Friday, October 30, 2015

Evaluating Your Life Satisfaction

Creating Your Determined Life Road Map 

There are seven aspects to a Project You Life (Your Personal Life, Your Professional Life, Your Family Life, Your Health and Fitness Life, Your Emotional and Mental Health Life, Your Spiritual Life, and Your Interconnected Life). 
You may not know the details of each of these seven core life aspects until you have read our book Project You: Living A Determined Life. So for know just use your intuition on what these seven aspects of life mean to you.
Rate how satisfied you are with each of these seven life aspects on the following scale using your own preconceived notions of what these aspects entail:
7 -- Highly Satisfied
6 -- Fairly or Moderately Satisfied
5 -- Satisfied
4 -- Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied
3 -- Dissatisfied
2 -- Fairly or Moderately Dissatisfied
1 -- Highly Dissatisfied

Next, review the vision you previously created (see previous blog post on Planning Your Determined Life Journey)
Evaluate whether your vision incorporates all seven elements of a Project You Life. If any are missing, ask yourself why. Then decide whether the missing element or elements should be added to your overall vision and how.
After you have reviewed your vision for missing elements, assess the gaps between your vision and your current situation. Key areas to identify include:
Which gaps are the most important?
Which gaps will be critical for you to close?
Which gaps should be given priority? Why?
Which gaps will require assistance from others to close?

You are now ready to create a road map from your current situation to your desired state. Defining some parts of your path will come easy. Others will require more thought and effort. It is best not to shortchange yourself by trying to create your path too quickly.

As you write down your draft ideas on how to create your path, be sensitive to how your gut and heart feel as you record each one. This will be your spirit communicating with you and giving you an indication as to how aligned each option is to your spiritual needs. 
For the next three days, take 30-60 minutes in solitude to continue your reflection and thinking. What emotions are you feeling about your Determined Life Road Map? How strong are these feelings? Remember, the stronger the feelings, the more certain you can be that you are embarking on the right path and journey for you. 

This article is partially excerpted from the best-selling book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Planning Your Determined Life Journey

Questions to ask of yourself

One method to help your create and maintain responsibility and ownership for your actions is to proactively plan them. After all, if you plan your actions and activities, then you are certainly accountable for them.
Planning your Project You Life Journey is also important. For achieving your dreams, hopes, desires, and goals is unlikely to happen arbitrarily or randomly.
Additionally, planning a Project You Life Journey helps you to overcome the concerns, fears and anxieties you have about your personal hopes, dreams, desires, and goals.
The key step in planning your Project You Life Journey is to start with your hopes, dreams, desires, and goals in mind first.
Many people start their self-development planning process by painting a picture of where they currently are and then deciding which area or areas of improvement to tackle first. This is the wrong approach, especially when you look at life-long goals and desired outcomes.
You must start with a clear vision (or at least a semi-clear one) of what your dreams, desires and hopes look and feel like. What will bring you authentic happiness? What will achievement and success feel like to you?
Answering the several questions on your unique personal gifts and talents (see earlier post on Key Questions for Identifying and Understanding the Purpose of Your Life) is the first place to start. Then record any others that spring to mind.
Writing down what you believe to be your unique personal gift and individual talents will help you formulate a tangible view of your visions. Doing so also helps to provide clarity and understanding to what you believe to be your life's purpose.
Only after you have your personal vision firmly figured out is it time to make an assessment of where you are at the moment in your life's journey. The key questions to ask yourself for this stage are:
What are the positive aspects of your life that you can leverage going forward?
What are the negative aspects of your life that need jettisoning?
Who can you rely on for support?
Who is holding you back?
Which areas of your life need fine-tuning?
Which areas of your life need strengthening?
Which areas of your life need a major overhaul? 

You are now almost ready to create a road map from your current situation to your desired state. Defining some parts of your path will come easy. Others will require more thought and effort. It is best not to shortchange yourself by trying to create your path too quickly.

That is why the next step will be to rate your personal satisfaction with seven aspects of your life. We will discuss this step in the next Project You Life blog post.
In the meantime, reflect upon the vision you have for yourself. How does thinking about this make you feel? Excited? Nervous? Motivated? The stronger the feelings, the more you will know that you are on the right path to understanding how you want to Live A Determined Life. 

This article is partially excerpted from the book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Secrets of Self Empowerment

Taking Responsibility for your Personal and Professional Growth 

The foundation of personal responsibility is self empowerment. 
Self empowerment gives you total and complete control for the accountability of your life and the circumstances you encounter. With the right attitude, this can be fully liberating (albeit a bit scary at the same time), for self-empowered responsibility and ownership means:
·     You make your own choices and decisions.
·     You live according to your values and principles.
·     Your stress and anxiety levels are reduced by not being required to live up to the expectations and desires of others.
·     You live an authentic and determined life on your own terms.
What are the secrets to taking responsibility and ownership for your life, decisions, and actions? In a nutshell they are:
  • Understanding where your energy and power emanate, so you can call upon these as needed when making decisions or taking action. 
  • Eliminating all thoughts and internal chatter about you being a victim or anything or anyone. 
  • Accepting that you can no longer blame others, circumstances, bad luck, or fate for the disappointments and failures that come your way. 
  • Eliminating the need for control. You can only control what you think, feel, say, and do. Live with it. Accept it. 
  • Releasing yourself from the fear of making decisions. No more "paralysis by analysis" in your personal or professional life. No more indecision time. No more being indecisive. 
  • Knowing that you can recover and adjust when things do not go your way or as planned. Life is a journey. Enjoy the journey and be adaptable along the way.  
In our previous Project You Life Blog post, we said "if personal change is to happen, it is up to you." 

Hence, you do not need anyone's permission to embark on your personal  or professional change project. The only person you need permission from is yourself. And that's the true secret of self empowerment

This article is partially excerpted from the best-selling book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Personal Growth Requires Taking Responsibility and Action

Blaming Others Reduces Your Ability and Power to Grow

Establishing your goals and intended outcomes, and then defining a path to get you to these is the first part of the Project You Life Journey.
The second part is being responsible for taking the required decisions and actions to continue your journey, and then taking ownership for the outcomes and consequences (both good and bad) resulting from your actions and decisions.
If, however, you blame others for your situation or your outcomes, you give up your ability and power to grow. Likewise, you cannot remain dependent on others to improve your situation or create better outcomes for you
People are not necessarily going to change themselves in order to make your life better. If you really believe that you deserve better than what you currently have or are experiencing, then you have to work on you and your actions, not on others. The old saying "if it is to be, it's up to me" has much validity.
So rather than getting angry at others, or resorting to placing the blame on bad luck and things out of your control, focus within instead and identify the actions, large or small, that you can take to create forward progress toward your desired outcomes and goals. Again, even tiny progress is still progress and moves you closer to goal attainment and experiencing the outcomes your spirit desires.
Also, rather than getting frustrated when bumps and hurdles appear in your way, see these as signs that additional change or action is required. Feelings of pain and hurt do not pop into our lives for no reason; they are usually a sign that something in our lives needs modification or changing.
Remember, you and you alone are solely responsible for the energy and attitude you bring into every room you enter, every situation you face, and every encounter you have with others. By taking responsibility for the energy and attitude you bring with you, you are better positioned to create the positive outcomes for which you will be pleased to claim ownership.

And if your situation or circumstances do not turn out the way you wanted or expected them to, it is up to you to identify how you got yourself into this state of affairs and what you need to do to extract yourself from the unwanted conditions.  
Remember, the foundation of personal growth is personal responsibility and self empowerment. After all, if personal growth is to happen, it is up to you. 

This article is partially excerpted from the book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

6 Steps for Making Change Last

Maintaining Momentum for Personal and Professional Change Development 

Worried or afraid that you might not be successful in making the personal or professional change you desire? 
That's understandable. But, of course, you won't know for sure until you have tried. 
Many changes take multiple efforts over time (we all know people who have "quit" smoking numerous times until they were finally able to quit for good). 
Belief in yourself and your capabilities, combined with a firm commitment (to yourself) will help get you under way.
Lastly, if you are still hesitant to initiate a change you truly believe you should take, the words of Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu provide a strong warning of the dangers of not changing: "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."
Here are six steps for making change last: 
  1. Be specific and precise about the change. "Losing weight" is neither specific nor precise. "Reducing weight by eight pounds in the next four weeks" is both. 
  2. Do not take on too much. Making one substantial change at a time is significant enough. Aim for quality of change, not quantity.
  3. Stretch yourself, but don't over do it. Don't settle for something too easy, but also don't push yourself for something that is unrealistically hard. Aim for something that is just outside your comfort zone. 
  4. Eliminate temptations. Change can weaken your self control. It can also cause you to rationalize that since you are making improvements in one area it is okay to backslide in another. Until you have formed positive habits hide away and purposely avoid all temptations that might take you off track. 
  5. Monitor your progress. Measure and track improvements (another reason your change goals should be precise and specific). Identify times when slippage occurs and see if a pattern is developing.
  6. Reward yourself both for effort and for little victories. Didn't quite make it all the way to your goal by the assigned deadline? That's okay. If you came close, and you can honestly say you put in close to maximum effort, reward yourself with a little treat (hold the big treats until major accomplishments are achieved). 
When hesitant to make, or continue, personal and professional change, go back to the Change Benefits list we wrote about in the previous Project You Life Blog on Change Is Not Always Easy. If you haven't created your list, find 15 minutes today to do so. 

Once you find the courage and willingness to get started, the six steps above will help keep your personal or professional change project in full momentum. 

If you have any thoughts or ideas on additional steps to add to this list, please share them in the comments box below. We welcome your thoughts and ideas, especially on things that have worked for you. 

This article is partially excerpted from the book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Personal Change Is Not Always Easy. But It Is Usually Most Beneficial.

Plan Your Life Journey. Don't Let Life Happen Haphazardly. 

All self development programs and processes you undertake will result in some change in you. Personal and professional development also requires an upfront amount of change and commitment from you, both to get started and to be maintained.
Improvement, change, adjustment and learning are part of everyone's life cycle. Unfortunately for most, these events happen randomly and haphazardly. It need not be this way for you. 
Planning your Project You Life Journey has numerous benefits that will make the road to attaining your hopes, dreams, desires, and goals both easier and more enjoyable.
Implementing any change in your life is a three-step process: start, build momentum, and maintain persistence.
Getting started, of course, is often the hardest part. We procrastinate. We wait for the "right" time. We focus on other "priorities" even when these are not important. We wait for a "sign" to give us a signal to begin. We are afraid to take the first steps. Or, most important, we are afraid to commit.
Commitment takes resolve. It takes dedication. It takes having a constant conversation with yourself that this is a permanent change and that you are not going back to your old ways. When it comes to implementing change, commitment and resolution are verbs, not nouns. Verbs command action. And that is what it takes to implement change that results in personal or professional development.
Beginning to change something in your life is not always easy. But it is rarely life threatening either, unless you decide to pursue a high risk adventure sport (and even in that case risk can be modified and reduced through proper training and caution).
When assessing a potential change, a simple listing of pluses and minuses on a single sheet of paper will suffice. Down the middle of the page draw a line. For the left column write a header "Things I Can Gain" and atop the right column write the heading "Things I Could Lose."
Now spend 15-20 minutes brainstorming points for each column. When you are finished, put the paper aside for two days. Your brain will continue to subconsciously think of more pluses and minuses, which you can add to your list at any point over the next couple of days. 

Within a few days you will have a list of advantages and disadvantages related to the change you are contemplating. You are now in a better position to make your decision to either proceed, not to make the change, make the change in a modified fashion, or even put the decision aside until a later date. 

But why wait? As we highlighted in the last Project You Life Blog post, your personal growth starts now. 

Find 15 minutes in your life today and start listing the gains that you will reap from making changes in your life that you know will benefit you. 

This article is partially excerpted from the book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Your Personal Growth Starts Now

Find the Courage to Live A Determined Life 

Be willing to take a chance on personal growth success. There is no advantage in waiting. 
After all, right now is the oldest and most experienced you have ever been, and the youngest and most inexperienced you will ever be again. No matter what age you are, the time to establish new goals and chart a new (or revised) path is now. As the author C.S. Lewis said, "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream."
Having goals is important, in fact critical, to implementing personal change. As motivational guru Jim Rohn used to say:
There's no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them.
There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them.
There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them.
Having goals helps you plan and prepare your actions. As Stephen R. Covey noted in his book First Things First, "Much of our frustration and anxiety come from the feeling of being unprepared. Many activities become urgent as the result of lack of proper preparation."
Remember, your goals should be intricately aligned with your responses to the two questions above on what you are doing with your life and how the world will be better as a result of your personal journey on this planet. Your goals also need to be relevant to both your ego and spirit.
We are not talking about day-to-day living goals or "to do" lists, or even short-term desires like purchasing a new car or funding your child's tertiary education. Too many people get trapped focusing on goals such as these, and they end up so busy making a living they forget to make a life. 
To ensure you do not fall into this trap make sure your goals and desired outcomes are designed to create the Determined Life you deeply desire. 
Don't get so busy earning a living that you fail to make a life. 
After all, you are getting only one shot at this human experience. 

This article is excerpted from the book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Making Progress on Goals, Dreams, Hopes

Even Small Progress is Progress

One of the critical choices you need to make concerns who you socialize and interact with regularly.
Who you interact and engage with partially determines what you dream, hope, and desire.
Who you interact with and engage also impacts your personal goals and intended outcomes (both short term and long term). You can change your desired outcomes by changing your circle of friends, acquaintances, and even co-workers.
As you embark on your Determined Life Journey, it is important to surround yourself with positive, forward-looking friends and associates who are good role models for you, trusted confidants and valued advisers.
This will help you develop a stronger sense of self confidence and appreciation of your own worth and talents. Surrounding yourself with an array of good people will also help you stay on track and continue your journey, especially when the inevitable bumps and hurdles get in your way.

Embarking on your Project You Life Journey requires initiative that only you can provide.
Too often people procrastinate, waiting until they believe they have all the right answers in hand, or for what they perceive to be the perfect moment of opportunity.
But that is why they are stuck. Many of the answers will be found while on the journey. And the only perfect time to start is NOW.
The only way to get unstuck is to get started ── now. Step by step. One answer at a time. One change at a time.
Remember, as the American psychiatrist David Viscott said, "If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed."
So don't just start. Continue. Proceed. Keep moving toward your intended outcome. Even small progress is still progress. 

This article is partially excerpted from the book Project You: Living A Determined Life, available in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.