Goals Like a Boss

Goal setting is a crucial step in getting what you want – but where do we start?  How do we identify what we want in a world full of options?  For many of us the idea of deciding what we want to do or be, is overwhelming and scary.  Sometimes, setting goals feels like a useless task, because things always seem to change along the way. The reality is, it’s not the goal you’ve set that’s the problem, it’s the way you’ve set it that’s holding you back!  In this article we take a look at 5 steps to make goal setting easy and attainable.  These steps will not only help you visualize where you want to be, but also, help you set realistic timelines and stay accountable. 
Take a read and let us know – what goals will you be setting for yourself?   
Jenny Shirbroun

Go, Slow, Whoa: Your Guide to Healthy Foods and Friends

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Some of you may or may not be aware that this blog is a product of the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB).  This international women’s volunteer organization has its roots in many children’s advocacy issues over its history so it is natural that a cornerstone of JLLB’s work would be children’s physical health specifically healthy eating.  One of JLLB’s flagship events is Kids in the Kitchen, in partnership with Long Beach Health Department’s Healthy Active Long Beach, a program teaching children and their families healthy eating and living.  You can see where the overlap is in what The Confidence Post aims to address in healthy mind, body and soul.  We understand that leadership, self-esteem, and character development can only flourish in an healthy individual.

That being said as I and my volunteer partners begin to plan JLLB’s Kids in the Kitchen 2015-2016 schedule, I began to think about how similar the concept of healthy attitudes towards foods that we teach kids mirrors healthy attitudes towards relationships.  If you have children or are around children, you have heard the concept of always foods vs. sometimes foods.  I have attached some charts in case you have not heard of these concepts and would like more information (Sesame Street Anytime & Sometimes Foods).  But I specifically found the description from the website Kids Health compelling in the comparison of healthy foods v. healthy relationships (source http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healty/food/go_slow_whoa.html#).

This website describes the quite popular concept of foods to eat anytime v. sometimes as “Go, Slow and Whoa” foods.  The foods break down as follows:

Go: Foods that are the healthiest. These foods are good enough for you to eat almost anytime

Slow: Foods that are largely not bad for you. They are the “sometimes” foods. They aren’t off limits, but shouldn’t be eaten everyday.

Whoa: Foods that are the least healthy. They would likely cause obesity and subsequent health issues if they were eaten everyday. These are the treat foods (YUMMY!), live a little foods, or once in a while foods.

Now the charts I have attached breakdown what foods are in what groups and that is not the focus of this blog post so I don’t want to go on too much more about the website’s description and concerns around these foods.  What I wanted to bring to your attention is how easily we can apply this concept to healthy relationships.  Our guilt-free guide to who is called, emailed, texted, sent cards (my favorite), taken to lunch/coffee/happy hour everyday and when to indulge in that sinful gossip session with an ex-coworker.

The more I looked at the idea of go, slow, or whoa relationships, the better I felt about the place I had in my life for all my extraordinary, wonderful and simple relationships.  Because at the end of the day, they all have a piece of me so I need to be cognizant of how much to commitment to and who deserves what.  So using the model from the Kids Health website, here is how I see healthy relationships:

Go: Relationships that are the foundation of who I am…my husband, my son, my parents my sisters, brother, brothers-in-laws, sister-in-law and my nieces (God, I love them!). I don’t talk to anyone everyday (other than my son) because I find it exhausting but if I did these are the people I would turn to. I believe in the good in them and because of that, they are completely healthy for me. They make me who I am therefore I need them around regularly to provide perspective and grounding. For you, it might not be your family. It might be friends you have known forever. These are the people that you can’t and shouldn’t go without connecting with because these people love you, the real you that nobody else does. They know you and love you without judgment. These are the healthiest relationships in their purest form.

Slow: This is where I depart largely from the healthy eating concept because these people in my life are not remotely less healthy for me. I am fortunate enough to have amazing (mostly) women in my life that because of proximity or busy schedule can only be “sometimes” friends. Not that we wouldn’t be there for each other in a moment’s notice, but where we have found connection is our occasional text, call, card or meal/drink. Because we have built our friendships on the sometimes” level, we couldn’t talk every day and have the same dynamic. I cherish these friendships in big and small ways contribute to the woman I am so I would never try to make them into “anytime” or “Go” friends because the act of trying would invalidate our friendship. So there these incredible people exist, I talk to them sometimes and those short shots of their optimism,humor, wisdom, intellect inspire me and bring me health and happiness.

Whoa: These are my Facebook friends, school friends, neighbors, ex-coworkers, etc. These are my chocolate chip cookies and chili cheese fries. There is nothing wrong with connecting from time to time but these relationships lack the depth or substance that sustains a healthy friendship. It has nothing to do with who these people are or anything about them at all except how they fit into my life at any given time. They may have been a fantastic friend in a different season but as we grow and change into the women and men we were meant to be, some friends move into the “whoa” category. There are only so many times you can hear about that “one time in college that we…” or “nice weather” before it is time to move on.

The reason these concepts are important is that no category is without its importance.  The people you place in each category can and should change as you grow and mature.  The reason you see them as a “Go” “Slow” or “Whoa” has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.  You have set your priorities…that friend that doesn’t call you very often is probably because you haven’t invested where she is in this season of her life.  Even though, your “Go” friend has recently been your “Slow” friend doesn’t mean that friendship doesn’t need the appropriate care to keep it flourishing.  One size does not fit all friendships…be open to how to meet a relationship where it is with the investment it needs to grow.

Lastly like “Whoa” food, if all you do is surround yourself with friends that do not love you for who you are, judge you, bring you down, constantly bring negativity into your life you will become mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy.  Food and relationships are exactly the same in that way.  Feed your mind and soul like you could get diabetes or heart disease if you didn’t…healthy eating and relationships aren’t that much different.

Please check out the following links for additional information:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/go_slow_whoa.html

http://www.sesamestreet.org/cms_services/services?action=download&uid=5a83318f-b0c8-43df-8150-d55cd2255509

-Cheryl L.

DREAMS

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I have DREAMS and they are BIG.  They are deserving of capital letters.  They involve changing the world, making an impact, being the best that I can.  They are exciting.  They keep me from sleeping at night and they eliminate the need for coffee in the morning.

Much like Lauren, I set New Year’s resolutions every year.  But mine blur the lines between resolution and goal.  Mine are small steps for the year that help me get closer to my DREAMS.  I break those resolutions down into things that need to happen each month, each week, and each day.  It’s doing the small things often that help me achieve my resolutions and ultimately my DREAMS.

The beginning of the year is always filled with excitement.  I redraw my DREAMS.  I can see them more clearly.  Each year they seem closer, more achievable.  The things that I need to do don’t sound so daunting.  Anything can be accomplished.

Then today comes around…the middle of January.  Momentum is waning.  My DREAMS are still as exciting, but my resolutions are starting to stretch my comfort zone.  My goals are hard.  My DREAMS seem too big.

So how do I face today?  Today I remind myself that I don’t have to complete the whole goal in one day.  My DREAMS will be a compilation of my life.  If I can move 1 foot forward, that is as much of a success as if I move 1 mile forward.  If I move 1 inch forward, I have still moved. The world has felt my impact.  I have stretched.  My 1 inch today is 1 inch I don’t have to go tomorrow because I’ll already be there.

Today I take advice from this blog.  I ask my friends for help.  I work to refrain from putting my fears into words because I don’t want to give them power.  Instead I redraw my DREAM for others.  I let them share in the excitement.  I ask them to journey with me during this part.  My DREAM is not their dream but we can share this part of the walk together.  We stand in the bathroom with our arms up in the air forming a power pose and laugh at ourselves but gain confidence.  We pretend we are a great leader and only do what we think great leaders would do in this situation.  We retrain our thinking by changing the words we are using. We compliment each other and boy do we give good compliments.  We thank everyone, for everything.

But most of all, I allow myself to move just 1 inch then I celebrate that inch, because today, I have succeeded.

-Jennifer S.

A New Kind Of Resolution

new-year-resolutions

I think New Year Resolutions are important. I make them every year, but sadly, achieve them less than 50 percent of the time. Maybe it’s because most of mine have been about getting down to size-impossible and rocking a tanned and toned bikini bod. For what? I’m happily married to a man who loves my curves and naturally un-tanned skin, and let’s face it, I am a mom, who’s pregnant again, and have no time or desire to hit the beach for Spring Break. So, I say, forget the typical fitness goal this year (I am writing this as I devour a delicious bowl of salted caramel and hazelnut ice cream), my 2015 New Year Resolution gets down to what really matters in my life: practicing patience and being present.

Being a stay-at-home mom to a busy toddler, while carrying baby #2 (due in June), has helped me realize that I am not patient, in fact, I am high-strung and typically exhausted. Road rage, snapping at my son or husband before assessing the situation, and the constant feeling of needing to rush through my day/week/month is not okay — it’s taking a toll on me, and the ones I love. So, this year, I will demonstrate patience by being in the moment, being thoughtful, taking deep breaths, and occasionally disconnecting from my phone, tablet, laptop, etc.

When I told my husband about my goal, he asked: “How will you measure if you achieved it?” My answer was simple: “I will see how I feel this time next year.” If I’m still feeling constantly stressed and rushed, then I did not achieve my goal. So much good can come from my resolution to be patient and present. Here are 10 benefits off the top of my head:

  1. I will become a better listener
  2. I will not feel anxiety in my daily life
  3. I will have less tension in my back and shoulders
  4. I will snap less often at my toddler (husband, and others)
  5. I will savor and enjoy the milestones of my second pregnancy
  6. I will sleep better
  7. I will make healthier eating choices
  8. I will get back into yoga
  9. I will feel more fulfilled
  10. I will set a good example for my children and those around me

Doesn’t that all sound awesome? What is your 2015 resolution?

-Lauren T.

Smart Goal Setting

smart goal setting concept

I was given the honor recently to sit on a committee that selects scholarships for high school seniors looking for funding to help pay for college. One of the requirements for the application is to complete an essay asking “what goals have you set for yourself and how do you plan to achieve these goals.” While making my way through over 50 essays, I was sparked to write a blog post this week on goal setting in hopes of sparking some near-future list crafting of goals. Enjoy!

Goal setting is a topic I think is so great because it is a great exercise for personal development, achievement and fulfillment. I believe through setting and working to achieve goals, we are able to self monitor where we stand in our life journeys, and we are able to actively participate in decision making and choices (both personal and professional). I have always considered myself very goal oriented. I think part of it comes from the fact that I internalize everything and my brain is always moving (not always a good thing). For me, setting goals has been a great way to focus my energies when thinking about things such as: what do I want to be when I’m older, how do I want to be remembered and thought of by others, what interests me, and what would make me happy. Personally, I have a running internal list of goals in my head but I also keep a written list of short term goals in a planner of mine to help keep me on track of things I’d like to accomplish soon. I try to spend time periodically to check in with myself to see where I stand with goals:  have I achieved them, have my goals shifted at all, and whether I may want something new for myself and to set new goals.
 
Webster Dictionary defines goals as something that you are trying to do or achieve, and the end toward which effort is directed. Synonyms of a goals are: ambition, dream, idea, meaning, purpose (and the list goes on). I mention the definition and synonyms because they help put in perspective the importance of setting goals in order to live happy lives and spark personal development. There are both short term and long term goals. Short term goals are something that can be achieved fairly easily (such as I have a goal to go to Disneyland this summer or I have a goal to write a thank you note once a week), while long term goals are something to reach for and methodically plan towards (I want to get a graduate degree and have a family).
 
I was given the opportunity a few months ago to instruct a class of 5th grade girls on self-esteem and decision making. One of the topics discussed that day was goal setting. I found it interesting that pretty much every girl knew what self-esteem is, could list what they like about themselves, and talk about ideal characteristics and attributes a successful and likable person possesses. What I found alarming was that most of the attendees had a hard time expressing goals, knowing the difference between short and long term goals, and setting goals that would make them happy. The girls had a hard time putting pen to paper to express what they wanted to achieve. Although I was disappointed to see that we had some work to do that day, I was empowered because we were able to have a great conversation about the importance of goals and relevance of the goal setting process, or rather the importance of establishing S.M.A.R.T. Goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals are goals that are defined as specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and relevant, and time- based. Please see below for more of a breakdown of S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
 
S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
Specific- Which, what, who when where why, and what should be realized? Should be simply written and clear.
 
Measurable- How much or how many? How will you measure this? When they can be measured it becomes clear whether you have accomplished the goal.
 
Attainable & Achievable – Is it feasible? Do we have control over this? Goals should be achievable; they should stretch you slightly so you feel challenged, but defined well enough so that you can achieve them.
 
Realistic & Relevant- Is this goal relevant to my life? To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. 
 
Time Based- When could this be achieved? What is a realist time frame? By placing a time frame, you create some sense of urgency
 
The process of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals was created to help provide the necessary questions to keep in mind when setting goals. They help in setting goals that can be attainable and relevant (the best thing about it is that they are personal and cater to who you are and what you need and want). Although I have considered myself goal oriented for years, the idea of S.M.A.R.T. goals is new to me as well. I love what it offers and I love the methodology it provides for people to really think about what it is that would make them happy and feel accomplished.
 
The high school essays I have been reading have got me thinking and reevaluating where I stand with my own goals. I have an exercise for each of us. Take a moment to think of 3 short term goals that you have and 3 long term goals. I encourage you to write these down on a piece of paper and use the S.M.A.R.T. goal process to see whether the goals you have in mind are well-aligned for who you are. Start to make this a habit. I also encourage you to check in with yourself in 6 months to see what progress has been made. Just imagine what we can achieve if we invest in the time to goal set just a little more!
 
-Alex W.