Goals!

The Road Map To Get Where You Want To Go In Life!

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By Jerry Lambert

This week I want to discuss something I have been doing in earnest since I was fired from my job of almost 26 years. Setting and Achieving Goals.  I came across this concept many years ago, and like Journaling it is something that I should have been doing all along.

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Stay Focused On Your Goals!

To many of you, this may be an idea that you are already very familiar with.  However, I had not run across this concept when I was young.  It wasn’t until I read the classic “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz, that the notion of Goals, as a defined course of action, was presented to me.

All of us are familiar with the concept of setting and achieving goals, but not in such a structured format.  I use the example of learning to tie your shoes.  Every child wants to learn how to tie his or her shoes.  Little Bobby defines the goal, tying his shoes, and he gets to work on achieving that goal.  He learns a series of movements or actions steps he must take to achieve his goal. He pictures himself tying his shoes and with practice before he knows it, he has tied his shoes.

The previous example is a very simple one, but the principle is the same.  To quote that great Jedi Philosopher Yoda, “Size matters not!”.  Regardless of the size of your goal, the formula is the same.  I am going to give you an overview of this concept, along with some resources where you can learn more.

“Psycho-Cybernetics” sounds very robotic, but what it means is “putting your mind to work on reaching your goals”.  Much of the book is about improving your self-image, but I found the part about using your “goal-striving mechanism” or “success mechanism” to chart your course in life very interesting.

I am going to keep this overview very “high-level”.  Listed below are the basics of goal setting and achievement and why each is so important.  At the end of this article, I will list a number of resources that I have found helpful in getting me to set and achieve my goals.  Let’s get started!

  1. Your first step is to “Define Your Goal”. What is it you want? You really need to think about this.  Do you want to make more money?  How much do you want to make and how are you going to go about getting it?
  2. Is your goal in alignment with your Values? Sure, everyone wants more money, but most of us are not willing to rob a bank or knock over a liquor store to get it!
  3. What are the “Action Steps” you need to take in order to achieve your goal? In the example of tying your shoes, put the shoes on your feet (check), cross the laces (check), make the rabbit go into the hole, or make bunny ears, etc. (check). You get where I am going with this.  Every step you take to achieve your goal should be written down, no matter how big or small.
  4. Start working towards your goal! You will find that breaking your goal down into small, manageable steps will make reaching it that much faster.  You will also find just STARTING to work on the goal will often create a series of coincidences (some verging on the weird) that are necessary for you to achieve your goal. Picture Indiana Jones taking the “Leap of Faith” in The Last Crusade.  You have to take that first step!

If you read my article about Journaling, in it I mentioned you should review the previous week’s entries.  This will show any items that may have been skipped on a particular day.  These items may have been Action Steps toward one of your goals that occurred to you while writing in your Journal, but they didn’t make it into your Goal Plan.

One crucial step in the Goal Process I left out is “Defining Your Dreams”.  That is a whole seperate subject, but it needs to be done before setting any goals.  I left it out because it is a much larger concept and I wanted to keep this article about the mechanics of goal setting and achieving.  However, any book or resource about Goals that doesn’t start with Dreams should be avoided!

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“You Miss 100% Of The Shots You Don’t Take!” – Wayne Gretzky

The importance of goals cannot be under-estimated.  I heard about a study, done many years ago, involving recent Harvard Graduates.  They were all asked what goals they had for their life.

  • 84% said they had no specific goals, except to kick back and enjoy themselves over the summer.
  • 13% had goals for their future but they were not written down.
  • 3% of the students had written goals to chart their future.

Ten years later, the 13% of students who had unwritten goals were making twice as much as the 84% who had no goals.  The 3% of students who had clear, written goals were making ten times as much as the other 97% put together!  The 84% of students with no goals are working for students who had written or unwritten goals!

I have heard that you can take a homing pigeon, put it in a box, drive a thousand miles in any direction, open the box, and it will circle 3 times, then fly straight to it’s starting point or “Home”.  The only one other “animal” on this planet with this “goal-striving mechanism” is the human being.  Pretty cool, huh?  However, it’s always good to have Google Maps.

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Hang In There Kid!

The one thing I have NEVER been able to understand is why the Goal Process is not taught as a course of study in grade school, high school, or college.  What other subject is more important in helping you get to where you want to go in life?  For some reason, academia has decided that kids will “pick it up” as they go along with their studies.  How?  Have you ever been “educated” on the steps I have listed above?  If we truly want our youth to excel in life, these lessons need to be taught and reinforced at every grade level!

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Here are the resources I mentioned on the subject of Goals:

Maxwell Maltz: He was a Plastic Surgeon who realized that sometimes fixing someone’s face didn’t fix their life.

Brian Tracy: He has written many books on the subject of Goal Setting.  His YouTube Channel is full of priceless info.

Napoleon Hill: He is an oldie but a goodie.  He was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to interview the top businessmen of the age and discover their secrets!  The resulting book was Think and Grow Rich!  The number one secret? Goals!

The University of Motivation put together a list of the Top 100 Goal Setting Books!

The software that I use to track my goals is ToDoList by AbstractSpoon.  It can be downloaded for free at Download.com. It is not a web-based product, but it is invaluable in organizing and keeping track of your goals!  I recently discovered a great website that will allow you to track your goals online, for FREE!  Goal-Buddy is an excellent way to log your Goals, Habits, and Tasks, to keep you on target.  Plus, since it is online, you can access your goals from your PC, Phone, or Tablet. Unfortunately, the website isn’t Mobile on your phone or tablet, but it is pretty easy to use anyway.  I highly recommend it!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

SparkPeople

How To Keep On Top Of Your Health And Fitness Goals!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week I am going to talk about something that I came across while I was unemployed.  I am referring to the amazing Health and Fitness website: SparkPeople.

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Get Healthy And Fit With SparkPeople!

After I had been laid off for about 8 months, I was feeling pretty low.  Despite some initial positive interest, my small business startup was floundering.  I needed to do something I could control when so much of my life was out of control.  I decided to take action on losing weight.

After losing the weight, I felt great, but I was stumped on how to keep track of my weight, food intake, water, exercise, etc.  It was crucial to stay on top of my weight after I lost it.  This is where SparkPeople comes in.  I initially discovered the app trying to find a way to keep track of all of the areas I just mentioned.  SP is a Godsend!

The app and website help you to keep track of your weight, food intake, water intake, exercise, and much more.  My only complaint about the website is that it is geared mostly toward women.  However, that doesn’t mean that men won’t benefit from the website.  Far from it!

In addition to keeping track of all of your health and fitness stats, SP has a huge library of articles and videos on just about every health and fitness subject you can imagine.  You can also use SP to track your exercise goals and it can sync with many fitness trackers like Fitbit.

On the front page of the website, you will log all of your daily food and exercise information, plus keep track of your goals.  You can also create groups to make it easier to track your food and exercise.  Below that is the Challenges area.  There are a number of personal challenges that you can sign up for, from Taming Your Sweet Tooth to the New Member Challenge.  Most of the challenges run between 21 and 30 days and are a great way to keep yourself motivated and accountable during your journey.

In addition to the Trackers and Challenges, the front page also has a Community section.  In this area, you can post your fitness journey and get support and feedback from people who are all on the same fitness road as you!

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Don’t Forget The Fruits And Veggies!

The best thing about SP is that most of the content on this website is FREE!  You do have to sign up and get a login and password, but there is no fee and they don’t need your credit card on file!  There is a paid option that is very affordable.  It will allow you to use the website without ads, which is a major consideration since the website is very ad-heavy.

But wait, there’s more!  In addition to all that SP already does, there are healthy recipes as well!  There are also more apps!  One is for recipes (SparkRecipes) and the other breaks down the nutritional values of all the fruits and vegetables that you’ll be eating (Perfect Produce).  All of the apps are available on Google Play.  Just type in SparkPeople in the search box.

I only wish that I had discovered SP BEFORE losing my weight.  It would have made the whole process so much easier.  I am probably going to ride out the holidays at my current weight, but after New Years’, I plan on putting together a Challenge that gets me down to around 220.  I should be able to use SP to help me get there and stabilize my weight in the 215-225 range.

In the jumbled chaos that makes up the Internet, once and a while, you find a diamond in the rough.  That diamond is SparkPeople.  I have already shared the site with all of my Friends on Facebook.  This article will hopefully let more people know about the website, apps, and how great they are at helping you live a healthier lifestyle!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

 

Side Hustle: Shipt

A Different Wrinkle In Driving Income!

Caucasian man standing in produce section of grocery store
Become A Professional Shopper

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club!  Today I am going to talk about a new side hustle I am exploring.  Becoming a Professional Shopper with Shipt.  I am really looking forward to it.

Food delivery services are one of the fastest growing businesses out there.  After a long day working the 9 to 5 grind, or in our case, pounding the virtual pavement, wouldn’t it be great to have your groceries delivered to you?  The answer for many people is a resounding, “YES”!

So far, I haven’t actually done any shopping for Shipt, but I have been approved, and I will be having my orientation soon.  Shipt claims you can make between $15-$25 per hour driving for them, by shopping and delivering groceries.  It appears to be like Uber for food.

The customer uses the Shipt App (available on Google Play or iTunes) to pick out their groceries, then a Shopper is pinged with the list.  The Shopper decides whether he or she can pick up the groceries and deliver them to the customer within the allotted time.  Pretty neat, actually.

There are many reasons I am looking forward to driving for Shipt.  The increase in pay will be nice, but the main reason for me will be the decrease in miles, on me and my car.  Recently, I drove a guy to Detroit Metro Airport from the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.  It was a nice fare, mainly because I had to do some creative driving to get around the traffic caused by Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Eastern Market in Detroit.  However, I got him to the airport in plenty of time.

I got pinged right away for a pickup and drove to the “Arrivals” area at the North Terminal.  My riders were two college girls wearing Maryland sweatshirts.  Of course, they were visiting Ann Arbor to watch their Terrapins get destroyed by the Wolverine Juggernaut. This was a half an hour drive in the wrong direction.  By the time I got home, I had put 125 miles on my car and I yelled “ENOUGH”!  I had already applied to drive with Shipt and I decided to take a couple of days off to work on my car.  I needed to replace a missing hubcap, clean it out, clean all the windows, etc.

The application process with Shipt seems to move along fairly quickly.  Hopefully, after my orientation, I’ll be able to start driving right away.  Once you’re approved, there is a Shopper Portal where you can learn everything you need to know (hopefully) before you start to shop.

The main attraction for me is being able to drive close to home and keep down the miles on my car.  I will be shopping at my local Meijer store, which is about 3 miles from my house.  With the upcoming holidays, there should be no shortage of people who need food deliveries.

Even though Shipt is only available in the following states (Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) there may be other grocery delivery services available in your area.  A quick search on the web didn’t come up with anything, but if you check with your local grocery store, they may use a similar service.  Just make sure it is a large chain grocery store, like Kroger, Publix, Winn Dixie, etc.  I would think larger stores like these would be the only ones to offer these types of services.

That’s all for now.  After I hit the road and get familiar with how it all works, I’ll follow up with a “Tips & Tricks” article like I did with Uber and Lyft.  Wish me luck!

P.S.: My biggest fear is I will become so good at grocery shopping my wife saddle me with all of the shopping!  Oh well, one of the hazards of the job I suppose!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Journaling

Britney does this, you should too!

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Consider Keeping A Journal Or Diary

By Jerry Lambert

Hi and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club!  This week, I have decided to write about something I have been doing since I was laid off from my job.  This activity is essential to organizing your thoughts, working on your goals, and just plain venting.

I am talking about Journaling, or keeping a Diary.  When most people hear the word “Diary”, they think about Britney, writing about her latest crush and which girls at school are so mean!  Yes, I’m talking about you, Tiffany!

Keeping a Diary or “Journaling” has come a long way since you ladies kept one in high school.  It is now a widely accepted practice among business people, who want to organize their thoughts, create fresh ideas, and figure out what steps to take next.  It might even change your life!

I kept a Journal on and off during my “Employable” years.  Every now and then, when an important life event would come up, I would make an entry.  However, on the morning after I was let go from my job, I fired up my PC and wrote some blistering commentary on fairness, loyalty, and the lack of both in the business world.  I also wrote some choice words about the people I felt were responsible for the layoffs, and which biblical plagues should descend upon them!  Like I said, venting!

Once I got all of that out of my system (mostly), I decided to start Journaling every day.  This helped me to search (in vain) for a job where they would appreciate my talents, hire me on the spot, and give me a big raise!  Problem solved!!  Yeah, we all know how that worked out!  However, Journaling really has helped me to organize my thoughts and figure out my next move.  I’m sure it will help you as well.

What follows are some suggestions on how to get started, based on what I have learned on my own, and what I have learned about Journaling from other sources.

Start by figuring out how you are going to Journal. “Old School”, with a spiral notebook, or joining the digital age by using Journaling Software.  Being a techie guy, I use iDailyDiary to record my daily thoughts.  It is a free download from Download.com.  There are also many other Journaling options, such as Microsoft’s OneNote, and online Journaling sites, such as Penzu, JRNL, LiveJournal, and others.  These sites give you the added benefit of being able to record your thoughts on your PC, tablet, or phone.  Also, you don’t have to worry about losing all of your entries if you misplace your spiral notebook or your PC blows up.  They are all safely stored online.

You may also want to consider having more than one Diary going at a time. This is very helpful if you want to have one Diary for recording daily events, writing down ideas, and venting.  Plus another Diary for posterity. Sharing your infinite wisdom, thoughts about current events, and why the college football playoff system STILL sucks!!

Getting started. Most people are terrified of a blank page, or screen in my case.  To make it easy on yourself, just write down what you did yesterday.  You may want to put a prompt at the top of each page to help you remember.

Mine says:

Weight Status (2 years ago, I lost 40 pounds so I keep close tabs on my weight)
Health / Workout Status
Morning Driving
Before / After Lunch
Evening Driving
Anything Else
Top 10 Goals
Scripture of the Day

As you write about the previous day, you may remember a task you weren’t able to check off on your to do list. Put 3 asterisks (or any special character) at the start of that sentence.  ***You see how it makes the sentence easier to spot on the page!  You will appreciate that when you proceed to the next step.

Weekly Review. Writing down all your thoughts is great, but what if you actually need to do something with them?  I suggest you take about half an hour at the end of each week, to review the entries for that week.  Make special note of any sentences with special characters that will require further action.

At first, you may find you won’t be able to write down more than a few lines of text.  However, as you get used to putting your thoughts down on paper or PC, you will find you eventually get into “The Flow”.  The words will just start to pour out of you onto the Journal of your choice.

An example of why this is a good practice.  I have been using iDailyDiary for quite a while now, but I haven’t been happy with the fact that I have to back up the entries myself.  Researching this article has inspired me to start using JRNL to record my daily Journal entries.  I never would have thought to do this, if I wasn’t writing this article about Journaling, and the idea to write the article came to me while writing in my Journal!

I hope this article inspires you to take up the habit of Journaling.  Getting your thoughts down on paper or in digital bits is always a good thing.  Whether they be good or bad, it’s always good to get them out of your system.  It is cathartic.  Plus, I have found that new ideas will often occur to you that you haven’t considered before.  It’s a great way to tap into the universe of new ideas.

Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!