Can $50 Worth of Stickers and a Mason Jar Make Your Goals a Reality?

Did you do any New Year’s rituals or activities to get prepared for 2015? The case on resolutions is mixed, with some statistics showing that 92% of people do not keep them, though other studies have shown over 40% success after 6 months. Some may feel more comfortable setting intentions or goals for the year ahead, which are well-articulated and focused on process and small steps. Look back and reflect on your accomplishments in 2014. Celebrate your successes and decide what you want more of in your life. You can pick a word or a quote for the year. You can also do a vision board or create a container for notes about gratitude or happiness.

I must admit, this year I’ve done a bunch of these. I’ve been revising my business plan in a marketing program and working on my goals for the coming year.

I’m attending a vision board workshop, where we'll create collages with words and images that reflect what we want in the year ahead. I bought a bunch of fun stickers for that and a New Year's craft project with my family.

Yeah, I’m serious about laying things out and creating a solid plan for 2015.

Another thing that caught my eye on New Year's Day was a hashtag on Twitter: #3words.  Basically a challenge to come up with 3 words that you want to define your year.

After some deliberation, I decided on Focus, Enrichment and Gratitude (Persistence and Compassion are runners up). And here’s why:

Focus: Candidly, this is one of my big challenges. While I like to “focus” on my strengths, I don’t always focus on the tasks I need to complete. I am a notorious multi-tasker, even though I know I do better work when I’m doing one thing at a time. I’m also easily distracted by social media (I’m a fun-loving, relationship-oriented extrovert, after all), which can really wreck my – ahem – focus.

One thing that worked for me last year was using a version of the Pomodoro Technique –  choosing a simple task to accomplish and working on it for 25 minutes before taking a 5 minute break; then coming back for another 25. The trick is to do this with minimal distractions and work only on that one task. It’s amazing how much more I can accomplish when I close my browser and email program and put my phone on airplane mode. I may need to get a picture of a tomato for my vision board….

Enrichment: Are you a lifelong learner? If you're reading this, chances are yes!  I’m always taking a class or reading an article or going to a show or something that enriches me. I’m also keen to enrich others, which is why I love being a trainer and coach. As a result, enrichment seemed like a good word for the year.

After last year’s enriching experience of taking a writing and acting01afc5939363da54c87fddf76a66872112c7784e9d class, one way I've decided to flex my creative muscles this year is by taking a watercolor painting class. I’m really excited to see what I can create under the expert direction of a local artist. Here’s what I came up with just playing around in her studio over the weekend.

Gratitude: As a student of positive psychology, I’ve been delighted to see the explosion of research over the past few years around gratitude and other positive emotions. There’s an entire research institute at UC Berkeley devoted to understanding how experiences like gratitude, compassion, altruism and happiness are related to education, relationships, career and health. It's so simple yet so powerful.

Even though it seems simple, we are so focused on fixing problems that we're not always grateful for our accomplishments or even the little things that lift us up. This year, I'm working to keep gratitude front and center for myself, my family, my colleagues and clients. I like the following quote too.

"Everyone wants to be appreciated. So if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret." -- Mary Kay Ash, Entrepreneur

Last week I went to a local craft store and spent some time in the scrapbook supply aisle with all the stickers (holy cow!!). About $50 later, I was out of the store with sticker sheets in themes I knew would appeal to my family: musical notes, guitars, graduation symbols, inspiring quotes, and more. We sat down and decorated our jars and have been doing a pretty good job reminding each other to add a note every day. As a new habit, it might take some time for us to keep up, but we're working on it!


If you're feeling you'd like a little extra help working on your goals, visit my website to download your free workbook, “Strengths-Based Goal Setting.” This series of questions and activities will get you thinking about your goals through the lens of your past successes, strengths and achievements. Check it out!

What are the #3words you'd choose to define 2015? What other steps have you taken to prepare for the New Year? Comment below!

Do Resolutions or Intentions Make A Difference in Your Success?

A new approach to your 2014 goals I hope you appreciate my photo of one of the spectacular  winter sunsets we've been having here in Southern California. I've paired it with this thoughtful quote my Facebook friend and colleague Evelyn Kalinosky posted on New Year's Eve. I've always felt that resolutions are a trap, a set up for failure, and I resonated with the idea of instead focusing on intentions. Maybe it's just semantic, but the change in perspective might make a difference for you.

Another thing that could make a difference in your success with your intentions is to approach your goals with your strengths in mind.

To help you, I've developed a downloadable worksheet that will get you focused on your strengths and thinking about how you can leverage those gifts and talents to achieve your goals (or resolutions) this year.

Just visit my web site, enter your email and take the first step to start learning more about your strengths and using them to make 2014 your best year yet!

A couple of other resources to keep you on track:

  • On Victory Circles Radio, Cheri Ruskus interviewed productivity expert Jason Womack, author of Your Best Just Got Better, who shared some excellent tips to stay focused and productive. Listen to the recording here.
  • In this New York Times article, read 4 research-based tips to keep you on track to reaching your goals
  • I wrote a blog post about how to get things done in the last 100 days of the year. Many of the points apply to your resolutions as well.

What are your intentions for the new year? What is your plan for achieving them? By sharing them with others, you're more likely to succeed. Weigh in below!  

More Master Mind Musings

I recently received an email with a question about master mind groups from a person who is starting one with some colleagues.  She asked if I had any materials on the topic, so I forwarded the link to the blog post I wrote last year. I realized that in that post I talked more about the process and less about the content of MM groups.  With a new format MM workshop starting next week, I thought I’d talk about the content and format of a good MM group.

Have a theme.  Most of the MM groups I’ve been involved with have the theme of business development – starting or building a business, supporting entrepreneurs.  However, you could also have a MM group devoted to writing, marketing, developing a non-profit, art or any other topic of your choice.  Just make sure it’s relevant and engaging to all involved.

Have a strong facilitator.  It’s also important to have someone in a leadership role to facilitate the discussion and keep the group on track. Timekeeper, reflector, engager, cheerleader – all of these are the job of a good facilitator.  Depending on the structure of your group, one person takes the reigns.  You may also consider handing off the responsibility now and again to those interested.  

Have a structure.  In the Victory Circles, we start with a check-in (wave the checkered flag to celebrate your victories!), spend the majority of the session covering a specific topic (e.g., how one of the master mind principles relates to your business), then end with intentions for the month/quarter ahead.  Without a structure, the group can lose its focus, momentum and productivity.

In our full day Master Mind Intensives, we spend half the day working on a quarterly Action Calendar for each business owner.  We take a month by month look at your plan for sales, marketing, joint venture partnerships and more so you have a clear direction moving forward for the next three months.

Make the time.  As busy entrepreneurs, we can “blow off” those activities that aren’t right in front of us.  If you’ve read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited, you’ll recognize the technician who is always working in the business instead of on the business. 

A great gift you can give yourself and your business is the gift of time for reflection, planning and strategizing to move your business forward.  A master mind group is a great resource for that.  It’s consistent, structured and draws on the expertise of other like-minded entrepreneurs who come from different perspectives and backgrounds.

Entrepreneurs, especially sole proprietors, can get isolated in their businesses.  You need to get out of the office and meet some people,  While MM groups are not networking groups, of course you end up networking with other business owners and creating relationships that can lead to productive, business building collaborations.  You never know.

Unlocking the Power of the Master Mind Workshop

In a continued effort to "give the people what they want" (remember that classic from the 80s?), we've created a new MM format to deliver the benefits of a MM group while delving into the Victory Circles Master Mind Principles in a 3-hour workshop.  Basic CMYK

We'll review the 12 principles of success that were inspired by Napoleon Hill's writings, then spend extra time on the first principle:  establishing the Definite Chief Aim of your business.  Why are you in business?  What's your passion?  What do you want to achieve?

This is beyond just your goals.  It's really your purpose of being in business.

You can see why that's the place to start.

It's about developing the mindset and the skill set to build a successful business.

Do you have lessons you've learned from being in a Master Mind?  Questions?  Add yours below.

To learn more about our upcoming in person and online workshops, check out www.victorycircles.com/unlockingthepower.  You can also find a recording of a recent webinar where we further discuss the master mind principles and ways you can put them into practice in your business.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speaking.  You can also connect with us at www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.