It is now 4 weeks into the new year, are your intentions for the new year coming to fruition or are you stuck? Are you reliving the habits of 2014 where you tell yourself…tomorrow, ok on Monday, maybe next month…I will. What is holding you back from starting?
A great colleague, Lisa DeMayo, said the following to me that helps me keep pushing through my obstacles, “Fear is never in the present. It is not happening now. Fear is something that only lives in the past or the future.” This resonated with me. We choose to stop ourselves from following through. We choose to live in a life that is stuck. Mind over matter is something to take seriously. It is the one thing that guides our actions. Shift our mind, we shift our results.
So how do you get unstuck? GET INTO ACTION!
Again you ask me…HOW?? A lot of the time I use the principles of the Agile practices I have learned and coach others on to push forward. The main principle is to break a large goal down into small tangible pieces, and keep building on it until you get to the point where you have achieved what you want. It is done in iterative cycles. And allows you to shift into the next iteration of what you are looking to achieve. In the agile world, you call this iterative development using cycles of time called sprints. You set a goal for the end of each sprint and do whatever it takes to achieve it. Sprints can be in 1 – 4 week cycles. And this practice can be applied to any area of your life, not just product development.
We all have an end goal. A vision. A desire. Something we want. We then need to build of list of things we need to do to achieve it. (A backlog) Then we take that backlog and prioritize it. We want a maximum impact of the highest quality up front on that list. What is the largest impact you can have in that short period of time. Then you pull items off the top and put them in your sprint cycle to deliver against.
Now you have taken the large visionary goal and broken it into tangible tasks/steps. At the end of each cycle, you assess (a retrospective). How did you perform? Did you accomplish what you set out to do. If you didn’t, what stopped you? Did you figure out something new that needs to be added to the list? Was there something that absolutely did not work that you should stop doing, let go, and never pick up again?? This helps you then set the intention and goals for the next cycle.
When you take iterative steps to achieving your goals, you are able to see progress and not overwhelm yourself with this large daunting goal that cripples you from getting you what you want.
Common goals when a new year kicks off:
- Lose Weight
- Get a new job
- Spend more time with my family
All of the above can be broken into small tangible chunks that allow you to put a plan together to obtain your larger goal. Where are you with hitting these Goals? Let me see if I can help break down how to put yourself into action with ease across these three areas.
In the last 2 years, I applied an agile approach to my life and was able to transform into who I am today. I lost weight, I changed my job, and also spend a lot more time with my husband as we plan to build our family. If I can do it, I know you can too.
#1 – Lose Weight! Let’s face it, weight loss is a huge trend at the beginning of the year. If you live in a location where winter hits in January, it is also challenging to get motivated to move and also you can hide behind all the layers of clothes. Excuses, excuses…YOU CAN DO IT!
I know you are saying, Kareen, there are so many things out there telling me how I can lose weight and I am overwhelmed because I have tried them all which is why I have extra lbs on my body, and am totally stressed out and unmotivated. I am here to tell you, I understand. However, I also know that you got here, because you made a sequence of choices/actions over time that lead up to this result. And now, we are going to put together a list of choices/actions over time that can create a shift in your weight. One task at a time.
The list is unique to you, it is YOUR PERSONAL BACKLOG. Take all the things you have learned over time that could help you lose weight and list it out in actions that . Here is a sample list:
- Exercise 2 times a week
- Eat less carbs
- Eat more protein
- Remove synthetic sweeteners and sugar from my diet
- Find a support group/program I can be a part of so I don’t have to do this myself.
- Get myfitnesspal and add it to my phone to track my daily intake.
- Drink 60 oz of water every day
- Stretch every day for 5-10 minutes
- Contact Kareen on how to get signed up for the Nutritional Cleanse Program that changed her life! 😉
How to take action:
Weekly Sprint Planning:
- Pick at least 2 things from the list that you can commit to for your first sprint. When it comes to weight loss, I would recommend 1 week sprints.
- Start on a Sunday, end on a Saturday and repeat.
- Schedule the tasks, put them in your calendar. Create visual reminders for yourself.
- Keep it simple. If it is too complex, you are not going to do it.
- This allows you to quickly change and add in more week over week to help you reach your goals.
- In regards to weightloss, your weekly tasks could look the same, however don’t underestimate the small tweak here and there.
- Overtime, these small adjustments result in huge shifts.
- If it is too hard to manage a weightloss goal by yourself, do it with a group.
- Set up a structure where you all can commit to fulfilling the same tasks in a given week and hold each other accountable and check in.
For me, I made sure that my weekly tasks were easy, simple and something I could do. It worked! I also found a system that I could easily incorporate into my busy life. I now lead a group focused on weight-loss, healthy aging, and energy and performance; and when I see their results, it motivates me to keep trying until I figure out what works for me. Doing this, helps me stick to my health goals in an agile way while I run my Transformation Consulting practice. We are getting amazing results! We have spaces available if you are looking to join an amazing team! If you need help kicking off your healthy life plan, do not hesitate to contact me. Let me help you get unstuck!
#2 – Job Hunt
When I coach my clients through career transition and wealth creation, I use agile principles as well. I first assess where they are today and where they want to be. If you are currently on the job hunt or looking to advance, try the following:
- Product Roadmap: Write your ideal job description – stop thinking about what you are doing today or have been conformed to do, and write out what you want to be doing. In this exercise, you are the product and the product owner. Each item on this job description should describe the end product you would like to be. Dream Big! Write it out.
- Gap Analysis: Do a comparison of the job you currently have and the job description you wrote out. How off are you? Is the dream job possible at the company you are currently working for? If you are headed in a downward spiral as you analyze this, please contact me. Sometimes you just need a sounding board to figure out how to move forward.
- Product Backlog (similar to the weight loss example, you focus on the tasks you can start doing that gets you closer to your end goal, a new job):
- Resume that reflects the job you want, not the job you have.
- Send resume to trusted colleagues for feedback/edits
- References – list of people that can vouch for your abilities against the job you want based on knowing the skills you have and your performance.
- Draft of an email to send your network of friends, colleagues, and family on the type of job you are looking for.
- Send out email to colleagues that may be connected in the field of choice or know someone that has the job you are aspiring for
- Set up informational interviews with people you are inspired to learn how they got there
- Hire a career transition coach to help manage through the transition
How to get into action:
Similar to the previous example, pick items off your list that you can commit to from Sunday to the following Saturday. Some of these items can be time consuming, so break them down even further so you can take action immediately. And get out of your own head that stops you from trying to get the occupation of your dreams! The only person stopping you from getting the life/job you want is you. Baby steps, you will get there!
#3 – Spend more time with family!
Now this one is super easy and fun!! You can make this more of a Kanban method and get your family involved with how you can spend more time together. A Kanban board is a list of tasks/user stories that get pulled when time allots. Like if you have ever done a chore board with your kids or when you were a kid and you put a star up when a chore is complete, it is similar but instead of chores it is fun activities that excite you to spend more time with your family or significant other. Life is moving fast, when you list fun activities and have the intention to follow through week over week, it makes life more enjoyable and also helps you connect better with your family.
Here is how you get started:
Put a list together with a measure of time of how long you want to commit to each activity. Create a physical board in your house so the whole family can see.
- Take the kids to the park – 1 hour
- Have a slumber party with the kids where we can build a fort and sleep under it – 6-8 hours
- Pizza night where make our own pizzas at home instead of order it – 3 hours
- Get home early 2 times a night to pick an activity out of a jar for us to do as a family
- Create an activity jar
- Make a pancake breakfast for the family before they all wake up
- Have breakfast in bed with my partner at least twice a month
- Do an art project together
- Go on a road trip
How to put it into action:
- Set up your Board – All the items your family has come up with will be part of the Backlog. Create a board that has four columns in this order: Backlog, To Do This Week, Started, Done
- But all your sticky notes of items you want to do with your family on the backlog
- Planning Session – Every Sunday night at dinner, decide with your family which items on the list are going to get done in that week. And how many items you can commit to in that weekly timeframe. Some of the items may be tasks to just plan for the next week or a monthly event. That is for you to determine as a family unit.
- When you decide how many can be done in that week, take them off the backlog list and put them in the TO DO column.
- Decide who owns the item, and put their initials on it. As a family, if that person is the owner, you have to support them to make it happen. This is a great lesson in collaboration and accountability for your family members, btw.
- Pick a time during the day where you will all check in on your progress.
- You can also make virtual boards on Trello.com if that helps keep things organized and managed across your family memebers.
- Check in daily really quick to ensure there are no obstacles to getting the items completed in that week. If there are, work together to remove them. The daily check in can be at
- When complete, move the item to the Done column. If it was so much fun and you want to do it again, just add it back to the backlog pile and put it back into the cycle as desired.
- Retrospective: Every Sunday prior to your planning session, have a mini retrospective. Talk about what worked in getting the task done and what could be better going forward. Not every item on the list will go smoothly, and that is OK. The time you spent together still reaches your goal of having more time with your family. Don’t forget why you initiated this in the first place.
- HAVE FUN!!
The goal of all the examples above is to take transition from excuse into action. Get unstuck and know that you are in complete control of the life you have and desire. Start with small tasks that eventually turn into a large transformation deliverable. Take it one day at a time. And if you are not sure how to get started, contact me. As I said, my intention this year is Transformation. I have a goal of impacting at least 50 lives this year. Maybe you are meant to be one of them…
Cheers to your Health!