|New Year, New Goals. Refine Yourself, Define Yourself™
January symbolizes an important time in our lives for setting goals, cleaning the slate and starting fresh. We approach this time with the greatest optimism that this year will be different! We begin our affirmations stating how we will go to the gym to lose that extra 10 pounds we’ve put on since Thanksgiving or organize the photo albums of the children that we swore we’d do three years ago and then after a short period of time we somehow find ourselves right back to where we started the year prior. We suddenly feel overwhelmed by the pressure to keep up, to be perfect, to be able to handle all of the stress of modern day living and wind up doing nothing! We have the greatest intentions, but we are only human.
If there is one thing we encourage you to do this year with your goals it’s to take care of yourself! The old mantra for living used to say “take care of me and I will take care of you” a more modern approach is “I will take care of me so that I am able to take care of you”. We dedicate this January issue in helping you reach your goals for 2008. Begin with yourself. If you entering 2008 with a major life change or a particular challenge, choose an empowering mantra to start each day. In her song entitled “Just Fine”, Mary J. Blige proclaims “I like what I see when I’m looking at me when I’m walking past the mirror”. Embrace yourself and take care of yourself. Our tag line “Refine yourself, define yourself™” asks you to look at yourself to see what you can improve upon that will help you define who you are and who you would like to be. For this New Year, we invite you to start with yourself, to allow yourself a clean slate to design your life the way you would like it to be. Create a Vision Board (see Resources for more information), take up surfing lessons, write that book you’ve been dreaming about. It may not be easy, but with perseverance and hard work you will attain what you set out to create.
A toast to achieving your personal and professional goals in 2008! We raise our glasses to you!!!
Lisa & Diane
Welcome to Impressions
In every issue of Impressions we offer you diverse ways to experience etiquette. For the New Year, we treat you to our Etiquette Recipe of the month where we share five secret ingredients to contemplate before setting out to attain your goals. Just for Kids reveals creative examples to help your children practice the importance of goal setting and trying to be the very best person they can be. In our Tea Room Discussion, we explore the best way to approach goal getting to insure that you reach true success. With the number one New Year’s resolution being to lose weight, our Grace Notes Patio focuses on gym etiquette and how and why we should behave in the gym. Grandmother's Wisdom perhaps holds the quintessential key to creating your destiny and testing your limits. In past newsletters, our Features section has been devoted to a newsworthy article that further exemplified our focus; however beginning this month, we wish to hear from you and learn about someone in your life that you would like to share with our readers. Perhaps you had a personal hurdle that you thought you could never overcome, but did. You are the gift to the world and we would like to share your story! As with each newsletter, we invite you to peruse our Resources section where we have compiled the very best sites to help you on path to personal enrichment in further becoming the person you are meant to be.
Etiquette Recipe - Five Secret Ingredients to Attain New Year’s Goals
At this time of year, most of us have been inundated with information on the importance of goal setting and the possibility it can bring. Unfortunately, we are lacking in the insight and understanding that is necessary before we embark on achieving even the simplest of goals. Below we share with you five secret ingredients to ponder before you set out on attaining your personal and professional goals. Come join us and savor the wisdom.
1. Value of Reflection - Rarely do we take the time in quiet reflection to connect with our core, our spirit, through which we receive the wisdom of who we are and what we should be doing with our lives. Emerson’s proclamation of "know thyself" is much more difficult to achieve when we are faced with the everyday responsibilities of children, career and family. We must reclaim this crucial time to be with ourselves in quiet solitude to strengthen our foundation for it is in these times of reflection that we truly gain wisdom about ourselves and what is truly best for us. With this new found strength and confidence we are able to react to external demands with ease and grace.
2. Value of Acceptance - Once you have taken the time of quiet solitude it is only natural that you will soon be more comfortable with yourself, who you are, and what you look like. With this self-acceptance, slowly your attitude becomes one of gratitude for life and the richness that each day offers. Being in a state of continual thankfulness, life gradually shifts from one of emptiness to joyous overflow. You will experience renewed energy as never before. The key is to harness this energy so that achieving goals, no matter how large or small, will seem effortless and everlasting.
3. Discovery of Gifts - We all are unique and blessed with certain gifts. The key is to recognize what these gifts are and how to share them with others. Understanding what your gifts are comes through those moments of quiet reflection. What you decide to do with this awareness takes courage and forbearance. With the knowledge of your gifts however, comes responsibility to others. To squander your gifts in keeping them only to yourself is foolhardy and in the end does not bring joy or happiness. The true pleasure lies within sharing your gifts with others for through your gifts you will enrich others and make their lives better.
4. Translating your Gifts into Goals - Once you realize what you love to do, then the challenge is to thread this knowledge into tangible goals wherein the basics of goal setting kick in. There may be many things you "love" and may feel are your true gifts and so you must prioritize with each and design a plan!
The secret: Once you identify your gifts and can translate them into tangible goals your spirit will be renewed with unbelievable energy as if a newborn life has emerged within your soul. Once you have set your external goals and determined your plans for implementation you are able to move on to developing goals and plans of action for those more personal, internal goals.
Here is the paradox - If you are not on the pathway of implementing your external goals or gifts, then any kind of internal goal will never be realized. This is because your core, your spirit, must be in the path of realizing its value and purpose. A lack of purpose in life is like a rudderless boat that only flounders amongst the breaking of the waves going nowhere and having no direction.
5. Goal Setting Steps - Here is where we generally find the steps to successful goal setting. The basic steps are: 1. Set the goal 2. Set a time line for completion, as well as daily steps and things to do in order to reach your goal. 3. Be sure it is measureable so that you will know if you are on the right track for oftentimes we may have to change the daily steps in order to reach the time deadlines for achievement. 4. Write your goals down on paper and if necessary post them in a place where visually you will be reminded daily. 5. Be flexible and adaptable so that you may adjust your goals and timeline accordingly. Don't beat yourself up if this happens, for this is part of the process.
Just For Kids
We must remember that in school our children are constantly reminded of the value of setting goals. We witness this with the notebooks and the homework that they take home daily and the timeline for completion for a myriad of projects. Here are a few suggestions to implement within your home in guiding your children to be the very best they can be.
Journal Writing - This is a very special activity that most likely your children may also be doing in the classroom. However, have them make their own "notebook" projecting their own unique creativity and art work. This journal is to be respected and private and only to be shared with a parent by permission. Your child is to have twenty minutes alone within their room to draw or even write in their journal. It can be about anything that may be on their mind and when they don't feel like writing they can create a piece of artwork. The key is for them to have a quiet moment just to themselves. This will begin to create within them the value of "quiet reflection". You may even wish to invite your preschooler to join you in your special time of reflection. In their observance of you, they will begin to incorporate this habit of being quiet for a time while coloring or doing some activity that they enjoy.
Daily Helping Hand Chart - Make a chart with your children listing various things they can do on a daily basis to help the family and other people (friends, teachers, etc). Place a check next to the item that they do for that day or week. This activity will instill the value of helping others. At the end of the activity (generally four weeks), have the child write about how helping others made them feel.
Things I love To Do - Have your child create a list of things that give them the most pleasure. If they participated in the "Daily Helping Hand Chart", they may wish to include the value of helping others and their experiences may be reflected on this list. Discuss the items they have listed and try to separate the personal things they enjoy from outward abilities. It will be the outward ability "gifts" that come easily to them such as painting, reading, writing, playing music, etc. that may be the beginning of self-discovery as to what their innate gifts are. The astute parent will note these areas of interest and support the child for further development of these gifts.
Tea Room Discussion – Setting Goals Effectively
The important point to recognize is that goal setting is only a process, a direction to which we often have to make adjustments even before the goal is reached. In today’s world, we wear many hats – parent, child, spouse, executive, mentor, maintenance person, and the list goes on. It is a wonder we are able to get up each day let alone stay committed to our goals.
This year we have resolved to not beat ourselves up or to feel guilty. Instead, we will get back on track and refresh ourselves of some of the basics of "setting goals effectively" which we shall share with you our dear readers. Please note the link to these experts in our Resources section, Mind Tools Ltd., in the field from which we have taken these guidelines.
The Following Broad Guidelines Apply to Setting Effective Goals:
- Positive Statement: express your goals positively: 'Execute this technique well' is a much better goal than 'don't make this stupid mistake'
- Be Precise: if you set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that achievement can be measured, then you know the exact goal to be achieved, and can take complete satisfaction from having completely achieved it.
- Set Priorities: where you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
- Write Goals Down: to avoid confusion and give them more force.
- Keep Operational Goals Small: Keep the goals you are working towards immediately (i.e. in this session) small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
General Principles About Goal Setting:
Set Performance, Not Outcome Goals
- This is very important. You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing as dispiriting as failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control such as bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control.
- If you base your goals on personal performance or skills or knowledge to be acquired, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them. For example, you might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still be disqualified as a result of a poor judging decision. If you had set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then this will be a defeat. If you set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and self-confidence from its achievement.
- Another flaw is where outcome goals are based on the rewards of achieving something, whether these are financial or are based on the recognition of colleagues. In early stages these will be highly motivating factors, however as they are achieved, the benefits of further achievement at the same level reduce. You will become progressively less motivated.
Set Specific Goals
Set specific measurable goals. If you achieve all conditions of a measurable goal, then you can be confident and comfortable in its achievement. If you consistently fail to meet a measurable goal, then you can adjust it or analyze the reason for failure and take appropriate action to improve skills.
Set Realistic Goals
Goals may be set unrealistically high for the following reasons:
- Other people: Other people (parents, media, society) can set unrealistic goals for you, based on what they want. Often this will be done in ignorance of your goals, desires and ambitions.
- Insufficient information: If you do not have a clear, realistic understanding of what you are trying to achieve and of the skills and knowledge to be mastered, it is difficult to set effective and realistic goals.
- Always expecting your best performance: Many people base their goals on their best performance, however long ago that was. This ignores the inevitable backsliding that can occur for good reasons, and ignores the factors that led to that best performance. It is better to set goals that raise your average performance and make it more consistent.
- Lack of respect for self: If you do not respect your right to rest, relaxation and pleasure in life then you risk burnout.
Setting Goals Too Low
Alternatively goals can be set too low because of:
- Fear of failure: If you are frightened of failure you will not take the risks needed for optimum performance. As you apply goal setting and see the achievement of goals, your self- confidence should increase, helping you to take bigger risks. Know that failure is a positive thing: it shows you areas where you can improve your skills and performance.
- Taking it too easy: It is easy to take the reasons for not setting goals unrealistically high as an excuse to set them too low. If you're not prepared to stretch yourself and work hard, then you are extremely unlikely to achieve anything of any real worth.
Setting Goals at the Right Level
- Setting goals at the correct level is a skill that is acquired by practice. You should set goals so that they are slightly out of your immediate grasp, but not so far that there is no hope of achieving them: no-one will put serious effort into achieving a goal that they believe is unrealistic. However, remember that the belief that a goal is unrealistic may be incorrect. Such a belief can be changed by effective use of imagery.
- Personal factors such as tiredness, other commitments and the need for rest, etc. should be taken into account when goals are set.
- Now review the goals you have set, and then measure them against the points above. Adjust them to meet the recommendations and then review them. You should now be able to see the importance of setting goals effectively.
Thinking a Goal Through
When you are thinking about how to achieve goals, asking the following questions can help you to focus on the sub-goals that lead to their achievement:
- What skills do I need to achieve this?
- What information and knowledge do I need?
- What help, assistance, or collaboration do I need?
- What resources do I need?
- What can block progress?
- Am I making any assumptions?
- Is there a better way of doing?
Grace Notes Patio – Gym Etiquette
At the start of each New Year swarms of people return to the gym with the hope of finally getting their body back into shape. My exercise instructor tells his students not to even bother showing up at the gym the first two weeks of January because it is overcrowded with people determined to stick to their resolutions, recommending rather to return at the end of January when those same people will have burnt out and leave the gym in droves. Whether you are an exercise fanatic or a newcomer, we have assembled a list of rules for getting along with fellow exercisers to ensure that your gym experience is a pleasant one.
Clean Up After Yourself. The number one unspoken rule at the gym is to clean up after yourself. No one wants to touch a machine that is full of sweat left behind from your workout. Always bring a towel with you and wipe the machines down when you're finished. Most gyms offer wipes or sprays strategically located around the gym for this purpose.
Mind Your Weights. Don’t assume everyone can handle ten million pounds on the leg press machine, be mindful and take some of the weights off when your are finished. If you are working out with free weights, especially heavy weights, never toss them back into the holding rack or dump them onto the floor. Lay them gently into their place.
Share The Equipment. If you are doing multiple sets on a machine, it's common courtesy to let others share the equipment during your rest periods. This may not always be practical, but it is nice to offer to share whenever you can.
Keep Your Voice Down. Chatting loudly with your girlfriend while training on the Elliptical is no less of a disturbance than talking on your cell phone while running on the treadmill. Unless it's an emergency, save your lengthy conversations to before or after your workouts.
Don't Hog The Treadmill. Many gyms have time limits on cardio machines during busy hours. There is a reason for that, and you should obey it. Throwing your towel over the display doesn't fool anyone, resolve to be honest in the New Year.
Group Exercise. Don’t assume that because you have chosen the same space to stand in for your group exercise class that you are entitled to stay in that space for each class. Unless the space has your name on it, anyone is perfectly free to stand in your space.
Yoga. Yoga class is supposed to be calm and relaxing. Do not push your way into the room to claim your space. Take a deep breath, open the door and allow someone else to enter in front of you. If you are late, enter the room discretely and quietly obtain your mat. You may want to do a few warm up postures to prevent injuring yourself before you join the rest of the class.
Leaving Early. In any group exercise or yoga class, do your best to not leave before the end of the class. It is very disruptive to your fellow exercisers and tends to start a domino effect in which everyone feels it’s okay to leave. Leaving early not only increases your chance of injury because oftentimes the end of the class the cool down is the most important, but it is also disrespectful to your instructor. If you know you have to leave early and it cannot be avoided, make sure to mention it to your instructor at the beginning of the class.
Cover It Up. Accepting your body and having the confidence to walk around the locker room naked is terrific. Knowing when to cover up with a towel to keep the locker room a comfortable place for everyone is even better.
As I was in quiet reflection this morning listening to the calmness of the background music these words just flowed which I shall share with you as we further discuss the substance and meaning. This month we have been discussing the setting of goals which in the end means we are trying to improve ourselves to be the very best we can be.
Oftentimes opportunities present themselves and we are reluctant to take the leap of faith and move forward. All our responsibilities at times may get in the way of our own life force which is silently directing us to move forward to greater challenges.
Many of us are excited about trying to embark on new ventures and always fear that perhaps we may not be successful or that it will not be supported by our family and friends. However, grandmother shares her wisdom through the following reflection and hopefully you can discern the wisdom, for the answer in the end is an emphatic “yes!” Take the risk, take the leap!
I stand at the precipice
I look back at my realities . . .
Again I look up
Outstretching my arms
Embracing the sun, moon and stars
Of Possibilities …
That awaits my answer
Yes … I should
For only joy comes
With great risk bound in Trust
We share our Gifts
Our Features section has been devoted to a newsworthy article that further exemplified our focus; however beginning this January, we wish to hear from you and learn about someone in your life that you would like to share with our readers. Perhaps you had a personal hurdle that you thought you could never overcome, but did. You are the gift to the world and we would like to share your story!
For more info on vision boards and how to create your own
To assist you in setting your goals for the New Year, visit
To navigate the best weight loss plans, visit
Interested in a new fitness membership, visit the Sports Club LA
Feel good song for 2008, check out Mary J. Blige’s new single “Just Fine”