Does It Still Fit?

Just about every adult, at some point, has reached into their closet and pulled out something that just didn’t quite fit right anymore. It may be too tight, or too loose, or too worn, or just out of style. Whatever the reason, we know it’s best to just let it go.

In Fumio Sasaki’s book, Goodbye Things, he tells an interesting story of learning to let go of his stuff in order to live a more focused life. The book provides a list of ways to learn to let things go. One of these ways, is to say goodbye to who you used to be. The premise is that some of the items you keep may be related to a former activity, or image, which you no longer pursue. If they’re no longer helpful, then why keep them.

Isn’t this principle also true for those habits or traits which may have served us well in a prior lifestyle, but now conflict with who we’d like to become? I know that when I was a single parent of 5 active kids, being flexible about quickly shifting from one expectation to another probably helped my sanity. However, having a constantly shifting schedule derailed my habit of trying to plan weekly activities. A habit that took some practice to reestablish.

We all make goals for how we’d like to improve. But sometimes, we don’t recognize the small habits we have that are a roadblock to progress. For instance, the urge to look at your phone after a notification can trigger a derailment of your goal to reduce your time scrolling through videos. This trigger could be reduced by turning off just email notifications for some period of the day. The trick is to recognize those habits which derail your goals, and then take steps to limit them. This simple exercise will help you move away from who you used to be, and towards who you want to become.

Find more ways to create goals and habits at

Thanks for reading.
Please like and share with those who are struggling with these issues.
And remember to take the next step.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

“If you don’t move forward, sooner or later you begin to move backward.” – Mikhail Gorbachev

I frequently write about ways to reduce the anxieties of everyday life. And although it may seem a little paradoxical, I believe there is a certain amount of anxiety that comes with being too comfortable.

We all have our Comfort Zones. A behavior, or lifestyle, which allows us to cruise on automatic; never really having to think about what comes next. The problem with comfort zones, is that they’re an easy place to stay.  But like Gorbachev stated, there really isn’t such a thing as staying in one place. When we are comfortable with our habits and routines, our desire to meet our goals can start to slip-away at an imperceptible pace. Our wanting for sameness will often drag us into the decay. The funny thing is, we often know this is happening. And that just creates more anxiety. Here’s a simple reminder of how you can stop this process, step outside of your comfort zones, and get on with your personal growth, and a more fulfilling life.


Goal Review: Were they to big? Can you break them down in something more immediately achievable? Maybe it time for some new goals.

Evaluate Your Lifestyle: Take a close look at your daily habits and routines. Are there areas where you can make changes or improvements? Identifying these areas can help you break out of the decay and start making progress.

Talk to friends and family, for their thoughts about what they think you’d like to do or learn. They may have some pretty interesting thoughts.

Upgrade your knowledge: Whether it’s through reading, taking courses, or attending workshops and conferences, learning something new can help stimulate your brain and generate new energy.

Pursue something new: A new exercise routine, hobby, or social activity will break you out of your daily routine.

You may consider posting this phrase somewhere where you can see it daily so that it can remind you to take those first steps.

Thanks for reading. Please like and share!
And remember to take the next step.

For more information on how to bring a little order to life’s chaos, visit

Horses Sense

How does a 120-pound girl train a 1000-pound animal? One step at a time, of course. Years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady who raised and trained her own riding horses. When she first told me about this I asked, “Aren’t you afraid of getting thrown?”. She just laughed and told me she had a better way to “break” a horse.

Looking back on that now, it’s easy to see how that seemed like an overwhelming task. Cowboy movies always show some poor fellow being thrown to the ground over and over until the animal finally bends to his will. But it seems, with a little planning, and a process there is a better way. But isn’t that usually the case?

We all have areas in our life where we’d like to make a big change. Whether it’s in our physical or mental health, finances, or relationships, there is something that we’d like to change, but the task seems too large to conquer, and we just lack the willpower.

Perhaps, though, we’re just using the wrong tool. Willpower is the ability to do something we don’t “want” to do. And we know we want to make a change; a permanent change to our behavior. This is done through small steps, taken every day, until the “change” has become the new normal.

In Brian Tracy’s The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success, Brian gives the following as the seventh, and final, step for achieving any goal: “Step seven: Do something every day, no matter how small, that moves you toward your goal.” Sure, the other steps include making goals, breaking goals into bite-size tasks, and having a schedule. But why is it so important to accomplish something every day?

In The Harvard Business Review’s May 2011 article The Power of Small Wins, the authors, Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer studied the dairies of knowledge workers to see what motivated them the most. Through this research, they discovered what they called “the progress principle”; which states “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”

It is in our small wins that we:

  • grow our self-discipline
  • find our motivation to take the next step
  • establish our mindset for success.

Well, what about the young lady? Her process was to work with the horse every day. She placed a potato sack on its back and gradually increased its weight over a period of weeks until it was accustomed to having the weight of a saddle and rider. Then she could climb on and continue training it to reign. You may ask, “What did the horse think about all this?” Well, it showed up at the corral every day at the same time for their sessions. ‘Horse sense’ means common sense. Maybe horses know what’s best for them. I just know that self-discipline is contagious.

As some of my readers already know, I was so impressed by this young lady, that I married her.

Thanks for reading. Please like and share!
And remember to take the next step…everyday…no matter how small.

Not This Year

It’s an old, familiar feeling that happens around this time every year. You’re headed for bed, reviewing your accomplishments for the day. And then it hits you. You’ve let your New Year’s resolution slip by once again!

You are not alone. By the end of January about two-thirds of New Year’s resolutions are typically abandoned.  But what if You could flip that to a 65% SUCCESS rate? Or even move it closer to a 95% success rate?

In a study performed by the Association for Talent Development, the most powerful factor in reaching goals turned out to be ‘accountability’. That doesn’t mean that a goal shouldn’t be written, have a planned completion date, and a list of its necessary steps. But those will only get you as far as 50%. But, by telling someone else about your goal, you raise your probable success to 65%. But there’s still one more step the study recommends for the highest probably success; get an accountability partner.

An accountability partner can check with you daily to keep you focused, on track, and establishing new habits. You can have planned weekly reviews to discuss successes, failures, and strategies to overcome obstacles. Furthermore, an accountability partner can often be there when you need some extra words of confidence and keep you progressing towards your goal. This powerful tool has been shown to provide a 95% success rate (and help establish some pretty strong friendships along the way)!

If you’ve got a goal that has seemed unreachable in the past, give it another try with the help of an accountability partner. You just may find it to be that extra boost you’ve needed all along.

Thanks for reading. Please like and share!
And remember to take the next step…

Improving Every Day

A favorite adage that project managers love to quote is, ‘You can’t manage what you don’t track’. Meaning, of course, if you don’t really know what you did yesterday, how can you improve upon it tomorrow?

First, what do you need to manage? Well, that’s different for everyone. But the focus of this post is our daily habits. We’ve all developed behaviors that don’t’ serve us well. Without conscious effort, we repeat a certain behavior often enough to become a habit. Or, as psychologist Donald Hebb put it , “neurons that fire together wire together”.  And before you know it, you’re going through a sequence of actions without even thinking about what you’re doing. Until you realize that you’ve done it once again.

This blog often contains thoughts about ways to improve some aspect of living. Often, the posts focus on changing behavior. Stanford behavioral scientist B J Fogg wrote that there are 15 ways to change behavior. And of those 15, two are the most effective; change your environment and change your habits. He further notes that changing your behavior will have the most effective, long term, impact. Fogg formulated the B=MAP behavior model, in which Behavior is a function of Motivation, Ability, and Prompt (or trigger). This post provides a simple tool to increase the readers ability to modify their behavior.

Using a daily journal, like the one provided at, will bring full focus to any behavior. A journal reminds us to review our actions and take new ones. All we have to do, is remember to make our timely entries. That’s now easier than ever when using calendar reminders on your computer and/or cell phone. If you’re interested in changing your early morning habits, add a calendar reminder  to journal when you first rise. If you’re seeking to change you meal-time habits, make a reminder to  journal at each meal. If you’re struggling with maintaining a household budget, journal ever morning to stay focused on your goals. Within a few days, you’ll  probably find that your remembering to journal without the prompts.

Journaling also provides an additional benefit. While it helps to establish a new habit, it also makes you reflect on how well it’s working and consider what changes could serve you better. In psychologists Daniel Goleman’s book, Focus, he downplays the common statement that ‘10,000 hours of practice makes anyone a master of their craft’. He notes that repetitiously practicing a bad golf swing won’t improve it. Improvement comes by making small changes as you practice. Journaling makes us stop and think about our, sometimes subconscious, actions.

As always, thanks for reading.
And remember to take the next step…

Take a Minute to Reflect

Our everyday lives are whirlwinds of activity. For years it seemed like there was little time to sleep in-between the daily onslaught of getting up, getting ready, getting the family ready, getting bills paid, getting to work, getting home, getting dinner ready, getting shopping done, getting homework done, getting everyone in bed, and finally trying to get some sleep. 

That’s a lot of getting. Let’s try a little taking. Every day should have a few minutes to take some time to reflect and refocus.

Every household, and life, is different. Maybe mornings are just too crazy to set aside 10 or 15 minutes. Maybe it’s lunchtime when you have a little quiet time. Or perhaps it’s after everyone has gone off to bed before you can take a breather. Whenever it is, instead of looking for a digital escape, look for an internal escape. An escape from the demands of the world, to a place of peace and quiet. A place to reflect on what has happened and what you’d like to happen in your life. And just like reflections in water, the calmer the environment, the clearer the reflection.

There aren’t many steps to this process. It doesn’t have to be a long process which starts with burning incense and deep breathing exercises, although there’s nothing wrong with that if it works for you. But it does require that you turn off the daily distractions and try to focus on nothing for a bit. You’ll be amazed at how many things will pop into the forefront of your mind that typically get buried under the daily deluge of data. That’s why I recommend keeping a pen and paper handy to capture your thoughts before they escape again. The only stipulation I put on this time is that you purposefully start with reflection on positive events and accomplishments. It starts the process in the right direction.

If you want to capture your thoughts, keep track of your progress, and plan for the future, follow-up your reflection time with a few minutes reviewing your ‘Todays Expectations Worksheet’ available for free at the store on the website.

Thanks again for reading.
And remember to take the next step…


Focus on the Day

Ten minutes. That’s all it takes to start your day with a clear vision of what you’d like to accomplish, and a plan to get it done. But it’s not always as easy as that.

Anyone who’s attempted to start a new daily routine knows that old habits are hard to break. Furthermore, it seems like even a small diversion from the routine, such as a vacation or similar change in schedule, can completely derail our regular daily rituals. But starting the day with a mindfulness of intentions can change your life.

But first the “why”. Why is there so much written about starting out the day “on the right foot”? Because it works! There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence that morning meditation brings less stress, more energy, self-confidence, and a greater feeling of accomplishment. In part because it lets you take time to  focus on what’s important to you, and recognize your successes. This new daily habit is the key to working through your list of intended accomplishments described in my last post! This is the way to keep yourself motivated, and on track, throughout the year.

Here a some steps to begin focusing on your day.

  • It’s important to start your day with this process. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier. Come on. You can do this!
  • Find a quiet place away from distractions where you can sit comfortably.
  • Start with mentally going through the accomplishments of your prior day. Give yourself credit for a job well-done. Likewise, give thought to how to get past any set-backs which may have occurred.
  • Think about the tasks for the day at-hand, and how they will help you achieve your goals.
  • Record your thoughts for review during the day. It really helps keep the motivation going.
  • That’s it! Just a little time for yourself to reflect on what’s important to you.

In several past articles, I’ve written about developing and using checklists and journals to create and review a game-plan for life. I’ve also written about creating new habits to help review and maintain goals. Last January, I recommended downloading a free copy of the Today’s Expectation journaling worksheet described in the article to help keep track of intentions and accomplishments. It’s available at this sites store at It is not secret that I truly believe that these habits are key to creating the home and lifestyle you desire.

Sometimes, however, we just don’t know where to begin.  And we surely don’t know what steps we may be missing in our quest to gain control over the chaos of daily life . Our soon to be released book gives readers a plan to follow. It walks through a series of steps with recommendations and explanations for organizing your home and life.

Thanks again for reading.
And remember to take the next step…

The New Year’s Re-solution

Why is it that this time every year we think about those things we want to change in our New Year’s resolutions? What is a resolution anyway? A resolution is usually something that we’re trying to do again because we didn’t quite have success the first time. In this case, we truly are looking for a re-solution. Perhaps a few steps will help examine our behavior with a new perspective.
Making even a simple change can seem insurmountable once the endeavor begins. We often find ourselves routinely slipping into our old habits; bringing us back to the behavior we want to change, and eventually asking ourselves why can’t we make the transition. Often our behavior is so automatic that we aren’t even aware of it until we experience the ramifications. But this year let’s try a new approach. Let’s take just one resolution and dig a little deeper than just resolving to do things differently this year.
For this process we’re going to use a journal. If you prefer to use one of the many preprinted journals available today, make sure that it is designed to track at least one single topic for at least one month. But you can make your own journal by following the steps below:
1. Start small. I suggest starting with the smallest resolution you have. The idea is to build upon success by using your smallest resolution to prove the method to yourself. Think of a title for your smallest resolution and write it on the top of a sheet of paper.
2. Ask yourself why is this change important? This always sounds easy, but sometimes is remarkably deceptive. Instead of just saying I want to lose weight ask yourself if it could be more than just being healthy or feeling better. If you want to return to school is it just so that you can get a higher degree? Or maybe it’s deeper than that. Maybe you want to learn more so that you can bring about a deeper impact in this world. Whatever the change, dig for the underlying ‘why’ until you are satisfied with your answer. On that same sheet of paper, write down your ‘why’.
3. In a new paragraph, write down a few thoughts about how making this change will affect your life and/or the lives of those you love. It’s important to write these down so that you will recognize the changes as they begin to occur. This is fuel for change.
4. Divide a new sheet of paper into 4 sections. Title the first section ‘How I will change today’, the second ‘What I noticed today’, the third ‘What can change’, and the fourth ‘Tomorrows Changes!’. In the first section, record your early morning intentions for focusing on your resolution. Think about what situations may entice you to veer off-course and back into old habits. The second section is used during the day when you become aware of your actions regarding your resolution. You should be sure that whether your actions are on or off-track, these are positive thoughts to write down. It means you are aware of your actions. This is where you can capture the recurring daily actions which trigger your subconscious habits. In the third section, record your thoughts about how to change the behaviors you noted in the previous section. In the final section, to be filed-in before going to sleep, record only positive thoughts about today’s successes and your anticipated accomplishments for tomorrow.
5. Repeat step 4 for at least 30 days, or until your resolution has been met. If you have trouble sticking to the plan, review the first page to refresh your motivations for making the change. You may want to place reminders to write in your journal around your home and office. A calendar application with auditory reminders is also a great tool to keep the process going.
Journaling is both simple and powerful because it slows us down to reflect on our actions. It can often uncover the underlying autonomous behaviors which take over our day. Let me know how your journaling goes, or any tricks you use to help you remember to review and record your thoughts and actions.
Thanks for reading,
And remember to take the next step…

The Effects of Social Isolation

By now, just about everyone has experienced some form of social isolation due to the pandemic. The effects of social isolation are real but not always obvious. Arming ourselves with a little information can give us an advantage in combating its effects.

We are social beings. We are genetical programmed to seek-out interactions with our fellow humans. A perceived loss of social support creates an emotional and chemical response that we call loneliness. Biologically, this response compels us to take action to remedy the situation. And when an immediate remedy is unavailable, anxiety develops, and the stress only compounds upon itself. This affects everyone, regardless of age.

So what can we do? First, arm ourselves with a little information. In his June 03, 2020, article titled “Five Reasons Why Being Home All the Time Is So Hard, How can it be so unpleasant to be stuck in a place we love?”,  Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. outlines various ways we are affected.

  1. It Signals That We Have Lost Control Over Our Lives
  2. The Sheer Amount of Change Is Stressful and Exhausting
  3. Social Isolation Runs Counter to Human Nature
  4. Being in Isolation With Others Can Be Challenging
  5. Isolation Creates a Ripe Environment for Depression

This may seem like old news now, but reviewing it will help keep focused on efforts to combat these effects. Taking steps to plan and organize or life and home will reaffirm our belief that we are in control of our lives. Create a calendar of events, tasks, and activities for yourself and your fellow dwellers. Encourage them to do the same. Make sure to include some repeating events that add consistency to some activities throughout the week. This will create a new normal routine and lessen the feeling of constant change. And be sure to include some time alone, away from any of your cohabitants increasingly annoying idiosyncrasies. And if there isn’t any behavior annoying you, yet, time away will help keep things that way.

Work to set up a few recurring video or telephone visits with other households. Giving and receiving communications is a way of showing others that they are not alone in these times.

Be open to the fact that depression is not uncommon in these circumstances. Look for signs in yourself and others, and be receptive to expressions of concerns received from others. A continuing lack of sleep, appetite, or interest in normal activities should be noted and discussed in order to subdue depression before it can advance.

As a side note, many of our elderly were dealing with social isolation long before the pandemic, and will continue to do so after we emerge from its grip. I will bet that our new-found empathy for those still living in isolation will remind us to give them a call now and then.

So grab a calendar and take some proactive steps today!

As always, thanks for reading. If you have a moment, please Like this page and consider sharing this post it with others. It’s greatly appreciated.

And remember to take the next step…

Check out some of my early posts for coping with the effects of the pandemic:


PS: More information on the effects of social isolation can be found here:

Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D.
Five Reasons Why Being Home All the Time Is So Hard
How can it be so unpleasant to be stuck in a place we love?
Posted Jun 03, 2020

Hämmig O. Health risks associated with social isolation in general and in young, middle and old age. PLoS One. 2019 Jul 18;14(7):e0219663. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219663. Erratum in: PLoS One. 2019 Aug 29;14(8):e0222124. PMID: 31318898; PMCID: PMC6638933. From

Going Back to Normal?

Educational and motivational powerhouse Lou Tice, of the Pacific Institute, often said that he never wanted someone to tell him that he ‘hadn’t changed a bit after all these years’. His point was that he always wanted to be growing and changing in some way. During this season of lockdown and self-quarantine, many of us have had a little extra time to reflect on a great deal of things. I would venture a guess also, that there have been a great many who have made resolutions of how they’re going to change when ‘things get back to normal’. But just like with those New Year’s resolutions’, if this fresh crop of resolutions are not getting a little daily care, they’ll wither a die of neglect.

To give our resolutions the best chance of success, we need to keep them in focus; finding daily motivation, initiation, and appreciation of the intended accomplishment. To keep the focus, here a few Steps For Today:

1. Ask yourself why is this change important? There is usually some epiphany driving a new desire for change. Take a few minutes to dig for the underlying ‘why’ until you are satisfied with your answer.

2. Either journal, or download the ‘Today’s Expectations’ worksheet from the website, to capture this ‘why’, and the thoughts from the steps below.

3. Write down a few words or phrases describing how making this change will affect your life and/or the lives of those you love. It’s important to write these down so that you will recognize the changes as they begin to occur.

4. Create daily reminder to reflect on these steps. Writing something down daily forces us to take just a few minutes to record our thoughts and accomplishments, and refresh our intentions.

5. Ask a reliable person if they can be your accountability partner. Someone who will take the time, at to whom you’ve given the ‘all clear’, to ask you about your progress.

6. Tell others about your intended goal. Knowing that others expect a change will help solidify your resolve.

These simple steps will go a long way towards helping you reach your new normal.

I’d love to hear any tips or tricks which you use to help keep focus on your resolutions!

As always, thanks for reading.
And remember to take the next step…

PS: The Today’s Expectation worksheet can be downloaded for free from the website store. It is a one-sheet, pdf file, with an identical front and back. Each face of the sheet contains the following areas:

– A place for 3 good expectations for the day
– A place for 3 areas to focus on
– 15 lines with checkboxes for activities to accomplish
– 3 lines to write down expectations that were met and/or pleasant surprises
– 3 lines to write down expectations for tomorrow