A Fresh Look at Goals: for Parents, Kids & the Family (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about methods that help us define and develop goals.

Once you’ve clarified what they are, the next step is breaking each goal into down into manageable steps, so we can set out with a plan on how to accomplish them. This plan may need frequent adjusting. This is not only OK, but a healthy part of the process.

As we move along and things clarify, we sometimes find that part of a plan simply does not work. This is NOT to be considered failure, it is a mini-success because with the adjustment in our plan we align ourselves more closely with the end goal.

Ultimately, if we take steps on a daily basis (no matter how small) we can attain our goals. It’s important to remember that we may not reach our goals on the intended date. Some things are out of our control. And if you’re a parent, lack of time and energy are real obstacles that may hinder rapid accomplishment. Fear not, it’s still possible, as long as you become crystal clear about what you want and how you’re going to get it.

The good news is that if we do this ourselves, we wind up teaching our kids how to do it, too. It’s a winning situation for everybody.

Here’s snapshot of what my mentor, Zig Ziglar, says about the goals process. His fantastic book, See You At The Top, goes into great detail about this subject (see a full list of recommendations at the end of this article).

1)     Identify EXACTLY what I desire
2)     Spell out exactly why I’d like to reach these goals
3)     List the obstacles I need to overcome in order to get there
4)     Identify the people, groups and organizations I need to work with to get there
5)     Identify what I need to know (learn) in order to reach these goals
6)     Develop a plan of action
7)     Set a date on it. When do I expect to get there?

One additional thought. If this all seems overwhelming, that’s normal. You can’t possibly answer all of these questions all at once. If you’re just starting the process, you may not be able to answer any. But if you allow yourself to believe that you can do this, you will. If you believe that you can’t, you won’t. In other words, your perception will create your reality.

SPEAKING OF KIDS
It’s never too soon to help our kids learn to set their own goals. By this I do not mean us setting goals for them, that’s different (and also necessary).

For instance, my son Max is in kindergarten. I shouldn’t expect him to be able to answer the following: “So, what are your plans to get to college?”

But I can help him set some goals for the coming school year. Any extra-curricular activities he might want to partake in (ie: swimming or track and field…) I also like to discuss future goals with both him – from career to family plans. I do this with my 3-year old, too. It helps my boys develop their frontal lobe, which is so important in decision making and problem solving.

There are too many young adults that have not idea how to set a goal, or what to do with their lives.

OUR GOALS
I’d like to take a deeper look at the kindergarten to college analogy. ANYBODY who tried to look at this scenario as a point A to point B endeavor would be completely overwhelmed. Here’s a way it can be broken down:

Kindergarten (where I’m at) to College (the goal)
the step-by-step approach to accomplishing my goal:

– Section it off by grammar school, middle school, high school and college.
– Now break it down by grade (year): kindergarten, grade 1, etc.
– By semester
– By month
– By week
– By day
– By class

You get the idea. Each step leads us to the ultimate goal, but it’s much easier to build upon if you start from the “by class” goal. Now it’s manageable – a small enough bite that you can actually chew on it, instead of choke on it.

FAMILY GOALS
Family goals could be anything from spending more time together, taking a family vacation, helping each other get in shape, fixing up the house, etc…

Sometimes an individual’s goal becomes a family goal. For instance, my son Max wants to be a NASCAR driver.

This is his goal. But since he’s only 5, it’s my job (and my wife’s job) to help him attain it – making it a family goal.

My first step is bringing him to a kart race to gauge his interest level. Once he sees exactly what kids’ kart racing entails (this actually exists for kids his age), what does he think?

My responsibility is to help both boys set goals that are realistic and attainable (but not necessarily easy). I can’t expect Max to drive a full-sized car right now, but there are karts he can drive, or he can play a driving game on the Playstation, etc…

If we make goal setting a way of life for ourselves and our kids, we can all expect more fulfilling and less frustrating lives.

Is it easy? NO.

Have I accomplished everything? Hardly.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

It’s a long road, but the sooner we get on the better off we’ll be.

And remember, you are not alone…

For further reading & listening:

Zig Ziglar
– See You at The Top (Highly reccomended book)
– Goals (audio CD’s)

Jack Canfield
The Success Principles
(also available on audio CD)

Brian Tracy

Get Motivated by Successful Failures (Part 1)

Picture 1Some of America’s greatest success stories almost didn’t happen.

Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team? Following this rejection he went home, locked himself in his room and cried.

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for having no imagination and no original ideas.

Even The Beatles failed. Before they became “popular,” they were turned down by Decca Records who claimed, “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”

One of Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything, and that he should go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality.”

What would have happened if these people would have listened to the criticism?

Whether the criticism spurred them to greatness or not, one thing is for sure: the deciding factor in their success was not their talent. It was their ability to get back on their feet – sometimes countless times and try again.

You can do the same.
How? By learning each lesson you need to learn from your “failures,” and trying again – as many times as it takes. Do the work that needs to be done, as best you can each day. No matter how daunting. Step-by-step, day-by-day, you will get closer to your goal until it is attained.

These successful failures are perfect examples that anything is possible.

Do you listen to the critics? Are you your OWN worst critic? If so, you may be denying the world your greatness. Not to mention your family, yourself and your bank account.

You do not have to settle for less than who you are. No matter what ANYBODY says.

If Jordan had settled for less, the Knicks might have actually won a title. Scotty Pippen would have had to score a LOT more points to create the Bulls legacy. And Dennis Rodman would have fallen into obscurity instead of becoming the greatest (and weirdest) rebounder in the league.

What if Edison would have listened? We might all still be sitting in the dark.

Whether you succeed or fail is up to you. It’s your responsibility. What do you choose?

Don’t forget, your kids are watching.

And remember, you are not alone…

Related Links:
Get Motivated by Successful Failures, Part 2

Family Blogs
blog

Superficial vs. Substance: the Swimming Analogy

Picture 2

It’s not how big a splash you make in life – it’s how well you swim, how strong you are and how many laps you can endure.

The splash is over in two seconds. Afterward, you either sink or swim…”

The good news is that we are not stuck with our current “swimming ability.” We can improve, as long as we’re willing to do the work.

And remember, you are not alone…

Goals & Emotions

Goals are important.

Short-term or long-term, they have the ability to define who we are and what we do in our life (as long as we do our part to attain them).

I sure have plenty to work on, and with a 45-minute commute each way to and from work I have ample opportunity to listen to audio books on a variety of topics.

Lately, my CD player has been spinning tracks on leadership, inspiration, motivation and goals.

Although they’re very helpful, there is one aspect of the puzzle that’s missing — emotions.

The question is: how do we clarify our goals, let alone take steps to reach them, if our daily existence feels like such a struggle to survive?

Sure, there are some fantastic ideas on these CDs, many of which I use on a daily basis. Speakers like Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy really believe that each day can be chock-full of productive, goal-reaching actions. And they’re right.

But what about when we’re not feeling right?

I’m not talking about a bad attitude here, I’m talking about depression, exhaustion, anger or an upsetting matter that is weighing heavily on our minds — whether it’s a bad work environment, a sick family member or a personal illness — these are all issues that need addressing. They’re also issues that can very easily become obstacles to setting and acheiving goals.

Sometimes our day is full of coping. Whether it’s chatting with co-workers, surfing the Web, TV or some other distraction to get ourselves through the day (and night). So you could say that the immediate goal is to hold oneself together and survive, plain and simple.

Finally, the day ends. But will your sleep be peaceful? Will you wake up the next day feeling any different? Maybe, if your “problem” was a small matter that needed a day or two for you to let it go. But if the problem still exists, this routine can lead deeper and deeper into feelings of hopelessness.

Not good. It’s also not true — it’s just a feeling (albeit an extremely strong, oppressive one).

Like John Lennon said, “where there’s life, there’s hope.” I believe he’s right. I’ve experienced it. From almost dying of Crohn’s disease, to not being able to find a job, to ectopic pregnancies, I have faced situations that seemed unsolvable. But I was given hope by my lovely wife, and I am eternally grateful.

I know first hand that sometimes making it through the day is such a large goal, it feels like it’s all we can do.

But it’s not.

We have choices. The first of which is getting some positive thoughts into our heads to help us find some hope. Hope will lead to inspiration & motivation (that’s where these fantastic writers, speakers and loved ones come into play), which has the power to carry you out of just about any situation.

Second, if you need help, get help. Whether it’s depression, addiction, illness — whatever is bringing you down — get the help you need. Your life depends on it. Sometimes literally.

Just like I spoke about replacing bad habits with good ones in, The Four H’s of Self Destruction: When Hobby Becomes Habit, we need to do the same thing here. We need to replace a neutral or negative way of coping with a positive one.

Instead of taking 10 minutes to check Facebook or Twitter (which we just checked 20 minutes ago), or to kill time until 5 O’clock arrives, we can make a phone call to a specific person or organization that has the potential to help us move forward. Or we could read a few pages of a book that’s geared towards one of our goals.

If we don’t know exactly who to call or what to read, we can take that time to make a list or search the Web for resources. You get the idea. We’re still giving ourselves a chance to cope, but this option offers significant benefit, at the very least helping  us feel better about ourselves. I’m not encouraging you to avoid doing your work at work. But the law says you get a lunch hour. How you use it is up to you.

In my case, I started with small, manageable steps and then began to determine and place some of my long-term goals alongside this survival goal. When we do this, we move from surviving toward thriving.

Would you rather survive as a troubled person or survive as a triumphant one? I truly believe that if you make enough positive life changes, no matter how small, they will add up. Your life and your attitude will improve.

If we substitute real, focused goals for “water-cooler chit-chat,” then we’re really doing something about the current situation as well as our future. In other words, we can choose to kill time or use it to build a life.

Either way the time will pass, and we’ll accomplish exactly what we set out to do.

(Note: This blog is in no way meant to replace or substitute the help of a professional. I am not a doctor. Although I hope this article proves helpful, I do not have all the answers. But I do have lots of questions…)

And remember, you are not alone…

If you like this post,Stumble It!

Reference Guide: How to get more hits on your daddy blog, or any blog!

This is the second (and final) part of my reference series for dads. I’m sure there’s more information out there, but these blogs & Web sites have been incredibly helpful to me. Depending on your blog’s content, some of the suggestions made will provide positive results, while others will leave you with an empty feeling and a craving for chocolate cake!

JohnTP.com: How to increase your blog’s traffic
This four part series is a wonderful, detailed introduction to blogging. Find links to all four parts towards the end of each post. Thanks John!

Seth Godin’s: How to get traffic to your blog
Another great resource for bloggers.

Reddit.com
Quite simply, one of the best blog aggregators around! I have found it to be very powerful IF you take the time to learn how to use it. It’s also important to choose the correct “subreddit” tag so you reach your intended audience. If a tag has a big audience, expect your click-throughs to jump! But be responsible in your posting or you’ll get bad Karma!

Good luck!

And remember, you are not alone…

Resources for Dads: Top Daddy Blogs & Web Sites

Over the past few months, I’ve been lucky enough to come across some incredible blogs and Web sites for dads. I am pleasantly surprised that there more of us than I expected. A couple of fellow dads were kind enough to compile lists of some of the best blogs out there. These are a all great resources for bloggers and readers alike!

Links to Daddy Blog Lists
These sites also offer great content beyond the lists.
 

Building Camelot: 101 awesome sites for men husbands and fathers
Dad Thing:51-dad-blogs
Alltop:Dad blogs

My Favorite Daddy Blogs
With content so relevant, I visit them just about every day.

Paul Peterson Live
Paul is a pastor with incredible insight and dedication. He is a wonderful source of inspiration and spirituality no matter what your religion.

Clif’s Notes
Great dad posts coupled with an abundance of forward thinking content for teachers & educators. He’s also a bit of a sports fanatic.

Working Dad: An Unauthorized Guide to Parenting
If it’s newsworthy, and it concerns dads, you’ll probably find it on Paul’s blog. Interesting stories and book reviews that will have you digging through his archives for more.

Resources

National Fatherhood Initiative(NFI)
This is a great site to visit for everything dad — including programs, products, events, links, research, news and more!

Right now, NFI is running a contest about what it means to be a good father. They’re looking for “your best creative ideas in a video and/or photograph that expresses what involved, responsible and committed fatherhood means to you…”
Click here to find out more.

And remember, you are not alone…


Add to Technorati Favorites

Top Blog Sites

Blog Flux Directory

Top100 Bloggers - Top Blog Directory - Blog Top list
Blogs

It Could Be Worse…

It is 10 pm on Easter night. I had been planning to do a satirical comment about the holiday. Something funny, with wit and chuckles to spare. The plan is out the window.

Yesterday my wife had a serious reaction to her diabetes medicine. Thank goodness she’s OK. But it was pretty scary. Today she started insulin again, something we’ve been trying to avoid. But it could be worse. It could be much worse.

Feeling much better (but still not great), my wife made a tasty Easter dinner. Homemade stuffed mushrooms with enough garlic to kill an army of vampires (yum) and a ham more tender than, well, a tough ham. The boys fussed over their food (as usual) but it was quite good and they ate enough to sustain healthy life. They acted like monkeys the entire meal (giving scientific proof to the theory of evolution) leaving my wife and I with headaches, stomach aches and a few extra aches for me to pass around at work tomorrow.

We’re 800 miles from our friends & families, living in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin. Trust me, this is not an actual state. It’s an iceberg with bad pizza, but damn good beer (New Glarus Brewery)! When we lived in NY, the holidays always left me with a vague sense of dread. Now, being away from everybody leaves me with a strange sense of detached isolation. Maybe we should move somewhere in the middle. Maybe that would cancel out all of the negatives. Or at least let me enjoy a sampling of dread and isolation in tandem!

Next, the kids ran around like little hooligans (really cute ones), and evaded my lame 40 year old attempt to catch them. There was laughter to be had, but I was too out of breath to even consider anything but gasping for air. The smell of apple pie permeated the air.

It could be worse. Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

And remember, you are not alone…

Add to Technorati Favorites

Top Blog Sites

Blog Flux Directory

Top100 Bloggers - Top Blog Directory - Blog Top list
Blogs