How To “5Star Goal Setting & Getting”

5 star Goal Setting and GettingI wrote an article recently about “5 Star Goal Setting & Getting” as a guest blogger over on (check it out) but I reserved the ideas that follow for my own readers.  Take a look at the ideas below and leave a comment to tell me if you think they will take your goal setting (and getting) to a whole new level !

1) Start small when Goal Setting.

It is more important to develop the habit of goal setting and getting than it is to go for the biggest goal you can imagine.  Certainly there is some excitement when you “reach for the brass ring” but setting and achieving goals will give you the confidence to actually tackle your larger goals.

In addition, smaller goals can lead to bigger goals.  You might find that once you meet a certain goal that the larger goal no longer excites you and you can make adjustments along the way.

2) Grow your goals.

Build on your successes and learn from your failures.  As you strive to expand your goals, the skills you learn on smaller goals will help you on the way to bigger and bigger goals.

3) Celebrate and enjoy your success.

Goal setting adds a clear cut sense of a black and white to what is usually a long road of gray.  Life is a journey and we often forget to celebrate our accomplishments when we are caught up in the process and focused on the goal on the horizon.

Finally, rely on motivation, not self-discipline.

A good goal is exciting when you set it.  You can envision it happening and it fills you with anticipation of its completion.  The problem is most people do not hold themselves to that standard of motivation and they set goals that do not get them excited.

Think about it …

If your goal does not motivate you now, how likely is it that your motivation is going to carry you all the way to completion?  Self-discipline is a wonderful thing, but it is a limited resource and if you start using it up right from the start, there won’t be enough “gas in the tank” to get you to your destination.  Save your self-discipline for the times along the way when you encounter stumbling blocks or obstacles and have to put in an extra effort.

Set your first goal … and go for it !

Goal Setting Bonus !

As an added bonus, I’ve created a downloadable free pdf 5 Star-GoalSetting-handout that I use for my 5Star Goal Setting & Getting workshops.  (Right-click highlighted text in the previous sentence and select “Save As” to download the pdf worksheet to your computer).  If you want to learn more about what each star represents, be sure to read my guest blogger article over at


Brain Games Train Your Brain

Brain Games based on ScienceLumosity Brain Games

When it comes to brain games, it seems like since the beginning of time, mankind has used games to develop useful skills.  I’m sure cavemen played “who can throw the spear the farthest” or “who can life the heaviest rock” or “who can slap a T-rex on the tail without getting eaten” (that last one may have been a predecessor to some of the stupid reality shows we have today).  While we have progressed quite a way since then (did you watch the Olympic Games in London?), there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the training or conditioning of our brains through games.

I recently found a site called which has a neat way to “train your brain” that is a little different from my standard methods of mindset training.

The training on uses games based on neurological science (they are more fun than it sounds) and they focus on developing physical capabilities within the brain such as peripheral vision, spatial recognition and similar skills while my “brain training” is geared more toward using your brain to take control of your life.

Obviously I think taking control of your life is a little more important than peripheral vision, but I can’t argue with their theory that conditioning your brain through the use of games is a great way to keep your mental capabilities sharp, especially as you age.

Check out the site at and leave me a comment below to let me know if I should include a free trial to as part of my future Train Your Brain or Mindset Advantage Programs.


Time to move the Goal Posts…

I read a number of blogs every day. Some are purely for entertainment and some are for information that I can use. Still others are strictly to make me think … to think differently or look at something in a new way.

Seth Godin’s blog is one of them that often makes me think. For instance, his short blog post “Moving The Line (the power of a zealot)” starts right out of the gate with a concept that few of us think about …

Extremists move the middle.

Compromise is everywhere. Most of us can’t possibly be pure extremists or true fundamentalists, so we draw the line somewhere in the middle.

The point of his article is that the point we choose between two extremes is based, in large part, on how far we feel we are from each extreme and the number of points there are between each end of the continuum between extremes. Most of us are somewhere “in the middle” … but that middle is defined by the extremes and how far toward each extreme that the “zone of what is socially acceptable” goes.

What is Extreme?
How do you define the “extremes” in your life? What is an extremely healthy diet? An extremely unhealthy or immoral diet? What is an extreme workout schedule? What is on the other end of that extreme … and which end are you closer to?


What about your relationship with money? Are you in the top 1% of 1% of the wealthiest people in the world? Do you really know what that kind of wealth means? How familar are you with that end of the financial spectrum? What about the poorest of the poor? Which end do you find more familiar … and, more importantly, what limiting beliefs do you have about those extremes? Could it be that your beliefs about the very rich are keeping you closer to being very poor?

Not Good or Bad… but Choice

I can tell you that there are good people at any extreme, just as there are jerks in the middle. The choice is yours as to which end you are focusing on and how near or far you are from it.

Seth Godin’s article ended with a great couple of paragraphs …

It’s interesting to note that an enormous amount of apparently principled argument goes on about relatively tiny movements in where the line is being drawn. In most cases, to paraphrase an old joke, “we’ve already figured out what
sort of girl you are, now we’re just arguing about the price.” It’s not the principle, in fact, it’s just the degree of compromise we’re comfortable with and content to argue over.

And so it’s left to the zealots. The people at either end have little hope of moving the masses all the way to their end of the argument. Instead, what they do is make it feel safer to change the boundaries, safer to recalibrate the compromise. Over time, as the edges feel more palatable, the masses are more likely to be willing to edge their way closer to one edge or another. Successful zealots don’t argue to win. They argue to move the goalposts and to make it appear sane to do so.

Is it time for you to move the goalposts in your life?

Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comment section of this blog!

Tips from Happiness Expert, Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin writes a blog that I follow called “The Happiness Project”

“Exercise is just putting on your running shoes and closing the front door behind you.”

Gretchen’s new book is also available…

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Races on the Calendar…

… are closer than they appear !

I have signed up for the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving day in Manchester, CT. It is a 4.75 mile race which should be a challenge … and the fact that the first half of the course is uphill will add just that little extra flavor to the challenge!
I have been pretty good about working out. I’ve started going to the YMCA and playing basketball (one of my favorite activities) at lunchtime on Fridays. I should not have been surprised but … my vertical leap is not what it used to be ! Thank goodness I can rely on my natural height and years of skill development.
The group of people who play (mostly guys with one lady) all have great attitudes which makes the games much more enjoyable. We are all about the same level of play and no one takes it too seriously. It is quickly turning into one of the highlights of my week.
Whose Your Cookie Monster?
I’ve felt like the “Cookie Monster” recently. Every time I turn around, I’m scarfing down something that is not healthy. Pizza is probably the biggest culprit (although I’ve kept the portions down to a “small” one which is probably helping). Other obstacles include fast food (due to a busy or poorly planned schedule) or sweets (leftovers from Halloween).
I will begin to focus more on keeping my refridgerator stocked with good, healthy vegetables since I know that when I don’t, I resort to other options which are not as good for me.
Next… The Power of Words

The Power of Habits

This morning I read an interesting article by Margaret Greenberg and Senia Maymin called “Habits Can Beat Goals for Improving Performance“. This got me thinking about the habits that I am developing on my way to being thinner (shrinking) and a millionaire (growing).

Of course what originally caught my eye in the article was the picture of me… or was it Arnold Schwarzenegger?

But seriously…
Here are some great points about Timing and Environment in the article …
Habits = Less Thinking, Less Stress
Wood and two other colleagues studied habits in everyday life and found that people who perform habits use less of their conscious thinking and have less stress when engaging in the habit compared to those who engage in a conscious, deliberate goal. Using exercise as an example this means that people who view exercise as a habit do so automatically – they don’t even really think about it; they “Just Do It” as Nike proclaims.
Wood and her colleague David Neal at Duke University have identified a theory of habit-goal interface. They propose three principles:
  1. Habits respond to environmental cues (same place, same time)
  2. Habits arise when people use a particular behavior to pursue a goal, and habits will remain even after people stop having that goal as a pursuit (the habit of running every morning can aim towards the goal of losing weight; running will be habitual even when the ideal weight is reached)
  3. Habits do not change to meet current goals; they remain linked to the environment in which they were created (running outside in the summer may not be transferable to running inside in the winter)
My (relatively) new habits…
I’ve been using the Time/Place Habit* (TPH*) theory to boost the likelihood that I will be consistent with my workout schedule. Currently, the first thing I do each morning when I roll out of bed is to check my computer while I begin putting on my workout clothes. Depending on how inspired I am by the challenges presented to me via email and how long it takes to finish them, I usually find a good place to take a break after an hour or so and go out for a run. So far, this habit has worked pretty well… it has been about 6 weeks and I am exercising at least 5 days a week on a regular basis.
* I needed my acronym fix today so I created “TPH” !

Since I work in my home office, I am able to “hit the kitchen” for healthy food more easily than “swinging by McDonalds” on the way to work. I can definitely see that my location (home) is helping me nail down my habit of eating better. (And I will need to be aware of the challenges when I leave the house for an early AM appointment.)
Mental & Emotional Simplicity…
The best part of the TPH Theory is that I don’t even have to think about exercise or eating healthy anymore. Actually, I should rephrase that… I have much less to think about since I’ve committed to exercising and eating healthy. It is like other habits… I just do it (and I don’t waste time thinking about (or stressing over) whether “I feel like it” or “is it too cold”).
Speaking of cold…
The “environment” here in Connecticut (the “Place” in the Time/Place Habit theory) is starting to get colder. I am finding that I do have to think about what to wear on my runs … but thanks to Senia & Margaret’s article, I know that I will continue to develop / evolve my “exercise habit” as I get “in the groove” for the Fall / Winter and adapt to my changing environment.
Special Thanks…
to Margaret and Senia for their article. Look for their upcoming book “Profit from the Positive: What Every Business Leader Needs to Know From the New Science of Positive Psychology”.
d.Mark “Dave” Wheeler
My other [mostly business] sites include… (art / notecards / blog)
Original (Source) Images:
Arnold Schwarzenegger Abs courtesy of d_vdm