How often do you stop and reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going? There are those who are religious only on Easter and Christmas; I feel the same can be said about people who only set goals as the New Year approaches. To change your life, you have to start with the little activities. The once-a-year, big activities don’t influence our lives as much as our daily choices. If you want to see change in your life, here are a few habits I suggest:
Journaling. Taking time to write each day allows you to slow down and reflect. I mean really slow down…I don’t know about you, but I’ve forgotten how to use a pen! You can use this time to ponder a new idea, to reflect how you handled situations that day, or even dream about the future. Writing daily solidifies ideas and habits, which turn into actions.
Check-in with yourself. Too frequently people set a goal, work at it for awhile, and then let it die. Schedule regular check-ins with yourself or an accountability partner to reflect where you are on your journey. This allows the goal to stay in the forefront of your mind and also enables you to make sure you are on-track and course-correct before you get too far off-track.
Schedule your time. You don’t have to be a drill sergeant about your schedule, but you still need a schedule. Schedule time for your goals weekly (or even daily depending on the type of goal). As you schedule your time, validate that each activity is actually moving you closer to your goal. Everything you do, from watching TV to reading books to working out, is either enabling or hindering your progress to your goal. While something may not have a direct connection, there is an opportunity cost and unintended consequences associated with every activity. While working out may not be your goal, having good health gives you energy to pursue your goal. Other things, like watching TV, may be taking you away from your goal.
Have a list of daily priorities. If you end your day with thinking about what’s most important the next day, you can do those things first. Having this type of priority list gives you more control over what you do each day and moves you closer to accomplishing your goals.
Don’t be a fair-weather goal-setter. You’ll never get to live the life of your dreams that way. Focus on daily habits that take you closer to success. It’s in your daily choices that you experience long-term success or failure.
Jana Axline is Chief Project Officer at Project Genetics and the author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings, she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Project Genetics.