Archive for August, 2006

Stop and think!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

There’s no better way to get a grip on a problem than to stop what you’re doing and have a good think about the problem or situation.

The stop and think technique has consists of two parts:

  • Stop
  • Think 🙂

Seems like I’m stating the obvious there, but it’s surprising how many people leave out the “stop” part and go straight to thinking.  This doesn’t work because your still in a state where you want to grasp at the first solution that you think of and try that.

That doesn’t work!

If you have a problem or situation that you want to solve you first need to stop what you’re doing and put some distance between yourself and the problem.  Go out for a walk, a run, meditate, have a bath … these are all good ways to stop what you’re doing and break your pattern.

Physically stepping away from the problem offers you a number of benefits:

  • It puts you in a solution seeking mode, rather than in a position where you come up with an idea and try that without thinking it through
  • The distance may give you a new perspective on the problem (maybe you come to the conclusion that it’s not much of a problem anyway)
  • Distance helps you see the problem as it is rather than worse than it is
  • If you’re having a problem with another person, it stops you from saying or doing something in the heat of the moment that you might later regret

Give yourself a minimum of 30 minutes of “stop and think” time.  At least 5 minutes of that time should be spent calming yourself down and reminding yourself of all the good things that you have in your life (I know, this is difficult thing to do when you’re in a negative state, that’s why you need to give it time) and then spend another 5 or 10 minutes looking at and then defining the problem you are facing.  Get clear as to what the problem is and what you need to happen to solve it you should try to come up with at least five things that could happen to solve your problems.  Work on what the outcomes to the solution could be.

Only after you’ve defined the problem and come up with possible positive outcomes to the problem, you are ready to spend time looking for ways to make the one or more of the outcomes come true.  You can start by doing this in your head and then go on to working on paper.  You now have your goal (solving the problem), you have a number of paths to that goal (the possible outcomes) and so you now want to plan how to make one or more of those outcomes kick into action.  How to do that is something for a future post, but you might be surprised by the fact that just thinking about the problem might make it go away by itself.

Read on...

Get clear about your goals

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Do you set goals for yourself and review them regularly?  You really should, because it makes a huge positive difference to your personal growth.

But are your goals clear?  By this I mean have you spent time carefully outlining and planning your goals?  For a goal to manifest itself into reality, it can’t be something vague like “lose weight” or “make more money”, it has to be specific like “I want to weight 180 pounds” or “I want to make $100,000”.  Being specific gives you a true goal to aim for, rather than a broad, wishy-washy abstract.

Once you have your goal, you need to then come up with a basic plan for how you intent to accomplish that goal.  The more detailed the better, but don’t worry if you’re not sure as to how to reach your goal.  As long as you have a starting point, that’s a lot better than nothing.  In fact, you should never leave a goal setting or review session without coming up with two or three things that you can do within 24-hours to take you a step closer to achieving your goal.

But until you have clarity, you don’t have anything to aim for or anything to measure your progress by.

Here are a few tips for effective goal setting:

  • Decide on what you want.  Make it specific.
  • Get clear on why you want to achieve this goal.  If it’s lose weight, understand why you really need to lose weight.  Get plenty of leverage on yourself!
  • Get clear on what it will cost you if you DON’T achieve this goal.  List all the areas – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually …
  • Set yourself a deadline.  Make is realistic but fix a data.
  • Set a date to review your progress.  Ideally you should consult your goals list daily and carry out a detailed review weekly to see how you’re progressing.  Make sure that you don’t forget about your goal!
Read on...

Be careful – Ideas can become a “to do list item”!

Monday, August 21st, 2006

If you’re anything like me, you have dozens of ideas every day.  Some will be ideas that you can transform into a money-making plan or a life-changing scheme, but many will be chaff that requires disposing of.

Now, it’s vital that you have a scheme for recording and logging your ideas.  A notebook or journal or a diary is a good system.  By keeping the idea in mind, you will be able to ponder it long enough for it to evolve into a good idea or be blown away like chaff in a breeze.

But there’s a problem that I’ve noticed.  It’s very easy for an idea that’s not yet mature enough to make it from your “ideas” list and onto your “to do” list.  This transforms embryonic ideas from being something that needs more thought into something that you that you need to start acting on.  If you’re ready for the item to move from the “ideas” list into the “to do” list, fine, but if you’re not ready for that to happen, you can be pushed down an avenue that you’ve not properly thought out and add unnecessary bulk to your “to do” list.

Make sure that all shifts from the “ideas” list to your “to do” list is done consciously.  Otherwise you’ll contaminate your “to do” list and struggle to differentiate between ideas to ponder and things that you need to act on.

Read on...
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