Tag Archives: New Year

Goodbye Resolutions and Goals. Hello Intentions!

Goodbye

I’ve given up on resolutions and goals. I’ve been inspired in part by Leo Babauta’s writing in Zen Habits.  He’s taken up living a goal free life and he’s prospering.

Goals Don’t Work

Goal setting  has never worked for me. And apparently it doesn’t work that well for others. A recent study shows that focusing on our goals has a negative downside. Such a focus diminishes our enjoyment of the activities required to achieve our goal. As a result we often give up.

Goals are about a future finish line that you’re meant to reach. It’s what most productivity models are based on.  The problem, if you’re like me, is that  you don’t always get to the finish line. And when that happens, you can feel like a failure.

If you do persevere and reach your goal, you can sometimes feel pride of accomplishment but then end up asking  yourself, like Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?” And the answer inevitably is, “Well, no! There are more goals to work on!” It’s a never-ending pursuit of some idealized version of yourself. This isn’t anyway to live or work.

Let’s face it. Life is messy and we’re far from perfect. Goal setting fails to take these realities into account.  If  goals really worked, all the self-help gurus would have long since been out of business.

A Better Way:  Intentions + Dedication

I know that we can be accomplished much without a slavish devotion to goals and plans. The way ahead lies in being clear about our intentions and being dedicated to seeing them through.

Intentions are about knowing and honoring our values, focusing on the present,  enjoying the process, and letting go of the struggle toward some distant finish line.  Intentions are about making room in our life for what is truly important.

Intentions  are about learning new, more skillful ways of being and doing.  But old habits die hard having been strengthened by years of constant use. To create healthier habits requires a willingness to dedicate time to practice them. Without this dedication little will change.

My Intentions for 2013

It’s useful to have a few select intentions to focus on rather than a long shopping list. Here are my 3 intentions for 2013.

  • Kindness. It’s my intention to be kind to myself and to others. This means not being quick to beat myself up over some perceived failure. As well, it’s my intention to be thoughtful and caring to both friends and strangers .
  • Acceptance. This is a repeat from last year and something I’m still  working on. It’s my intention to accept that things often happen regardless of what I do or don’t do.  I will accept the hard times along with the good, the sad with the joyful, and abundance with scarcity. And I will try to do all this with equanimity.
  • Spaciousness. It’s my intention to allow ample time to devote to my spiritual practice, creative pursuits, and physical well-being.  And to make my home free of clutter.

There is a better way to move forward in 2013 than harnessing yourself to a set of goals and plans. I know it sounds counter intuitive but throw away your goals. Trust that your intentions and your willingness to live them each and every day will get you where you want to go.

What are your intentions for 2013?

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Image by iStockphoto

Season’s Greetings from Victoria.

Peace

Broken Islands, B.C. ~ Photo by Dan Curtis 2012

 I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
 
~ from “The peace of wild things” by Wendell Berry

_____________________________________________________

To all my readers a joyous holiday season. May the New Year bring you much happiness, peace, and good health.

It’s been my privilege over the past year to provide weekly posts on topics of interest to professional personal historians. I’m looking forward to 2013 and a whole new series of  articles.

Thank you for all your comments. It’s always a treat to hear from you.

Warmest wishes,

Dan

Holly

Photo by Jack Berry

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8 Tips to Prepare Your Business for the New Year.

new-year_hd-2013

Your small business is like your car. It needs regular servicing to keep it running smoothly.

With the year rapidly drawing to a close, now’s the time to give your business a tune -up.

Here are 8 tips that’ll have your company running like a Rolls Royce in 2013.

1. Evaluate

Take a hard look at what’s  not working in your business and drop it.  It might be a marketing approach that has failed to generate leads. Or it might be fees that are too low to sustain your business.

Similarly, look at what’s working. How can you do more or improve on your success?  Maybe your  speaking engagements have been a great way of getting new clients. Consider offering more.

2. Declutter

Finding it hard to find the surface of your desk? Are there file folders and books stacked on the floor? Actually, it’s beginning to sound a lot like my office. ;-)

You’ll feel more organized and on top of things once you get rid of extraneous stuff. You don’t have to be a fanatic about it. A little order and spaciousness can go a long way.  Set aside a few minutes  a day and you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.

Just to let you know I’ve started my own decluttering. I do have a desk!

3. Bookkeeping

If you keep your receipts in a shoe box, it’s time to consider a bookkeeper or an accounting software program.

It’s critical that you have a clear picture of income, expenses, and profit. Without an ongoing snapshot of your financials you’ll never be able to accurately assess your company’s health.

4. Learn

Being a successful small business owner requires constantly upgrading  and learning new skills. Look for webinars, tutorials, expert speakers, and courses that will make a difference to your performance  in 2013.

For some great online training sites of interest to personal historians click here.

5. Connect

There’s a wealth of information and support to be found in professional  and small business associations.  For example, if you’re a personal historian and haven’t yet joined the Association of Personal Historians, make sure to join today.

6. Plan

Without a road map you’ll never know where you’re going.   Look ahead at the coming year and write down your goals. Keep them realistic. Grandiose plans are sure to fail and will leave you discouraged.

Check out Really Simple Goal Setting   for some excellent help.

7. Website

If you don’t have a website or blog, get one. If you have one, it’s time to take a critical look at it. How fresh is the content? How easy is it to navigate around the site? What’s missing? What can be discarded? How professional does it look?

You can find more on building a successful blog here.

8. Self-care

A healthy business needs a healthy owner. It’s easy to neglect your own care  when working hard to make a success of your business.

Make certain to schedule time for you in your day planner.  Whether it’s going to the gym or for a walk, meditating or reading a book, you need to give yourself permission to relax and recharge.

For more articles on taking care of yourself check these out:

What are the things you do to get yourself and your business ready for a new year?

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Do You Fail To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?

You’re not alone. Research shows that the majority of all resolutions fail within 6 months. So why do we bother?

I think we make resolutions because we want to be better people. We see weaknesses and want to fix them. There’s nothing wrong with this impulse but  there’s a better way of going about it than making resolutions.

The other day I came across an article by Chris Brogan, My 3 Words for 2012.  I was intrigued. Chris’s approach is to dig deep and find three words that’ll act as your polestar as you navigate the new year.

To me Brogan’s  idea of “3 words” is similar to resolutions but acts more as a mantra – a way to remind yourself on a daily basis to hold  your course.

my 3 words for 2012

  • Simplify. I will clear out the physical and mental junk that holds little value or relevance in my life. This means tossing out, recycling, or donating stuff that’s filling useful space. I intend to be more mindful of thinking that isn’t helpful and let it go. This includes thoughts of scarcity, dread, and perfection. I will look for ways to simplify my work.
  • Play. I am by nature a somewhat serious guy with a touch of melancholy that comes no doubt from my Irish heritage.  I will learn to take time to cavort, dance, rejoice, and mess around. In other words, have some fun.
  • Accept. I will learn to accept that things often happen regardless of what I do or don’t do.  I will accept the hard times along with the good, the sad with the joyful, and abundance with scarcity. And I will try to do all this with equanimity.

Achieving success

Having 3 words  is a start. You can assure yourself greater success by doing the following:

  • Make your words public.  Put your 3 words on facebook, twitter, or your blog. Let your friends and family know how you’re doing. Going public will motivate you to succeed. I’ve  made my list public and already feel an obligation to report to you on my progress. Stay tuned!
  • Post your words. Type up your 3 words and stick them where you’ll see them every day. It might be on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or on your bedside table. I’ve pasted mine on my computer monitor.
  • Work on one word at a time. Your chances of success are greater if you apply yourself to changing one thing. I’ve chosen play as the first thing to focus on.
  • Make it a habit. Research shows that it takes on average about 60 days to develop a habit so that it becomes automatic. This means that each day for 60 days you need to practice the one behavior you want to achieve.  I’ll set aside 30 minutes each day for the next 60 days to engage in a playful activity that isn’t something that I’m already doing.  Once a week I’ll take an hour to “mess around”. At the end of two months I’ll chose another word while at the same time holding on to my newly acquired habit of play.

What are your 3 words?

What are the 3 words that’ll guide you through 2012? Why not share them here.  I’d love to hear from you.

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Season’s Greetings from Victoria.

Sunrise at Cherry Point, British Columbia

To all my readers a joyous and magical holiday season. May the New Year bring you much happiness, peace, and good health.

It’s been my privilege over the past year to provide weekly posts on topics of interest to professional personal historians. I’m looking forward to 2012 and a whole new series of  articles.

Thank you for all your comments. It’s always a treat to hear from you.

Warmest wishes,

Dan

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Photo by Dan Curtis

My New Year’s Wish.

Imagine

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one