How to Stay On Top Of A Goal

There’s a lot of ways that setting goals actually sets us up for failure. We set them too high, lose motivation and lose focus on what matters. Read on for what we’re doing wrong, and how to set goals the right way.

We’re looking too far ahead.

 
Goals are commonly described as an idea of the future. A popular way to start setting goals is to ask yourself, where do you want to be in 5 years?

This usually gets you thinking about where you want to see yourself in the distant future and what you want it to look like. But what about one year from now? Next month? Next week? Tomorrow? Today? In an hour?

We set ourselves up for failure the minute we think too far ahead. You can’t decide to exercise and expect to be an olympian the next day.

I once worked with a client who had anxiety about going places. Her goal was to walk to the store.

She couldn’t do it. She’d get to the door and realize how far away the store is, then she’d go right back to the couch.

We broke her goal of going to the store down even further. Instead of going to the store, we made the goal to go outside. Then once she went outside for a week, we changed the goal to walking to the mailbox. So she started walking to the mailbox every day.

Once she got used to that, we worked on walking to the end of her block.

Next thing you know, she’s walking to the store. She did it.

Most would say those smaller steps are considered objectives, but looking at a goal so far ahead (the store) made her defeat herself before she even started.

So we made her one goal into 4 smaller goals. Once she was able to take those small first steps, she had accomplished her first goal. Instead of beating herself up for not going to the store that day, she was able to celebrate just going outside. So on and so forth.

Solution: We’ve got to start where we are right now, and make our goals achievable for ourselves.

We’re not looking far enough ahead.

Yep, you read that right.
Now that we’ve covered reaching too far, we’ll cover not reaching far enough. There’s nothing wrong with setting an easy goal as a first step. But you need to make sure your next step challenges you a little bit more. Doing something with a little challenge will boost your self esteem and make it easier for you to accomplish the next thing.

Solution: We’ve got to make sure we’re challenging ourselves to be and do better everyday.

We aren’t organized.

Part of reaching a goal is having the right tools and having them in place.

There is a saying in cooking called ,”mise en place.” This is a system that streamlines cooking meals. The first step is to get the ingredients together. You prep everything and set it out. Then you start cooking.

We can’t cook a meal if we don’t have the ingredients. Nor can we cook a good meal if we’re all over the place. We need to gather our things, prep for the meal, and carry out our task.

Sometimes we don’t have everything we need to reach our original goal. This means we need to break it down even further.

For example, one of my personal goals is to be running this blog. I need several different things to do it successfully: a computer, domain name, different kinds of software and programs, lots of post ideas and a writing schedule to name a few.

I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I don’t have a laptop. I’m blogging 99% off my phone and 1% off of computers I borrow from time to time.

So my goal of blogging is broken down into smaller goals: get a laptop. Upgrade my software. Write something every day. These will help me be a better blogger and send me further on my way to success.

Solution: We’ve got to make smaller goals to put everything in place.

We don’t have the proper motivation.

This video really spoke to me. Over the last couple years, I developed a habit of planning for things and never actually doing them. I think, “I’ll feel like it tomorrow,” or, “It will be easier tomorrow.” Tomorrow rolls around and nothing’s changed. Rinse and repeat.

As humans we tend to daydream. We sit down and think of a goal. Then we write it down, or resolve ourselves to “do it tomorrow,” and put the responsibility on the shoulders of our future selves.

Why? Because we want to be better. We want to get to that place. And we wait for our future selves to fix it. We expect them to be motivated for us. But we are our future selves, and we need to look for what motivates us right now.

We’ve got to find our motivation.

Stay focused on your goals

So far we’ve learned that we need

a) an achievable goal that

b) our current selves will accomplish with

c) the right tools in place.

Ask yourself 3 questions:

What do I want to accomplish?

What things do I need to accomplish it?

How will I use these things to carry out the task?

Once you have the answers to these, you can decide when you want to achieve your goal by.

Start with a goal you can accomplish in the next hour that will lead up to a goal for the day , then the week, then the month.

What is a goal you have for the new year? Can you break it down more? How much progress have you made?

spring-clean-declutter

3 Reasons to Declutter And Why You Should Start Today

Now that we’ve covered how to get over ourselves and start cleaning, it’s time to pick a place to start. But how do you pick one place when your whole house is on the verge of being featured on Hoarders? The biggest step to decluttering: one thing at a time. You can’t go from 0 to 100 on one day, week,month, or even year.

Take this article for example. I posted it the other day in a rush to “get it out on time” and ended up taking it down for a bit. Why? Because I need to take it one step at a time.

The blog’s not disappearing, and my hope is that you don’t either. So I want to make sure I’m writing the best I can to really help you improve your life.

Here are some major things that can get in the way of our efforts:

We have ATTENTION DEFICIT CLEANING DISORDER.

We start in one room but move stuff to another room… Then start in that room but find something for another room.. before you know it you have a bunch of half cleaned rooms with nothing accomplished.

Want to hear something funny? My boyfriend was proofreading this post for me, and pointed out that I actually trailed off from this section on my own(did I mention I have ADHD?).

I proved my own point, in my own post, without even realizing it. That leads me to my next point:

We get DISTRACTED.

Attention Cleaning Deficit Disorder focuses on internal things: our own thoughts and minds.  This section refers to getting distracted by external things, such as a pile of dishes or dirt on the floor.

As part of my mental health journey (more on that another day) I participated in a program called Dialectical Behavior Therapy. A big part of this program is to learn and use new skills to increase our ability to deal with life.

One of my favorite skills is rooted in staying focused. I’ve found it really helps me declutter my mind. It’s called , “One Mindfully”. This is where you make a conscious effort to focus on only one thing at a time. I do this by concentrating all my energy on that one thing I’m doing, and when my mind starts to wander I pull myself back.

Challenge: don’t think about a pink elephant.


What did you do? Exactly. This is how I pull myself back. I compare my distractions to a pink elephant. When my mind tells me to think about something else, I remember that elephant. That reminds me that I’m getting off track.

You will get to that pink elephant eventually. Just stay focused on the task you’re trying to achieve.

We feel like we’re fighting a losing battle.

The monotony of decluttering never goes away. There will always be dishes, laundry and random things to deal with. For us moms, it’s a fact of life and can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed. This triggers feelings of hopelessness and we get lost. We don’t know how to handle it.

According to Feng Shui, our homes are a mirror of what’s happening inside us. In order to clean house in our minds, we need to first declutter what’s around us.

Picking your poison

A messy house is a big contributor to the vicious cycle of depression and anxiety. We get stuck in our own thoughts and don’t know what to do.

There are many reasons behind picking ONE room (or area) to start with. Not only does it make things easier, it helps you feel more accomplished. You will actually see your progress. This will help break the cycle.

 

The Solution

List it. Sit down and make a list of all the rooms in your house. Rate how they make you feel from 1 to 10, with 1 being happy, 5 being indifferent, and 10 being stressed to the max.

Now narrow it down. Pick 3 rooms that stress you out the most and then rate them again. I suggest looking at the one you want declutter most. If you’re struggling to pick one, write out the pros and cons of each.

If there’s a particular room that overwhelms you, pick one area of that room. Still don’t know where to start? Here are a few examples to get your gears turning.

Common problem areas

I’m guessing one of the rooms you picked is either the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room or entrance way. That’s because these are the most common places clutter accumulates. They’re lived in. We spend a lot of time there.

But we don’t have to clean the whole room right now. Just part of it. This may seem counter-productive, but it’s about breaking our problems down to bite sized pieces.

Now that you have a room picked out, zero in on the area you want to tackle first. Is it the sink? The stove? How about the counters, closets or dressers?

I am personally picking our command center. This is something I found on Pinterest that keeps all your mail and papers in one spot. It’s supposed to be an organized system to prevent clutter. My favorite one is from Jenna Burger Design:

declutter-w-cmd-ctr

There’s a huge catch all bin full of papers and files for me to “get to later”. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m going to declutter it.

For me this means going through all the papers, taking the ones to file down into the basement(a lot of work in itself) and actually filing them.

I picked this area because I really don’t want to do it. Once I tackle it, I’ll feel better and more inclined to move on to the next spot.

Go through this list with your pros and cons and decide which spot you’re going to tackle. We’ll devise a plan to get to it tomorrow.

What area are you going to choose? Why did you pick it?

spring-clean-declutter

The Real Reason We Make Excuses

Spring cleaning can be a time to purge all the clutter of your house and mind. But it’s not just about that. It’s about feeling better and building momentum for the year. So why is it so hard?  What’s stopping us? One word: excuses.

Read on for the meaning behind our excuses, or jump ahead to some common excuses and how to fix them. 

You can also download the Interpersonal Skills Worksheet  directly.

(The worksheet was made on Canva on my mobile phone, so it’s a little rough, but gets the job done!)

Excuses: everyone’s got them

But why? What’s the point of making up excuses to put something off? Why stop ourselves from doing what makes us feel good? There are lots of reasons we make excuses. While they may feel better short  term, they catapult us into a never ending cycle:

Cycle of Mess

To defend ourselves.

Excuses are a perfect defense. We don’t want to admit that we suck at times. Society frowns upon being lazy. Why would we want to come out of the closet? Besides, we know we have “it” in there somewhere.

We’re “comfortable”.

We have built our lives around comfort. Humans are creatures of habit and we don’t like change. On the surface, we may be itching to change, but deep down we like our life just the way it is.

A saying I really enjoy is that comfort is uncomfortable. Comfort zones provide us with a ton of excuses for putting something off. Think about it: how many times do you feel like you could do better? Be better? If you were truly happy, you wouldn’t have these thoughts.



 

We’re afraid.

Fear is defined as unpleasant emotion caused by a perceived threat. Throughout our lives we pick up what we know as limiting beliefs. These beliefs tell us that something is dangerous or painful to us.

There are many kinds of fear. They are often deep rooted and birth the limiting beliefs that lead to our excuses. 2 of the biggest ones I see in myself and others are:

Fear of failure(Perfectionsim)

Perfectionists set themselves extremely high standards. We see other moms with a spotless house and wonder, “How the hell do they keep that up? That’s what I want.”

So we resign ourselves to go above and beyond where we’re at in our own lives. We shoot for the stars when we are still on the ground. This causes a huge problem. You can’t skip a step on the ladder to success. You’ll trip.

Fear of success.

What happens when we actually succeed? Then we have nothing to strive for. We think we’ll feel better when we “get there”, but we don’t even know where “there” is. We’ll never see ourselves as able to actually achieve it. That helps us create: you guessed it. EXCUSES!

We have low self esteem.

Our limiting beliefs not only make excuses, they feed off our low self esteem. The perfectionist in us says we’ll never be enough, which in turn makes us think we can’t do it. It also tells us we don’t have the resources to accomplish it:

If I only had x,y and z I’d be better at this.

If I only did x,y and z I’d be better at this.

We have supermom syndrome.

Supermom

We compare ourselves to others we see as having the things we want. This makes us feel worse. What we fail to remember is that we just aren’t there yet. We’re in a different place on our journey, but that doesn’t mean we’re better or worse than anyone else.

I was talking to my girlfriend the other night. She’s someone I’ve always looked up to. She’s what most of us would see as the ultimate supermom- she works full time, goes to the gym 6 days a week, does all the cool things with her kids and keeps her house immaculate. I don’t know where she finds the drive to do it.

Despite all this, she still sees herself as a failure because she struggles with her own fears and insecurities.

Now that we’ve covered why we make the excuses, its time to identify the ones we make.

The excuses we make

Problem: Too Busy

We just don’t have the time.
Work, school, all the kids’ extracurriculars. Cooking dinner. All the errands we have to do. Writing blog posts(what do you think I could be doing right now?). We find plenty of time do what we see as important to keep our life together. But do you want to come home to a messy house? Do you like coming home to beat yourself up? Messy house= messy mind.

If you’re like me, your morning consists of getting the kids ready for school. Wake up. Wake them up. Make breakfast. Eat. Get dressed. Get them dressed. Brush your teeth. Brush their teeth. Sometimes make their lunch. Gather all their papers/folders/books and extra clothes. Stuff it in their bookbags and shove them out the door/ into the car.

So where’s the time to clean? The counters are a mess, there’s laundry all over the floor and dishes in the sink. You’ve got to get to work/errands/appointments!

Solution: Multi-task.

Getting dressed: pick up extra laundry laying around on the floor while picking out your clothes.

Brushing your teeth: clear the bathroom counter. Put away your makeup/styling products/ that box of cold meds from last week.

Breakfast: wipe the counters down. Literally, wipe the crumbs on to the floor(this helps me sweep later because I can’t stand stepping on crumbs). Put the cereal boxes away.

Gathering items for school: toss the stuff you don’t need. Seriously. That science worksheet they did in school? Not going to benefit anyone by sitting on the table for weeks.

Problem: Too overwhelMed

Stress

When we come home from busting our ass at work/errands/grocery shopping/etc, the last thing we want to do is start cleaning. We used all our energy on the day’s activities. Plus we have to start dinner, do homework with the kids, and try to keep our sanity.

We take one look at the mess from the morning or the piles of stuff laying all over the house and we stress.

Solution: Pick up as you go.

Walking to the bathroom? Grab a few things along the way. Hubby’s hat and shoes ? Grab them and put them where they go. Kids’ toys all over the floor? Scoop them up and shove them into a corner for now (we’ll get to that later). Books, magazines, notebooks? Snatch them up and stack them neatly on that counter or shelf.

I know what you’re thinking. “How’s this going to help me actually clean?” Trust me. It will help. The little stuff piles up. Taking a little bit at a time and grouping it together helps you start sorting it out.

Solution: Catch all bins.

I bought a fabric tote from the dollar store and when I don’t know what to do with something laying around, I toss it in there. It’s currently full of toys, spare clothes, papers and magazines that I’ll “get to later”. When I head to another room, I take it with me and empty it out a little at a time.

Solution: Shush the perfectionist.

Relax. This mess is only temporary. Like Rome, it wasn’t built in a day. Unlike Rome, it will take more than a day to come down. One. Step. At. A. Time.



Problem: Lack of support

It seems that most moms are on their own sometimes. Sure, we may get help from time to time, but our main responsibility is to tend to the house.

But it takes a village. How are we supposed to pick up after ourselves and the significant other and the kids and, in some cases, the animals(we have 2 dogs who I also count as kids).

Solution: Communicate.

Be a broken record. Explain to your family why you need the help. Download this Interpersonal Skills Worksheet to help you do it effectively.

Solution: involve the family.

No matter their age, kids can help too! Make it a game. Whoever picks up their stuff first gets a treat. Build it into their routine. Make a conscious effort to have them do something small every day.

Ask your significant other to help as much as they can too. Try to devise a plan of who will do what chore for the day/week/forever.

Homework: Find your block

Now that we’ve learned a few of the blocks there are and how to combat them, we’ll take some time to reflect.

Use a few minutes of down time through your day today and really think about what’s stopping you. Think about why it’s stopping you. If you could wave a magic wand, what would wish for? More time? A maid? A cleaning robot? Or just the drive to overcome that block?

Let me know what you come up with. Is there something blocking you that I didn’t cover? What kind of excuses do you find yourself making? What can you do to nip them in the bud?

Tomorrow we’ll dive into what area you’re manifesting as a result of this block.

http://wecareonlineclasses.com/too-busy-to-clean-your-house-read-more-for-some-great-easy-tips/

Spring Cleaning CHALLENGE!

Spring Cleaning is a pretty well known tradition here in the Midwest. When the weather starts to tire of toying with us we get itchy. Snow melts, the first flowers pop up(I can’t wait to see if my new Crocus will), and the sun will start to stay a while.

A lot of the time we tend to “hibernate” through winter, so spring means waking from our beauty sleep. This usally gives us a boost of energy and makes us want to clean up our winter mess.

I have a feeling that you’re thinking to yourself, “but it’s not spring yet- it’s still winter!’. So? Just because it’s called spring cleaning doesn’t mean we have to wait until Spring.

Take advantage of your extra time

Wouldn’t it be great if you had those first weeks of spring to get out of the house? Enjoy the mud and rainy days with the kids? If I know anything about kids, it’s that they hate being bored.

Take my son for example. He is currently going nuts looking for something to do while I write this. He was outside adventuring and playing all day, and he still finds a way to be bored.

I see spring cleaning as a way to purge all that winter build up. Physically, less sun for me means less happiness. I always feel better when I spend the day in the sunshine!

When I’m less happy, I’m less active. When I’m less active, I clean less. When I clean less, I get clutter. When I get clutter, I’m less happy.

See how that works? It turns into a never ending cycle of clutter and guilt. Throw in those dreams about SuperMom traits and it’s all downhill.

Why We Don’t Do It

There are many reasons for procrastinating at something. Cleaning can be a big one. Aside from the fact that I struggle from depression, I am a huge fan of putting responsibility on my future self. I always find time to “do it later”.

3 things I hear that prevent others from tackling things are:

They don’t have enough time.

They get overwhelmed.

They lack family support.

All of these can be good reasons/excuses as to why we don’t clean.

The Fix

If you guessed coffee, you’re wrong! While coffee helps us in the short term, it doesn’t clean our house. So I came up with this Spring Cleaning Challenge to add the extra oomph the coffee can’t provide.

The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Over the next 5 days, we will spring clean one area of our house. I don’t care if it’s a huge living room or a small corner of the bedroom. In fact, I don’t care if it’s your kitchen counter!

The goal of this challenge is to help you clear your mind and tackle that one thing that’s dragging you down.

What We’ll Do

Day 1- We’ll identify what’s blocking you from getting started.

Day 2-We’ll pick an area. Room, corner, closet, whatever.

Day 3-We’ll devise a slacker-proof plan THAT will actually work to help you DECLUTTER your space and your mind.

Day 4- The hardest part of the challenge. We. WILL. START.

Day 5- We will assess our progress and tweak our plan if needed.

Homework

For today, simply think about your state of mind right now. Think of the winter and the things you’ve done over the past few months. If you’re somewhere in a different season, think of your winter time too.

This is getting posted on a Sunday night, so if you see it soon it will be perfect time to reflect. If you’re finding this at a later date, no worries! Go at your own pace!

I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Cleaning Hack: DIY Scratch Remover (Wood)

Green Cleaning has become all the rage anymore. It seems that everyone is pulling random decrepit objects from their cupboards to clean their living space in the name of green. What’s the worst that can happen, really?  I mean, I suppose it’s about time to put that box of arm and hammer to use; it’s been sitting in the freezer ever since I moved here….

So, I have seen lots of posts on facebook and pinterest with recipes for DIY cleaning projects that supposedly really work. I’ve always wanted to try these types of concoctions if not for the fact that I can simply mix a bunch of crap together and have a science project right here at home! Well I saw this article on  How To Easily Fix Scratches on Wood Furniture from  DIY Projects World’s website, and decided it would be worth a shot to try it out.

1. DIY Project- Removing scratches from Wood furniture
Conclusion: Works for lighter, not-so-serious nics scratches; not recommended for use on deeper ones.

Pros: Leaves wood looking shiny and clean                             Cons: Doesn’t work well on deep scratches 
         Inexpensive, chemical free solution                                             
*Materials*
A small bowl
A rag
 3/4 c Olive Oil and
1/4 c Vinegar
          
No specific types of oil or vinegar are stated in the recipe of the original post. Results may vary based upon what kind of oil/vinegar you use— I used 3/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/4 White Distilled Vinegar.

*Method*
From what I gather, you simply mix the two ingredients together, dip a rag into the concoction and start wiping down the furniture of your choice. This seems like a good way to do it— if you want oily hands and furniture, and everything smelling like vinegar(yes, even with 1/4 c)!!

*Results*
 I tried this recipe on our kitchen chair and  living room table.
I simply dipped my rag into the oil/vinegar concoction, keeping it saturated pretty well. Then I began lightly wiping down the chair.
 (sorry about the bad quality of the pictures, I had a hard time getting good lighting with the camera on my LG G2)

Chair pre oil and vinegar (notice the spots on the left hand side)

The chair has some pretty deep scratches on it
so it took a bit of elbow grease to get minimal results.

Chair after oil and  vinegar 

As you can [hopefully] see, the scratches are still on the chair. There were a few smaller nics that did go away; the oil and vinegar seem to soak into the wood, making it darker where the scratches are.

The table, however, is a different story. There were a lot more scratches on it but they are much lighter and easier to get rid of. Again, it may be hard to see, but some of the nics seemed to straight up disappear! It looks a lot nicer, even with the deeper spots still showing.

Table before 

Table after

Upon doing further research I decided that this method may not have worked due to my lack of knowledge in what type of wood finish our furniture has, and the fact that I used extra virgin olive oil. There may be more efficient types of oil out there to use on this project.

More DIY Cleaning Recipes can be found here.

Thoughts or suggestions?