Your fate isn't set. You get to decide how much of yourself you're going to put into today.
Rather than saying, "Well, we'll see what happens," you must powerfully state, "Today, I'm going to make it happen!"
When you go into the gym, you get to decide how hard you're going to work out. But one thing is for certain, you'll feel far better if you walk out 30-60 minutes later having given it everything you've got.
The same goes with your day.
It's actually far more exhausting to not work than it is to work. It takes far more energy sitting with internal conflict and justification than it does to just get to work. Said Steven Pressfield, "Most of us have two lives: the life we liveand the un-lived life within us. Between the two stands resistance."
If your life feels out-of-whack or out-of-balance, you're likely avoiding the very thing you should be doing. It's only in doing that thing that you'll regain balance and peace. Avoidance leads to busyness and distraction.
The Invisible Difference When You Fully Live
When I give everything I've got at work, I'm a different person. I'm happier. The world is a more beautiful and abundant place. Other people smile at me as I walk past them and I have no idea why.
On days I've actually done what I intended to do, it seems like more people look me in the eyes and smile at me as I walk past them. And I'm certain I'm not initiating those smiles. Yet when I receive one of those smiles, I look at that person for a few moments after they've looked away from me. I feel love toward them and wish them happiness in their lives.
Moreover, on days I've actually lived my purpose, I leave my work more energized than before I started. When I walk through my front door, my kids often run up and hug me, and ask me to play with them. As I look at them in such moments, I see only perfection. Love fills my heart and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and humility for my life. To adapt a quote from Goethe, "The way you see [a child] is the way you treat them and the way you treat them is [who] they [will] become."
Conversely, on days I've spent my working time in distraction and self-sabotage, I come home feeling like a fraud. My family still loves me all the same. Yet, it's so much harder for me to give them the attention and love they deserve and need. On wasted and un-lived days, I end up sucking more energy from those around me than I emit. I see only the problems in my children and am highly irritable.
You can't see the energy-field around you, but it's there.
You Can Make the Shift
I know what it feels like being stuck and without momentum.
You can feel absolutely powerless to change your life and circumstances.
But that's a complete lie.
I know it feels more real than anything else.
But it's not.
Feeling guilty about all the time you've wasted won't help.
If you make a few tweaks to your approach, you'll be surprised at how quickly your perception of the world and yourself will change. As your perception changes, everything around you will change.
Give one or two of these a try and watch what happens:
1. Have a weekly reflection and planning session
"The game is won or lost before it begins." -- John Wooden
One day per week (my preference is Sunday), take 10-30 minutes reflecting on your past six days. How did they go?
Try asking yourself the following questions:
· Who did I not meet this week that I should have?
· What did I not do?
· What did I miss?
· What should I tighten up?
Getting down on yourself isn't the purpose. Rather, being aware of how you're doing is the purpose. Awareness facilitates empowerment to change.
After assessing your previous week, make better plans for the next six days. Then, in six more days, do it again.
This need not take long, but it can dramatically improve the quality of your weeks and the days within those weeks.
2. Weekly goals > Daily to-do's
"Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month. We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade." -- Matthew Kelly
The more mature you get about your time and results, the less you view things in isolation. In reality, it's quite easy to have one good day. It's harder to have a good week, a good month, or a good year.
Yet, most people prefer thinking in shorter time intervals. Why? Because most people lack the confidence to go big. They prefer the dopamine boost of getting lots done, even if they aren't making any progress.
Thus, most people focus on quantity over quality. They'd rather write 5 mediocre blogs in one week than 1 or 2 really good ones. They'd rather have 5 or 6 mediocre workouts than a few that actually build their long-term strength or endurance.
However, the only way to make big progress is to think in longer intervals. You're far better off trying something awesome over a week than just chipping away day-by-day. Swing for the fences. Take risks. Go big.
Every week, you should be trying to do something you've never done before. You should be elevating your game. It shouldn't look the same as last week. Hence, the weekly planning sessions. What are you going to strive for this week that will change the game for you?
Are you experimenting, or just going through the motions?
Are you courageously embracing fear and risk?
Are you humbly embracing further education?
If not, you're plateau'd. And in many ways, it doesn't really matter what you do with your days. You could do the same thing every day and not get any better.
3. Three month energy cycles
When it comes to your future, you have three vantage points.
· Your vision (your WHY) = 10-25 years' out
· Your long-term goals (AKA your wild guess) = 36 months' out
· Your actual goals (AKA your realistic game plan) = the next 90 days
In the 20th century, it was a solid practice to have five year goals. Things were more stable back then. Today, things are changing too abruptly to realistically determine where you'll be in five years.
Framing your goals in three month increments gives you a clear and realistic future to sprint toward. Of course, these goals are based on your longer-term goals. However, your 3-month goal cycles are your main focus.
Just like your weekly planning sessions, every three months spend a few hours or even a full day reflecting on your previous three months. Make any adjustments you need and make better plans for the next three months.
4. Organize yourself
"Happiness lies in the cultivation of the garden." -- Voltaire
Your life is a garden, cultivate it.
Organize yourself. Clean out the weeds. It doesn't matter how long it takes. The very act of cultivating your garden will enliven you. You'll never be finished. But every day, week, and year, you can make your garden a little more beautiful and fruitful.
Clean up your finances.
Clean up how you use your time.
Clean up your relationships.
Just a little bit every day. Once you start to get things organized, the soil of your life will be better suited for what you plant in it.
5. Always choose the harder right or "higher road"
Perfection is not the goal. However, consistently making better choices is the only way to get momentum. And momentum is exactly what you need. If you're stuck, momentum is working against you.
It takes some work pumping the water-well to get it going. But it's worth it.And it really only takes one great day to get it moving.
You are one great day away from having a breakthrough. Steven Pressfield tells of "resisting" what he wanted to do for years. Then one day, he forced himself to write. He threw everything in the garbage he wrote that day. None of it was any good. But when he walked away from that work session to clean a pile of dishes sitting in the sink, he felt changed. "The water felt warm," he said. He knew that he had just had a breakthrough.
That's all you need.
Don't worry about the output when you're trying to build momentum. Instead, just get yourself to do whatever you feel you need to do.
Regardless of how you feel during the experience, you will feel hope and optimism when you're done.
You can get to the point where you consciously make solid choices in every situation you're in.
Consistency = confidence.
Consistency = momentum.
When you woke up today, how did you feel today was going to go?
I challenge you to wake up tomorrow with this feeling, "Today can be as great as I want it to be."
Having that feeling won't come out of nowhere. You'll need to set yourself up to have that feeling. However, setting yourself up isn't all that hard. It may be as simple as spending 2 minutes the night before writing a plan. It may be spending 15 minutes the Sunday before making a plan.
Whatever it is, you have a reason to live your life to the fullest. You may not know exactly what that reason is, but you'll find it once you get moving. More than likely, you'll realize that everything in your life is actually far more beautiful that you could previously perceive.
From this level of joy and purpose, you'll be empowered to consciously create a future you are worthy of.