A New Year – a New Start

Did you make any New Year resolutions last year? If you did, how did you go with them? Did you achieve them all, some of them, partly some of them or did they mostly fall by the wayside?

The start of a new year is often the time when we are fired up with enthusiasm to make changes in our lives, but after a few weeks of getting back into our usual routine, we maybe just slip back into the same old ways.

Why is this? Perhaps we had too many resolutions (goals) and it was overwhelming. Or perhaps the goals were unrealistic or too complicated to achieve in a year’s time.

It’s so easy to come up with reasons (excuses) why we let our enthusiasm slip; I’m sure these will sound familiar:

I don’t have time / I’m too busy
I don’t have enough money
It’s not my fault – (someone else) stopped me from doing it
It was too hard / harder than I expected
I’ll do it later
I don’t know how
It’s just not “the right time”

BUT – it doesn’t have to be like that. If we really want to make change, there are some proven ways to go about it.

Instead of having a lot of new year’s resolutions, pick just one, or perhaps two, but it is better to work on one at a time. Think about what you want to achieve; see it in your mind, imagine that you have already reached this goal.

SMART is an acronym for goal-setting to make it easy to remember.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

For example, if you want to earn more money so you can give up your day job, start with “earn $50 more every week by 31st March 2009″ or if you want to lose weight, have a goal to “lose 5kg or pounds by the end of January”.

Both of these goals would pass the SMART test.

The more specific you are about anything you want to achieve, the easier it will be to keep on track and be able to measure how you’re going with it.

Naturally a goal must be something it is possible for you to achieve, but you also need to be realistic about how long it will take to achieve. If you want something that doesn’t seem realistic, break the goal down into smaller manageable chunks and work on one at a time. When that is completed, start on the next chunk.

Small steps + consistency  =  success

If you don’t achieve your objective in the set time, don’t just slip back to the excuses, just take a realistic look at what happened, and set a new milestone date.

Demonstrated ways to help you as you go along:

  • Write your goals down and look at them every day, several times is better
  • Use a notebook, a small card to carry round or tape them to a wall or mirror
  • Read out aloud – this helps to fix them in your subconscious mind
  • Tell someone else – having someone ask you how it’s going will keep you trying
  • Believe that you deserve to achieve this goal
  • Respect yourself enough to keep your commitments
  • Act as if you have already achieved your goal, imagine it in your mind, feel how it will feel. Put as much emotion into your visualisations as you can – you might be surprised how much this can help.

So as you start the new year, set SMART goals and use the hints above to help you achieve them. Make 2009 will be the best year ever!

New Blog for Senior Computer Users

Hi everyone, welcome to the new blog.

The purpose of this blog is to create a community where folk of senior years and other beginner computer users can all learn from each other and support each other in our journey towards making more use of our computers and finding ways to earn extra income from them and from the internet.

For those unfamiliar with the word ‘blog’, it is derived from the term ‘web log’ and is basically a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. These entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.

Blogs are a great way to involve people because they give everyone a chance to make comments on any material posted or to send in helpful answers to problems other members have written in about, so this blog will be replacing the newsletter that some of you were receiving.

Many of you don’t know me, so I’d like to introduce myself. I am a baby boomer, living in Queensland, Australia at present, but thanks to the internet, am in frequent contact with people all over the world. I have two daughters and three grandchildren living on the other side of Australia and the rest of my family living in New Zealand or scattered all over the globe. Naturally I am a frequent user of email & Skype to keep in contact with them. (For those who don’t know about, or use skype, it uses the internet to make long distance phone calls that are free to other skype users or allow you to ring someone’s regular phone very cheaply. We will be doing an article about skype and other similar systems – so stay tuned. If you register to receive email notification of new posts, you’ll get the news immediately this topic is posted.)

I have been a computer buff for twenty years or so after buying my first home computer. Believe it or not, it didn’t have a hard drive at all, just 2 single sided 5.25″ floppy disks and just a little amber screen about 150 x 100mm!

While not an expert in any area, over the years I have helped many, many people to learn how to use their computer better and about eight years ago I started giving structured, one-on-one computer lessons, mainly for seniors.

During this time, I came across a great number of people who had acquired a computer by various means, some by being given an outgrown desktop model from family members who had upgraded, or buying a cheaper PC (personal computer), new or second-hand for themselves or even, as my own mother has done, buying a laptop for the convenience of being able to use it anywhere (like in a warm room in winter!).

One of the things that saddened me was to find that many of these owners would like to get more use from their PC, but were scared to do much in case they damaged something; they didn’t know how to do more than just some of the basic tasks and in many cases, ended up only using these marvellous tools for email and playing patience (or solitaire, if that is how you know it). If this is you, don’t worry – playing solitaire is a great way to become proficient with your mouse!

Now that’s fine if you are happy to be just using your computer for email because it certainly allows you take keep in touch with distant relatives and friends almost instantly. However, for those who would like to take advantage of other functions and features, I’m hoping that the information in this blog, and the comments from others, will inspire you and bring you information and tools to assist you as you learn to make your computer work for you.

Learning can be great fun or it can be a drag, it all depends on how you approach it and what you want to get out of it. Naturally the reasons for people wanting to learn more will be many and varied so the plan is to present some projects/information for beginners and some in varying levels for more advanced users. I won’t be re-inventing the wheel, but will be bringing together ideas, games and projects devised by others into this blog, so that you have a base to work outwards from.

Working along alone is sometimes hard and we lose momentum and hope. I’ve found from personal experience that by belonging to a community of like-minded people, there’s nearly always someone ‘out there’ who can help with something you’re stuck on, or just to say ‘hey, I know what it’s like. I nearly gave up, but hang in there, try this and you’ll soon have the hang of it’.

Do you know that studies have shown that the point where most of us give up is when we are nearly there? I’m sure this resonates with some of you, it certainly did for me when I first heard it. So, hang in there, ask a question, make a post – just don’t feel isolated as there are thousands of people our age out there getting a great deal in so many ways from our PCs.

There will be articles from other senior clubs and forums, ‘how to’ articles, reviews of products and also a special area devoted to using your computer and the internet to earn money. I doubt that there is anyone, not matter what age, who would not find it useful to have another stream of residual income, so there will also be links to information, programs and products that could be helpful on your journey.

I would love to hear suggestions from readers on topics they’d like to learn about so please write your ideas in the ‘Suggest Ideas’ area. You also have the opportunity to make comments after any post. Perhaps add extra ideas or methods that have worked for you and would help others. If you think what is written is rubbish, you are free to say that also, but please abide by the rules, no spamming, no personal attacks and no offensive language.

It is my hope that by coming here often to check out what is on offer we can become a community that shares and grows together.

If you would like to be sent an email whenever there is a new post, enter you name and email address in the form on the home page.

Please be assured, this site is not primarily to push you to buy anything. I would be happy for you to join in, contribute your ideas and never buy a single thing, but please respect the position of others who may want to do so, especially if they are building an on-line business. I would not be where I am today without buying products and mentoring along the way so there will be space for featured & recommended products as well as helpful hints, ideas and general information here on the site. If any readers wish to contribute original articles, please email me.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes, Trish