Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Turning my Goals into Action

Working to achieve a goal can be frustrating and downright discouraging if we're not making headway. For a goal to become more than a wish or a hope or a dream, I had to figure out what would best help me reach it.

The goal writing lessons that I used with seventh and eighth graders in my classroom  became the technique that would work for me. It's good for any goal, whether I'm working on a daily or a mid- or long-term goal.

Here are the writing steps I take:

1. Visualize the change I need to make. That becomes my goal.

2. Write the goal. Write it in the present tense - as if I am doing it now. I am getting my health under control with diet and exercise. I am clearing the clutter from my desk. I am finishing project A. 
Not “I’m going to...” or “I want to...” or “I will try to...”  But, “I am...”

3. Place the goal where I can see it. For a long-term goal, I might write it on three or four cards or Post-its and put them in prominent places.

4. Each day, I write the goal on my organizational sheet along with my to-do list.

Two action steps were huge in helping me accomplish my health goal this past year:

1. I shared my goal with my best friend and partner, Judy. Then with a few others.

2. Several times a day, I asked myself the crucial question:  “Does my behavior match my goal?”

The impact of that question is remarkable. Judy would invite me to go for a morning walk, and I’d almost decline, but I’d think, Does this behavior match my goal? Then I’d get up from my computer and be ready to go. Shopping for groceries and trying to create new eating habits, the question would come to mind, Does buying this match my goal? Yes to spinach, whole grains, and broccoli; no to ice cream and white rice.

Posing the question gets me back if I get sidetracked or lose focus when working on a project.

So, when you have a goal in mind and want to get off to a powerful start with it, write it in the present tense, and be sure to question your behavior and whether it's contributing to your success in reaching that goal. Before too long, the goal becomes a part of you.

What success have you had with recent goals? How did you put them into action?

How would you write the goal that you are ready to work toward?

~xo A ~

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Making Goals become Reality

Just like people, goals come in all sizes and flavors:  Personal, career, fitness, educational, spiritual, financial, and Olympic.   Bite-sized, baby-step goals, accomplished one after another, put us that much closer to our larger goal.

Taking stock of ourselves and looking toward where we want to be,
we visualize ourselves reaching that goal.  Next, we figure out the necessary steps for accomplishment.  Then, at each benchmark, we feel proud of our achievement and take the next step on our way to making our goal.

A mentor, trainer, friend, teammate, or coach can help us get there.  We need to seek out and find those who we can count on for support as we work toward our goals.  Those individuals are positive influences for success.  Why?  Because the likelihood of completing our goals increases hugely when we include others in our plans. 

If we:

  • Just hear an idea, it’s 10%

  • Consciously decide to adopt an idea - 25%

  • Decide when we will do it - 40%

  • Plan how we will do it - 50%

  • Commit to someone else that we’ll do it - 65%

  • And, when we have a specific accountability appointment with the person to whom we have committed, there’s a 95% chance that we will actually complete the goal.

Our job is to keep pushing toward our goals – whatever they may be.  What does it take?  Determination, vision, persistence, guts, and dedication – to our dream, our goal, and committing out loud to another person for accountability.

Set yourself up for making your goals become reality. Each step, no matter how small, gets you closer. Yes, even baby steps count. Now, what goal are you dreaming up?

~ xoA ~

Monday, July 11, 2011

Going for It

Port Orford, OR
Destination: San Jose. Goal: doing what we love. We three amigas, Laurie, Virginia and I, zipped down the coast highway on our motorcycles, filling our senses with the sights and smells -- the gorgeous ocean vistas and the aroma of the redwoods. Our second day out, we cut a swath through morning sun-lit vineyards, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, maneuvered the streets of San Francisco, and made it safely to San Jose for the 25thAnniversary Women on Wheels® International Ride-In.
Laurie & Virginia at Dolce Hayes Mansion
Once there, we met up with Bakersfield buddies, Sylvia and Trudy, and began the round of greetings and squeals as more and more motorcycling friends from all over the country rolled in. It was three days of riding, reminiscing, meeting new folks, and celebrating the joys and triumphs that we experience when motorcycling. It was a time to remember those who couldn’t make it this year and to look forward to seeing everyone at the 2012 Ride-In.
The woman who took the “Oldest Female Rider” plaque at the Awards Ceremony was born only a year ahead of me. I looked around at the banquet tables full of white, grey, and salt-and-pepper heads and noticed a few folks who might have given the winner a run for her money in the age department. But, they hadn’t submitted their names and birthdates.

One thing that keeps us silent about our age is that we want to continue as we always have, and we don’t want anyone telling us we’re too old. We want to try new things and not be discouraged because of someone else’s notion about age and what’s appropriate. In answer to the question of how old she is, my friend Donna always says, “I’m ageless.”

Age is just a number. On either end of the continuum, it doesn’t have to be limiting. At 76, Clara Barton rode in the mule wagons and worked as a battlefield nurse during the Spanish-American War. Ben Franklin was 79 when he invented bifocals. At 13, Bill Gates wrote his first computer program. When 18, Tommy Hilfiger opened his first clothing store. And, union organizer Mother Jones wrote her autobiography when she was 95.

Inside, I still feel like the 40-year-old Annis. With the help of a little glucosamine chondroitin, I’m ready for doing zumba and gym workouts, hiking trails, and riding my motorcycle. 

At a fuel stop on our way home from the Ride-In, Laurie and I walked into the building, and I held the door open for the young man who was coming out. I heard him say, “Thank you very much,” sort of like Elvis. “You’re welcome,” I answered. Both Laurie and the store clerk looked surprised; they thought he’d said “Thanks, Grandma.” Maybe he did, but so what.

Whatever your age, you still have time to do something extraordinary, or something that you’ve always dreamed of trying. Right now is that time. 

Zip-lining in Juneau, AK
What is it that you have on your to-do list?

~ xoA