Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

carpe_diemI’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” bicyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.

My word for 2015 is Adventure. It came to me the other day very easily when I started thinking about the year ahead. My husband finishes his 3-year veterinary residency and we will do some traveling in the United States and Europe, enjoying some long-awaited quality time together. We will also be researching and considering our options for the future in terms of where we will live next. My one word theme of Adventure will be both a comforting and powerful reminder to stay intellectually curious, seek out new adventures, try new experiences, shake up the status quo, live each moment to the fullest, and savor each drop of my life.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you! The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

life_is_too_shortAnd by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We need a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2015? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

2015 is Almost Here!

Well, 2015 is almost upon us! To me, just saying the year 2015 makes me laugh as we used to say dates like that and talk about “the future” like it was something out of The Jetsons (if you have no idea what I am talking about, you are too young to get it!). And meanwhile, “the future” is here. My does time fly.

So what will many people be doing this week during the New Year celebration (besides putting on silly hats, going to parties, drinking a lot, and watching the big Times Square ball drop on television)? They will be making New Year’s resolutions!!! And not just making them, but obsessing over them.

Don’t obsess over New Year’s resolutions! Instead, just think of things that put you into flow mode and ways you can “come alive” in the new year. What can you do more of that when you’re doing it you don’t even notice time is passing and are glad you’re doing that activity over anything else? That’s what I want more of in my life in 2015 and I wish for you.

For me, I want to read more for pleasure (not just for business!), and write more (for business and pleasure). When I’m doing both of those things, I definitely go into flow mode. I plan to write in my journal more, write more blog posts and articles, and start writing my second book.

I also plan to read, read, read… Without so much guilt! I love reading and for some reason the last year or two when I sit down to read, I sometimes feel guilty. (That puritanical work ethic rearing its ugly head!) So my plan for 2015 is to read and write with pleasure, and remind myself how important those two hobbies are to me, and how worthwhile they are of my time.

Now it’s your turn. What do you want more of in your life in the new year? How can you “come alive” more in the new year? Ponder that as we cross over into a new year.

Happy New Year!

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal life/work, and for motivating you to turn this vision into reality. Discover how to set up benchmarks, choose an accountability partner, and get motivated. Learn how to identify and conquer the distractions that threaten to lure you from your course. Setting and achieving goals leads to increased productivity, greater happiness, and satisfaction at work. With tips that cover your business and personal life, this well rounded program will get you on the right path to achieving your goals in the New Year.

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. They come but once per year, and cause quite a stir. Indeed, people talk about their New Year’s Resolutions quite freely. A small portion of people even write them down. But how many truly achieve them? The number is probably dismally small. Why? Because most people do a great job of talking about their resolutions, but don’t do such a great job of taking action on them. They often set themselves up for failure by biting off more than they can chew!

2014_goalsTake, for example, the most popular New Year’s Resolution: to lose weight (get in shape, exercise more, achieve greater levels of fitness, shrink a few sizes… any version will do!). What most people do is come out swinging. They join a gym and try to exercise 5 days a week, when they were formerly a couch potato and led a sedentary lifestyle (not only is this setting you up for failure, but it can be dangerous too!). They deprive themselves of every food they love, instead of eating a little bit of everything in moderation or learning their trigger foods and slowly replacing them with better choices. In other words, they try to do too much in too little time. They experience set backs, or fail altogether, which then leads to a defeatist attitude and they say “See, I knew I couldn’t do it.” They then give up.

Does this pattern sound familiar? If so, try a different approach this year. Try taking it slowly, one step at a time, and actually taking action throughout the year. How? Here are some tips:

  • Start Small & Grow Your Goal Little by Little
    Instead of looking at your goal or resolution as a major project, think of just the first step. For example, instead of thinking that you have to get your entire life organized, try keeping your appointments for the first week, clearing out your email inbox the second week, saying no to some tasks and events you can’t handle the third week, etc. Get the picture? Take it step by step so each smaller goal feels, and is, more manageable.
  • Reinforce Goal Setting in Various Ways
    Use different learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile) to reinforce goal setting. Perhaps you can journal about your New Year’s Resolutions (one of my favorite activities!). Maybe you prefer to set up a vision board to see your goals. Or you can listen to podcasts and audio programs that reinforce your resolutions. It doesn’t matter which you choose, only that you choose a way to reinforce goal setting that works for you!
  • Ignore the Naysayers
    Often, you are making actual progress towards achieving your resolutions or goals, but someone tries to sabotage you. Try not to let this derail your efforts! You need to stay the course, despite what they say. The famous life coach Martha Beck talks about surrounding yourself with people who can be your “believing eyes.” I love this idea! Adopt it and use it as your own. Stay away from the Negative Nellies right now, and surround yourself with people who believe in your goal and will help you achieve it.
  • Be Accountable
    Some of the world’s most successful behavior modification programs are successful partly due to the strong accountability celebratefactor built into the program. Find an accountability partner, join a mastermind group, or hire a coach. You need motivation and someone to share your trials and successes with. Having accountability systems in place can be a powerful aid in accomplishing the goals you set.
  • Celebrate Success
    Make sure to reward yourself along the way for achieving success, no matter how small. Set up milestones, and as you achieve them, figure out ways to motivate yourself to keep going. The more successful you feel at each step, the more apt you are to keep moving on the path towards achieving your full goals.

celebrateI am wishing you all a fantastic 2014 personally and professionally. I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like any other To-Do List.

My word for the new year is Presence — a reminder to focus on the moment, to live each moment to the fullest, and to savor each experience. What’s your word/theme?

In 2011, my word was Implement (and boy did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY). My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country and completely changed our lives (and expanded my business). In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embracing our new life here (took Italian classes, became a “real” bicyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, etc). Now in 2014, my word is Presence as it will be all about living in the moment, uni-tasking and savoring all of the experiences personally and professionally that I am blessed to have in my life.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking.

So… what is your word or theme? Share in the comments so others can be inspired too!

P.S. – If you want to go deeper with this topic and tips, tools, and strategies to help you with Goal Setting in the New Year, then join me for my complimentary teleclass: Don’t Just Make a Wish & Blow It Into the Wind: Make Your Goals a Reality in the New Year! on January 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm PST / 5:30 pm MST / 6:30 pm CST / 7:30 pm EST. This call is complimentary and will also be recorded if you are unable to join us live. All registrants will receive a link to the recording within 24 hours. Click here to register!

iStock_000020928328XSmallP.P.S. – For those of you that know you want 2014 to be your best year yet, and are looking for a fabulous program to help you make that happen, check out my La Dolce Vita 6-Week Group Life Coaching Program starting on February 6, 2014. It’s affordable and powerful!! Click here for details!

Every business owner has that next “big” goal constantly on his or her mind.

I know I do – and I’m sure you do too.

Maybe it’s writing a book, hiring an employee, raising your rates, re-branding your business or expanding your service offerings.

think_bigOr maybe your big goal is a bit more personal — taking more time off, adding your personal passions or interests to your business, or facing your fear of delegation.

I want to help you reach your next big goal by combining the power of a mastermind group with my 11+ years of business experience and coaching/consulting/training.

The PowerUp Your Business Group Coaching & Mastermind Program will be held over a 6-month period, giving you time to make things happen and get things done. Our group will meet twice per month via teleclass on Tuesday afternoon/evenings (4pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern), starting January 7th. All calls are recorded so you can listen in if you miss one.

Each time we meet as a group, we will define manageable actions steps, share challenges and provide feedback. Our time together will be laser focused – we will work together to help you overcome whatever issues may be holding you back so that you can achieve your next big goal.

PowerUpThe number of participants will be limited to a small select group chosen by application only.

The price to participate is $2,295 (there’s even a 3-pay option for those of you that need to spread out your payments). However, if you enroll before December 12th, you will receive the Early Bird Rate of $1,995!

If you have the vision and passion to attain your next big goal, then this group is for you.

Click here for details and to fill out the application.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at Lisa@lisamontanaro.com if you have any questions.

I am looking forward to working with you next year!

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. They come but once per year, and cause quite a stir. Indeed, people talk about their New Year’s Resolutions quite freely. A small portion of people even write them down. But how many truly achieve them? The number is probably dismally small. Why? Because most people do a great job of talking about their resolutions, but don’t do such a great job of taking action on them. They often set themselves up for failure by biting off more than they can chew!

Take, for example, the most popular New Year’s Resolution: to lose weight (get in shape, exercise more, achieve greater levels of fitness, shrink a few sizes…any version will do!). What most people do is come out swinging. They join a gym and try to exercise 5 days a week, when they were formerly a couch potato and led a sedentary lifestyle (not only is this setting you up for failure, but it can be dangerous too!). They deprive themselves of every food they love, instead of eating a little bit of everything in moderation or learning their trigger foods and slowly replacing them with better choices. In other words, they try to do too much in too little time. They experience set backs, or fail altogether, which then leads to a defeatist attitude and they say “See, I knew I couldn’t do it.” They then give up.

Does this pattern sound familiar? If so, try a different approach this year. Try taking it slowly, one step at a time, and actually taking action throughout the year. How? Here are some tips:

Start Small & Grow Your Goal Little by Little
Instead of looking at your goal or resolution as a major project, think of just the first step. For example, instead of thinking that you have to get your entire life organized, try keeping your appointments for the first week, clearing out your email inbox the second week, saying no to some tasks and events you can’t handle the third week, etc. Get the picture? Take it step by step so each smaller goal feels, and is, more manageable.

Reinforce Goal Setting in Various Ways
Use different learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile) to reinforce goal setting. Perhaps you can journal about your New Year’s Resolutions (one of my favorite activities!). Maybe you prefer to set up a vision board to see your goals. Or you can listen to podcasts and audio programs that reinforce your resolutions. It doesn’t matter which you choose, only that you choose a way to reinforce goal setting that works for you!

Ignore the Naysayers
Often, you are making actual progress towards achieving your resolutions or goals, but someone tries to sabotage you. Try not to let this derail your efforts! You need to stay the course, despite what they say. The famous life coach Martha Beck talks about surrounding yourself with people who can be your “believing eyes.” I love this idea! Adopt it and use it as your own. Stay away from the Negative Nellies right now, and surround yourself with people who believe in your goal and will help you achieve it.

Be Accountable
Some of the world’s most successful behavior modification programs are successful partly due to the strong accountability factor built into the program. Find an accountability partner, join a mastermind group, or hire a coach. You need motivation and someone to share your trials and successes with. Having accountability systems in place can be a powerful aid in accomplishing the goals you set.

Celebrate Success
Make sure to reward yourself along the way for achieving success, no matter how small. Set up milestones, and as you achieve them, figure out ways to motivate yourself to keep going. The more successful you feel at each step, the more apt you are to keep moving on the path towards achieving your full goals.

Copyright © 2010 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2010. Lisa Montanaro, “The Solutions Expert,” is Principal of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC, a professional services firm created in 2002 that offers professional organizing, business and life coaching, and motivational speaking to individuals and organizations. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for the general public, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for professional organizers and entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com.  Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through LMOS, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how LMOS can improve your home or work environment, or help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at Lisa@LMOrganizingSolutions.com.

Large companies in Corporate America usually conduct business retreats, known also as Corporate Retreats. Business retreats are often held towards the end of the year, and serve to assess performance for the past year, and set milestones for the coming year. The retreat creates a document that is used as a business blueprint, serving as a benchmark to measure against. Some companies will make this document public, such as in an Annual Report. Others will keep it as an internal document that acts as a powerful tool for business success.

However, what if your business is small, or you are self-employed? Does this mean you miss out on this transformative business activity just because you are not a “big gun”? No way! Large companies in Corporate America haven’t cornered the market on business retreats. If you are self employed or a small business, you can conduct your own business retreat. Here are some tips to guide you in the process so your business retreat is a success.

  • Choose topics to focus on. Most business retreats are comprehensive, covering marketing, financials, employees and contractors, clients, business growth, etc. Choose what topics your retreat will focus on, and how in depth your retreat will go into each topic. Having an overall plan or checklist of what the retreat will cover will help you plan and implement it with success
  • Gather all of the necessary data. Usually, a business retreat will involve a certain level of assessment, and “looking back”. Therefore, it is important to have all of the business data needed at your fingertips. This includes return on investment statistics for marketing and advertising, financials, client lists, etc. Knowing the numbers and stats of your business will prove vital as you assess and measure performance and create new milestones and benchmarks going forward.
  • Get all of the players involved. If your business has any key players, make sure they are available in person, by phone, or bv email for your business retreat. This includes marketing reps, assistants, bookkeepers, accountants, etc. Making sure that all players are on speed dial or stand by will avoid a frustrating business retreat where you need information and can’t get it at that time.
  • Record and blueprint. Make sure to record performance measurements, trends, and any other stats that are necessary for business assessment and future planning. You can do this on a simple word processing document or spreadsheet, or even audio record the retreat to listen later or get it transcribed.
  • Choose realistic and success-driven goals. As you create the blueprint to use in your business for the future, make sure that your goals are realistic and success-driven. This means creating milestones and benchmarks that can be achieved and are not too pie-in-the-sky, while also stretching your business to reach higher and further. Think where you want the business to be at next year’s business retreat and what it will take to get it there. That will help you create the best plan of action.
  • Accountability is key. Create a system for accountability so that all of the work put in for the business retreat does not go to waste. Make sure to consider implementation. Who will implement the blueprint from the business retreat? How will it be implemented? Make sure to designate implementation time into the business calendar. Consider getting assistance from a business coach, joining a mastermind group, or partnering with a colleague to ensure that accountability is built into the business retreat blueprint.

With a little planning, an open mind, and a willingness to put in some hard work at assessing your business, a business retreat can be a huge success. So go ahead and act like the big guns – get that business retreat on the calendar and make it happen!

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. They come but once per year, and cause quite a stir. Indeed, people talk about their New Year’s Resolutions quite freely. A small portion of people even write them down. But how many truly achieve them? The number is probably dismally small. Why? Because most people do a great job of talking about their resolutions, but don’t do such a great job of taking action on them. They often set themselves up for failure by biting off more than they can chew!

Continue Reading…