really hard that you have improved in dramatically. Notice the stories of others all around us who have built expertise in areas you would never expect. Over the years I’ve learned that seeing someone struggle at the start has little insight to their success. More important is their approach to the activity.

Be Aware when the Fixed Mindset Shows Up-
When negative self-talk is questioning your abilities like whether you are smart, talented, or experienced enough, ask: What will I gain from this experience? i.e. knowledge, experience, developing a skill, strengthening your courage muscle, etc. You may just be feeling unprepared. Shift to the growth mindset making a commitment to learn more, develop skills, and improve.

Know that Your Mindset is a Choice-
You choose which direction you focus. Will you focus on being limited (fixed mindset)? Or will you open the possibilities by instilling the belief you can learn, grow, develop, and achieve with effort (growth mindset)?

Choose Growth Mindset Language-
Growth mindset language is not critical and does not stop you in your tracks. It is encouraging, such as: “I may not be good now, but I will study daily and become an expert.” “I may be new but I still have value to offer and will learn tremendously from this experience.” “This is one tough obstacle but I will keep at it until I get it, even if I have to get help from someone more experienced.” “Can’t? What is that? Not even in my vocabulary.”

So how can you encourage growth mindset in others such as your employees, children, family, friends, associates, etc.? Avoid labels by complimenting the effort they have put into the achievement instead of complimenting ‘who’ you believe them to be.

The growth mindset creates a more realistic, honest self-view as you discern from each experience what you like, don’t like, strengths, and weaknesses. The fixed mindset, however, creates a distorted self-view, exaggerated and limited, distancing you from knowing yourself and your true abilities. Howard Gardner has studied exceptional people. In his book Extraordinary Minds he concludes exceptional individuals have “a special talent for identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.”  Since the fixed mindset does not analyze abilities other than trying to determine how good they are, it is safe to say extraordinary minds work in a growth mindset.

How will you view daily experiences and challenges from here on out? It is your choice. May you move forward today with a growth mindset that supports you to learn, develop, and experience your extraordinary abilities
… StartingNow!

sun, january 27, 2013 | link          Comments

One Word, One Focus, Creates New Results

“If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control - myself.” Stephen R Covey

Happy New Year! Are you excited about 2013? Did you know significant change can occur with consistent, persistent focus on just one word? We all have within us access to many different traits with free will to choose. We can be enthusiastic or pessimistic, calm or impulsive, productive, courageous, determined, skillful, friendly, a learner, healthy, adventurous, etc. How would your life, career, or business change if you chose to focus on just one word daily as your theme for the year? Well, we are going to discuss exactly that here in a minute.

First, if you look behind what is not working- those patterns of discontent, that sabotaging thought or behavior- what you are likely to find is a trait or characteristic which has not been developed. Yes, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and it is productive to leverage your strengths. In addition, no matter what your endeavor you may be called to stretch out of your comfort zone and strengthen a character trait in order to step up to the next level. What I would like you to consider here is what is your missing ingredient? How about developing a character trait that may be a positive influence in various areas of your life? Here are a few examples:

Being healthy daily can lead to making better food choices, exercise, better sleep, etc. that leads to looking your best, feeling more confident, higher energy, etc. which can open doors to new opportunities.

Procrastinators and those easily distracted can focus on getting the important things done first, taking small action steps, and setting boundaries on tasks such as email, phone calls, etc.

Since fear is behind most sabotaging behaviors this is likely the best one yet. Choosing to be courageous daily helps you to take risks that lead to love, building your business, and impressing your boss.

Skilled or Educated-
If you are new in business or your career and want to build expertise this can be your reminder to take daily action steps to read, connect and learn from others, say ‘yes’ to a new class, etc.

Consistently looking for the best way to get things done with the least waste of time. The more you work at it, the better you get, saving time at home and work. The more you talk with others and read about it, the more information you gather and the stronger the trait becomes.

One who tends to be shy might focus here. While maintaining boundaries they may opt to say hello more often, attend a networking event with a smile, and take small steps to stretch daily that could lead to a promotion, a new relationship, etc.

Keep in mind, however, that strengths can sometimes be weaknesses. Positive traits are not always positive in every situation. Being a risk taker is often a great asset in career-building. However, risky driving does not serve anyone. So become aware of how and when to best use your winning ingredient.

"Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character." Stephen R Covey

Now it is time for a new good habit.

What is holding you back? Get to the source. List thought patterns or behaviors that stop you.

What is the one character trait that will best serve you to turn things around? A character trait that positively improves various areas of your life is a fantastic choice.

As you wake up daily and carry on through your day focus on your word as if you already are pro-active, determined, imaginative, communicative, adventurous, decisive, frugal, a finisher, or whatever word best serves you. When a negative habit turns up remind yourself that you are your new trait. By seeing in your mind, doing, and experiencing yourself being this character trait your brain is working to strengthen that connection.

Expect success and step over failures. Plan to succeed each day and when you have a failure step over it like a fallen branch. No big deal. Life is not smooth but it is adventurous. Learn from it and continue to grow.

Add a daily structure to focus on your one word daily. You can use your screen saver, a smart phone reminder, daytimer, a daily habits app, web tool, the Daily Habits Tracking Chart, etc. to track your winning streaks until it becomes a habit.

Each day as you focus on one word, one trait, it becomes more and more a part of who you are. Track your victories. The more victories you experience and as you build longer streaks of successful steps the more confident you become. As your new thought patterns and actions take root you begin experiencing exciting new results. So go ahead, try it out… one work, one focus… Starting Now!

50 Sample Character Traits:


sat, december 29, 2012 | link          Comments

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