Keeping New Years Resolutions

According to a study done by Quirkology, fewer than 12% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions will have kept them by the end of the year.

The problem is that many of them make those resolutions ‘in the moment’ and ‘under the influence’.  A better option is to give them due thought prior to the stroke of midnight.

Here are three tips to making resolutions that will ‘stick’.

Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

1. Reflect on the big dream.

I call that your Dream Destination.  It’s where your life, business and career would be 5, 10, 50 years from now presuming that things had gone far beyond your wildest dreams.  When you make resolutions, think about the end goal. Focus on the behaviors you need to exhibit.  Decide what you need to do or who you need to become  this year in order to make that dream possible.

2. Recognize that growth is a process.

It’s difficult to get from your current state to a dramatically different one in one fell swoop.  If your goal is to become ‘kindler and gentler’, what behaviors could you start to practice and implement now?  Perhaps you would listen more.  Ask for the opinions of others more often.  If you’re striving to be more bold and brash, you might practice speaking up or taking action whenever a thought pops in your mind rather than mulling it over until the window of opportunity has passed.

3.  Anticipate resistance

Since growth is a process, start where you are.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  There are parts of your mind that are designed to protect you.  So when one part of you declares “I’m going to be…” another part of you quivers and say “Oh no! We’re not ready” .  And that part makes you doubt yourself, procrastinate, maybe even cower in the face of your big dream.

Create a support structure for yourself.  Use reminders like a vision board, goal sheets and to-do lists. Enroll an accountability partner and share your resolution with them.  Kids are great at this.  They love being the grownup and telling their parents what they should be doing.

If you give some pre-thought to which resolutions to make and how you’re going to keep them, you’ll be more effective and may end up as one of the diligent 12% of resolution setters that succeed.

The Winter Solstice and 5 Tips for Your Success

During the Winter Solstice, people in the Northern Hemisphere have long celebrated the return of longer daylight hours and warmth to their part of the planet.  Here are some simple things you can do during this season to prepare yourself for the New Year.

1. Give thanks
It’s tempting to be bitter or resentful if things haven’t gone as well as you expected.  And the last couple of years have been a big challenge for many. Whatever your situation or circumstance, you have things for which you can be grateful.  Make a conscious effort to express gratitude throughout the day, every day.  Perhaps consider holding a regular ritual for your family or yourself to remember all the good life has to offer (not just on Thanksgiving).

2. Put things in perspective
Remember that we live on a tiny planet in an enormous universe and view your life from that perspective. People often get caught up in the machinations of their daily lives: the emergencies, celebrations, routine duties, routine and not-so-routine upsets, firedrills and seeming miracles.

Think about how your daily actions are creating a future for yourself and the rest of Earth’s inhabitants.

Remember the past. Think about your ancestors whose lives paved the way for yours.

I stumbled across this quote by Doug Lennick in my Twitter stream today, “Life challenges us to make our path perfect, not to find the perfect path”.

Do what you can daily to make your path perfect and smooth the paths for others.

3. Share your wealth

Giving to others opens the door for more good to come to you. You’ve heard the phrase, “The more you give, the more you receive”. Give what you can, whether it’s a quarter or dollar in the Salvation Army donation basket or a hundred or more.  Give some and then give some more.  Tithe to people or organizations that inspire you. Send things overseas.  People in developing nations would treasure the stuff we throw away.

4. Clean your space & life

Clutter traps your energy and keeps you constrained. Give away items you’ve been holding on to ‘just in case’ for more than a few  years.  Unless they’re very valuable and irreplaceable, get rid of them.  Toss unnecessary files, recycle or shred paper documents  you no longer need. Give things to charity. Place items in resale or consignment shops.

To support you in this particular tactic, join other like-minded people in a “Release and Renew Day”. On Wednesday, December 29 I’m hosting an ‘all-day’ (not really; just 3 short calls interspersed throughout the day) virtual event designed to inspire, motivate and encourage your efforts.  Get the details here and join us.

5. Set intentions
Finally, once you’ve cleared your space, allow yourself to dream big for the next phase of your life. Be clear. Be specific. Be visceral. Claim your future. Know that it’s yours.

These 5 ideas will help brighten your days even further and launch you powerfully into the New Year.

3 Steps to Happiness and Prosperity

It’s funny how we hold onto discarded things not realizing what that does to trap our energy.  What I discovered when I stumbled upon a relic from my past could help you free up some mental and emotional energy to reinvest in your current day-to-day life.

I had just missed participating in a “Sell Your Gold” event at my professional association’s holiday extravaganza.

So when I returned home, I started combing my closets and jewelry cases for items that had lost their psychological value for me that I could turn into cash.

I came upon a beautiful ring case, not even remembering which ring was inside.  When I opened it up, I was surprised to find my ‘half’ of a wedding band set my previous husband and I had designed.

The set was laden with Adrinka symbols that had a lot of significance for us and where we each were in our spiritual life journey.

Years later as our marriage faltered and I realized I was more attached to that ring and the symbols of our marriage than our ACTUAL marriage, I knew it was time to go.  We separated and divorced. I tucked the ring away, moved on, moved to Phoenix, married my college sweetheart and forgot about the ring.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the ring and looked at it fondly – not longing at all for the ex-husband, but touched by the symbols and design process that had created the ring years earlier.  I put it away again and apparently, forgot about it again.

Last week, in my hunt for buried jewels, I found it once more.  This time, my reaction was “Whoo hoo! Bonanza! This will be a great trade in!”  There were some remnant memories of the creation process but clearly any attachment I had for keeping the ring was gone.  I took a picture, called the gold dealer, got in the car happy and was on my way.

I got a better price than expected. Double Bonanza!

On the drive home,  I was surprised by the sense of light-heartedness and freedom I felt. Getting that forgotten and years-unseen ring out of my home and life somehow felt like an unexpected Declaration of Independence.

Reminds me of that hair dye commercial based on the South Pacific song, “Gonna Wash that Man/Grey Right Out of My Hair”.

While I hadn’t been feeling the need to wash the ex right out of my hair any longer, once the opportunity arose, it felt great!

So, how does this apply to you?

1.  Clean up. Clean out.
Cleaning  your environment and life of discarded and unnecessary things, frees up an amazing amount of energy that you can’t anticipate nor appreciate until you’ve done it.

So go through your drawers, closets, garage and car to throw out, give away or sell things that are taking up physical space.  They’re probably draining your emotional space on an undetectable, subconscious level too. You’ll be energized by their absence.

2. Forgive and move on.
I read a Facebook post on someone’s wall today about the power of forgiveness.  The main reason people seem reluctant to forgive is that they think they’re doing something for the object of their resentment.  The secret is that forgiveness is just for you.  It allows you to at least start the process to ‘wash that memory out of your life.”

Forgiveness takes time, but if you’re not willing, you can’t even get started.  If you’ve been holding on to any grudges, tell yourself you’re WILLING to forgive and eventually you will.  You won’t forget the lessons you learned, but you will regain part of your soul.

3. Give thanks for what you have
Every night I say thanks for the life I’m living.  Some people keep a gratitude journal that documents the wonderful things in their lives.  Writing makes them more real and less transitory (ergo forgotten). Tell the people around you precisely what you appreciate about them. You’ll lighten their day immeasurably and feel happier yourself.

I remember reading a book on loving relationships and one of the exercises involved
saying something nice to your partner every day.  Not only does that bring more love and joy into the relationship, but by some function of the ego which can’t distinguish between you and ‘other’, makes you feel happier too.

So clean out those closets, brains, hearts and relationships and make room for new, happy and prosperous experiences in your life.

How to Create a High Quality, Targeted Lead-Generation Machine

Lead-generation is one of the steps in the sales process many businesses struggle with. Here are some effective and not-so-effective ways to pull prospects into your business.

List brokers are helpful but not all brokers are created equal. Not all lists are equal.

Some brokers sell information that is not useful.  They give you what you ask for but it’s old and out of date.  Or they may sell you information for which they are paid the highest commission from the company that actually owns the list.

There are three types of lists
1. Compiled lists – based on attributes (Demographics like age, zip code, marital status, mortgage amount). These are the least expensive but they are also the least responsive.

2. Response lists – purchasers of similar services/products. These lists include actual buyers.  If you’ve ever purchased products from a catalog, you’ve probably noticed that you started receiving catalogs from other, similar companies. Someone sold your name because you demonstrated that you spend money in certain areas. It indicates you’re likely to do it again.

These lists are more responsive to related offers and therefore are more expensive to buy.

The downside with these types of lists is that they are generally sold as one-time-mailing lists. The brokers embed a few “test” people with addresses that secretly go to them. So if you try to use the lists again, the brokers will know and likely charge you a penalty.

3. House lists
The best list is one you have compiled from your own customers, prospects, certain contacts in your social networks, visitors to your website.

The key here is that you must COLLECT these contacts and compile them into a list so you can follow up with them.  It’s rare that people plunk down a substantial amount of money on your table the very first time they encounter you.

However, When you cultivate the relationship by consistently offering value and staying top of mind, they are more likely to purchase from you rather than your competition when they are ready.

This is where the machine kicks in.
1. Drive traffic to your website or blog. Use SEO or create organic (FREE) traffic through article and video marketing.

2. Have a COMPELLING way to collect the contact information from your visitors.

3. Create an automated follow-up system for these visitors as well as people you’ve met through other venues (so long as they’ve agreed)

4. Use your follow up system to build credibility, trust and create relationship with them. Then periodically and over time, introduce them to and give them opportunities to buy from you.

When you automate your process, you’ll create a lead generation machine.  When you focus on creating value with those leads, helping them solve problems and demonstrating your expertise, you’ll be able to convert your leads into sales.

What’s Your Exit Strategy? What’s Your Stay Strategy?

Whether you own your own company or work for someone else, it’s critical that you have an exit strategy.  Unless you plan to work until you die, you need to start taking actions NOW for how you’re going to gracefully step out and how you’ll spend your time once you do.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a number of conversations with executives, professionals and business owners (primarily women) who have dreams of life beyond their current circumstances.

They envision being well compensated in a job or business they love, having the respect and credibility from peers, bosses or clients they believe they deserve and having the time and resources to pursue their dreams.

They all, however, were dealing or putting up with circumstances that were literally suffocating their souls, extinguishing their dreams and leaving them feeling exhausted, sad or even worried about their future.

The one thing they each were lacking was – can you guess?…

CONFIDENCE!

At some level, they didn’t feel fully equipped to have their dream life NOW.  They felt at the effect of others around them who seemed to hold all of the power.

From my perspective, it seemed there were three key ingredients that, if implemented, would make all the difference in the world.

1. Self-definition
Because it felt to them that others were more powerful than they, that they were unable to truly define, and stand for, who they are and what is important to them.

They felt stuck in the roles they had been given to play and looked longingly toward the future when they would finally be happier.

My advice to them (or you if you find yourself in a similar situation): be true to yourself.  This is your life and it won’t last forever.  Know what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Don’t buy solely into other people’s dreams and expectations that are counter to who you know yourself to be.

2. Self-determination
Once you’re clear about where you stand, it will be easier to let others know who you are and what you need.  Without that, you’ll continue to feel frustrated, hopeless, resigned, depressed and afraid.

My advice to them and you: don’t wait.  Be clear and public about your needs and goals NOW. Make requests.  Make demands when necessary.  Make life go the way YOU want – now.

3. Focused action toward their goals
It’s one thing to dream big, it’s quite another to make those dreams a reality.  When you’ve defined yourself and your direction, the path before you will become clear.

It still requires you to take action.  Seeing the path and having it in front of you is not the same as walking on the path.  Rita Mae Brown defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”

Action is required. Action builds confidence.  Action gets results.

My advice to them and you: Take action.  Identify one thing you can do like making a request, taking a class, telling someone “No”, researching your passion or getting help to make it happen.  No one can or should try to do any worthy effort alone. And living a big life is definitely a worthy effort.

So what does this have to do with an exit or stay strategy? Start working on your exit strategy now.  Don’t wait until ‘the time has come’.  You’ll be scrambling then.  And it may come sooner than you expect.  Plan now. Act now.

Make sure you have a stay strategy that isn’t just going along for the ride.  Use your self-definition and self-deterimination to make your current life/career/business more to your liking now.  Again, act now.

Your life is in your hands.  Make sure you’re living YOUR life, not someone else’s.