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Obama And You: What Can You Accomplish In The Next 100 Days?

05/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Today marks President Obama's 100th day in office. By the time you read this, you will already have been showered with the press' full-tilt boogie coverage of this occasion. And, why not?

President Obama has taken on his presidency with a fervor, reaching out to the international community to begin repairing America's image abroad and tackling the difficult domestic issues left behind by his predecessor.

Obama gets consistently high marks for his first 100 days from all sectors of the country (except, of course, from the Republicans and Fox News) and Arlen Specter announced his decision to switch parties yesterday, bringing the Dems closer to the magical number of 60 in the Senate (that is, if Al Franken is ever allowed to take his seat). See Obama's report card posts here and here.

What does all this have to do with you and me? Well, aside from the fact that it feels good to have our country back in competent hands and to see the wheels of government slowly beginning to work again, the 100-day focus is a great idea for the rest of us to incorporate into our own lives.

Why not set 100 day benchmarks for your self, take stock of where you are at the end of that time and give yourself a reward? The very fact that you made it through another 100 days of living is reason enough to pop the bubbly. Frankly, at my age, every day is cause for celebration. But that's another post.

Seriously, 100 days of concentrated focus on an area of your life you want to improve is a powerful and effective way to bring about lasting change. Research on learning suggests that it takes approximately 100 days of consistent practice to anchor newly learned behaviors.

Imagine giving yourself 100 days to accomplish an important goal in your life. Perhaps your goal is something that can't be achieved in 100 days, but you can begin it and take the first big chunk out of it. As we learned in the Impossible Dream series:

The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu

What's Your 100 Day Plan?

How many single steps can you take in 100 days? What areas of your life are up for review? Pick a focus on for the next 100 days. Starting today, April 29, 2009, let's join together in a 100 Day Plan to Create Extraordinary Results. Are you in?

What's your focus? Here are some ideas for consideration with examples of the kinds of goals you might set. Select one or more areas to concentrate on for the next 100 days, but keep it simple. You'll be amazed at your ability to get things done when you concentrate your energy by zeroing in on what's most important.

Remember to make S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. How many and by when?

1) Health - If you're facing current health challenges, how will you care for yourself? Who can you ask for support? Lose how many pounds in 100 days? Exercise how many times/week? Clean up your diet? (Ex. eliminate dairy, wheat, sugar, meat), Stop smoking? Reduce or eliminate your "adult beverage" intake? Spend time in nature at least once a week?

2) Finances- This might be a pressing need, especially now. Is it time to get your financial act together? Do a realistic inventory of your inflows and outflows. Are you living within your means? If not, set up a budget and follow it faithfully. Structure helps immensely. Trim the fat from your outflow (do you really need HBO and all those premium channels?) Dine out less? Pay down credit card debt? How will you bring your outflow into alignment with your inflow?

3) Career Development- Are you currently unemployed? Underemployed? Running a business and need to downsize? Here are some suggestions for this area to consider:

Update your resume and send out how many/day? Have how many job interviews/week? How can you make yourself indispensable at your present job? How can you add value to your company or organization? What skills need to be updated or developed?

4) Relationships- With job insecurity so prevalent, it's easy to lose sight of our needs for relatedness. Yet without the important people in our lives, nothing else matters. Who's most important in your life? How much time do you spend with them or communicate with them? Maybe it's time to schedule a visit back home, spend quality time w/ Mom and Dad? Plan a family reunion and take the lead in organizing it? Spend how many hours of quality time/week with your spouse and children?

5) Community- Life works better when we focus beyond just having our personal needs met. Where, how and with whom can you make a difference in your community? What volunteer opportunities call to you? How many hours/week can you devote to contributing and with whom?

6) Recreation - All work and no play makes Jack and Jill dull robots. Make time for fun! Remember, in their unbelievably busy lives, Barack and Michelle schedule a "date night" every week. I love knowing they're paying attention to their relationship in the midst of all their other pressing demands. They've also fallen in love with Camp David and like other first families before them, find this to be the place where they can let their hair down and relax.

Focus is important and hard work is necessary, now more than ever. But we also need time to kick back and enjoy the ride, otherwise, you might get to your goal and be too worn out to appreciate what you accomplished.

What activities will you schedule for a "time out for play"? Will you take a weekend trip? Go camping with the family? Attend a silent retreat or workshop? Go to a movie and out to dinner with friends? Take a salsa class?

7) Personal Growth- Are you a life long learner? Developing yourself is as important as anything else on this list. How will you open yourself to new learning? Attend a seminar? Take a painting class? Join a book club? What are you up to for the next 100 days that will make you an even more interesting person to be with than you already are?

8) The Inner Life - All that activity in the outer world needs to be balanced by spending time in the inner realm. For the next 100 days, how will you create inner and outer balance? Cultivate a meditation practice and commit to spending time in meditation each day? Attend the church of your choice each week? Practice yoga? Attend a silent retreat? Write in your journal?

4 Tips To Help You Stay On Track

1) Get a buddy- you don't have to be the lone ranger. Synergy is a powerful dynamic to work with. You're in this together. Schedule check in times to be accountable to each other.

2) Work with a coach - This seems obvious if it's within your budget. A coach is trained to help you identify and get past the obstacles that pop up along the way and will hold you accountable. If it's not in your budget, all the more reason to have a good buddy system in place.

3) Keep a journal- the process of getting to your goals is as important as actually getting there. The process is where the learning is. Record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences along the way. Then look back in 100 days and see how far you've come.

4) Have fun and celebrate along the way - This doesn't need to be the arduous trek up the Himalayas. It's the journey of your life unfolding day-to-day for 100 days at a time. Enjoy the ride!

Here's the thing, you're going to be living your life for the next 100 days anyway. Why not be up to something that wasn't going to happen by default? Why not live those 100 days like they were the last 100 days of your life? Who knows? You might even be up for another 100 days after that?

Are you in? I am, and I hope you'll join me. Let's have an ongoing conversation here and on our Dream Launchers group on Facebook over the next 100 days about what extraordinary results you're creating. As part of my own commitment for the next 100 days, I'll be launching my own blog at www.judithrich.com, where I'll be posting original content and offering other stuff. Stay tuned, it's not ready yet, but I'll let you know when it's up and running.

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Meanwhile, Become A Fan and stay in touch. I want to hear what you're up to so drop by the comment section and let me know if you're in. And share the wealth by posting this article on your FB page or sharing it on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dr_judithrich or email me at judith@theraisinyears.com.
Your next 100 days begins now!