Tag Archives: finance

There is power in ‘Before’

 

Happy New Year!!!  We have officially said goodbye to 2015 and across the globe people are welcoming in 2016 with hope, encouragement and good cheer.  As most of us turn the calendar forward we also take time to set new plans/resolutions/goals for the New Year.  I (as well as hundreds of others) have written before about how to be sure your resolutions are goals rather than dreams and you can read all about that here.

So if you are one of the millions who have set a new goal for 2016, I want to encourage you to do one simple thing that will help you achieve whatever your new goal is.

Take a before picture!!!

And I am not just talking about those of you with weight loss or body image goals.  Yes, if you have those goals, take that mirror selfie or have a friend get shots of you from all those oh so pleasing angles.

Regardless of the scope of your resolution – take a before picture!!!

But what about those other resolutions?

Better organization – take shots of your office/bedroom/house/inbox as they are today.

Eating healthier – take shots of your normal meals, the pantry, the refrigerator.

Better finances – create your balance sheet.  What are your assets?  What about liabilities?  Create it.  Save it.  Screen shot it.

Improved parenting – find whatever represents how you feel you are not living up and take a picture of that.

I think you get the picture (yep, I went there).  Take a pic of whatever will remind you of where you are today – before your efforts kick in.  So now the question you should be asking, why?  Why document this disaster?

There is power in the concept of before!!!

A before photo indicates there is an ‘after’.  It provides hope and encouragement that your current situation is not permanent and can be changed.

Taking a before photo starts the actual process of change.  You are already taking a small action towards change.  It moves you from dreaming to doing.

No one makes a significant change without stumbling once or twice.  Being able to look back and see how far you have come from that ‘before’ can restore your faith in your ability to change.  Use it as motivation to never go back.

It tells the story of you!!  I have never met someone who has completed a transformation that has not wanted to share it with others to encourage them.  Imagine the additional power your story will have when you have made your transition and literally show others how far you have come.

I have never met anyone who has regretted taking before photos but I have met dozens who regret not taking them (including me).  I wish I had a photo of what I looked like on the karate mat before I lost the 30lbs.  I can vividly see it in my own mind but have nothing to show you all where my journey started from.

So as you set those goals for 2016 be sure to document where you are starting from.  Be sure that you capture the power of ‘before’.

Happy New Year and l am looking forward to making 2016 the best year yet!!

If you want some things to change in your life…you need to change some things in your life!!

One of my former colleagues used to live by the mantra “If you want some things to change in your life, you have to change some things in your life”.  While it is the most obvious of truths, it is difficult for most to actually put in to place.

Think about it.  About this time every year, people start to assess their lives, determine what they would like to change and then make ‘resolutions’ around achieving that change.

C’mon, admit it.  How many of your resolutions have been repeated for 3-years or more?  I am willing to bet most of us have at least one.  I know that in past years, I certainly have.  So I have decided I am not going to call the resolutions of our past ‘resolutions’ any longer – I am going to call them ‘wishes’.  Resolutions imply being resolute – wishes are things that just happen.

Resolved [ri-zolvd]

                Adjective

Firm in purpose or intent; determined

Wishes carry the implication that the results are up to someone else.  The Genie gives Aladdin 3 of them.  Cinderella gets hers granted by her fairy Godmother.  Pinocchio’s are granted by wishing upon a star.  See the trend?  Besides all being Disney classics, they all also relied upon the power of others to receive their wishes.

If it is to be, it is up to me! ~ Anonymous

So how do we ensure that this year we make resolutions vs. wishes?

  • Wishes are nebulous – Resolutions are specific. Eat healthier.  Exercise more.  Reduce debt.  Be a better friend.  All of these are great aspirations but are horrible resolutions.  So if I eat a tomato today with my salad did I achieve the ‘eat healthier’ wish for the year?  Make sure your resolutions are specific in the actions that will help you achieve the larger more nebulous wish.
  • Wishes last forever – Resolutions have an expiration date. When are you going to achieve the end result of all of your hard work?  Put it on a calendar.  This is critical to making the next step work.
  • Wishes focus on the macro – Resolutions focus on the micro. If the end that you have in mind is to lose 30 lbs, we set a goal of a target weight (big picture).  While having the end product in mind is important, you need to focus daily on the little steps that will get you there.  Exercise 5 days a week.  Get your heart rate up to specific levels.  Make sure you do not exceed specific caloric intake levels.
  • Wishes magically happen – Resolutions can be measured. Now that we know what we need to do every day to step closer to our end result, track it.  Cutting back debt?  How much is being paid off and when?  Being a better friend?  Who are the 3 people you reached out to today?  If you did not track it, it did not happen.  Depending on the nature of the resolution, I am sure there are dozens of aps already designed to help you track the activity surrounding your resolution.
  • Wishes are luxury – Resolutions are necessity. When you wish for something, you are neither surprised nor disappointed when it does not happen.  After all, it was a wish.  When you are resolute about something, you are going to make it happen.  It is a necessity.  This especially shows through in 4 out of the 5 of my travel Guardrails.  Want to guess which rule is the one I break the most?
  • Wishes are private – Resolutions are public. Now this one may be uncomfortable but you are far more likely to achieve a goal, even a well-crafted one, when you have accountability.  Find a family member, a mentor, someone on the same path as you or even one of the many website/aps out there that assist with this.

Remember, wanting to make a difference in your life is a good thing!!  Let’s just make sure we are really making resolutions and not just making wishes.