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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.

When you are not to be trusted September 30, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Delivering Happiness, Success with your colleagues, Your personal success.
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I just found this great post on the Berrett Koehler Publisher’s Blog Post.

Authors Dennis and Michelle Reina have spent decades studying issues of trust in the workplace. A commonly held misconception is that a breach of trust in the workplace has to be serious — like the CEO committing fraud or a manager being accused of a crime. The fact is that there are breaches of trust that happen daily. Here are five breaches of trust that you probably didn’t even realize that you may have been guilty of:

1. Failing to acknowledge a colleague’s efforts

2. Missing a deadline or two

3. Arriving late for meetings

4. Micromanaging

5. Discourteous, insensitive or rude behavior

From my 20+ years career in the corporate world, I wholeheartedly agree that these are all trust killers. I have seen them all happening and have worked hard to teach my people not to fall into these traps.

I recommend to click this link to read the full post

7 ways to jumpstart healthy change in your life September 21, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Business Opportunities, Delivering Happiness, Healthy Lifestyle, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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I just found this very insightful article from the Harvard Medical School, that I greatly recommend to read and to follow the link back to the original.

The day-to-day choices you make influence whether you maintain vitality as you age or develop life-shortening illnesses and disabling conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. You may understand exactly what you need to do to enjoy a healthier, happier life: carve out time to exercise, perhaps, or find a way to ratchet down stress. There’s just one hitch. You haven’t done it yet.

Often, the biggest hurdle is inertia. It’s true that it isn’t easy to change ingrained habits like driving to nearby locations instead of walking, let’s say, or reaching for a donut instead of an apple. However, gradually working toward change improves your odds of success. Here are some strategies that can help you enact healthy change in your life, no matter what change (or changes) you’d like to make.

Seven steps to shape your personal plan

Shaping your personal plan starts with setting your first goal. Break down choices that feel overwhelming into tiny steps that can help you succeed.

1. Select a goal. Choose a goal that is the best fit for you. It may not be the first goal you feel you should choose. But you’re much more likely to succeed if you set priorities that are compelling to you and feel attainable at present.
2. Ask a big question. Do I have a big dream that pairs with my goal? A big dream might be running a marathon or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, wiggling back into a closet full of clothes you love, cutting back on blood pressure medication, or playing games and sports energetically with your children. One word to the wise: if you can’t articulate a big dream, don’t get hung up on this step. You can still succeed in moving toward your goal through these other approaches.
3. Pick your choice for change. Select a choice that feels like a sure bet. Do you want to eat healthier, stick to exercise, diet more effectively, ease stress? It’s best to concentrate on just one choice at a time. When a certain change fits into your life comfortably, you can then focus on the next change.
4. Commit yourself. Make a written or verbal promise to yourself and one or two supporters you don’t want to let down: your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss, or friends. That will encourage you to slog through tough spots. Be explicit about the change you’ve chosen and why it matters to you. If it’s a step toward a bigger goal, include that, too. I’m making a commitment to my health by planning to take a mindful walk, two days a week. This is my first step to a bigger goal: doing a stress-reducing activity every day (and it helps me meet another goal: getting a half-hour of exercise every day). I want to do this because I sleep better, my mood improves, and I’m more patient with family and friends when I ease the stress in my life.
5. Scout out easy obstacles. Maybe you’d love to try meditating, but can’t imagine having the time to do it. Or perhaps your hopes for eating healthier run aground if you’re hungry when you walk through the door at night, or your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator aren’t well-stocked with healthy foods.
6. Brainstorm ways to leap over obstacles. Now think about ways to overcome those roadblocks. Not enough time? I’ll get up 20 minutes early for exercises and fit in a 10-minute walk before lunch. Cupboard bare of healthy choices? I’ll think about five to 10 healthy foods I enjoy and will put them on my grocery list.
7. Plan a simple reward. Is there a reward you might enjoy for a job well done? For example, if you hit most or all of your marks on planned activities for one week, you’ll treat yourself to a splurge with money you saved by quitting smoking, a luxurious bath, or just a double helping of the iTunes application “Attaboy.” Try to steer clear of food rewards, since this approach can be counterproductive.

I would like to add that there is one type of Chocolate — Xocai Healthy Chocolate — that is very different and can be used as a health promoting reward.

To order the full article from the Harvard Medical School Health Beat, click here

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.

Why marketers can’t afford to ignore Boomers (50+ aged) July 24, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Boomer Marketing, Business Opportunities, On line Marketing success, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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Just found an important posting about winning with the biggest generation of consumers on Nielsen Wire.

Winning with Boomers (50+aged) will be key for marketers world-wide, as this is the fasted growing demographic, particularly in the Western World, but also in developing markets like China.

When it comes to marketing, the focus always seems to be on youth. What are they watching… what’s trendy? As a result media companies focus on reaching consumers age 18-34 or 18-49. But by solely focusing on these groups, advertisers and consumer goods manufacturers are overlooking a group that has tremendous buying power: the Baby Boomers.

Born between the years 1946-1964, the oldest of the Boomers are beginning to retire. But today’s middle aged and older consumers are different than their predecessors.  Boomers are an affluent group who adopt technology with enthusiasm (think about the number of parents or grandparents who regularly send e-mails or upload photos to Facebook and other sites). They have also shown a willingness to try new brands and products and services.

Boomers should be as desirable for marketers as Millennials and Gen-Xers for years to come; they are the largest single group of consumers, and a valuable target audience. As the world continues to age, reaching this group will continue to be critical for advertisers,” said Pat McDonough, Senior Vice President, Insights, Analysis and Policy at the Nielsen Company.

At a time when most analysts are predicting much slower growth in consumer spending, manufacturers and marketers need to look at every opportunity to grow market share. Boomers can represent tremendous potential to those who know how to reach them.

To read the entire article, go to:

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/why-marketers-can%E2%80%99t-afford-to-ignore-baby-boomers/

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 get the best creativity to build your business July 1, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Delivering Happiness, Marketing 101, On line Marketing success, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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I just found a great Blog Post by Jim Stengel, former Chief Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble with his 8 tips on how the get the best creative work from Agencies.

Read his Post at:   http://tiny.cc/45s2x

This is also relevant for Entrepreneurs because it talks about being passionate about what you are doing, your product and service and to think about how it can serve a higher purpose in improving people’s lives. This will inspire you to be your most creative and if you are using the help of Agency Creatives, it will be very important for their creativity as well.

To be able to think about a higher purpose, you need to know those that you are serving (your customers) better than your spouses or others that are significant in your life. You can only serve people if you know what will make their lives better.

And as I described in my earlier post ( http://tiny.cc/j4xnd ) about happiness and health, serving a higher purpose is what actually makes us as human beings happier and healthier. What a perfect win-win situation.

Secrets to winning with Aging Consumers June 21, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Boomer Marketing, Marketing 101, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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I just read a very insightful article on Mediapost:

Understand What And How The Consumer Thinks by Jim Gilmartin

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=130551&lfe=1

If you want to be successful with your business endeavors, you must understand the demographic trends that are a fact of life: the Boomer Generation is coming of age, they are starting to age, and therefore the majority of your potential customers are changing in terms of their needs. What worked for you 10 years ago marketing to them, will no longer work. Therefore it is critical that you spent the time to really understand how the Boomer generation thinks and therefore how to relate to them.

As human beings move through the different seasons of their life, their deep motivations change completely.

I highly recommend to read the referenced article and to stop and spend the time to understand your aging customer base.  It will have a positive reflection on your turnover and bottom line, whatever your business is.

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.


Possibilities of Change for Marketing Success June 16, 2010

Posted by utehagen in Delivering Happiness, Marketing 101, On line Marketing success, Understanding Customers, Your personal success.
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The below quote strikes me as very real:

“Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.”

The very good thing for EVERYBODY, no matter what your initial inclination: Change ALWAYS opens up NEW POSSIBILITIES.

This is a very important Aspect of becoming a SUCCESSFUL MARKETER: You need to understand your target audience and importantly their state of mind and then figure out how YOU can help them to attain the new possibilities. But to do so, you also must understand your own state of mind.