Goal setting is one of my favorite topics and is definitely something that keeps me feeling happy. I use my background as an Agile coach to work in small iterations, celebrate, and improve my skills as I’m accomplish goals.
My guest this week, Hannah Kane, also has a background in Agile, and on this podcast we talk about how we can stay motivated to accomplish our personal goals. Hannah’s unique Scrum Your Wedding site is how we originally met. This is a great example of how we can use an Agile framework in our every day life.
Hannah and I both love themes and play and we talk about how if we make the “journey” of achieving a goal fun, we will stay motivated. In the end the journey is as important as the outcome. Hannah also talks about the importance of anticipation when working towards a goal.
You can find the YouTube video of my discussion with Hannah here.
Trying out is all about trying new experiences, learning new things, and stepping out of your comfort zone. In this episode, I talk to Kelly Bates, owner of the Travel Group, Travel Souly.
When we talk about how “trying out” relates to happiness, Kelly talks about the thrill she gets from surfing, falling and getting back up. As we hear over and over again, happiness is more about the journey than the destination. This is both metaphorical and literal when we talk about travel, but can hold true with just about anything we “try out.”
Even though our travel has been limited in this past year because of Covid, there are a lot of things we can try out.. new experiences with hobbies and skills.. or we can plan with anticipation our next trip, perhaps with Travel Souly!
The thing I like most about hosting my Carpe Diem Connections podcast is the connections I myself make. It’s like a scavenger hunt to find fascinating guests — and I have this great big World Wide Web to look for them.
I hit the jackpot with the guest on my podcast this week, Klaudia Mitura. She’s an award-winning podcaster herself of the popular podcast &Happiness. One morning I asked Alexa to play a Happiness podcast for me and she played this one! Klaudia and her co-host, Kitty Newman use the letters of the alphabet as prompts to do a deeper dive into different types of Happiness. Theme-nut that I am, I was immediately hooked!
It was clear, after listening to a few episodes, that Klaudia knew not only a lot about happiness, but about the science behind our emotions as well. I was thrilled when she agreed to be on my podcast, talking about the 4th Key of Happiness as defined by Action for Happiness: Awareness.
In this episode, I question Klaudia about the practice of meditation. Being a bit of a skeptic and a person who definitely does not want to spend time thinking about nothing but my breath, I’ve been slow to fully embrace meditation, despite its constant recommendations in happiness literature. Listening to Klaudia about her thoughts and explanations was enlightening.
We also talk a bit about the practice of Emotional Intelligence and practices besides meditation that encourage being present and mindful.
Yesterday was the first of my February contests. I asked people to post their National Wear Red Day pictures on my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group and tag with #carpediemday.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This whole month I’m experimenting with trying to get more exposure for Carpe Diem Day and having fun celebrating various wacky holidays. It’s just so much more fun to be playing with other people.
I picked National Wear Red Day to start with because I figured it should be kind of easy for people to find something red to wear and post a picture. I didn’t put any “rules” around how I’d pick a winner. I wanted to see what people would come up with without much guidance about what “qualified” for a prize.
Here are some of the great entries! I just love the creativity!
Lee says: "Red reminds me to celebrate, to stop and smell the (red) roses, to create and give red-hearted valentines, and to party with loved ones until the (red) rooster crows!"
I love Lee's mysterious tease as she peeks out of her long red cape.
Eva’s red shoes walked 10891 steps yesterday. She keeps her heart healthy with daily walking.
Sean and Jack didn’t have any red, but still get mentions due to their supportive posts. Even though Sean was working, he posted a fun red Gif. And I’m very grateful to Becky and Shirley for passing on the word of the contest! Ashley also posted a supportive heart and has a whole event she’s sponsoring for the month of February!
All who participated (including those who shared the link or shared their support, even if they didn’t post a picture) are going to get a Valentine from me in which I pay them a genuine compliment (in honor of today, Pay A Compliment Day.). I’ll put the Valentines in my special Valentine basket and pull one out to reveal the $25 prize winner!
I had fun thinking about some fun prizes like some red sparkly piece of attire – shoes, mask, bowtie, or shirt.. Or I thought about a $25 donation to the American Heart Association.. Or maybe a Red Carpe Diem shirt? But, I decided to let the winner pick their own prize so they can get exactly what they want!
Now, on to the video for the Big Reveal of the Grand Prize Winner!
National Carpe Diem Day is February 26th. Throughout the month of February, 2021, I’ll be hosting 3 #CarpeDiemDay contests. The winners will receive a personalized prize designed to help them live more fully and find ways to “Seize the Day” despite the pandemic.
I’ve made it my mission to actively promote and help others celebrate and create a “Carpe Diem Mindset.” I think this has been especially important in when the world has been struggling with the challenges of the Global Pandemic. I’m especially keen to get National Carpe Diem Day recognized in 2021 while people are still struggling. We don’t need to wait for our challenges to be resolved in order to celebrate each day. It’s more important than ever to celebrate in spite of the challenges!
I’ve created this Website (www.carpediemday.com) that shares many other Websites and resources aimed at helping others live full and meaningful lives and fostering deep and meaningful connections.
I host a weekly Carpe Diem Connections Podcast aimed at sharing ideas and talking to guests aimed at living a full and meaningful life. I also manage an active Facebook community of others who are living fully and sharing ideas and deep connections.
In 2010, I lost a good friend, Craig Dunham, to ALS. Craig taught me the importance of living each day fully, despite the challenges we’re facing in our lives. I’ve written and spoken a lot about Craig. Passing along his message helps me to keep his spirit and legacy alive and pass forward his personal message of living fully:
I especially appreciate the opportunity to show my children how life can be lived without anger, resentment, bitterness or regrets. I have purged all of that from my life and intend to leave this life with nothing but love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion in my heart. I am so ready to live life to its fullest, I only wish I would have thought to do it sooner.
~ Craig Dunham – upon learning of his ALS Diagnosis
Since his death in 2010, I have used “Carpe Diem” as a mantra in his honor, and as a reminder to live fully despite the challenges that life throws you. CD are both the initials of Craig’s name as well as the initials of Carpe Diem and form the emblem of Super Carpe Diem Woman, who leads the Walk to Defeat ALS.
Sarah Schwallier of Strides Life introduces herself as a nature walking health coach. She has a passion for helping others be their most healthy selves and to achieve their goals, whether that’s to lose weight, build strength, or just to get moving.
Sarah always adds an element of fun and playfulness to everything she does. I’ve gotten to experience this first-hand as I’ve participated in the Walk2Connect Community where Sarah is a core-coop-owner and leader.
Tune in to the podcast or the YouTube video and find out how you can stay motivated to keep exercising and why that’s so important to both our physical and our mental health!
My guest this week is Wendy Chalmers Mill, a fellow volunteer at Action for Happiness. We met virtually at a volunteer meeting and discovered we have quite a lot in common.
As we chat about in the podcast episode, meeting via a virtual community is a great way to find some new friends during these crazy days. One of the main reasons I even started this podcast is that I knew it would prompt me to meet some like-minded new friends!
I hit the jackpot in my search for the right guest to talk about Relating when I found Wendy. Not only is she the CEO for Positive Performance, but she started a new community The Wisdom Witches, with the very aim of creating a safe space for connecting during the pandemic.
Wendy, a Humanology Expert, along with her fellow wisdom witches Hazel and Kelly, are described on the Wisdom Witches site this way:
“They collectively have over 100 years of experience in guiding and motivating others to become their best selves through improved connection to their own and others’ wisdom and wellbeing.”
The first of those 10 keys is Giving. This worked out perfectly because the first guest I wanted to have on Season 3, Kelly Guyon, was someone I “met” because she gave me a beautiful and special Christmas card.
In this episode, we talk about the Reddit Gift Exchange which is a unique way of giving and receiving from someone you don’t know (yet!)
There are a few things that really make this Secret-Santa-like exchange more fun and reliable than what you’d imagine. First, you can find out about your recipient’s tastes through their profile. Second, Reddit steps you through the process including how you can post a photo once you receive your gift. This allows you to publicly thank your thoughtful Secret Santa.
If you want to participate, you don’t have to wait all the way until next Christmas. RedditGifts has a variety of Gift Exchanges throughout the year!
If social media or gift exchanges is not your thing, though, there are lots of ways to give, which has been proven to increase happiness, both for the giver and the receiver!
Smiling, texting, leaving a positive comment, a phone call, or any little acts of kindness will boost happiness.
When I tell people I’m an Agile coach, most people look skeptical – or at least confused. (I can be quite awkward in athletic endeavors.) The “Agile” adjective, in this case, refers to a philosophy and project management system that helps teams with productivity in the midst of change and uncertainty.
Without going into a big lecture answering the question “What is Agile?” (you’re welcome), I’ll just highlight a few of the concepts which might help you with your New Year’s goals during these very uncertain times.
And let’s face it, we are always facing changes and uncertainty, so you’ll probably find this is a better way to work with New Year’s Resolutions every year!
Break Your Goals into Iterations
One BIG problem with New Year’s resolutions is that a year is way too long to commit to a detailed goal. Too many things might derail your plan. One of the keys to handling uncertainty is to execute in short iterations. You might have fuzzy high-level plans, but your detailed plan should only be for the short-term. Then you can learn and adjust as you go along if and when you run into something unexpected.
Instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in a year, maybe your high-level goal could be to develop better lifestyle habits. Your short-term goal might be to take action designed to lose some weight in the next week. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated if you think in small iterations. Big goals can seem overwhelming, but often taking that first step is just what’s needed to get motivated. Then you can check at the end of the week to see if you lost weight and how much.
Make your specific and detailed plan just for your iteration, in this case, one week. Plan out the healthy meals you’ll make for yourself and what exercise you’ll do. Or, perhaps you’ll keep it simple by simply cutting out desserts. However, plan your details only for one week. Think of it as an experiment.
Reflect, Celebrate, Adapt
One of the most important parts of the Agile frameworks is to consistently reflect, learn, and improve. At the end of our iteration, we would take the time to measure to see if our short-term goal to lose some weight is being accomplished with the actions we’re taking.
Whether or not the goal of losing weight was achieved, what was learned? If you lost more than expected, how did it feel? How was your energy? If you didn’t lose any weight, what will you do differently next week?
Regardless of whether or not you lost weight, celebrate your complete week and what you learned in some way with a creative ceremony or ritual. Maybe share a new healthy recipe or go for a hike. Plan your meals and activities for the next week, taking into account what you learned. Personally, I’m incorporating a Self-Spa Sunday ritual, ending my week with a luxurious bubble-bath while I reflect on the ups and downs of the past week and anticipate my future week.
When the Unexpected Happens
Let’s say you have an unexpected injury and you can’t execute the short-term exercise plan you had in mind. Go back to the original purpose of your goal. You want to develop healthy life-style habits. Are there forms of exercise you can do, in spite of the injury? Can you adjust your meal plan for the next week to take into account the changes? Maybe your plan for the following week is to focus on PT or sleep to improve your overall health rather than trying to lose weight. Be flexible and adjust your short-term plans to take into account any changes, but keep your long-term end goals in mind.
I’ve used healthy habits and weight-loss as an example here, but you can use these techniques for any goal. Split big goals into smaller ones, and have fun while you learn, improve, grow and celebrate along the way.