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Balancing Your Life With Goals

May 14, 2012

by Kit Cassingham

The best innkeepers are those who have found a way to balance life and work. Most of them do it while they are acting innkeepers, and that school of hard knocks makes it more challenging to learn and thrive. Goal setting before you get into the bed and breakfast innkeeping industry is the smartest business move you can take.

Innkeeping is fraught with the potential of getting out of balance in life. One clue to not letting that happen is to block your time off away from the inn and not let anything interfere with that break. You owe it to yourself and your guests to be dedicated to refreshing yourself and refueling your soul. Another way is to set goals, in all areas of your life.

Goals are the "guiding stars" of your life and business. Goals are your energy source. Goals are a reference point. You have goals for how you want to live, how you want to dress, what car you drive, how much money you will make, and what accomplishments you will achieve. Goals are reached by following prescribed paths.

According to SyberVision's Neuropsychology of Self-Discipline that there are four steps involved in the process of determining your goals: limitless wishing, wishful imagining, writing a creative biography and writing your personal statement of purpose.

Writing your personal statement of purpose is a powerful focusing tool, one not to be overlooked. Think of this statement as a goal. As you write this statement, think of SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Tangible. You want a SMART goal to make your goal real.

Let's take an example, step by step, to show how you might implement SMART into your goals.
1. Think of a Specific goal: A gazebo in the garden.
2. Determine the Measurable steps you will take to reach your goal: Research whether a building permit is needed for the structure you have in mind, and hire someone to design and build it for you.
3. What must you do to Achieve the goal: Make sure you have the money for the project. Are there skills you need for this project? What behavior must you have? What actions must you take? Set a completion date?
4. Is it achievable (humanly, physically, or financially possible)?
5. Is your goal tangible (touchable, capable of being felt, obvious, or easily perceived)?

Pursuing your goals is like navigating. You know where you are and you know where you want to be. Are you are moving toward the goal? Are you making adjustments as you go? Those adjustments help you stay with your course of action. Tacking, a sailing term, is making adjustments to the chosen course as wind, currents, and obstacles impact you. Or as your destination changes. You will make adjustments to your goals as you proceed toward them, just as you make adjustments when you sail. The important point is to keep your eyes on the goal and keep moving toward it as you make adjustments.

Setting effective goals can be challenging, and it's not something most of us learn in school. Through the years I've studied goal setting, leading me to read lots of great books, and taking some programs or classes. The best program I have seen and experienced is the one put on by Lifebook. This program is all about goals and creating the life you want. The difference between the approach taken by and other programs is Lifebook takes the concept of goals and pushes it to the next level. It helps you focus on your life in such a way you can understand what holds you back from achieving your goals and so you can see what propels you to exceeding your goals. Lifebook is all about balancing your life as you set goals.

This program sets you up to examine twelve areas of your life, areas like health, relationship, finance, spiritual, as well as lifestyle. Then you carefully examine those areas from four directions, one area at a time. First, explore what your beliefs are about the area you are exploring -- both positive and negative. Delve into those beliefs so you can replace as many negative beliefs with positive beliefs as possible. The intention here is to rid your life of the beliefs that hold you back and strengthen the beliefs that move your goals forward.

Next, explore your vision of the area you are working on. What is your vision for that area in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? This exercise is strengthened by having strong reasons for having that vision, reasons that really connect with your heart and soul. How do you want to impact the world?

Finally, write down what steps and actions you are going to have to take to make reach the goals you set for yourself in this area of your life. As you write about your strategies for your action plan, be SMART. Make sure your action plan is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and tangible.

Embellish this document with images and quotes that support your goals. Make this goal-setting document as vibrant and alive as possible. Get all of your senses involved in making this real.

Repeat these steps for each the other areas of your life and watch your life become what you want it to be. See how much easier things are for you, and how much more enjoyable they are. With focus and dedication to this process you'll find your goals are attained in ways you probably never experienced before.

Since bed and breakfast innkeeping is about giving your best, becoming your best supports that goal. And don't stop there! Review this document at least quarterly, if not monthly. Becoming the best you can be isn't a one-time event, it's an ongoing process.

I've given you a brief overview of the process. While you might be able to do this just fine on your own, from personal experience I can tell you it's much more powerful if you take either the in-person session, or the online session. But, don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself. Watch Lifebook's overview.

There is also an assessment you can take that is a priceless focusing tool. Lifebook is offering this to my clients and readers for free. It's called the Intra-Spect Assessment. To take the free Lifebook assessment. Enter the assessment code "sage" when prompted.

Yes, there are lots of innkeepers who go into this new innkeeping career and lifestyle without doing this kind of introspection or goal setting. And many of those innkeepers ­ most, maybe ­ would have done it differently, if they would have done it at all, if they had taken the time to delve into their inner workings. There are also many innkeepers who haven't taken any innkeeping seminars or read any of the books on how to do this business. Frankly, I think that's crazy!

Innkeeping isn't for everyone, but it's great for the right people. Going down a path that isn't right for you will waste a lot of your time, energy and money. Why do that? Set your goals to support your life, not detract from it. If you decide you are indeed innkeeping material, then give it your all and be your best. SMART goal setting will help you do just that.

Once you have gone through your SMART goal setting exercise, what can you focus on specifically regarding your inn? Good question! The answer is: your innkeeping goals. Get SMART, and get going on developing great goals.




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