Goals – what it takes to JUST DO IT!

In my last post I talked about the thrill of finally doing something I’d wanted to do for years, and introduced Heidi Halvorson’s book Succeed as part of why I was able to do this.  Today I’m sharing some of the concepts, hoping that you can use some of these treasures to get yourself where you want to be.

So what have I used to get going on this goal I’ve been putting off for so long?

I used two main bodies of knowledge that I’ve learned about over the years: positive psychology, especially strengths principles, and goals research, from Heidi’s course and book.

1. I used my top strengths of Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Creativity, Curiosity, and Bravery.  I also used determination, will power, attention to detail, optimism, and persistence. 

In addition, I took the following steps from my learning on goal attainment:

2. I was SPECIFIC in what I wanted to do: create and post a blog.  This goal was CHALLENGING but not unrealistic.

3. I envisioned the final goal – a blog post, the first of many – but even more importantly, I ENVISIONED DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO CREATE IT.

4. I thought about WHY I wanted to blog, which I listed above.

5. I thought about WHAT it took to get there: brainstorming ideas, free writing, creating a draft, revising it, and posting it to my blogsite.

6. One of the most important things I did was to PLAN WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW I was going to accomplish this.

7. I used triggers to tap my unconscious, both an item on my to do list and a task (in Microsoft Outlook) that popped up at intervals to remind me.

8. I focused on GETTING BETTER rather than BEING GOOD: I furloughed my perfectionism, and concentrated on starting where and as I am and learning as I go.

9. I thought about PROMOTION – how great I would feel to achieve this goal (it doesn’t matter how small the goal, or how easy for others: we deserve to celebrate our success).  I also thought about PREVENTION – how lousy I would feel if I failed to do this yet again, how embarrassed to report to my accountability buddy and my mentor and my coach and my colleagues that I had not been able to do even one blog post.  Both these techniques are very powerful.

There are more techniques, but that’s enough for now.  I will be explaining and expanding on these in the future.

1. Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., Hudson Street Press, January 2011

Goals – the journey to finally JUST DOING IT!!

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~ William James

I have this quote on my To Do List every day.  Sometimes I pay attention, sometimes not so much.

Today I’m paying attention.  Today I’m celebrating because I’m working on a task uncompleted for two years: I AM FINALLY BLOGGING AGAIN!!!!!!

As I’m typing, I can feel myself relax, in a deep chest-lightening, soul-satisfying way.

I have been wanting to blog for so long – I have things come up all the time that I want to share, to help people as the learning and insights have helped me.  I want to get to know more people who are interested in the things I’m interested in, and to have them get to know me.  I want to have the experience of a regular writing habit – to grow as a writer, a blogger, a coach.  And most of all, I want to express my authentic self, to put some of my best into writing, to do what I was meant to do.  To recapture the joy I’ve had in writing for so much of my life.

A long list of compelling reasons.  So why haven’t I been doing it?

Good question.  Why don’t we do the things we really want to do?  An essential issue for all of us, especially coaches: it’s our job to help people do what they really want to do.

Look at all those reasons why I really, really have wanted to blog yet continued not to.  Do you have something in your life like this?  You so want it, yet you don’t do it.

Goals are my latest passion.  I’m excited right now about the latest research on goal attainment, and this is one of the reasons I’M FINALLY BLOGGING.  There are so many things that go into why we do what we do, and why we don’t do what we don’t do.  Learning what researchers have discovered is transformational for me, and I’m guessing it could be for you as well.

Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (1), the new book by Heidi Grant Halvorson, is a treasure trove of insights and research findings, an easy read with profound wisdom.  I’m reading this as well as taking a class from Heidi through MentorCoach.

In future posts I will be sharing what I’m learning along with simple, practical ways you can use it yourself.  Some techniques you might already use in some form, and I’ll explain why they’re effective.  Others will probably be new to you and can make the difference between success and failure.

I’m adding this to my knowledge of strengths and other positive psychology strategies, and my coaching training, to help my clients get where they want to go.  It’s helping to transform them as well, and I’ll be sharing some of their stories.

Love it when they get the deep chest-lightening, soul-satisfying feeling that comes from completing a task they’ve been wanting to do!

Next, I’ll share specifics about what has finally worked for me.  My hope is that you can use them to do what you’ve been wanting to do — organize your computer, declutter your spare room, implement wellness habits, get going on your blog!  Or start toward a long-held dream.

We all deserve to make our dreams come true.  This is one step for me – what could your first step be?

(1) Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., Hudson Street Press, January 2011

What I love about organizing

I’m busy lately preparing for a community presentation at the Sanctuary at St. Paul’s in South Bend, Indiana; as well as scheduling new workshops and  “work (play)” groups for the fall — and it’s reminding me what I love so much about organizing, particularly using people’s natural, most powerful strengths to get and stay organized.

What I do in my work is to help people see:

We all have strengths we can use to tackle any decluttering or organizational challenge, that most people probably have never thought of using for this.

They probably have more organizational skills than they realize.

Decluttering doesn’t have to be as hard as we often make it out to be.

Disorganization and clutter cost us dearly in many ways, some of which we’re not even aware of. 

In short, people can have more success, peace of mind, clarity, and focus with less hassle and difficulty — and I can help!  That is truly my  passion about what I do.

More soon!

Optimism & Organizing: A Vibrant Vision

Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.

~ William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Your Best Possible Space

What does your Best Possible Space look like?  You know you want to be more organized, yet have you taken the time to really imagine what that would be like?

Why should that be important – after all, you “know” you want to be more organized, or maybe you just think you “should” be more organized.  Not much juice around those thoughts.

You can “juice it up” by creating a powerful vision for yourself of how life would be like if you decluttered and cleared, found your treasures, and could find what you wanted instantly.  And there’s a good reason why this added passion could make the difference between achieving your goals and disappointing yourself yet again.

If you’re optimistic about something, you’re more willing to expend effort to achieve it – in that way, optimistic thoughts can be self-fulfilling.  No magic: just cause and effect.

However, many people think you’re either naturally optimistic or you’re not, and that’s that.  Not true!  You can cultivate optimism and reap the benefits not only around organizing but in every area of your life.  Studies show optimistic people not only achieve more, but tend to be healthier and happier.

We love health and happiness, right?  So how do you become more hopeful?

One of the ways to train yourself to be more optimistic is called the Best Possible Self Activity, as described by Sonja Lyubomirsky in her new book, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want.

People were told to write for a short period of time for several days in a row about what their ideal lives would look like.  The results were dramatic: those who did this, compared to those who just wrote about other topics, “were more likely to show immediate increases in positive moods, to be happier several weeks later, and even to report fewer physical ailments” months later1.

Another way to do this is visualization.  Some of the successful interventions I’ve used with my clients around decluttering and getting organized involved visualizing in as much detail as possible what the space would look like if it was ideal.  We talk about the colors and exactly what items are where, what the sounds, smells, and feel of it might be; how others would react to it; how they would feel walking into that space. 

That is a Best Possible Space activity and it has been a powerfully motivating one for my clients and myself.  It’s often so motivating, projects we’d put off for ages get done – and the results are even better than we imagined!

I tried this with one of my clients, who immediately felt more enthusiasm for decluttering her home office, a job she’d been putting off for a long time.  Afterwards, she reported that the gratification she felt when she walked into her newly-cleared space to work, as well as the reaction from her husband when he saw it, were deeper and made her happier than she’d thought they would.

 Even though I’m talking about space here, this technique can be just as effective for decluttering your computer files, your email inbox, your photos, or your schedule.

It’s of course very important to know where you’re going when you set out to accomplish something.  Yet how common it is for us to just concentrate on the mess at hand instead of the glorious goal.

No wonder we so often avoid decluttering.  How overwhelming and demoralizing it is to contemplate a big pile of I-don’t-know-what-goes-where.  If the pile is all we think about, all we see – well, it’s no wonder we’re slow to do anything about it.

Keeping the goal vibrant and visible is a proven motivational and transformational technique.  One of the reasons it works is because if you believe an outcome is possible, that you can attain it, and are reminded of it often, you will persevere when things get rough.  Any big project hits snags – you might get discouraged or impatient with your progress, or face challenges you aren’t prepared to handle.  If your vision is clear and strong, you are more likely to keep going.

The science bears this out.  Dr. Lyubomirsky states, “Researchers have shown that optimists are more likely to persevere and to engage fully even in the face of difficulty2.  Optimism motivates us and leads us to take initiative.  Optimists don’t easily give up.  This is likely one major reason that optimists are more successful across a wide variety of arenas – professional, academic, athletic, social, and even health.  And of course, persistence, social skill, vigor, health, and career success all are things that contribute to our happiness1.”

Visualize your ideal space in as much detail as possible.  Keep your ideal where it’ll get your attention by writing it down and reading it over from time to time or by posting a visual representation somewhere you’ll see it often. 

The visual could be one picture from a magazine that reminds you of how you want your space to be (or how you want to feel once you’re organized); it could be several pictures pasted on poster board; it could be a sketch you drew yourself; it could even be just a color or an object that brings to mind – and heart – the outcome and feeling you want.

To create the enthusiasm to declutter and get organized, to get past any overwhelming or discouraging feelings, tap into your natural optimism by keeping the vision vibrant and visible. 

Enthusiasm is a kind of faith that has been set on fire. ~ George Matthew Adams


1. Lyubomirsky, Sonja (2008) The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want. (pp. 106-107) New York: The Penguin Press.

2. Segerstrom, C. C. (2001).  Optimism, goal conflict, and stressor-related immune change.  Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12:441-67.

Oprah & I: Decluttering and Using Your Strengths

Yesterday Oprah featured a powerful way to find happiness and fulfillment at work.  Marcus Buckingham demonstrated the energizing way tapping into your strengths can change not just your work life, but your whole life.

She is also running a series on decluttering with her organizing guru Peter Walsh.

The stars are aligning!  I’m so excited to be offering a way to join these two very positive, powerful, transformational approaches that I combine in my work – decluttering and organizing using your strengths.

Holiday commitments await –

Meanwhile, check out my new website at http://kathrynburnett.com ~~


Have a fabulous, meaningful, positive holiday season succulent with savoring!

Welcome to Declutter Ebook with Coach Kathy Burnett & Vibrant Life Coaching!


Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

~ Lin Yutang 

Writer and Inventor




Read my chapter in this exciting new book:

Clutter Free and Clear:
Take Charge of Your Time and Space
A how-to book to simplify your life



I invite you to connect with me to create the life you really want: full of meaning, fun, and passion: a Vibrant Life!


What’s causing you pain, unhappiness, or just a sense of “there must be more”?  What in your life isn’t as great as you once imagined it would be?  My clients usually want   




h organization:

a decluttered home, office, computer, schedule 

h better health   h more motivation   

h better relationships  h more happiness  

h a rewarding job/career  h more fun  

h meaning & fulfillment    h peace of mind    

h zest for life






Coaching with me, you can discover the

most current ways to thrive ~~


² declutter

² create new and effective habits

² identify and use your strengths (the “real best you”) in every area of your life so you can be more organized, more effective, excel more easily, and be happier doing it

² improve your communication and relationships

² raise your overall sense of well-being

² increase your resilience to life’s challenges

² work with your own natural energy and strength to change

² engage your spirit

² identify what you most deeply want to be and do

² and have fun while you create the life you really want!  



Ready for passion? 

       You can live a Vibrant Life and I can help you get there!