To keep your 2015 flow going it's time we tackled one of the main defining character traits that will make or break your plans. This is all about your habits, the good and the bad.
Habits are those often ignored things we do on a consistent basis that either help us move towards what we want or make the game impossible to win.
I'm sorry to say that for most of us have habits that barely keep us treading water in a world that moves so fast, we are often behind the game and performing beneath what we are really capable of.
Just as our wages must increase each year to keep up with inflation, our personal growth must also increase as we enter each year otherwise our dreams and goals disappear into the distance. This is as applicable in our professional lives as it is with our personal.
Living organisms need to grow otherwise nature disposes of them, we are no different, we may not die but we will get left behind and have little value if we do not evolve.
Sounds a lot of work huh?
Well that's the perception, that's why most of us ignore this and get left behind as we age. When in fact it isn't a lot of work, you just need to live in a way that automatically allows you to grow. Then it happens naturally.
No matter how big your goal is it can be achieved if you work the right way with the correct timeframe and break things down.
"You don't set out to build a wall. You don't say 'I'm gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that's ever been built. You don't start there. You say "I'm gonna lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do the every day. And soon you have a wall." - Will Smith
Your daily habits are your answer.
Habits should be seen as building blocks that create the matrix that you live in.
Whatever you want to build or make happen must be built and we do this by persistently doing things that help us with that construction, not things that tear the bricks down everyday.
Intellectually we all know that our habits and little behavioural traits mount up to shape us but most of the time we don't realise just how detrimental they are and how often we are doing them. No one really keeps score of our actions.
The only way we know how we are doing is by looking at our results over time.
If someone is struggling to lose weight then without doubt they are doing something on a consistent basis that is creating this. Compare how they behave to someone who has 8% body fat with rippling muscles and you will see that their daily habits are very different.
We literally reap what we sow in this life and for you to get what you want in 2015 you must take charge of these small daily habits.
We will go into why we sabotage ourselves like this in a future blog but for now all we have to know is that the things you do on a consistent basis are going to be solely responsible for how your 2015 (and life) turns out. That's all there is to it.
For example if you have any of these habits......1) Putting things off2) Avoiding risk of failure or discomfort3) Usually look for the easy ways to do things, the shortcuts4) Ignoring the important jobs that should be done5) Never sticking to programmes or regimes (like fitness or other training)6) Quite often hear yourself saying "I can't be bothered"....then you are going to make very little progress this year, guaranteed!
Even if you only have a tendency to do 1 of the 6 mentioned habits once a day then you are likely to fail or at least seriously underachieve.
Luckily for us though this is applicable for our good habits, if you find yourself having these habitual qualities everyday......1) Always get yourself to act on your goal when you think about it2) Ask "How can I be better today?" and then follow through on the answer3) Welcome failure if it's learned from4) Set daily mini-goals that must be done5) Stick to preset programmes and regimes....then you will make great strides this year and not recognise your life in a few years time, guaranteed!
"We overestimate what we can achieve in a year but underestimate what we can achieve in a decade"
Time to take control.
Let's start to take control over this part of your psyche and begin constructing your future using better building blocks.
We will do this in three ways, first we will monitor what we are doing at the moment, secondly we need to change the habits that need changing and finally allow yourself to easily carry out these new behaviours.
Step 1 - For The Next 2 Days
It's time for you to spend time learning about the you that is running things at the moment.
This is something that hardly any of us do enough, it requires the skill to monitor without interference.
I want you to just observe yourself over the next 48 hours, DO NOT change just observe, for example:1) What are your daily rituals? How you operate each day2) What thoughts do you think? Positive and negative3) What habits do you have? Good and bad behavioural habits4) Basically how you spend your time, how you are mentally operating and seeing the world5) How are you running yourself mentally and physically?
Note these things because you will be surprised at how much we forget or think is irrelevant.
After 48 hours have past read your notes and assess for yourself if this type of person will achieve your goals for this year and beyond or if you need to 'employ' a better person.
Be honest here because this is important, avoid behaving differently if possible and be hard on yourself. This can be scary sometimes and embarrassing because you finally realise that you have been hiding for the past X amount of years and have been wasting your life.
If you come out of this thinking that you have been pathetic in the past, that you are embarrassed by it, then good because this is the type of self evaluation that will get you out of your self limiting ways and kick your ass into tomorrow.
Don't worry because every single one of us have times when we act in a way that limits us or sabotages our external results. At least you are one of the few that are doing something about it.
Remember that every second is another chance to turn things around, it is never too late, no matter how bad things are.
Step 2 - Better Than Yesterday
Now let's have some fun, it's time to make yourself better than yesterday.
Look at the old self defeating habits and decide on just 2 new habits that counteract them, 2 ways in which you need to change to take you closer to your goal this year.
Write them down and they are to become your goals for this year.
If I may suggest something there is one quality that I have seen in people who get what they want compared to those who struggle and that is their committed to being better than they were yesterday. They are only competing against themselves, not anyone else, the true opponent.
Their daily habit is finding out how they can improve themselves compared to yesterday. It must be relevant to what they want to achieve in the grand scheme but they never stop improving themselves and they get a kick from it because eventually their outside results start to improve due to this.
You are already doing this today but from now on ask yourself "How could I have done better today?" or "What can I try tomorrow to better what I did today?".
You can keep this all in a personal notebook or on you tablet/phone.
Step 3 - Make This Easy
This habit changing may sound challenging but all growth is, that's why most people cannot be bothered to do it.
But if you make it easy to do! If you set things up so you improve seemingly automatic then this will be much easier than you think.
For example if you want to get fitter by exercising 5 mornings per week then keep your exercise gear right by the bed so you virtually fall into your trainers when you wake up, us the exercise time as your time to set up your day and reflect (your own personal space), have a drink ready to go, have your iPod charged, wake up early enough, maybe tie the exercising in with your daily trip to the local shop, etc.
Make your positive habits easier in your life because once they take hold and you get used to them they will be ingrained and you will keep them for a long time. Your brain will see the benefits it is providing and get addicted to it.
Compare this to someone who cannot get themselves to exercise, compare how they set things up to be more difficult, their jogging shoes are at the bottom of a cluttered wardrobe, their iPod isn't charged and in some box somewhere, they may let the weather put them off, they wake up late so it will be a rush, etc.
All of these things make it to easy for us to again say "I haven't got time for this, it's too much hassle".
So make your new habits easier to fulfil than the negative ones, or at least the same level and your mind will want to go that way.
Plus from time to time revisit why you are doing this, recharge your motivation and get on with it.
I want to get across just how important the small things are, they are everything, just as the atoms are that build our world.
This is the same for you.
We are not trying to be perfect here because as humans our imperfections are what make us so perfect. All we are doing here is less of the things that are holding you back (your personal habits that are sabotaging you) and doing more of the things that take you closer to what you want, simple as that.
Follow the 3 steps and see what happens over the coming weeks.
Enjoy this process.