10 Ways to Have a Spectacular Month Ahead (September 2015)

10 Ways to Have a Spectacular Month Ahead (September 2015)

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Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Help You Achieve Your Goals, Cultivate Fulfillment, and be a Force for Good in the World


1. Reconnect with your favorite people.

Host a pancake brunch, organize a local group hike, or host a Google hangout and invite all of your favorite people. Spending time with people who bring you joy and make you feel like the best version of yourself will boost your mood in the moment and support your long term fulfillment.


2. Enjoy the great outdoors.

With the lunar eclipse on September 27 and 28 (depending on what part of the world you live in), there’s never been a better time for getting outside and enjoying nature’s splendors. Find the best time to watch here. Can’t make the eclipse? Then grab your partner, roommate, best friend, or dog and head out for an evening walk after work this week. The fresh air and exercise are good for your physical health and the time away from devices and your daily routine will boost your mood.


3. Send a card to someone you care about.

Everyone loves getting cards in the mail—especially for no reason other than “just because.” Take a moment to think about someone who makes your life better and spend 5 minutes writing them a quick note to let them know how important they are to you or to thank them—if you have a card, great; if not, make one out of origami like this.


4. Give your time to someone who needs it.

Think about who in your life or community might need your help and make a plan to give it to them. This might be your grandfather who needs assistance setting up his new computer, your best friend who needs someone to review her résumé, or the people in your local food shelter who need help processing deliveries. Pick one person or group and commit to helping them with at least one project this month.


5. Start a gratitude journal.

Research shows that gratitude is one of the best predictors of long term fulfillment in life. Write them in a journal, on colorful stickie notes that you leave around your house, or trying reviewing them at the end of the day with someone you care about.

[Tweet “Get your gratitude on by writing down 3 things that you’re grateful for each day this month. #fulfillment”]


6. Get to know yourself better.

What do you value? What are you good at? What makes you distinct? Indulge in a little self-exploration and self-awareness building this month by browsing a few online personality quizzes. This site has some good ones.


7. Take yourself on a date.

We live in an incredibly hectic and fast-paced time, so whether your single or attached, it’s important to take some time to connect and check in with yourself. Allot at least two hours this month to take yourself out on a date—to a museum, to lunch, to a movie, for a walk in the park with your journal or camera, or just to wander around your local bookstore. The time alone will give you some peaceful reflection or—at the very least—will make you appreciate the people who are otherwise always around you.


8. Reconnect with your big goals.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rush and forget what the big picture of what’s important and where we’re going. Take a moment to reconnect with your big goals (in life, at work, etc.). What’s one thing that you can do right now to push that goal forward? DO IT NOW.


9. Do something that makes you uncomfortable.

Are you a solo runner? Try a group exercise class instead for a day. Are you a strong swimmer, but hate heights? Make yourself jump off the local high dive. (I recently did this—it took me about 15 minutes to work up the courage, and afterward, I promptly got out of the pool, climbed right back up the ladder, and did it again—totally exhilarating!) Are you a talker, not a writer? Force yourself to write one page about how your day went today…even if you end up just writing, “This is hard” over and over. Getting outside of your comfort zone will heighten your creativity and show you new ways of looking at life, the world, and yourself.


10. Find multipliers.

Are you an efficiency nut? Pick at least two of the above options 1-9 and combine them (e.g., enjoy the great outdoors (#2) while reconnecting with your favorite people (#1), or use your date with yourself (#7) to reconnect with your big goals (#8). Achievement, fulfillment, and impact don’t have to be mutually exclusive; find what makes you happy and watch the positive externalities ripple out…


Question: What have you tried from this list? How did it go? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Danielle Harlan is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential (www.leadershipandhumanpotential.com) and author of the leadership book, The New Alpha (amzn.to/29C0V6j). She earned her doctorate in political science and M.A. in education from Stanford University, where she was a Jacob K. Javits National Fellow and received a Centennial Teaching Award for excellence in instruction. Prior to launching the Center, she was the Chief of Operations for the Carnegie Foundation, where she worked to harness the power of networks and quality improvement strategies in order to solve important educational problems. Named one of Silicon Valley's "40 Under 40," Danielle has also been a speaker for TEDx and worked as an instructor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and U.C. Berkeley Extension's Corporate and Professional Development Program. In addition, she has given guest lectures at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the “d.school”) and the Career Development Center at Stanford, and has been featured in leading publications such as Fast Company, Forbes, and Women's Health. Danielle started her career as a Teach For America corps member and later served as a mentor and advisor for Global Leadership Adventures, an international leadership development and service program. In addition to teaching in the U.S., she has taught in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, and South Africa. She is a member of the International Leadership Association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, and the National Association for Female Executives.