In Part 1 I outlined 10 tiny habits you could start picking up in your 20s; that could change the way you lead your life in the next few decades.
Are you currently in your 20s? The 20s can be a confusing time for many of us. It’s always when we have lots of things going on in our lives – college/getting an education work, starting a family, finding a life partner, purchasing your first house and so on. It’s also that time in our lives that we are discovering ourselves in a much deeper way and establishing our identities. 20s is also the time of youth. And like it or not, it’s usually dubbed the “golden era” of our lives and This will be the decade where you are at the prime of your life – the most energetic, the best looking, little responsibilities, and tons of opportunities at your feet.
So how then can we make the most of these 10 years? And not just that, what sorts of habits could we establish in our 20s that will set us on a good path for the rest of our lives? I outline some of my thoughts in these series of posts (more to come in the near future), gathering observations from strangers, friends and most of all, my own life.
In general, I’m a fan of using milestone days to prompt me to think about changes I might undertake to make myself happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative.
Certain days, such as January 1 or my birthday, remind me to reflect on my life and my hopes for the future. Recently, Inauguration Day prompted me to think about the highest ideals of the United States, and how I can live up to them, in my own life.
Think about all the things you have been passionate about in your life. Think about all those passions that you considered making a career out of or building a company around. How many were/are there ? Why did you bounce from one to another ? Why were you not able to make a career or business out of any of those passions ? Or if you have been able to have some success, what was the key to the success.? Was it the passion or the effort you put in to your job or company ?
If you really want to know where you destiny lies, look at where you apply your time.
Time is the most valuable asset you don’t own. You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don’t use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you .
Let me make this as clear as possible
1. When you work hard at something you become good at it.
2. When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.
3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it
4. When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.
Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.
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Here’s how you do it:
- Choose a specific goal that can be measured. Some examples: lose 20 pounds, write an 80,000 word book, save $10,000, run a total of 100 miles, or meditate 15 minutes a day this month (450 minutes total).
- Pick a realistic completion date. This is key. Choosing a date by which you’d like to finish your goal will let you define the pace you’ll need in order to achieve that goal. Make sure your date is attainable and realistic.
- **Use Excel or Numbers to design a simple, two-lined chart. One line tracks the pace you’ll need to follow to achieve your goal by the date you’ve specified, and the other line tracks your incremental progress towards the goal. Update this second line every week, or however often you choose. (I’m purposely not posting a template here—I have a good one, but the more involved you are in this process, the more likely you are to keep the chart updated.)
I’ve found it helps to print several of these charts and place them within sight—when writing The Productivity Project, I taped a chart of my incremental word count above the computer monitor in my office, another in the kitchen, and one in my bedroom.
I’ve found this tactic works for a few reasons:
You can make adjustments over time. This includes tweaks to your effort—to either work harder if you’re behind pace, or let up a bit if you’re ahead—as well as adjustments to the goal itself, if you’re finding that in practice, your plan is either overambitious or too conservative. (That said, sometimes conservative goals are the best ones because they feel much more attainable.)
You know when you can treat yourself. Goals are fun to make and achieve, but tracking your progress lets you know when you can let your foot off the gas a little, and treat yourself. It’s a pretty great feeling to both treat yourself, and know that you’re on pace to achieve your larger goal.
**Tracking your progress against a pace keeps you honest with yourself. My negative inner dialogue goes through the roof when working towards larger goals. I have the bad habit of talking myself out of achieving larger goals (especially when food is involved). Tracking your exact progress against a planned pace gives you some cold, hard data to reflect on how well you’re doing.
When you track your progress for your larger personal and work goals—especially against a predetermined pace—you’re more likely to achieve them. I’ve yet to find a better strategy to achieving the bigger goals in my life.
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Successfully reshaping your mindset, he argues, has less to do with hours of therapy and more to do with mental exercises, including one that helps you recognize “thin slices of joy.”
“Right now, I’m a little thirsty, so I will drink a bit of water. And when I do that, I experience a thin slice of joy both in space and time,” he told CBC News. “It’s not like ‘Yay!”” he notes in Joy on Demand. “It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s kind of nice.’”
Usually these events are unremarkable: a bite of food, the sensation of stepping from a hot room to an air-conditioned room, the moment of connection in receiving a text from an old friend. Although they last two or three seconds, the moments add up, and the more you notice joy, the more you will experience joy, Tan argues. “Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere… and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on.” That’s because you’re familiarizing the mind with joy, he explains.
Tan’s “thin slice” exercise contains a trigger, a routine, and a reward—the three parts necessary to build a habit. The trigger, he says, is the pleasant moment, the routine is the noticing of it, and the reward is the feeling of joy itself.
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Changing habits is hard. Despite our best intentions, research shows that 8 out of 10 New Year’s resolutions fail.
Can you spot what is wrong with the following goals?
We have set goals like these dozens of times. They seem admirable and motivating, but there’s one giant problem: each focuses on a specific result and not a practice.
Contrast this with behavior specific goals:
These are actions you take on a regular basis that increase your odds of happiness in the long run – the small habits that lead to successful businesses, completed books, deeper relationships, and more.
They look like this:
These systems become automatic so you do not have to think about them over time. You put the system into place and let them go to work.
As Lord Chesterfield said, “Take care of the minutes; for hours will take care of themselves.” If you take care of your daily and weekly habits, the goals will take care of themselves.
What systems will you put into place in 2017?
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*All text in bold are the web author’s words
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*Don’t take breaks by checking your phones and
watching TV, it actually affects our brain waves and this prevents
creativity/ideas from occurring
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