As an authority on personal change, my clients frequently inquire about my own accomplishments and daily challenges. I’m always glad when this subject comes up because I believe in leading by example. If your coach’s personal life is a mess (or just plain stagnant) then you might want to find someone who walks their talk.
Football coach Lou Holtz once said “you’re either growing or you’re dying” and I couldn’t agree more. The act of pushing yourself to learn and do as much as you can keeps your heart beating and your mind razor sharp. Acquiring new knowledge and skills is one of the best things you can do for yourself and research shows that it even helps stave off age-related mental decline.
But sadly, once most people graduate college, their thirst for knowledge starts to wither and die. Problem!
It’s been calculated that the average person reads about 2 books a year while the average CEO reads over 70! How many books have you read this year (not including 50 Shades of Grey ;))? How many new skills have you learned? How much have you improved on your existing skills? Are you becoming more intelligent? How about a better friend, partner or parent? Have you been working on your shyness or getting your anger under control?
If not, then what’s stopping you?
You are. That’s who.
Most people whine that they can’t find the time. But if you commit to giving up just an hour a day of crappy reality television for 1 year, then you’ve just recaptured 365 hours that you can use to transform yourself in any way you see fit.
So get cracking, I say!
And if you have no clue where to start, then let me share with you a few of my minor accomplishments (in the areas of business, health, relationships and plain-old soul fulfillment).
In the last six months:
I’ve attended four different seminars (so I can help my clients achieve better results in half the time)
I’ve watched/reviewed over 15 self-help products
I’ve read over 50 books (not an exaggeration for a speed-reader)
I’ve given up meat and fish and eat a 90% raw vegan diet (those who know me know how crazy this is coming from a prior Paleo fanatic)
I’ve given up all stimulants (coffee, tea, cacao, etc)
I’ve cut my food budget by 50%
I moved my bedtime 2 hours earlier (still trying to get my butt in bed by 10pm)
I now see clients only 4 days a week so I have extra time to spend with my girlfriend
I’ve enjoyed 3 vacations
I’ve cut out all major sources of negativity from my life
I’ve been working on increasing the intimacy in my romantic relationship
I began creating 2 new products (one of which should be available before Christmas)
I have improved my vocal tone and pronunciation (with the help of a speech coach)
I’ve been taking acting lessons (just for fun)
I was filmed for an upcoming documentary about hypnosis
My purpose of sharing this list is not to brag but to inspire you. I truly believe that ANYONE can change nearly anything about themselves once they make a firm commitment to doing so. Here are the simple steps to follow:
Step 1: Decide what you want to accomplish
Whether you want learn a new skill or improve on an existing one it all starts with a goal in mind. Once you have it, write it down and put it somewhere you can see every day.
Step 2: Determine the necessary actions
Do you want to be in a relationship by January 1st? If so, the steps might be to get a makeover, brush up on your social skills, and go out to places (consistently) where your dream partner would be likely to congregate. Write these steps down.
If you get stuck, then work backwards. Imagine you’ve achieved your goal. What did you do (in the future, of course) right before you achieved it? Got it? Great. Now ask yourself what you did right before that last step. And so on…
Step 3: Take action
Now that you have your list, start taking (daily) action. The key to building in new habits is to start very small (with the first baby step) and work on your consistency. It’s better to meditate 5 minutes a day to start than twice a week for 20 minutes. Once the habit is established, then you can crank up the amount of time invested.
Step 4: When you fall off the wagon, get back up immediately
Don’t waste time beating yourself up, just get right back on and keep moving. If you feel like giving up then remind yourself how horrible your life will be if you never achieve your goal and that YOU are the only one responsible for your future. Then daydream about how awesome success is going to feel. Make big, bright mental pictures of how happy you’ll be at the finish line. Then, go take more action.
And the last step is to simply… start right now! Stop wasting time because the world is changing faster than ever before and you need to keep up whether you like it or not.
One of my ex-girlfriends used to complain that she hated change, to which I replied, “Well get used to it because the only thing that doesn’t change is that fact that everything ALWAYS changes.”
No matter if you take action or not, you are either changing for better or for worse. So which will it be? The only person who decides your future is YOU so get going and make it beautiful.
P.S. If you understand the correlation between the title of this post and Eddie Murphy’s picture, you just won yourself a shiny new gold star. Wear it with pride.