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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ask the Anytime Fitness Rebel

Posted by: Sara Castro on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Ask the Anytime Fitness Rebel

Expert answers to your health and wellness questions

By Sara Castro

Question: I have a very serious weight problem and have been told that I’m a candidate for surgery. What are your thoughts on this?

Answer: Weight loss surgery is certainly an option if you are morbidly obese, but in my opinion, it should always be seen as a last resort. In fact, most physicians have certain requirements that must be met in order to proceed with surgery, and these include documented efforts to lose weight through behavior modification. If these attempts fail, then surgery may be considered as an alternative. But it’s important to recognize that, despite the success stories people often hear, there are significant risks inherent in all surgical procedures. Make no mistake—this is NOT minor surgery. I’ve seen patients that required months-long stays in the hospital after repeated surgeries to repair leaks and other problems encountered post-op. And even if the surgery goes well, there are significant challenges that you must overcome when you’re getting back into your daily routine at home. For example, the types and amounts of food that you consume at meals will be fundamentally altered after the procedure. And there can be serious repercussions for not changing your eating habits. If surgery is deemed to be the best option for you, then it’s important to choose the appropriate procedure in consultation with your physician. Bottom line—educate yourself on the benefits and risks so that you can make an informed decision.


Question: What do you think of the old adage, “feed a cold, starve a fever?” Myth or fact?

Answer: This one is basically just a myth. It’s not entirely clear where it came from, but the theory states that if you eat some food, your body temperature will rise, thus helping to fight off the common cold. And if you avoiding eating, then this may help to decrease your body temperature, thus alleviating a fever. Unfortunately, there isn’t any definitive evidence that either of these is true. In fact, colds and fevers should really be treated with the same remedy…eat some food, drink some fluids, and then drink some more. It’s pretty obvious that if you’re hungry, you should eat. And I think we all know the importance of getting plenty of fluids, which can help to thin out mucus and secretions. Oh, and don’t forget to get plenty of rest, too!


Question: What should I eat or drink if I only have an hour before I work out?

Answer: What you eat before a practice or game should be largely determined by timing and personal preference. Generally speaking, a large meal takes 4-5 hours to digest, a smaller meal takes 2-3 hours and a large snack takes 1-2 hours. If you don’t digest food well enough prior to an activity, you can end up with a stomach ache and cramping. This often occurs because blood (which plays a key role in digestion) is shunted to your arms and legs during activity, thereby slowing down the digestive process. Therefore, if you only have an hour to fuel yourself, it would probably be best to stick with a liquid carbohydrate/ protein shake. Liquids are processed faster than solid foods and will provide the energy you need in a shorter time frame. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about those ice cream-based shakes from fast food restaurants. We’re talking about a sports nutrition shake that is designed for active individuals and athletes. If you want something lighter, a traditional sports drink would be a viable option as well. There are a number of products on the market in each category, so do some taste-testing to see which ones work best for you.

About the author: Sara Castro is the club manager & Certified Personal Trainer at Anytime Fitness in Coral Springs. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at sara.castro@anytimefitness.com.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ask the Anytime Fitness Rebel

Posted by: Sara Castro on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I have a friend that follows a vegan lifestyle, and she’s trying to get me to do the same? Is this something you’d recommend for improving overall health and wellness?                                                                                                

Answer: This is a tough question, and one that finds passionate supporters on both sides of the fence. Nutritionally-speaking, there are clear benefits to following more of a vegetarian lifestyle, and some studies even indicate the reversal of several chronic diseases. The research is fascinating and, as a result, near-vegetarian diets have been espoused by the likes of Pritikin and Ornish for years. That said, the more strict the diet is (and veganism is very strict), the harder it is to maintain in the long run. In addition, animal foods are high in several key nutrients that positively affect your health. They also add unique textures and flavors to a given meal, and enhance the palatability of a number of dishes. In the end, it’s important to eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that incorporates all of the major food groups. Though I personally wouldn’t advocate veganism, I would strongly encourage you to make plant-based foods a larger part of your diet. Then, you can make the personal decision as to whether veganism is right for you.  

Question: Does it matter if I do cardio before lifting, or vice versa? It seems like people have differing opinions on this one.                                             

Answer: It really depends on your goals and what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re training for an endurance competition, it’s fine to do a short circuit of weights before moving on to a more challenging cardio training session. However, this wouldn’t necessarily be the norm. Most folks typically start off with a light warm-up, then progress to a hard lifting session, followed by some rigorous cardio and a few stretches for flexibility. If you’ve ever done a strenuous cardio session prior to strength training, you probably realized that most of that much-needed energy for lifting was already spent. Thus, you’re left with an inefficient and lackluster lift, making significant strength and size gains more difficult to achieve. Whatever you decide to do, don’t worry about not being able to “push it” during the latter part of your workout. There will always be days when you focus on only one aspect of fitness—either cardio of strength training—and then you can really give it 100%!

Question: I saw a guy walking around with a creatine jug the other day. With all the new sports supplements that have come out in recent years, I didn’t think it was still around. Is it still seen as a beneficial aid when lifting weights?

Answer: First of all, sports supplements are always “still around.” They are known for their sticking power, whether they actually work or not. Now, when it comes to creatine, it is definitely still popular amongst strength training enthusiasts, and is still considered to be an effective supplement for those looking to improve speed, strength, and power. The reason you probably haven’t seen it around lately is because many manufacturers include it as part of a more comprehensive pre- or post-workout formula. Many people simply aren’t using it as a single, solitary supplement anymore, though you can still find good ‘ole creatine monohydrate everywhere. Remember, more than 500 clinical trials have been done on creatine and, for the most part, the results have been very good with very few, if any, side effects. If your goal is to dramatically increase strength and size, I would certainly recommend giving it a try, if you haven’t already. However, you need to decide if you’re going to use it on its own, or if you’re going to try a more complex formula with multiple supplement ingredients. If it’s the latter, make sure you do your homework on the specific product you choose. I would also recommend reading up on creatine itself as well, so you know proper dosages, timing, potential side effects, and whether to cycle on and off over time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vanity is Good for Google Search

Posted by: CS Chamber on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

I am so vain, and yes… I think the song is about me! Ok, not really, but sometimes vanity is important. It’s import because every web owner should be doing a vanity search on a regular basis.

3Deers Mobile Vanity SearchWhat is a vanity search you ask?  Quite simply, it is looking for yourself on the web. Search for your company name and the names of the owner/leaders of your company. It’s like looking in the vanity mirror so you can see what others see. Try it now (I’ll wait).

So, what did you see? Were you on the first page? Second? Third?

Since more and more people now are doing mobile searches (from their smart phones) that is what I like to do. I still do a regular browser search, but I look into the phone mirror almost every day.

When I enter “3Deers”, I am front and center on Google. Notice that there is a nice button for calling 3Deers, a map with directions and a link to our web site. Our Web site is also the next listing below the map and phone and we have several other pages linked below that, too.

We are so wonderful at 3Deers to be ranked 1st… Ok, now we are just pretending to be vain so someone will write a song about us. In all seriousness we really are just doing the basics.

Coral Springs Chamber Referral Group Vanity Search1. Have a well-structured web site with your company name as part of the url. Make sure your webmaster includes all the appropriate “meta tags” on your pages.

2. Routinely add new content with a blog or other valuable content (like this article).

3. Make sure you list your site on Google through theirWebMaster Tools. Don’t make Google find you, tell them were you are!

4. List your site on Google Places. This one is huge for local searches and getting your phone link on the search page. Again, you are handing the information to Google.

5. Follow up on steps 1 to 4 on a regular basis and be vain about it!

There are a ton of websites for listing your business and yourself… LinkedIN, Facebook, Yelp, Four Square, Google+, Instagram, Yahoo, Bing… the list goes on and on. But don’t make yourself crazy.

Start with the basics and do one at a time. Talk to your webmaster and make sure they are doing this for you, even if there is a fee. There are services that do this as well, you just have to decide what works best for you and your budget.

It’s ok to be vain… who knows, maybe someday someone will write a song about you! If not, at least you’ll get found on the web.

Test your site (and 3Deers) on your phone now… just like the Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce Wednesday Morning Referral Group! Check out the group doing their own google vanity search.

  • Mike Del Pozo, DP Window Cleaning
  • Richard Gerber, Bryason Realty
  • Ron Renzy, Wallberg & Renzy PA
  • Janet Shim-Johnson, AmTrust Bank
  • Dr. Steven Bromberg, Coral Springs Pet Resort & Medical Center
  • Beverly Provost, Evershore Financial
  • Kimball Stadler, Coral Springs Chamber
  • Andrea Jacobs, Brodzki Jacobs & Associates
  • Shirley Klein PA, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
  • Julie Kasper, Sports & Activities Directory
  • Dr. Josh Kirby, Heron Lakes Chiropractic
  • John Haughton, Peak Performance Consulting Services


Article URL: http://www.3deers.com/blog/vanity-good-google-search/

Article was submitted by: Perry T Patterson from 3Deers

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Wow Factory Receives 2013 Best of Coconut Creek Award

Posted by: CS Chamber on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


Coconut Creek Award Program Honors the Achievement


COCONUT CREEK October 21, 2013 -- The Wow Factory has been selected for the 2013 Best of Coconut Creek Award in the Kids Entertainment category by the Coconut Creek Award Program.


Each year, the Coconut Creek Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Coconut Creek area a great place to live, work and play.


Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Coconut Creek Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Coconut Creek Award Program and data provided by third parties.


About Coconut Creek Award Program


The Coconut Creek Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Coconut Creek area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.


The Coconut Creek Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.


Friday, December 6, 2013

The Coral Springs Chamber Releases New Chamber App

Posted by: Kim Mena on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


Exciting News! The Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce has partnered with MyChamberApp on the release of a smart phone application that is now available.  The App is available for free download for Android, Apple, and Blackberry. The Coral Springs Chamber will be hosting free webinars on Mobile Marketing so stay tuned to your email.

The app will offer the following features:

    - It is a mobile friendly business directory that allows for easy access to local businesses while you are on the go.

    - You, as the consumer, can search for a business by category or by distance from your current location.

    - Chamber members can access events and add events to their calendars as well as get reminders and special deals via push notifications.

    - Chamber members will be able to receive a free featured listing on the app which will feature priority placement, member logo and one touch call and directions


To download this app, go to www.MyChamberApp.com/download or visit your app store.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chamber Perks

Posted by: CS Chamber on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Did you know that besides networking, there are other great benefits of being a Chamber member? There are several Chamber Perks that benefit any business including FedEx and SPAM & Virus Protection, but the most popular is Office Depot. Members receive a 30% discount on general supplies, 15% discount on copy paper and toner, or receive a 5% discount on all other products outside of the core list. For more information please visit: http://www.chamberperks.com/Perks.asp?AccountID=83&CategoryID=17


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Energy Saving “Industrial / Office” Lighting Information that you should know!

Posted by: CS Chamber on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 1:00:00 am Comments (0)

Is your business spending more than it should on lighting? Interior lighting accounts for more than 25% of a business’ energy consumption. Replacing your current lighting systems with energy efficient lamps can result in significant savings.

DSI – Definitive Services, Inc. works with you to maximize your savings by helping you choose the lighting system that is right for your business. Your investment will pay for itself in a short period of time with the money you will save on your electric bill.

A case in point was an Athletic Club in Sarasota, Florida. It was just under 23,000 ft2. They replaced 131 old style fluorescent fixtures with more efficient T5 (6 lamp) fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts. The decreased energy consumption was just over 26%. This resulted in a yearly savings of $5,387.00. Energy efficiency of lighting systems is evolving and changing all of the time with new technologies. The next time you look at an old light bulb, think about it


Article was submitted by: Billy Pfenninger of Definitive Services, Inc.


Avoid Hidden Moving Fees

Posted by: CS Chamber on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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Sadly I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve spoken with customers who have been previously burned by a moving company. In fact, it’s usually what sends them to us.

Their number one problem? Hidden fees.

The problem with hidden fees is that well, they’re hidden…at least until it’s time to pay the bill. Suddenly all sorts of things become issues — and expensive ones at that. Here are three red flags to watch out for.

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Fuel costs

This is the biggest incidental add-on to any move, but there's nothing incidental about fuel. Moving companies knows they'll have to pay for fuel for the moving truck and to act as if they had no idea that fee was even there is ridiculous. Some companies regularly charge as much as 33 percent of the total cost of the move, but customers have no idea there's a fuel expense until they're expected to pay it.
How do you protect yourself? Ask about it. When receiving your estimate, ask whether the cost of the fuel is included. A moving company isn't required to explain its fuel costs to you unless you ask about them.

Trip charge

This is the cost of getting the movers to your house at the beginning of the move and back to the office at the end of the move. Some moving companies simply add an extra hour or two to the total, some have a flat fee and others bury it in the hourly rate.
Regardless, you'll want to confirm that the company has included this cost in your estimate at the time of the quote so you don’t find yourself with an expensive surprise.

Equipment fees

Trucks, dollies, moving blankets, bungee cords and rachet straps. What do they all have in common? They’re items you'll find on a moving truck that you can almost guarantee will be used during the course of your move. If you’re moving yourself, I can definitely guarantee that at some point you'll find yourself wishing for one or all of them.
I heard a story from a customer once that she was charged $20 per blanket during her cross country move from California to South Florida. That’s a bit steep. Usually the average is about $5 if they're charging individually.
Equipment is expensive and any company worth hiring should be updating and maintaining theirs regularly. But you want to know what to expect before you hire your mover, not when your stuff is on the truck and they’re telling you to pay up or they’re not going to unload.
At the time of the estimate, ask what you can expect to pay for the equipment used during your move. If they’re charging for the blankets individually, be sure to ask how many they expect to need to use on your move. Blankets help to cushion and protect your furniture far better than shrink wrap ever could, and you don’t want to skimp in this area.
As in most things, your best defense is a good offense. And the better educated you are prior to your move, the more likely you are to have a happy moving experience.


Alexa Lanier is marketing manager for Two Men And A Truck of Fort Lauderdale/Boca Raton, which has successfully completed more than 50,000 local and long-distance moves and has been servicing residential and commercial moving needs in South Florida since 1999. An A+ rated business with both the BBB and Angie's List, they have been members of the Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce since 2005 and have won accolades three years in a row for participation in the Coral Springs Holiday Parade. For more information on Two Men And A Truck of Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton visit  www.twomenandatruckftlauderdale.com or call for an estimate at 954-616-MOVE (6683).


Article was submitted by: Alexa Lanier of Two Men And A Truck

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Posted by: Unknown on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


Yes and No.  From our Past Experience & our Team strategy, we like to base our decision on how well the negotiations have gone during the home offer process.

There are transactions where everyone is reasonable, they play nice together and there are transactions where too many of the players have personal agendas and egos that get in the way of the progress.

In Florida, a title company or an Attorney can process your closing, and many title companies are owned or operated by Attorneys.   Each County can have a different standard where the seller or the buyer pays for the title insurance, so they get to select the attorney or title co. first.  Then the other side get to decide if they want to use the same title co. or in some cases hire a separate attorney.  Attorneys & Title Companies provide the same basic services, which include working with the lender to ensure a timely closing, ordering surveys, ordering lien searches to be sure there are no outstanding permits or code violations, ordering estoppel to be sure there are no special assessments or past due payments due and ordering sellers’ payoffs.  The major difference is that an attorney can represent the Buyer in the transaction – a title company cannot. 

The main goal of the title company and real estate attorney is to ensure clean insurable title to the new homeowner, free of any liens so you can begin ownership with a clean slate.


Article was submitted by: Joy Carter of Prudential Florida Realty - Joy Carter & Jeff Booker

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What To Do With Your To-Do List

Posted by: CS Chamber on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 12:06:17 pm Comments (0)

Last week, in A Better Way to Manage Your To-Do List, I wrote about the importance of using your calendar — not your to-do list — as your main tool to guide what you do in a day.

Transferring items from your to-do list to your calendar will help you make strategic choices about where you spend your time, but it will also leave you with the probability of a long list of items that didn't fit into your calendar for the day. And that list will simply grow longer and more stressful day by day, a continued reminder of what you aren't accomplishing. I call it my guilt list.

What do you do with those things?

I have a rule to handle those items: my three-day rule. It ensures that no item on my list ever stays on it, haunting me, for more than three days.

Here's what I do: after I've filled my calendar for the day, I review what's left on the list. I leave new items, those I just added that day or in the previous two days, on the list to see if they make it onto my calendar the following day.

But for everything else — anything that's been on my calendar for three days — I do one of four things:

1. Do it immediately. I'm often amazed at how many things have been sitting on my list for days that, when I decide to do them, take a few short minutes. Often they turn out to be 30- second voicemails or two-minute emails. Those things I do immediately.

2. Schedule it. For those things that I don't do immediately, I look for a time to slot them into on my calendar. It doesn't matter to me if it's six months away. If it's important enough for me to have on my list, then I need to be able to commit to doing it at a specific time on a specific day. I can always change my plan when I review my calendar for that day, but if I want it done, it needs to be scheduled.

There are, of course, some things that I'm not willing to schedule at all. Perhaps a meeting with someone that I think would be a good idea but isn't a priority enough to schedule. Or something that I schedule and then, each time I get to the scheduled day, I choose to bump off for more important priorities. If that's the case, then I face the fact that while I'd like to think that particular item is important, I'm not acting that way. So I let it go.

3. Let it go. That's a nice way of saying delete the to-do. If I'm not willing to do something immediately or schedule it for a specific time and day, I simply admit that I will not get it done. I face the reality that while I might like these things to be priorities, they simply aren't enough of a priority to do.

Sometimes, though, it's too hard to delete something. I don't want to admit that I'm not going to do it. And I don't want to forget that I think, someday, maybe it would be a good idea. So I put those items in a someday/maybe list.

4. Add it to a someday/maybe list. This is a list I learned from David Allen, author of the bestseller Getting Things Done. It's where I put things to slowly die. I rarely, if ever, do things on this list. I look at it monthly or so, periodically delete the ones that are no longer relevant, and then put the list away for another month. I probably could delete everything on this list but I sleep a little better knowing I can put things on it when I'm not courageous or guilt-free enough to delete them right off the bat. And who knows? Perhaps someday, maybe, I'll do something on that list.

There's one other list I keep and that's my Waiting list. If I've sent someone an email, left a voicemail, or expect to hear back from someone about something, I put that item on my Waiting list. This way I don't lose track of things I expect from others — and I'm able to follow up if I don't receive them — but I also don't have to look at those items every day or confuse them with things I have to actually do. This list is on my computer, and I assign a date and reminder to each item. That way I don't have to think about what I'm waiting for or when I should review the list. I simply wait for the reminder and if I haven't received the thing I'm waiting for, I'll know to follow up or, simply, let go of the expectation of hearing back from the person.

That's my process. It ensures that nothing stays on my to-do list for more than three days. And once I've scheduled everything I plan to do for the day, I don't have to look at my list again that day, except to add items that come up throughout the day.

It takes all the guilt out of the list.

Article Written By: Peter Bregman
Article Obtained From: Harvard Business Review

A Better Way to Manage Your To-Do List

Posted by: CS Chamber on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 12:03:01 pm Comments (0)

When my wife Eleanor was a little girl, maybe nine or ten years old, she needed new shoes. So she told her mother and they agreed to go shoe shopping the following Saturday morning. But when Saturday rolled around, Eleanor's mother was too busy and realized she wasn't going to be able to fit in the shoe-shopping trip. So she told Eleanor they'd have to do it later.

"When?" Eleanor asked.

"Sometime this weekend," her mom responded.

"When this weekend?"


"When tomorrow?" Eleanor persisted.

"How about two in the afternoon?"

At that, Eleanor relaxed. "Sounds great! Thanks, mom."

And, sure enough, at 2 pm the following day, Eleanor and her mom went to buy new shoes. The shopping trip that would not have happened had Eleanor not insisted on knowing exactly when they were going to go.

She reminded me of this story the other day when she asked me how my day had gone and I responded that it went well but there were a lot of things I had hoped to do that I didn't get done. She remarked that I felt that way every night. She observed that I never get to the end of a day and feel like I accomplished everything I had set out to accomplish. Perhaps, she mused, what I hoped to get done in a day was unrealistic.

She's right of course. For many of us, our to-do list has become more of a guilt list: an inventory of everything we want to do, plan to do, really should do, but never get to. It's more like an I'm-never-going-to-get-to-it list.

And the longer the list, the less likely we'll get to it, and the more stressed we'll become,
The solution to this I'm-never-going-to-get-to-it list can be found in Eleanor's childhood shoe-shopping trip, specifically in that final question that satisfied her: "When tomorrow?"

Even at that early age, Eleanor understood the secret to getting stuff done. She had a formula for turning an intention into an action.

It's what I call the power of when and where.

Decide when and where you will do something, and the likelihood that you'll follow through increases dramatically. The reason we're always left with unfinished items on our to-do lists is because those lists are the wrong tool to drive our accomplishments. A list is useful as a collection tool. It's there to help us make sure we know the pool of things that need to be done.

A calendar, on the other hand, is the perfect tool to guide our daily accomplishments. A calendar is finite; there are only a certain number of hours in a day. That fact becomes clear the instant we try to cram an unrealistic number of things into a finite space.
So, once you've got your list of things to do, take your calendar decide when and where you are going to do your to-do's. Schedule each to-do into a time slot, placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. And by the beginning of the day I mean, if possible, before even checking your email. That will make it most likely that you'll accomplish what you need to and feel good at the end of the day.

Since your entire to-do list will not fit into your calendar — and I can assure you that it won't — you need to prioritize your list for that day. What is it that really needs to get done today? What important items have you been ignoring? Where can you slot those things into your schedule? Then, once you schedule an item, cross it off your list.

Following this process will invariably leave you with things still on your to-do list. But don't worry: that's actually a good thing.

If you hadn't scheduled those items, you'd still have had things to do left over at the end of the day, only you wouldn't have had control over which items got done and which got left behind. And that would have left you surprised, disappointed, and, most importantly, helpless.

Now, on the other hand, you can be strategic about what gets left behind. You can decide, in the morning or the night before, what's really important to do and commit to when and where you'll do it.

And you can be sure that if you decide when and where you're going to do those things — if you answer Eleanor's question, "When tomorrow?" — you'll reliably and predictably get them done.


Article Written By: Peter Bregman
Article Obtained From: Harvard Business Review

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

Posted by: CS Chamber on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 1:53:34 pm Comments (0)
Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren't sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

1. Get specific. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. "Lose 5 pounds" is a better goal than "lose some weight," because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you'll "eat less" or "sleep more" is too vague — be clear and precise. "I'll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights" leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you've actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals.
Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it's not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers.

To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., "If it's Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I'll work out for 30 minutes before work.") Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don't know how well you are doing, you can't adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist.
When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don't underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won't improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills.

Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

6. Have grit.
Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren't particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don't have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking .... well, there's no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control "muscle" is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn't get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals.

To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you'd honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don't. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur ("If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.") It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that's the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don't tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it's important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. Don't try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time). And don't put yourself in harm's way — many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won't do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g., "Don't think about white bears!") has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken.
If you want change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like "If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down." By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely.

It is my hope that, after reading about the nine things successful people do differently, you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope are able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you, and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember, you don't need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It's never what you are, but what you do.

Article Written By: Heidi Grant Halvorson
Article Obtained From: Harvard Business Review Blogs

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist, and author of the new book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). She is also an expert blogger on motivation and leadership for Fast Company and Psychology Today. Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson