Steven Covey wrote: Begin with the end in mind.
As an exercise, he encouraged you to think of your funeral. Imagine how people felt about your death, what they say in your honor.
I encourage you to think even further. What is your 100-year goal?
I’ve been on a quest to add helpful habits to my life. But what I’ve really been doing is setting recurring tasks.
There’s a difference.
I woke up this morning and went about my business. I created my to do list:
All sounds great, right? But I forgot one: writing.
Only 5 days ago I committed to writing 500 words a day in an effort to develop a habit of writing daily. I even created a spreadsheet to track how many words I write each day, to make sure I don’t miss days.
Yet today I almost did.
I went blissfully through my day checking off items on my to-do list. I went out for my “daily” run (which isn’t exactly daily yet). After I got back, I jumped in the shower. Then it hit me: I had forgotten to add writing to my to-do list.
I’m a data geek and a personal improvement fanatic.
I want to improve my personal habits, skills and behaviors. I strive to be healthy, happy and productive.
And, for the most part, I am.
One way I achieve this is by tracking my life. Self-tracking for me has two benefits:
I don’t retain habits well. My habits wax and wane. They need constant renewal.
I derive pleasure from seeking out new things. Too often that squeezes out the old, even when the old helps me live my life more effectively.
Luckily, I’ve discovered it’s easier to re-ignite old habits than to start new ones. Each time I fail to maintain a habit, I don’t beat myself up. I let it go until I’m in a place to rekindle. Until I have the energy to fan the flames and build my habit anew.
I am in that place again.
Did you know that 30,000 people die each week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions? That’s 1,560,000 people a year.
90% of those deaths come from children under 5 years of age.
But you can help.
In July I attended the World Domination Summit and saw Scott Harrison speak about being an greedy nightclub promoter. Then he joined Mercy Ships, helping to provide free medical care to the people of the world’s poorest nations. The experience transformed him.
He returned to the U.S. to found charity:water, a charity dedicated to providing clean water to everyone in the world. But he did more than form another charity. He transformed the charity model. Continue reading >
This past weekend I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. One of the sessions I attended on Sunday was Less Is More: Simple Productivity Hacks presented by Julia Roy (@juliaroy). For those who missed the session, my notes are below. For more productivity hacks, check out Julia’s web site. Continue reading >
This week I launched a new blog called Lean Decisions to help people make better decisions. In preparing for the launch, I wrote a month’s backlog of articles by writing one post a day. Since I have limited time, I had to learn how to write fast. Keep reading to see what I learned.
Do you tell others often how much you appreciate them? Does it come across sincere?
I struggled in the past with expressing appreciation. Especially with employees, but also with loved ones, colleagues and even strangers.
I aim to get things done. Once I complete a task or project, I’m onto the next one. I used to forget to stop and appreciate the people and things around me. To take a moment and express a heartfelt thanks.
And even when I did, it often felt empty. I knew I needed to appreciate my employees, and I did. But I didn’t do it effectively. I just said “thanks”, and left it at that.
For my Leadership Asheville class, we each had to choose a personal development goal. I chose to learn how to appreciate and encourage others more. Read on for some of the lessons I learned over the past year.
Continue reading >
Each year, as the old year winds down and a new year leaps excitedly at us, I set aside time for introspection. To review the past year and envision the new year. In the past, I set goals for each year, as many of us do. I’d type my New Year’s resolutions and post them on the wall. Then promptly go about not fulfilling them.
Three years ago I started making a new type of New Year’s resolution. Rather than focus on goals, I focused on behaviors. I set specific, measurable activities I needed to perform on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. I then tracked how I was doing in a spreadsheet.
For the most part, this worked. I now exercise daily, eat healthier and write regularly. I’ve lost weight, developed better friendships and am overall much happier.
Due to some major life changes, though, I stopped consistently tracking my resolutions in early 2011. Surprisingly, it hasn’t affected my activities–they’ve become habits, not just resolutions.
Thus, this year, I’m trying something new again. Instead of behavior-based resolutions, I’m choosing a motto as an overarching theme and 7 verbs that I aim to explore this year. I have thoughts in mind on how to explore these, but am purposely leaving myself open to experimentation.
Continue reading >
If you could teach people to learn better in school, be more effective at work, have a stronger marriage and live a happier life, would you?
In 2004, Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman published Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, a compendium of 24 character strengths that ancient thinkers, spiritual leaders and modern psychologists all agree lead to a good life.
Since then, research has shown being strong in one or more of these character strengths can help:
Based on my own experience, strengths like perseverance, optimism and creativity also help entrepreneurs grow businesses, employees perform better and marriages flourish.
Moreover, these character strengths can be taught and improved upon.