Can you believe ten years have passed? Births, deaths, marriages, new jobs, new homes, et al. You name it, we experienced it. How about you? What happened to you over the last ten years?…A lot, right? How do you feel about yourself and your life? Are you…happy?

Reflection is valuable. We solidify meaning that way. It helps us to replicate what works and helps us to make course corrections when feedback warrants it.

However, I have a radical idea as we move into the new decade. What if we flipped the script and planned ahead of time for how we want to feel at the end of the year?

It’s Decemeber 31st. What a year! Excited by all you have accomplished, you are also thrilled by the intimacy and the quality of your relationships. Satisfied that you showed up at your best when you were at work and at home, you feel amazing, because you are in the best health of your life. When you looked in the mirror, just now, was that pride twinkling in your eyes? If your life generated those kinds of emotions in you throughout the year, what would be possible for you then?

Begin with the end in mind

Some smart person said this

Throughout the year, I’ve written about habits, mindset, skills, and empowerment that move the needle in terms of quality of life and personal performance.

As my gift to you for being a part of my community, I am giving you my best practices from the last 12 months. You can use them and watch how much better your life becomes. You don’t have to take my word for it. In fact, don’t. Test it for yourself. All I ask is that you consistently apply the framework. This is not a one and done kind of proposition. It’s a framework for your life!

We are so much more than the sum of our highs and lows!

Another smart person said this

January

Prioritize the Right Way

The big idea for this month is to recognize that you and I have to prioritze in the right way to have the kind of success that is extraordinary. Below is my method for getting a handle on my calendar. You can click on the picture to read the full post.

The Six-I Method

Make a list of your current priorities and answer the following six questions:

  • Identify why these areas are the most important to you and how you will accomplish them. Reasons reveal which priority will take precedence.
  • Identify who is doing the talking in your brain. Is it past modeling or is it a superior? In other words, who do you have to please to get that task completed and where do they rank in terms of your values? Remove or modify value conflicts.
  • Identify what time and energy constraints exist and then rank the most pressing items first.
  • Identify your values in relation to your choices. Ask, “Is this activity in alignment with my values and with what I want to accomplish long term? Do I like who I am when I do this activity?”
  • Identify the choices that make the biggest impact by asking, “What is the smallest action I can take, consistently, that will give me the biggest impact toward my long term goals?”
  • Identify how you will prioritize your list based on the previous answers.

February

Use disappointment to your advantage!

The big idea for this month is how to use disappointment to drive you toward success. The month of love can be a blessing to some and full of heartache to others. Here’s a summary of what I use to get back on track. You can click on the picture to read the full post.

Four Steps to Momentum

Do these steps in sequence and they will help you to keep your eyes on the prize and your head in the game:

  • See beyond the present moment – Ask yourself, “what are the long term ramifications if I do nothing or keep doing what I’m doing?” 
  • Seek support –Who can help you to resolve the issue? Who has struggled with this and come out on top? Who can you confide in and share what you feel? Who can hold you accountable to make the choice that is best for you? Ask him or her for help.
  • Take a realistic assessment –What are you responsible for? The only thing you can truly control is yourself. So what can you do? How do you want to feel when you do it? Then act.
  • Plan Your Next Steps – What are your next steps? Schedule them. If you make a mistake, keep modifying your actions until you get the outcome that you want.
How do you create a win/win?

March

The big idea for this month is how to create a win/win where everyone walks away satisfied. Below is the method that works best for me. You can read the full post by clicking on the picture.

Creating a Win/Win

  • Make the right impression – Be clear about how you want them to feel when interacting with you.
  • Keep them engaged – What words resonate the most? Match their mental processing speed with your pace of speech. How best will you reach them? What feedback will tell you that they are engaged?
  • Remember what is most important to you – Why is it important? Keep that reason top of mind.
  • Honor what is important to them– Do you understand and respect their reasons as to why it’s important to them? Find flexibility in both of your positions. From there, you can construct a solution together. When you understand and respect their reasoning, they are more willing to be open to creative solutions.
  • Use your physiology to your advantage – Have you heard the phrase, “The highest energy in the room wins?” When your energy is high, you tend to be more creative. You also tend to be more persistent about generating better solutions.
  • Lead with your heart- What is the greatest good for all involved? Empathy, compassion, and understanding are the emotions and the frames of reference that can lead us to a win/win. So check in with yourself here to make sure you are coming from a good place.

When you keep these points in mind, you will find common ground that can lead to a win/win scenario.

Remember, you and I are always after the emotional experience of the result and NOT the result in and of itself.

April

Do You Know Why You Want it?

When this month hit, I was experiencing some struggle and questioned whether I was making the right decisions. The framework below helped me get out of my head and into action. Click on the picture to read the full post.

Defy Doubt.

  • Be clear about why you want that goal. Remember, the reason you want it has to be greater than the pain you will have to go through to get it.
  • Understand the risks. List all of your doubts, fears, and challenges, so you understand what you are up against. Notice I didn’t write “focus on those doubts and fears.”
  • Decide whether to proceed. Are the risks worth it? This means COMMITMENT. RESOLUTION. A “NO TURNING BACK” decision. You have to be all in to have extraordinary success. Is what you want worth the struggle of learning what it takes to get it?
  • Mitigate the downsides. You need to handle the challenges as best as you possibly can. How are you going to achieve that? Do you need a back up plan? Is so, what? The more you mitigate, the less the risk.
  • Believe in your ability to figure it out. Trusting yourself is the key to handling doubt. You were created with amazing abilities to bring what you imagine into reality. You are a steward of yourself, and as a steward, your goal isn’t only to protect, but also, to serve what is in your best interests.

When you use this framework to redirect your focus from doubt to the right kind of action, you take back control of yourself and your life.

How do you define an extraordinary relationship?

May

This month relationships reign. Below is the method I use to create and maintain extraordinary relationships. You can read the full post by clicking on the picture.

10 Tips to Extraordinary Relationships

  1. Pay Attention – Be present and really listen. If you are daydreaming, planning a response or your mind is elsewhere, you will create a relationship that feels empty. Your goal is to help them feel your care, and when you do, you make better and deeper connections. They will feel seen.
  2. Complement Them – Take the time to notice something you like and communicate it. When you do, you both get a kick of dopamine that helps you to create a closer connection. They will feel closer to you.
  3. Be a Friend When you notice that a person is excited by something – share in their excitement. Ask questions. Become excited because they are excited. When you do this, they want to open up even more. They will feel liked by you.
  4. Surprise Them – Plan something that would make them smile. When you do, you both create a deeper bond, because of this shared experience. They will feel special.
  5. Say Hello and Goodbye – Not a word tossed over the shoulder as you are walking in or out of a room. But rather, take the time to make eye contact and communicate with your body language that you see them. That kind of attention to detail makes all the difference. They will feel like they matter.
  6. Notice a Need – Do they need help with something? Are they struggling to open that jar of peanut butter or to finish that project? Whatever it is, stop what you are doing and help. When you do this, you are showing that you are there for them. They will feel like they are not doing it all alone.
  7. Mirror their Feelings Reflect back their experience to them. This creates connection and understanding. They will feel like you get them.
  8. Include Them – Don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself you don’t want to “burden them” with what is going on or you don’t want to invite them, because they are not part of your other group. When you include people in your life, they will feel like they are a part of your life.
  9. Say what you mean and mean what you say – When you are transparent and tell it like it is, they will feel they can trust you.
  10. Intention – Last, but probably the most important out of these 10 tips. Be intentional about how you want to interact with them. How do you want them to feel when they are with you? They will feel like they are important to you.

One more thing, in order to pull off using a new framework, you have to be brave. You have to be willing to be seen, to be vulnerable and to be honest about what you want to have in your life. I want you to step up and have the kind of relationships that will make you thrilled.

Do you include…yourself?

June

It came to my attention that we have a loneliness epidemic in this country. It’s not anyone’s fault, really. We have become incentivized to be less inclusive and more exclusive about who we allow to enter into our personal spheres. However, all of that exclusivity comes at a cost. Below are the best practices to get out of loneliness. Click on the picture to read the entire post. My two cents: “Be kind and include others.”

The Inclusion Protocol

Step 1: Include yourself. Reconnect and remind yourself of just how far you’ve come. Nothing that ever happens to you can diminish you or the light within you. By reminding yourself of all of your successes, you reconnect to the parts of you that you haven’t focused on.

Step 2: Include ease. Make it easy. For example, who can you talk to right now? Friend, family, coach, or wise mentor? How do you know what’s really true about what happened? What would make you feel like a million bucks right now? By simply asking yourself questions to redirect your focus on what you can do helps you to ease the feelings of loneliness.

Step 3: Include others. Set friendship goals. Do you have a schedule to follow up and connect with your friends on a consistent basis? Do you have shopping friends, foodie friends, or book club friends? If you don’t, how would you make those types of friends? Including friends to share in your struggles and your triumphs makes you less likely to get stuck when loneliness strikes.

We all can have moments of loneliness, but we don’t have to stay there. By just being aware that other people have had similar experiences can help make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. So give these three steps a try. You may find that loneliness is just a cue to remind yourself to reconnect with yourself and/or connect to the people and ideas that matter most to you.

July

Facts Are Powerful

This month’s big idea is how to tackle the bad habit of creating false narratives that cause harm. Making assumptions is the worst habit ever and here is what you can do to break that habit. You can click on the picture to read the full post.

How to Beat the Worst Habit Ever

  1. Cue: When you are triggered to make an assumption run this routine instead:
    • Count to Ten. Yep, that advice from mom gives you much needed time to detach from your habit of a biased and quick response.
    • Find Out the Facts. However uncomfortable it may be, ask the questions that give you the clarity to know, for certain, what is true.
    • Act on the Facts. Practice only factual responses. Creating this discipline is a game-changer and not only improves the quality of your relationships, it improves your results.
  2. Reward: To run this routine (habit) every time you are triggered, you need to reward yourself in a way that will make you want to do it again and again. This reinforces your habit of factual and less biased responses. How will you reward yourself for accuracy?

That’s it! If you practice this script, over and over, you will be less likely to make an Ass out of U and Me and more likely to have better results.

Resilience Can Be Triggered

August

When life gets tough, you need a plan to bounce back. Below is what I use to help get myself back on track after a major setback or disappointment. Click on the picture if you want to read the full post.

Print this out and use it!

September

Are you living your dreams or your fears?

As the beginning of fall hit, I needed to check-in with myself to make sure the goals that I was going after were right for me. If you and I are chasing the wrong dream, success won’t make either of us happy.

Goal Alignment Check-In

  1. Does the goal meet your needs or your values as defined by you? If not, you have to identify how it would make you feel to continue to work toward that goal and decide whether the tradeoffs are worth the pain of the inevitable conflicts that will arise.
  2. Does the goal give you joy as you work on the steps to attain it or do you dislike the process but want the reward? If you love what you do, then it will be easier to continue when obstacles appear. If, however, you are only looking forward to the reward, it’s not only much harder to be successful, it is also harder to control your mindset during the process. One way to handle that conflict is to remind yourself why it is important.
  3. Why do you want that goal? What feeling are you going after? If your answer has to do with pleasing others, you need to identify not only if you are doing it for the right reasons but how to please yourself, as well.
  4. Do you see yourself as the type of person who achieves that kind of goal? If the answer is a no, evaluate why you want the goal in the first place. If you still want the goal, then what do you have to do to believe you are the type of person who will get it?

The clearer you are about these drivers of goal attainment, the better decisions you will make when it comes to choosing a goal.

Secret of Success

October

This month I took a pause from social media and had some of my friends guest post. Click on the picture to find out for yourself if you are living life on your own terms.

November

You Need to Trust but Verify!

Gratitude. The story of how I got scammed could have turned out a lot worse than it did. Use my cautionary tale to help avoid the difficulties that I experienced. Click below to read parts 1 and 2 of How I Got Scammed:

https://challengeyourvision.com/2019/09/how-i-got-scammed/

https://challengeyourvision.com/2019/10/how-i-got-scammed-part-ii/

Top 7 Ways to Prevent Fraud

  1. Verify that any referral service has properly vetted the companies that they recommend to you.
  2. DO NOT sign a contract and give money at the first meeting.
  3. Verify that the company is telling you the truth by verifying their physical work address, business filings, ownership, their business affiliations, and the testimonials of the people who claim they received good service from them, including their Linked-In profiles.
  4. Verify all phone numbers and addresses that you have been provided.
  5. Use only credit cards to purchase services, so that, you have an easier time recouping your money if something goes wrong.
  6. Document everything. When you do, it makes it easy to support your interpretation of events and it makes it easier for the professionals to help you.
  7. Speed of Decision. I believe I had the best outcome, because I didn’t hesitate to act when I finally recognized the truth.

Had I employed all of the above recommendations, I may have prevented months of fear, anxiety, disappointment and worry. So the next time you want to get a dream project off the ground, make sure you “Trust but verify.”

December

Appreciate the challenges. It is in those challenges that you can choose to become stronger, love truly, communicate better, and take a stand for who you are and what you believe in. For it is in your struggles that you hone the person you will inevitably become.

There are more than a few parties to attend during the year. Make at least one of them an Appreciation Feast and watch what happens. 🙂

Appreciation Feast

  1. Everybody brings their faves: favorite music, favorite food, favorite story, and favorite drinks to share. Contribution is key. When you contribute, you have skin in the game.
  2. During the meal, each person will stand up and listen to the other guests speak about what they like, admire, appreciate or care about the person standing.
  3. Play Table Topics or any sort of Q and A game that causes everyone to learn something new about each guest.
  4. After the meal, break into couples and interview each other on what you stand for and what matters most to you. You can use the Story Corps App for this if you would like.

Twelve months of focus to make your life extraordinary and it’s not just you who benefits. You also give permission for others to do the same.

You can use these best practices as a road map to help make any year the best year of your life.

A great life full of love, friends, success and meaning DOES NOT JUST HAPPEN! Your life deserves your attention and planning.

A really, really, really smart person said this

When you and I take the time to reflect on the meaning of our experiences, we learn not only how much others matter to us, but how much, we all matter to each other. But more importantly, if we plan in advance for the outcomes that we want, the obstacles that can get in the way and how we want to be, we make it more likely that at the end of the year, we are proud and excited about who we are and how we’ve shown up in the world. I want that experience for us all.

Well, that’s it from me, Coach Christine. I want to thank all of you who consistently show up here to connect, to learn and to grow into the best version of yourselves. It’s my honor to share this journey with you.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can reach out here or email me at christine@challengeyourvision.com.

If someone hasn’t told you lately, I will tell you that the world needs good people like you to come alive and have the courage to share their insights and gifts with others.

Many blessings to you this year and beyond!

With love,

Coach

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Signature.jpg