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Seven steps for making your New Year’s resolutions stick December 28, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Healthy Lifestyle, Your personal success.
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I just read this super relevant article in the Harvard Medical School Health-Beat Newsletter.

Maybe you plan to ring in 2011 with a new resolve to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, not sweat the small stuff. And maybe these resolutions sound familiar — maybe just like the ones you made a year ago!

So how can you ensure that your determination to get healthier in 2011 sticks around past Valentine’s Day?  By creating new habits.

Creating new habits takes time and energy. A new behavior won’t become automatic overnight, but you may enjoy some of its benefits fairly quickly. Also, as you start to take walks regularly or engage in stress-soothing practices frequently, you’ll find you won’t feel quite right if you stop. That’s a great incentive to continue. So, keep nudging yourself in the direction you’d like to go. And try the following seven tips to help you create long-lasting change.

1. Dream big. Audacious goals are compelling. Want to compete in a marathon or triathlon? Lose 50 pounds or just enough to fit into clothes you once loved? With perseverance, encouragement, and support, you can do it. An ambitious aim often inspires others around you. Many will cheer you on. Some will be happy to help in practical ways, such as by training with you or taking on tasks you normally handle in order to free up your time.

2. Break big dreams into small-enough steps. Now think tiny. Small steps move you forward to your ultimate goal. Look for surefire bets. Just getting to first base can build your confidence to tackle — and succeed at — more difficult tasks. Don’t disdain easy choices. If you start every plan with “Make list,” you’re guaranteed to check one box off quickly. That’s no joke: a study on loyalty programs that aim to motivate consumers found giving people two free punches on a frequent-buyer card encouraged repeat business. So break hard jobs down into smaller line items, and enjoy breezing through the easy tasks first.

3. Understand why you shouldn’t make a change. That’s right. Until you grasp why you’re sticking like a burr to old habits and routines, it may be hard to muster enough energy and will to take a hard left toward change. Unhealthy behaviors like overeating and smoking have immediate, pleasurable payoffs as well as costs. So when you’re considering a change, take time to think it through. You boost your chance of success when the balance of pluses and minuses tips enough to make adopting a new behavior more attractive than standing in place. Engaging in enjoyable aspects of an unhealthy behavior, without the behavior itself, helps too. For example, if you enjoy taking a break while having a smoke, take the break and enjoy it, but find healthier ways to do so. Otherwise, you’re working against a headwind and are less likely to experience lasting success.

4. Commit yourself. Make yourself accountable through a written or verbal promise to people you don’t want to let down. That will encourage you to slog through tough spots. One intrepid soul created a Facebook page devoted to her goals for weight loss. You can make a less public promise to your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss, or friends. Want more support? Post your promise on Facebook, tweet it to your followers, or seek out folks with like-minded goals online.

5. Give yourself a medal. Don’t wait to call yourself a winner until you’ve pounded through the last mile of your big dream marathon or lost every unwanted ounce. Health changes are often incremental. Encourage yourself to keep at it by pausing to acknowledge success as you tick off small and big steps en route to a goal. Blast your favorite tune each time you reach 5,000 steps. Get a pat on the back from your coach or spouse. Ask family and friends to cheer you on. Look for an online support group. Or download the “Attaboy” app for your iPhone or iPod to enjoy a stream of compliments whenever you need to hear it.

6. Learn from the past. Any time you fail to make a change, consider it a step toward your goal. Why? Because each sincere attempt represents a lesson learned. When you hit a snag, take a moment to think about what did and didn’t work. Maybe you took on too big a challenge? If so, scale back to a less ambitious challenge, or break the big one into tinier steps. If nailing down 30 consecutive minutes to exercise never seems to work on busy days, break that down by aiming for three 10-minute walks — one before work, one during lunch, one after work — or a 20-minute walk at lunch plus a 10-minute mix of marching, stair climbing, and jumping rope or similar activities slipped into your TV schedule.

7. Give thanks for what you do. Forget perfection. Set your sights on finishing that marathon, not on running it. If you compete to complete, you’ll be a winner even if you wind up walking as much as you run. With exercise — and so many other goals we set — you’ll benefit even when doing less than you’d like to do. Any activity is always better than none. If your goal for Tuesday is a 30-minute workout at the gym, but you only squeeze in 10 minutes, feel grateful for that. It’s enough. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

How will you measure Your Life? August 2, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Delivering Happiness, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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I just came across this very interesting article by Prof. Clayton Christensen, one of the premier Academics in the field of Innovation. I strongly recommend reading the full article here

http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1

It is thought provoking on the theme of happiness and purpose in life.

This is relevant for any marketer as you choose what your business is going to be all about.

Here are the core tenants of the article:

  1. Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team.
  2. The choice and successful pursuit of a profession is but one tool for achieving your purpose. But without a purpose, life can become hollow.
  3. Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy.
  4. If you want your kids to have strong self-esteem and confidence that they can solve hard problems, those qualities won’t magically materialize in high school. You have to design them into your family’s culture—and you have to think about this very early on. Like employees, children build self-esteem by doing things that are hard and learning what works.
  5. Unconsciously, we often employ the marginal cost doctrine in our personal lives when we choose between right and wrong. A voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s OK.” The marginal cost of doing something wrong “just this once” always seems alluringly low
  6. If you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited. Generally, you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself—and you want to help those around you feel really good about themselves, too.

Important Marketing Lessons from Neuro-Science July 24, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Boomer Marketing, Marketing 101, On line Marketing success, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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I just found this article on the Nielsenwire.

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/measuring-the-buying-brain/

It is a good reminder that Neuro-sciences have helped to reveal the secrets of how the human brain works. This includes how we humans make buying decisions. Any Marketer needs to understand the important implications of this.

SEEING is BELIEVING: Among the five senses, vision is the most pronounced and the brain will discount information that is not in concert with the visual stimuli it receives.

SMELL leads to EMOTIONS: The sense of smell is quite powerful too, as it is the most direct route to emotions and memory storage. Being linked with a pleasant, iconic smell can significantly improve a product’s success in the marketplace.

“monkey see; monkey do”: Mirror neuron theory says that when someone watches an action being performed, he or she performs that action in his or her own brain. Activating this mirror neuron system is one of the most effective ways to connect with consumers.

Defining Differences
While human brains are remarkably similar, there are some fundamental differences such as age and gender that affect how we respond to stimuli.

The Boomer Brain:  After age 50, the brain becomes less able to screen out distractions, presenting a huge implication and a great opportunity for marketers.  Young people respond to positive and negative stimuli, but older people more strongly to positive stimuli. Another key trait among older adults is the tendency to overlook the negative. They indicate that, when presented with a negative message, older brains can “delete” the NOT and remember it as a DO over time. A real world example of how this neuroscience discovery is useful for marketers is when crafting a message for the Boomer Brain, say “Remember the milk”, not “Don’t forget the milk”.

The Female Brain: The female brain has four times as many neurons connecting the right and left hemispheres, greatly enhancing its ability to process information through both rational and emotional filters—a fact that must not be ignored when crafting a message.

NeuroFocus CEO Dr. A. K. Pradeep, is the author of the forthcoming book, The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind, which provides the knowledge and the tools necessary to help marketers understand how to appeal to the subconscious on a very practical level by covering the five major areas of neuromarketing practice: brand, products, packaging, in-store marketing, and advertising.

To learn more about the book and to discover how neuroscience is impacting the making, selling and buying of projects, visit NeuroFocus.com.

How to be healthy and successful June 16, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Delivering Happiness, Marketing 101, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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I just found the below information on the Harvard University Medical School Health Beat. And while it talks about personal Health, my experience of more than 20 years in the corporate business world tells me that this connection also exists for organizations, teams and companies.

And also: only a happy, healthy person can be truly successful.

Now: think about it as a MARKETER — this gives you tremendous insight into our potential customers. What can you do with your product or service that will help your customers to feel good, to fully engage and to do good? Always think about these BENEFITS, they are in the final end why people buy a product or service.

The happiness-health connection

Want to improve your health? Start by focusing on the things that bring you happiness. There is some scientific evidence that positive emotions can help make your life longer and healthier.

But to produce good health, positive emotions may need to be long term. In other words, thinking positive thoughts for a month when you already have heart disease won’t cure the disease. But lowering your stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of heart problems.

Pathways to happiness

In an early phase of positive psychology research, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson of the University of Michigan chose three pathways to examine:

  • Feeling good. Seeking pleasurable emotions and sensations, from the hedonistic model of happiness put forth by Epicurus, which focused on reaching happiness by maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain.
  • Engaging fully. Pursuing activities that engage you fully, from the influential research by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. For decades, Csikszentmihalyi explored people’s satisfaction in their everyday activities, finding that people report the greatest satisfaction when they are totally immersed in and concentrating on what they are doing—he dubbed this state of intense absorption “flow.”
  • Doing good. Searching for meaning outside yourself, tracing back to Aristotle’s notion of eudemonia, which emphasized knowing your true self and acting in accordance with your virtues.

Through focus groups and testing hundreds of volunteers, they found that each of these pathways individually contributes to life satisfaction.

Things that won’t make you happy

People tend to be poor judges of what will make them happy. While most people say they want to be happy, they often believe in myths or carry assumptions that actually get in the way. Here are some widely held myths about what will bring happiness:

  • Money and material things. The question of whether money can buy happiness has, for more than 30 years, been addressed by the “Easterlin paradox,” a concept developed by economist Richard Easterlin. His research showed that people in poor countries are happier when their basic necessities are covered. But any money beyond that doesn’t make much difference in happiness level.
  • Youth. Being young and physically attractive has little or no bearing on happiness. In a study published by Richard Easterlin in 2006 in the Journal of Economic Psychology, not only did being young fail to contribute to happiness, but adults grew steadily happier as they moved into and through middle age. After that, happiness levels began to decline slowly as health problems and other life problems emerged.
  • Children. Children can be a tremendous source of joy and fulfillment, but their day-to-day care is quite demanding and can increase stress, financial pressures, and marital strife. When ranking their happiness during daily activities, mothers report being more happy eating, exercising, shopping, napping, or watching TV than when spending time with their children. In several studies, marital satisfaction declines after the first child is born and only recovers after the last child leaves home. Personal relationships of all types are important, however. In studies, being married, having more friends, and having sexual intercourse more often are all moderately or strongly associated with happiness.

How do you know if you’re in flow?

  • You lose awareness of time. You aren’t watching the clock, and hours can pass like minutes. As filmmaker George Lucas puts it, talent is “a combination of something you love a great deal and something you can lose yourself in—something that you can start at 9 o’clock, look up from your work and it’s 10 o’clock at night … .”
  • You aren’t thinking about yourself. You aren’t focused on your comfort, and you aren’t wondering how you look or how your actions will be perceived by others. Your awareness of yourself is only in relation to the activity itself, such as your fingers on a piano keyboard, or the way you position a knife to cut vegetables, or the balance of your body parts as you ski or surf.
  • You aren’t interrupted by extraneous thoughts. You aren’t thinking about such mundane matters as your shopping list or what to wear tomorrow.
  • You are active. Flow activities aren’t passive, and you have some control over what you are doing.
  • You work effortlessly. Flow activities require effort (usually more effort than involved in typical daily experience). Although you may be working harder than usual, at flow moments everything is “clicking” and feels almost effortless.


Boomers — revolutionizing the workplace again June 2, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Boomer Marketing, Marketing 101, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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It is an undeniable fact that the Babyboomers are going to live longer and will hence also work longer. This leads to a significant revolution in the workplace that most companies and governments in the Western Industrialized World have not yet realized. There is a huge opportunity here.

For more on the subject, read Experts Weigh in on Older Americans and Work by Michelle V. Raffer on the Second Act Blog     http://tiny.cc/6ot74

The very interesting fact is that people in this period of their lives (40-60) have very different drives and motivations than younger people. They are more likely focused on giving back, which is a huge opportunity if harnessed correctly.

What do you think?

Zappos: How to deliver Profits, Passion and Purpose May 25, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Marketing 101, On line Marketing success, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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Sounds impossible?

Well, it isn’t and Tony Hsieh has proven it with ZAPPOS by creating a $1.2 Billion business from scratch. Many of you may have heard about Zappos and others may say “who?” Tony has written a book about his experience that will start shipping on June 7th, 2010. He has also teamed up with others to create the “deliver happiness” movement.

Sounds slightly weird? Well, that’s what Tony and the Zappos culture are. Check out the preview at http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/ and pre-order your book immediately.

Follow your mind or your heart? May 22, 2010

Posted by utehagen in On line Marketing success, Your personal success.
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I just saw a very valuable piece of advice on this topic by reknown author Tamara Erickson:

I’m a big believer in following your heart.  My research shows that we do our best work when we’re engaged in and committed to our task.  Achieving high levels of engagement is very clearly a “heart” issue – not a head one.

This goal, by the way, is a win-win proposition.  It’s good for the individual to do work you care about and enjoy; it’s also better for the company, because you’re much more likely, if you’re engaged, to go that “extra mile” – to innovate, collaborate, provide extraordinary customer service, and so on.

In all three of my books written to the generations, I offer a framework of “Life Lures” – different characteristics of the workplace, each of which seem to touch the hearts of some of us, and not others.  My research has discovered primary archetypes, for example:

  1. Expressive Legacy – people who crave a sense that they’re doing work that will have lasting value – that they’re building or creating something, or making something better.  In same way, to feel really engaged, People for whom this is the dominant archetype find engagement in the fundamental meaning of the work itself.
  2. Secure Progress – people who do their best work in environments that are stable and predictable – ones in which the rules governing success are clearly understood and followed.    Individuals in this archetype are unable to engage fully in their work, no matter how important it is, if the environment is unstable and chaotic.
  3. Team Victory – people who really enjoy being part of a well-functioning team — who find great satisfaction to contributing their expertise to the success of the whole.  People for whom this is the dominant archetype obviously like team-based work, in smoothly functioning teams.
  4. Risk and Reward – people who are adrenaline junkies – who thrive on change and almost impossible challenge.  Individuals in this archetype crave flexibility and leading edge opportunities.  They don’t accept the possibility of significant failure, in exchange for the excitement of the immediate challenge.

Tools to assess your archetype are available in the trilogy books (Retire Retirement, What’s Next, Gen X?, and Plugged In).  I’ve also extracted the tools and posted them on my website (www.tammyerickson.com) .

Please find the full post under http://tiny.cc/mli4r

How to become a more successful Search Marketer? April 19, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Understanding Customers.
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I just read a very noteworthy article by Laurie Sullivan from Mediapost.  He quotes Mike Moran, chief strategist at Converseon, at the Search Insider Summit in Captiva, Fla. Friday who urged the industry to not only become transparent, but focus on serving consumers rather than getting backlinks or appearing on the top spot on the first page in Google search results. Don’t forget the PageRank, but think more about answering consumer questions.

Search marketing must turn into a consumer service to help make the correct decisions when purchasing products or services.

As an expert in deeply understanding consumer needs I can only urge any serious on-line marketer to listen to this advice. Always remember that on the internet your customer has all the power and will only “invite” you into their lives if you provide real value to them, e.g. if you think about their needs first and not your own.

Read the full article under http://snipurl.com/vmeq6 [www_mediapost_com]

How to build a large and passionately loyal following? March 27, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Business Opportunities, On line Marketing success, Your personal success.
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The secret to any meaningful human interaction is PASSION. What really makes any person act is an EMOTION, a “gut feeling”, and not a rationale argument, brilliant as it may be.

So, you need to bring passion, both your own and that of your employees, to the forefront.

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at Marketingprofs, just published a great article in the American Express Open Forum titled: Secrets to Earning Passionate Fans (Not Just Customers), and the Top 3 Things Stopping Your Company from Being the Next Zappos http://snipurl.com/v3psx   [www_openforum_com]

She reviews a new book by Jeanne Bliss: “I love you more than my dog” who in turn has studies companies that enjoy exceptional consumer loyalty.

It is all about the deliberate decisions that you, as an entrepreneur, make about how you will act and what the purpose for your enterprise is and then to act accordingly.

How to win loyal customers? March 12, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Marketing 101.
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People will become loyal to you if you offer them something that is of unique value to them. And the value you offer should better fit with your potential customer’s needs and desires than a competitive offer.

But how do you find out what people’s needs and desires are? It is really quite simple, but most marketers don’t do it. The simple secret is to know your customers as well as you know your spouse, close family members and best friends.

It all starts with making a CHOICE about who the bulls-eye target for your offer is. Then you need to go and personally meet with your target. Not all of them of course, it is sufficient to spend quality time with a few representatives of your target audience. Observe what they are doing, ask them to talk you through why they are doing what they are doing. Look for how your potential offering could help to make what your target is trying to accomplish easier, faster, more pleasant, less expensive, more emotionally rewarding etc.

Secret Tip: Don’t ever expect that people can TELL you what their true underlying motivations are. They can’t, because these are happening in the sub-conscious. You need to be the detective who discovers the motivations from what you see and hear.