I must admit I am a sucker for a good self improvement or personal motivation article. It’s so soothing to think that whatever challenge I’m facing, there are “three simple steps” I can take to end it once and for all.
Okay, so we all know what the reality is right?
I think the biggest challenge I have, and you may as well, is putting that great advice into ACTION and actually DOING those three simple steps. Of course I know those three steps will not be as easy as it seems; it usually requires consistent ongoing effort for me to achieve the results. But I’m sure that those three simple steps will work as long as I do the work.
And that’s the problem. Choosing to do the work. More specifically, choosing to do the work now.
There are things I like about my life right now and and things I think that suck. The reality is I am living the life I have today because of the choices I made yesterday. So if I want my life to be different tomorrow, I need to take different actions today.
But it’s so easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
How many times have we said to ourselves, ‘Oh, I’ll start that diet and exercise plan on Monday?’ Or maybe instead of completing a seemingly small work task now, we put it off till tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes with it’s own surprises and that task falls off of your plate… only till later come back to bite you in the booty!
I don’t know about you, but I need to stop saying “tomorrow” and become a “Today” person. My new self talk has to be, “Today I will…” (fill in the blank)
I’ve discovered an undeniable need for me to become a today person immediately in several areas of my life, starting with my health. I’ve recently discovered that a number of conditions conditions I’m trying to correct are interrelated and all link back to me needing to make lifestyle changes. Today. Not tomorrow.
While I don’t have a diagnosis of some critical ailment, I am without a doubt on a collision course there… why should I wait for a crisis to hit me within a year or so if I can take steps to avoid it now? I can’t afford to start my new lifestyle habits on Monday or Tomorrow. I need to start today. Thankfully, the body does have a tremendous capacity for healing itself when we do right by it. So the time for me to do right by my body is now. Because if I’m not alive, I can’t see my son grow up and all the goals and dreams I have in my heart, or scribbled across notebooks or on digital documents in the cloud will never come true.
So I’ve had to give myself a stern talking-to recently, a “Come-to-Jesus” moment if you will. And I’ve decided that today, I am now a “today” person. That means I am actively ensuring I don’t put off seemingly small but important tasks for tomorrow. I now make the time do them today.
So how do I (or you) go from being a procrastinator to being a rock-star of accomplishing goals? Well, I came up with three simple steps 🙂
Number one, get a notebook or open up a fresh Word document and date it. Then across the top, write “What do I need to do today to take steps toward accomplishing ___.” My suggestion is to name your goal and not to leave it general or vague. Then list out at least three specific steps you can take today towards losing 2lbs this week, or landing one new customer this month, for example. Then, put those steps on your calendar or task management tool as if it were an appointment. Seeing not only your goals but your action steps makes your goal concrete and seem obtainable. At the end of your day, start a new document or new sheet in your journal and prepare for tomorrow by listing out your goal and action steps you’re going to take. It could be a different goal (if you’re working towards several at the same time) or the same goal but different action steps the next day. As you continue the new habit, you’ll have a track record of everything you did to achieve your success and how long it took you to do it.
Number two, get an accountability partner. I think that’s definitely where we go wrong in trying to achieve goals; we don’t always ask for help. It’s rare that we ever accomplish anything significant in life on our own. Whether or not the accountability partner is trying to achieve the same things you are, just make sure they are a person who you can be honest with and who will be honest with you. Your arrangement can be as simple as a 10 minute phone call weekly or daily. You just need to tell them what your goals are and what your action steps will be. They simply need to ask you if you completed your tasks or not.
Having an accountability partner takes your goals out of your head, off the paper and into reality. Someone else knows about what you’re trying to do and now they are expecting you to deliver. We have an innate tendency to not want to be embarrassed when it’s time for that call so we’ll likely get ourselves in gear. That’s exactly what happened to me yesterday. A simply phone call with a friend yielded a new accountability partnership. Now we have 10 minute calls scheduled every week day to check in on our daily action plans. This one step alone instantly made me a “Today” person!
Number three, just do the damn thing! Stop over-thinking things. Nike has had it right for the last 30 years: just do it. There is no magic pill. There is no magic potion. Everything in life takes hard stinking work, discipline, and dedication. Whatever it is you want in life, you have to get up and consistently take the right actions to make it happen. There’s no way around it. And if anybody tells you otherwise and you believe it, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you!
I hope this article encourages you to think about what you need to take action on today so that you could see better results in your life tomorrow. Why do you need to become a “Today” person? What are your action steps you’re going to take today to make it happen? Share with me in the comments.
As for me, and being a “Today” person about my health: I penned this blog post last night and went to bed at 9pm, got seven hours of sleep (instead of my usual 4 or 5hrs) and woke up this morning at 4:30 to work out before leaving for the office at 5:50am!
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