10 Steps to a Better You
It's the day after Labor Day, which means summer is really over. I know. I know. It's not September 21, but you know what I mean. School is back in session for everyone now. Summer vacations are something you start thinking about in terms of next year now. You can't wear your white shorts anymore. Pumpkin spice everything is in the stores.
It's over. The lazy, hazy days of summer have given way to the routine predictability of autumn.
But what if you had a dream this summer? A dream of a better life -- a more fulfilling life, a more satisfying life, a more sustainable life. How do you go get the life you want?
Here are 10 Steps to help you get the life you want:
1. One Hour per Day -- Write down a big challenge, a Goliath-sized challenge, and devote one hour per day towards it. That's it. Just one hour per day. You'll be surprised what happens.
2. Remind Yourself -- Find some pictures that depict the life you want. What will it look like when it's realized? Keep those pictures someplace you'll seen them from time to time. When you see them, stop and see if you can imagine what it will feel like to have what you want. And then jump back into your routine. Don't dwell on it too much, but allow yourself to dwell on it a little.
3. Tell That Voice to Shut Up -- One of the biggest obstacles to achieving the life of your dreams is the voice inside your own head telling you it'll never happen. When you hear that voice, tell it to go away. That's not the voice of your Creator; that's the opposite voice. Tell that voice to sit down, shut up, and go away. Try saying it out loud -- (but only if you're alone!).
4. Do Something Good -- Success usually comes to people with a bias for action. Stop waiting for success to land in your lap, and go do something. If you don't know what to do, volunteer for a worthy organization in your community. Feed the homeless. Tutor school kids. Coach a sport. Enlist family and friends and make it a group project. Good things generally come to those who do good things.
5. Look Your Best -- Take some time this week to re-examine your social media profiles. See anything that could use a facelift (besides you)? Change your profile picture, update your Twitter bio, overhaul your Instagram, log back into LinkedIn. Ask people in your network for endorsements. Give some to worthy people.
6. Make it Doable -- Sometimes our big dreams and goals in life can appear so daunting. It's easy to get discouraged before you even begin. So, take that gigantic idea and break it up into smaller, doable chunks. Instead of focusing on running a marathon next year, focus on being able to run two miles without stopping by the end of this month. Then go for four the following month. Step-by-step sometimes helps keep you from being intimidated by the enormity of your dream.
7. Get Out -- Now that the weather is beginning to cool off (for everyone except my friends in Arizona), spend some time outside again. Take a walk. Drink coffee in your backyard, or have a glass of wine at the end of the day as you watch the sun begin to set. Breathe in the fresh air. Listen to the birds. Feel the sun on your face. And, most importantly, take a time out from your technology. Reconnect with earth and water, wind and fire -- the most basic of elements people have connected with for millennia.
8. Build Your Dream Team -- Years ago I had some very close friends who liked to smoke pot. Like...a lot. They were wildly creative, hilarious, fun-loving people, and I genuinely enjoyed spending time with them. But I began to notice something. We would get together and come up with all these amazing ideas, and then everyone would get high and play video games and order pizza. None of the ideas ever amounted to anything. That's when a talent agent gave me some really great advice. He said, "John, you need better friends. You don't have to cut these guys off, but, if you're serious about being successful, you need to surround yourself with people who can help you get there." Maybe it's time for you to go find your dream team.
9. Become Moderately Social -- I have a friend who refers to FaceTime as "TimeSuck". I do not want to think about how much time I've wasted scrolling through my news feed looking for...who knows what? There's nothing wrong with taking a break every now and then. There's nothing wrong with wanting to catch up with family and friends. But put a limit on the amount of time you'll give the network. Give yourself 10-15 minutes, and then get back to making your life something worth sharing.
10. Be Brave -- Ask for a raise. Ask for a promotion. Ask for an interview. Ask for a date. Have that conversation. Book that trip. Join that group. Sign up for that seminar. Enroll in that course. Do that thing that you've been wanting to do. It might not turn out exactly the way you've thought it would, but it just might be the case that the single thing standing in the way of you not having the life you want is the fact that you haven't been brave enough to live it yet. Be brave. You'll never regret that.