It's February and you're now on the second month of pursuing your goals for the year. Hopefully, your goals are humming along nicely and every opportunity to make them happen is lining up quite well.


But what if it's not? Maybe too many kinks here and there keep cropping up, obstacles every so often, and you're starting to lose steam. What can you do?

There are a number of things you can do, but if it's motivation you're looking for, you might have to rely on that person you see in the mirror: you.

Yes, you.

There was a research study that tested the effectiveness of self-talk versus imagery, versus "if-then" planning. Self-talk is using positive words directed at oneself. Imagery is visualizing your desired outcome. "If-Then" planning is identifying a condition for a positive outcome, like "If I finish this book, I know I'll ace the test."

The study which involved 44,000 participants found that people who used self-talk to motivate themselves before a task or challenge performed the best; imagery performed next best, and "if-then" planning last.

Self-talk is a simple trick, and something we already use, and its effectiveness is possibly because of this very simplicity and the organic nature of this skill. It comes naturally! 

Your words do have power. Better watch what you tell yourself. 

 

You have your SMART Goals and you already know how to visualize your goals in order to help you achieve it faster.

But do not forget: No man is an island.

You do not have to go at your goal alone, or certainly not without the benefit of the wisdom and support of the people around you.

You need to Build Your Network of Support.

Identify people that could help you in achieving your goals. Start with the people closest to you: your spouse, sibling, parent, or co-worker. Is there something they can do for you to help you move forward? It could be as simple as asking your spouse to give you 1 hour each day to be alone so you can work on your action items undistracted. Maybe it's asking your co-worker for an introduction or a recommendation.

Sharing your goals with the people closest to you is about creating an environment conducive to your success. 

Maybe the people who could help you are not yet known to you. Maybe it's a CEO of a large company, a top professor, or a famous personality. Have the courage to reach out to them, ask for advice or tips, maybe see if they would be open to mentor you. You might be surprised how generous they might be of their time, especially after hearing your genuine admiration for them. 

The idea is to increase the chances of your success by organizing your environment in a way that is most conducive to the attainment of your goal. 

 

How are your goals this year? 

Many of you may have done the yearly ritual at the start of each year by writing down your goals - and so we are interested to know: How's it going so far?

We've shared with you tips on how to write SMART goals, but one aspect of goal achievement that's often forgotten is visualization of the goal once achieved. The true test of a goal's clarity (and therefore having a higher likelihood of being achieved) is when you have a clear picture of it in your head.

You know it's a clear picture when the picture involves all your 5 senses: your sense of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

For example, if your goal is to have ran a full marathon in 6 months, imagine as if that day has come and you have accomplished your goal. Then try to answer these questions: What do you see? What do you hear? Do you smell anything? What does it taste? How does it feel to the touch?

SIGHT: Think of the people around you when you achieve your goal. Who is celebrating with you, giving you a high-five or generous praises for conquering your goal? Think of the colors of the marathon race, the balloons, the confetti, the details in the venue; in your mind look around the environment.

HEAR: What are they saying - are they cheering, clapping, singing? Is there dance music? What music is playing, who is laughing so loud? What kind words are your family, friends and loved ones telling you?

SMELL: What's the smell of the food, the cologne, the surroundings? Do you smell the pavement, the grass, the ground, the leaves, the scent of flowers? 

TASTE: Someone brought baked goodies - your favorites - what do they taste? Is there chocolate, or nuts? The drinks - was it soda, beer, or alcohol? 

TOUCH: How does the finisher medal feel to the touch? You tapped a fellow racer, congratulated another friend - you remember your hand firmly shaking his sweaty palms, you remember the warm hug of a loved one happy for your success.

Try this exercise, and paint as vivid a picture of the day of your success using your 5 senses as guide on what detail to put in your vision.

You'll be surprised: It will leave you feeling happy after the visualization, because it would be as if you have already experienced success in your mind, and you are pleased with yourself. You cannot wait to turn it into reality. Because you have seen it clearly, you already know it's only a matter of time.

Managing Energy vs Managing Time

We've always been about doing things faster, more efficiently, and getting more things done. That is why we have been providing you with time hacks week after week. But here's another dimension to productivity that Harvard's The Energy Project has uncovered: Energy.

Time is a finite resource. There is only 24 hours in a day, and putting in more hours at work doesn't necessarily mean being able to produce more. It might actually be working against your productivity and effectivity. When people work too much, they tend to sacrifice other areas of their life: eating well (or on time), exercising, spending quality moments with family and friends, etc. 

Unlike time, energy can be expanded and regularly renewed through specific rituals. It's about recognizing energy-depleting behaviors - and avoiding them - and doing more recharging activities.

The things that people tend to neglect (eating well, exercising, spending quality moments with family and friends, etc.) when they put in more hours at work - are actually the same activities that are very recharging and devoting time to them ultimately redound to one's productivity at work. 

This Harvard article features many more examples of how productivity has improved in actual companies who recognized the need to manage energy vs. manage time.

In the end, managing energy allowed for better quality work and relationships. And that's always the best use of your time!

The start of the new year often prompts an obligatory reflective mood - and whether self-initiated or obligated, it's still an opportunity to come up with things to accomplish for the year.

We often call them resolutions, but the problem with New Year's resolutions is that they get forgotten as early as February. 

The main reason they probably get forgotten is that these resolutions start feeling like a chore, like an imposition. 

The best way to avoid getting these resolutions forgotten, is to consider them as Lifestyle Changes instead. When you make them a lifestyle change, they become your life to live, not just some tasks to add on to your life. They are woven into your life, and become a very essential part of it. 

What lifestyle changes are you willing to make this year? 

Share them with us here and get a chance to win a year's supply of Bizzy Coffee!

You know you could use some help in the kitchen this holiday season. If you can get an extra hand, well and good. If not, here's 3 kitchen hacks that might come in handy.

1. Take a Photo of Your Fridge

Bizzy Hack - Photo of Fridge

No time to make a list of what you need to buy from the grocery? Just take a photo of your fridge - doors open wide - and it becomes a handy reference on what needs to be bought. You can also take a photo of your kitchen shelves to know what other items have to be replenished.

2. No roasting rack? Make one out of tin foil!

Bizzy Hack - Foil Rack

The aluminum foil is your friend. If you forgot to get a roasting rack (or probably misplaced the last one!), you can do a MacGyver and make a roll of those tin foil, thick enough so that when roasting, your meat doesn't touch the pan.

3. The Crock-pot is Your Friend

Bizzy Hack - Crock-pot

Use it to make big batch of hot chocolate for your guests, or French toast in bulk. This saves you a lot of time!

We hope you find these tips useful!

We get it - you're busy AND you haven't done much of your Christmas shopping yet. What to do, what to do? Here's 3 simple tips that can get a big chunk of your holiday shopping chores done in no time. 

1. Get Your Gifts Delivered

There are gift sites for men, women, and children  - and you can order them online and have it delivered straight to your lucky recipients. Note: Most sites require orders made by this week to make sure your gifts arrive by Christmas time! Just like us at Bizzy!

2. Run to the Pharmacy

Most pharmacies have tiny useful, essential and novelty items that make for a thoughtful gift. They're ideal stocking stuffers too! Assemble a bunch of these items into a gift bag and you've got a curated gift ready for a happy new owner.

3. Make it a Group Date

No time to make individual gifts? How about making a reservation for a fancy dinner, spa treatment, an afternoon of go-karting or a visit to the local music festival? Make it a group date, and it's on you. It's an experience gift - no gift wraps required and, even better, you accomplish making your friends and loved ones happy in one afternoon or evening. 

We can do this! Happy Holidays! 

Getting ready for work in the morning isn't the most fun activity. Most people would put off getting up because it just takes too much effort to get ready.

But if you happen to be a music lover (or actually, even if you're not), you can put this passion to good use. You can use music to make your mornings more bearable.

How? 

Instead of a Clock, Use Music to Time Your Activities While Getting Ready:

1. Pick 4 of your favorites songs or dance tunes. Make a playlist of it on your music player or iPod. Make sure it can play loud enough so that you can hear the music through all the next activities.

2. Assuming every song lasts approximately 5 minutes, the 4 songs become your 20-minute cue to get yourself ready for work.

Here's a Example: 

Song 1: Brush your teeth and floss. Tap your feet to the beat while you're at it! 

Song 2: With your hot water ready, take a shower. By all means, sing along to your heart's content!

Song 3: Get dressed and dance around while you're at it. (When no one's looking, it's ok to twerk!)

Song 4: Accessorize, put some cologne, pack your bag, turn off the music - and moonwalk your way out. 

Wasn't that fun? Now you can look forward to this mornings that always start you off on the right note!

What if your friends and family are already on their way in a few hours for your annual Thanksgiving gathering, but you've been so busy that your turkey is still frozen in your fridge and nowhere near ready to be served to your guests? 

What do you do?

How to Speed-Thaw Your Turkey:

1. Heat oven to its highest setting, then blast the frozen turkey for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven to jumpstart the thawing process.

2. Submerge the turkey in a large container filled with cool (40 degree) water, changing the water every 30 minutes or continuously running a slow stream of water from the tap. It will take 20-30 minutes per pound for the turkey to defrost this way. 

3. Once thawed, proceed with cooking the bird immediately - or hold it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

How to Turbo-Cook Your Turkey

1. Spatchcock it: This involves cutting out the turkey's backbone then pushing the bird flat. Dry it off and liberally salt and pepper the whole thing, then rub softened butter and chopped herbs under the skin of the breasts. Place the sheet of meat breast-side-down in a roasting pan or large sheet pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil to retain moisture.

2. Place the turkey in a 400 degree oven, basting it every 15 minutes with a mixture of butter and stock to prevent it from drying out.

3. When the breast meat reaches 165 degrees — this should only take an hour for a 14 to 16-lb bird — take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.

4. Carve the turkey according to this diagram.

Thanksgiving near-fiasco averted! 

80/20 Principle

Has it ever occurred to you that only 20% of what you do is probably producing 80% of the results you want to achieve?

This is what the Pareto Principle is all about. It is a concept originated by Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto in the 1900s when he discovered that 80% of the wealth in Italy was found in only 20% of the people. Pareto tested the concept in other areas of life and realized that the principle applied to all other areas of business or activity.

Here's the hack:

Understanding the essence of the principle is the main key thing, and then applying that in every area of your life.

If you are in business, you will realize for example that 20% of your clients are providing your company 80% of your revenues. Or that 20% of your sales staff is contributing 80% to your sales. Also, that 20% of your products is the source of 80% of your revenue. Knowing the 20% in any aspect of your life or business or activity is your guide in determining which areas to focus on or where to invest your efforts.

If you then wanted to increase sales, perhaps you should incentivize that 20% of your clients that are contributing the most to your revenues, as these might result to even more revenues from them. 

Knowing who among your sales staff is contributing 80% of your sales will help you decide which ones to reward, to keep, or to promote. 

If your business was strapped for cash and needed to make wise investments on products you can keep selling, then the 80/20 rule easily helps you make the decision on which products must be kept.

Apply the 80/20 rule in your life today and see what new things you might discover.