Making Resolutions into Reality – Part Three

January 9, 2010

White Knuckle Necessity

My Idea of Heaven

Once our goals are properly set and we work to put them in manageable pieces so that we “don’t choke” thereby allowing success to breed success, we have to hold on.

­­I will never forget the first time that I learned to water ski. I jumped in the water from the boat and was thrown the skis.  With my life jacket keeping me afloat, I clumsily slid the skis on with an excitement I could almost taste.  With the skis finally on, I was thrown the rope and given my instructions.

With my buddy’s dad, at the helm of the boat, I received the two pieces of advice that were “guaranteed” to get anyone up on their first time.  From his seat behind the steering wheel, he barked out that to get up, I had to keep the rope in between the skis.  Then, he gave me the most important thing to concentrate on.

I was to hold on—no matter what, he told me that if I wanted to water ski, it was imperative that I hold on.  He said that if I would, I’d eventually get pulled up out of the water.  Once I was up, he was sure it would get easy and I’d figure it out from there.

The engine started up and the boat began to slowly move away.  The rope became taught, and as it did, I didn’t let that rope out from in between my skis for one second.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am most comfortable keeping the rules.  I’d been given two here and I was going to give all I had to keep them.

With the first part taken care of, I began to concentrate on the other piece of advice I’d been given, and over and over simply kept thinking, “Hold on. Just hold on.”

With everything in place I took a big breath, looked at my buddies sitting in the group and called out, “Hit it!”

The boat’s motor roared, and as the rope became taught, I looked down at my knuckles.  They were white.  I was holding on with such resolve—so tightly that the blood could no longer get through my fingers.

Holding on with all my might, the rope snapped tight and with a force I was totally and completely unprepared for, and yanked me forward.

I’d done everything I was told to the tee.  However, with the rope in between my skis and my legs unprepared for the strength it was going to take to keep them straight, I flew head first through my skis and, like a submarine, I was pulled underwater for what seemed like the entire length of the reservoir.

I couldn’t believe the water I was taking in, but I was true to the second rule and kept telling myself, “Hold on. Just hold on and you’ll get up.”

Of course, in the boat, they were having a good ol’ time talking and laughing, forgetting to watch the skier (me), and when they finally did look back and saw me skimming just below the surface of the water, they screamed at the top of their lungs for me to let go.  But I would have none of it.  I was going to get up and knew that the only way I was ever going to get that done was to hold on.  I have to admit it seemed an odd way to get up on skis, but I was going to keep true to the instructions I’d been given.

Finally, it was too much for my arms to bear; I let go, and floated to the top with a belly full of “Lucky Peak Reservoir” for my efforts.

Dedicated to get up, I got further instruction, and after a few tries, finally put all the pieces together and found myself upright on a pair of water skis.  Up on those skis, behind that boat I looked around and realized I’d also found one of the real loves of my life.

In the end, however, I understood that his advice was right—If you hold on, just hold on, eventually you’ll end up with success.

Success doesn’t come every time; we all know that—especially on the first try.  But, it does come, and most often to those who hold on to what they want with the same “White Knuckles” I used to hold on to that ski rope.

We have to decide what we really want and then hold on to those things with a “White Knuckled Necessity” if we want success.

If you want more money in 2010—a better job, less weight, more spirituality, better family relationships, or the like, you have to decide to use goals and resolutions to get there.  However, that is more that just wishing for things to be different.  Like anything worthwhile, it takes effort.

You have to make/set proper goals that are specific, have accountability and are measurable.  You have to break the things you chase into manageable pieces, so you “don’t choke” on your first try.  Then you have to hold on.  Through good times and bad, when you feel the goal is doable and when you don’t you have a chance, you have to use the same mantra I used to learn to ski, “Hold on. Just Hold on!”

When you do, you find some of the real loves of your lives.  I promise.

Here’s to a fantastic 2010 filled with resolutions accomplished and goals achieved.

Go get ‘em

Jh-


Making Resolutions Into Reality – Part Two

January 4, 2010

Don’t Choke

Joey Chestnut With The Famed "Mustard Belt"

Once we change our dreams into goals by being specific, becoming accountable, and making them measurable (for how to do that, click here) we then have to give ourselves a chance to succeed, and then allow that success to continue moving toward more success.

In order to do this, we can follow the example of one Joseph “Jaws” Chestnut.

In the world of eating competitions, “Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest” is king.

For those of you unfamiliar with the contest here’s a little background from Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog’s own website

The Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Each Fourth of July a group of 20 steely-eyed individuals line up behind a 30-foot table at Nathan’s flagship restaurant on Surf Avenue in Coney Island to begin the world hot dog eating championship. At 12 Noon, crushed by fans and media, the competitors begin the historic 12-minute contest.

According to archives, the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest was first held in 1916, the year Nathan’s opened on Surf Avenue. The contest has been held each year since then, except in 1941, when it was canceled as a protest to the war in Europe, and in 1971, when it was canceled as a protest to civil unrest and the reign of free love.

In the entire history of the contest, when those 20 “steely-eyed” individuals line up against each other in this test of gluttony, there has been one name feared above all the others—Kobayashi.

In his rookie appearance in 2001, Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi doubled the previous record by downing 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes (buns and all).  This number was so unexpected, that as Kobayashi’s numbers got higher and higher, the organizers ran out of signs indicating how many dogs Kobayashi had eaten and had to resort to handwritten signs.

From the day he stepped on the stage of competitive eating, Kobayaski’s name was synonyms with dominance. He won the famous “Mustard Belt” every year from 2001-2007, breaking his own amazing record every year he competed, save one.  Everyone believed him unbeatable, and the greatest competitor in the history of the game.

Everyone but Joey Chestnut.  In 2007 Chestnut lined up against “The Tsunami” for the third time.  His previous attempts were valiant—a third place finish in ’05 and a second place finish in ’06, where he lost by 1¾ HDB (Hot Dog & Bun),

2007 was different for Chestnut, as he finally beat the feared Kobayaski and set a new world record by eating 66 HDB in twelve minutes.

The question is how did he do it.  How does a man eat 66 HDB in 12 minutes?  Certainly not all at once.  He has to do it one HDB at a time.

As we work to tackle our properly set Resolutions and goals, we would do well to follow Chestnut’s example.

He would never have reached his lofty objective by trying to eat all 66 HDB at once.  He had to take them at his pace, a little at a time.  Even though it’s amazing that he didn’t choke eating 66 HDB in 12 minutes; he would have definitely choked on 66 HDB all at once.

We have to look at our goals the same way.

If we set a goal and try to accomplish it all in one chunk, then we will choke on our failure.  However, if we take our goals a bite at a time then, like Joey, we will amaze ourselves, an others, by the feats we “eat up.”

Look at your goals in small increments—break them down into pieces.  Then, reward yourself for every piece accomplished.  There is nothing that will spur us on than a good ‘ol reward—Problem is, if we have to wait until then end of the year to reward ourselves, all we get is a whole lot of discouragement and end up ready to quit before we begin.

If you have a resolution for the year, break it up into more manageable sections, and then reward yourself for achieving each section.  Achievement yields achievement, just like success breeds success.  Most of the time the biggest challenge in reaching our goals is our inability to allow ourselves to feel like we are achieving and succeeding along the way.

I often hear that people should have one-year, three-year, and five-year goals—and I think that’s fantastic.  But, if you ever want to accomplish your one, three and five year goals, you’d better have one, three and five week goals to get you there.

Break it up, and enjoy the journey.  Give your chance to feel great about what your doing right now.  Give yourself the chance to feel like you’re accomplishing your resolution, and before you know it, you’ll not only set New Years Resolutions at the beginning of the year, but you’ll achieve those New Year’s Resolutions at the end of the year as well.

Jh-

Check out part 3 of 3 in my next post

And, if you think you have the “stomach” for it, here is a video of Joey Chestnut’s triumphant win over Kobayashi.

FYI: Joey’s still the Champ. In 2008 when they changed the time limit from 12 minutes to 10 minutes Chestnut tied Takeru Kobayashi after eating 59 HDB in 10 minutes. The tie resulted in a 5-hotdog eat-off, which Chestnut won by consuming all 5 hot dogs before Kobayashi. In 2009 Chestnut topped his previous record of 66 HDB in 12 minutes by eating 68 HDB in 10 minutes.

Anyone want a Hot Dog?


Making Resolutions Into Reality – Part One

January 1, 2010

Combing My Hair

My Good Mom Right Where She's Always Been - By My Side

As we look to the new year, and the resolutions that we will no doubt set (hopefully you haven’t become so jaded that you’ve given up completely on the idea) we need to put in place some concepts that will allow us to succeed and achieve those resolutions so they don’t end up casualties of war by the 15th of January.

In our effort to effectively accomplish the goals we set, we must first make sure that we have effectively set goals.

When I think of what it takes to set goals you will accomplish, I remember an experience I had after my spinal cord injury.

Being in the hospital with injuries so severe, being unable to breathe for seven weeks, and learning how to live in a wheelchair, you can understand why my appearance wasn’t exactly at the top of my concerns. My mom would comb my hair each day, and unless friends (well let’s be honest—girls) made the trek from Boise to visit, I cared less about the result.

When I returned home in October, things changed dramatically.  Friends were over all the time, and now, this little piece of hygiene that mattered so little just weeks before, was now of paramount importance. So, unless I wore a ball cap, I counted on my mom to comb my hair.  For, just like every other teenager, I wanted to look good!

The more my condition improved, the more I cared.  It wasn’t long before I was back at school full time and dating.  Mom did great.  She found a way to not only keep me presentable, but fashionable as well.  I always felt confident leaving the house when my mom combed my hair.

As time progressed, so did I. My strength was getting better and better. I got stronger physically and socially.  By my Junior year, I was finished with therapy, had a full load at school, and was elected class president.  I was driving by myself, and with the help of a friend had actually figured out how to dance in a chair (for that whole crazy story, click here).

Finally, in December of 1987, nearly 1½ years after my accident, I reached a social milestone—I was on my way to my first formal dance.

I was really excited.  The girl who asked me was a cutie and a good friend to boot.  I went out weeks before the dance to get my tuxedo—I opted against a tuxedo with tails as the tails looked more like mud flaps than they did tails.

My mom helped me get ready for the dance.  I showered, shaved, and got into my tuxedo all with her help.  (The tuxedo was all white with a lavender tie and cummerbund to match her dress.  It was the ‘80’s, so I get a little latitude…right.)

Everything was finished but my hair.  Looking in the mirror, pleased with my appearance, I asked my mom if she would comb my hair.  Now this was something that I had asked her to do and she had happily done literally hundreds of time before.

I remember there was a long pause.  I looked up at her and she had a little sparkle in her eye. (I later learned to beware the sparkle).  She grabbed the comb and asked me, “How many 16 year old boys do you think are going to have their mothers comb their hair tonight?’

I wasn’t sure why she would ask such a silly question.  The answer was simple.  Sixteen year old boys combed their own hair.  I knew it and I knew she knew it.  My mistake, however, was in my primary assumption (you know what they say happens when you assume).  I was sure we were excluding me.

I replied, “None,” with complete confidence and a little impatience.

She then handed me the comb and said, “That’s right.  None!”

That was it.  That was the last time she combed my hair.  My hair looked terrible that night—it was like Don King with a bad haircut.  It didn’t get much better in the days to follow.  She had picked that night to make sure the message came through loud and clear—it was time for me to learn to comb my own hair, and although I didn’t have the strength I needed that day to complete the task, I’d never gain that strength if she continued on combing my hair.

Handing me the brush was like a gauntlet being thrown, and even though it took a while for the frustration to pass, and when it did, I learned that in throwing the gauntlet she showed me two things.  First, that she believed I could do it, and second that there were some occasions that wouldn’t allow a hat.

Her issued challenge gave me something to chase., something to achieve—trust me, I wanted to be able to comb my own hair.  Now all I had to do was turn that desire or dream into a goal.

As I began this pursuit, experience told me that if I were going to change my hope into goal it would require more than just wanting it.  Wanting is important, but I had learned through prior experience, that building goals from dreams meant meeting three pieces of criteria.  My experience since has only strengthened my resolve in these important steps.

1.)  Be Specific.

Anytime we have something we want to accomplish in our lives, it must be specific.  I couldn’t just say, “I want to look nice.”  What does that mean.  Working on goals that aren’t specific is like chasing specters.  You end up working really hard and end up with a handful of nothing.  When a desire isn’t clear like I want to make more money, lose more weight, or improve my appearance we have no direction.  However, when we get specific like, “I want to make $60,000, lose 20lbs, or comb my hair.” then we take the first step in making our wants become goals.

2.)  Become Accountable.

Nothing changes dreams into goals faster than writing it down and telling someone else about it.  First when we write it down we make a promise to ourselves.  It works like a contact between us and ourselves—and nothing gets things done like a contract.  Telling others puts us squarely on the hook.  It leaves us very few outs.  If we tell the people we work with, or live with that we are going to make $60,000, lose 20 pounds, or comb your hair, it makes us all the more motivated to achieve.  After all, no one wants to look at a broken contract or hear others ask, “What happened.”

That December, I took out two pieces of paper and wrote on them, “Comb your own hair.”  Then I placed one on the mirror in my room and one on the mirror in my bathroom.  That way I saw my contract multiple times a day, as did my siblings.  Now, my brothers and sister also knew that I was working toward combing my hair.  I was accountable to myself and to them, and my dream was nearly a full-fledged goal.

3.)  Be Measurable.

It doesn’t do any good to set any goal if it doesn’t have a due date.  The greatest stories in the world are ruined if we feel they never end. It’s great to dream about increasing our income, decreasing our weight, and improving our appearance, but if we don’t answer questions like, “by when,” or, “for how long” our dream just stays in the ether.  It becomes unachieved, and we become disappointed.  When we make our hopes measurable so we can know when the race ids finished, we end up with a real live goal.

Any thing of any worth that I have achieved in my life has, in one form or another, met each one of these requirements.  Whether it was becoming student body president at the nations largest private university, becoming one of the youngest to be a part of the top 6% of the insurance industry worldwide, living through two life threatening accidents, starting my own company, or combing my hair, it was because of goals—Goals that were specific, had accountability, and made measurable.

The hair thing worked out.  But the great thing was my mom was smart enough to understand that achieving one thing would lead to achieving others.  The strength that allowed me to comb my hair led me to do other things as well.

All because I was challenged to reach farther than I believed I could.

This New Year the first thing we must do is take those Resolutions—those challenges we’ve made for ourselves and make them specific, make ourselves accountable, and ensure that we can measure our progress.

Then we will be on our way to making our dreams into goals and eventually realities.

Jh-

Check out part 2 of 3 in my next post.


Successful Resolutions

December 30, 2009

As we approach and enjoy the New Year, people all over the nation will be setting their “New Year’s Resolutions.”  The irony, however, is that most of the people who set resolutions feel fairly confident that their chances of accomplishing those goals are miniscule at best.  Over the next few days, I’m going to give a couple tips that will help you successfully set and accomplish the goals you set.

So, come back over the next days.  I know it will allow you to have a great 2010, filled with goals both set and achieved.

Jh-


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