This is part two of the Self-Turnaround Series. The first part was on personal philosophy and how a shift in philosophy can change your attitude towards life. It is my belief that you have taken time to evaluate your personal philosophy and how it is shaping your beliefs and progress. It may not call for a complete overhaul; mostly it is about raising your consciousness on underlying beliefs that guide your decisions and your actions. Today, we focus on action or behaviour as a key element in making a life change.
Your actions define your life’s performance or progress in many ways. There is an English proverb that goes, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”. If wishing is all it took to be where we want to be, I bet no one would be lagging behind in their goals. We would all be living a life of our dreams and probably much more. We would be having our ideal health, wealth; relationships e.t.c. Real life change is a product of day to day deliberate actions towards where you want to be. Once you cast your vision, set your sail or philosophy to the direction of your vision, developed a strategy on how you are going to achieve your goals, then action must begin. Jim Rohn calls this – the miracle of labour pains.
Your labour is the perspiration that comes with great inspiration. It is represented by what you do. Your actions and behaviors. It is what separates ‘men from boys’ literally. It is what distinguishes people who are serious about their goals from mediocre people who settle for less than their potential. While successful people keep working at it, mediocre people keep talking about it. While successful people are doing it, mediocre people are dreaming it. While successful people show results, mediocre people are busy explaining why they are not doing it. They procrastinate and put off action for some ‘one day’ in the future. Instead of showing results, they only have reasons. Instead of showing numbers like how much they have saved, how many people met, how many books they have read or how many hours of exercise they do per week, they have stories to explain their lack of results. You probably have heard many of such stories; I am big-boned, I have a busy schedule, I am paid peanuts and they go on and on with lots on unnecessary details.
Goals can be mind-boggling. For example, you want to earn KES. 1,000,000 a month or save KES. 100,000 a month, and your earnings are not much, it can be challenging trying to figure out where to start. Many of us resolve on big goals and continue living our lives without a clear action strategy or as small people. We wake up, get on with the usual schedule, the same one that we have kept for the last five years and then wonder why our progress if not satisfactory. We wake up the same time, eat the same things, relate with the same people, watch the same TV programmes and the list goes on. Granted that our new goals or resolutions are challenging and if achieved could change our lives drastically, our day to day actions to do seem to resonate the requirements of those goals. Bigger goals require that we become ‘bigger’ people in learning new things, doing new things or forming new and more positive relationships. To move to a new realm you must operate at a new realm in thinking and in action. Your old actions have made you arrive at where you are today. To start a new journey to where you want to be you must engage a new action gear.
- List the things that you have been doing everyday for the last one month. Ask yourself if that log of activities is supportive of the successes that you want in life. This will give you a reality check of what is responsible for your drift or mediocre life
- Write the goals that you want to achieve in the next one year and the reasons you why you want to achieve them. The more compelling the reasons, the more the drive to act on them. Let your goals be exciting and challenging
- Draw a strategy of how you are going to achieve your goals. How you will earn more, become healthier, save more, learn more, and give more. Note that the ‘more’ here must be very specific and in numbers form complete with timelines.
- Break the strategy down into monthly, weekly and daily action plans and activities. These are small manageable but still challenging tasks and milestones that you will undertake towards your goal.
- Plan your month, week and day in advance having assessed how you have preformed so far and the things that you must do in the planning period. Everyday take time to write down five things that you will do in the direction of your dreams and do them.
- Keeping checking out the things that you execute and celebrate your successes to motivate yourself. The small victories will give you the momentum to do more and give you the confidence to overcome your fears.
- Journalize your journey in form of experiences and results that you are getting. This will give you encouragement and enhance your emotional connection with your goals.
- Get an accountability partner to keep you in check as you seek support from your loved ones, mentors or friends.
- If your motivation, for some reason, wanes and you retract on your steps, don’t worry, it only shows that you are human. The challenge is for you to dust yourself and continue with the journey.
- Learn to say ‘no’ to that which jeopardizes your success strategy. Keep a positive mind-set and empower yourself with new information in the direction of your goals. Losers quit when they’re tired. Winners quit when they’ve won. Don’t quit. Enjoy the struggle, the pain and the push; it is the fruits of this struggle that will ultimately make the journey all worth it.
By Khami Chege