The Language of Accomplishment

by Karine Tovmassian

December 2017

The first panic sets in right about in March, when we realize January is long past. But we

continue to mire ourselves in the worry and the weight of everything that is not what we want.

The second panic, usually around the end of May/June, is when we hear someone say “half the

year has gone by already” and we get the sinking feeling we haven’t done a single thing to

push us out of last year’s funk which we hoped and prayed would be whisked away Dec 31st

last. The third panic comes after Halloween, when suddenly the nonsense about candy and

Thanksgiving comes at us, wave after wave of items made in China, recipes we will never make,

and the persistent bombardment of information promising us a fresh glimpse into a new life if

we did the one thing they advertise. The fourth and final panic comes just before Christmas

and New Year’s, where we are faced with having let 11 months go by and not a single one of

our goals was even blinked at, much less written, marked, planned, contemplated or even


Want to make 2018 different? Want to actually achieve your goal(s)? Here it is. It’s nothing new.

In fact, it’s very old. Older than dirt, but it’s mind blowing if you read it with new eyes. Here we

go. Get ready. It goes by fast.

The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.Socrates

Goals usually end up in one of two categories: I want to X less and/or Y more. Now, in my daily

readings about the RAS… (Yes, I read daily about the Reticular Activating System. It’s effing

brilliant stuff). In my daily reading about it, I have learned that the mind does not process negatives.

That is, you could say, “I want to lose weight” knowing exactly what you said, but all your brain

heard was “I want weight.” It doesn’t process the negative word “lose.” So, the more you

say or think you want to “lose weight” the more weight you will have. If you actually want to

lose weight, you need to engage your sexy RAS and consider changing your statement to

something like: “I want to have a slimmer and healthier body.” There are no negative

statements there and the RAS gets turned on, helping your cells process, at the DNA level,

your new wants. That’s some next level quantum physics, baby!

Kind of like what Mother Theresa said (and I’m paraphrasing): “I will never participate in your antiwar

rally. But, show me your peace rally and I will lead it.”

Ask yourself what is really important and have the courage to build your life, literally

positively, around the answer. This is why language is so important. The words we choose

end up defining us and our very circumstances. Please choose words which lead you toward

the person you are so proud of becoming. I often wonder about the names people chose for

themselves and their social media following: so-and-so’s ‘madness’ or ‘addiction’ or ‘wild’

collection of everything gone nuts. Consider, if you participate in these groups or follow these

people, what kind of influence those words are having over your very thought process, as you

are flashing those words across your field of vision multiple times a day. Sure, it’s all in good

fun. And, I want you to get your goals accomplished.

Discipline is sexy.

You are not going to master your life in one day. That’s ok. Master the day. If you aren’t there

yet, master the hour.Then just keep doing that every day. Consider giving one positive action a

home for the month. By the year’s end you will have 12 positive actions that you can proudly

say you absorbed into your daily living. What if, instead of thinking about solving your whole

life, you just think about adding good things? Just let your pile of good things grow.

Ah, but how? How do we get from panic in March to resolute in December? Planning.

Write down the themes for your months in advance. Color them into your planner… you know, the

thing you carry around and spent beacoup bucks on? What if you made every minute of

every day of every month count in the theme you selected?

Taking time to plan is an investment in yourself and it doesn’t cost a dime. Oddly, I’ve

never had any of my military or law enforcement clients question me on the “master the day”

concept. It seems to be ingrained from the get-go. So, when it comes time to writing their

goals, they’ve already practiced a few weeks with writing things down, even if it’s one or two

words. It doesn’t have to look good. It just has to be written. The RAS only works when you

write it down. Don’t even try to type it into your phone. Well, I mean, Carie Harling and I can

type it into our OmniFocus but that’s because we know what we are doing. If you start typing it

out first, we will send you back out the door to re-enter. You’ve come through the exit. This is a

perfect example of “Go back and do it again.” Furthermore, when we do type it into our

OmniFocus, we are both cognizant of the fact that it will get written in the planner at some

point and the digital allows us to keep an ongoing master list of all of our thoughts so we can

organize them better to put DOWN ON PAPER. Trust us. We know what we are doing.

So, go for it! Write it all up in your planners. Use the month on two pages to theme it all up

before January ever swings by. Gawk at June in January and see what lovely things you will be

up to, so when someone asks you, “what are you up to,” you can actually tell them!

What a feat it will be to look back in December 2018 and see your accomplishments

outlined and detailed in a manual for living your life! One that you created. You want to go

hardcore? Theme every week instead of every month. 52 accomplishments in one year. Then

you can proudly ask your friends if your planner makes your RAS look big, knowing the answer

is a big, fat, yes!!

Have a good December. Be good to yourselves. Self care is a learned art, not a luxury.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2018.

Karine Tovmassian is a Language Subject Matter Expert at Plannerology and Senior Adviser to

Military and Law Enforcement for resume writing and career coaching at Throat-Punch Resumes.

She spends her time hassling Steve Morton during their HitchHiker’s Guide To The Plannerverse

podcasts, the first and only planner podcast out there in the Plannerverse. You can find her on

Instagram, and on Facebook at Plannerology or Throat-Punch Resumes. Please send all complaints to Steve

Morton and all compliments to Karine Tovmassian.

8 thoughts on “The Language of Accomplishment

  • December 16, 2017 at 2:14 AM

    Great article for supercharging 2018! Thanks, Karine.

    • December 16, 2017 at 1:57 PM

      I’m glad to hear the article resonated with you, Darren. Wishing you all the best in 2018.

  • December 16, 2017 at 5:22 AM

    Brilliant! I believe in the power words have over you. For years I’ve chosen a word of the year and I’ve seen firsthand how that chosen word has influenced the trajectory of my year. I love the idea of theming each week or month to implement even more positive change! I am definitely going to try this for 2018. Thank you, Karine!

    • December 16, 2017 at 1:59 PM

      I look forward to hearing about your success, Tessa. I find one word alone tends to get diffused throughout the year. I often need more than a word to help me chisel out what I want and help me succeed over challenges. Wishing you the best in 2018.

  • December 17, 2017 at 4:35 PM

    Holy schmoly that was a FANTASTIC article!! I will be printing this out and re-reading. You have no idea how much I needed to read this. I feel like I have been treading water in my life for two years. This is real practice advice that really hit home with me.
    Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

  • December 17, 2017 at 4:36 PM

    Holy schmoly that was a FANTASTIC article!! I will be printing this out and re-reading. You have no idea how much I needed to read this. I feel like I have been treading water in my life for two years. This is real practical advice that really hit home with me.
    Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

  • December 19, 2017 at 12:50 AM

    Great and helpful article. I love the suggestions because they seem so practical and do-able. Little measures to go a long way. The description of the panic we feel as the year slips away is spot on! We defeat ourselves from the start when we set huge and elaborate goals. Your suggestions are much more achievable. I am planning to print and disect your suggestions into my planner! Thanks so much!

  • December 27, 2017 at 11:47 AM

    One of the best articles on goal setting I’ve ever read. I am filled with positive writing! Thanks you for this.


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