Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Push Your Best Foot Forward

This time of year people have goals on their mind so there is surely plenty of good information already out there to explore about goal setting. Goals are great but at the same time a person’s goals are only as useful as that person’s willingness to work on them. “A goal without a plan is just a wish” as the saying goes (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

So if we need to act on our goals for them to really matter then let’s consider one simple way that people often can get started, which is a “push”

  • Push - v. to press or urge to some action or course

Most people don’t like to be pushed so if the thought of someone pushing you is unnerving or annoying then you are not alone. Still, can you think of some examples in your life when you were glad that someone gave you a little push? Consider some examples:

> A friend says – “Go ahead and talk to the manager and see if there are any openings for a job here” (and that little push gives you the courage to go and speak up instead of walking away like you wanted to at first)

> Going to the gym with a motivated friend instead of alone, because that friend “pushes” you to work out harder and stay at the gym longer

 > A sports team overachieves because members of the team “push” each other to play harder and not give up

Feeling on the fence about staying clean one day but then talking to a friend who provides a “push” to stay on track and do the right thing which then helps you prevent a setback you would have regretted later


So as you set some goals for the new year or for any time of the year, think about who in your life can push you a little bit, in a good way, of course.

Discuss as a group:

What is one area that you want to work on in your life and who can push you to do better in that area?

Are you willing to make a commitment to tell the person today that you just identified about your goal and see if he or she is willing to provide that positive push forward that you may need?

Once you get started, what do you need to do in order to push yourself not to give up?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Costless Complements, Gratis Gratitude and other Gratuitous Giving

Giving is on many people’s mind this time of year. Giving is a truly a wonderful thing. In fact the old saying “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” still rings true. For a few minutes forget about presents that can be bought at a store or online. Also, you surely are familiar with the old (but true) cliché about “the things that money cannot buy” like love, integrity, trust, etc. Those gifts are important too, but for now let’s keep things from getting too existential and abstract. Rather, let’s just consider some basic free gifts that we can give to others that are easy, clear and simple. 

Below are some examples of free yet practical gifts that you can give to make someone else’s life a just a little bit better – any time of the year. Read each example below and consider 1 or 2 ideas that are doable for you:

Praise – Praise can be a very powerful gift when given to someone who cares about your opinion and when given in a sincere and caring way. (Examples below)
  • “I’m going to make sure to let my wife know that she is a beautiful woman in my eyes”
  • “I am going to look for an opportunity to let my son know how proud I am of him”

“Random Acts of Kindness” – Just do something nice for someone for no reason at all
  • The next time I see someone struggling or stressed out at the super market or store I am going to let them go ahead of me on the line
  • I am going to clean out and reorganize my family member’s closet for them as a surprise"

The Gift of Gratitude – When expressed from the heart, a sincere thank you can be a so meaningful 
  • I am going to stop and say thank you to the security guard at my work for making me feel safe
  • I am going to tell my children thank you for just being good kids

Time & Attention – Most people love attention and it’s free to give
  • I am going to go visit my parents and just let them talk for a while 
  • I am going to sit and watch one of those shows or movies my partner loves so much and let (him/her) explain it to me.

Creativity – Kids who don’t have money often make things as gifts. This can work well for grownups too if done right
  • I am going to make my friend an awesome playlist of some of her favorite songs
  • I am going to design an interesting post on social media with my freind in mind that he/she will appreciate

Other? – Do you have another idea in this frame of mind that is not already listed?

Process as a Group:
  1. Pick one or two areas listed above and come up with your own personal idea for giving that is doable for you. Discuss your ideas
  2. Group Challenge – Pick a time when the group will meet again. Can everyone try to do one thing by then and be ready to share how it went?
  3. All Year Round Challenge – You can increase your happiness by increasing your giving spirit, all year round. What area can you work on? (Praise, Kindness, Gratitude, Time & Attention, or Creativity?)