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Get Clear on What You Want

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Jack Canfield, the guy behind the wildly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul empire, has some great planning advice for 2014. I read a similar article at the end of 2011 and set goals based on his ideas below. It took me two years, but I accomplished 90% of the goals I had set for myself and turned the other 10% into longer term goals. Why not give it a try and turn your dreams and aspirations into reality? Thanks for your words of wisdom, Jack!

Are you ready to make 2014 your best year yet?

It’s easy to start the new year full of enthusiasm and optimism. But to maintain your momentum through the year, you need to set powerful, crystal-clear goals.

The first step to getting what you want out of life is to decide exactly what you want.

What do you want to accomplish?
What do you want to experience?
What do you want to acquire?
Who do you want to be?

One of primary reasons most people don’t get what they want is that they aren’t clear about what they want. Others will recognize what they’d like to have, but when they can’t see how it’s possible to get what they want, and they dismiss their desires as foolish and unattainable.

Don’t sabotage yourself this way!

After decades of research into how the human brain works, scientists now know that for our brains to figure out how to get what we want, we must first decide what we want. Once we lock-in our desires, our mind and the universe can step in to help make our dreams a reality.

Dream Big
We start the process by getting clear about what we want. So, what do you want? To create a balanced and successful life, write down a minimum of 3 goals in each of the following 7 areas:

Financial Goals
Career/Business Goals
Free Time/Family Time
Health/Appearance Goals
Relationship Goals
Personal Growth
Making a Difference

If you have more goals than this, don’t limit yourself – write them down! On the other hand, if writing down 21 goals seems like a lot, remember that we can have a mix of long- and short-term goals. For example, in the financial area, you may have a short-term goal of paying off a $5,000 credit card balance, as well as a long-term goal of amassing a net worth of $5 million dollars. You want to keep both goals present in your mind, even though you’ll be working more actively on the short-term goal first.

Stretch Yourself
When setting our goals, it’s important to include a few that will make us stretch and grow to achieve them. These might be learning a new skill or trying something that is uncomfortable and maybe a little frightening, such as public speaking. It also helps to set a breakthrough goal that would represent a quantum leap. Examples of breakthrough goals include publishing a book, starting a business, getting on Oprah, winning a gold medal at the Olympics, or getting elected president of your industry association.

Material goals are important, but the ultimate goal is to become a master at life. In the long run, the greatest benefit we receive from pursuing our dreams is not the outer trappings of fulfilling the dream, but who we become in the process.

The outer symbols of success can all be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt, relationships end, cars get old, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you have learned, and the new skills you have developed never go away. These are the true prizes of success. Motivational philosopher Jim Rohn advises that “You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.”

Turn Your Dreams Into Goals and Objectives
Once you are clear about what you want, write them down and turn each item into a measurable objective. Measurable means measurable in space and time – how much and by when.

For instance, if you were to tell me that you wanted more money, I might pull out a dollar and give it to you. You would probably protest, saying “No, I meant a lot more money, like $20,000!” But there is no way I’d know how you’d define “more money” unless you tell me, right?

Similarly, your boss, your friends, your spouse, your brain, God, and the Universe can’t figure out what you want unless you tell them specifically what it is. What exactly do you want and when do you want it by?

Your Goals Impact Others
As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You’ll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, they compel others to want to play big, too.

You’ll also discover that when your dreams include service to others – that is, accomplishing something that contributes to others – it accelerates the accomplishment of that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.

Work on Your Goals Daily
To keep your subconscious mind focused on what you want, read your list of goals everyday. For an even more powerful approach, close your eyes and focus on each goal and ask yourself, “What is one thing I could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?” Write down your answers and take those actions.

As the old joke goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Steady progress in bite-sized chunks puts even the most audacious goals into reach.

Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Organization to the Rescue–Literally!

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You never know where you’ll find extraordinary examples of organization…

Yesterday, my family and I attended an event sponsored by the Junior League of Bergen County, NJ called Touch-a-Truck. It’s a little kids’ paradise–a parking lot filled with a variety of vehicles. There are garbage trucks, ambulances, dump trucks, diggers–you get the idea. Kids are allowed to sit in the vehicles, honk the horns, ask questions and Mom and Dad get a few photo opps, too. It’s always a fun time–even in yesterday’s rain.

My three year old loves garbage trucks–he was in awe of their size up close. What was I in awe of? A vehicle that had what looked like ‘pull-out’ drawers!
Mystified, I walked over to the truck and struck up a conversation with one of their Riding Members. The vehicle was from Rescue Squad 23 of Ramsey, NJ. I learned that the truck and the people who work on it help to rescue people trapped in accidents and structural collapses as well as in confined spaces, water and ice rescues.
But what I found to be most fascinating was the truck’s organization. This truck has PULL-OUT DRAWERS!
These rescue trucks carry equipment to assist with dangerous scenarios. Not only do the trucks have to be loaded with the correct gear, the rescue squad must be able to find the tools they need within seconds. I was told that these pull-out drawers utilize up the extra space the truck has in the center. Brilliant! Squad members ride in the front cab and all of their supplies are in the back.
It just goes to show–you never know where you’ll find organizing inspiration!

Thank You Note Writing Tips

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OK, brides and grooms–the Super Bowl is over. Now it’s time for you to participate in your own Thank You Note Writing Championship. No protective gear necessary–just pens, notecards, your address/gift list and stamps.

My organizing colleague at ‘There is Always Room’ just posted a few note writing organizing tips that I offer to brides (and grooms). So, hop on over to the There is Always Room Blog for my top 4 ways to stay organized and stress-free when writing your wedding-related thank you notes.

Don’t forget to thank Aunt Martha for that chip-n-dip set she sent you. You can use it for next year’s Super Bowl party! (Tip: Mention that fact in your thank you note…)

What’s In My Work Bag?

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I carry two bags to my client’s homes. One holds my client’s folder, a few odds and ends supplies, something to nosh on and the contents of my everyday purse. The other bag holds my supplies. It’s not the size of a carry-on suitcase but it’s large enough for me to cart around some basic and not-so-basic supplies I might need while working with a client.

In the ‘What’s In My Work Bag’ blog entry, I’ll be sharing with you some of the items I take with me ‘on-the- job’ to make my job and my client’s lives a bit easier.
Today’s item is a 3.5″ plastic tab used to label a hanging folder. Standard size for these ‘tabbies’ as a I like to call them are 2″. But, have you ever tried to describe the contents of your hanging folder in 2″? Whether you’re using a label maker or your own handwriting, it can be a challenge to fit all those words in 2″ and then be able to read what you wrote or decipher your abbreviations.
Enter the 3.5″ ‘tabbie.’ Almost double the size of a standard plastic tab, you can fit many more words on it to describe the contents of your hanging folder such as ‘Medical: Scott’s Egg Allergy’ or ‘Financial: Fidelity SEP.’
If you are considering organizing your files anytime soon, take a walk into your local office supply store and ask for a package of 3.5″ tabbies. You’ll be glad you did…

Happy Holidays!

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Just wanted to wish everyone good times with family and friends, safe travels and happy holidays.

Best wishes for an organized 2010!

It’s Catalog Season!

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Today is Halloween. Tomorrow, all the candy will be on sale and on Monday the holiday catalogs will start to fill your mailboxes.

Now, for some people, catalogs are pure fun–they’re flipped through and recycled. For others, catalogs represent temptation. “I need that! I must have it–I never knew I needed it,” they cry.
For many of us who feel rushed even when it’s not the holiday season, catalogs are our salvation. We don’t have to fight the crowds at the mall. We can go shopping at 3 a.m. in our bunny slippers.We can make ourselves and others happy with a phone call or a click of a mouse.
Regardless of the catalog personality you fall into, here are some tips for organizing your catalog shopping experience this holiday season:
• Create a folder or file and label it ‘To Buy’ or ‘Holiday Gifts’ or ‘Why I’ll Be Broke Come January’–whatever speaks to you. This is the place where all information regarding holiday gift giving will live.
• Compile a list of every person you need to purchase a gift for: relatives, friends, teachers, service providers, etc. You can do this on a spreadsheet or a lined pad of paper will work just fine, too.
• Create a few columns going across the page–“Gift Ideas,” “Purchase By,” “Actual Gift Sent,” and “Delivered.” “Gift Ideas’ is a spot to jot down ideas if you’re not 100% sure of what to buy. “Purchase By” is the date that the gift must be purchased to arrive in the recipient’s hands on time (pad with extra days if gifts are going through the mail). “Actual Gift Sent’ is a spot to record the gift you gave the person so you won’t replicate it next year by accident and “Delivered’ is the column where you’ll write the date the gift was mailed or personally delivered.
• On the back of most catalogs there is an ID# in a colored box that is connected to your information. If you’re thinking about making a purchase from a catalog, rip off the back page of the catalog. Then, rip out the pages that contain the items you wish to purchase. Staple these pages to the back page so you are ready with all of your information when you make that call or place your online order. Don’t forget to write the name of the gift recipient next to the picture of the item in the catalog–just another way of saving time (which we have so little of this time of year).
The holiday season is just around the corner. I hope these tips will assist you in keeping your gift shopping stress free and organized. If more people shopped via catalogs, there would be less traffic and more parking spots at the mall. Now that’s what I call ‘stress-free…’

What area of YOUR life needs organizing?

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