Second Acts

December 28, 2005

Volume 1, Issue 6- December

"...look to the future? Stop!!! Participate in the present!!!"

 

Be Present and Move From Surviving to Thriving

This Issue ...

 

 

 

 

"...have a detailed checklist of your progress and success, as well as notations on areas that could use some improvement. "

 

 

 

Be Present and Move From Surviving to Thriving
By Michele Alexander Owner of 4 The Perfect Fit Coaching and Consulting

We are in the throws of our Holiday Season. This means many of us are asking ourselves questions, about what our resolutions. What will they be in the New Year? We look to the future? Stop!!! Participate in the present!!! It's a great way to empower yourself, assess where you are, and find out where you really need to make change. I'm not saying don't make a resolutions; in-fact, that's exactly what I am saying But, being SMART could really make a difference.

Second Acts is dedicated to helping single career women in midlife be present and empower themselves to create successful change. This is only the beginning. Starting in January, each issue of Second Acts, will focus on areas that will support and empower development and focus for single career women over 35. They are as follows:

  • January - Missions
  • February - Relationships
  • March - Clutter
  • April - Finances
  • May - Motherhood
  • June - Self Care
  • July - Celebration
  • August - Support Networks
  • September - Leadership, Mentoring and Career
  • October - Entrepreneurship
  • November - Holidays
  • December - Resolutions - Happy New Year!!!

So let's commit to the experience, of the journey. This issue of Second Acts discusses resolutions. …and, it's only the beginning.

Thanks Again for All of your Support this Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Goal Setting Tips for New Year Resolutions

By Wendy Betterini

If you've ever had a yearly performance review for your job, you know it can be a tense experience that determines whether you receive a pay raise or not. Your boss will likely have a detailed checklist of your progress and success, as well as notations on areas that could use some improvement.

While these reviews can be stressful, they are also helpful because they offer a bigger perspective than you would ordinarily see in your day to day job functions. You might become aware of activities that are unproductive, limiting, or even detrimental to your professional advancement.

You can also benefit from this same process by creating an annual New Year review for your life. It can help you assess progress in all areas of your life, address challenges and obstacles, and come up with some exciting goals and plans for the New Year.

The best time to do a review is during the last few weeks of the year, but it can be done any time you want a fresh start. You can choose to do just one session or several, whatever works best for you.

Set the Mood - When you are ready to begin, first create a calm, quiet atmosphere. Put on comfortable clothing and choose a private area where you won't be disturbed for 30-60 minutes. You can also light some scented candles and incense, and play some soft music if you like. Grab a pen and notebook or journal. Then take a few minutes to sit quietly and take some slow, deep breaths. This will help you release stress and focus your thoughts.

Review - Now you are ready to begin reviewing your life over the past year. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to? Were there areas that could have used some improvement? Give some thought to these six categories:

  1. Physical health and fitness (diet, exercise)
  2. Financial wellness (earnings, savings, investments)
  3. Spiritual growth (inner peace, meditation, prayer)
  4. Mental health (positive thoughts, attitude)
  5. Career (job, business)
  6. Relationships (with significant others, children, friends, family)

Ask yourself three questions about each of these areas, and write your answers in the journal.

  1. Which of my positive actions contributed to growth and progress?
  2. Which of my negative actions caused stagnation and lack of progress?
  3. What could I do better to improve my progress in the coming year?

It is very important not to judge yourself harshly during this process! An annual review is not about beating yourself up or concluding that you're a terrible person. This should be an unemotional, objective view of your life goals and progress. By becoming aware of areas where you can take more control over your life, you can create more success and abundance.

Plan - Now that you have a clear view of the past year and ideas about what you could do differently, you can make plans and set goals for the coming year. Again, look at the six main areas of your life: Physical health, Financial wellness, Spiritual growth, Mental health, Career, and Relationships. What would you like to create for yourself in the coming year? Write some specific goals for each category. Your goals should be realistic, yet somewhat challenging. You want to dream big, but not overwhelm yourself either. It can also be helpful to break your bigger goals down into smaller increments. You can set 3 month goals, 6 month goals, 9 month goals, and 12 month goals.

Action Steps - This is a crucial step in the process. Once you have your goals set for each category, think about the action steps that will move you toward your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight and get into better shape, daily exercise would be an action step. That is something you need to do every day (or nearly every day) in order to accomplish your goal. Be specific with the action goals. Don't just write, "eat healthy." Write down exactly which foods you want to include, and which you want to avoid. Write down the exact types of exercise you want to include, which days of the week you want to do them, and for how many minutes each day.

Enjoy the Journey - Once you begin putting your action steps into motion, it's important to understand that self-improvement is a process. You won't change everything overnight. By expecting too much, too soon, you could sabotage yourself. Instead, keep focusing on the action steps every day. Congratulate and praise yourself for keeping with it. If you begin to slack off, be firm with yourself about getting back on track, but again, don't beat yourself up. Simply refocus on your goals and begin again. All positive actions will create positive results, and as long as you keep trying, you cannot fail.

Gauge Your Progress - It can be helpful to keep performing daily or weekly checks to be sure you are moving in the right direction. Simply review the goals and action steps you have set for yourself, and assess whether you are on track or not. Again, keep this process unemotional and objective. If you see areas that could use improvement, you already know the steps to take to turn them around again.

Activities like this review process can be such a powerful tool in our own development. No matter what we've achieved or haven't achieved in the past, it's never too late to start over. Each new day is a chance to invite more love, abundance, joy, peace, and success into our lives. Simply by focusing our thoughts and taking action toward our goals, we can create virtually anything we desire.

About The Author

Wendy Betterini is a freelance writer who strives to motivate, uplift, and inspire you to make your dreams a reality. Visit her website, http://www.WingsForTheHeart.com for more positive thoughts to help you on your journey.

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Ten Tips For Setting (And Keeping) Life Changing Resolutions
By: Toni Coleman

It's time for that annual ritual of making (and breaking) our New Year's resolutions. There is something about the idea of being able to start over that motivates us to pause (at least briefly) and reflect on our lives as they are, as well as how we would like them to be. Yet how many times have you thought back to last year's goals and found that many or most of them were abandoned or just forgotten after a few weeks or months into the year?

Many of us have difficulty following through on our resolutions due to factors such as choosing unrealistic goals, not making them challenging enough and/or lacking the necessary motivation to stick with them. The following tips should help put you on the right course and assist you in staying committed to your most important goals for 2006.

Start with a life vision

If you don't know what you want your future to look like, how can you decide what areas of your life need to be worked on? Spend some quiet time TODAY reflecting on (and writing down) what is good, bad or incomplete. Then try to "see" your life if all of these areas were addressed and had become satisfactory to you.

Get organized

Clear away clutter. Go through paperwork, files, old bills and receipts, closets, drawers and storage containers. Decide what you need and will use and either throw out or give away all the rest. Put aside some time each week for this purpose. After you have cleaned out you can think about your existing systems for management and storage and see if these need reworking or just some fine-tuning. Keep ONE calendar to record all appointments, events, etc. Write down everything- don't rely on memory.

Expand your horizons and make a commitment to learning something new.

Challenging yourself will infuse you with greater energy and sense of purpose. It will help build your self-esteem to realize you really are capable of more than you had previously believed. This new learning can also give you additional resources to assist you in your career, personal or love life.

Set challenging but realistic resolutions

Choose goals that stretch your ability muscles, yet are realistic and therefore less vulnerable to failure. Don't respond to that negative inner voice that says; "oh, I'm not capable of that". Instead, focus on what you truly desire for your life and relationships and let this be your guide.

Write down your resolutions

Write them down and stick them on your bathroom mirror, your fridge, your car dashboard, your desk or wherever you know will be a good place for you to see them. You can also show them to a good friend, family member, your coach or anyone who could provide support and encouragement.

Create action steps for each resolution; write them down, and keep an accounting of your progress for each.

A resolution without planned action is doomed to failure. Break each goal down into small action steps or objectives. Putting a date for completion will help ensure you follow through. Come up with an accountability system that will work for you. Make sure you check off each accomplishment as you go and be flexible and willing to make adjustments in your action steps in order to achieve your desired end results.

Take care of yourself; eat well. Exercise regularly and learn to control and eliminate unhealthy stress.

I know this is an obvious one, so why is it often ignored or overlooked when we are attempting to make important life changes? How many times have you said, "I don't have the time" to eat right, exercise, sleep adequately, etc? Not caring for yourself will guarantee failure. So, why not make this your first and most important resolution for 2006?

Work to eliminate bad habits

Including this as a New Year's resolution would put you on the road to good follow-through. Bad habits will sabotage your efforts and use up your limited resources of time, energy and focus. For each bad habit you decide to eliminate, have a good habit in mind to replace it with.

Set appropriate and healthy limits in all areas of your life

Knowing your limits and enforcing them with yourself and others is a prerequisite to a healthy life and relationship. Learn to say "no" and "enough" and be firm in your resolve that this is a good thing to do. Otherwise, you will also be undermining your resolution to take care of yourself.

Work to be the kind of person you want to be with

Bringing out the best qualities in yourself will help to ensure that you attract people of good quality into your life. You wouldn't want to compromise on the standards you have set for a potential mate. Therefore, it's important to understand that this also holds true for other people in search of relationships.

Now begin this year with the resolve to be the person you know you have the potential to be. You'll be pleased with the wonderful changes that await you!

About The Author

Toni Coleman, MSW is a licensed psychotherapist, relationship coach and founder of http://www.consum-mate.com. As a recognized expert, Toni has been quoted in many local and national publications including: The Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel, New York Daily News, Indianapolis Star and Newsweek newspapers and Family Circle, Woman's Day, Cosmo Style, Tango, Men's Health, Star (regularly quoted body language expert), and Nirvana magazines. She has been featured on abcnews.com; discovery.health.com; aolnews.com; MSN.com, Match.com and planetearthradio.com. Toni offers dating help and relationship advice as the weekly love and dating coach on the KTRS Radio Morning Show (St. Louis, MO) and through her syndicated column, "Dear Dating Coach." Her newsletter, The Art Of Intimacy, helps over fifty-five hundred subscribers with its dating and relationship advice. Toni is a member of The International Coach Federation, The International Association Of Coaches and The National Association of Social Workers.

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New York, NY 10128

Phone:
(212) 987-6177

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Why "New Month Resolutions" Are Better than New Year's Resolutions
by: Dr. Stephen Kraus, Success Scientist

Nearly half of Americans make New Year's resolutions, but only about 15% are able to keep them over the long-term. In other words, about 85% break their resolutions, with as many as 20% breaking them in the first week!

Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to be more successful in keeping your resolution and making life changes is this: don't make New Year's resolutions - make New Month resolutions instead.

Let's face it: If you only take stock of where are and where you want to go in life once a year, then you're probably not going to end up where you want to be. If you set goals and start self-improvement efforts only once a year, you'll forget them. You'll lose focus. You'll get distracted by the hassles of day-to-day life. You'll get overwhelmed by the magnitude of your goals.

Perhaps most importantly, you'll set goals so far in the future that they won't be motivating. And that's why it's better to set New Month resolutions instead of New Year's resolutions.

There's nothing wrong with the idea of a New Year resolution; after all, people have been making them for over 4,000 years. The problem is that people don't make them often enough.

Imagine how much more people would achieve if the end of every month brought about the same feelings as New Year's Eve: that renewed commitment to fitness and weight loss, the excitement about their goals and their future, that urge to get organized and get focused.

The New Year brings about the feeling of a "fresh start," and that can have very real effects; for example, research shows that people are more likely to recover from depression if they have that sense of a fresh start.

Perhaps the biggest reason to set New Month resolutions is that short-term goals have repeatedly been shown to lead to more motivation, better performance and greater happiness than long-term goals.

Consider this sampling of findings…

  • As the deadline for a particular goal looms, people think more about that goal and experience a burst of productivity. Even rats work harder as they approach their "goals"! We call it the "imminence effect," and setting monthly goals uses this effect to your advantage.
  • Children struggling in math asked to set near-term goals not only outperform those asked to set more distant goals, they also develop a heightened sense of personal control, confidence, determination, and even (gasp!) an interest in math that wasn't there before.
  • Among adults, near-term goals lead to more weight loss than distant goals, and those who do lose weight setting distant goals do so only because they "improvise" more near-term goals as well.
  • Those who are most satisfied with life are those working toward enjoyable, moderately challenging goals of high short-term importance. Those consistently focused on very long-term goals are less satisfied with life, and view their long-term goals as more difficult, more pressure-filled, and less enjoyable.
  • Members of the U. S. Olympic ski team are required to write long-term, intermediate and short-term goals, but the sports psychologists who work with them have concluded that "repeated daily focusing on long-term goals is often counter-productive. The focus is too far into the future and prevents the athlete from completing the intermediate steps essential to ultimate success."
  • Military leaders often "segment" or "compartmentalize" complex missions into smaller, "bite-sized" sub-missions.

With these findings in mind, use New Month resolutions to achieve more in your own life. Instead of focusing on your goal to build a successful business by the end of the year, focus on writing the business plan by the end of the month. Instead of focusing on your goal of losing 50 pounds in the next year, focus on exercising 30 minutes each day during January. You get the idea. You'll achieve more, be happier, and get that great "fresh start" feeling 12 times more often than New Year's resolution makers.

About The Author

Success Scientist Dr. Stephen Kraus has been called a combination of Tony Robbins and Mr. Spock because of his scientific approach to the psychology of success. Steve is author of the highly-acclaimed book, Psychological Foundations of Success: A Harvard-Trained Scientist Separates the Science of Success from Self-Help Snake Oil. Steve has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University, and can be reached at www.RealScienceOfSuccess.com or www.KeepYourResolution.comarticles@stevekraus.com

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Using "Self-Talk" to Fulfill New Years Resolutions
By: Michael J. Russ

There is something truly special about the coming of a New Year. Another twelve months present the perfect opportunity to start over, transform or change your self in some way. Regardless of what you resolve to do, be it to improve your health, develop better relationships with friends, make a job change or even see a part of the world you've been dreaming about, everything is within the realm of possibility if you say so.

The important question then becomes "why do New Years resolutions go unfulfilled?" Is it because they are too ambitious? I don't think so. At the beginning of the year you are full of optimism, excitement and hope. The thoughts and words you use to describe your resolutions reflect positive tones as you say, "I can do this" or "I believe I can do it this year." You even tell your closest friends how excited you are about what you are going to accomplish. Then, as the days and months progress your enthusiasm fades and you find yourself making excuses and being apologetic for not pursuing your goals, saying things like "I just can't find the time" or by thinking "I am just too tired today."

Has anything really happened to make your resolutions unachievable? Yes, you're "self-talk." You simply talked yourself right out of your resolutions. "Self-talk" is what you think and say about yourself, both in your head and in conversations with others. In order to fully manifest your resolutions, your "self-talk" must be completely in sync with them.

A congruency of "self-talk" and action helps you maintain the attitude, drive and motivation to keep moving forward, even in the face of adversity and procrastination. Here are some things you can do to get your "self-talk" on the right path and manifest your resolutions.

Be clear about your resolutions. The quickest route to what you want is a straight line. When you create resolutions you are unsure about, your "self-talk" will eventually sabotage your efforts by chipping away at your motivation and enthusiasm. Having clarity about your resolution instills greater focus, ignites passion and enhances self-confidence. You become more willing to design, monitor and use "self-talk" to support you every step of the way. Choosing not to make a resolution is better than making one you aren't willing to stand behind. With time and patience you will decide upon and fully support changes that are perfect for you.

Become familiar with the "self-talk" you are using now. "Self-talk" is something you use all the time. Whether it takes a positive or a negative direction is up to you. Being alert to the kind of "self-talk" you use allows you to discover and defy its negative nature and see that it maintains proper alignment with what you are doing to achieve your resolutions.

Consciously design "self-talk." Use "self-talk" that is positive and on track by consciously designing supportive statements that begin with words such as "I am", "I can", "I will" and "I intend." These words build confidence, motivate and reinforce your intentions. Drop statements that begin with "I can't", "I don't" and "I'll try" from your "self-talk" vocabulary. In order to succeed in reaching your resolutions you must always speak of yourself and what you are doing in a positive way, regardless of the circumstances.

Keep your "self-talk" moving in a positive direction. Adversity is a natural part of life. It's been said that people should be judged not by their successes, but by how they handled their adversities. When adversity strikes, instead of beating yourself up about what happened, respond with positive "self-talk" that inspires you to work through it, such as "I am strong enough to get through this and get back on track." What's important is to keep your "self-talk" moving in a positive direction and focus on what you can control- the way you feel, how you respond and the attitude you maintain.

"Self-talk" is the most amazing force you have for creating the life you envision. Words have the potential to build or destroy and influence everything you experience. However one thing holds true, when you support yourself in every moment, life doesn't seem so difficult. This is the power of "self-talk."

About The Author

Michael J. Russ has authored audio books on the mental side of golf, life and sales. His titles include Powerful Golf, Powerful Self-Talk and Powerful Sales and his latest Design Your Life. For more information please visit www.powerfulliving.org.

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Text Box:  Inspiration Corner

The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards; they will be dissipated, lost and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence


--Marie Edgeworth--

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Michele Alexander

Email:     coach@4ThePerfectFit.com

Phone:    (212) 987-6177

Web:       http://www.4ThePerfectFit.com

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