Make Progress with Every Step
The majority of us are interested in improving aspects of ourselves, and we want to become faster, better, stronger & smarter. We know that we deserve more from this life & more from ourselves, but we often get stuck in a rut and before we know it – we’re just “going through the paces”. We have the intention to improve, but more often than not we get side-railed by life & circumstances.
The crazy thing is most of us know what we need to do. But knowing and doing are 2 very different things. For example, this is not the 1st time you hear that you should eat healthily, or exercise, or save money, etc. We know it, but we often don’t do it consistently.
Over decades of working with organisations & individuals on personal improvement aspects, we found that the ones who consistently improve & succeed, generally apply the four Principles below. It’ll help you “occupy” your life, progress you towards constant improvement and ultimately assist all your efforts towards Personal Mastery.
To effect lasting change – you must first be consistently Aware of what you want to change & impact. Start with sitting with yourself (as they say in Meditation, “in this moment, go within.”) It is vital that you are “down with yourself” (meaning be honest – not how you want to see yourself, but for who you truly are).
Choose the one thing you want to work on. Consider it from all aspects. When did it start, when does it show up, what triggers it, what’s your response normally, how would you rather want to show-up, or respond, is it serving you or not? Importantly, think about that improvement area. Keep it in your thoughts as an anchor throughout the day. Try and spot it early and consider your response / action.
It’s also helpful to use an anchoring phrase or affirmation, to keep your focus and awareness. At the end of the day – take 5-mins to Reflect on your thoughts and feelings around your focus area. Awareness energises your efforts!
“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous in the end”
Now that you’ve been Aware of the changes you want to impact, use micro-habits to start effecting that change. The small building blocks towards the invention of something new. Let it be the catalyst towards your desired change. The first steps are always the hardest. If you focus on the micro-habit and you consistently stick with it, before you know it, that aspect is automated and effortless. As a matter of fact, soon you can’t understand why you just didn’t do it before…
The important factor of micro-habits is to try and do the same things, at the same times of day repeatedly. Pick the micro-habits that will aid you towards the goal – no matter how small — as long as it has significance towards the goal you’re trying to achieve. You are literally reprogramming your brain.
Think of it as walking through an open field, with long grass. There are set paths through the field that is trampled down from lots of “walking” on that same path. You are now – walking through the thick grass – forming a new path. Initially, you’ll hardly see it. Very soon it’ll be a clear, new path towards Personal Mastery.
For more information and assistance on Habits & Goals – find the GHM Smart Goals toolkit.
Action Conscious Thought (ACT)
At the start of this article, I mentioned that there are many things that we know, but we’re not doing it. Good intentions are fantastic – but without action – it’s just dreams and hopes. Learning is defined as “a change in behaviour” – not simply acquiring knowledge. Therefore, we have to ACT! Just start. Do it!
Choose well and start small!
Below are some examples:
- If it is cultivating a Growth Mindset, instead of a Fixed Mindset – the micro-habit is to practice spotting the Triggers early.
- If it is exercise – the micro-habit is to put on your trainers / shoes in the morning and do the activity you wanted (20-min walk / stretches at home / light exercise / whatever…)
- If it’s losing weight – the micro-habit might be to keep a food journal and write down everything you eat for the day / week, or cut out sugar / carbs for a period of time, etc.
- If it is saving money – the micro-habit is to cut 1 expenditure (a daily coffee, an unnecessary snack, etc. Or a spend-journal tracking your spend for the week / month.
Whatever it is you want to do – if it is important enough for you to do it – then get to it! Start now.
“If you can’t fly – then run, if you can’t run – then walk, if you can’t walk – then crawl, but whatever you do – you have to move forward”
Martin Luther King
Never Fail Twice
Here’s the reality – you are going to fail along the way. That is the true nature of Learning! You have to fail, in order to achieve progress.
“Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success.”
So, plan for when you do fail. Most importantly – make the agreement with yourself, make the choice, to never fail twice.
Using the examples below:
- If you reacted / showed up in a situation where you realised you slipped into a Fixed Mindset – that fine – just don’t miss that Trigger again.
- If you missed a walking / training session today – that’s OK, but do not allow yourself to miss it again tomorrow.
- If you didn’t document your food intake for the day, or ate that chocolate and had sugar – absolutely fine – when the urge occurs again – don’t fail twice.
- If you spent unnecessary money / didn’t document your spend – that’s OK – but pick up from where you left off.
You are capable of so much! Do not fool yourself by thinking you have time… Our time here is limited and before you know it, it is too late to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Simply make the choice now – to get better, to improve, to progress.
Following the 4 Principles above will aid you in your endeavours for meaningful progress.
And lastly, be kind to yourself!
No matter how many times you fail, you’re trying to achieve an important goal for yourself. You are further ahead, than you were before. Be proud of what you’ve achieved already!
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Feel free to comment, tell us your goals, give us feedback on your uptake and let us know your progress in the comments section below.
We wish you the best of luck.