Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolution - Success Tips for Women

New Year, New You, right? HARDLY!

Did you know that women are more likely than men to make New Year's Resolutions (74% vs. 58%), yet only 14% of women actually succeed in following through on their good intentions? What happens?

I think it's that we tend to underestimate how much emotional energy we need to succeed. If you ask a hundred women why they quit working on a specific goal (and I have), most of the reasons will boil down to being emotionally worn out. The average woman gives so much to so many, and usually keeps very little for herself. It's one of the key ways we differ from men.”

As you plan to ring in 2009, I have some tips that takes emotional meltdowns into consideration. This year, you'll not only make a resolution, but be successful in keeping it. Here are the first two:

1. Pump Up The Passion. If accomplishing your New Year’s Resolution seems like a lot of work that doesn’t give you a lot of benefit, you’ll fail. Your reward has to outweigh the challenges.

What is it about your resolution that really jazzes you? For instance, why do you want a promotion? If you want it because it will give you more money or power, in what specific ways will money or power make your life better, happier or more satisfying? List the benefits and keep adding to them. Make the end result so incredibly attractive that you’ll keep going when the going gets tough – and it will.

2. Think ahead. As you planned recent holiday events, did you think about that one guest who doesn't eat meat, and made sure there was something vegetarian on the menu? Or what about the relative that is moody or drinks to much - didn't you anticipate what could go wrong and make a plan to handle it? Of course, you did. Women do it all the time for everyone else, both in and out of work, but we usually don’t think to apply the same process to our own success.

What do you think can be an obstacle to your success? If you want to get thin, what usually gets in your way of losing weight? Maybe you get home from work and just eat whatever is available, or eat fast food. So preplan your meals, including a quick snack that you can eat while you get the meal ready.

If you want to get a promotion at work, what do you think will stop you? Are you the kind of person who plays herself too small? Then get a book that will help you do better. I like the book BRAG! by Peggy Klaus. In fact, my Dangerous Dining Book Club read it in November, and we all agreed that we could learn to brag better.

Check back during January for more tips. And, email me to share ones that you've had success with...I look forward to hearing from you.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Washington Crossed the Delaware on Christmas - and So Did I!

It was freezing that day in 1776. General George Washington and his troops crossed from Pennsylvania into New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War. Washington devised the battle plan in an effort the keep British troops at bay. The strategy required his troops to cross the half-frozen river on a bitter cold Christmas day. It was a daring move, and it could have been a disaster, but it wasn't.

Every year, the famous crossing is reenacted. This year I was part of it. I didn't cross the river by boat (no one did - the waters were wild and dangerous), but I did walk across the Delaware on a wooden foot bridge. Bridges are a challenge for me, and when the opportunity appeared, I thought twice about going. But, using the steel handrail to steady myself, I took the 30-40 minute walk to New Jersey and back. It wasn't too cold and I dressed warmly, but the swirling waters beneath me made me a little dizzy...and I second-guessed my decision.

When I got back on solid ground, I was glad. I think it's good for me to move out of my comfort zone and challenge myself - and I think it's good for you too. I have some "getting started" ideas in my current newsletter. You can get the current issue by clicking on this post's title.

Hope and That Little Town of Bethlehem

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” - you probably sang it this season, or at least heard it. Did you know the words were written in 1868, by a minister from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania? Isn't it amazing how timeless the sentiment is – “the hopes and fears of all the years” - fitting both a post-Civil War economy and a current-day recession. They are both part of our human experience.

Yet, if you focus on fear, you can make yourself a nervous wreck. Since you're constantly bombarded with negative news, you can worry about the economy, jobs and the state of the world, wondering what’s going to happen next. Maybe you have forgotten what it means to live within your means and, like so many of us, wrap values around the money-made “show” of your life, instead of the value-driven “flow” of it.

Still, in the midst of all the negativity, you can choose to feel hope. I do.

Many economists think that the economy will turn around by next fall. I hope they’re right. However, it’s in women that I have the most hope. It’s in you and me and the other women in my town – and yours. We are leaders in our families, at work, and in our communities. We all have a wonderful opportunity to learn (or maybe relearn) lessons about what we value that has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with meaningful living – or as pastor Rick Warren would describe – a purpose-driven life.

As you think about your life and the future this Christmas Day 2008, and your hopes and fears, what are some of the values you would like to focus on throughout this holiday season and into 2009? Will you refocus your behaviors to be more in line with integrity and honesty? Will your spending habits reflect good sense instead of instant gratification? What about practicing perseverance instead of giving up and focused living instead scattered and imbalanced lifestyles?

What values will be shaping your life over the next year or so? How about sharing them with other readers - you'll never know who you'll be helping!