Good Morning: Approach Your Goals with Confidence

“It isn’t how hard you kick — but how you kick.” My daughter, Samantha Good morning! When Samantha was 11, she took a day camp program through the Milwaukee Public Museum about archaeology. As part of the day-camp they have … Continue reading

Good Morning: A Formula for Hope

“A vision without a task is but a dream, a task without vision is drudgery, a vision with a task is the hope of the world.”–On the cornerstone of a church in England, dated 1730. Author unknown. Good morning! I … Continue reading

Make A Mini Mission Statement

There are costs and risks to a program of action,
but they are far less than the long-range risks
and costs of comfortable inaction.
John F. Kennedy

For many people, the only real introduction to the idea of mission statements has been through the movie Jerry McGuire. Mission statements aren’t stuffy or dry corporate documents, but well-articulated visions that are meant to energize us. Most companies use a mission statement to help remain focused on their core values or purpose. While people spend hours and hours laboring over a mission statement for a company or their resume, rarely do people spend the same time articulating their life mission. Today we are going to break down this concept of “mission statements,” and see how it applies to everything that we do.

The easiest way to grasp the concept of a mission statement is to begin by swapping out the word “mission” with “purpose.” These statements become a way to articulate our purpose. Often, when our attitude is suffering, it is because we have not connected purpose with our actions. Many people make the mistake of believing only great feats have purpose–world peace, feeding the hungry, organizing a protest or petition, holding a fundraiser, donating to a blood drive. While this list does have positive action items, we can also bring purpose to everything in our lives–including tasks like doing the laundry or grocery shopping.

Let’s use grocery shopping for our example. After reading the two scenarios, ask yourself which example would be more beneficial to your attitude and outlook. Example A is “auto-pilot.” It is probably how many people shop today. Example B uses awareness and purpose.

Example A:
I sigh because my family members are complaining that there isn’t any food in the house, even though it seems like I just went shopping two days ago. Why doesn’t anyone else ever go shopping anyway? And why don’t they put what they want on the list so I don’t have to go shopping all the time? I do a quick inventory (without the help of anyone else), make my list and drive to the store, even though I was hoping to make some progress on a different project this afternoon. I try to shop quickly and am surprised during checkout by how fast my bill added up! I am tired as I lug the groceries to the car, only to drive home, and lug them into the house, where the first question I hear is “Mom, what’s for dinner?”

Example B: Today is the day I always do my grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is a way for me to encourage my family’s health by selecting nutritious foods.

You will notice Example B is much shorter. Any idea why? It is the magic behind a mission statement or statement of purpose. When we have the clear direction or purpose-filled-statement, we are not distracted with all the “little stuff.” When we don’t have a clear vision, we see everything, including the little stuff. It is the little stuff that derails our attitude. With a focused statement in place, the little stuff doesn’t matter, because what we are doing is bigger than that–what we are doing is purpose-filled. A mission statement should be something easy enough to commit to memory and strong enough to give you a purpose.

Here is another way to think of it. If you were to come and work with me today and the only instructions I gave you were: “just do some work.” What would you do? You would likely look around the office, observe what people are doing, try to think about what would contribute or what to work on. How would that change if I said, “Would you please read through these speaker handouts and write down any feedback or ideas you have on how I could improve?”

By giving clearer instructions and purpose to the task at hand, you wouldn’t have to wonder what to do, and you would be less susceptible to external distractions or getting caught in your own thoughts, because you had a mission in front of you.

Most people are used to mission statements that are made once, and then occasionally glanced at whether it is in work or in life. I strongly encourage you to make a million mission statements. You can create a mission statement for every errand, every task, or for a goal, for a day, for a week, for a month, or for a life. The more purposeful statements you make, the more focused and energized you will become. The reason is simple: Mission statements clear away all the “mind clutter.” When your mind is presented with a mission, it will act like a computer and work to complete it. Successful businesspeople are masters at using mission statements to stay on course while avoiding diversions and distractions. We can use this business-template to achieve success in our personal lives. Adapting regular mission statement use to our daily lives will help us stay on course while avoiding diversions, distractions and destructive thinking.

Your Turn: Today, create a positive mission statement for the majority of the activities you do. Writing down the statement will increase its effectiveness. As you learn this practice, you will get to the point where you will be able to easily think of these statements. When you reach that point, you can stop writing down every mission statement, and just write down your larger mission statements that are geared for a day, a week, a month or a specific goal.

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Creating A Goal Map

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Identifying goals
and priorities is vital to a successfully balanced life. Once when presenting a
keynote in Washington at the state mental health conference, I asked a room of
professionals the following question and gave them 30 seconds to respond.


What are the three
driving motivators (priorities) for this season of your life? Amazingly, only
several of the 300 hundred attendees were able to complete the task.


Most people have been
asked to set goals at one point or another. In a newly
released survey of 1012 Americans, only 45% of Americans now say they write up
New Year’s Resolutions down from 88% of Americans who did so in the past. Fear
of setting goals too high, fear of commitment, and not knowing what
course to chart are just a few reasons people shudder at the concept of goals.


"If you do not change
directions, you may end up where you are heading," write Lao-Tsu.


To change directions
deliberately, we need goals. I define goals as: The process of deliberately
setting our sight, attention and intention on a destination, and staying true to
the process until we arrive.


Imagine leaving Los
Angeles with instructions to go to New York. Obviously, it would be easier to
accomplish this with a map. Without a map, the trip would be nearly impossible,
or require much more time and effort than the simple process of purchasing a
map. Goals work the same way. Clearly defined goals identify a starting point
and the most efficient path to a desired point.


When goals are
recorded and then set aside, this is as useful as putting a map in your glove
box, yet expecting to know which road to take without ever looking at it. Goals
need to be consulted regularly, just like a map, and if you get off course, you
need to re-evaluate and make a new plan. To design a goal map, first identify an
area of your life where you seek advancement. Use that area to work through the
goal process that follows. For this example, I’ll use the goal of starting a
part-time business for extra income.


Here are the basic
steps to create a goal map:


Identify the exact goal
In one sentence, clarify the goal you are aiming to accomplish as specifically
as possible. Example: To open a part-time tax business that brings in $300 a
month in extra income (gross).

Identify a completion date
My business will be established in eighteen months.

Identify the evolution of the goal.
major points and steps happen during this time period?

A. The
basics of establishing a business, permits, licensing, updating certification,

B. The
marketing and announcement of the business.

C. The
grand opening of the business. Using this evolution assign each major step a

Fill in the blanks.

Now take an in-depth look at what is needed to get to point A, from point A to
point B, etc. Write these steps down in specific detail and assign each a date.

The basic
template construction of your goal is complete. Type this up, print it out, and
keep a copy in your planner. Check your progress against this goal regularly. If
you get off track, don’t give up, just sit down and retrace your steps,
adjusting the plan as necessary. Remember, if you were driving and got lost, you
wouldn’t likely just abandon your car and walk home. Instead you would get out a
map, or ask for help, to find out how to get back toward the destination you are
pursuing. Do the same thing with your goals and you will take steps toward
making them a reality in the year to come.

Goals should be
exciting enough to compel us forward to take action. When seeking a balance and
fulfilled year, one strategy is to identify the areas in your life that are most
important right now. For example, career, finance, family, friends,
spirituality, health, philanthropy… what areas are most important to you
at this
season of your life?
Remember, we cannot fix everything all at once
so it is important to prioritize and choose just a few areas to work with –
three at most. That doesn’t mean you will ignore or neglect the other areas, but
it does mean that you will focus

on the selected areas by following a specific plan of action.


Your Weekly
What areas of
life are calling you to create goals? Create a goal plan using these steps. Keep
your goals in a place where you will see them often. Each day, take a step
forward toward at least one of your goals. Careful planning matched by action
equals goals transformed to reality.


When Times Get Tough

Count your

When an obstacle or situation brings us down it can be easy to count the many
things wrong with our situation. Switch perspective. Find something positive to
focus on. Can’t find something? Create it. Like attracts like. Count how many
things are wrong with your life and surely the list will multiply. Count the
positives and they will multiply instead.


Take a break:
When we are
tired (either emotionally or physically) discipline is an uphill battle likely
to leave us frustrated. Instead of feeling guilty for going off track (which
ultimately leads to staying off track)  Give yourself a one-day "Goal Break."
Forget the guilt and enjoy the time off. Then come back fresh the next day. What
is better–putting goals off for another year or a day?


Get a cheerleader:
community of like-minded positive women can be the tipping point toward success
during challenging times! Check out our new

Make Today Matter Life System
an ongoing, positive, action and accountability community.


What’s On Your List?

Resolutions, Goals
and Plans for 2009

Set a Little

What is one "little
goal" you could set that would make a big difference? Here are a few on my list

1. Give careful thought to the name I give a computer file before saving it to
make it easier to find later

2. Never click "submit" for any new service without first writing down all my
details, including user name and password in the internet section of my notebook
… Often a small change requiring very little time can yield a big difference!

Your Challenge:

Set one Little Resolution for the year ahead.

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Free Workshop and Workbook

A New Year, A New You!

When: Monday, January 26 through February 1, 2009
Where: 7 Day Challenge Group on Facebook
For full details visit:
Who: Anyone! Tell your friends!
What: A completely free week-long interactive workshop with bestselling author Brook Noel

Join bestselling author Brook Noel for a free week-long interactive workshop to help you manage time, hone in on your goals, live by your priorities, reclaim energy, and create contentment.

rook Noel shares how simple change can be with six proven and practical strategies to help women manage time effectively, get organized, decrease stress, live by their priorities, and get 2009 off to a balanced and exciting start.

Attendees will receive a free downloadable workbook that Brook will guide participants through during the week long workshop. Each day, Monday through Saturday, participants can login and view the day’s video or audio challenge. These targeted segments average five minutes in length and end with an Action Step to apply. An optional support forum is available for participants to post progress. Participants can also post questions to Brook which she will answer on Sunday, the final day of the workshop, via teleconference.

Brook shares how her personal journey for a better life became a journey shared by over 100,000 women in two years and how the Change Your Life Challenge can help you.

Brook shares how the simple practice of a Three-Step Action List can revolutionize your life and help you accomplish over 1,000 actions to enrich your life this year.

One of the biggest myths of managing time, tasks, thoughts, reminders, and daily life is the belief that because our lives are complicated our systems must be complicated. In this segment Brook will teach you how to create and use a Catch-All Notebook to streamline time and life management.

Studies have shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It affects our energy level, metabolism, focus ability, and health. Undoubtedly the first fuel of the day for the body is very important. Equally important is the first emotional fuel for the mind. Brook shares how to get your day off to a great start with a Good Morning routine.

Prevent the pile-up of to-dos and overcome procrastination with a planned Power Hour. In this segment Brook will help you complete the Power Hour Worksheet to process items on your todo list effectively and efficiently.

Learn how to use Brook’s Snapshot Tool to continue making positive changes, while also evaluating and planning the priorities that will guide you in 2009.

At any time during the week submit your question about the daily challenges, or questions on money management, time management, organization, household management, and menu planning. Then listen in to hear Brook answer the questions of the week.

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Get Ready, Get Set, Go! 12 Tips for Achieving Your Goals

Statistics reveal resolutions are “out” with less than 50% of Americans setting resolutions when the clock strikes midnight. It wasn’t long ago 88% of Americans greeted the New Year with resolution, intention and expectation. What’s changed?

“Historically more than 80% of resolutions are abandoned by late February,” says life management expert and bestselling author Brook Noel. “Many women believe they are doomed before they begin. A resolution becomes another pressure in an already pressure-filled life.”

Brook Noel encourages women to “give up the cape” and accept that while they can’t do everything; they can do something! Here are 12 of Brook’s tips to take with you on your journey to transform your resolutions into reality.

Write your goal down in one sentence and make sure it is S.M.A.R.T. – The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for…

SPECIFIC: Make sure your goal specifically states what you desire to accomplish. “Become healthier,” is not a specific goal. “Improve my health by adding one new healthy habit each week for 52 weeks,” is a specific goal.

MEASURABLE: Make sure your goal can be measured so that you will know if you have achieved your objective. The above example is measurable, because you could clearly measure whether or not you reached the goal.

ATTAINABLE: Do a soul-search to determine if you have the resources needed (and energy/attitude) to reach this goal against the timeline you set. If you do not have the resources, make sure to include the process of attaining them within your goal plan.

REALISTIC: Many people take an all-or-nothing approach to goals. A great example is a woman who wants to pursue healthy lifestyle changes. She sets a goal for January 1 where she is going to join a health club, exercise everyday, change all her eating habits and give up sweets — STARTING the next day! We have to remember that part of any goal is forming new habits, which means often replacing and reprogramming old habits. This doesn’t happen overnight. While we might be able to adhere to a schedule like this for a short time, it will be hard to sustain long-term. If you have set up a goal like this, now is the perfect time to revisit it and make a realistic plan.

TIMELY: Make sure to have an end date for your goal. This is what transforms a wish into a goal. Wishes don’t have deadlines – goals do! In addition to an end date, identify key milestones at the 25%, 50% and 75% mark to track your progress.

Aim for improvement, not perfection: Many people make rigid goals – i.e. exercise EVERY day for 20 minutes. Or drink 60 ounce of water EVERY day. Every day is a lot of days! When setting a goal it is important to optimize your opportunity for success and also create the opportunity to EXCEED your goal. If you set a goal for 7 days per week, it is impossible to exceed the goal unless you have a magic-machine that creates an 8th day (if so, please send it my way!) Instead, set a goal for 5 days or less per week.

Take control of your time. Schedule the time you will need to complete your goal on your planner. Obviously, this goal is important to you or you wouldn’t have set it. Respect this “goal time” as you would any other appointment.

Be accountable: Whether it is an online group, a friend, a coach, a doctor, a spouse, or a child – share your goal plan with someone who will hold you accountable. Join our 5 Week Online Goal Workshop for group accountability, help, and support.

Inventory your obstacles: There is a quote that states if we wait for the right time, it never comes. The truth is that we are unlikely to hit a long space of time where we can focus on our goals without obstacles and interruptions. Instead of using interruptions and obstacles as an excuse to “back off a goal,” create a notebook for listing obstacles and interruptions. Brainstorm solutions and options for as many as you can. As you hit more obstacles (which is part of any process) add them to the list. Brainstorm solutions with others if needed.

Energy: For any goal, we need to have the physical and emotional energy to keep us motivated and moving forward. Remember to take care of yourself through food, diet and relaxation so you have the stamina to pursue your goal.

Encourage yourself: Recognize each small step you take forward by keeping a daily record of your progress. Write down even the littlest of steps. One of my favorite Chinese Proverbs is : “Be not afraid of going slowly, be only afraid of standing still.” Instead of looking at what you haven’t done yet, review this notebook regularly and pat yourself on the back. There is no quicker route to goal-abandonment than a bad attitude.

Revise… don’t abandon: If you hit a road block and go off track in your goal, don’t abandon your goal and wait for “another time.” Instead, sit down and revise your plan, using the knowledge you have gained to create a more concrete plan for the next time around. What separates those who achieve their goals from those who don’t is perseverance. I have created more than 2 dozen goal plans to reach a single goal– each one carried me a bit further than the last. When we persevere, we will get there.

Your Turn: Take at least one hour this week to really think through what you want to bring into your life in 2009. Then create a S.M.A.R.T. goal as your first step toward success.

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