Waking up on Ash Wednesday, hopefully the distraction will all be over. Believe it or not, life goes on after Carnival. As a country we need to make some real progress.
We can start with making progress in our own lives. Richard Branson, the self made billionaire entrepreneur behind the Virgin Group of Companies has said on numerous occasions that the most important component in his life is his dedication to his health and exercise routine. Once you have your health you can do anything. In order to maximise our vitality and make the most of our lives, it’s essential that we take care of this. It’s simple really. If you can’t find it in you to love your life and therefore can’t take care of yourself properly, how can you expect to be there for the people you care about and enjoy the things you love?
Albert Einstein said that it’s impossible to solve our problems with the same type of thinking that created them. With that notion in mind, lets take a quick moment to examine the way we think. Does life happen to you or do you make it happen?
We all start out with the mentality that life happens to us, and for the first few years of our lives that’s the way it is. We have little choice regarding anything. Our parents make decisions for us and we aren’t responsible for much.
Some of us fail to outgrow this basic way of thinking and become trapped in this negative paradigm. These types of people are always the victims in their sad stories. “My teacher failed me, or that coach didn’t care about me, or this boss didn’t like me.” Sound familiar? These people are stuck in a negative feedback loop. In order to grow, we must deliberately shift the blame and place it squarely on ourselves, thus taking responsibility in our lives and beginning the process of self actualisation.
Since we are on the topic of self analysis, let’s take a look at the people that we choose to surround ourselves with. I am a fan of Tim Ferriss, the author and entrepreneur. This one of his many quotes comes to mind, “you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganised friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.” It’s the truth, but I am not saying get rid of your negative friends, just make some new positive ones.
Many people are self deluded and believe the lies that they repeatedly tell themselves. It can be funny, but it’s always sad. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone come up to me saying “I train perfectly and I eat perfectly, but I am not making progress.”
“What did you eat? What have you been doing? Don’t waste my time!” It’s not a secret, there is so much information out there.
Set goals! Write them down and make them real. Carry them around in your pocket if you think it will help. You need to have long term goals. From those, work backwards to medium term goals and then most importantly short term goals. What should you be doing right now? Every decision that you make is either getting you closer to or further away from your goals. Don’t get this confused.
It’s no secret that it takes hard work and sacrifice to be successful. If it really was easy then everyone would be great. However the most successful people only seem to make it look easy because they willingly accept and enjoy the necessary grind and sacrifice required.
Set yourself up for success. If you know that the thought of having your gym bag all packed, clothes laid out and food prepared to go in the fridge is going to make it easier for you to wake up early and hit the gym before work, then do that ahead of time the night before.
A great way to combat the diminishing resource of willpower is to change the way we define ourselves. How do you define yourself? A smoker? A drinker? A person with health issues? Just as a vegetarian defines themselves as someone who doesn’t eat meat, if you want to make a change for the better define yourself to yourself as someone who has already made that change. For example: you really want that, drink, cigarette, unhealthy craving, whatever but “you are a person who used to do that but now has quit” Try it!
There are no straight lines in nature. No river ever flows straight to the sea. It’s never here one minute, goal achieved in the next. Its a steady process in which slow motion is always better than no motion. Be patient and enjoy the journey!