Forbes Council Post: You Can Have It All - Just Not All At Once
May 29, 2018
Do you ever feel like you just want to press restart and completely remodel every single area of your life? Most of us do on January 1 of each year.
It seems like the one and only step to developing a new lifestyle and becoming a better person. From one day to the next, you want to clean up your diet, start working out, grow your finances, reevaluate your work or business, bring more romance into your life or relationship, increase the quality of your friendships, and of course, take your vitamins twice a day. And all of that should happen at the same time and last forever.
The problem with this approach is that it requires endurance, patience and immense willpower for a long period of time. It essentially sets you up for failure and leaves you waiting for the following January to give it another shot. Why not be smarter about introducing change and setting yourself up for success, so you can take it to the next level whenever January comes around again?
Especially when you’re thinking of reshaping multiple areas in your life, it might be hard to identify where you want to start. It’s true that you can have it all eventually, you just can’t have it all at once. The secret to change is prioritizing on many different levels. New habits need to be created and automized, so you can take on the next challenge. Feeling overwhelmed is the greatest enemy when it comes to productivity. Therefore, simplifying and prioritizing are the answer to successfully reaching your goals.
Here are the five layers of prioritizing new habits:
• Get mental focus. Pick only one or two areas to start with. Ask yourself what you want to be giving your attention, energy and focus to in the next few weeks or months until your new habits are automated. The secret is to avoid overwhelming yourself by changing everything at once. Take one step at a time to achieve your desired outcome as efficiently as possible.
• See the bigger picture. Get crystal clear on why you choose to develop these specific areas. How will your new habits advance your life or career? Which pain points are you addressing? Knowing exactly what’s in it for you will keep you on track and help you follow through. Essentially, your why is what sets you up for success and where you draw motivation from when things get rough.
• Optimize your schedule. Learn to make your new habits a priority in your day, and stick to them. Schedule them either first thing in the morning, or designate a specific time in your day for advancing your goals. Ask yourself which actions you have to take each day to get to your desired outcome, and do the most challenging task first.
• Adjust your environment. Adjust support structures such as your environment and social connections. Make a conscious decision about what and who you want to surround yourself with in order to succeed. We are the product of the five people we spend most of our time with. This component is one of the most important factors when it comes to success in any area of life.
• Involve your emotions. One of the best ways to follow through with new habits is to connect them with powerful positive emotions and trick your brain into actually enjoying them. It’s way easier to keep going to the gym when you look forward to it. Listen to upbeat music, involve a friend or connect your new habit with another pleasant activity, and plan on rewarding yourself after each milestone. Celebrating your wins is one of the most important parts of sticking to the process and avoiding falling off track. The fact is that your brain wants to do whatever feels good, so learn how to use that to your advantage.
Success doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does change. Switch your approach to becoming a better person by slowly introducing new habits in your day-to-day life. Get crystal clear on why you want to achieve your goal, then learn how to prioritize that on every level. The process will be much more effortless and enjoyable that way, and it will encourage you to take on the next challenge sooner. Avoid overwhelm, and focus on simplicity. If you want to take it even further, find a friend, app or coach to hold you accountable and help you follow through with your new actions, which will essentially transform your life.
This article has previously been published on FORBES.