The subject of change arouses interest every time it comes up. Everybody wants something better for their lives and family. While others are making the necessary moves others feel hopeless and are stuck in a rut. Last week I attended the John Mattone Seminar and it was full of business leaders who are all looking for growth and change in their lives. They dedicated a day out of their schedules in the hope that they would hear the coin drop.
Some people don’t even know what to change or how to change and some are very successful but their lives are riddled with stress, illness and chaos because of bad habits and choices. Today I have compiled a list of some of the things one needs to adopt in order to see growth and change in their lives.
Exercise. As you maintain a regiment of exercise your body fat percentage drops, your flexibility and strength increase (less chance of injury) your lifespan extends, your immune system is bolstered, you maintain your youth longer, you carry over a sustained vigour to other parts of your life, your resting heart rate goes down, and you have a general feeling of wellbeing.
But do you have to do this every day? That seems strenuous. Try expanding your definition – You don’t give it your 100% every day. Some days may be 10 minutes of simple light stretching, just to keep the habit. Other days may be 2.5 hour monster gym sessions. Often times my physical exertion is a one hour run in the morning.
Reading If you read the right books you will be moved, inspired, and motivated. Think about what you expose yourself to, books that the most gifted human beings on earth have spent years writing. A lifetime of experience, insights, and lessons learned given to you in a nice handheld easily digestible form.
I started this habit at a half hour a day. Recently I’ve started reading about an hour a day and am burning through books. With a constant flow of information in you increase your ability for information to flow out (applying knowledge to your life)
Nutrition. As you build a productive life your ability to stay focused and have energy becomes very important. What you eat has a huge effect on how you feel. If you eat right you can avoid energy crashes, fight off sickness, and generally just feel ‘good’.
For me, I minimise sugar and processed food. I drink 2L of water a day and I make an extra effort to eat more plant based foods. I think what’s most important though is that you proactively decide what you put in your body.
Financial Management. Like nutrition, this habit is more of a choice you make rather than an active investment of your time. It’s pretty straight forward, every day try to manage your money reasonably. Apply the concept of reactivity/proactively to your spending and you have an excellent framework for managing your money. Did you plan on making this purchase? If not then don’t do it. The nature of planning a purchase is that it is in line with your goals and budget. The nature of making an impulsive/reactive purchase is quite the opposite, ‘it is right here and will satisfy me right now’
Personal Management. This is the easiest of all habits to implement. Just 10 minutes a day and your office, desk, room or bachelor pad is looking clean and fresh. Not many long term benefits here except maybe you don’t lose your possessions as often and they have and increased lifespan. In the short term keeping your space tidy can offer you a peace of mind and allow you to work unfettered on other projects.
Project 1, 2 or more times a week. For me I set aside a two hour block twice a week to work on a personal project. This could be fleshing out a business feasibility plan, recreating my exercise routine, catching up on some reading, creating a budget, doing research, or writing a mega post for my blog At the beginning of each week I choose what two projects I plan to work on and within the week I find time to fit them in. Use this habit as a way of revitalizing old projects that are collecting dust or to begin something new that you’ve been thinking about but haven’t got around to.
The effects this habit has on your short and long term productivity are huge.
Podcasts/TED Talks/SeminarsIf you’re a thinking human being with a desire for knowledge then you should be listening to podcasts, watching ted talks and . viewing the thousands of lectures professors and researchers have on the internet.
This is a habit I integrated for both its short term and long term benefits. In the short term I find it interesting to learn about new topics. A lot of times it’s on a subject I’m interested in at the time, other times it’s something completely new. Either way I’m exposing myself to the best and brightest minds of today and expanding my understanding of the world.
If you engaged yourself with this material every day, what would the long term effects be? Besides a vast and varied wealth of knowledge you would begin to draw disciplines together. Your understanding and awareness would grow so large that the value and wisdom you could offer other people would be incredible.
*For a practical tip, throw a queue of talks you’re interested in on your iPod and listen while exercising.
Plan the next day. This is so huge. Note that there is a small learning curve to this as you figure out a system that works for you. Maybe you like to manage your timetable through your phone, or maybe you just pencil out what you do on a list. Whatever the method it must satisfy two requirements: 1) The document must be easily accessible to you throughout the day, and 2) it must specify approximate times when you will complete each task.
It’s pretty simple. When you have some time to think with a clear mind you plan out what you want your next day to look like you do it. The time you know you have to yourself (mornings usually) you can set a more rigid structure than the times where there are many variables as to what you may be doing.
The plan is your servant, not your master. Never get upset if things don’t go the way you thought – it’s just a guideline to keep you on track. Lost time, interferences, failing to execute out of laziness or apathy, unforeseen events, all of this will happen. Don’t be worried, the element of proactivity you introduce into your life by planning your days out already places you way ahead.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your primary goal is not to be efficient. It is to be effective. Don’t be so worried about having some intense schedule that will burn you out quickly. Allow a good amount of time for transitions and even more for other forms of time you will use organically. If you have in your head a picture of someone ruthlessly triaging priorities, feverishly executing tasks and running around from one item to the next then you should rethink your understanding. As you go through your day you will apply yourself to each activity wholly and with everything you’ve got. You will take things slow and execute with passion, care and effort not with haste or carelessness.
Professional Development. You’re either working in the industry you want to be in or you’re not. Either way you should spend some of your day developing the skills necessary to succeed in the industry you want to be in.
If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like then this daily ritual is the key to breaking through. You will develop yourself in the area of your interest until you have the credentials, credibility, or opportunity to move permanently. Think of it this way, most people are reactive. Most people land a job through connections or convenience and after they have that job they then learn the skills necessary to succeed. You are not that person. You will do the reverse. You will gain the skills through your own force of will and then land ‘the job’. This is the formula to carve a life of your design and live your dreams.
If you’re already in the industry of your dreams then you should never stagnate. Constantly focus on learning new material, keeping up with trends, observing competitors, or expanding your professional reputation. Focusing on this will allow you to offer more value in whatever you do and will facilitate success.
If you can daily become conscious of these 9 areas and implement small changes by the end of the year you will be healthier, happier and wealthier. Start small, start now.