You don’t always have to do a lot to see a great benefit. Try making a change that fits the two criteria below instead of going for a big all-or-nothing type change. You’ve likely tried that strategy in the past without much success. This time won’t be any different, so try something new, even if you’re skeptical. These simple guidelines have helped me improve in several areas. More importantly, I now want to improve more because I have the experience of successfully altering my routines.
1) Make a process-oriented resolution.
Don’t set a goal by saying something like, “I want to get in shape,” or, “I want to lose thirty pounds.” Both of those are end points. Resolve to change a piece of behavior instead of marking the finish line. There isn’t a finish line to a better life. It’s better to commit to a new habit, something you do every day or several times a week.
2) Make a small initial commitment.
All you’re trying to do is take one step in the right direction. Go for ten minutes every day or half an hour three times a week. 90 minutes in a whole week is nothing. It’s easy to believe you can actually meet this kind of goal and that belief is essential. If you go for a big step, you’ll lose your balance and give up, so think small. You can up the time commitment later once you have more confidence and a bit of momentum on your side.
Your only real goal is to build the belief that the little things you do every day matter and you won’t believe it until you give yourself proof. Go for a habit that will positively influence the other areas of your life. Ideally, you’ll make a small change and reap widespread benefits.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1) Meditate for ten minutes each day. Jonathan Fields’ book provides lots of research on the benefits of attentional training. This is what I’ll be adding in 2012.
2) Do a muscle building workout three times a week for half an hour. Take a look at “The 4-Hour Body” and choose a routine that fits your goals.
3) Read for 30 minutes each day. Read things you enjoy but try to push yourself and grow as a reader as well. Reading will expose you to new ideas and make you a better leader.
Pick one. Trying to add them all is too much. Live a more conscious life one day at a time and the benefits will start to accumulate.