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52 Weeks Forward
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We can reduce much stress, increase effectiveness and be generally happier if we make an effort to declutter our lives.

Declutter

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You don’t have to wait until spring to organize. It can be a mindful, all the time task. But I also know, that decluttering can be an overwhelming task that must be handled in much the same way you eat an elephant… one spoon full at a time.

A series of small focused steps can have a huge impact.

Since this year our goal is to accomplish specific tasks, its best to focus on that space first.

1. Clean. Remove everything, create a pile if you must. Admire the empty space and allow yourself to claim it.

2. Don’t let the pile haunt you, but don’t feel like you need to take care of it all at once. Pick one piece at a time and make a decision. Do you love it? Do you need it? If not, and know that 80% of the stuff we hold on to we never look at again, recycle it, donate it, or give it away.

3. Eventually you will have a pile of items you love. Organize a space for them. Give them a home. A place you can return them to.

This is important, but especially important if you only have a part time space or you need to share your space with others.

4. In some cases you’ll have a “maybe” pile. If you don’t touch anything in 6 months let it go.

The act of simplifying and organizing will do wonders for your stress level and motivation. Maintaining is a practice in self discipline.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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Self discipline is a skill we can all cultivate.

People create their own success by learning what they need to learn and then by practicing it until they become proficient at it.
Brian Tracy

discipline

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Self discipline is really about self control. An inner strength that allows you to control yourself, your actions and your behavior. It is one of the most important skills needed to accomplish your goals. Taking a step forward with perseverance, persistence and of course self discipline is key to living your dream.

We are always going to encounter challenges and distractions on the path to success. So how can we cultivate our discipline? How can we make our dreams, our goals, our future part of our study? How can we make it our discipline?

1. Self Awareness – First we need to understand and be aware of what we do and what we don’t do. Basically we need to catch our self’s in the act of being undisciplined.

2. Commitment – 52 Weeks Forward is about knowing where we want to be a year from now and committed to the activities needed to get there.

3. Eat the Frog – Brian Tracy wrote the book on time management. My favorite way to focus on my goal is to take care of what I need to first thing in the morning. The rest of the day will be joyous.

Look at your last week. How many times did you procrastinate a task? How many times was is “the” task that would propel you forward?

Be courageous. There is going to be a part of you that doesn’t want you to be disciplined. So often being disciplined is seen as a negative. It’s what we do to our kids when they misbehave.

I challenge you to look at your daily behavior. If you’re struggling to reach a goal or accomplish a task it all may come down to self-discipline.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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Discussing hobby vs business doesn’t seem like it would create too much turmoil, but I think it does.

Nothing is a hobby – each discipline is its own world with its own high standards. Of course, every artist has ‘minor works’ that they do, but I don’t think I have any ‘minor disciplines.’

Patti Smith
hobby vs business

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There are of course quite a few ways to distinguish a hobby from a business, most importantly is one makes you money and one costs you money. But is it really that easy? In some ways that statement can relate to both. And how often have you heard about someone who has turned a hobby into a business?

So today I want to touch on the mindset of a hobby vs business.

When we treat what we do like a hobby we don’t tend to build cost analyses or budget sheets, we may actually spend freely on our hobbies because we view it as something we do in our free time. We probably don’t have to be very disciplined to work on our hobby. And when we set a goal to reach a certain level with our hobby and fail, it can hurt, but it probably doesn’t have devastating consequences.

It’s a hobby because it’s fun, it relaxes us, or provides stimulation in ways our work doesn’t. The point is, it is not business.

Business is work. It can fun and should be fulfilling. But everyday should be a mindful step forward to a goal and toward success on your terms. And mindfulness takes discipline. It takes planning. It takes getting a little (or maybe a lot) uncomfortable. And it certainly takes understanding your bottom line.

It’s with this business mindset that I would like to see you pursue your 52 Weeks Forward.

But I’m not opening a business this year“, you say.

That’s okay“, I say.

Maybe your 52 Weeks Forward is about losing weight, taking more time for yourself, reading a book a month, running a marathon, cleaning out your garage, re-decorating your home, joining the smoothie movement, going back to school, buying a new car, finally putting together those scrapbooks, writing a screenplay…

What ever it is, do it with intention. Create a budget and see how much you’ve invested in yourself this year. Write out a list of one goal a month you’d like to accomplish and hold yourself accountable to getting it done. Witness your mindfulness – are you choosing an hour of television over accomplishing your goal for the month. If so why? You won’t believe how often we sabotage our own success and never ask ourselves why.

Look at your one thing for this year, are you treating it like a hobby or a business?

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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weekfour_52weeksforward_blogheaderMy mother gave me the best gift anyone could have given me. She not only taught me to read, she taught me to love reading. I’ve never been without books on the night stand. Even when I didn’t have a night stand.

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

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Books on the Night Stand

I don’t just love to read, I love being surrounded by books. I enjoy e-books, my kindle and audio files but there is nothing like flipping through the pages of a good book.

My go-to genre is historical fiction, I’m a sucker for a good ghost story and I love books about business.

Because of this I know it would be easy for me to list a number of recommendations. I have a lot of suggestions and often share them with relevant blog posts. But I believe there is a special joy in discovering a book that speaks to you. Truly knowing that answers are out there, that you’re not alone, that you can find what ever it is you need is knowledge that will move you forward this year.

So your mission this week is to find a book and read a chapter. Search online, hangout at a bookstore, visit a library. Ask a question and look for resources.

It’s amazing how connected we can feel to an idea or a piece of knowledge that speaks to us. It can motivate us and feel like a pot of gold.

Feel free to share your discoveries with us below in the comments.

Do you love to read? Or is it a struggle? Do you prefer videos or podcasts? Whether a virtual or physical library I encourage you to start or continue studying your craft.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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A word for whyA word for why is about finding focus.

Call it a mantra, call it a theme, call it anything you want, but make it a word that resonates with your mission.

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Every year I pick a word (or maybe the word picks me) to study and discover. It’s always a word that centers me and brings my rambling mind back into focus.

Last year I dug into the word “woman” and read such books as The Alphabet Verses the Goddess, Wisewoman and Half the Sky. The year before I investigated “miracles” studying A Course in Miracles, May Cause Miracles and various articles on the concept.

This year I found my word in the most unexpected place. In a Jewish temple listening to a sermon given by a Baptist preacher during a Martin Luther King Jr celebration.

I was struggling this year to find a word that fit. I wanted something that resonated with all the change I had experienced in 2014 but also wanted to stay true to my vision of a word worthy of study and contemplation.

During the service the preacher spoke of how clear the message is that can sometimes come to us… and in the silence between that sentence and the next I heard the word “bridge” as clear as if he had spoke it.

Bridge, it fit perfectly.

Isn’t that what we are building this year? A bridge between today and where we want to be a year from now. The practice of writing these posts and completing the work is building a bridge. And of course now that it’s top of mind I see it everywhere.

This year I’d like us to align our word with our why. Pick a word that resonates with this journey of 52 weeks we’ve started. And use the word to keep you centered and focused.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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The Secret to being Uber ProductiveThe thing about following your dream is that you probably have 101 other responsibilities. Maybe it’s a full time job, maybe it’s 4 part time jobs, maybe you have a family, a spouse, maybe you’re a care giver to an aging parent. What ever it is, I bet you don’t have all the time in the world to focus on you.

Well that is why we are taking a 52 week journey. Developing new skills, finding the focus, belief and confidence needed to move toward the future in a meaningful and thoughtful way.

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The one thing I believe in whole heartily is that I own my time. Even when I’m working for someone else, either as an employee or as a contractor, I must effectively manage my time. This isn’t always easy but being uber productive means making difficult choices in pursuit of the dream.

Let me set the scene.

I receive an email. URGENT it says. I read the email. I may or may not see the urgency, but I have no doubt that it is urgent for the sender. I receive 3 urgent emails that morning, and I also have a list of important tasks that will propel my business, my day, my dream forward.

What should I do first?

My #1 Productivity Secret

Learning the difference between what is urgent and what is important has changed my life and set me on a path of getting more done, period.

This isn’t really much of a secret. It’s more about crushing the myth that you don’t own your time.

We are always going to have urgent requests that must be handled. Which is why I tend not to drop everything I’m doing in order to address them. Unless of course it is an emergency.

So what is urgent? Often it can be defined by someone else demanding your attention. If my to do list is interrupted by something that is urgent I tend to look at it after I’ve completed my most important tasks. Important tasks are ones you’ve clearly defined as the ones that will move you forward toward your goal and dream.

Important tasks are sacred. When you hold off on completing one because something urgent (let me be clear this is not an emergency, this is someone else demanding your time) has come up, you will feel a sense of not moving forward. Frustration will sit in and you will tell yourself that you do not have time to follow your dream.

Productivity Exercise

Think about the last week. Are there items on your to do list you haven’t completed? Has there been a time you thought I’ll do that later?

List 5 times this week when you procrastinated.

Beside each of them list the reason. Oh, and the reason it not I didn’t have time. List what you did instead of doing what ever it is you procrastinated on.

See any themes? Make a note of your go to reasons, excuses, stories, etc that become urgent.

Now write down a few ways to give yourself a better sense of urgency for your important tasks.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

Sharing inspirational tips on productivity, marketing, and a positive mindset – Join us!