When it comes to reaching our goals, we can all get a bit impatient when we have to wait.
Frustration at the lack of immediate fulfillment can diminish our excitement and inertia, often distracting us from the small actions required to make a big difference in our progress.
What are those small actions that can make a big difference both personally and professionally? Here are a few that have helped me. . .
Learn to say no.
This is not as easy as it sounds but learning to say no is a small action (or two, or three) now that can save you big headaches and resentment later.
It is integral for you to be honest with yourself about your responsibilities to your family and your business. Over extending yourself with people/projects/things that don’t respect your time or talent serve no one.
Recently I made the decision, under the sage advice of our company’s Board of Advisors, to step back or ask for help from quite a few volunteer and community endeavors. Though giving back to my community is very important to me, if I was to reach my personal and professional goals, I would need to reassess all of my commitments and reallocate some of that time to focus on my family and business responsibilities. Never feel guilty for saying no and remember that asking for help from “teammates” who aren’t pulling their weight is NOT complaining.
Take time to say thank you personally.
Seems simple enough right? But surprisingly it is not expressed enough in a thoughtful and personal way.
Sure you can send an email, text or tweet, but taking the time to actually sit down and hand write a note expressing your gratitude or simply to say hello has a two fold benefit.
One is for you. Starting or ending your day with an a few minutes of gratitude will do wonders for your life. It keeps you focused on the people who are helping you become a better person every day.
Second, it lets that person know that you value them. In a world where the majority of mail delivered is poorly designed sales ads that go directly to the recycling bin, a hand written note will stand out and act as a reminder that they are a treasured part of your life.
Schedule time to review actions and goals.
This may sound strange for some of you, but it’s important to schedule time (once a week, once month, once a quarter, once a year – what ever works for you) to review your list of short term and long term goals so that you don’t get lost.
Be honest with yourself and your mentors when reviewing the actions that you have taken daily to meet your goals.
If how you have been spending your time isn’t producing the results you had hoped for, has taken too much of your time away from your action items or maybe some of your goals have changed completely – by establishing these “checkups” so that you can course correct, with a firm action plan, you will keep heading in the right direction . . . even if the direction changes.
Be self caring.
Schedule time for YOU.
You heard me.
Treat your time alone as important as a client meeting. No interruptions, social media, phone calls or text messages and no cancellations unless it’s an emergency. Unplug and dive into your own time. It’s important to take time to refill your reserves and understand the importance of taking “me time”.
It’s no secret that stress and anxiety are productivity killers. We can easily fall into the trap of putting everyone and everything before our own needs. Working 12-16hr days, 7 days a week will only get you closer to the grave, not your goals.
Go see a movie, read a book, go for a bike ride, take a day trip.
By making time for all of the things you enjoy, that are not work or family related, you are giving yourself permission to stay physically and mentally fit. Two key ingredients you need to reach your goals.
I have a habit, that I started years ago, where I create vision boards of my goals and what I want to accomplish, places I want to visit and motivational quotes that help keep me stay centered.
Reviewing these vision boards is one element in my daily routine that helps me stay positive. Another is to surround myself (both online and off) with people who exude the kindness and confidence that I admire.
We all have been around those people who prefer to tear others down with idle gossip, rude insults or ‘country club compliments’ that are more like a brick in a lace glove.
It is up to us to distance ourselves from those who don’t add value to our lives. Instead, I recommend that you invest your time with people who will tell you like it is without trying to drown your self worth.
Creating a positive mindset doesn’t mean that each day will be filled with rainbows and unicorns. I’m not delusional. But I am a firm believer that our attitude in how we handle a situation or challenge and how we let if set the tone for the rest of our day is up to us. It takes a concerted effort every single day and some days, it’s damn tough.
Make a commitment to yourself that you will take a stand to defend your boundaries.
Be willing to walk away from those who are consistently negative or disparaging of you or others. Lifting your voice to support and encourage others is a huge investment in your own personal positive posse that will be there to cheer you on when you need it most.
Remember that progress takes time and the leverage to make things happen starts in your own mind.
Small actions really do make a big difference.
What small actions have you taken that have made a big difference for you or your business?