|Sometimes I just gotta get unstuck and see some improvement. NOW.
I'm extremely results-oriented. When I feel I'm not making progress on a goal, I get really, really cranky. Eventually, I get desperate. And that's when I employ this handy question frame:
What are (number between 1-5) things I can do (today, this week) to (measurable goal) by (tomorrow, next week)?
Here is an example, from yesterday morning, when I got on the scale and noticed weight creep. (Well, ahem, I HAVE been eating a lot of raw homemade pumpkin-seed cacao bars lately. Like...a lot of pumpkin-seed-cacao bars. While sitting around writing Untamed Barbarian.)
Example for Weight LossI sat down with my tea and wrote out my question frame, filling in the blanks appropriately:
What are 5 things I can do today to start losing weight by tomorrow?
Then, I brainstormed until I had five things I knew I could actually do yesterday (this is important, that you have the time and resources to do the things, so keep thinking until you find something that's within your power to do within your desired time frame. And don't do "five things" unless you can really do those 5 things--instead, do three things, or two.) Here was my list:
- Skip breakfast, and have vegan bulletproof coffee instead.
- Measure out and drink 3 liters of water.
- Eat salads for lunch and dinner, with maximum 1 tablespoon seeds and 1 tablespoon nuts on each salad. (If that sounds restrictive, don't worry--I have some delicious, craveable salads that are no punishment to eat.)
- Eat maximum 2 snacks: small bowl loaded chia pudding, and one square of raw iced walnut chocolate cake.
- Take 3 short exercise breaks: rebounding for 5 minutes, 15 minutes of yoga, and the 4-Minute toning workout I found on YouTube.
Here is another example, from last week:
Example for Making More Money
Last week I was staring at my abysmal book sales numbers from the week before, and just wondering if the new novel I'm writing is going to make me any real money or not (waah!) So I sat down with my magical question frame and filled in the blanks thus so:
What is one thing I can do this week to start generating a new stream of income by next week?
Now, for this one, I brainstormed a list of all the things on my business plan that seemed to be "low hanging fruit"--easy-ish projects that would be likely to generate at least some income quickly while I'm waiting to get rich off my excellent novels. :) Here was my list:
- Upload some digital Spanish teaching products to Teachers Pay Teachers. (I have already written volumes of stuff that I used in my own classes, and I already have a modest platform of followers as a Spanish curriculum creator.)
- Start a Shopify store called "Dishes and Decor" and sell things I own/don't want anymore that I know other people would love. (In the future, I'd shop deals and sell cute treasures I find for a small profit. I'm a good shopper. :))
- Publish my AP Spanish lessons. I get asked about this all the time on my teaching blog.
- Monetize my blog(s.) Maybe.
This list was in the order of easiest/most likely to generate immediate income, so I started with #1, packaging, formatting, and uploading products to Teachers Pay Teachers. Within 72 hours (and after having only uploaded about 8 products at $5 each,) I had made $21, so I decided to continue on that trail plus advertise my TPT store on my teaching blog and FB page a little bit.
Exactly 7 days after I had started uploading (and with 16 products up ranging in price from $1 to $5 each) I had netted $81. Sweet!
Other Examples - Stress, Relationships, Housecleaning, etc.
Here are some other questions I've asked myself in the past:
What are three things I can do today after work to feel less stressed by tomorrow?
Possible answers: go to the gym, take a hot shower/bath, aromatherapy, yoga, have a nourishing, healthy dinner, drink a bunch of water, go to bed early.
What are two things I can do in 15 minutes today to make the house look cleaner by tonight?
Possible answers: Mop the kitchen, dust the living room, make the bed, clean my bathroom mirror. I would choose however many of those I thought I could do in 15 minutes, and be done with it for the day.
Using the Question Frame for Yourself
Are you fed up/feeling impatient/needing relief/wanting to see some growth in some area of your life? Here is what you do:
- Get a piece of paper. Or typing device, if desired.
- Write out the Question Frame with blanks. What are ____ things I can do (today, this week) to (measurable goal) by (tomorrow, next week)?
- Randomly choose a number of things. Go with your gut. It's more fun this way. But keep it between 1-5 things.
- Choose your time frame to do the things. Two choices (well, okay, three.) Today, this weekend, or this week. Don't do a month; you'll lose steam and get distracted in that amount of time.
- Write out your measurable goal. Make it worthy of pursuing, yet reachable within your current reality.
- The "by when" blank is either tomorrow, Sunday night, or next week, based on the time frame you gave yourself in the second blank.
- Now brainstorm the number of things you said you would do.
- Get to work doing those action items right now. (Tony Robbins teaches that you should take action in the moment/location of the decision to take action for maximum results.) If it's late at night when you're doing this exercise, fine. Go set up what you need to take the action first thing in the morning.
And go, go, go! Get those results!