Sunday, December 2, 2012

How to Succeed every day - Put yourself ahead of the rest.

A disturbing trend that I am hearing more and more of these days is that people have fallen into the trap of pleasing others rather than themselves?  I don't mean selfishly living their life with only them as the purpose but that trap of sacrificing what it is that makes them truly special in order to meet the needs of others.  Shouldn't it be that you are trying to live as much as possible in that place where you are "special" rather than outside of it.

Is your typical day something like this -  Get my work done (trying not to be distracted by outside sources), meet the needs of my family, friends and others and then if their is time and I am not to tired, burnt out or ready to uncork that nice bottle of Red that is sitting on the shelf I might then do something for me (insert your thing here - play music, workout, write, invent, love, create).

So how much of your day do you feel like you are climbing a long hill with no end in sight?  Have you simply given up doing something for you and trying to get the most out of your day.  You must not forget that each day is YOUR day and it's your responsibility to get what you want out of it.

BUT may ask.. well lets talk about a story first.

In 1930 Plat & Munck retold a famous story of a little train that overcame big obstacles and called it "The Little Engine That Could".  The premise was that by repeating "I think I can, I think I can" while the train climbed up the impossibly steep hill it could succeed and make it over the top and down the other side to complete its journey.  The story is loved and known all over the world and has been used to inspire generations of children teaching them the values of optimism and hard work. 

The wonderful thing about the story is the unwavering commitment to the goal of "Getting over the hill".  The little engine doesn't get beaten down or defeated by the amount of Big Engines who have failed before, the engine just stays committed to the end goal. The thing I always take away from this simple story is the commitment.  Without 100% commitment to the goals we are trying to achieve we will never fully reach them or even better, achieve our goals and build into newer and bigger ones.  So many people fail to fully commit to their goals and even though some may get to the "Crests of their own specific Hills" most give up and slide back down to a place more often then not further back from the place where they started.  A perfect example of this are the never ending "diet" resolutions that people set at the start of a New Year.  These resolutions are always set with the best intentions but staggeringly, 80% of these resolutions are failed by Feb 15th.  Why - No real commitment just "I want, I want, I want" mentality.

In contrast one of my favorite children authors Shel Silverstein wrote a poem called "The Little Blue Engine" that referenced this story, except in the end the engine almost reached the top of the hill but then very quickly slid back down and crashed on the rocks below. The poem ended with the memorable line "If the track is tough and the hill is rough, THINKING you can just ain't enough!".  I love this line of the poem because it is such a great addition to the "I think I can, I think  I can" mentality.

It isn't enough to just think that we can do things, although I firmly believe it is the place we have to start.  We have to start by thinking we are able to achieve our dreams, our goals and to living the lives we were born to lead.  If we don't think and believe in it forget about it happening.  Go play the lottery.

If we just think though, we can get lost in dream time.  We have to be able to create meaningful actions around our thoughts, dreams and goals.  This ACTION is where the rubber meets the road.   In my next post I will talk about ways to ensure your ACTION meets with your thinking because it is essential that they sync up.

So back to HOW you get the most out of each day and how to start pleasing yourself in addition to others.  Here's the secret.  Please yourself first.  Yup...that's it.  Super easy right.  What, your confused?  No it's simple, super simple and can happen in a matter of seconds.  Please yourself first.  Get out of bed and start your day by doing something for you.  I don't care what it is just make sure that the moment you get out of bed you do something for yourself that is going to set your mind up for success for the rest of the day.  Then and only then can you look back on your day and smile knowing that it started by you doing something for you.  It doesn't have to be a BIG thing.  It can be the smallest moment you can imagine and that accomplishment will put "money in the bank" when it comes to following through on other goals throughout the day.

Here's one of my examples -years ago I wanted to stay better hydrated and set a goal to do this.  I started by filling up a water bottle before I went to bed and placing it by my bedside table.  When I rolled out of bed the next morning and when my feet touched the carpet I made it a priority to pick up the water bottle and take a huge drink from the bottle.  This simple task allowed me to have immediate success towards a goal in my day.  It allowed me to always know that I had succeeded in honoring a commitment I had made for myself.   Of course I drank more water during the day but this simple ACTION allowed me to honor my COMMITMENT and ACHIEVE my goal.

Remember my S.A.M. principle.  
Simple - make it as simple as possible - keep refining until you can't possibly fail.
Actionable - Ensure there is some physical action you must do to get you active in the process
Measurable - Track your results.  Put a number to them. Define your success.

 As always I welcome any comments and thoughts. If you are finding "The 365" interesting come say hi on Twitter @the365effect and share with others.

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