Have You Underestimated the Day of Small Things?

If you have ever felt like a charter member of the Start Big - Finish Small, if at All Club, you may feel overwhelmed when you set targets that seem difficult to reach. Regardless of the level of effort - you have options. The breakthrough you need could be to consider thinking small to help you transform your life.

Taking On More Than You Can Manage

“Think big!” may be the war cry of pioneer business visionaries but, it could be the thing that rocks the boat over in the case of the average Joe.   On countless occasions, I’ve been full of ideas that I’d finally be able to establish a brand new plan or goal and I'd jump out of bed with gusto. But like starting a race without breakfast, I would soon realize the problem was that I would typically bite off more than I could chew and expect quick success and no hitches.  Often, the pain of disappointment left me feeling too burned out to follow through.

Break It Down to Bite-Sized Pieces

My stumbling blocks from where I am to were I want to be seem daunting when I look at the size of the task and how long it may take to get there. I make every effort to choose my "best" options instead of doing more thinking that equates to doing better. By focusing more on the here and now, and not so much or so far in the future, I am able to find a steady pace that works. My take on the tortoise, who may be slower, but wins every time!

Whatever we hope to gain in our endeavors, before we can achieve something in life, we need to decide precisely what it is we want. Be specific in defining what it is you want to achieve.  Knowing what you are looking for makes it easier to find. Work to understand the ‘why’ for whatever you desire to achieve. Goals are often more "real" if they are written. Decide what is a reasonable length of time, and be realistic and measurable so you will have a target at which to aim. I’ve heard it stated, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time!”

Here are a few tips to help you do this:
  • Determine the steps involved. Brainstorm your options. These are the stepping stones towards achieving your end result. 
  • Simplify the action plan. Think of the steps as actions. When you understand what actions are needed to achieve your desired result, you can pull these together into a plan.
  • Establish daily and weekly tasks. When you create your action plan, work out a series of targets that you believe are possible to reach on the way to your goal. Keep it simple with many small victories to keep the momentum.
  • Keep on track. The small-scale approach is flexible and allows for instant changes. On a weekly basis, ask yourself what happened and whether you could do anything differently. Keep on tweaking and completing the simple tasks to have the end result well within your grasp.
  • Don't focus on long-term. Focus on your daily actions plans and not so much on the end date. Don't dwell on what’s to come in the future. Like the tortoise, concentrate on one small step and repeat consistently.
  • Resist the desire to biggie-size. We often want results fast and are impatient when it comes to delaying gratification. Though you may be tempted, avoid trying to rush things and biting off more than you can chew.  Refer to the reasons why you want the desired goal. Concentrate on where you are in the journey, and not on what’s next. Reflect on how far you’ve come and what a waste it would be to throw in the towel now.
In order for us to grow, we need to allow ourselves to be stretched at times. In most endeavors, if we don't grow, our plans and goals won't either. Long-lasting lifestyle change requires an investment of our time and effort, as well as some patience.

The road to achieving great things is much less intimidating when you break down the end result into smaller steps. And absolutely nothing can compare to how you will feel when you finally make it to the place you wanted to be.

~ Sheri xo

If you have enjoyed this post, please share with other fabulous women who are ready to create a Life-by-Design! 
Sheri Geyer is a Personal Coach Empowering Women to Do Life-by-Design!

What is the Big Deal About Minimalism?

I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years.... and if you asked, I'd have to say that Minimalism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!

Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Minimalism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”

After a major life change in 2002, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with His best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.

Here is what I found:

I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best.  Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.

I often ask myself, when I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.

I want to live a life by design, not default. I will do this effectively by learning to master my response to situations and be able to turn things around, as opposed to living like the bow tied on a kite string based on what is happening to me at any given moment.

I don't need to have it all and I don't want to do it all. It is imperative for me to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: "I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!"

I have learned that I do not need to be 'plugged into' all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather, I have discovered that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.

The best thing I've learned is when to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. I find it easier not to commit if I'm not certain that I can give 100%. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.

The effectual pursuit of simplicity (minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never just been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.
Sheri Geyer is a Personal Coach Empowering Women to Do Life-by-Design!

Have You Ever Felt Guilty For Procrastinating?

Procrastination to some can be a minor problem; with others it is a source of considerable stress and anxiety.

Low Self-Confidence - Some may struggle with feelings of low self-confidence / low self-esteem, and insist upon a high level of performance (perfectionism) making the task more difficult than necessary.

Instant gratification. Reading, checking email or Facebook is easier than doing that project you’ve been putting off. Eating out or convenience foods are more appealing than planning a menu and cooking from whole food recipes. Watching TV as opposed to cleaning the house is certainly more enjoyable.

Fear or Dread. We might not write that chapter in our book because we are trying to come up with the perfect title, or we don't have all the dots connected on publishing it or putting the chapters in correct order. We are afraid of the unknown, which has more power because it just lurks in the back of our minds making us dread tasks and making them more difficult than necessary.

Avoiding negative consequences. There are no immediate negative consequences to watching TV, using the internet, playing games, or doing other procrastination tasks. We will pay for it later, but right now, we feel in control.
Overestimating how we will manage our time. We may have a list of things we plan to accomplish in the future because we believe we will be more productive and focused when we are rested, have someone else to help, are not as stressed, etc.. The reality can be worse than expected because we are assuming that even though we follow the same processes, we will experience different results.

4 Steps to Managing Procrastination

1 ~ Stop and think. When we allow certain thoughts to take up residence in our minds without really being conscious of them, we procrastinate. Instant gratification via goofing off or eating comfort foods can lead to future problems. Fears are only assumptions that immobilize us if we bow to them. Not having negative consequences now doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences later.

2 ~ Review the process.  Usually we dread something before we actually are fully engaged in it. If we are willing to really consider how well it will work for us, we can learn to enjoy it and eliminate our dread of doing it.  If you want to take a walk, avoid thinking too much on it -- just do it and enjoy the simplicity of the action. This process can be done with anything, from washing dishes to writing or sweeping the porch. Enjoy yourself in the moment and the activity can be very pleasant and even fun. If you can change your perspective you won't have the inclination to put it off.

3 ~ Find a partner in accountability. If no one is looking over our shoulder, we may cut ourselves more slack than we should. Find people to hold you accountable.  Ideally, involving a friend who has the same desire to overcome something could be inspiring and helpful for both.

4 ~ Focus on the benefits you will receive. Think about how much you will enjoy the new color in your bathroom when the painting is all done. Consider how nice it will be to enter the holiday season having lost the 10 pounds -- it may be all the motivation you need to eat in moderation. Find what can work and it helps you eliminate what doesn't.  Focus on what excited you about the project originally and hold that thought.

Characteristics for Determining if Procrastination is a Problem 

Stubbornness - Procrastination may be used as an expression of stubbornness or pride. The person may feel he is able to eliminate his perceived control by others who he may think are trying to dictate his life. If we are unhappy or have unresolved issues with someone, we may withhold our best efforts in a project.

Manipulation - Procrastination may be used to control / manipulate others or it may be an effort to appear in control.  Deliberately delaying a project can drive others crazy.

Coping with Pressures - Overcoming procrastination may be difficult because it may have become the choice method of coping with day-to-day pressures. This may provide a false sense of being in control when actually the opposite is true.

Benefits to Overcoming Procrastination
~ Peace of mind, a feeling of strength and purpose.
~ Healthy feeling of being in charge of your life.
~ Eliminates feeling weak, useless, and helpless.
~ Taking charge of your life helps you feel strong, competent, and capable.
~ Active participation tends to give you a positive attitude toward the activity.
~ You actually gain true, personal freedom.

It is possible to overcome procrastination and it's negative impact on you. Take time to savor even the smallest of victories, so you will remember how good it feels. This will help the next time you need encouragement.
Sheri Geyer is a Personal Coach Empowering Women to Do Life-by-Design!

Have You Ever Felt As If Your Life is Being Squeezed into a One-Size-Fits-All Package?

At some point, you may have discovered that one-size-fits-all life is not really the fit you were looking for.

What would it take for you to lay out a life plan, perhaps create a budget, or a goal to get healthier and eliminate stress? Or do you shy away from any thought of doing life-by-design, as opposed to ‘by default' because it seems you would be surrendering your rights to a real life. 

Interesting Note: Consider the Tortoise and the Hare. The tortoise won the race because he stayed the course, remained focused, and he never, never, never gave up. He mapped a plan, put one foot in front of the other, and continued to do the same thing until he got where he wanted, and not only that ~ he was the first one there.

The race is not always to the swift, but to the diligent. The one who works and plays smart. You may not have all of the options that someone else may have, but by taking what you have and gaining the necessary skills you need to develop the areas that can serve you well, it is only a matter of time until you win. 

Money, education, affiliation or any other privilege can never beat out what pure tenacity and endurance will provide to succeed in the game of life. The only way you win is to find every creative way possible to eliminate your temptation to quit. It worked for the tortoise!

What ideas are swimming around in your mind that by putting to paper you could craft something opens you up to greater possibilities toward creating the life you want?

I'm not specifically talking about money here. Having more money doesn't mean less problems. In fact to the one whom much is given, much will be required. If money was the be all, end all, explain Hollywood to me.  

No, it's much more. It's not about having what you want. It's about learning to want what you have. It's maximizing your potential by embracing the design God has for your life and, in turn, discovering that your life is as You-Nique as You are!

You are able to do life-by-design by developing intentionality around what is of the most value to you. It requires a plan - so you know where you are headed and have more than a rear view mirror to look at where you've been.

Realizing where you've been is a great guide in aligning you for where you are going and how you will get there. It is a major step in eliminating things in your life that no longer fit you and where you are headed. 

You create your tomorrows by what you dream ~ today!  You have unbelievable potential within. It's in your thoughts. Your positive thoughts based on an understanding of God’s design for your life are beneficial for all you ever hope to achieve and accomplish.

How are you managing these thoughts? Are you content to simply think about what tomorrow can look like? What would it look like to spend some quiet, focused time to consider what your future could be and the One who holds it?

To tap into your internal hopes and desires, consider journaling. It is a very valuable tool that provides inspiring insights about how to plant good seeds and prune unnecessary areas in your life to so you can create a life you won’t need to escape from. 

If you took a road trip from Atlanta to Seattle, you wouldn't consider not having a map or gps to chart your route, as well as a plan for the things you would like to see.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Pack your tortoise shell well; you'll need it to stay the course. Forget about how the hare is doing life. 

You need to concentrate on one thought ~ “I think I can, I think I can!”
Sheri Geyer is a Personal Coach Empowering Women to Do Life-by-Design!

What is Hindering You from Enjoying God’s Best?

For my life, one of the biggest hindrances is a sense of guilt over things that I perceive other people "think" I need to be doing. 

I am learning that the guilt isn't necessarily something I am doing wrong -- many times it is the enemy trying to distract me from what I am doing right! He would rather me be so hung up on woulda-coulda-shoulda that I am hindered from doing what God is leading me to do and going where God is leading me to go. If he can keep us beating ourselves up, he achieves his goal of hindering us from being effective and impactful for the purposes God has for us.

I am having to be reminded that the Holy Spirit leads but the devil drives! (Guilt is often the thing he uses to drive). A good way to understand the difference between the two is that the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes before or during the time that we are doing something or not doing something, that God wants us to embrace or relinquish. Guilt comes after we've taken the jump or as a driving force to move us to jump where God hasn't led us.

I want to sign on for all the opportunities that will let me do what I love... coach, write, speak, coordinate, e.g... I am awesome at sign on but I lack the daily, steady persistence that is required to get the project completed in a timely manner. I am having to be reminded that I need to keep up with some of the important structure and routine that energizes me, such as my morning quiet time, making a list to target what I need to complete ... today! 

I need to cease from the proverbial biting off more that I can chew. Sometimes I get so sidetracked trying to knock out as many of the little daily tasks, that I am hindered from making any headway on my long term projects and the ones that ultimately are part of the path to my personal success and fulfillment.

A final challenge for me is to remember that the enemy most wants to discourage me and my efforts by either deceiving me or at the very least, distracting me from my worthwhile pursuits.

One of the greatest ways for me to not succumb to his intrusions in my day is to constantly focus on the plans that God has put within my spirit. I need to consistently renew my mind by reading uplifting messages from His Word, as well as from other writers who encourage me in my journey as well as surround myself with people who refresh me and challenge me to not settle for accepting life as black and white but allowing my days and my experiences to truly color my world. 
What one thing can you do today that can ignite or re-ignite the candle of passion that burns within? 

Take some time to reflect on what you have to offer the people in your sphere of influence, and don't withhold the gift that you have to bring to the table.

Your voice and your message may be the missing piece(s) in someone else's life that will make all the difference!

Sheri Geyer is a Personal Coach Empowering Women to Do Life-by-Design!