Last night, flicking through channels (a habit I’d like to break!), I came across a program about a family who had moved from the UK to a remote Pacific island to live a better life. During one of the conversations the presenter mentioned ‘coping with life’. The father immediately interrupted.
‘I don’t want to cope with life. I want to live it.’
Approaching Christmas – a time of giving and receiving gifts, the timing was apt. Whatever our beliefs, this life is a gift. We should grateful for it and make the most of it.
So I am asking myself “What am I going to do with it?” First, I am going dream more. Then I am going to plan and set goals. I am going to establish habits to support those goals. And I am going to start, even if only baby steps. All this will be anchored in the core principle of being over doing.
Only now, writing this and looking back on 2015, I realise how much I achieved. Even in the last six months. Strangely, I didn’t start with any new year’s resolutions. I gave that up a few years ago (that’s failing fast!). Rather, during the year I introduced daily habits that built a momentum that seems unstoppable. My family made big life decisions. We made significant (thankfully positive) changes. I purposefully changed role. I wrote my customer value proposition. I set up a website. I wrote my first articles. I explored what is important to me. I gave myself more direction and focus on what I want. I started moving towards it. Baby steps led to a mountain conquered. Six months.
The difference between busy and productive is prioritisation. Part of prioritisation is saying no.
This taught me one major lesson. Start – even if it’s baby steps. In fact, small daily habits rather than big goals are the best way to implement change. It worked for me this year.
You cannot steer a parked car.
In 2016, I will expand my circle to dreaming. It might be the year I can make resolutions I keep. So this Christmas, apart from spending time being with family and friends, I will dream for 2016 and beyond.
I want to contribute once more before the year is out. Twelve seems to be festive number so here are 12 Baby Steps you can take right now to set yourself up for 2016. They worked for me. I am determined not to add to your To Do list so the second six are things you should do less of.
- Draw your line in the sand. Decide one thing you will change. Give yourself a deadline. Diarise it. Share it with people.
- Put aside 2 minutes per day to meditate. Link it with something you always do as described in Embedding Habits.
- Buy a book about positive psychology. I recommend the Happiness Advantage by Shaun Achor. My wife recommends Thrive by Arianna Huffington.
- Schedule now, from January onwards, 15 mins to set-up your day and one hour each week. Commit and respect planning time.
- Dream: Pick a nice time and location and lock it away to dream about 2016 and beyond.
- Jot down your top five most important areas in your life. This is your Life Canvas which I will write about soon.
- Less distractions by switching off electronic devices from 9pm to 9am, i.e. phone, email. I dare you to try it.
- Less checking stuff for days, e.g. email, phone. I dare you to try that!
- Less trying to read the entire internet, e.g. fakebook. It’s impossible. Better yet, uninstall them.
- Less eating while doing other things. Be Mindful.
- Less footwear
- Less saying yes to things that don’t align with your 5 Life Canvas areas.