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Is Your Mind Dressed for Success?

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If you answer Yes to more than a couple of these questions, maybe it's time to think about Personal Sustainability.

  • Does your family complain that you don’t spend enough time with them?
  • Do responsibilities at home make you resentful?
  • Do you feel frustrated because your income is not enough?
  • Do you resent having to bring work home?
  • Do you feel guilty about taking a vacation?
  • Do you wish you got more exercise?
  • Do you feel you never get to do what you like to do?

Sometimes you've got to dig a little...

Why Life Balancing is important to the Corporate world

Creating Your Personal Sustainability Plan

     If the term personal sustainability is new or foreign to you, let me explain that it is borrowed from the business world. Business sustainability is often defined as managing the “Triple Bottom Line,” which requires not only considering financial needs, but also making a positive impact on society and the environment. It means understanding and nurturing these areas in order to meet the requirements of today without compromising the needs of tomorrow.
     I believe this is even more crucial when applied to our own lives. Far too many individuals spend the bulk of their time and energy in the pursuit of career and financial success, and compromise their health and relationships in the process. We believe that once we have the career success, once we’re financially secure, we can go back and make up for lost time with our loved ones. We believe that those dreaded illnesses will happen to someone else.
     Too often, we’re wrong on both counts.  Now more than ever, we need a Triple Bottom Line metric to apply to our own lives. I want to encourage you to develop and implement your own Personal Sustainability Plan.

     Here are five tips to get you started:

  • Clean up your health act
    • Start doing what you know you should be doing. Get the health checks recommended by your physician. If you haven’t seen one lately, make an appointment and ask detailed questions about what you should be doing to improve and protect your health.
    • Also ask questions about what you should not be doing, and follow the advice! Research shows that 67% of American adults are overweight or obese! Another 29% percent have diabetes. These two factors lead to other serious health issues. Over 2.3 trillion dollars will be spent on healthcare this year alone. Only 2% percent of that goes toward prevention. Start with the standards: lose weight if you need to, start an exercise program, stop smoking, cut out excessive use of alcohol.
    • If you can’t do it alone, get help. If you fall off the program (and most of us do), get back on. Don’t waste time with guilt and recrimination, just get back on the program and recognize that you are still ahead of those who aren’t even trying.
    • Examine the negative thoughts that drive your poor habits. This is a great way to ensure success in your new habits. What are the negative messages that you send yourself? Make a list of the destructive thoughts and write out positive turnaround statements. Keep them handy for those weak moments that we all have. An example might be “I’m too busy to keep to an exercise routine.” A good turnaround would be “There will be days that I can’t keep to my desired routine, but even small amounts of exercise will help me in the long run.”
    • Make health your number one priority. Without it, career and relationship success will be non-existent.
  • Rest your body and your mind
    • Did you know that 40% of Americans are sleep-deprived? Or that 60 million Americans have sleep disorders? Some of the hidden health hazards of sleep deprivation include higher levels of depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep increases our risk of stroke, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers. Excessive sleepiness impairs our memory and our ability to think and process information. In other words, burning the midnight oil does not make you more productive, it makes you less so. Talk to your doctor about your problem so that you get the rest that you need. Try exercise and meditation instead of drugs and alcohol.
  • Your family comes next
    • Yes, I said that. Before your boss, before your big project, before your best client.  In the grand scheme of life, all of those work-related priorities will pale in comparison to the loss of your loved ones. All of the career success in the world will be hollow if we have no one to share it with. At the end of your life, you will not regret the missed meeting or delayed completion of a project. But you will miss not seeing that first step or that first prom dress, you will miss not having that late night heart-to-heart talk. If you short-change your family, no matter how good your intentions, you and they will pay an enormous price. Give your boss, your company, your clients a full day’s work, but no more. When you leave work for the day, leave physically and mentally. Take this advice to heart. It’s the best advice you will ever be given.
  • Have goals in all three primary areas
    • And put your goals in writing. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. Having written goals helps us clarify what it is that we want. It helps us stay motivated to achieve them. It becomes a marker for celebrating their achievement.
    • Write down what you want and why you want it. This is important because our everyday lives are often hectic and filled with new challenges and priorities. It is easy to forget what it is that we want to be working towards, and why we consider it to be important.
    • State your goals clearly. Having a written goal of “making more money” is vague and unlikely to get results. An example of a clearly stated goal reads like this: “I will earn 150k by 5PM on 12/31/16. This will allow me to pay off my credit card debt and take my family to Disney World on Spring break.” Now we have a clear concise statement of intention. When reviewed on a regular basis, and acted upon, it is a milestone on the road to achievement.
  • Practice gratitude
    • You'll feel better - really! You may be groaning inside and thinking that becoming more grateful couldn’t possibly improve your life in any measurable way. If so, I would like to introduce you to Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis.  Dr. Emmons’ research indicates that gratitude is not merely a positive emotion; it also improves your health if cultivated. As a result, he says, people who practice gratitude will experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, academics, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis. I can tell you from my own experience that practicing gratitude for over a decade has improved my outlook on life and helped me to sleep better and achieve more, all with greater peace of mind.
    • My best advice is to try it for 30 days. Write down 5 things that you have to be grateful for every night. Then notice how your outlook starts improving. It is amazing.

Creating Your Personal Sustainability Plan

Focus on understanding your loved ones