Following is a short list of common hints of wisdom for goal (target) achievement:
- Write down your goals (along with your Purpose Statement) and carry them with you.
- Be precise in setting your goals; know exactly what you want and how you will get there.
- Don’t allow the difficulty of the task to prevent you from beginning; just get started, see where you are and keep your perspectives clear.
- Break up your long-term goals into shorter ones; this will keep you motivated as you progress.
- Keep your eye on the bull’s eye of your target, not the wall behind it.
- Learn to delegate; elicit the help of others to assist you along the way.
- Set your priorities; there is a logical sequence to getting anything accomplished.
- Keep attentive and focused; don’t let distractions send you into new directions.
- Practice mentally rehearsing what it will feel like when you have accomplished your tasks.
- When encountering difficult obstacles, back off and consider other avenues to your destination.
- Analyze the feedback of your interim progress toward a goal; Learn from your achievements.
- Keep an inventory of your skills, talents and resources; Upgrade them continuously.
- Congratulate and reward yourself for incremental successes along the way.
- Become a master list maker; Keep organized and enjoy checking off things you have done.
- Understand the mechanics of planning and the proper execution of your plans.
- Combine tasks whenever possible; Try to kill two birds with one stone to economize your efforts.
- Recognize your biorhythms for efficiency; know your best time of the day to be productive.
- Work smart, not hard; don’t think of quantity of effort, think of quality of effort.
- Never procrastinate without a valid and unavoidable reason.
- Secure a mentor, partner or coach to support your progress and to be accountable to.
- Keep a sense of humor; Laugh at yourself when you stumble and quickly get on your feet again.
- Remember that your Purpose is behind everything that you do.
Feeling uninspired . . . stuck in a rut . . . that your life seems to be going nowhere?
If that resonates with you, chances are a.) You don’t really know what you want, or b.) It’s not important enough for you to do anything about it.
Let’s tackle the first point: You must know what you really want. If you don’t have a clue, then you are saying you don’t value anything. However, few of us would admit to that. If you value your life at all then there must be a few things that are very important to you. Values are your highest needs for self-fulfillment – your hopes, aspirations and expectations. Take some time to think about them and make a list. If you become emotional about them, then you are on the right track.
On the second point: Decide if it’s important enough to take action. What you most value or aspire to will never happen unless you take the initiative to make it happen. This is such common sense it’s amazing how many of us don’t recognize this. Life owes us nothing. We have to take ownership of it or it will turn out no better than what we put into it. it’s really your choice: either live it to the fullest or waste it away.
So why is it so easy to get sidetracked to doing what is most important? Why do we so often find ourselves stuck in the ditch with no way to get back out of it? There are many reasons but here are some key ones to reflect upon and consider changing in your life:
- YOU DON’T HAVE A PLAN: Once you decide what is most important and where you want to go, you need a roadmap to follow. Living in the present is good, but only after deciding what you want your “future-presents” to look and feel like. Create a path to follow and stay on it.
- YOU’RE STILL WAITING FOR TOMORROW: Again, there is no time like the present. This is when things happen. Procrastination kills the spirit and derails motivation. If you say you will do something when the timing is right then you will never do it. There are always excuses but the bottom line is they will never get resolved to your satisfaction. If you wait for the perfect timing, then you will always be waiting – never doing.
- YOU LIKE BEING IN THE COMFORT ZONE: Taking action means change. And if you don’t like change then you will never move forward. You might feel that what you are giving up is a loss, but that is where you have growth and positive self-renewal. It may seem difficult at first to give up your comfort zone but once you move forward you will not miss what you left behind.
- YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: This is self-sabotage at the extreme. If you don’t believe that you have the right or the worthiness to design and live your own life, then someone else will do it for you. In fact, if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will either. Negative self-talk is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Having no confidence leads to failure, but a positive self-belief will lead to success. Whatever you say to yourself creates that reality. You are free to choose either so choose wisely.
- YOU HAVE THE WRONG INFLUENCES: Look around and see who is impacting or affecting your life. Are you hanging out with the wrong people? Are they pulling you down or draining your life energy? If your circle of friends has low expectations, you will subconsciously adopt their attitudes and beliefs. You must find better role models or consider a mentor that you respect. Most successful persons will state that modeling themselves after someone they really admired made all the difference in their own life achievements.
- YOU MISTAKE “BUSYNESS” FOR PRODUCTIVITY: The proverbial treadmill requires effort but goes nowhere. In today’s fast-paced world, we deceive ourselves by working longer and harder but often find it leads to more stress and little else. When we only respond to our daily urgencies, we seldom find we did what was most important. Ask yourself if you’re just going in circles or are you spending quality time supporting what you most value. This is also the key to life balance – move away from meaningless activities and move toward those that are more rewarding.
- YOU’RE NOT RESPECTING YOURSELF: Are you spending countless hours in front of a TV or at a computer monitor surfing the web or playing video games? Are you ignoring sleep, exercise and healthy eating habits? Are you mindlessly going through the same daily routines without any regard to improving yourself? If so, you are disrespecting your talents, your mind and your potential. At some point, you will look in the mirror and not even recognize who you are. Decide now if you want to reach old age and regret the missed opportunities you could have made for yourself.
- YOU HAVE NO PASSION: At some point, you must ask yourself what you are passionate about. And once you discover your passion, you will know your purpose. Dig deep to discover what stirs your soul. Life is not meant to be lived on the sidelines so acknowledge what really lights your fire and begin to live it. While you may have buried your passions deep inside you, they are still there. You are free to bring them forth again.
Make today a new beginning. You don’t need to remain in the rut or feel resentful about how your life is going. It’s all about the attitude you adopt and your willingness to make changes. Your only obstacle is your own mind. Think differently and you will begin to change your life.
Life mastery is not difficult once we believe in its possibility and also desire to achieve it. Following are my top 25 principles for living a higher life and I hope you find them to be a helpful guide:
Worry Less – Laugh More
Sit Less – Move More
Analyze Less – Feel More
Text Less – Talk More
Work Less – Volunteer More
Complicate Less – Simplify More
Rest Less – Sleep More
Conceal Less – Discover More
Discriminate Less – Understand More
Complain Less – Appreciate More
Consume Less – Give More
Waste Less – Save More
Think Less – Act More
Abuse Less – Support More
Eat Less – Taste More
Critique Less – Love More
Follow Less – Lead More
Amuse Less – Learn More
Blame Less – Value More
Control Less – Flow More
Doubt Less -Trust More
Hesitate Less – Risk More
Watch Less – Read More
Resist Less – Accept More
Plead Less – Pray More
Most of us avoid the task of life planning because we feel that it is not in our control, that our environment has more control over us than we have over it. Or we feel that it may involve risks, risks that could lead to disappointment or failure. Or we’d rather not ask the tough questions because we don’t welcome a forced analysis of our lives.
No doubt, this is a difficult process. But unfortunately, if we don’t plan to live our own life, then somebody else or our external environment will do it for us. We should ask ourselves if our life is something we want to give up so easily. We must revere the sanctity of our life and vigorously protect the right to plan our future as we choose.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. It will go on, with or without us. We do have the choice to make it as meaningful and as purposeful as we choose it to be. Planning our lives and then living our lives according to that plan should not be an option. We really have no other choice if we want to realize the life that we deserve and expect. Let’s take some time to make that happen.
All of life transformation and self-renewal is embodied in the process of relieving the tension between the reality we have now and the reality we aspire to. For instance, if we are overweight, we feel the tension between our current self-image and a projected self-image. If we are not happy in our job or career, our anxiety tells us that something needs to be done about it. If we are feeling tired and physically unfit, we sense the need to exercise, sleep more and improve our diet.
In virtually every aspect of our lives, there is a perceived gap between where we are and where we want to be. This gap is a void we must fill to make life more significant and meaningful. If we let the gap widen, we feel more tension and frustration. By not attempting to close the gap, we are passively allowing life to happen to us. But by taking action to bridge the realities of what we have versus what we want, we are taking charge and making life happen.
This process of closing the gap brings our behavior in alignment with our purpose and our values. By knowing what we are here for and what is most important to us we gain clarity of our current reality. We can see exactly what is missing, what expectations are not being met, and we will become compelled to take action and redraft our future reality. We can then literally make our life what we want it to be!
Our Purpose, our Values, and our Behavior must all work together in balance, congruently with each other. Applying this paradigm to our lives requires us to view the total picture. We cannot be successful if we focus only on one component of our lives while forsaking another. Our Behavior must be congruent with our Values, but our Values must be congruent with each other. They are all interdependent, each working synergistically with the other. It’s not either/or, it’s and.
The universal nature of balance works in our life mysteriously and subliminally. Because of natural laws, equilibrium will always find itself, whether we are talking about the planets, the weather or even the forces that work within our minds and bodies. If we do not approach our life’s balance from a holistic perspective, then our life will ultimately seek its own balance, sometimes with serious consequences.
Fortunately, we are given ample opportunities to live a balanced life before nature does it for us. We receive numerous warning signs when we ignore the laws of balance. We will know when our life is out of kilter because of the stress and anxiety we generate within ourselves. We will feel the effects on our health, our relationships or even our careers when we are overemphasizing one aspect of our life at the expense of another. The key for us is to recognize these incongruities and correct them before they have to correct themselves. Our opportunity is to be in charge, fixing the problem before natural laws do it for us . . . As they always will!
Most of us can recall those times when we succeeded due to the impact of a mentor, a guidance counselor or perhaps an understanding spouse who was by our side as we undertook some personal endeavor. But we can also recall those instances where we endeavored to go forth alone and then gave up because we lacked the direction and support we needed. We found ourselves stuck in a place we didn’t belong but also didn’t have the encouragement or advice to get ourselves unstuck.
Imagine having a supportive partner in those situations where we lacked the resources, both mental and emotional, to stay on the right path. Recent research has shown that simply stating goals are largely ineffective, writing them down had only slightly better results, but having a partner proved by far the highest success rate in goal achievement.
Examples of this working partnership could include: job hunting or changing careers, learning a new skill, writing a novel, becoming a better speaker or listener, starting a business or planning retirement, getting out of debt, dealing with a difficult workplace issue, breaking a bad habit or making a significant lifestyle change.
The list is endless of possible scenarios where having a trusted partner on your side would have made all the difference. Going it alone is certainly an option, but consider how well that has worked for you in the past. If you truly want to stay the course this time and ensure your success it is okay to admit that you could use some serious help. Find your trusted partner who will support you and you will have much greater success in making it happen.
To achieve what we most desire requires us to make giant leaps of faith in ourselves. This requires confidence in our beliefs and the courage to take the first step. Having resolute courage combined with deep enthusiasm and supreme self-confidence will make us virtually unstoppable.
Our obstacles will become illusions if we then choose to never give up. And if we happen to fail along the way, we should treat it as our sustenance for continual and recommitted effort. If we then remain determined to go boldly and steadfastly no challenge will be able to withstand this onslaught.
Having a clear Purpose is the catalyst for the courage, perseverance and self-confidence we need and it will give us the inner conviction to stay the course. Maintaining a clear Vision of where we want to go in life will give us the strength to never give up when the going gets difficult.
This is the only blueprint for making everything we want in life a reality. It is our choice as to whether or not we will have the courage and the perseverance to realize it.
We need to trust and believe in ourselves. As our actions are dictated by our thoughts, we must diligently and relentlessly pursue a positive, can-do attitude. If we find ourselves accepting anything less, we are holding nobody back but ourselves. To sustain positive self-beliefs, we should only use affirmative, action statements in describing ourselves: I AM ENERGETIC! I AM POWERFUL! I AM A GENIUS! I AM SUCCESSFUL! I AM UNSTOPPABLE! We should never let negative verbiage enter our self-vocabulary when we can just as easily use more assertive words to define who we are. It is a waste of time for us to not believe in ourselves. If we are not going for more in life, then we will always be going for less. For us to get what we want from life, we must first want it; then we must go for it. In fact, we should never say that we want something and not go for it.
When we choose not to take action against events that create stress in our life, we will have adopted a self-belief of powerlessness. This inaction on our part leads to anxiety, a mental state of worrying about an event, even to the point that we no longer know what we are worrying about. This worrying or feeling anxious literally shuts down our sense of control and responsibility over the perceived event. When this occurs, we really have only one solution: We must turn the worry into a problem! Once we have reframed the worry into a problem, then we have something tangible to deal with.
By re-identifying our worry as a rational and specific problem, we can literally launch an attack against it. This modifies our original self-belief of powerlessness to one of control and responsibility. Thus, we will fix the source of our worry through developing a proactive plan of action. We will feel in control again, most likely eliminating or diminishing the worry to manageable proportions. At the very least, we will have turned our negative psychic energy into a purposeful attitude of control, which, in turn, bolsters our commitment and inner strength to overcome the problem.
If we take life’s events at face value, assume that they are our destiny and agonize over their presence, then we will have succumbed to a future that we no longer control. If, however, we adopt the attitude that life’s events are merely occurrences, that they deserve no more importance than what we ascribe to them, then we can become the master and life becomes our servant. Thus, self-realization is not just the identification of our most inner needs and expectations but rather their reflection in the way we feel about ourselves and in how we choose to approach life. Essentially, our Self becomes actualized through our thoughts, our self-beliefs and our actions, all of which are based upon a passionate Purpose-driven attitude.
We must recognize that we are not simply a Self, some amorphous thing that sits on a shelf in a dark corner of the room, complete in its own essence. Our Self is a living, breathing, learning, acting, doing, thinking human being. Our Self moves through life, facing continuous stimulation that requires continuous responses. It survives and prospers by coming out of the dark, out of its basic shell, and then charging into the brightness of each day, participating with great Purpose and Vision. The choice we must make is whether to let our Self turn into a Shawish-type tired, selfish clod with grievances that the world is not making us happy, or a Self that passionately realizes what it is, what it wants and what it is going to do. Taking the higher road ultimately leads us to our Higher Self, where we never have to regret the choices that we made – because they were the choices we meant to make.
We can easily recall those many instances where we felt an overload in our lives. We felt helpless trying to manage all of our self-created obligations as well as those that were imposed on us by outside forces. Over time, we became exhausted and our psychic energy was depleted. Left unattended, we will eventually experience anxiety in its mildest form to a total burnout or a nervous breakdown in its most extreme form. Our risk increases as we lose sight of ourselves, our Purpose, our Values and our Mission. We would be allowing life to manage us rather than our taking control, thus, reordering our life and our mental beliefs around those things that we can effectively manage.
The lament of modern society is that too many of us falsely believe that we must run harder and faster just to keep up. The proverbial treadmill is the greatest threat to our sense of Self as it takes us away from what is really most important to us. The mind has been scientifically proven to be capable of processing only so much information at any one point in time. There is a limit to our consciousness, and when we push that limit we are effectively shutting down our brains with an overload of psychic garbage. Our goal should be to filter this psychobabble out, before it gets a foothold in our minds. We must always recognize it for what it is: useless, non-urgent, non-productive data that crowds out the meaningful information that will bring more satisfaction to our lives.
Who said life has to be fair, kind and nice to us? Life can be difficult, and the sooner we recognize and accept this fact, the easier our life will become. In fact, just acknowledging this statement somehow makes life’s burdens easier for us to bear. As humans we crave perfection of ourselves, of others and of the world in which we live. We wish not to see death, famine or disease. We even wish that we would never run out of gas, get fat or have our children talk back to us. But this is not the way life works. The entire universe is very much out of our control. Living with these constant imperfections frustrates us. However, once we accept the premise that life is difficult, that life’s events are not always going to be in our control, then we can relax, learn to accept instead of resist and get on with the creative, intelligent management of our lives. To overcome the burden of having to constantly deal with the unfairness of life, we must first, accept this unfairness and second, rationalize how we are going to deal with it. We cannot let life’s unfairness defeat us. Rather, we need to conquer these unfair situations by designing our own set of responses to them. Life’s events may largely be out of our control, but we do have control over ourselves.
When we think about the value of our life, we should think about all of our Values, both quantitatively and qualitatively. If we have any Values at all (and few of us would admit that we don’t), then we can measure the meaningfulness of our life by our specific expression of these Values. It would be ludicrous for us to claim that our life has no value and also claim to have certain wants and aspirations. If we desire anything at all, then our life has value.
The problem with those who feel that life has no value is their failure to realize what is really important to them. When we focus on what we do have, cherish or expect in life, we will immediately begin to recognize the value these things bring to our life. If we wallow in self-pity about our meaningless life, we are actually saying that we are too blind or stubborn to see what is right in front of us.
Thus, our inability to see the value of our life is due to our incorrectly focusing on what we don’t have rather than focusing on what we do have. Assuredly, problems will occur in our life that distracts us from what is most important. Events like a serious illness, a broken relationship or financial troubles will tend to command our attention and focus our thoughts in the negative areas of our life. But while these events may require a definite measure of our attention, they certainly don’t mean that the rest of our life went down the drain with them.
We have no right to say that our life has no value simply because we are getting a divorce, losing our job or even getting a terminal illness. While something of value may have been painfully lost, we must still focus on those redeeming Values that we do have. We must recognize the full perspective of a valuable life, not concentrating only on the negative at the expense of the positive. Regardless of our setbacks, our life has tremendous value . . . as long as we accept and stay focused on the Values that belong to us and still cherish.
Our problem is in how we see the problem. We tend to compartmentalize ourselves into separate lives. We have our work life, our family life, our financial life, our social life, etc. We try to take one hat off and put another hat on as the day progresses. This segmentation of our lives into different boxes of activity creates tremendous pressure on us to shift our roles continuously. We become much like that old Ed Sullivan act where the harried performer is balancing multiple plates on long poles. As each begins to fall, he has to run frantically back and forth to keep all of them spinning at the same time.
Doing too many separate things at once keeps us in constant agitation and turmoil. We do a poor job in each role because we are trying to do all the roles at the same time, with each role requiring a different and often conflicting allotment of ourselves and of our time. The solution is to perceive the entire landscape, as a single body of choice, not little bites of activity all occurring at the same time. We need to act as if all of our roles are one and the same, that we are only spinning one large plate at the top of one pole. Gandhi once observed, One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.
This is the essence of balanced Purpose. Instead of thinking either/or, we must think of one and the same. As we view and interact with multiple and competing events, we should not treat them as being distinct and separate parts, but rather as a single part woven into the whole of our lives. An ancient Sufi teacher once said, You think because you understand one you must understand two, because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and. This holistic concept means we cannot see the individual parts of a picture without first seeing the whole picture.
Our personal growth is the process of transforming with change. As we receive Wake Up Calls at several points in our lives, we will see that our challenge will be to convert to new ways of thinking. Having a strong Purpose to propel us forward will smooth the bumps and ease the pain of the process.
So why do we dread these awakenings? Is it because we prefer our comfort zone, the life that conforms to our existing habits and allows us to take the path of least resistance? No doubt, it is difficult to let go of what we are comfortable with, but it is this process of letting go that allows us to experience and enjoy new parts of ourselves.
Without letting go, we remain in the rut. It is said that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions. And if we do not look above the edges of the rut, we will only see the walls of the grave that imprison us.
Therefore, managing change is the act of transforming by choice. This requires active decision making on our part, where we’re always seeking new solutions to our life. But if we welcome change the solutions will quickly follow.
Do you feel you are running through life like Forrest Gump? Simply running without knowing why you are running or to where you are running? And running in a rat race that never seems to have a finish line? Feeling like you are running on empty most of the day?
There is a simple reason for that: You are more preoccupied with doing life than living life. You are consumed with the Busyness of life rather than the Purpose of it. Maybe today would be a good time to stop focusing on Human Doing and instead focus on Human Being.