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Crafting Your Future Identity With Dr. Benjamin Hardy

TBT 111 | Crafting Your Future Identity

 

Your past and future selves can both affect your present self. You can actually imagine your tomorrow, remember your past, and fuse both to develop a positive perspective. Today, Penny Zenker interviews Dr. Benjamin Hardy, the author of Personality Isn’t Permanent, about crafting the avatar for your future identity. Want the opportunity to have a brighter future? Discover Benjamin’s strategies for reframing your past and honing your future.

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Crafting Your Future Identity With Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Benjamin, welcome to the show.

Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

I’m super excited to interview you. I’ve been following you for a while on Medium. Every time I read one of your posts or read one of your books, it makes me think deeply, step back and evaluate who I am and where I’m going. I appreciate that deep thought.

Thank you. I like to challenge people to think hard about things. I’m glad that it’s had that effect.

It resonates with me, because my philosophy is that I want to be out there. My mission is to help people think and act more strategically. That’s exactly what you’re doing as well. Asking those pertinent questions and helping people to be more intentional about what they create.

I want people to be intentional about how they live every day and about how they go about what they’re going for.

Let’s talk about you. How did you get passionate about helping people to live intentionally? What’s the breaking point? There’s always a juicy personal story behind it.

I’ve got some juicy stories, which I share in my books, but I will briefly share and I’ll highlight the high points. One being my parents’ extreme divorce, which was pivotal in my life.

How old were you?

I was eleven. I’m the oldest of three boys and was eleven years old. We grew up in a religious family and the divorce was crazy. Both my parents immediately became totally different people. My father became an extreme drug addict. My mom had zero religion. It was interesting. They’re both amazing people, and that was a weird episode in my life watching things happen. Essentially, junior high school, I had zero foundation. There are Traumas, which are events that happen to you and there are traumas, which are living in a chaotic environment. I was dealing with both.

You can't start a goal-driven path without first starting with your future identity. Click To Tweet

About age 19 or 20, I barely graduated high school and was doing nothing with my life. I attempted community college but dropped out after a few weeks because it was too hard and I had no why. I had no reason to do it. I had no confidence or skill even to read a textbook. I was playing World of Warcraft all day, living in my cousin’s house doing nothing and decided to leave. My younger brother ended up joining the military and I ended up serving a church mission. To me, that was the way out. I left. I ended up living in Pittsburgh for a few years doing a lot of community service and reading a lot of books.

I ended up having good leaders that helped me unload a lot of the trauma and baggage from my past and helped me to figure out a future. That was the big one. That experience opened me up and I saw a lot of things that I’d never seen before. I was in the ghettos of Pittsburgh, doing community service and being in people’s houses and trying to help people overcome their obstacles. That experience was great for me. I learned how to journal and I read many great books. That’s what set me off on my path. When I came back home, it was obvious to me that the people in my life couldn’t comprehend the changes I have gone through.

They saw you as who you were when you left.

They could only see and relate to my former self. To me, that person was no longer me. I felt like I needed to do different things and continue to surround myself in new environments. I liked the quote from Dan Sullivan, “Surround yourself with people who remind you more of your future than your past.” I kept going. I wanted to continue to study psychology. I wanted to continue to understand how this stuff works. I ended up getting a PhD and that was the big pivotal experience. I’ve read probably 1,000 books since then. We went to foster care. Crazy experience of doing three years of foster care and eventually adopting those kids and now having two others. There have been a lot of huge pivotal events in my life and I continue to seek those to be honest with you. I know that, as I talked about in the book, my future self is hopefully much better and a more mature expanded version of my current self. I want to go through transformational experiences in my future that update even who I am today.

In your new book, Personality Isn’t Permanent. I love that as a title of thought-provoking. You talk a lot about your future self and being intentional about creating your goals and desires in being that future self. What does your future self look like? How do you paint that for yourself? I know you go into a lot in the book and I don’t want to reveal it. I want people to read it. How do you put those practices that you share in the book? How do you put them into practice? What does your future self look like?

Let me tell your amazing readers. There are lots of good findings in psychology these days. First off, for example, you. I’m guessing you would argue that your current self is a little different than who you were 5 or 10 years ago. Your readers would probably agree. You’ve gone through a lot. You don’t see the world the same way. You have different preferences. You tolerate different things. Maybe there are certain things you don’t tolerate anymore that you used to tolerate. You prefer things now that maybe you didn’t prefer back then. It’s good from an identity perspective to recognize your current self is different from your former self, and that your current self is also different from your future self.

Your future self is a different person so they would make different decisions. Hopefully, they see the world differently and hopefully better. It’s good for decision making but it’s also essential to engage in true learning. It’s what psychologists call, deliberate practice. You have to have that future self in mind. This is where you begin living intentionally. Defining your future identity. Defining their attributes, characteristics, situation, what they’re up to, what they care about, and how their life is different. You can’t start a goal-driven path without first starting with your future identity. That’s the key.

TBT 111 | Crafting Your Future Identity

Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your

For someone who might see this as a totally foreign concept. I was thinking and what came to me is some people understand marketing. They understand that you create a marketing avatar for the person that you’re selling to. It’s kind of saying you’re creating your future avatar. You’re defining who that person is, what they do, what they think about, what they buy, who they hang out with. For people who are reading, if this weird concept is blowing your mind, that puts it into something maybe they can understand since there’s a lot of entrepreneurs.

I love that and I’ll state it bluntly. I’m an entrepreneur and it’s funny that we spend much time crafting and honing the avatar for our buyers and we won’t craft the avatar for our future identity. Because your future self is hopefully who you’re becoming. It’s impossible to live intentionally on a daily basis unless you’re walking towards someone.

The challenge that people might have with that is because it’s intangible. It hasn’t happened yet. They have to visualize and not everybody is good at it. You have to practice visualizing it.

Everything you’re saying is brilliant and it’s important. There’s a seven-minute TED Talk called The Psychology of Your Future Self. It’s by Dr. Daniel Gilbert. It’s a good little primer. What he helps people understand is that one of the reasons why we don’t visualize and imagine a future self is because it’s a lot easier to remember the past than to imagine the future. What we do is we look to the past and we use that as the basis for identity, rather than getting better and better at thinking about and imagining a future version of us. Confidence is one of the keys to the imagination. Confidence allows you to think about who you could be or what you could do, and it allows you to have a lot more flexibility with your current identity. One of the key things is that your current self is different from your future self and so you shouldn’t overly value your current perspective. As Stephen Covey said, “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.”

This is why labeling is negative. Because when you hold on to a label, then that becomes the basis for how you decide the future. It’s a lot better to think about and be honest about, “Who would you like to be or what would you like to have if you were totally honest?” This could be a little difficult and scary and I can fully own this. It can be a little difficult and scary to genuinely think about, imagine, and maybe journal about or tell people about who you want to be or what you want to be doing with your life. Chances are maybe you’ve had negative experiences in the past that have led you to limit what you would be willing to try. Because of painful traumas, negative experiences in the past, or failures that have led you to be maybe not willing to pursue what you would want genuinely.

Believe it’s possible because your past is limiting you. A lot of people feel like, “That’s not real. I don’t believe that. I can say that. I can say an affirmation, but I don’t believe it in my heart.” How do they do that? They can get caught up in a label and in Personality Isn’t Permanent those personality types are giving you that label telling, “This is who you are.” We have all these tools that are keeping us where we are. What’s a tool or a way that we can let it go to open up a way to believe and step into that future self?

There are lots of tools and the tools involve both the past and the future. I’ll give you a few tools you could use that will help you with the future and a couple of tools that you’re going to have to use to reframe your past. Because you have a past, we all have a past, and that past is probably impacting your current decisions. Maybe in ways that you don’t want it to. It’s important to know that your past is not fixed. Your past is a perspective. Like the Covey quote that says, “You don’t see the world as it is, but you see the world as you are.” That same quote is true of the past, “You don’t see your past as it is. You see it as you are.”

First things first, ask yourself, “How did you become the person you are?” “Why have you chosen the life you’ve started to choose?” Usually, you could look back and you can think of a few pivotal events that have led you to see the world the way you see it or maybe events that led you to change your course or redirecting your focus. Thinking about those events. Maybe those are the hardest, most traumatic or most difficult things that you’ve gone through. There are few things you’ve got to do. The first thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to be willing to confront those experiences. You could confront them by yourself. In psychology, there are two ideas. One is Exposure Therapy, which is the more you expose yourself to something, the more you neutralize the emotions.

Turn the past from emotion to information. Click To Tweet

By simply thinking about and talking about these experiences, the emotions can dissipate. If the past is still emotional, then that means it’s driving you. What you want is you want to turn the past from emotion to information. If it’s information, you can use it. You want to get more context. First off, journal, second off, talk to people about it. When you journal about it, you can then think about it from different angles. I like journaling with questions. As an example, “How would a different person view this experience?” If I’m thinking about my parents’ divorce.

I’m thinking about my dad as a drug addict. “How would a different person see this experience? How would my future self see this experience? How did my dad see this experience?” One of the things that you want to do is you want to get more information and more context and different perspectives about this event. One of the things I have to do to gain more experience or more perspective is literally asking my dad. We’ve become friends over the years and he’s totally changed his life. He’s no longer a drug addict. I had to ask him like, “Dad, during these this episode of our lives, what led you to some of the decisions you made? What was it like for you?” Getting more information.

What I wanted to highlight and repeat, because repetition is key, what you said that asking yourself those questions. Even from a third party because they’re going to see it from a different perspective, whether you directly ask the third party like you asked your dad. You got curious and you could get somebody to ask but sometimes, you can just put a different hat on and do a roleplay. Sales people do it all the time, “If I’m the buyer and I’m talking to you, what is my reaction going to be?” It gives you a whole different perspective. When I’m coaching other coaches, I’ll ask them, “What would you coach someone else?” They would see the situation differently if they were looking at it by coaching someone else.

By the way, you’re a great coach. I can already tell. How you’re coaching us in this conversation is cool. What you’ve brought up triggered me with this quote, “You can’t read the label from inside the jar.” The idea is that a third-party perspective is almost always a nice way to reframe your perspective because you’re inside the jar. You are the one who saw these experiences and you had an emotional reaction. You’re usually viewing your experience from the initial reaction, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of the jar and get a different perspective. You can do that again in the journal by asking yourself the right questions. “How would a third-party person have seen this experience? How would I choose to see this experience if I was an adult watching a kid go through this experience?” Seeing it from different angles.

That’s key. I wanted to repeat that because it’s valuable.

Keep doing that because you’re a good coach. I love it. I’m being completely honest. You’re good at highlighting key things.

Thank you. I love it too. We’re both passionate about this.

It’s fun.

That’s what makes it cool. These are great tools. The thing I love about journaling too is your idea of starting with questions gives you that direction because some people don’t feel comfortable to go to a white piece of paper and write. Those questions give some great guidance.

They’re a nice prompt.

I’m a big word fanatic. Our words will tell us a lot about our unconscious and what we’re thinking. I encourage people when they’re journaling to go back, read it, and circle the positive words. I call them productive and unproductive words. Where do you see yourself emotionally hung up? That’ll give you some indication too about what it is you’re feeling. Because when you’re writing, you’re not purposely making it perfect. You’re giving it something real from your heart and it’s flowing in.

TBT 111 | Crafting Your Future Identity

Crafting Your Future Identity: Third-party perspective is almost always a nice way to reframe your perspective because you’re inside the jar.

 

No one’s going to read it, no one needs to read it, you can burn it or throw it away if you want. Write genuinely about the experience and how it impacted you and about how you view it and then maybe start thinking about it from different angles.

Those are some simple and great tips for people.

I’ll tell you a story and it ties in with everything we’re talking about because these thoughts are not finished yet. The journaling and also talking to other people about it, these are not fully-developed thoughts yet. The story will help us understand it. This is a story about my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law was at the gym. She was working out and there was a heavy woman in the gym, an overweight, obese woman exercising in the gym. This woman happened to be wearing tightly-fitted clothing. It was a little awkward for a lot of people.

My mother-in-law could tell that there were people judging this woman and she could see the situation. She also had her own potential judgmental thoughts. My mother-in-law happened to be working out next to this woman, she’s her next-door neighbor. She struck up a conversation and my mother-in-law found out that over the last few months, this woman has lost 150 pounds. My question for you is, if that’s true, does that change how you view this woman at all? If you found out that this woman lost 150 pounds in the last few months, would that change anything about your perspective of this woman?

It would, but my perspective was already different. I’m a master re-framer. My perspective was, “That’s awesome that she is there.” My next thought for somebody like that is, “How inspiring.” It does change my thought but even more so, first I’m impressed that she’s there and she’s putting the effort in. Secondly, to know that she’s lost 150 pounds is inspiring. I think that the human spirit is amazing and I love to hear people’s stories.

I love you more and more as you talk. What I love about what you said is that when you see a person like this in the gym, you’re inspired because you’re like, “Wow.” What I see is this person striving towards the future self. This person is acting incredibly courageously. A lot of people’s easy initial reaction to this woman is like, “This is awkward. Why is this woman wearing such tightly-fitted clothing?” From an inspirational perspective, it’s like, “This woman is acting as her future self.” Initial reactions for a lot of people would be maybe judgmental, like, “This is a little awkward or weird.” If they find out that this woman has lost 150 pounds, often that new context changes their perspective. Usually, it’s like you go from maybe judging this woman or being critical to being inspired. This story is an example that context is a lot more important than content.

By getting additional context, you see things differently. When I was talking to my dad, as an example, I got a different context. You can journal in such a way and even reframe, as you’ve described, to get different contexts that you’re looking at something differently. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you see something, the thing you’re looking at changes.” You have to realize that you’re looking at former events, negative experiences from a perspective. When you get a different perspective, you’ll change how you see those events and you can become strategic about changing your memories. Changing how you feel about those memories. Changing the emotion behind those memories, and even framing negative events from a positive perspective. That’s a powerful thing to do.

You can then shape your narrative and your story around your past in a positive way. I view my past positively. I don’t believe it’s limiting me in any way. In fact, I believe it’s propelling my life forward. I’m grateful for it, but I’m also empathetic towards my father because of the information I’ve gotten. Knowing that there are reasons why he was the way he was. The way I was looking at it for so long was from the perspective of an eleven-year-old kid who didn’t know what was going on. I’m hopefully now seeing it from the perspective of a 30-year-old person who has a great relationship with my dad, and who can see that event from a different perspective. I don’t want to be stuck in the jar of the eleven-year-old kid. I want to get out of that jar and continue to upgrade my perspective.

Context is a lot more important than content. Click To Tweet

What does your future self look like? Take us there. Years in the future, give us the visual, the audio and all that.

To give some people my situation, I’m 32 years old, I live in Florida, have five kids, I write books and I am an entrepreneur, I do a lot of entrepreneurial activity. My future self will be doing a lot less entrepreneurial activity. I will be in a situation with a lot more financial freedom. I believe that this book will sell and I’m planning on this book selling millions of copies. I’m committed to that goal. I’ve set that goal because of the future self I want to become. My future self has a lot more freedom. I’m going to be going back doing a lot more missionary work, to be honest with you. I’m going towards a more spiritual perspective.

With that said, I’ll still be writing business books and I will still be writing self-improvement that is separate from that. That’s something I love doing, but I’m going to be doing a lot more missionary work from a leadership perspective. I want to be in a financial situation, I want to prepare and situate my life and my family so that I can do that in cool, powerful ways. I’m going to be spending more of my time doing that.

Missionary work in this country or is it in other countries?

No clue. I imagine I’m going to learn Spanish and I’m open to that. I love missionaries. When I was a 19, 20-year-old kid, I was learning much and I went through much. A lot of what I’ve learned is so that I can positively influence that audience. One of my favorite questions that Dan Sullivan asks is, “Who do you want to be a hero to?” That question is clarifying for a purpose. You clarify your purpose when you can answer the question, “Who do you want to be a hero to?” You want to be a hero to this audience. You want to be a hero to the people that you serve and you want to help them in certain ways. I love helping people from a broad perspective to improve their lives and I’ve spent years learning how to help people improve their lives. A specific audience my future self is going to be a hero to are our young missionaries. It’s helping them to be effective because I love that audience.

I’ll be in a place financially through the selling of these books and other things I’ll be doing too to do that full-time. I’ve already prepared my wife and my kids for this. When I first told my wife, “Soon I’m going to stop a lot of what I’ve been doing and I’m going to be doing this.” Because of that future goal, I’m going to get us into a certain situation because your goal shapes your process. It sounds like, “Because this is what I’m going to be doing. I’m going to get us in this place so that not only is it possible but so that it’s okay for all of you.” Initially, she was a little freaked out. I’ll be honest, when I first got married to my wife, even when we were dating, I told her some of my goals and it freaked her out. She’s gotten used to me saying, “This is what I’m going to do next.” It freaks her out and then she gets on board.

It’s always good when your goals freak you out. It’s big enough and they freak you out a little bit.

I’ll be blunt. My future self is my future identity. It’s my future situation. The goal to get there, which does freak me out, is to sell ten million copies of this book. I have no clue how I’m going to do it. It’s absurd and almost embarrassing if you understand the impossibility of that goal.

In the name of reframing, there are many different ways to sell a book nowadays that weren’t available before. You’ve got audio, electronic versions, the physical versions, a distribution mechanism around the world. I believe that’s possible.

I’m committed to making it happen because I’m excited about my future self and about that situation about what I’m doing. Like I was excited to be in this situation. When I was a first-year graduate student, I wanted to become a professional writer. I wanted to be writing for the big publishing houses. I wanted to be making a good income and doing this with my time. I had to set a specific goal and reverse engineer that goal and become that human being, which is something I’ve done multiple times in my life. What happens is because your future self is different from your current self, your future self is dealing with hopefully better situations, problems, relationships than your current self is in. The things that I’m going to be doing in the short-term future is exciting to you that it leads you to be radically committed to whatever goal you’re doing. It’s fun.

TBT 111 | Crafting Your Future Identity

Crafting Your Future Identity: Pursuing big goals often requires courage.

 

In this segment, what’s one of the biggest learning that you got from writing this book, Personality Isn’t Permanent?

The big thing for me is not overly valuing my current perspective. Not overly holding tight to my current identity. Becoming a lot more flexible in how I view myself. When you don’t hold your current view too hard, then you can be a lot more flexible in imagining a different version of yourself and also imagining a different version of your former self. I’ve gotten a lot more flexible, honestly, and it’s led me to be a lot more intentional about goals and a lot more flexible in pursuing those goals. Because pursuing big goals often requires courage. It requires shifting how you do things and how you speak and communicate about yourself.

When you’re not tight on how you define yourself, but you still have principles and you have a why, it’s not like you’re standing on sand. It allows you not to be as worried about how people think about you. How people define you, and you can move forward faster. Even let go of things faster. Reframe quicker and get information faster. Change the content. I hold my current self less tightly, knowing that it’s going to change and knowing that I’m going to make it change.

By writing this book and diving into Personality Isn’t Permanent, how has that positively impacted the relationships in your life?

It’s huge because in relationships, it’s easy to become dogmatic and how you see people. It’s natural psychologically for us to develop filters. My kids are an example. It’s easy for me to assume that my twelve-year-old son is acting how he always acts rather than being mindful of the situation. Not putting him in a box in my own thinking and saying, “He always acts that way.” That’s being mindless. I’m a lot more flexible with other people as well. Also, recognizing the change that does occur. A big aspect of this is taking a second to look at the current situation and realizing how different it is from the former situation. Taking a minute to recognize that change has occurred and that growth has happened. It’s easy to have such tunnel vision that you don’t even notice the change that’s happened. To recognize that even in the last 3 to 6 months, you’ve changed or your kids have changed. I notice that more, I appreciate it more and I value my people more.

I believe that, so that’s why I asked you because I want everybody who’s reading to understand that this is not just a personal development that affects me and my relationship with myself. This is a book that is going to impact not only your relationship with yourself, but your relationship with everyone else. When you become more flexible with yourself and you loosen up on labels and be able to reframe, and get different perspectives, that affects everything. It improves your communication, which is the cornerstone of all relationships, so that’s going to improve your sales, your family relationships, and your friendships.

It will improve your sales. I know this is an entrepreneurial situation, but I’ll say over the last years, my income has multiplied by ten and multiplied by ten before that. It’s powerful when you’re not rigid in how you see yourself and when you then define who you want to be, then put yourself in those environments, get that education, go through that learning, that change, and shift your narrative. If you’re not good at sales, if you don’t think you are, you can easily become someone who’s brilliant at sales. That’s the whole key. You would need to shape an identity of yourself as someone who’s comfortable with that and who wants it, loves it and enjoys doing it. Your current self may not enjoy that. My former self in 2015, when I first got my foster kids, did not enjoy being with my kids. I’m being blunt. I did not enjoy being a father. I now enjoy that. Your preferences can change. You can choose your preferences. You can choose to become brilliant at selling. You can choose to develop a seven-figure income. That’s the key. “Who do you want to be? How do you become that person?”

When you don't hold your current view too hard, you can be a lot more flexible in imagining a different version of yourself. Click To Tweet

Thank you, Benjamin, for being here.

You’re welcome.

Thank you all and like Benjamin Hardy said, “It is your choice.” Go out and get that book if you don’t already have it. Make sure that you’re taking advantage of all the golden nuggets that are in that book. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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About Dr. Benjamin Hardy

TBT 111 | Crafting Your Future IdentityDr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist, successful entrepreneur and bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work. His blog is read by millions of people monthly and featured on Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Cheddar, Big Think, and many others and adds priceless value to your audience by helping them to break free from the shackles of what they perceive as a permanent personality. He is a regular contributor to Inc. and Psychology Today and one of the most popular writers on Medium. He speaks and trains at a wide range of events. He is also training for his first Ironman. He and his wife Lauren adopted three children through the foster system in February 2018 and, one month later, Lauren became pregnant with twins, who were born in December of 2018. They live in Orlando.

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9 Hacks On How To Organize Your Life Better

It is easy to have aspirations regarding what kind of person you want to be, but it is difficult to take steps toward these goals in your everyday life. Many people become caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, balancing responsibilities and relationships and letting their more profound and intangible goals fall by the wayside. However, if you can learn how to organize your responsibilities and time, you will open the possibilities to accomplish more with your time and energy. By decluttering your life, you can live more intentionally and become a more responsible and successful version of yourself.

Few people realize how simple it can be to change their lives, but if you master the skill of organization, you suddenly can accomplish more with the same amount of time. This can lead you to change your life in the ways you want. For instance, if you have always wanted to learn a language or volunteer for the homeless, becoming organized can give you the time and energy to follow that dream. Learning how to organize is much more than putting your priorities in order; it is a recalibration of your time and energy that ultimately brings you closer to living your best life.

The Importance of Organization

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The art of organization is about putting aspects of your life into a systematic structure, making it easier to remember things and use your time in more productive ways. Many people spend a few minutes each day looking for a lost possession, trying to remember a thought or responsibility, or feeling stressed about a task. This may sound minimal, but these few minutes add up to years of your life if you consider this amount combined over a lifetime. We only get one chance in life, so it makes sense to strive for living your life intentionally and being mindful of how you spend your time.

In more concrete terms, being organized helps you to keep better track of your responsibilities. For example, using lists or alarms to remember to do certain things. It also allows you to lose fewer possessions because if you have a designated place for an object, chances are lower that you will misplace it. Being organized helps you to become more responsible and reliable, and it also results in a less stressful life. If you learn how to organize, you are learning how to complete tasks more efficiently and feel more on top of things despite your busy schedule.

How To Organize Your Life

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Learning how to organize your life takes attention to detail, consistency, and practice, but even the most disheveled person can do it with enough commitment. You must change habits and keep yourself accountable, along with being disciplined about your new practices. This may sound tedious, but it is worth it to become a more relaxed and competent person. If you can stick to them, these simple steps will help you use your time and energy more efficiently, allowing you more moments of relaxation and enjoyment.

1. Write Things Down

Writing things down is the number one action to take when organizing your life. Most people have many responsibilities to manage in everyday life and failing to write these tasks down makes it must easier to forget to do them. You are only making life more complicated and stressful by trying to keep important knowledge in your head, and you will inevitably forget some of it. Write grocery lists, to-do lists, birthday lists and a list of important dates and meetings to ensure that you are organized and efficient.

2. Make Schedules And Deadlines

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This is essential in learning how to organize and improve your time management skills. Highly organized people not only have a list of things to accomplish; they have designated times to accomplish these tasks. Making a schedule helps you to hold yourself accountable, and it increases the likeliness you will complete your to-do list. This also makes it more difficult to forget to do something, because if you have decided on and written a goal, you are more committed to accomplishing it.

3. Keep Only What You Need

One of the biggest causes of disorganization is having too much stuff. Having too many items in your home makes it difficult to keep track of all of them, along with causing cleaning to be more difficult when you do it. Owning fewer things helps you to appreciate the things you have and use them more effectively because those with too many things only use some of them regularly, anyway. Decluttering is a great opportunity to recycle and re-gift items, and it allows you to keep the areas you live in neater and easier to live in.

4. Don't Procrastinate

Procrastination is the enemy of productivity and efficiency! This one is a difficult habit to break since using your time for relaxation and enjoyment is more desirable than accomplishing errands and boring housekeeping tasks. However, teaching yourself to stop procrastinating is worth it, because the longer you wait to do something, the harder it becomes to do. By choosing to stop procrastinating, you are choosing to live a less stressful and more productive life.

5. Give Everything A Home

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It is easy to misplace your possessions if they don't have a place to go because you will constantly put them down and forget where you left them. To combat this, make easy-to-access storage spaces for all of your things, and label them if you want to bring your organization to the next step. Never have a designated place for miscellaneous items because this is a recipe for disorganization and clutter. Keep your storage spaces organized as well, keeping the number of items low.

6. Prioritize

There will always be an endless list of things to get done, from buying new garbage bags to calling your mother. However, a crucial step toward becoming organized is learning how to prioritize. First, make a to-do list detailing everything you aim to get done in the next day or week, and then order it from most important to least important, weeding out unnecessary items. The goal of being organized is to live your life more efficiently, not to add stress, and knowing how to prioritize keeps you from feeling too much stress and pressure to accomplish everything you need to.

7. Manage Your Money

counting coins

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Making and sticking to a budget is difficult for anyone, but it is especially hard for those who struggle with organization. Getting a money saving app is a good way to start, or you can choose the old-fashioned route by writing each purchase and creating a spending goal every week. You work hard to earn your money, so it only makes sense to use it in the best way possible. Becoming a good budgeter is a vital step toward living your best life and using your time and energy most effectively.

8. Put Things Away Immediately

This may seem like a no-brainer, but failing to put things away immediately is one of the main culprits of disorganization. By leaving things out, you create a norm of messiness—you will be less motivated to clean the messier your home already is. By putting your possessions away immediately after using them, you keep your area neater and make losing things less likely. When organizing your life, remember that deciding to put things away immediately is a vital component of a neat and efficient lifestyle.

9. Stay Motivated!

These are all fantastic tips for someone trying to reorganize their life, but they are only effective if you are consistent about them. You need to change your habits to be successful in your journey toward a more organized life, which takes choosing the more difficult option time and time again until it becomes natural. Stay motivated in your quest for organization and take these steps even when you feel tired and apathetic. Like any goal in life, staying motivated is the key to success.

Conclusion

man with his thumbs up

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Life is short, so why not use the time you have in the most efficient way possible? These tips for how to organize are the perfect solution if you feel like life has suddenly become too busy and unmanageable to accomplish everything you would like to. Life is a balancing act between work, social life, relationships, and personal desires. We are constantly feeling the stress of managing our many responsibilities and being disorganized only exacerbates this anxiety by making it harder to keep track of our possessions and duties.

By learning how to organize, you set yourself up for success in life and cause the overwhelming moments to feel more doable. You also allow yourself to be happier and less stressed, because getting things done and feeling like an organized, competent person can only be a good thing. By organizing your life, you become one step closer to living your best life and being your most successful, efficient self.

It is often said 24 hours in a day is not enough, but if you can turn those 24 hours into a well-oiled machine, you will see that it is more than enough time to accommodate all your wants and needs in life.

How To Harness Positive Self Talk To Be More Productive

It would seem that as we get older, we appreciate our time much more and therefore, we are also more aware of how it can be wasted. If you are like us, you want to get as much done throughout the day as possible. Work, hobbies, family, and relationships all require your undivided attention, but sometimes it’s difficult to find the motivation to tackle it all, this is where a little positive self talk can go a long way. In the following article, we will discuss the impact that positive self talk can have on your life and how you can learn to be your very own champion. You got this, trust us.

woman facing the mirror for a positive self talk

Positivity is the practice of staying optimistic and putting an upbeat spin on your life. Staying positive is easier said than done. As you encounter obstacles on the path towards a better you that may discourage and bring you down, remember, these are just setbacks. Keeping yourself motivated can help you boost your productivity in a big way, and will also keep you focused on your goals while boosting your self-esteem as you continue to work toward reaching them. Positive self talk is the sword that can help you forge your way.

How Does Positivity Affect Productivity?

Positivity and productivity are two words married in ideology. Both take hard work, are rewarding, are absolutely necessary, and they rhyme! These two words are inseparable and they should be because one directly affects the other. Knowing what you are going after and having a good attitude about the way you will get it is the start to diligent work, sacrifice, and responsibility. Remaining positive allows you the strength to overcome, the patience to understand and correct mistakes, and the drive to succeed.

It All Starts Within

The journey always starts within, and that is because if you want more time during the day to get things done, all you need to do is ask yourself for it. What does that mean? It means you need to ask yourself: where is my time going? Am I working hard towards my goals? Am I giving myself enough time to complete a task? Am I reinforcing my beliefs and patting myself in the back when I’ve done well? All these things should be part of your inner checklist of activities. You must remember that nobody will have your back as you do.

Self-Awareness and Positive Self Talk

happy woman holding smiley balloon

Self-awareness is critical to our overall function, it is how we understand not only ourselves but also the world we inhabit and how we fit in it. We imagine how our bodies are, how much space we take up in a room, how we look when we speak, and so on. All of this self-awareness is applied when we become productive, and it begins long before any task has even been started. This is because we have imagined ourselves doing this task before undertaking it. When we use positive self talk, we imagine how things will play out in a positive light, encouraging success, and thus propelling ourselves to work harder to reach it.

Is There a Need to Be Positive in Order to Be Productive?

Having a negative outlook on any task will probably yield negative results, you may even complete the task, but will it be your best work? The answer is likely no. Having a positive outlook can be the difference between doing something well or just so-so. There are many ways to get there and we will show you how to harvest the right attitude to succeed. First, take a moment to understand why negativity surrounds us and wants us to fail.

Negativity

Negativity, unfortunately, is around us since we begin to take our first steps. A child is likely to hear words like “no” and “you can’t do that” far more often than words like “you got this” and “yes it is possible.” What this does is program our minds to think negatively. Over 77 percent of the average person’s thoughts are counter-productive and negative. While encouraging parents are indeed essential in the healthy development of a child, the individual will eventually be faced with his or her own decisions about how to approach the life they lead, and positive self talk is a practice done alone.

Time

time management

Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy but one thing is for sure, it will not wait for you. Being productive is about getting things done and making the most of your time. When you take positivity and self-encouragement out of the equation, you spend your time doubting yourself, procrastinating, and eventually giving up on the task you set out to do. Positive self talk helps you work with the sands of time by creating schedules, timelines, and deadlines that benefit your work rate and productivity.

How to Become Your Best Self to Be More Productive

We want to tell you about a few tips that are sure to help you have a better outlook towards your goals and will help you reach them better too. These tips address different aspects of positive self talk and how each affects your line of thinking. Positive self talk is about speaking directly and clearly to yourself, no sugar-coating and no unrealistic expectations.

Speak to Yourself in the Third Person

Psychologist Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan conducted a study that revealed that speaking in the third person allows for a better positive reinforcement of a situation. When individuals were asked to complete what seemed like an insurmountable task in a small amount of time, those who were asked to speak to themselves in the first person often repeated words to themselves such as “How will I ever get this done?” while those who were asked to speak to themselves in the third person said things like “Jane, you got this.” Speaking to yourself in the third person can make a world of difference.

Be Realistic

my goals with post it notes

We do not mean that you need to limit your dreams, but we encourage that you set realistic goals for yourself that fit within a timeframe. Positive self talk is about being real with yourself, this means not taking on just a cheerleader type of attitude. You’ve got to think critically, analyze the situation, and provide yourself with the best assessment of the goal at hand. Don’t cut your wings off but don’t fly too close to the sun either.

Don’t Be Too Harsh on Yourself

Some situations will get the better of you, so when this happens, do not be too harsh on yourself. One of the great things about positive self talk is that not only can you prepare yourself for a situation, but you can also comfort yourself when a task does not go as planned. The path to success is riddled with obstacles and picking yourself up when you get knocked down is an essential part of the journey. Remind yourself that the task you are undertaking is difficult and that it will take all your effort to overcome. After all, anything worth having never comes easy.

Remember What You’ve Achieved

As you continue to visualize and act on your goals, take a moment to remind yourself of all that you have accomplished before and how you got to where you are in the first place. Often, we are so driven towards our goal that we forget to examine what we did to get there. It is in this examination that we remind ourselves of key attributes that help us overcome the task at hand, much like those before. Never forget what you have made possible.

Open Up

woman opening up with another woman

We know that it seems natural to want to focus solely on how to achieve a goal, to lock-in and get to work, but wait! We advise that before you begin a task or a journey towards a goal that you sit back and look at the bigger picture. Having a broader spectrum can improve your ability to see things that will help you achieve your goal. There are things you could miss if you focus too sharply on one aspect of your task. Talk patience into yourself so you can add clarity to your arsenal.

Self Esteem

Appreciate yourself as a person, not just your accomplishments. Everything you achieve is a direct product of who you are as a person and the value you have for yourself and your craft. Low self-esteem can lead to doubts about your ability to perform or worse, it can have you quitting on your dreams and goals altogether.

Conclusion

We hope that these tips have helped you get a better understanding of positive self talk and all the benefits it provides. If you take notes of some ideas and tips offered here, you will see improvements in the way you manage your time. You are capable of anything you set your mind to, and the only person who should be able to stop you on the path towards your goals is you.

How To Keep Selfish People From Stealing Your Time

One of the most precious things in life is your time. You can always make more money or more friends, but you can never conjure up more time. When a moment is over, it’s over, so it would be wise to take a hard look at how you’re spending your hours. Are you letting it be wasted by selfish people?

Since your time on Earth is limited, it makes sense to spend it with people who empower you rather than people who drain you. How do you know when you’re surrounded by selfish people, though? How do you avoid these emotional vampires? This is a skill that’s worth developing.

How Do You Identify Selfish People?

An Eye

Selfish people have certain patterns that become more obvious. In this sense, selfish people will often identify themselves for you. Here are some glaring signs of a selfish person to watch out for:

  • They never contribute to your life
  • They only call you when they need something
  • They get upset when you say no or draw boundaries
  • They try to manipulate you to get what they want
  • You find yourself avoiding them because they are just so emotionally draining

Selfish people make their world all about themselves. Since there’s no room for anyone else, your needs will rarely get met in the relationship. They are always taking from you and are full of excuses when you need help from them. When you ask for something, they make you feel like it’s a huge imposition.

Egocentric people show a lack of compassion and caring. In the selfish person’s mind, any agenda besides their own isn’t important. For instance, let’s say your friend asks you for a ride, but you cancel last minute because your spouse broke up with you, and you feel too emotional to drive. A selfish person may not hide their annoyance at being inconvenienced, or they may even get upset that you canceled. It doesn’t matter that you’re going through a crisis; the only thing that matters is that they didn’t get what they want.

Making Friends with Selfish People Is Not Worth It

Making friends with people like this — even if they are in high positions of authority — is usually a waste of time. You will get little out of such a relationship. Trying to squeeze any value or reciprocation from them will be like trying to milk a stone. Even if you can get something from them, it will never feel like a win-win situation. It will just feel like they are paying you back out of duty, and they will give as little as they can get away with. It will never feel like they are contributing freely as a friend.

Worse still, this selfishness can infect you as well! If you live in a world where people are constantly trying to drain you, it can make you defensive and you may think the only way you can meet your needs is by similarly taking advantage of other people. It turns into a vicious cycle. It’s also self-perpetuating since acting selfishly will attract even more selfish, low-quality people into your life.

Sometimes, when you’re surrounded by selfish people, you may not even realize that this behavior isn’t normal! Just as a fish doesn’t know what water is, you may not know your friends or family are toxic until you meet someone who treats you well for the first time.

Raise your standards. Real friends don’t get mad if you tell them no; they try to help you in any way they can, and they don’t make you feel used.

Why Should You Avoid Selfish People?

Selfish people can make your life miserable. You might not even realize how annoying they are until you finally push them out of your life. Selfish people could waste your time by trying to manipulate you into serving their ends and you might not notice all the mental energy you’re putting into dodging these manipulations.

For example, let’s say you’re improving your life and finally eating healthy and a selfish person in your life has grown jealous. Everything is a competition to selfish people. This person may criticize you or discourage you because they feel threatened by your success. After all, anything that doesn’t glorify them isn’t interesting to them.

As you can see, you should avoid selfish people for very practical reasons:

  • To keep yourself on track with your goals
  • To not let toxic individuals sap your energy
  • To avoid falling into the trap of competition and jealousy
  • To make room in your life for people that will help you, not hinder you

Every moment you spend with a selfish person is a moment you could have spent with a genuine friend who wants to cooperate with you and help you grow as a person.

Selfish people are like burdens that are constantly hanging over you, draining your energy and pushing you away from your goals. Therefore it’s important to avoid them like the plague if you’re trying to improve your life.

How to Keep Selfish People from Stealing Your Time

Time

Selfish people often ignore your wishes, so what should you do if they keep trying to steal your time?

Well, first, you need to recognize that unless someone is physically forcing you to do something, you are the owner of your time. You are 100% responsible for how you allocate your time, and no one can really steal it from you. Even if the selfish person is your time-wasting boss, you still have the option to leave the situation — even if you might fear the consequences. 

Sometimes letting go of selfish people who play an important role in your life can be scary. For example, maybe you’re in a relationship with a selfish person and you feel you have too much to lose if you let go. In cases like these, the transition can be slow and painful, but you will feel better in the end if you let go.

To let go of the selfish people in your life, follow these steps:

1. Draw Boundaries Often and Clearly

2. Be Your Complete Self and Don’t Apologize for It

3. Open Yourself Up to New People and Patterns

Conclusion

Selfish people are not just a waste of time, they are a waste of energy! You only have so much of both, so don’t squander it by spending your precious life with a toxic person who makes you feel drained. Look for people who will actually contribute to your life and who will celebrate your triumphs. Having upbeat people who are on your side will skyrocket your personal growth in ways you may not even imagine.

Perhaps You Need To Challenge Yourself, Instead Of Blaming Others

When things aren’t going well in life, we may blame circumstances or people for our lack of life satisfaction. Whether the blame is directed outward or inward, these self-limiting stories keep us stuck in the blame cycle. We may feel confused, lost, helpless, or hopeless. While these emotions are valid and should be recognized, we need to realize that we do not have to feel these things. Ultimately, we are responsible for what we feel and do. You have the power to change your emotional state, but first, you must accept personal responsibility and learn to challenge yourself.

An Introduction to Personal Responsibility

When we feel like we are stuck in life or a situation, we are not acknowledging the incredible role we play in shaping our own lives. Accepting personal responsibility allows us to become empowered in our relationships and take steps toward concrete solutions instead of focusing on the perceived problems. Personal responsibility is the willingness to take ownership of our needs, emotions, and behaviors. At the same time, we must look outside ourselves to gain perspective on the situation and look for solutions that take others into account.

person walking on the road

If you have not accepted personal responsibility yet, you may have beliefs like, “It’s not my fault I am like this,” or, “I want you to fix me,” or “Look what you made me do.” You have to challenge yourself to let go of feelings of blame in favor or accepting personal responsibility. Other people are not responsible for your emotions or actions. It is your responsibility to make sure your needs are met and to communicate those needs effectively with the people in your life.

Not accepting personal responsibility can have negative consequences that pervade all areas of your life. You may become overly dependent on others for approval, are constantly angry or depressed about how you have been treated, or are unsuccessful in personal relationships. In addition, you may find yourself overwhelmed by fears, unable to make a decision, and in poor health.

There are vulnerable emotions underlying blame. As a result of experiencing an emotion, we change the meaning of what happened to fit our emotional experience. Yet, we blame others for our emotions and behaviors. Instead of blaming others for their insensitivities toward you, recognize it is your job to help others become more aware and responsive to your feelings.

Why the Blame Game Is a Lame Game

Why play a game that no one ever wins, especially if it isn’t even fun? When you place blame on someone else, you are sending a message that this person needs to change their behavior. Consequently, you set yourself up for disappointment and frustration. You may ruminate about these feelings you perceive to be caused by others. In fact, before you know it, you realize that most of your time is spent feeling disappointed or frustrated.

Blame is a seductive game that everyone plays at some point. It’s cultural and habitual, so we may be playing it without even realizing it. We are vulnerable to feelings of blame because we are human. Even so, we do not have to act on the feelings. Here are some other reasons why this game is not worth your time.

You Are Robbed of an Opportunity to Empathize with Someone

Instead of being pulled toward feelings of blame, you could try empathizing with someone instead. Ask yourself what needs the other person has that led them to the behavior you want to point blame at them for. This level of understanding of others cannot be achieved through the lens of blame.

It Damages Intimacy and Connection

WOMAN HUGGING A MAN

No one wants to be intimate with someone who is always blaming others. Challenge yourself to openly and honestly communicate your feelings, perhaps using an “I feel” statement instead of saying “You made me…” or “Because of you….” If you’re highly sensitive, you may feel a responsibility for the emotions of others that prevents you from displaying vulnerable emotions. Just as other people are not responsible for your emotions, you are not responsible for theirs.

You Do Not See the Truth in the Situation

When you blame others, you inevitably deny some truth in the situation, your role in the situation, and your subsequent power to change the situation.

You Give Away Your Power

When you blame others, you may feel you attempted to resolve the situation. In reality, you have given away your power and ability to change to the other person.

You Get Stuck in a Fixed Mindset

People caught in the blame game have a fixed mindset of blaming others which reinforces negative patterns. On the contrary, a growth mindset is characterized by a state of continuous learning and expansion.

If you are tired of playing the blame game, challenge yourself to take personal responsibility. Challenge yourself to reconsider the meanings you have given to situations in which you pointed blame. Instead of saying, “I did this because of you,” try saying, “I did this because I was hurt.” Our emotional responses are not caused by others. They are based on the meanings we assign them, and we are free to choose the meaning we give. That is where our power lies.

Challenge Yourself: The Benefits

It is courageous to take an honest look at our own behavior. We are vulnerable when we acknowledge that we could have been more aware or could have done better in a situation. This is not the same as blaming or judging ourselves. You can combat feelings of blame by seeking to be more aware of yourself and others. Awareness is both the first step and a continual process.

woman sitting on the floor while looking down

Improved Self-Awareness

Self-Growth

Improved Mental and Physical Health

Setting and Achieving Goals

The Chance to Advance Your Career

Be a Better Friend or Partner

Increased Creativity and Inspiration

Gain New Experiences

Peace and Happiness

Conclusion

By blaming others, you give them a power that could otherwise be used to transform your life. While blame assigns negative intent to another, taking personal responsibility acknowledges your part is wrong. You may think, “but I did nothing wrong,” but wrong and right are too limiting of terms to apply to complex emotional reactions.

By accepting responsibility, you allow yourself the freedom to choose how you respond to any situation. You take your power back. Acknowledge your action or inaction that played a role in the situation. You need to realize that we all come from a different background and are at a different level of awareness that shapes our interpersonal reactions. While others may blame us, we do not have to go on the defensive. Alternatively, we can help them become more aware of the needs driving their reactions.

Goal Setting 101 – What Should I Do Today

Whether you save all of your goal-setting for New Year’s Eve or you come up with new goals every month, you’ve probably experienced the disappointment that comes with missing the mark. One of the major, but perhaps too simple, questions that we often forget when setting grand, wide-reaching goals is this one: “What should I do today?”

No matter how big the goal, you will only ever reach it by working toward it one day at a time. Losing sight of this ever-present fact is the number-one reason why we start feeling overwhelmed. This is when inner resistance starts to kick in, and you might not even notice that you’re subconsciously procrastinating.

Goal Setting 101

To avoid that resistance and all the tension that comes with it, fixating on the end-result alone just won’t work. Always start with that one basic question every morning when you wake up: “What should I do today?” Every time you ask this, it should be like a single step on a long staircase that leads up to your ultimate goal. Keep your eye on each step and your goal may ultimately take care of itself.

Checklist for Setting Goals

There are a few things you should always keep in mind when goal-setting so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure instead of triumph. Keep this short checklist in mind:

  • Choose the right goal for you
  • Pick your goals with a realistic mindset
  • Make sure you have internal and external incentives
  • Keep your eyes on one step at a time

Choosing the Right Goal

The biggest favor that you can do for yourself is to pick the right goal in the first place. This means more than just choosing a worthy goal; it also means choosing that objective for the right reasons.

The human mind is tricky and complex. Sometimes, we might be convinced that we want something, when, deep inside, we actually don’t. For example, maybe you decide to set a goal to be a millionaire, but what you really want isn’t actually that amount of money, it’s the freedom that comes with it.

Sometimes we have to dig deeper to find what the real reasons are behind our apparent desires. Only then can we set a reasonable goal with a path that is aligned with what we truly want. If your goal is to make a seven-figure income because deep inside you want the financial freedom to travel, but your job makes it hard for you to take any time off, then clearly there’s a conflict there. Think in terms of what will actually fulfill you.

Most of Life is About the Journey, Not the Goal

We’ve all heard this said in various ways, but the wisdom shines through in practice. Look inside of yourself and follow the thread of your motivations. Where does that line lead once you get deep? What is that one thing you are inherently motivated to do, even if you’ve never made a penny from it… yet?

A good way to find some clues as to what you really want in life is to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” If what you “should” do on that given day to reach your goal is something that you’d rather not do on a daily basis at all, then you’ve probably chosen the wrong thing. Remember that the peaks and satisfaction that come with reaching a goal may not last long. Most of your time and effort goes into the journey. To have a truly rewarding life, you have to be able to enjoy every step of the way.

Being Realistic

The next sticking point for a lot of people is that they set goals that are unrealistic. You may have a genuinely strong desire to attain a certain goal, but just wanting something isn’t enough. Sometimes goals are so far out of reach that it is futile to set them without laying significant groundwork first.

For instance, let’s say that a friend is 200 lbs. overweight and he or she sets a goal to have defined abs in a few months. Probably, that goal is a bit premature at this point. Even in less extreme cases, many of us find ourselves setting goals appropriate for stages that we just haven’t reached yet. The problem with this is that our mind starts to obsess about likely problems way ahead of time. This is a recipe for getting overwhelmed. Focus on realistic goals that you can achieve in a reasonable time, and then worry about the details as they come.

Building a Network of Incentives

Once you’ve chosen a goal that is ambitious enough to excite and challenge you, but narrow enough to be realistic, you’ll need to start thinking about incentives. What will keep you on track?

It’s important to have a good mix of intrinsic and extrinsic influences. Intrinsic motivation comes from the inside: it’s the joy you get just from working on your goal in and of itself. This is absolutely essential, or else you will almost certainly quit. You cannot run on the steam of external motivation alone, though it is a nice cherry to add on top. Here are some examples of external motivation that you can treat yourself to in order to stay the course, however:

  • Celebrate every major step with a special reward
  • Keep track of all of your progress even if it’s small
  • Make your goal public and enjoy the peer pressure
  • Ask someone more experienced, “What should I do today?”
  • Next, ask that person to keep you accountable to your answer

Look inward to identify triggers that make you procrastinate and try to plan ahead to counter them. Social accountability is a good resource for this. You might even want to join groups of like-minded people who are busy trying to attain your same goal.

One Step at a Time: So, What Should I Do Today?

Remember that all of your progress will occur one step at a time even if those steps pass quickly. Try to enjoy every moment and don’t forget to keep asking yourself, “What should I do today?” This is the mantra that should be playing in your mind. Keep your eyes on what you should do today.

Tips for Success

Once you’re out there and actively trying to achieve your goal, be aware that progress is rarely linear. You will hit obstacles every once in a while that might require you to change strategies. That’s why it’s important to focus on each individual step and not get bogged down by your larger plan. Here are some tips to succeed in the face of change that may cause strategic shifts.

Keep an Open Mind

No one ever stretched their limits by being inflexible. Keep your mind open to possible solutions that you may not have thought of before. Consult with people who have different perspectives from yours and try out some of their “crazy” solutions. You never know what might work.

Prepare to Negotiate With Yourself

When you set that huge goal, you were probably close to a peak state of mind. It’s easy to assume that your future self will keep the same elevated mood and energy levels, but this is unrealistic. There will be a time when you will have to adjust that goal.

For example, maybe your goal is to meditate for 20 minutes every day, but you’re finding that you can barely sit still for10. It might be time to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to meditate for just 10 minutes! Reducing your workload so that you can do a little bit of that great thing every day is far better than burning yourself out. Sometimes, you don’t need to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” Sometimes you do have to ask, “What can I do today?”

Tell the World or Start Building Support

You can decide to let everyone know about your goal! You’ll be surprised at how resources can magically pop up when people start to learn what you’re striving for. On the other hand, if you don’t have a good support network yet and you think your peers will just discourage you, then it might be reasonable to keep your goal temporarily under wraps. In the meantime, try to find a more supportive peer group. If your friends are too jealous or complacent to help you, then you’ll almost certainly find it harder to achieve your goals.

Getting Started: What Should I Do Today?

Remember that the sooner you get started on your goal, the better. Some planning may be necessary, but don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of using research as a way to procrastinate. This is cleverly called analysis paralysis, and it’s a common way for your brain to trick itself into not leaving its own comfort zone. Instead, make “What should I do today?” your launching pad.

To avoid this, focus on only the next small step toward your goal and don’t bother with the bigger picture when you’re working on the details. Much of the larger plan in your mind will probably change at some point, anyway. It’s much better to get out there, get some experience, and get a realistic feel for what it’s like to work on this goal.

Conclusion

Goal-setting is a great way to help focus your energy and inch you closer to success every day. The problem is that many times the goals we set might be unrealistic or too inflexible, so we find ourselves straying off our paths much too easily. Achievable goals take many factors into account, such as your intrinsic motivation and the external incentives around you. Most importantly of all, remember to keep asking yourself, “What should I do today?” This simple question may bring your focus back into the present moment.

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