Morning Journal vs the Tracking System?

In last week’s post, I talked about the approach I’ve added to my morning routine, particularly the process of filling out a morning journal. A section of that journal is focused on writing out your most important objective (i.e. goal, project, or desire) to improve your focus on your goal. I explained why in last week’s post.

 

I want to address this point because I discuss the ideals of goals vs. systems in my book, Optimize for Victory. While I think it’s important to set goals, I caution people to ensure they do not get overly focused on their goals without having a consistent system or process in place to achieve them. In many cases, we can get overwhelmed by the idea that something is missing in our lives, hence the goal; in fact, we can get so focused on the lack of it, that the stress related to achieving that goal can backfire on us. We may end up putting it off or not achieving it at all.

 

Therefore, I recommend a hybrid approach in my book. I do not think adding the morning journal opposes that. If anything, I think it complements the Tracking System I talk about in my book, a system for getting things done. Crystallizing your focus on what’s important through the morning can help you gain clarity while you continue to work with your robust system to achieve your projects and dreams.

 

Additional Resources:

 

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Books:

Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams

Optimize Your Productivity: The Counterintuitive Approach to Get More Done in Less Time (Today)

Success Blueprint: Get Out of Survival Mode, Regain Control of Your Life, and Get Ahead at Work and in Life

Course: Design Your Success Academy

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This is too much. Where do I begin…?

Cultivate Good Habits.

 

Improve Your Mindset.

 

Create a Vision.

 

Hustle.

 

Be Disciplined.

 

Set Goals.

 

Be Productive.

 

Wake up Early.

 

Do this, don’t do that…

 

A bit overwhelming, right?

 

All the above concepts are touted in the areas of personal and professional development. In some ways, it’s almost a vicious cycle. People seek help in order to take the next step—to overcome a problem or to improve a particular area, but it can be paralyzing.

 

In the process of trying to take the next step to improve, you hear all these things you are supposed to be doing, and in doing so, you deepen your state of inaction—because you don’t know where to start. You may think, “Well I don’t have a vision, so I’d better create that, but then I have to improve my productivity, and then I have to improve my mindset…so I can’t really improve anything until I fix all those,” and in the end, you wind up doing nothing—because you need to return to your survival mode. How can anyone improve all those at the same time and see a difference in their lives the next day?

 

And in many cases, people actually feel worse about themselves, because they start taking inventory of all the things they are not doing. And that certainly doesn’t lead to individuals overcoming their challenges or achieving their dreams more easily!

 

One of the most common questions I hear is with regard to not knowing how to take the next step.  It’s very easy to get caught up in realizing everything you’re not doing as described above, and that can be justification for not making expected progress in your life. This is why I am focused on resources that can help you take action. It’s even one of the reasons I use the word “optimize” because it’s like what we do in engineering—let’s yield a high quality product with minimal cost (i.e. yielding an even higher quality product for 100x the cost, in time/money, may not be profitable nor will it provide you the supply you need for your customers tomorrow!).

 

If we’re looking to improve something, we don’t necessarily want to take a year to get our systems in place; we typically need a different result as soon as possible and need to “optimize” the current situation for the better. And while it’s important to have good systems in place, realistically people need to see improvement more quickly. Therefore, I suggest taking action as soon as possible (while keeping in mind the overall system you’re aiming for in the future). I’m concerned that if you work on the system and don’t take action immediately, you’ll get so focused on perfecting the system that nothing will actually get done in the process!

 

Over time, you’ll find that the small improvements will compound, which is often discussed in the Kaizen approach. And if you do this intentionally, knowing the overall system or place you want to wind up, you’ll find that life helps you “course correct” along the way. But you can’t “course correct” unless you start taking action.

 

Therefore, if you’re in the boat of not knowing what to do next, check out my baby steps article for reference, and also keep the following in mind:

  1. Just start working on what makes sense. While it’s important to take time to reflect and take a step back, don’t do that for days on end while waiting for an epiphany. Take a break and then get back to the task at hand.

  2. If you’re not happy with your current situation and want a change in your life, keep doing #1 while also investing in yourself: take a few minutes each day to think about your overall system.

Sometimes when I present the above two points, an individual will respond to me and say, “Yes, but what makes sense for the next step?”

 

Naturally this is something best discussed in person. It’s very personal, but it may help for you to use some of the tools discussed in Success Blueprint or Design Your Success Academy. It’s hard to cover all the iterations of where you could be in your life or imagine what your situation is. But my quick, general advice would be:

 

  1. Continue what you’re currently doing and just keep trying to do your best at it until you’re clear on your new goals. For instance, if you’re in a career you don’t like, keep working at it while you start preparing for a new one (taking online courses to increase your skills, posting your resume, etc.)

  2. If you’re stuck not necessarily in terms of wanting a career change, but you want to feel better about  yourself in terms of discipline or productivity, try to implement one small change while you continue to invest in yourself (described above). For instance, if you can’t bring yourself to start something you don’t want to do, create a spreadsheet (described in Optimize for Victory) and track your progress on simply working on it, with no expectation to how much time you spend on it. Your goal is to ensure the time you spent on it each day is simply not zero (0).

 

To wrap up, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s understandable. It’s easy to “go down the rabbit hole” so-to-speak when you’re looking to make a change. Start small and enjoy the compound effect of small improvements each day as you keep your intention about the new person you want to be (or new career, or whatever it is your heart desires!).

 

And one final note: I’ve noticed that as hard as it is to start something I don’t feel keen on doing, it typically doesn’t seem as bad once I’ve begun it, and I often feel a sense of relief and a release of tension for at least finally starting it!

 

Additional Resources:

Books:

Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams

Success Blueprint: Get Out of Survival Mode, Regain Control of Your Life, and Get Ahead at Work and in Life

 

Course: Design Your Success Academy

Why We Don’t Achieve Our Goals (or Resolutions)

First, I’d like to thank you for your support. I really appreciate that you’re reading this right now! The past few months have consisted of rapid growth and change for me, since I get more email subscribers every day. I also have thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers (it’s mind-boggling to me – in a good way 🙂 )

Due to the rapid growth, I took some time over the holidays to do some “soul searching” about what I want to focus on this year. These are my main goals for 2016:

1) Provide more value and engagement with you (expect to see more videos!)

2) More focus on how we can optimize our lives for the better! (achieve happiness, success, and what we hold in our hearts!)

3) Release my next book (stay tuned on that!) Blog subscribers will get first access to get it for free!

I will keep you updated. Now onto today’s post…

It’s that time of year where most of us have likely abandoned the New Year Resolutions that we declared a few weeks ago. Today’s post consists of a quick video to discuss a few of the main reasons we often don’t accomplish our goals or resolutions.

This video is a brief excerpt from the Optimize Your Productivity Course inside Design Your Success Academy (the Academy resides within the Lisa Kardos School of Excellence).

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To learn more about Lisa and access resources, visit:

Blog: http://optimizebooks.com
Design Your Success Academy: http://learn.lisakardos.com
Free Webinar: http://lisakardos.com
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Lisa Kardos, Ph.D. blogs about how we can optimize our lives for the better! (achieve happiness, success, and what we hold in our hearts!) She enjoys helping people overcome challenges to achieve their dreams.

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Dr. Lisa Kardos has experience in chemical engineering, management, higher education, public speaking, and career development. She is the Founder of the Lisa Kardos School of Excellence and the Amazon Bestselling Author of Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams.

My friend’s passing and Thanksgiving

I lost my closest childhood friend eleven years ago. Though I honor her memory throughout the year, Thanksgiving is a time when it feels a little more painful than usual. She would have turned 32 years old tomorrow. Instead, she turned 21 on November 25th, 2004 and passed away five days later from a very aggressive form of cancer.

A year before that, no one would have ever suspected that would have happened. She was thriving in college, preparing for the LSATs, and was planning her future out. She was one of the most conscientious, caring, diligent, and hard-working people I have ever known. Valedictorian of her class, she pursued excellence relentlessly. She spent most of her time preparing for her future…a future she never got to have.

I didn’t have many close friends growing up. I was shy and it took me time to develop friendships and relationships with people (something I got much better at in my adult life). Her passing was extremely difficult for me to process and I still miss her dearly…I wish things were the way they were in high school and college. We always celebrated her birthday the weekend after Thanksgiving…it was tradition to go to her favorite Italian restaurant and then a movie.

I bring all this up not to depress you, however. I think the holidays are a tough time of year for most people. On the one hand, they help you take a step back and count your blessings. On the other hand, you often think of loved ones you lost, people you won’t be celebrating with this time around. And then, of course, there is all the preparation that comes with the holidays — cooking, cleaning, shopping, parties, end of the year goals (personally and professionally), etc. It’s a lot in a short period of time.

So I just want to sincerely wish all of you peace. I truly hope that you have an opportunity to rest and enjoy the moment with your loved ones, and that it will not be stressful for you as we get into December. It is an important time of year to remember what we are grateful for, and I’m certainly grateful for a whole lot that has happened this past year:

  1. My home and family.
  2. Graduating in January with my Ph.D. (an endeavor that took years of hard work at night and on the weekends)
  3. Publishing my book, starting my blog, starting my online school. Though it’s very challenging and hard to “put myself out there,” I know that it’s for good reasons. I am happy to discover that my programs have been helping some individuals manage their lives more easily. I was very touched by some feedback I received recently.
  4. YOU! I really appreciate that we have connected through my blog or programs! I mean that sincerely. Thanks so much for your support. I sincerely hope that you are finding value in my blog / programs.

On the aforementioned note of peace — I am working out the details now to provide some resources during December to help manage the holiday stress. Following that, as we get into the new year, there will be a new blog series (details to come).

Again, I wish you all a peaceful and very Happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Lisa

Your Mindset is Important

Welcome to the first official post for OptimizeBooks.com! Each blog post will focus on a particular area of achievement. Today’s focus is the importance of your mindset.

The word “mindset” has been bandied about a lot recently, but many people do not realize the short and long-term impacts of one’s mindset in life. Perhaps one of the best experts on the topic is Carol Dweck, Ph.D., the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on things like why people succeed and how to foster success — ideas that she described in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dr. Dweck’s website, mindsetonline.com, offers the highlights of what she has studied; it explains the importance of one’s mindset. In particular, Dr. Dweck explains that there is a difference between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. A fixed mindset essentially means that you believe that everything is a given — that success is dependent on traits and qualities you either have or don’t have. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe they can develop and mold their abilities and talents, especially through effort and dedication [What is Mindset].

Though there is not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” type of mindset, we can leverage Dweck’s research for our own benefit. For instance, instead of having a fixed mindset, where we may try to prove ourselves over and over (because we think we have a finite amount of certain success traits), it might be more prudent to spend that energy and time on developing ourselves in a particular area, especially to work on our goals. Logically, we can optimize and maximize our chances for success if we focus our energy on personal development.

In Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams, the ideas of optimizing yourself – particularly spending energy and time on what you can do, on how to achieve your goals, is a major premise of the book; in fact, it depends on your mindset. Given Dweck’s research, we can then realize how critical it is to develop a growth mindset and maintain the spirit of “optimizing” ourselves!