A new day full of possibilities. I confess to being one of those people who knows for sure that with the right planner I could somehow change everything to make it all better. Smarter. Thinner. More Profitable.
Don’t get me wrong. A good planner, or planning system is helpful to keep the main thing the main thing. If you want help with this I highly recommend checking out Sarah Hart-Unger, the genius of the Best Laid Plans podcast, who really knows planners and systems.
I’ve landed on a hybrid system that’s working for me most of the time. I’ve accepted that some days don’t conform to conviently scheduled power hours. But many do and that’s when things get weird.
I am tempted to do all the things.
I created a checklist with all the things. It was the kitchen sick approach with 12 things I wanted to do DAILY.
That didn’t count business tasks. Just the personal stuff.
To be fair, 5 of them are things I already do daily so I’m ONLY trying to add 7 new things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve. My mental chatter tells me that ambition and desire are good for me.
I know myself well enough to know that the daily list isn’t realistic. Or optimistic. It’s unfair.
What hit me this morning when I was journaling (check off task number 4!) is that one, there is nothing “wrong” with me that needs to be fixed and two, big impact comes from small changes implemented consistently.
We know that 30 minutes of exercise most days beats trying to do a marathon 2 hour workout on the weekend.
The momentum gained from consistent, persistent effort is legit. I see results and I also get the satisfaction (and dopamine hit) from crossing it off the list every day.
So maybe 7 things is 5 too many.
Living life on my terms is the ultimate goal. Doing what I want to do, when I want to do it. Simple right?
That requires two key things. Knowing what I want. Making choices that align with what I want.
The desire to complicate this comes from fear. If I really know what I want and I make decisions based on that then gulp I really don’t have any excuses for not implementing.
With that nugget of insight I went looking for some support. Here’s what I found helpful.
Oprah (of course)You can have it all. Just not all at once.
If anyone understands it’s Oprah. She undoubtedly has a huge list of things she COULD do. Cool projects that would be interesting and worthwhile. Like all of us, she chooses what’s right for her, right now.
She’s written and spoken about this topic alot so we know that she depends on divine guidance (her term) combined with her personal goals.
James Clear has figured this out as well. He wrote Atomic Habits. It’s a great read and if making a big change is on deck for you, this book and his work will help. Here’s what’s worked for me.
Make the commitment to small incremental changes and STICK WITH IT until it’s as automatic as walking the dog or taking a shower or (fill in your own thing here).
One of the tactics he shares (there are several more) is habit stacking. The new action gets “stacked” with someting you already do regularly so it is easier to implment and stick with.
Pick something you do daily/automatically. Add the new action so it becomes part of your daily flow. Example: Fill in your top 3 priorities for the next day every night after you brush your teeth.
The Eisenhauer Matrix. I find myself going to this when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Find the unimportant and not urgent and remove them from your life. Such relief. Use the time to tackle the urgent and important. Delegate and automate the rest.
I know. Simple doesn’t mean easy but knowing a few new ways to look at things has always helped me. What felt impossible (work out most days?) can finally be doable.
Which brings us back to knowing what you want.
I recently listened to Mel Robbins tell a story about a painting she wanted. She saw it while in college (or just after) at a time when buying art was not on her list of priorities.
The key statement she made that stuck with me:
“I realized it’s was okay to want things.”
What do you want? Figuring that out will make it much easier to answer the next question.
What can you do to get it?