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5 Steps To Setting Goals You’ll Actually Stick To, By Lindsay Preston

I used to make a TON of New Year’s resolutions. The process of thinking about what I wanted to create and goals I wanted to meet was (and still is) SO much fun to me! 

While making these resolutions was oh-so-exciting, I didn’t stick to many (if any!) of them throughout the year. The dreams I envisioned when I made my resolutions would slowly fade away in the day-to-day grind. 

I would tell myself it didn’t matter that I didn’t make things happen with my resolutions, but deep down it bothered me.  I wanted to improve my life and go after my dreams.  Why couldn’t I follow through?

Years later, I came across life coaching.  I had done pretty well in my life despite not achieving many resolutions/goals; however, it was time to get serious about creating my dream life, and I hired a coach to help me do just that. 

Although I thought life coaching was wacky, weird, and lacked credibility, my gut told me to sign up.  After just a few weeks working with my coach, I started to see that I was SO wrong about coaching.  The strategies I was learning allowed me to slowly but surely accomplish my goals.

I was hooked.  I knew not only were these goal setting strategies awesome, but I too wanted to become a life coach.  Several certifications and years later, I now help my clients go after their goals every day too! 

My clients have done some amazing things using these strategies (like pay off a significant amount of debt in a few months, lose the weight that’s plagued them for years and quit their mundane jobs to go over their ideal career). 

If you’re ready to set goals you’ll stick to, here are five steps to get you started.

 

Step 1: Make I Want Goals

It’s important that you get clear on what YOU want.  Not what your parents, your friends, your partner, or society wants.  What YOU want!

I hear SO many of my clients, friends, and family tell me their goals with a lackluster, half-hearted tone.  It boggles my mind!  If you’re not passionate about a goal then, why the heck are you setting it!?  Take the time to get clear on what’s important to you before you set your goals. 

Anytime you hear a SHOULD come up, ditch the goal because “should” is a clue that you’re trying to please someone else.  So, anything like, “I SHOULD lose 20 lbs.” or “I SHOULD try to improve my grades” needs to go pronto because the goal likely isn’t that important to you. 

Instead, replace your “should” goals with I want goals.  We can learn SO much from our natural, innate wants and desires.  We always know where we need to go next. The problem is that we often don't listen.

Ask yourself what it is you want RIGHT now in your life.  Is it more acceptance? More passion?  More stability?  Close your eyes and listen to yourself.  See what comes up. 

Keep in mind your wants may come to you in specific ways too like desiring a new job, going to yoga class or more alone time.  Whatever it is, go with it!  Those wants are your soul’s way of telling you where to go.  Listen.

Step 2:  Ditch the resolutions.  Instead, make your goals SMART.

Once you have an idea what you want next in life, it’s time to make it a goal!  

One quick thing I want to clarify here is that resolutions don’t work.  They aren't set up for success. For example, if you say, “I resolve to work out more in the next year.” All you’ve done is taken your want in step 1 and added the word “resolve” and “in the next year” to it.  That’s a great start, however, for your goal to be successful, there’s more information that’s needed here.

So, instead of setting a resolution, make a SMART goal.   A SMART goal is taking a want/resolution and making it Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Reachable and with a Timetable.

Here’s an example of a great SMART goal, “Within the next year, I want to work-out 30 minutes/day three times a week.”  Within that statement, you’ve got a timetable (the next year), and you’ve made it measurable and specific (30 minutes day/ three times a week).  

To complete the SMART goal format for this statement though, it must be attractive and reachable too. If the goal-setter decides that the goal is both of those things, they're ready for step 3!

Step 3:  Decide How You’ll Think, Act and Feel.  

You have to decide who you want to be and then be that person on purpose.  I know that sounds silly, but our brains are not wired for happiness.  We’re only wired for survival!  That means you aren’t going to naturally be the happy, go-getter person you want to be unless you start to get intentional about being it. 

Intentions are different from goals in that they focus on who we are in the present moment, rather than on what we want to accomplish at some point in the future.  Our intentions are qualities we can tap into at any moment.  

After you make your SMART goal, ask yourself, “How do I want to think, act and feel as I work toward accomplishing this goal?”  If you’re anything like me, there are days when I can become an anxious mess worrying about if/when I’ll hit my goal.

In those moments, I stop myself and remember the intentions I set out when I started my goal. (Which are usually NOTHING around being an anxious, worrying mess!)  Remembering my intentions helps me relax, unwind and realize that the only moment that matters is NOW! 

When you’re present focused and intentional, you aren’t hopping from one goal to the next.  Instead, you’re committing to showing up and being the person you want to be every day in every moment.  When you do, most people find their goals just happen naturally!  All those years of struggling and stressing about a goal (or not accomplishing them) start to go away.  

Step 4:  Identify Your Blocks.

Alright, let me address something that might be going on in your head right now as we talk about goals.  It’s a voice I like to call the Inner Mean Girl, and she may be telling you things about you and your goal that aren’t very nice.  Things like, “You can’t do this!”, “What makes you think this will work?  You’ve failed before.”  And my personal favorite, “Who are YOU to think you can do this?”  

In the psychology world, our Inner Mean Girl is referred to as the voice of our ego.  (I just call her the Inner Mean Girl because that’s what she’s like!  It’s a voice that’s always saying you aren’t enough.)

Our Inner Mean Girl is a voice EVERYONE has.  She's just part of our DNA!  She lives in your unconscious mind whispering things in your ears that you had NO idea she was saying. 

A way to hear your Inner Mean Girl voice is to address her directly with this question, “Inner Mean Girl (or whatever you want to call him/her), what do you fear with my goal?”  It may take some time for her voice to emerge, but when she does, she’ll give it to you straight about everything she fears about you doing this goal.  

Common fears that come up are things like, “You’ll fail.” “You’ll get hurt.”  “People don’t like you.”  “You’ll just end up ________ instead.” or “It’s scary to do ____.”  Do you hear any of those things? 

Please note that your fears will be unique to you and your background.  No matter what comes up though, just know you can overcome it and step 5 will show you how.  

Step 5:  Program Your Mind & Life For Success.

Now that you have your wants, your SMART goal, your intentions and have identified your blocks, it’s time to get into action!  The first thing to do is program your mind for success.  

Your mindset is HUGE when it comes to accomplishing a goal.  Since you know what your Inner Mean Girl voice is telling you, you can now combat her.  Her secrets are out and open for discussion which means you can converse back with her!  (This is where you can take back your power.)

The way to combat her is by programming your mind with positive affirmations.  Positive affirmations are positive, present tense, “I am” statements about yourself.  Things like, “I am smart.  I am beautiful.  I am enough” are all great affirmations.

 Now, I know these things may feel stupid and silly to say, but they work!  There was some point in time when you programmed all those negative things in your mind that told you things like you’re dumb, ugly and not enough. If you’re serious about sticking with your goals, affirmations are the way to help.  So, shake those “this is dumb” thoughts and try it out!

Here’s what you do:

First, develop a list of affirmations that directly tie into your blocks.  If you heard your Inner Mean Girl tell you that you’re going to fail at your goal, an affirmation to create would be, “I’m going to succeed and reach goal.”   If she said you’ll get hurt, an affirmation could be, “I am loved for who I am.”  

The important thing with affirmation is to make ones that feel right to YOU!  Inner Mean Girl is going to HATE them.  She’s going to say they’re stupid, but that’s just her way of holding you back.  Tell her you hear her negativity, but move on anyway by making and saying these puppies!

The next step is to then create some affirmations that you feel will help inspire and motivate you toward your goal.  For example, I have a money goal right now, so an affirmation I’m saying is, “I am making $____!” (and I say the amount of money I want to make.)  

Even though logically I know I’m not there yet, programming this affirmation in my mind allows my unconscious to work for me!  I’ve been saying this affirmation for a few months now, and I find that I’m getting closer and closer to my goal simply because I’m unconsciously making choices every day that support this goal.  I know I’m creating this natural change because of affirmations.

Now, the last step I want to give you is to have accountability toward your goal.  

Did you know that most people hire a life coach simply for accountability?  Crazy, huh!?  While I'm aware that not everyone wants to or can hire a life coach, there’s a tool you can use that can act as a life coach for you so you can have that accountability you need.  It’s called PowerSheets.  They’re a goal check-in system to help you make and stick to meanngful goals. 

I love the PowerSheets so much that I suggest to all my clients they get some.  Even though they’re working with me on their goals, PowerSheets give them the day-to-day accountability when I can’t be there.  

I encourage you to check out PowerSheets to see if they’re right for you.  You can learn more and order here: www.LindsayEPreston.com/PowerSheets.  (Please note that PowerSheets are only available during certain parts of the year and that by using this link to purchase, I may receive a small compensation in return.)

I know sticking with your goals can be tricky, however, with these steps; you’ll be well on your way to creating and achieving your goals with success!  #YouGotThis!  

 

Guest Post by Lindsay Preston

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5 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job

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5 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job

My first job after college was amazing!

I moved back to my hometown of San Diego and began working on a "re-start" within a 5-year-old company. It was a chance to reinvigorate the brand and launch something entirely new. I was lucky to have an incredible amount of freedom and autonomy to make work fun (and productive). I got to contribute my millennial perspective and my fresh-out-of-college whimsy. People said to me, "You've made my work fun again!" and "I love your fresh ideas." It was a dream. Until it wasn't.

With some changes to leadership, I ended up with a superior who didn't exactly welcome my energy or affirm my forward-thinking. He actually called me “abrasive" for asserting my opinions.

 
 

Anyway, I know old habits die hard and I wasn't about to make it my mission to change this guy. After six months of sticking it out and mulling over some really important questions, I realized it was best to move on (1.5 years at the company altogether).

Resigning from a job or making a big career change can be, quite frankly, terrifying. It usually means a huge life change. But, I am passionate about making the sometimes difficult, well-thought out decisions to make your dream job a reality.

I encourage you to consider these questions, before making the decision to leave your job.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before you make a career change.

1. Why did I take my current job and am I getting out of it what I expected?

Jot down what you like about your current job (Pay? Stability? Coworkers? Flexibility? Projects?). Consider making a Mind Map-- a page you fill with non-linear ideas (think bubbles and lines connecting random thoughts that jump into your head). Write down why you took your current job, what your expectations were, and what you are actually getting.

 

2. How do I feel before and after work?

Is it the work environment that is making you unhappy? Is it some other unrelated factor in your life that is causing you to be more anxiety-prone that usual?

Check in with your body before and after the work day. This can be a great indication of your feelings toward your career and the work that you are doing everyday. Do you wake up dreading the day or eager to work?  Work is where we spend the majority of our waking hours, so we certainly cannot settle for apathy and unhappiness. Beyond acknowledging your emotions, you should identify what events throughout the day elicit specific responses. Maybe you don’t know where to start or how to identify your feelings or that which has caused them. Try this: Keep a journal for a week and jot down what is occurring during the moments in which you are experiencing positive emotions and negative emotions. Are you ending the day feeling accomplished, stressed, insignificant, energized? Look for themes so that you can identify what kinds of days and what types of events have you feeling your best.

3. What do I value in a job?

Is it leadership opportunities? Having a mentor? Flexibility? Creative freedom?

When I left my job at the startup, I realized that one thing I really valued was having a great manager. This is actually the reason I took my current job and not another job at a cool, funky design agency downtown. I knew my boss had the potential to be a great mentor and I was looking for someone willing to invest in me. Be honest with yourself about what you need and see if there is a way for you to satisfy that need within your current job. If there isn’t, perhaps it’s time to start looking.

4. What are my gifts & Strengths?

Well how do I sum this one up?!

I honestly believe that our Strengths can be the greatest tool to discover what we might LOVE in a career. Although Strengths don't act like a fortune teller, it can give you extremely valuable insight into what you do really well and what you enjoy spending time doing. For example, after understanding that I have the Strength of Harmony, I learned that I thrive in low-stress environments where collaboration and compromise is encouraged. After understanding my Strength of Woo (Winning Others Over), I recognized how much I valued and needed the opportunity to regularly meet new people to creates relationships.

If you haven't taken StrengthsFinder, go do it! I'd love to talk about your Strengths with you!

5. Am I in the right line of work? 

Since I can remember, I've loved talking to strangers. I’ve always loved learning people's stories and would find myself in deep conversations with strangers on a plane or at the grocery store. I think the fact that I am genuinely interested in getting to know others makes it easy for people to quickly open up to me. It's not hard to feel a deep connection with someone when you hear stories of their joys and pains. If money were no object, I would meet as many people as possible and spend time hearing their stories. And the truth is, this is pretty much exactly what I get to do everyday! Learning about my Strengths clarified some of my passions for me and gave me freedom to go in this direction.

If money were no object for you, what would you do? The answer to this question can be a clue into a new path or career option for you!

Tough situations at work can be disheartening. In a moment of emotion or high stress, we might feel the impulse to pack up our desk, take our fair share of the free kitchen snacks, and stomp on out of there, but I urge you to think first and take a pulse on these 5 things.

xo,

 

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Your Personality Is Your Gift to the World

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Your Personality Is Your Gift to the World

If you're anything like me...

You've stumbled over the question, "tell me about yourself!" in an interview, a first date, or worse, when "meeting the parents"! I used to struggle to talk about myself without 1. rambling on and on about every hobby, past pet, and tv show I love or 2. my mind going completely blank and then asking myself, "who am I, really!?"...Cue, existential crisis.

Once I discovered StrengthsFinder, I finally had a language to describe who I am and why I do what I do. So instead of trying to justify or explain myself and I now share the best parts of me when I get that inevitable question. Often times, when I teach about Strengths in a workshop or class, someone inevitably asks me what My Strengths are, so here ya go, they're not a big secret or anything.

My Top 5 Strengths and why I love them!

#1 Harmony - I love to find consensus and have my world in harmony. I find areas of agreement even amongst divided parties and have a gift for helping people all be on the same page--a helpful tool whenever I'm leading a project or team. Growing up, my parents always told me to "butt out" of other peoples' conflicts--guys, that was just my harmony, trying to make peace! :)

#2 WOO - stands for "winning others over". I LOVE meeting new people. People in general fascinate me and I love the challenge of meeting a stranger and making a friend out of them. Lately, I've been taking Uber everywhere and my woo is definitely coming alive as I ask questions and learn about the amazing people who drive us around - everyone has a story and I love to play detective. There are no strangers in the world, only friends I haven't met yet!

#3 Connectedness - I believe there is an invisible thread that connects all people, hearts, circumstances in our world. As a person of faith in God, I trust that he is orchestrating some amazing things behind the curtain and I love making connections between my present life and the situations that have gotten me here. With that perspective, I get to live with little regret as I know even the hard stuff has made me who I am. I also love making connections for other people--whether that's introducing them to someone who can give them a job (which I do often!), a new roommate situation or even just a podcast I know you'll love!

#4 Ideation - so many ideas. Ideas are everywhere for me and I love generating new concepts, new workshops, new ways to bring something to life. Give me a big white board or some post its to brainstorm, and I'm a happy camper! Also, if you're "stuck" on something, I love doing mindmaps to help people get "unstuck" from their "wicked problems".

#5 Activator - I can get $h!t done. I love activating on ideas and the things that need to happen. I love the thrill of starting something new (case in point: launching a new business), but that doesn't mean I'm always a good finisher. I have to work hard to finish the things I put on my to do list because I'm usually way more excited at the beginning of a project than at the end. Usually the "panic monster" and deadlines or someone else relying on me is just the motivation I need! 

Do you know your Strengths?

If not, get your booty on over and take StrengthsFinder right now! Strengths have changed my life and the lives of millions of people -- not to mention many of my clients! StrengthsFinder gives you a language to describe the things you are naturally great at!

Not only can your Top5 Strengths be great for your Instagram bio, but Strengths also give you the tools to talk about yourself in an interview, to explain the motivation behind why and how you do things, to pinpoint the kinds of jobs and activities that could be perfect for you! And Strengths are the exact thing I use in goal setting--so you can make goals that are realistic for your personality! Hey, I'm not "Discipline" so don't expect me to color code my files, but give me some ideation and goals are a dream! If you're interested in learning more about your top 5 Strengths, pop on over to my coaching page and we can hop on a 15min free get-to-know-each-other call :)

Talk soon!

xo,

 

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Overcoming Fear: Stop Letting it Stop You

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Overcoming Fear: Stop Letting it Stop You

I’ve been avoiding you all day. 

It’s 6:15 pm and somehow I’ve come up with a million reasons not to write to you. So...after rearranging my living room, taking my car in for a smog check, doing all the laundry, hand scrubbing the bathroom floors (because of course that’s the priority right now!), making 3 snacks and pouring myself a glass of wine, I have NO MORE EXCUSES!

I’ve been avoiding you all day because I’m honestly a little terrified to write.

Here’s the deal. I’ve started my independent coaching business to bring this passion I have out into the world--my passion for helping people identify their strengths and achieve their dreams, break through fear (ironic: see above where I mention being terrified), and start living bigger and more passionate lives.

I believe in what I have to share--these tools that have helped hundreds of people--yet, up until now, I’ve always had a relatively small stage: a coaching room, a coffee shop, a classroom, a chapel audience. Typically, I share my thoughts with 1-25 people and now I’m about to share these thoughts with...the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’ll instantly have thousands of readers, but there is something pretty scary about having personal thoughts and testimonials available for anyone to see.

Stuck in Fear.

As I was processing this feeling “stuck” about writing with a friend of mine, I was reminded that being “stuck” is where great life design really happens. The goal isn’t to never get stuck. The goal is that when we get stuck, we find multiple solutions to the problem and sometimes we discover the reason why we got stuck in the first place. I know why I was stuck. FEAR. That four letter word that we all deal with in one way or another.

The truth is, fear is usually the thing that causes us to avoid, deny or delay (sometimes infinitely) our deepest dreams, goals, and desires. Like writing this blog I’ve been dreaming about for months now. 

In my day job, I’m a university career coach. I absolutely love, love, LOVE my job!  But, I almost didn’t get that job. Not because I wasn’t qualified, but because I almost let fear hijack my dream. The day before my (read:panel) interview where 15 people grilled me about why I should get the job, I almost called off the interview. (!!) I was laying on the couch paralyzed by fear of giving a 20min presentation and having my presentation--and my dream--ripped to shreds. 

My fear was great but my desire was greater.

I wanted this job soooo badly that I almost self-sabotaged and if it weren’t for (1) my supportive husband giving me a much needed kick in the butt, (2) my realization that not going for my dream was worse than trying and possibly failing, and (3) a lot of hard work up to that point, I would not have had the courage to walk into that interrogation interview room.

Getting Unstuck.

So, who are the people who can call you out when you’re in fetal position on the couch? What can you do to remind yourself that “you’ve got this!”, regardless of the outcome? 

In Presence by Amy Cuddy, she talks about the importance of body language and posture. Before taking on a scary task, a daunting presentation, a hard conversation, assume the “power pose” and you’ll be surprised at the confidence you gain--and the confidence you exude! Fear can get us stuck, but being stuck can actually be a great launching pad for progress. In Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans (of the Stanford d.school and two of my professors in college), they talk about how being stuck is an important process for designers because it is an opportunity to create myriad solutions. To get creative! Usually in the multitude of ideas you’ll find the golden ticket!

What fear holds you back?

Is it the fear of going for your dream job because you just don’t feel ready?

Are you afraid of going back to school because you don’t think you can pull it off?

Are you afraid of using your voice and speaking up in the meeting? 

Is it impossible to imagine yourself asking for that raise--and getting it!?

Why can’t you go out on a limb and try that new side business? 

Does the idea of asking that person you’ve really wanted to get coffee with have you making excuses for why you’re too busy?

Stop Letting Fear Stop You!

It’s time to stop letting fear stop you from the things you really want in life. From that move across country to experience a new place, to that amazing career opportunity that would skyrocket you to success--with all great opportunities comes a chance to get out of our own way and be surprised by what we can achieve.

Despite being a newbie at writing for this blog, I have done a good deal of work busting through fear and anxiety to find what I am great at (Strengths) and what I am passionate about (career). I have positively turned around my fear and created tools by which to control it to make great strides to find joy and success in my personal and career life.  


Want to bust through your fears to find success? Learn about coaching here>

xo,

 

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Why I'm Starting a Business!

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Why I'm Starting a Business!

 

Why hello!

I'M DEVIN.

Perpetual Optimist, Visionary & Activator.

When I was 23 I was looking to make a change - ready to go from feeling “stuck” in my first job after college to taking charge of my career!

I decided to make a HUGE investment in myself and signed up for training to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. Six months later, I became the youngest-ever certified coach and was on my way to helping others live out their Strengths. Strengths is a philosophy of looking at what's right with us--those beautiful gifts and talents that make us (YOU!) uniquely amazing. Starting from our Strengths, we can begin to create our best life and live out of a positive place.

I got to take this philosophy to the college audience - working with hundreds of millennials to discover their best self, break through the barriers of fear to design a career and life they love! Now, I’m excited to bring you the same philosophy and tools I’ve used successfully for 2 years!

Do you want more purpose in your career and life? Let’s make it happen

xo, 

 

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