Updated: Jul 16, 2019
It’s one thing to say, “I want to be a writer someday,” or “I’m going to become a veterinarian,” However, it’s another thing to actually achieve the hopes and dreams you crave.
For 36 years I have worked with students who say all the right things and then do the exact opposite. They hope to experience growth and movement in their life, but they don’t do what it takes to get them to the place they long for. As a result, they remain stuck. In other words, what they say they want, and what they actually do with their time, are hopelessly disconnected.
This is pretty common for most people. To be honest, I get it, I empathetically get it. Why? Because this is a battle I have faced for many years in my own life. Change is hard. I found change to be hard way back in my high school days to my present. The cool thing is over the years and even this past week I’ve experienced a lot of victories in the area of achieving my goals and living in my hopes and dreams. I’ll continue to be honest with you…LOL, most of the time for me, change and doing what I need to do to see progress is hard.
I learned in high school while playing basketball and later teaching myself how to play the piano, that the best way to actually achieve my goals is to build small daily rituals that I’d practice every single day. The key word is small. Bit-by-bit or chipping away has helped me tremendously as I have journeyed down life’s path.
I love what Marc and Angel Chernoff ask, “Are you willing to spend a little time every day like most people won’t, so you can spend the better part of your life like most people can’t?”
Here are a few things which I practice bit by bit every day when it comes to seeing change in my life and making this thing, we call life a little simpler:
1. Time Management
Time management is being aware of how much time is needed to complete a task.
2. Task Initiation
Task initiation is getting started on a task. In the words of Nike, “Just Do It.” Get started.
Prioritization is figuring out what are the most important things to do at any particular moment? I love the acronym, W.I.N. which ask, “What’s important now?”
4. Focused Attention
Focused attention means to stay on target and do whatever it takes to not drift off task.
Organization means to have systems in place which help structure and ease one’s life.
Memorization is the ability to recall something which has been taught to oneself.
Ok, so the above 6 have one very important common thread. They are all about doing. They are all about taking action. I like to say that a dream without action is just a wish.
I remember thinking one day, “I’d love to be able to bust out 70’s classic rock on the piano at any time that I want.” Well, that was the dream. The problem was I had this dream at age 28 and prior to that I had ZERO experience in music. So, I put action to my dream. I purchased a keyboard. Next, I scheduled time to practice and teach myself how to play every day for 1 hour. Soon, I was memorizing patterns and rhythms. Suddenly Murphy’s Law came (See my blog on Murphy’s Law). “You are going to be a dad!” The dad part was very cool! In fact, off the charts cool! However, this meant that when I got home from work, I wanted to be a dad and play with my daughter and not practice the keyboard. So, I got up an hour earlier in the morning, put the headphones on and practiced the keyboard for an hour before I went to work. Next thing I knew, I was thinking I was Steve Perry from Journey. I was busting out Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, Billy Joel’s Piano Man, I’m sure my neighbors in the apartment next to me had to just love their wanna-be rock star neighbor…LOL!
Do you see where I’m going with this? I had a dream/goal. I put action to my goal and day in and day out I applied the above 6 in my life and BOOM! I was a piano player. Years later, I became a piano instructor. At my peak, I had 55 private piano students. I was having a blast!
Give it a try. See how well you can begin to incorporate these 6 small changes to improve and simplify your life. The key is, start small, go bit-by-bit and slowly turn the 6 into positive habits.
Hit up the comments and tell me how you are doing and what is helping you.