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Improve Yourself! Week 7: Communicate for Success

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Improve Yourself!

Welcome to week 7 of the challenge, and Happy Valentine’s Day!  This week I want to focus on just how important communication is to success in all areas of our lives.  Let’s see if I can communicate my thoughts effectively… 🙂

Think About Your Areas of Success

When I take some time to reflect on my life and identify areas where I have been successful, I can quickly see that good communication is a key to success.  In my career as a consulting engineer, it’s not math or even reason that sets apart the best engineers and companies.  Nope, it’s the ability to convey complex ideas in understandable terms both in person and in written form.

Engaged Marriage has a lot of growing to do to meet my goals for this site and its reach to married couples throughout the world.  However, I think it’s fair to say that our first 5+ months here have been quite successful.  Obviously, the content is critical for the success of any blog.

But I think the real growth of Engaged Marriage has been fueled by the sense of community that we’ve developed as well as my own efforts in reaching out through social media to colleagues and perspective readers.  I think the recent Love Everyday project provides a good example of this approach.  And it all comes down to a commitment to consistent and effective communication.

The same cause-and-effect exists for most aspects of life: finances, parenting, sports, politics, sales, even war.  High-quality communication is a certain key to success.

And, oh yeah, communication plays a bit of a role in this whole marriage thing as well. 🙂

This week’s book giveaway is centered around the idea that understanding how our spouse/significant other best communicates is a major help in achieving the extraordinary in our relationships. That’s what The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate is all about.

While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, Dr. Gary Chapman identified five specific love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

I bet that even without reading the book you can immediately relate to some of these categories.  Can you already see which areas you speak best in, and which areas apply to your spouse?

The Five Love Languages will lead you through a fun and rewarding process of discovering the love languages in your marriage.  And with that knowledge, you can improve your relationship with your spouse.  See what I mean about the importance of great communication?

This Week’s Awesome Prize

Five Love LanguagesThis week’s giveaway is another awesome book that has the power to change your life. I highly recommend that you read The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Dr. Gary Chapman.  It may be the single most important book you can read for your marriage, aside from The Bible.

Just enter your weekly update in the comments below, and you’ll be eligible to win your own copy of The Five Love Languages. Click the link above to read more about this best-selling book and learn what it can do in your life.

Just a short perfunctory reminder: if you are a participant, you must leave a comment below giving an update on your personal progress. Please do so by Tuesday, February 16th at 11:59 p.m. central time to be eligible for this week’s giveaway. If you are not signed up, feel free to leave a comment anyhow and give your thoughts on this week’s post or your own progress…you just won’t be winning any prizes.

And please don’t forget that you must subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email to be eligible for prizes. There is a secret code at the bottom of the post (just above “Related Posts”) that is only visible if you read this post via an RSS reader or in your email. If you are selected but aren’t subscribed (you don’t know the code when I email you), the prize will instead to go the next person drawn.

Last Week’s Lucky Winner

Congratulations to our lucky winner of the Week 6 drawing:

Kristin who won Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex

Thanks to This Week’s Awesome Sponsors!

The great prizes being given away throughout the challenge are only possible through the generous support of our sponsors. Please take a few minutes to visit this week’s sponsors and check out what they have to offer.

Personal Finance Notebook is a great site created by Patrenia Spears after her family paid off an incredible $93,000 in debt! Her posts are intended to empower her readers to achieve their financial goals. Her tag line says it all: “A website that offers ideas, education and the motivation needed to create a personal finance portfolio to be proud of.

Budgets are Sexy is simply awesome. J. Money provides a site that is packed with really useful info about the world of personal finance, and he does it in his own (pimpin’) way. Entertaining and informative.

Budgets are Sexy

MomStart is a fantastic resource created by a mother of two who provides an incredible amount of reviews, giveaways and writings related to all of the new things going on in the world of parenting.

MomStart

Enemy of Debt is the place to be if you want to get out of debt or simply celebrate the goodness that your debt-freedom has brought to your life. Brad is a passionate and informative resource offering a unique perspective on the personal finance scene.

Make Mine Happen “Stop Dreaming and Start Doing” by putting the motivational and informational posts at this site to work in your life!

That’s it from me for Week 7 of the challenge! Look for the final Week 8 post next Sunday. Get your progress stated below, visit our sponsors and communicate with passion this week!

Don’t miss the other Improve Yourself posts…here is a running list:

  1. Improve Yourself! 2010 Announcement. This is the place to start and sign-up by leaving a comment with your area of focus.
  2. The Prize List. This is where you’ll get the details about the awesome prizes and learn about our generous sponsors.
  3. Week 1: Set SMART Goals. Learn about smart goal-setting and leave your specific goals for the challenge in the comments.
  4. Week 2: Baby Step Your Way to Success. Learn how you can achieve any goal by breaking it down into small, easier-to-handle tasks.
  5. Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress. Learn the importance of focusing on important, but not urgent, tasks to improve your life and achieve long-term effectiveness.
  6. Week 4: YOU are Responsible for Your Progress. Quit making excuses, take ownership for your results and do the work necessary to make your goals a reality.
  7. Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable! You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do. Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances? In your approach to fitness? In your marriage?
  8. Week 6: Stick With It! I applaud you for sticking with your commitment to yourself and your fellow challenge participants. You are now in the minority as we close in on the finish line. Don’t Quit!
  9. Week 7: Communicate for Success Communication is a certain key to success in nearly all aspects of life.
  10. Week 8: Don’t Accept Mediocrity! Always get better even if it’s only in small increments.  Life is just too short to do otherwise.

Improve Yourself! Week 6: Stick With It!

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Improve Yourself!

Here we are entering the sixth week of this 8-week challenge, and I am proud of you for reading this.  I am particularly proud if you are an original member of the Improve Yourself! group, and you have not given up on yourself or your goals.

Don’t Quit!

Do you know what 26/64 represents?  For one, it represents about 40%.  It also represents that only 26 people checked in with their results in Week 5 even though 64 folks originally signed on and committed themselves for the 8-week challenge.

I am not at all surprised by this ratio, but I am disappointed.  Those 38 “drop-outs” had awesome goals and a lot of energy.  Unfortunately, for many of them, the end of 2010 will look a lot like the end of 2009 with unfilled promises to themselves and some repetitive New Year’s resolutions.

Take a few minutes and give some thought to the SMART Goals you declared in Week 1.  Are those goals worthy?  Do you still want to accomplish them?  Are you still willing to put in the work and sacrifice needed to make it happen NOW?

Here’s a bit of a confession. I’m writing this post as much for my own benefit as you 25 other warriors who are sticking it out with me.  I have struggled to make my fitness a priority the last two weeks.  Predictably, my progress has been stymied by my lack of focus and commitment.

That sucks.  But, more importantly, I have NOT quit on myself or my commitment to finish this challenge.  I may end up short of my 16-pound weight loss goal between now and March 1st.  But I  remain committed to my goals and committed to you as part of this challenge.  Are you with me?

Don’t forget that in addition to the great weekly prizes the grand prize winner will take home $100 at the end of the challenge.  Frankly, I hope your odds don’t continue to improve with each passing week. 🙂

This Week’s Awesome Prize

Men are from Mars, Women are from VenusThis week’s giveaway is a classic book that explores the differences between the way men and women communicate and provides advice on how to improve our interaction. I have not personally read Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex by John Gray.  However, it is a New York Times Bestseller, and I can’t think of a more commonly referenced book on vital topic of communication between the sexes.

Just enter your weekly update in the comments below, and you’ll be eligible to win your own copy of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Click the link above to read more about this best-selling book and pick up a copy if you don’t win the weekly drawing.

Just a short perfunctory reminder: if you are a participant, you must leave a comment below giving an update on your personal progress. Please do so by Tuesday, February 9th at 11:59 p.m. central time to be eligible for this week’s giveaway. If you are not signed up, feel free to leave a comment anyhow and give your thoughts on this week’s post or your own progress…you just won’t be winning any prizes.

And please don’t forget that you must subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email to be eligible for prizes. There is a secret code at the bottom of the post (just above “Related Posts”) that is only visible if you read this post via an RSS reader or in your email. If you are selected but aren’t subscribed (you don’t know the code when I email you), the prize will instead to go the next person drawn.

Last Week’s Lucky Winner

Congratulations to our lucky winner of the Week 5 drawing:

Kathryn who won The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable

Thanks to This Week’s Awesome Sponsors!

The great prizes being given away throughout the challenge are only possible through the generous support of our sponsors. Please take a few minutes to visit this week’s sponsors and check out what they have to offer.

Make Mine Happen “Stop Dreaming and Start Doing” by putting the motivational and informational posts at this site to work in your life!

Make Mine Happen

Budgets are Sexy is simply awesome. J. Money provides a site that is packed with really useful info about the world of personal finance, and he does it in his own (pimpin’) way. Entertaining and informative.

Budgets are Sexy

MomStart is a fantastic resource created by a mother of two who provides an incredible amount of reviews, giveaways and writings related to all of the new things going on in the world of parenting.

MomStart

Enemy of Debt is the place to be if you want to get out of debt or simply celebrate the goodness that your debt-freedom has brought to your life. Brad is a passionate and informative resource offering a unique perspective on the personal finance scene.

That’s it from me for Week 6 of the challenge! Look for the Week 7 post next Sunday. Get your progress stated below, visit our sponsors and Don’t QUIT on Me!

Don’t miss the other Improve Yourself posts…here is a running list:

  1. Improve Yourself! 2010 Announcement. This is the place to start and sign-up by leaving a comment with your area of focus.
  2. The Prize List. This is where you’ll get the details about the awesome prizes and learn about our generous sponsors.
  3. Week 1: Set SMART Goals. Learn about smart goal-setting and leave your specific goals for the challenge in the comments.
  4. Week 2: Baby Step Your Way to Success. Learn how you can achieve any goal by breaking it down into small, easier-to-handle tasks.
  5. Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress. Learn the importance of focusing on important, but not urgent, tasks to improve your life and achieve long-term effectiveness.
  6. Week 4: YOU are Responsible for Your Progress. Quit making excuses, take ownership for your results and do the work necessary to make your goals a reality.
  7. Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable! You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do. Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances? In your approach to fitness? In your marriage?
  8. Week 6: Stick With It! I applaud you for sticking with your commitment to yourself and your fellow challenge participants. You are now in the minority as we close in on the finish line. Don’t Quit!
  9. Week 7: Communicate for Success Communication is a certain key to success in nearly all aspects of life.
  10. Week 8: Don’t Accept Mediocrity! Always get better even if it’s only in small increments.  Life is just too short to do otherwise.

Improve Yourself! Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable!

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Improve Yourself!

As we enter week 5 of this challenge, I am willing to bet that you have lost any illusion of perfection in meeting your goals that you may have had at that start.  I know I have stumbled along personally, and progress hasn’t been as steady and smooth as I had hoped.  However, I know that I am still on the road to…

Be Remarkable!

This week’s book giveaway is centered around a fantastic idea that I have tried to apply to all areas of my own life.  You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do.  That’s what The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable is all about.  It’s an idea book, a manifesto for change and a call to action.  It’s awesome.

So, just what does it mean to be “remarkable”?  The back cover of the book gives some great examples:

Remarkable is being unafraid to stand out.

Remarkable is failing often and then trying again.

Remarkable is having a fire in your belly and an idea that won’t quit.

Remarkable is when you stand for something and make it happen and change the world – or your business or your life – along the way.

It is easy to see how these ideas relate to business and why being remarkable in your career leads to success.  But I don’t think this idea is limited to professional life or entrepreneurship.  Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances?  In your approach to fitness?  In your marriage?

I do.  And whenever I start to feel lazy, uninspired or apathetic, I take a moment to remind myself that this is the year I declared to be a “Breakthrough” and this is the year I committed to Improve Yourself for at least 8 weeks.

I certainly fail often.  But, I always try again.  I take a moment to close my eyes and remember the fire in my belly that led me to make such bold statements about my goals and aspirations for 2010.  I will change the world, if only for myself and my family.

So, how about you?  We are halfway through this challenge.  Are you prepared to recommit yourself to doing something remarkable with your life?

This Week’s Awesome Prize

The Big MooThis week’s giveaway is an awesome book that has the power to change your life. I highly recommend that you read The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable which is edited by Seth Godin.

This book is actually a compilation of short writings by 33 of the world’s smartest business people.  It is built upon the idea of being remarkable, which originated in Seth Godin’s bestseller Purple Cow.

Just enter your weekly update in the comments below, and you’ll be eligible to win your own copy of The Big Moo. Click the link above to read more about this best-selling book.  It is one of my personal favorites!

Just a short perfunctory reminder: if you are a participant, you must leave a comment below giving an update on your personal progress. Please do so by Tuesday, February 2nd at 11:59 p.m. central time to be eligible for this week’s giveaway. If you are not signed up, feel free to leave a comment anyhow and give your thoughts on this week’s post or your own progress…you just won’t be winning any prizes.

And please don’t forget that you must subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email to be eligible for prizes. There is a secret code at the bottom of the post (just above “Related Posts”) that is only visible if you read this post via an RSS reader or in your email. If you are selected but aren’t subscribed (you don’t know the code when I email you), the prize will instead to go the next person drawn.

Last Week’s Lucky Winner

Congratulations to our lucky winner of the Week 4 drawing:

Ambere who won QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life

Thanks to This Week’s Awesome Sponsors!

The great prizes being given away throughout the challenge are only possible through the generous support of our sponsors. Please take a few minutes to visit this week’s sponsors and check out what they have to offer.

MomStart is a fantastic resource created by a mother of two who provides an incredible amount of reviews, giveaways and writings related to all of the new things going on in the world of parenting.

MomStart

Enemy of Debt is the place to be if you want to get out of debt or simply celebrate the goodness that your debt-freedom has brought to your life. Brad is a passionate and informative resource offering a unique perspective on the personal finance scene.

Make Mine Happen “Stop Dreaming and Start Doing” by putting the motivational and informational posts at this site to work in your life!

Personal Finance Notebook is a great site created by Patrenia Spears after her family paid off an incredible $93,000 in debt! Her posts are intended to empower her readers to achieve their financial goals. Her tag line says it all: “A website that offers ideas, education and the motivation needed to create a personal finance portfolio to be proud of.

Budgets are Sexy is simply awesome. J. Money provides a site that is packed with really useful info about the world of personal finance, and he does it in his own (pimpin’) way. Entertaining and informative.

Budgets are Sexy

That’s it from me for Week 5 of the challenge! Look for the Week 6 post next Sunday. Get your progress stated below, visit our sponsors and BE REMARKABLE this week!

Don’t miss the other Improve Yourself posts…here is a running list:

  1. Improve Yourself! 2010 Announcement. This is the place to start and sign-up by leaving a comment with your area of focus.
  2. The Prize List. This is where you’ll get the details about the awesome prizes and learn about our generous sponsors.
  3. Week 1: Set SMART Goals. Learn about smart goal-setting and leave your specific goals for the challenge in the comments.
  4. Week 2: Baby Step Your Way to Success. Learn how you can achieve any goal by breaking it down into small, easier-to-handle tasks.
  5. Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress. Learn the importance of focusing on important, but not urgent, tasks to improve your life and achieve long-term effectiveness.
  6. Week 4: YOU are Responsible for Your Progress. Quit making excuses, take ownership for your results and do the work necessary to make your goals a reality.
  7. Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable! You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do. Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances?  In your approach to fitness?  In your marriage?
  8. Week 6: Stick With It! I applaud you for sticking with your commitment to yourself and your fellow challenge participants. You are now in the minority as we close in on the finish line. Don’t Quit!
  9. Week 7: Communicate for Success Communication is a certain key to success in nearly all aspects of life.
  10. Week 8: Don’t Accept Mediocrity! Always get better even if it’s only in small increments.  Life is just too short to do otherwise.

Improve Yourself! Week 4: YOU Are Responsible for Your Progress

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Improve Yourself!

This challenge was started under the theme of “Your Goals, Your Actions, Your Results.”  Do you notice the word that’s repeated three times in that short tag line?  This is your challenge, and your competition is yourself and your own level of personal commitment.

Personal Responsibility is the Key to Personal Progress

This week’s book giveaway is centered around an incredibly simple but extremely powerful concept: it is your problem, your job and your responsibility.  Personal responsibility is key.  That’s what QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life is all about.

In QBQ, John Miller implores us to get away from the blame-game and our inclination for making excuses for the challenges we face in both business and our personal lives.  Instead of asking who is to blame for the situation, we should ask, “What can I do to improve the situation?” so we can take ownership of the problem and take proactive action to solve it.

Whether you are making great progress toward your goals in the Improve Yourself challenge or you are struggling, the results you are seeing are directly related to the effort and commitment that you have exhibited for the last three weeks.  I personally didn’t start off the way I should have, and I made a lot of excuses to myself to make it seem okay.  However, this week I decided that I was done with the pity-party, and it was time that I took responsibility for my actions and my results.

One of the participants in this challenge had a similar realization last week as well.  I won’t use his name here in case he’d rather stay private with his thoughts, but I will tell you that he has inspired me to take my game to the next level.  After giving a half-hearted effort to his fitness goals the previous week, he lost one pound.  That’s not bad, right?  Well, this man hit a turning point and decided it was time to take his health seriously, get off his rear and do the work necessary to achieve extraordinary results.  He decided to take personal responsibility for his actions and his results, and I believe you’ll see him report in with a weekly loss of 7.5 pounds this week!

How are your results thus far?  Are you prepared to own them and do the work necessary to meet your goals? You can do this.

This Week’s Awesome Prize

QBQ BookThis week’s giveaway is an awesome book that has the power to change your life.  I highly recommend that you read QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller.

Just enter your weekly update in the comments below, and you’ll be eligible to win your own copy of QBQ. Click the link above to read more about this best-selling book.

Just a short perfunctory reminder: if you are a participant, you must leave a comment below giving an update on your personal progress. Please do so by Tuesday, January 26th at 11:59 p.m. central time to be eligible for this week’s giveaway. If you are not signed up, feel free to leave a comment anyhow and give your thoughts on this week’s post or your own progress…you just won’t be winning any prizes.

And please don’t forget that you must subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email to be eligible for prizes. There is a secret code at the bottom of the post (just above “Related Posts”) that is only visible if you read this post via an RSS reader or in your email. If you are selected but aren’t subscribed (you don’t know the code when I email you), the prize will instead to go the next person drawn.

Last Week’s Lucky Winner

Congratulations to our lucky winner of the Week 3 drawing:

Mike who won The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Thanks to This Week’s Awesome Sponsors!

The great prizes being given away throughout the challenge are only possible through the generous support of our sponsors. Please take a few minutes to visit this week’s sponsors and check out what they have to offer.

Enemy of Debt is the place to be if you want to get out of debt or simply celebrate the goodness that your debt-freedom has brought to your life. Brad is a passionate and informative resource offering a unique perspective on the personal finance scene.

Make Mine Happen “Stop Dreaming and Start Doing” by putting the motivational and informational posts at this site to work in your life!

Budgets are Sexy is simply awesome. J. Money provides a site that is packed with really useful info about the world of personal finance, and he does it in his own (pimpin’) way. Entertaining and informative.

Budgets are Sexy

MomStart is a fantastic resource created by a mother of two who provides an incredible amount of reviews, giveaways and writings related to all of the new things going on in the world of parenting.

MomStart

That’s it from me for Week 4 of the challenge! Look for the Week 5 post next Sunday. Get your progress stated below, visit our sponsors and take ownership for the progress (or lack thereof) that you’re making toward your goals!

Don’t miss the other Improve Yourself posts…here is a running list:

  1. Improve Yourself! 2010 Announcement. This is the place to start and sign-up by leaving a comment with your area of focus.
  2. The Prize List. This is where you’ll get the details about the awesome prizes and learn about our generous sponsors.
  3. Week 1: Set SMART Goals. Learn about smart goal-setting and leave your specific goals for the challenge in the comments.
  4. Week 2: Baby Step Your Way to Success. Learn how you can achieve any goal by breaking it down into small, easier-to-handle tasks.
  5. Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress. Learn the importance of focusing on important, but not urgent, tasks to improve your life and achieve long-term effectiveness.
  6. Week 4: YOU are Responsible for Your Progress. Quit making excuses, take ownership for your results and do the work necessary to make your goals a reality.
  7. Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable! You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do. Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances?  In your approach to fitness?  In your marriage?
  8. Week 6: Stick With It! I applaud you for sticking with your commitment to yourself and your fellow challenge participants. You are now in the minority as we close in on the finish line. Don’t Quit!
  9. Week 7: Communicate for Success Communication is a certain key to success in nearly all aspects of life.
  10. Week 8: Don’t Accept Mediocrity! Always get better even if it’s only in small increments.  Life is just too short to do otherwise.

Improve Yourself! Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Improve Yourself!

I hope you were able to continue making strong progress toward your goals through the Improve Yourself! 2010 challenge this week. As always , I trust that these weekly posts will offer value to anyone looking to improve their life and their marriage, regardless of whether you are officially part of the contest.

If you are a participant, you must leave a comment below giving an update on your personal progress. Please do so by Tuesday, January 19th at 11:59 p.m. central time to be eligible for this week’s giveaway. If you are not signed up, feel free to leave a comment anyhow and give your thoughts on this week’s post or your own progress…you just won’t be winning any prizes.

Time Keeps on Ticking…

If you have not read this week’s giveaway book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  The seven habits Dr. Covey outlines are legitimately vital and practical.

My favorite principle from the book is Habit 3: Put First Things First, which is focused on personal time management.  Basically, there are four areas, or quadrants, where we can classify every task in our lives: Urgent/Important, Not Urgent/Important, Urgent/Not Important,  and Not Urgent/Not Important.  The key to success is to maximize the time you spend in “Quadrant II: Not Urgent/Important” and this is where many of us struggle.

When we manage our time effectively enough to focus on issues that do not require immediate attention (not urgent) but are in fact important to our lives, we become strategic planners and we take actions that will benefit us in the long-term.  If you are a regular reader of Engaged Marriage and/or you are actively participating in the Improve Yourself challenge, you are spending at least part of your time on Quadrant II activities.  Nice work!

Expect in emergency situations, there is nothing necessarily urgent about your fitness level, your financial strength, your spiritual life or even your marriage.  That’s why it’s so easy to get into a rut in all of these areas.  When we lose focus and don’t manage our time effectively, the more urgent (even though less important) tasks begin to rule our days.

By setting goals and devoting your time to meeting them, you are setting yourself up for success and becoming effective in that area of your life.  When you use your time wisely, you not only help yourself, but you are making progress in your marriage and family life as well.

I look forward to hearing about the progress you have made this week, and I certainly know that it takes wise time management and sacrifice to make it happen. Please leave a comment below letting us know what you did during Week 2 to better yourself.

This Week’s Awesome Prize

7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThis week’s giveaway is another great one. If you want to learn how to be more effective with your time and efforts in all areas of life, then I highly recommended that you read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Just enter your weekly update in the comments below, and you’ll be eligible to win your own (gently-used) copy of The Seven Habits. Click the link above to read more about this best-selling book.

And please don’t forget that you must subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email to be eligible for prizes. There is a secret code at the bottom of the post (just above “Related Posts”) that is only visible if you read this post via an RSS reader or in your email. If you are selected but aren’t subscribed (you don’t know the code when I email you), the prize will instead to go the next person drawn.

Last Week’s Lucky Winner

Congratulations to the lucky winner from our Week 2 drawing:

Sherry who won The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Slacker Alert!

Unfortunately, we have had numerous people “disappear” since the original sign-up for this contest.  Out of the original 64 participants, 51 commented in Week 1, and only 33 commented with their progress in Week 2. For those of you sticking with it and progressing toward your goals, your odds of winning each week and overall are improving with each drop-out!

Please note that missing one week doesn’t drop you from the contest, so if you simply forgot to leave a comment last week or just got off-track for a week, I encourage you to refocus on your goals and get back to work!  Leave a comment here and let us know you are still working alongside us all.

And, yes, if you signed up originally and you are not around for Week 8, I will be posting your name and, if available, your website address at the end of the contest for being a slacker.  You wanted accountability and I want to give you some! 🙂

Thanks to This Week’s Awesome Sponsors!

The great prizes being given away throughout the challenge are only possible through the generous support of our sponsors. Please take a few minutes to visit this week’s sponsors and check out what they have to offer.

Personal Finance Notebook is a great site created by Patrenia Spears after her family paid off an incredible $93,000 in debt! Her posts are intended to empower her readers to achieve their financial goals. Her tag line says it all: “A website that offers ideas, education and the motivation needed to create a personal finance portfolio to be proud of.

MomStart is a fantastic resource created by a mother of two who provides an incredible amount of reviews, giveaways and writings related to all of the new things going on in the world of parenting.

MomStart

Budgets are Sexy is simply awesome. J. Money provides a site that is packed with really useful info about the world of personal finance, and he does it in his own (pimpin’) way. Entertaining and informative.

Budgets are Sexy

Make Mine Happen “Stop Dreaming and Start Doing” by putting the motivational and informational posts at this site to work in your life!

That’s it from me for Week 3 of the challenge! Look for the Week 4 post next Sunday. Get your progress stated below, visit our sponsors and go take some more progress toward your goals!

Don’t miss the other Improve Yourself posts…here is a running list:

  1. Improve Yourself! 2010 Announcement. This is the place to start and sign-up by leaving a comment with your area of focus.
  2. The Prize List. This is where you’ll get the details about the awesome prizes and learn about our generous sponsors.
  3. Week 1: Set SMART Goals. Learn about smart goal-setting and leave your specific goals for the challenge in the comments.
  4. Week 2: Baby Step Your Way to Success. Learn how you can achieve any goal by breaking it down into small, easier-to-handle tasks.
  5. Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress. Learn the importance of focusing on important, but not urgent, tasks to improve your life and achieve long-term effectiveness.
  6. Week 4: YOU are Responsible for Your Progress. Quit making excuses, take ownership for your results and do the work necessary to make your goals a reality.
  7. Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable! You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do. Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances?  In your approach to fitness?  In your marriage?
  8. Week 6: Stick With It! I applaud you for sticking with your commitment to yourself and your fellow challenge participants. You are now in the minority as we close in on the finish line. Don’t Quit!
  9. Week 7: Communicate for Success Communication is a certain key to success in nearly all aspects of life.
  10. Week 8: Don’t Accept Mediocrity! Always get better even if it’s only in small increments.  Life is just too short to do otherwise.