5 Tips for Winning at New Year’s Resolutions

winning at new years resolutionsJust yesterday when chatting about turning the page to 2016 a friend said to me, “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I didn’t become a better person!”

Ok, here’s the thing.  We all have something we really want.  We think about it often, it’s in the back of our minds every single day in some way or another and it’s very personal to us.  Getting fit and healthy perhaps?  A new business endeavor?  Organizing your life?  Spending less and saving more?  Enjoying more time with friends and family?  Simply put, one of two things have happened – we’ve either made a conscience choice not to pursue our goal or we’ve likely failed before at trying to achieve it.

If you’re contemplating a New Year’s Resolution for 2016, you should know that scientific research tells us you have a 92% chance of failure*.  So what are the winning 8% doing successfully?  They’re throwing glitter at the new year and kicking adversity in the face!  Here’s how:

  1. They Want It! Sometimes we just think we want something, a stark difference than truly wanting it. Other times we think we should do something because of outside influences but we don’t actually want to do it. Start by asking yourself, am I making this resolution just because…or do I want it so badly I will sacrifice whatever it takes to make it happen?
  2. They have their priorities straight. When looking at your life, you need a list of your top five priorities. Write them down right now. Seriously. Write them down. If your resolution doesn’t fit into the top five, you’re going to have a tough time achieving it. Consider focusing on another goal that is perfectly aligned with one of your priorities.
  3. They are confident their goal WILL be achieved. Research indicates that the winning 8% have a higher degree of confidence than those who eventually fail. You should consider your confidence level. If you are not at least 70% convinced you’ll make it happen, it’s not worth your commitment or energy.
  4. They don’t tell anyone about it. Numerous scientific studies dating back to the 1920s support the idea that you should keep your resolutions to yourself.   Seems backwards from what we’re taught, huh? And it’s not just about self-accountability. Think about the feeling and emotions that would come from telling your friends your goal has been achieved. It’s a euphoric idea, isn’t it? Science tells us that when we share a big goal with our friends, your mind is tricked into thinking it’s already been reached.   When your goals are acknowledged by others, it feels real to your brain – like social substitution for that euphoric state. Moral of the story, don’t Facebook your resolutions this year!
  5. They embrace the power of positive thinking. We all have a choice to tell ourselves we will succeed or tell ourselves we won’t. As one of the most victorious Biblical characters, David said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is,” Proverbs 23:7. When establishing a new habit your first step should be to create an ongoing practice of constructive thoughts. A pattern of negativity will simply squash your big plans.

I’d love to share more ideas with you on living a life on the north side of average!  Subscribe and share today!  Happy New Year to you!

*John Norcross, University of Scranton, 1985

The Art of Dancing Backwards in High Heels

dancing backOh the irony! I actually can’t dance. I don’t have a coordinated bone in my body and my husband has fallen out of his chair laughing at me one too many times when I’ve tried. But, he knows better than anyone that I’m a master – and I mean award-winning champion – at dancing backwards in high heels!

The struggle is real but the payoff is incredible when you learn this dancing art. There are over 9.9 million women-owned businesses in this country that generate over $1.6 TRILLION in revenue and the growth rate at which these companies are taking off is unprecedented! But as an owner of several thriving businesses myself, I’m no stranger to wiping bottoms while simultaneously fishing the remote control out of the toilet just 2 minutes prior to running out the door with sloppy kiss stains on my silk blouse. Don’t worry…two bottles of antibacterial soap stand ready by every sink in our home.

But here’s the thing. The days with deadlines that can’t be missed, employees who have questions every time we turn around, e-mails out the whazoo (is that even a word?), 32 missed phone calls, kids to cart around, computers that can’t think as fast as we can, opportunities that you don’t want to turn down, invoices that need to be sent, accounting fiascos, legal questions, continuing education marathons, and staplers without staples when you need them most – these days are the norm for even the most successful business owners! Whatever or whomever gave us the idea when we first started out that being a business owner was all glitter and glam is the culprit of all the stress and anxiety we manufacturer in our lives.

Luckily, it can be easier! Yes, you heard me. Take it from the gal who choreographed the backwards moves to the tune of Areosmith’s “Dream On.” Here’s what you need to know to get it right:

  1. Stay grounded and keep your priorities straight – I’ve learned from dancing straight through the fire that my relationship with my maker has to be #1, my husband is #2, my kids are #3, and my business and all the folks I serve within it are #4. I’m pretty sure my clients would agree that that’s the way it should be. My confidence comes from the fact I work with people I love and respect and who feel the same about me. This is an absolute MUST! Life is too short to fill your life with people you can never please or help at the end of the day.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – I’m already finding the old saying “it takes a village” to raise your kids is so incredibly true for me. I’m certain God didn’t intend for me to be a stay-at-home mom because he gave me different strengths and talents. That doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my children or not giving them the attention, love, and care they deserve. It means I do everything I can to be the very best mom I can be, and we surround them with people who have God-given gifts to fill in the gaps. The same is true in business. There ARE people out there that are better than you at bookkeeping, scheduling, technology, etc. Learn to play to your own strengths while keeping your priorities straight and God will handle the rest.
  3. Take care of yourself – I’m not the world’s greatest at this one; however, I am positive that I feel my best when I do get enough rest, eat healthy, exercise, and pencil-in down time. These activities equip you for the juggling acts and demands of others.
  4. Be confident – Learn to recognize that the source of your strength is from a God in whom nothing is impossible. As long as you’re listening to and obeying Him, you have absolutely positively no reason to doubt. God wants to bless us. He wants us to be happy. He loves us. Therefore, we need to be assured in His plans for us and embrace challenges, frustrations, and opportunities alike.

Are you a business-owner or professional with a broken high heel? How can I help you???

– Valerie R. Leonard, AIF®

* U.S. Census, 2012

Do You Need Balance in Your Life? 5 Habits of Well-Balanced People to Increase Success

balanced LIWith all of the responsibilities, obstacles, and goals life hands us, it gets tough keeping everything together. You could easily find yourself stressed out when you have too much on your plate and wondering how to handle it all. Being out of balance does more than cause stress, it diminishes productivity and success. By adapting the habits of well-balanced people, you open new doors which hold the solutions to getting everything done. So what exactly does someone do to maintain balance?shutterstock_319742651.jpg

1.) They are well-rested: Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep allows you to reap many benefits such as sharpened attention and improved memory along with boosting your mood and making you feel better in general. You can’t tackle everything with a tired mind, so don’t cut yourself short.

2.) They wake up early: Early risers give themselves enough time before leaving the house to organize their day with schedules, goals, and any other morning rituals to ensure they make the most of the day. Research shows this type of person is more successful at life than the night owl, so it’s definitely worth heading to bed early the night before.

3.) They stay healthy: Exercise and positive eating habits are pretty important. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you’ll achieve improvement both physically and mentally in endless ways. So pick a workout that’s right for you, whether it be a walk around the block or taking a dance class. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast, and be sure to keep sweets and junk food to a bare minimum.

4.) They appreciate the small things: Waking up thankful for another day, being grateful for the people in your life, and feeling blessed for everything they have rather than being miserable for what they don’t are all traits of someone with a balanced life. It brings them more peace to celebrate all they have accomplished and gained instead of focusing on the things they lack.

5.) They stay positive: As far as negativity goes, they learn from it and don’t dwell on it. They’re open-minded, knowing behind every wrong turn is an adventure with something earned rather than lost. They acknowledge the opportunity to learn from mistakes and embrace the lesson. They always look at the bright side of all situations instead of what can go wrong. Thoughts are more powerful than we give them credit for; a positive mind equals a positive life.

Achieving a balanced life is possible. Practicing these habits will bring more than just success your way, they’ll create a better you.