Tag Archives: goals

Break It Down Again: Coming Soon, A New Year

How are your plans for next year coming along? Hopefully you’ve had some time to yourself to sit away from the holiday rush to work on them.

No pressure from this corner of the internet, really. And don’t beat on yourself if you don’t have next year’s goals written down and printed out in monthly and quarterly break-downs. We each have our own way of preparing for the future. We do what we can, when we can, especially when everything else going on right now on is tugging at our shirtsleeves to give them our attention, since ’tis the season and all.

A memory can make you grab pen and paper to remind yourself what to pay more attention to, and you have your trusty little notebook right there with you. Or maybe you catch your goals on the fly and capture the snippets with the note-taking apps or voice recorder on your smartphone — and your notes are happily synced across all your devices.

Perhaps you’re the type to open your day-planner and see neatly written notes and highlighted reminders already in place — and aren’t you glad Past-You did this for Now-You to rely on?

Block out quiet time for yourself : Planning for a good year is important, vital, and urgent for your own personal and professional fulfillment. Make sure you won’t be disturbed, since planning can have many moods.  There are serious ones–contemplative, sombre, and sometimes heavy with regret and intent. There are relaxed moods, which are open spaces for your idle day-dreams and thoughts to meander in. There are playful moods, where the sky’s the limit; no shame in dreaming, eh? There’s brainstorming, and asking questions, but in the end, there must be a plan. And if you want to plan better, you need to go back and review.

“X marks the mistakes.” What were yours this year?
Three things that can get us in trouble, and probably have in the past, are unrealistic scope, unrealistic deadlines, and unrealistic expectations. Continue reading Break It Down Again: Coming Soon, A New Year

3 Tips to Defeat Self-Sabotage This Year

A new year means new beginnings. It’s a universal thing — it’s like we get a brand new blank canvas to play with.  We can’t go back to last year, but now we get a chance to do better, starting over with a  fresh page in the next chapter of our lives.

The push to have a better year than the last one is based on our wholly understandable desire for a better life for ourselves, which is connected to our tendency to hitch our dreams to fresh starts.  Just as well-known, however, is the  short lifespan of New Year’s resolutions. For all our  renewed hopes and aspirations,  it’s easy to forget and rely on the habits, practices and mind-sets that ruled us last year — some of which may have contributed to the things we wish hadn’t happened. Here are a few tips to assist you so you don’t unwittingly set yourself back again this time.

Use your data of the previous year
Use your accomplishments and  mistakes to help point out where you can focus on doing better and wiser this year.   Mistakes are just that, missed-takes: you did something, it didn’t work. It might have made the situation worse, but you survived. If you paid attention, you’d know what not to do, and this can stand as the starting point for doing better.

Reviewing how and where you spent your time this past year quite literally makes your brain re-view and re-enact those  incidents you remember. This mental re-enactment helps spark new ideas : what to focus on, what to ignore, what resources you overlooked then to work with, and how to put them to better use now, etc.

An in-depth review helps you recall the feelings that were behind certain decisions and their results, and all of that — memory, emotion, and aftermath– can help you classify more forcefully what things to drop, what to work on more, and what things to promote as being vital for a better future for you. Bitter lessons can leave the most lasting  impression on how we do things next. Continue reading 3 Tips to Defeat Self-Sabotage This Year

How To Keep A Business Healthy For The Long Run

Framed in the simplest terms, a business is an enterprise that provides a service or a product to customers in exchange for money. Without customers, businesses would fail. And as an entrepreneur and owner of an on-line business, aside from a viable pool of customers, you also need to have a considerable repertoire of hard and soft skills to see your business through good times and bad.

What else do you need?

You need to know the core mission of your business. You can earn money doing a lot of things: sell digital art, buy and fix thrift-store furniture and resell it, run a food-truck, etc. but you need to know: what is your business here for?

Times change, and the factors that sparked the seed of life for your business can change with them. Think of Kodak — once the world leader in photographic film, it went bankrupt when it wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough to take full advantage of the rise of digital imaging technology. The company re-imagined itself and now it offers “packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world,” upon coming up from the ashes of its former success.

You need a long-term vision: where do you want to go with the business, and where do you want it to take you?

What you also need for your business are good relationships. Good businesses work to maintain long-term relationships with old customers, while inviting new people to join the group, and taking care of the ones who keep coming back. Solid relationships with your peers, partners and associates in your business community are also vital.

No-one ever really gets anywhere worth going to all by themselves. Help people up, build friendships, and your reward would be a supportive community, a deep sense of belonging, and the privilege of being able to give back. Continue reading How To Keep A Business Healthy For The Long Run

Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

  • When you find yourself breaking even for the first time since you started your business venture, does that mean you’re doing well?
  • If you receive fewer customer complaints this month than last month, does that mean you can relax?
  • When your click-through rate rises after a new site design, does that mean you can go through with the new marketing scheme and thoroughly overhaul your processes?

When it comes to making anything a success — your business, your work, your projects, yourself, the question itself, “How do you measure success?” just opens the door to an overwhelming number of choices.

Success is a complex event, and is made up of many factors. Focusing on just symbols or thresholds for success, when you’re running a business  there are three kinds of markers right off the bat.

  • There are financial markers: I will be successful when I’m making enough money at my side-venture to leave my main job. I will be successful when I’m making $100,000 a year.
  • There are physical markers: I will be successful when I have expanded my operations to 5 new locations within the year.
  • There are emotional markers: I will be successful when I can stop worrying about making this business get off the ground.

In the question itself, “How do you measure success?” the parts “You” and “measure” should be pointed out as critically important.

For you to really feel the success, attaining it should be personal to you: there are too many accounts of people who, after looking back at their ‘successful’ lives and realizing they fulfilled the goals they were expected to have, were left feeling bereft and like personal failures when they realized those goals weren’t really their goals, they just sort of… slid into them.

In this vein, you need to dig deep and find out what matters to you enough that you would freely put in the labor for it, engaging and wrestling with all the details and activities involved in making the work a success. A success stands out because it demands more from you. Continue reading Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

What Are You Building With Your Actions?

26 April 2013, by A. Cedilla

Why do you do the things you do?

You have your own particular interests, goals and desires. You believe that what you’re doing with what you have right now is the best option you have to get you most of what you need, and at least some of what you want.

What makes you do you do the things you do in a particular way?

Your personal history, character and experiences: each of us have our own preferences, dislikes, abilities and priorities, which affect how we carry on with our lives. Energy levels and moods can influence us as well.

When you take the time to think about it, what are you actually building with your chosen actions?

A safety net, a solid foundation, a launch-pad towards a better future…or maybe something to do to get by until a better option comes along? All those things are different ways to describe you growing your life, really.


Life isn’t never as neat and easy as 1-2-3 or A-B-C. We do stuff, and stuff also happens. X, P, Q and T get thrown in unexpectedly. Someone throws in (x-y)3 over (y+r) and screws up the nicely plotted equation for yourself that meant X years at Y job equals OK, or Z months doing PX90 equals YOWZA.

Aside from that, you juggle a lot of plates, all depending on the roles you occupy in your life. Dad, student, CEO, teacher, aunt, cousin, friend, mentor, leader…

Simply put, we do things our own way for our own reasons. The commonality though, is that we all do things to gain or build something: A sense of security. An emergency fund. Feelings of victory, meaning and accomplishment. Financial ease and freedom. You work to improve your skills and better your circumstances. A lot of times it’s to explore your passions. These actions layer on one another much like different colors in a painting, or the myriad pieces that complete a mosaic. Take a few steps back and get a good look: Are you okay with the bigger picture?
Continue reading What Are You Building With Your Actions?

Goals And Their Breakdowns

15 March 2013, by A. Cedilla

When it comes to making sure I stick to my goals, I tend to visit blogs on the areas I’m struggling with. The advice that really resonates with me come from people who’ve lived through the same issues that I’m currently facing, and were able to articulate how they found their way though. These people have been there and done that, and I get read their ‘shirts’ for free, so to speak.
So it was a nice coincidence that just when I was getting ready to give up on an important personal project (out of frustration at how slowly things were going), I remembered “My Resolution Revolution” on The Simple Dollar.

In this excellent article, Trent Hamm presented a well-reasoned argument about why so many New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. Many big goals are presented in a way that’s inherently unattainable because they’re stated in a manner that is absolutist, and so don’t factor in our very human natures, and how time affects that. Stark goals like:

  • “Lose 100 pounds.” Or “Gain 25 pounds of muscle.” {more}Or other things like dropping X dress sizes.
  • Save 200 dollars every two weeks. Cut down on spending by 25% immediately.
  • Exercise every day. Eat only nutritious food.
  • Finish cleaning out all the junk and clutter in the basement. And the closets. And the attic. And the garage.
  • Double the size of my mailing list in X months.

Goals like these can look all fine and worthy on paper, especially at the start of the year, but we’re far enough from that to see that in daily life, goals like these can suffer in their execution. Generally, without commitment, careful attention and discipline, goals fade into wishes. Continue reading Goals And Their Breakdowns

What’s Your 20? Making Plans for The New Year

29 December 2012, by A. Cedilla

Well, hey there! We’re well into the last week before the new year starts, and we hope that you and your loved ones are doing okay, and hope you have an even better year coming in. This is just the last, short check-in for 2012 before we get to start anew in 2013. Here we go!

“What’s your 20?” is CB-radio-speak for, “Where are you?” Checking in with yourself, when you ask yourself, ” What’s my 20?” it becomes an open ended question, and opens up other questions:

  • Human nature being what it is, naturally we’d segue into, “Where do I want to be?” You dream, you wish, you hope.
  • This is followed by,”How can I get there?” You plot, you plan, you prepare.
  • And then — this is the important part, so pay attention–you act.

Where’s your 20?
Throwing in the 80/20 principle and the delightful laziness and anticipation that’s so prevalent around this time (“Oooh, a whole new year is coming up! Hang on, lemme get the eggnog before I plot to dazzle the world…”) in the coming year what do you think will make up the 20% that will give you the biggest difference? *Here is the time you go nuts writing down stuff, without self-censorship or shame. Dream big, plan small, steady steps.*

Any areas where you want to make a ripple-effect change? You know, start small, pebble by pebble? Throw those in as well.

It’s the time for reflection and joyful planning. You survived another year, and the next one’s a blank screen. You can project the broad strokes of your dreams on it and then plan out how to fill in the details. That’s how our minds work. We see the big picture right off the bat, and yet the more time we spend on it, we notice the small details coming out.

Where do you want to be?
Where do you want to be?
Where do you want to be?

There’s a paradox here: You can’t predict the future, and you can’t control everything in your life. The future is uncertain, and things change so fast, why try so hard? Continue reading What’s Your 20? Making Plans for The New Year

How to Negotiate With Yourself

21 December 2012, by A. Cedilla

Negotiating starts when two parties, each with their own interests and goals, start talking.

You and your team, looking over at the other side of the table to see the Other Guys, each side with its own agenda, trying to hammer out an agreement or reach a point of compromise. You gives, you gets, dig?

Today we’re taking a different approach in that we’ll talk about how we negotiate with ourselves.

It’s just a part of how we’re wired: there must have been many occasions where you were of two minds about a particular issue — most probably when trying to act decisively, yes?

You start off by making a list of pros and cons, assigning certain weights to certain factors, maybe talking it out with a few trusted friends. Usually, you get things done on time, but when it’s something that makes up keep putting it off, how do you motivate yourself?

In a classic negotiation, both parties start off with three things:

  • A clear vision of what they want – when you know what you can’t accept, what you must have, and what you are prepared to do, it gives you a firm ground on which to make your presentation and arguments.
  • A clear picture of the situation – you need assess whether these things on your list are available, what the atmosphere is in the place of discussion, and the attitudes of the people involved so you can adjust your approach to fit.
  • A clear goal to resolve for the day – Target the middle ground where you can meet.

Know your enemy — on both sides of the table. It’s not just the other team you have to consider: how do you sabotage yourself when it comes to being under pressure, or acting in delicate or prolonged negotiations, and how do you avoid doing it?

How do you fall most often when it comes to seeing a difficult course of action to its conclusion?

You can be your own worst enemy in this way: Even in knowing all our sore spots and weak areas, we can still undermine and sell ourselves short.

I mean, we can break deals with ourselves everyday, whittling our strength down to sand with each deal we keep putting off or fail to keep.

Any strong position to negotiate starts with the following: Continue reading How to Negotiate With Yourself

Enjoying The Road You Travel

23 November 2012, by A. Cedilla

After taking a look at the list of the top 5 regrets of the dying, I got to thinking about living and dying, and how I want to live my life. How would I feel if I looked back and saw the life I could have lived if I’d been a little braver, or a little bit more daring, and a little less uptight?

I didn’t want to have more regrets than memories, and see all the things I turned down because I was afraid, or careless, or simply wasn’t paying attention.

I also remember reading something about how in the next world, all of us will also be called to answer not just for what we did, but also:

“A person will be called to account on Judgement Day for every permissible thing he might have enjoyed but did not.” — Talmud

This is just a quiet little conversation. It won’t take that much time, so why not lean back, put your shoulders down, and just stay a little bit? Couldn’t hurt, yeah?

Life can be thought of a one big road trip, yes? And from the accounts of people who have shared their experiences about the really good road trips they had, there’s a consensus about the commonalities that made their journeys memorable: Continue reading Enjoying The Road You Travel

Using This Time Of The Year To Start Planning Out The Next

29 October 2012, by A. Cedilla

Well, here we are again, stepping into the dying time of the year –the weather’s turning and work is going on as always.

The supermarkets are pimping out their candy displays, and very early on broke out the costumes for Halloween and trick-or-treat, while in malls retailers are slowly ramping up for the holidays with sales and promotions.

This the last quarter of the year, and we respectfully suggest that you take some dedicated time, a few hours or so, over the course of the next week to look at how much you’ve accomplished this year, and what you want to happen next.

  • What memorable events happened in your life this year?
  • How much of that was by your own design?
  • What else are you planning to finish this year, and how far in are you with those goals? Are you there yet?
  • What are you building on those things for next year?

Your actions today are laying the foundation for the house of your tomorrow. Remember? Stepping stones, rungs up the ladder, steps up the mountain you’re climbing or on the road you’ve chosen. You might have missed a few things getting to where you are now — time enough to take a look and see how important those things are to your future plans. Continue reading Using This Time Of The Year To Start Planning Out The Next