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How to Achieve Big Goals in 5 Simple Steps

Post It Notes on White Board

Setting intentions is powerful. For those who’ve worked with me in one-on-one coaching sessions, you may be familiar with Wildly Improbable Goals* (aka WIGs). The process to achieving any dream is simple:

  1. Write down a WIG. (And make it a BIG, BEAUTIFUL one!)
  2. Map out the steps to get there.
  3. Plot smaller turtle-steps that support the big steps.
  4. Add turtle-steps as you learn more about what is needed to make it happen.
  5. Take turtle steps one-by-one toward your WIG.

A couple of my WIGs from a year and a half ago (August 17, 2017 to be exact) are close to becoming a reality. I wrote on a post-it note: “Publish and sell my photography.” On another one I wrote: “Publish a book.” I put these up on the right side of my wall, and three feet to the left I put a post-it with the date. In between these, I put steps two through four above on post-its.

Some initial turtle steps were simple, like:

  • Find a photographer mentor
  • Write daily (which became weekly)
  • Join a writing group
  • Take a publishing course
  • Watch post-processing how-to videos

Turtle-step by turtle-step I’ve moseyed closer to these WIGs by combining them. And guess what? I’m so close I can see the finished copy of what will be a photo-with-journal-prompt book.

Using nature as a wise teacher, I’ve captured the metaphoric lessons she teaches us paired with my photos. And I use coaching-style questions to help the reader find their inner answers through writing.

Magic unfolded as I worked toward this vision. I found a fabulous writing group, Community of Creatives, led by the Courageous Wordsmith Amy Hallberg. I met fellow coaches, who had published their own novels, that became my dear friends, editors and sounding boards. My community rose to support me by choosing their favorite photographs and encouraging my ideas and concepts. I have designers from my former career that I can call upon. It all came together beautifully in perfect timing!

Now, I’m in the final stages of self-publishing and it feels so delicious!

Achieving your WIGs is possible with perseverance, patience, seeking knowledge and turtle steps. If you’re looking for a coach to help you bring your dreams into reality, let’s talk!

*The concept of Wildy Improbable Goals, and how to get there, was developed by Martha Beck.

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Setting Intentions for the New Year

Purple Bloom

As we wind down 2018 and set our sights on 2019, I invite you to plant your intentions rather than set a resolution.

To be resolute about a goal is to limit yourself within a rigid construct. For example: to lose 15 pounds, cook healthy dinners in instead of eating out, hit the gym every morning, or quit smoking. They’re often focused on some future state that, if achieved, will somehow bring us more joy or acceptance. (Spoiler alert: joy and acceptance are states of mind, not a checklist to be achieved.)

While I appreciate the importance of setting measurable goals, if a New Year’s Resolution isn’t reached (and let’s face it, most don’t make it past January) we have a tendency to beat ourselves up about it. Then we become so disappointed in ourselves that we regress more than we progress. (I’ve never craved a pizza more than after self-deprecating thoughts about my weight.)

Whereas setting intentions can build forward momentum that lasts much longer. It’s taking an action toward a general direction that allows for hiccups and purposeful responsiveness to whatever comes up. It’s a state of being rather than pushing toward some future state of perceived perfection. For example: to be kind, to love one’s self more, to lead with compassion, to practice self-care, or to be present in conversations with others.

Here are a few questions that may help you find an intention or two for 2019 that just might stick the whole year…and onward:

  1. What do you want to invite more of into your life?
  2. How do you want to engage with others?
  3. How do you want to treat yourself?
  4. What characteristics would you want shared in your eulogy?
  5. What brings you joy?
  6. How do you want to show up every day?
  7. In what instances and environments do you feel most at peace?

Once you’ve written down the answers to these questions, notice any common threads or what holds the most zing. Then set an intention for yourself for 2019.

Write that intention down on two pieces of paper. Post one somewhere you look at often. Plant the other in your yard or a potted plant in your home. It will be the metaphoric seedling you’ll water often and watch it grow and bloom.

May your new year be full of joy, peace and growth!

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8 Suggestions for the Winter Solstice Transition

Friday, December 21, 2018 is the Winter Solstice. On the longest night of the year, we have an opportunity to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. This day marks the sun’s return, and with it new life and new beginnings.

I invite you to consider participating in a literal or figurative (or both!) cleansing of what no longer serves you. This opening of space physically and emotionally makes room for what wants to enter your life in the coming year.

Literal Cleansing Suggestions:

  1. Organize your kitchen pantry and donate items that will be expiring soon to food banks or homeless shelters.
  2. Sort through your closet and donate clothes that you rarely (if ever) wear, no longer fit, or aren’t in style anymore.
  3. Weed through your desk or office to organize the clutter, throw away unnecessary papers (scan and save the important ones), and recycle or donate what you no longer have need for.
  4. Take a long bath to let the heat open up your pores and allow the steam to excrete toxins from your body. Play some music, light some candles and consciously release your stress and anxiety.

Figurative Cleansing Suggestions:

  1. Fold a piece of paper in half. On the left side, write all the emotions, thoughts, bad habits and personal baggage that you want to release. On the right side, write all the emotions, affirmations, and new habits that you would like to replace what was written on the left. (It’s as important to identify what you’d like to invite into your life, as it is to close the chapter on the old.)
  2. Fill out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet and then do Byron Katie’s The Work on the thought with the most angst.
  3. What movie made you cry the most or hardest? Curl up in your most comfortable pajamas and blanket on the couch and watch it again with a box of tissue. We all need a good cry once in a while.
  4. Angry or irritated at someone or something that happened? Pound, and/or scream into, a pillow until the anger is gone or you’re physically exhausted.

When you’re done with any or all of the above, take some time to meditate on all the possibilities you’d like to invite into your life in the coming year. Then set an intention for yourself in 2019. Write it down and post it somewhere you can refer to it often.