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Archive for February, 2013
Overcoming Setbacks

According to Franklin Covey Company, some 75% of us will break our New Year’s resolutions within three months.  We’re almost two months into the New Year.  How are you doing?  Are you sticking to your resolutions?  By now you’ve probably experienced your first setback.  Maybe you’ve resolved to spend less and save money.  You had done well until yesterday, when in a weak moment you couldn’t resist the $100 dress you saw at Macy’s.  Rather than fall off-track, how can you get back on track and continue making progress?  Here are five tips to help you overcome setbacks and get back on track.

  • Come up with an alternate plan. Let’s say your resolution is to exercise more, and you’ve set a goal to walk 3-4 days a week for 30 minutes.  You’re discouraged that you haven’t been walking as much as you want due to inclement weather.  What are some alternate plans you could make that will allow you to meet your goal?  Maybe you could go to the mall and walk, or purchase a treadmill and use it on ‘bad weather’ days.
  • Reset unrealistic expectations and goals. If you aren’t seeing results, it can become very frustrating – whether your goal is to lose weight, get fit, or build your client base.  It takes time to see results from your hard work.  If your goal was to lose 50 pounds in 5 months, think again.  When the weight doesn’t come off as quickly as you’d like, it’s discouraging.  That’s when you’re likely to give up.  Instead, reset your expectations.  Losing one to two pounds a week is much more realistic.
  • Learn from your setback, accept it and move on. Let’s say your resolution is to improve your communication with your spouse, and last night you blew up at him.  The key here is to learn from your mistake.  What prompted you to lose your temper?  How can you better handle the situation next time?  Then stop beating yourself up; realize that no one is perfect.  Accept that the slip occurred and move on so you can continue making progress.
  • Enlist your support network to help you get back on track. Family and friends can give encouragement to help you make positive changes in your life.  If you feel you’re falling back into old behaviors, ask a trusted ally to support you in getting back on track again.
  • Realize that change takes time. For any behavior you’re attempting to change, you need to successfully practice it for about 30 days in order for the behavior to become a habit.  Be patient, and remember that change takes time!
5 Unconventional Tips to Relieve Stress and Improve your Mood

When undergoing a lot of stress, it’s important to get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat a healthy diet.  It’s also helpful to practice active relaxation techniques – especially when having a difficult day.  Here are five delightful and sometimes surprising ways to relax, relieve stress and improve your mood.

  1. Adopt a pet – Our furry friends give us unconditional love, and are always there when we need them.  Just snuggling up with my cat in my lap relaxes me.  Did you know that pets are good for your health?  During times of stress, relating to a pet can even lower your blood pressure.
  2. Listen to your favorite music – At the end of a stressful workday, listening to your favorite music elicits feelings of joy.  Music not only reduces anxiety and boosts our mood, but also helps us sleep better (which is another stress-reducer).
  3. Take a nap – According to Weill Cornell Medical Center, a mid-afternoon nap can help improve mood, memory, and learning – and it won’t interfere with night-time sleep.  If you have the flexibility in your day to take a cat nap, do it.  Snoozing for just 20 minutes improves alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy.
  4. Take a nature walk – Spend time outdoors in natural settings to relieve anxiety.  Surprisingly, as little as five minutes a day of walking in a city park, cycling, gardening, or other outdoor activity can boost your mood and sense of well-being (according to a study from the University of Essex, England).  When I worked at HP, I would take a walk outside along the par-course during my lunch hour.  I’d come back to work refreshed and ready to tackle my work again.
  5. Have sex – If you feel like you’re too tired to have sex after a long, hard day, think again.  Sex has many benefits.  Sex causes the brain to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety.  What’s more, sexual activity is associated with lower levels of depression, according to a study in the journal Society and Mental Health.

Pick your favorite idea and try it out the next time you need to relax and unwind after a tough day.  You’ll be delighted with the difference it makes.

For ideas on managing your stress during the work day, listen to Managing Workplace Stress CD.

5 Time Management Myths

Are you not as productive as you’d like to be?  Maybe your beliefs and attitudes towards time are holding you back.  Here are five myths related to time management.  Review these to determine if old, out-dated beliefs are hampering your productivity.

Myth #1: There isn’t enough time.

How many times have you said, “There isn’t enough time.”  The truth is that you and the most accomplished people have the same amount of time.  We all have just 24 hours in the day, and 168 hours in the week – no more and no less.  It’s how you choose to prioritize your time that makes a difference.

Myth #2:  I’ve got to figure out ways to save time.

There is no such thing as saving time; however we can certainly utilize our time better to become more efficient.

Myth #3:  The more I work the more I’ll get done.

Just because you work more hours, doesn’t mean you’ll accomplish more.  Activity isn’t the same as accomplishment.  In fact, if we work ourselves to the point of becoming fatigued, we are actually less productive.  Research shows it take five-times longer to solve a problem when we’re fatigued.

Myth #4:  If you want a job well done, then you have to do it yourself.

Many people think they have to perform a task themselves in order to do it right.  However, that’s not necessarily true.  Top achievers orchestrate the work flow and trust the talents of others.  They’ve learned to delegate effectively, and therefore get more accomplished.

Myth #5:  High achievers work harder than others.

High achievers don’t necessarily work harder than others, they work smarter than others.  They know their priorities and focus on the right things.  They also make more efficient use of their time.

For tips on how to better utilize your time, listen to Take Control of Your Time audio CD.