2020 is approaching, and most of us are preparing for the new year as the year to change our life for the better. We’re waiting until January to join Orange Theory Fitness to lose weight, read a book a week to gain as much knowledge as we can, and write a page a day to finally work on that book we have been putting off.
Note: I know this one way too well, and I’ll follow up with another post soon on tips and tricks on how to write two books out of one idea.
I use to put myself into the trap of waiting until the first of the year, the beginning of the month to start a new plan, a new regiment, or routine to optimize my life. What started out as a good intention to better myself ended up being nothing more than ideas with no action.
It has become the societal norm to wait until the new year to change, but why wait when you can do it now?
These 4 things have helped me make shifts that have shown immediate results in the way I approach my work, my life, and reduce the high expectations I tend to put on myself.
With most things that are worth doing, they do take time, energy, and daily practice. But you will notice a huge difference in the way you live, work, and interact with yourself if you choose to work on these now.
Accept the Outcome And Move Past It
There is always someone else or something else that dictates the outcome. We know this and try our hardest to make the outcome swing in our favor.
We pull late nights at the office in hopes our boss sees us and recommends us for that next promotion.
We put ourselves on the strictest of diets, follow the most volume-driven content strategies for our podcasts and books.
We try at all costs to get what we want all the time.
But at times, the outcome does not happen the way we want. It is often dictated by uncontrollable forces and no matter how hard we work, we may not get what we want.
Learning to accept the outcome of our efforts and moving past it is a key step to shifting your life right now.
You will have setbacks in your work and life. The sooner you can accept that this is inevitable, life becomes much easier as you will be more willing to stay resilient and not beat yourself up during times of adversity and challenge.
A way to implement this now is to think about a goal you have set for yourself and ask what would happen if things didn’t move as quick as you want or the result isn’t happening as fast as you want.
What would you do? How would you respond?
Embrace Negativity to Create Positivity
Yes, you read that right. We can’t stop the constant negative thoughts our brain generates. It’s how we are wired and no matter how much we practice mindfulness and integrate practices for positive thinking, we will always have negativity.
Much of what we read is focused on eradicating negativity completely and one trick I have learned is to embrace the fact that I will have negative thoughts from time to time. It’s part of who we are which means that I take the practice of the acceptance of the outcome whatever it may be and use it to cultivate optimism and positivity.
I recognize what’s the worse that can happen in any situation and reflecting on this gives me a chance to create what I want.
I won’t be cut off guard if something goes sideways because I was able to embrace the negativity and put my energy into positivity.
This practice takes a lot of time, especially if it has been difficult for you to shift your mindset historically.
A great way to do this is to start a journaling habit.
For the last couple of years, I have written almost every day about the things I am grateful for, the fears I possess and how I can overcome them.
I started out my journaling practice reflecting on the worst that could happen of sharing my writing and work publicly. Many of the journal entries were fear-based. Still, as I started writing more, I realized that with every downside I listed, there was an upside and something to be excited about.
The more I did this, the more I started to see the good things that could happen while being rationale and recognizing the risks. This has freed me to push myself out of my comfort zone with my writing and help me gather the strength to start a content marketing firm.
While everyone finds results sooner or later, the key is to do it as much as time affords you. The more you practice this, the more it will help shift your life for the better.
Ask For Forgiveness, Grant Forgiveness
Nothing humbles you more than asking for forgiveness. This has been a big challenge for me for quite some time. I have gotten a lot better at this over the last two years and continue to cultivate this act of forgiveness as a means of gratitude and appreciation.
There is a common perception especially in the workplace that making mistakes shows weakness and could put our job security at risk. This is a toxic way of thinking and could put you in a position where you will take yourself out of your job faster than somebody else will. To shift your life in a positive manner, embrace the fact that you will make mistakes and that you will have to own them by forgiving yourself and others who were impacted. This also means that when you are affected by someone else’s mistakes, you grant forgiveness as well. The act of forgiveness is not about weakness. It is true strength and courage and acceptance that we are human beings and flawed individuals.
Procrastination Will Get You Nowhere
World-renowned marketing expert Seth Godin did a podcast with Brian Koppelman about the act of doing creative work.
He said, “it’s always easier to talk about what we’re doing rather than doing the work.”
In this day and age, attention has become the new currency and we tend to post pictures and state how hard we are working on projects in hopes of comments, likes, and shares will make us feel like we are doing something.
The problem is that we become too wrapped up in responses to our works in progress rather than working on completing it.
I have run into this trap before making public statements to write every day or run a newsletter once a week. I got caught up in responses to what people would say about something that wasn’t finished. The more I did this, the more I put my work on the shelf and focused on telling everyone what I was working on instead of showing the end product.
Procrastination ended up getting me nowhere and so did seeing two unfinished manuscripts and a bevy of blog posts in my Google Drive.
What helped me work through this challenge is a friend recommended the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield as a method for helping me break through procrastination. Pressfield discusses the concept of Resistance and how every time we want to walk away from our work, become distracted with the news and our social feeds, Resistance is winning.
The more we let Resistance win, the more we will never fulfill our art and work we are meant to do.
The more I ignored the easiness of flipping on the TV while I write or the convenience of picking up my phone to text someone, the more I was combatting Resistance and turning the odds in my favor to complete the work I was meant to do.
The War of Art changed the way I approached my creative work. I started to remove all of the distractions and things that were easy to access and kept me from doing my work like my phone which I now place in another room and turn to Do Not Disturb. I suggest that if you are doing deep work or any sort of creative work, removing the distractions will lessen your ability to procrastinate.
Another tip is to remember that if the work you are doing is challenging and you are feeling frustration, chances are it is meaningful and impactful to someone. Every time you recognize that its easier to walk away than to work, that’s when you should focus and work twice as hard to break through the procrastination as we all know that it leads to nowhere.
By the way, I put together a post on the two keys to unlocking compelling storytelling that will help you create the book, podcast, or blog you have always wanted.
You can get it by clicking here.