Some say success is obtaining a goal, such as graduating from college, raising a family, buying a home, landing that dream job, and so on. Others say success is more a byproduct of the journey—who you become as you achieve your goals. In order to get somewhere new or become something bigger, or step into that new role, you have to act or believe in ways you have never done before. You have to think differently. As a result, the most successful people are always working, always growing, always stretching.
The million-dollar question is: How do you do that?
Since nothing is more effective than self-awareness and action, I do these 6 simple things to make sure that I’m always growing:
Cultivate Gratitude – Start out each morning thinking or saying the things you are grateful for. In your head, in the mirror, car, wherever. Ironically, I begin this right from when I wake up. (Usually it’s when I DON’T want to get out of bed, because it makes my mood change slightly.) Being appreciative of what you have now opens the door for more to come.
Practice Affirmations – Research shows that most of our behavior is governed by our subconscious mind. In other words, our deeper beliefs about ourselves either help or hinder us from taking consistent/confident actions. Since getting to that part of our brain isn’t easy, I’ve found and practice affirmations. There is a standard set I say daily but I also step it up with every new task, goal or job.
Visualize Goals – Our imagination has tremendous power. So it’s not enough to have goals—it’s also important to imagine what accomplishing those goals would do for you. I spend time thinking about the WHY of my goals. Because the WHY is the motivation and true reason I have these goals, and the WHY keeps me on track. I actually learned this from Oprah of all people. She told a story about her extremely strong desire to play a part in The Color Purple. Every day she would daydream constantly about this role. (I know, pretty hard to imagine Oprah not getting what she wants, but at the time it was true.)
Set Daily Intention – This is about simplifying your focus for that day. You can use it actually in any scenario. Sometimes I make it my daily intention to register a new leader for GILD. Other days, I could have an agenda filled with meetings so my intention is to be present and open. We have the ability to set the mindset and intention of what we want. All we have to do is teach our mind to follow.
Release and Be Present – The last morning practice that I do is to release it all and be present. While there is power in visualizing your goals, there is also power in being present as well. When you aren’t thinking about the past, future, issues or TO DO’s, being present is where your true personality comes out.
In part of this present moment piece, we also have to sometimes trust that the things we want, and maybe that don’t come our way, could be for a greater reason. I obviously don’t like hearing it myself. But, there could be another self-growth lesson or action we aren’t taking, or simply it just wasn’t meant for us this day.
Read, Write, and Reflect – Lastly, end the day in some kind of self-reflection. I’ve actually journaled all my life. It’s a great way to get things off your chest and to work through problems going on in your life. Ironically it has probably been my form of therapy through life’s ups and downs. Keeping pent-up emotions, especially negative ones, eventually leads to stress, which leads to toxic chemicals in our bodies, which leads to… So pick up a journal and get it all out. Oh, and also be sure to talk about the things you accomplish daily and the things that are going really well too.
Practice these 6 daily habits for 30 days, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t see positive changes in your life. And the best part is it doesn’t cost a thing.