Monday, October 1, 2012

6 Ways To Keep Going When Your Goal Seems Out Of Reach

When you first get the big idea, you're excited. Maybe you're going to finally run that marathon, or write the Great American Novel, or spend the summer in France.

Yay you! That excitement gets you through the early phase, whether it's running a couple miles a day, creating a detailed plot outline, or putting yourself on a strict budget and researching house-sitting opportunities in Paris.

But somewhere around the time you can't seem to run ten miles without stopping, or you're struggling with chapter seven, or you've spent so many nights home watching free shows on the Internet and eating Tuna Surprise you think you might poke your eyes out with a fork, you start having second thoughts.

You wonder if it wouldn't be easier to give up your big idea and go back to your old life. One where your knees don't hurt, you don't care that your novel's characters aren't doing anything interesting, and you can afford to go out for dinner and a movie.

How do you keep going when your goal seems as far off as another universe?

You've hit what everyone hits – the motivation drain of the middle.

Beginnings and endings are where the energy is. When you start something new you're pumped up, excited to get going. All the things you need to do to make your goal happen are new, and you take them on with joy and enthusiasm.

Endings have their own energy surges. You're close to the finish line and can practically feel the relief at being done, plus the pride and happiness of getting the thing you've been aiming for all that time.

Middles are tough. They're where your enthusiasm flags, and you may be tired and lose sight of why you went after your big idea in the first place. The middle is where most people give up.

You don't have to. You just need to a) know you'll hit a slowdown, and b) give yourself strategies to get through it.

Here are six you can use to keep going when your goal seems out of reach:

1. Imagine yourself achieving your goal using all the senses. Smell the cool morning air the day of the marathon; feel your strong, toned muscles; picture yourself crossing the finish line; hear your friends and family cheering from the sidelines; taste the celebratory meal you'll have after. Visualization works.

2. Remind yourself daily of the why of your goal. How will you or your life be better after you've achieved it? Maybe you'll be healthier, more disciplined, a published author, or fluent in French – whatever the benefits are, keep them at the front of your mind.

3. Get support, especially from those who've done what you're attempting. Join a runners or writers group, or get a friend to keep you accountable. Interview someone who's lived in a foreign country and offer to send her a small gift for her time. Share your doubts and ask for advice or help.

4. Act as if you haven't lost momentum. Sure, you're cranky or tired, so fake it. Keep going anyway, knowing that each step gets you closer, even if it's hard or doesn't seem to be moving you forward. The bonus? Discipline is great for self-esteem. Taking on something big and making it happen is huge, and when your next big idea comes along you'll have this success to look back on.

5. Take a day off. Rest, goof around, refresh and reenergize, and don't worry about your goal. One day won't slow you down, and it'll let you restart tomorrow with better energy and clearer perspective.

6. Celebrate milestones along the way. You shouldn't have to wait until the very end for the big payoff, so build in mini-achievements and reward yourself when you hit them. Make a decadent dinner, buy that new book you've been wanting, or spend a night in that sweet B&B one town over.

Remember – middles are hard for everyone, so keep going. You can do this. Now get out there and be awesome!

(As always, hit the share button if you found something useful.)

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Oh, and one more thing – what tips do you have for staying motivated? Let us know in the comments!

DEONNE KAHLER writes at Life on the High Wire. She's also mom to Sam the Wonder Pup and is obsessed with road tripping, national parks, and quirk.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

How To Change Your Life Via Surprise

Changing your life requires the factor change right? And it is often nice knowing the change and expecting the results before hand, be in relationships, places, habits for the most part. But the surprise factor beats conformity by a huge margin, now doesn't it?

Expecting change to enter through the front door, we are just narrowing our focus, and forgetting to look on the periphery. And should we seek for change that improves us, we are better off realizing that it is pertaining surprise- something new, unfamiliar, unexpected by far.

The power of surprise in changing your life

We all say we love surprises. BS. We hate them. Granted, we love the ones appearing gradually, preparing us; we love the sweet surprises, where everything is going according to plan, in the linear pattern of conformity, only slightly rearranged. But the moment something out of the comfort zone emerges, it's all a blur afterwards.

And realizing that what is hard to bear now, may in turn be something really remarkable, there is a chance we can see surprises as something more appealing after all. You see, seeking for the WHY and the opportunity in every new thing around the corner, we may as well discover something.

Surprises may take credit in changing your life for the better only if looked retrospectively. Connecting the dots now really does seem like something impossible to do. But after a while, when things take some direction in which to develop, it all makes sense.

For the less dogmatic, it's a no-brainer really. Things happen, we react to them, what comes on the other end is a blessing. However, there are some that are tightly holding the grip on conformity, not letting it go even for an instance.

Opening for the change by letting be surprised

There are many people I know dreading change. To rearrange things, be that in habits, or anything else, is a thing they are terrible at. Worse yet, they are no better at how they react on change inflicted upon them; on surprises, in short.

And realizing that being open for surprises, allowing them to happen, is rather a good thing, everything changes.

Granted, they may not turn to result for the better, but still. Change happens not only in results and outcome. The finality isn't the way we see it. It's rather way further than the unilateral image.

We change, learn, even improve, from things that are not necessary to stick. Sometimes even the passing surprises open us for a myriad of opportunities. They may even reshape a segment of our persona, who knows.

Not letting be surprised equals wanting to stay the same. Or even to reflect change, but only according to present belief systems. And if I'm to choose between circumstances opening new and broader views, and a linear, less dynamic approach towards change, I would say that the first has a lot more going on for me. It forms as good a place to start as any when wanting to learn something new about your capabilities, your opportunities, other options.

Changing your life by reacting rather than acting

Allowing change as a pertaining part of surprises, we are also changing in the way in which we conduct actions. We are no longer acting constantly, but rather reacting more and more. Things happen – we react to them, with them. It's similar to Taoism in its purest form. The philosophical school of thought, that is.

And reacting rather than constantly acting, we may as well find new opportunities. Embracing the change and growing alongside with it, the most natural outcome is adapting to it, thus savoring the most out of what is given.

Playing by the rules of what happens, not necessarily has to mean defeat, neither does have to mean compliance. It can, rather, mean growth. In any way imaginable, that is.

Being open for change, more often than not in the sense of extrovert resemblance and mainly of a sudden appearance (read surprise), we are, in fact, letting opportunities happen, rather than be artificially created. And who are we to argue what's better, if we never had the chance to experience, and judge afterwards… This way, we are letting the biased outlook, for the most part.

Reacting rather than constantly acting implies that, to a certain extent, our understanding of things is not as narrow as it was the day before. It's rather broader, in the sense of being able to see pass what's dictated by things we commonly care about, and see a vision of ourselves quite larger than what we are used to.

It's seeing us for what may we become if left to explore, as opposed to what we are and what we will be like if we stay on only one linear course.


Slavko Desik is writer and editor at Lifestyle Updated, a blog about improving one's lifestyle and enjoying life full time. He also writes about subjects closely connected with self-improvement and personal growth.

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Friday Photos and an Adoption!

All was quiet today, a beautiful clear day.

Some great news as little Butterfly, a 2 1/2 year old Morab filly, was happily adopted to a new home today. Yay for Butterfly!

She is such a cute little girl!

Butterfly will move to her new home on Sunday. Butterfly arrived at Shiloh at 6 weeks of age...

Big Pasture at breakfast...

Big Pasture...

Wandering Burros sharing hay with Lucky Run in the Medical Units...

There goes little Florecita...

She was looking for her mom, Mamacita...

Wanderering BFFs Yep and Scrappy...

Wanderer Latigo...

- Posted by Jill Curtis from Shiloh Ranch

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Illustrated Equestrian Gifts with a Touch of Whimsy (and a giveaway!)

My in-laws recently moved their business to a new office space in a grand old mansion of a house, complete with ornate furniture and decorations straight out of the early 1900′s. But what I really loved were the original oil paintings adorning every wall of every room – and over 90% of them were hunt scenes. I drooled over them. The ponies and the ladies in side saddles and the hounds … there’s just something that makes me want to fall into each scene all Voyage of the Dawn Treader style.

And I felt the same way when I first saw Felix Doolittle’s whimsical watercolor illustrations of horses and jumps and riding gear adorning notecards, bookmarks, stationary, and paper weights.

I’m sure when you see them you’ll agree that I couldn’t turn down some free samples of these lovely items! (Huge thanks to Robyn for putting together and sending me this package! I was anxiously waiting by the door, and ripped right in as soon as it came). While I was waiting for my samples to come in the mail, I pretty much started (and finished) my Christmas shopping on the Felix Doolittle website.

I could tell from the website that the illustrations are darling, so I was just waiting to judge the quality of the materials in person.

The packaging was lovely, with a sweet hand written note from Robyn, on Felix Doolittle illustrated stationary of course. Will Felix Doolittle illustrate my company’s business cards?

It contained a hand mirror with a sweet dappled gray horse, a box of notecards that resembles a hardback book, and a set of five illustrated bookmarks. The ribbons on all of the items are a nice touch, especially if you intend to use these as gifts. 

Here are the notecards inside the box. I love the ribbon tying them together and the simple equestrian motif. It makes me want to go to a horse show half a century ago in England, reminiscent of some of my favorite horse novels (anyone read the obscure but fantastic Year of the Horse or Scarlet Royal?). 

The notecards are flat (not folded), and printed on a lovely cream-colored cardstock with great texture. The horse shoe and flower illustration adorn the front of the envelopes.  

These bookmarks inspired me to read an actual physical book (Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls), rather than my Kindle. I’ve named the horses Harry, Peter, Francis, Declan, and Seamus. Apparently they are all geldings.

If you are looking for a unique Christmas gift this year (equestrian or otherwise), I highly recommend checking out Felix Doolittle. All of the illustrations – from nature to entertaining to hobbies – are simply darling. The quality of the printing and materials is exceptional, and the service is excellent.

Win a Set of Felix Doolittle Equestrian III Notecards

Felix Doolittle has generously agreed to give away one set of the equestrian III themed notecards pictured above to one lucky reader – a $40 value. To enter the giveaway drawing:

  1. Go check out the Felix Doolittle website
  2. Come back and comment and share which illustration and/or product you like the best and why. Be sure to include a real email address so I can contact you if you win.
  3. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter (and tag Regarding Horses so I see it) to earn extra entries in the drawing.
Contest will be open for one-week. Comments must be submitted by 12 noon ET on Friday, October 5. Winner will be announced the following week.

My Christmas gift to myself might just be these personalized magnets in equestrian. The boots! The jump! I swoon.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

7 Awesome Things You Can Do for Building Social-Confidence and Social-Leadership

"If your number one goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of you, then you risk sacrificing your uniqueness, and, therefore, your excellence." – Unknown

In every social group and every social interaction, there is always a leader. Being social and interacting with people can be fun, engaging and exciting, however for many it can also be scary, exhausting and raise levels of anxiousness.

The good thing is, if you do feel tired, exhausted or have raised levels of anxiousness in social interactions, there are ways to overcome this. However, to be clear there is no magic pill that makes you feel more confident in social situations (and I'm talking healthy substances, not drugs or alcohol!).

Social leadership is another key point. Being the leader in a social situation enables you to fully be yourself, show your uniqueness and therefore your excellence and it enables you to truly live the life that you want, as you can direct the flow of conversation and events.

Enhancing your social confidence and social leadership not only helps you live the life that you truly want, but it helps deepen your relationships with others, it can help enhance your career or work life, and ultimately it will help you become a more happy person. Social interactions and relationships are key to happiness, so it is worth the time and effort gaining an understanding of how to develop yourself to ensure you get the best out of your relationships.

It takes action from your side to learn, practice and take the lead in interactions. It's time to put yourself out there and enhance your social confidence and social leadership.

As part of my work, I design and facilitate leadership and development programs and coach people with emotional intelligence. I also run Australia's largest social network for those in their twenties. Over the years, I have found that there are 6 AWESOME things that you can do for building social confidence and social leadership.


Start a Meetup group

Meetup groups are not just a fantastic way of meeting new people, but they are a fantastic way of practicing social interaction in a comfortable environment. What I have found is that there are always new people coming to Meetups and that you will never be the only person that does not know anyone. This can help you to start to create your very own social circle that you can practice taking the lead in.

Starting your own Meetup group is another fantastic way of enabling you to truly show your uniqueness. You can design your group's site, pick the locations and choose your target audience, allowing you to build social leadership in a way that is suited to your life.


Join Toastmasters

Toastmasters is undoubtedly one of the best ways of building your confidence in front of people. For those that do not know, Toastmasters is a non-profit organisation helping individuals build communication and leadership skills. Essentially, you go through a variety of exercise, games and simulations that help you think on your feet, prepare key messages and speak in front of an audience.

Spend just 6 weeks with toastmasters and I'm sure you will feel a vast improvement in your social confidence and social leadership.


Develop and deliver a presentation on your topic of expertise

What is it that you are an expert in? What do people come to you for when they need help? Develop and deliver a presentation on your topic of expertise and enhance your social confidence and social leadership. Giving a presentation not only enables you to practice your speaking and communication skills in front of an audience, but it helps you develop authority in the topic that you are choosing.

Have you noticed that after giving a presentation people seem more interested in talking to you? Getting up and presenting in front of an audience gives other's an insight into who you are as a person, enabling them to feel more comfortable in approaching you. This enables you to easily develop your social confidence and social leadership amongst something that you have expertise in and in an environment where you feel more comfortable.


Do something silly and make it public!

The world is simply one big playground! I absolutely love this one and it is something my friends and I do regularly. Never underestimate it's power in enhancing your social confidence and social leadership.

Jump outside of your comfort zone and do something silly in public. Perhaps it's singing in public, dancing in public, wearing an outlandish t-shirt in public. Perhaps it's organising a day out wearing ridiculous outfits with friends. Whatever it is, make sure it's silly, fun and something that you normally would not do.

Being silly in public helps you learn that life is simply about having fun and that social interactions do not have to be daunting or serious. It also enables you to truly show your uniqueness and bring out another side of your personality for the world to see.


Go to networking events

There is a lot of stigma around networking events, but in saying that there is also a lot of awesome value. Networking events are everywhere these days and for a range of different purposes. Find a networking event that suits your interests and practice meeting new people. The more that you practice interacting with others and the more you observe others interacting , you will quickly build your social confidence and also enhance your social leadership, allowing you to be more comfortable in expressing who you truly are.


Go to singles events

Even if you're not single, going to single's events can be a fantastic way of putting yourself out there and practicing your social skills. The good thing is, everyone is there to meet new people and simply have a good time. Sure, you might be spending more time with the opposite sex here, but they make up about 50% of the population so it's not a bad place to start.

As an added bonus, if you're single and you've developed your social confidence and social leadership, you will most likely walk away with a few dates to come your way!

Be the organizer of events amongst your friends

Last but definitely not least, be the organizer of events among your friends. You already have a good relationship with your friends and you will no doubt have social confidence amongst them. Being the organizer of events is a great way of developing your social leadership, allowing you to show your uniqueness and do activities that most interest you and that you feel more comfortable in doing. Your friends will see you as a social leader, also helping you to develop your social confidence.

Having complete social confidence and social leadership is not something that is found overnight. It is built and developed from taking action, putting yourself out there, learning more about yourself and experiencing the world. What are you going to do today that helps enhance your social confidence and social leadership?
Brendan Baker is an entrepreneur, socialite and starter of happiness. He runs Australia's largest social network for individuals in their 20's and has created The Start of Happiness, a movement dedicated to helping individuals find absolute happiness, reach peak performance and achieve ultimate success in life. You can visit Brendan and The Start of Happiness at

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

King Tut and Cleopatra- The Peacock Escape!

Most of you at Shiloh know that Sally has been wanting some Peacocks at Shiloh. After her wonderful birthday gift of three white baby Peacocks (thank you Donna, Tony Antonisha and Kayley!), Ed found two more full grown Peacocks at the NSPCA last week. They surprised Sally when we returned from our trip out of town!

So, needless to say, Sally has been excited about her new Peacock herd! But this morning, we were both in the Barn stall that is temporarily housing the two adults, King Tut and Cleopatra, and Tut made a flying beeline for the open door. Sally and I were both standing in the doorway at the time and, unfortunately, we both ran out of the stall screaming which gave Tut the opportunity to escape! He flew (really well I might add) out of the Barn and right up onto the Super Gummie's shelter roof!

There he is, mocking us from the top of the shelter!

We had no idea how we were going to get him down or stop him from just flying away!

See his head peeking over at us?

Then the guys, who grew up on ranches in Mexico, came up with an old fashioned plan involving the girl Cleopatra...

Tut began to wonder what we were doing with his girlfriend...

The guys gently tied a soft string around one of Cleopatra's legs...

And placed her in the open barn door where Tut could see her. They tied the other end of the string to the Barn, keeping Cleopatra from also escaping...

Then we waited while Cleo and Tut talked to each other...

Finally the guys began to try to herd Tut off of the shelter toward the Barn...

It worked! Tut flew down and went back into the Barn with Cleo...

After removing Cleo's string, the two were safely and happily reunited bac! k in the ir Barn stall.

Eventually they will be able to fly and roam freely all over the ranch. It will be so nice to see a Peacock herd wandering Shiloh!

- Posted by Jill Curtis from Shiloh Ranch

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