Nike has a good motto, “Just do it!” This is the final step in the process that I call “Playing Full Out!” The quality of one’s life becomes so much better when playing full out. This is because most likely they will be doing exactly what then have wanted to do and most likely will be living in the world of success instead of the world of “if I only had.” I say that “just do it” is the final step. Before taking that step, it is very important make sure that all of the environments are going to be able to support that action step.

There are actually ten environments that we operate in. Because the environment always wins, it is real important to make sure that all of them are at least neutral if not supportive. A quick rundown of the environments is in order.

Picture a bulls-eye with a center target and concentric circles surrounding it. The target is the individual and each of the circles surrounding it are the environments. The most inner circle is the Inner Mind Environment. Working out from there are: the Mimetic Environment –  which is the information and ideas to which we are exposed; the Spiritual Environment; the Immediate Personal Self one –  things like our choice of clothes and our hygiene; the Financial Environment – our relationship to money, money management, advisors and attitudes about spending and savings; the Relationship Environment – our family, close friends;  Network Environment – partners, organizations, clients and associates; the Physical Environment –   our immediate home surroundings, our office or work environment; the Social Network Environment;  Peripheral Environment –  our community, the nation and the world.

It just so happens that, generally, the relative importance of each of the environments for the person decreases as they are farther out from the center. Of course, the exception to that is when something in one of the outer environments directly impacts on the person, such as civil unrest or war in the peripheral environment.

I started this message by saying “The environment always wins!” This is almost always the case. No matter how strong people are or think they are, eventually then will end up reflecting their environments. To be aware is to be alive! To be aware of what is going on in your environments, you need to know what they are and what to look for. For the next nine weeks I am going to explore each of these environments with you.

This is a series of ten postings, one on each of the Environments. If you have questions or comments, please post them in the comments section after each post. I am looking forward to a lively discussion, on-line, on this blog.

If you would like to explore how coaching with me can give you the winning edge to play better and win in all of your life’s endeavors, I offer a free, 20 minute, exploratory session. For more  information, please go to the website.

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with it: “Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes “My Coach Jason’s Tips for Winning at Life” monthly ezine. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE subscription information, and how you can benefit by his coaching at http://MyCoachJason.com

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Here we are at Resolution Time again! This is the time of the year when we ritualistically take stock of the year almost over, to assess our accomplishments and make resolutions for the coming year. Too often we find that the new resolutions we are making for the coming year have a deja vu feeling about them because they very closely resemble last year’s resolutions that were never done. That is a very depressing way to start a new year! If you can relate to this, here is a proven method to ensure that a year from now you will be celebrating your winning year.

The usual way of dealing with resolutions is in terms of goals and goal fulfillment. That is a set up for failure. Unfortunately a list of goals or resolutions is little more that a list of dreams and wishes. The problem with dreams and wishes is that they are usually made with the unconscious idea that they will be completed via a magical cure or miraculous fulfillment of them. They must because rarely when folks make a list of resolutions and goals to accomplish do they attach to them the concrete steps needed to take them to completion and they are destined to failure.

I propose a new way of making your resolutions this year. I propose that you adopt the sports metaphor and view each resolution as a possible winnable game worth playing. Let’s look at them the same way you would look at a resolution or desire to win in a sport or a game of mental or physical skill — baseball, for example. Here are the steps necessary to win at the game of baseball (assuming you never played but resolve to do so):

a.                          You would first question if the resolve and desire was strong enough to give you the energy and stick-to-it-ness to persevere through the process of learning and acquiring the skills to win. Do you want to play the game because of an inner fascination with it or are you doing so because it will satisfy someone else’s desire for you to play the game. If it is the latter, your chances of learning and winning are slim. Even if you do win, it would be a hollow one and looking back, wouldn’t seem like it was worth the effort.

b.                          Assuming that you really, really have a strong desire to learn and win, the next important step is to decide what part of the game, what position, you want to specialize in. To do that you might have to try out all the positions to get a feel for which ones you have a natural aptitude and as important, which ones you enjoy playing the most.

c.                          Having figured out the position, such as “pitcher,” you then need to acquire the skills of the game.

d.                         It is very important, at this point to make sure to work through all your inner game issues and conflicts (“I never was too good at sports”) that might sabotage your best intentions.

e.                          Next comes getting the proper equipment and joining a team.

f.                           And finally, continuing to evaluate how you are doing and what more needs to be done, learned or practiced to get to the win at the game of pitching in a baseball game.

Did I leave something out of this scenario?  Would you ever think you would be able to effectively accomplish all that planning, learning the skills, practicing and evaluating the progress of becoming a winning baseball pitcher without having a coach? Not likely! Sure, you probably could arrive at the skill and knowledge needed to win, given much time and experimentation, but are you willing to spend years rediscovering what’s already known? If you are willing to do that, that’s playing a different game, the game of reinventing the wheel. With sports, having a coach is an accepted part of the equation of winning. Most champion sporting figures, as well as champions in all walks of life have coaches.

The 9 Steps to Win the Resolutions Game

So now looking at your new New Year’s Resolutions from the same perspective as we just did for winning at sports, here are the 9 steps to playing your resolutions to win this year:

  1. List your Resolutions in terms of winning a game, using the following format: “I want to win at the game of __________( doubling my income, cleaning out the garage, etc.) by __________(a specific date) and answer the following questions about each one you just wrote:
  2. Is this game winnable?
  3. Did you give yourself enough time to realistically accomplish it?
  4. Assuming it is winnable, is this game worth playing? Will winning this game be important to you? Do you really want to or need to win this one? Is it winnable but really someone else’s game that would be worth THEIR PLAYING? Is it worth it for you to play it for them? Answering “no” to these questions are indicators of non-starters or, at most, winnable games (resolutions) begrudgingly played and not a prescription for having fun. Having fun is the real reason for playing and living, isn’t it?
  5. Do you have the skills and resources to accomplish the resolution? If not, you need to alter the finish date to have enough time to get your act together? What are the steps you need to do to accomplish and win this game?
  6. Are there any parts inside you that are either subtly or screamingly suggesting that either you can’t win at this game or you ought not even attempt this one? Until you address their concerns and satisfy them, they will sabotage your best efforts and create failure.
  7. Do you have all the tools, working space, equipment and positive support of friends, family and/or business associates you might need to win this one?
  8. As you progress towards the final end date of the game, how are you going to know how well you are progressing and what more do you need to do to end up with a win?   In other words, how are you going to keep score of your progress and make the required mid-course corrections?
  9. Would it be helpful to have a coach that could co-create with you, and when needed guide and teach the necessary skills, to have this be a winnable game worth playing? (Hint: Probably!)  Having a coach IS the winner’s edge!

Working this process with each of the items on your list of Resolutions will allow you to weed out the ones that are just hope-for-things, other people’s hope-you-do-for-them-things, and the not-realistic-to-win-at-things. That will leave you with a list of winnable games (aka resolutions) AND a plan for winning them. This will ensure that next year at this time you won’t just be celebrating a New Year. You will be celebrating the successful conclusion of a Winning Season of Your Life! (Your coach will be celebrating too, because he only wins when you win.)

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I was dragged into doing personal writing kicking and screaming all the way. Many years ago, I had a mentor with whom I would meet to talk about what was going on in my life. He was someone that I called upon to assist me to sort out my current concerns. When I would poise a problem I was having to him, he would usually reply by asking me if I had written about the problem. My reply would be no and I just wanted to talk to him about it. This became the regular verbal dance we did every time we spoke until one day when he answered my question with, "I’ll tell you what, I am not going to discuss this with you until you go home and write about it!" No amount of protestations would get him to budge. I was more than quite peeved, to say the least. (Actually, since this is the PG version, I won’t say what I said.)

On the way home, I stopped at my neighborhood stationary store and bought on of those 6"x9" spiral notebooks and a ball point pen and went home (still fuming) and wrote out my problem. For some reason, once I wrote out the problem the solution became quite obvious. He was right; the first step to problem solving is writing it out. I have been writing ever since. Twenty years and many filled notebooks later, I still have a spiral notebook with a pen sitting in the spiral, tucked into my mattress so I can write in it, in bed, before I retire every night.

I journal the events of the day, my feelings about those events and my feelings at that moment about me and the other cast members in that play called "my life." It is a real taking stock type of exercise. It is an automatic writing exercise. What my mind is thinking my hand is writing. My conscious mind is an idle observer of this process. Spelling and grammar are of little importance. I do not erase or blot out anything. If something needs correcting because it was the wrong word it gets a single line through it and the pen moves on. Since I started doing this type of writing, I have found that I get to sleep faster because my mind no longer replays the day and my feelings, over and over again. For some reason, once it goes down on the paper, my mind can let go of the thought. Also, I notice that if I wrote down some problem that was of concern to me, I usually wake up with the answer. Doing this writing on a daily basis keeps me constantly in tough with my progress on the projects I am doing, allows me to fine tune the game plans to make winning more of a possibility and keeps me in touch with feelings so that there is less chance that my judgment will be clouded by them. My strong suggestion would be to put doing nightly writing high on your "to do" list.

Two months ago I started participation in a workshop that follows the suggestions of "The Artist’s Way" by Julia Cameron. The book’s first suggestion is to write three full-sized notebook pages first thing every morning. She calls this "the Morning Pages." It is also a train-of-thought, automatic writing exercise. The difference between this one and my night time writing is that this is not intended to be a journal. It has no parameters and no boundaries. It is a vehicle for creativity to abound. It can be anything the mind wants to produce; writing, poetry, drawing, whatever. The only caveat is that it must be three pages and it ought to be the first thing of the day. I am finding that when I am finished writing my mind is fully engaged and I am totally ready to take on the rest of the day. Prior to doing these Morning Papers, it was maybe noon before my mind was up to speed. Quite a difference! This writing requires more preplanning of schedules than the night writing because it takes me about an hour in the morning. I am now going to bed an hour earlier so that I can do the writing without pushing my day an hour back. That is a total revolution for this former night person which in itself is a testament to the benefits of writing the Morning Papers. By the way, both this article and the Communications Skill article flowed out of my pen and onto the "Morning Pages," an effortless and highly creative way of writing. Write On!

© 2007, Jason Wittman

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