Posts Tagged ‘Rewards’

I did it.  Twenty-one days after setting a goal to lose nine pounds, I have lost ten.  I’m lower than the weight goal I set which is the weight I hovered at for years prior to a big jump at the end of last year around the holidays.  It feels good to be here again.

Now that I’m on this side of the goal, what next?  Where do I go from here?

Well, I could lose a couple more pounds just to be on the safe side for those times when I eat out with friends or family and inevitably add a pound or two in a day.  That seems reasonable.  But beyond that, the need is for a consistent lifestyle that doesn’t result in being five, ten, then fifteen pounds overweight again.  It needs to be nipped in the bud on a daily basis.

It is my habit to weigh every morning before stepping into the shower.  I know people tell you not to weigh every day because of the little fluctuations that people experience.  For me, though, it works to weigh daily because that is what determines what I eat or don’t eat for the day.  I can’t do what I want for a week and then exclaim “Oh, look, I’m five pounds over!”  No – that has to be known when I’m one pound over so that my behavior is appropriate that day.

The more general lesson in this is that all of our goals need incremental milestones and checkpoints along the way in order for us to know where we stand and to increase the likelihood of reaching them.  Going too long without a checkpoint allows you to veer off course too easily, making the return path long and tedious.

Don’t set annual goals without more frequent checkpoints.  Don’t only do annual performance reviews for employees without very frequent checkpoints along the way (mine are every two weeks with my manager).  Don’t think that you will succeed just by setting a New Year’s resolution without some accountability from others as well as from yourself at least monthly throughout the year.

Leap year lesson #196 is Reaching goals happens in baby steps.

This was a very satisfying week for me at work.  I got several things accomplished that had been camping out on my to-do list for way too long.  We had a significant win in an effort that was years in the making; another significant win also written about here; my week was not filled with meetings galore that usually detract from productivity; I received an unexpected and very complimentary note from someone for the positive impact my blog posts are having on him; and to top it all off I left at the end of the day today with zero emails in my work inbox.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

It feels good to end well.

There have certainly been other times when endings were not good.  Maybe they were endings of employment situations, relationships, projects, conversations, educational endeavors or more.

I suppose the ultimate ending is when we leave this earth.  Even that experience can go well or not as written about in someone else’s blog post reflecting on the death of a friend’s friend recently.

I’m not sure that it’s necessarily true that “all is well that ends well,” but it sure does bring a sigh of relief and a positive closure that lets you close the door on what was before, take a breath, and open another door to what lies ahead.

Ending the week with a great sense of accomplishment, closure, and the freedom to put work aside for a weekend is a great feeling, and one which I apparently don’t experience enough given how much today’s ending stands out to me.

Leap year lesson #191 is It feels good to end well.

A very simple thing happened at work today.  Without going into details, suffice it to say that to many it would seem anything but remarkable – good, but hardly anything to write home about.  Yet, for me, it was the culmination of a wish and effort in a major area of responsibility for me for over the past two years.  It was a very big deal, I think, for the future of communication at my company.

There were a lot of different thoughts and feelings occurring as it unfolded today:

  • The personal satisfaction of knowing it was finally happening;
  • Gratefulness for all the others in a very long process for the role each played in making it happen;
  • Anticipation of what the reaction of others might be – who would note the significance and who might miss it.

Once the deed was done, I could not stop smiling.  Even out walking the dog tonight, that was foremost on my mind and caused me to smile with satisfaction.  It still does.

The truth is that even though the act itself was very simple, what went into it was anything but simple or quick.  Whether others recognize that fact is up to them.  At least I see it as the culmination of much work.

In December 2010 I spoke at a conference in San Francisco.  The moderator asked me what my goal was for embarking on the internal communications route we had been discussing.  My response to him was “I want to change the way communication happens at my company.”  Today’s seemingly small step was really a major one in making that come to pass.  If nobody else notices, it is enough for me to know we made a huge stride today, because I know what has gone into it and because I know its significance.

Leap year lesson #188 is Nothing beats deep personal satisfaction.

How good are you at making trades with others?  I have to admit that I’m a terrible negotiator in some circumstances.  I just can’t stand the process, so I don’t bother.  (I did, however, do a pretty good job of bartering while in China back in April.)  However, when it comes to conjuring trades with myself, I’m pretty good at it.

For example, when I have a heavy load of things to do, it isn’t unusual for me to think of some way to reward myself at set intervals so that I have a break and a little fun along the way.  When running around the 1.2 mile loop of the nearby park, I’ll reward myself with a walk between two lamp posts after I have jogged between several more than that.

This week with both of our vehicles being in the shop at some point and with me consequently taking the bus to work, I was reminded of how much I get done while riding the bus for those 20-25 minutes each way.  I also like the fact that I save money because I’m not using gas and my company pays for employees to take the bus as an encouragement to reduce pollution.

One thing I like to do while riding is use an app on my smartphone to review my top 100 Bible verses that I’ve etched into my memory for the last several years.  It’s a good way to start the day and to get myself in a healthy frame of mind before tackling the work day.  So the thought came to mind this week that I could make a trade with myself.  What would it be like to decide to ride the bus each week at least for as many days as it takes me to fully review those verses?  It will likely only be 1-2 days per week of taking the bus, but the pleasure of driving my car and spending less time commuting would be the reward for the remainder of the week, having completed the review of verses early in the week.

I think I’ll give it a try and see what happens.

Leap year lesson #185 is Make yourself a trade.

I do well under pressure.  Not much gets me out of sorts or frazzled.  In the midst of a crisis I’ll be a calming influence and, if possible, interject a little humor along the way to lighten the mood.

In academic study, the ability to do much over a short period of time has served me well.  In work situations, I can churn out a lot into the wee hours of the morning night after night if needed until the work is done.  Granted, I can’t keep at a lightning pace indefinitely, but it is possible when I know there is an end in sight.

This past weekend was an example of a lot of pressure on me over a short period of 48 hours.  It was all good pressure of places to be with other people, prepping for and officiating at a wedding, and prepping and teaching a class for a friend.  Individually, any of them would have made for a pleasant, enjoyable weekend, but together they made for quite a challenge.

I don’t take public speaking lightly.  I’m not about to wing it for a class I teach, much less a wedding I officiate.   So especially for the wedding, I wanted everything said and done to be perfect for the couple’s sake.  When it comes to my part, therefore, I script every word, rehearse it aloud dozens of times, and make constant edits up until the last possible moment to craft each word and be able to speak it as naturally as possible without relying heavily on notes.  I want to look into the couple’s eyes as I speak and reassure them with a smile and a comforting word and voice.

There were moments in preparation for the weekend’s events when I wasn’t quite sure how it was all going to come together, but I have traveled this road too many times to doubt that it would.

And it did.

Depending on the source of the quote, today’s lesson title comes either from Scottish Victorian-era writer Thomas Carlyle or indie film screenwriter Mary Case, but whichever first wrote it, I can attest to it’s truth.

Leap year lesson #171 is No pressure, no diamonds.