Are you succeeding? Is everything going as planned? Do you know?
I figured something out a couple of years ago, and while it’s obvious, it’s also profound. Are you ready?
The only way to live how you want is to know how you want to live.
You have to know what and how you want your life to be. Once you know that, you can know if you’re there, or if you’re on track to get there. Without knowing, you don’t know.
But there are other benefits to knowing how you want your life to be. When you know where you’re going, you also know what you need to be focusing your efforts on. You know your priorities, and you have a greater sense of control. And control is an interesting thing.
The reality is, we have very little control over what happens to us. Many of us, myself included, can feel jerked around by the universe (and that’s a very casual way to describe it). The pandemic took a massive toll on us. It took lives, businesses and many other things. We’re struggling with climate change, firearms, abortion, racism and war. God only knows what’s coming tomorrow.
There’s a lot to feel passionate about, and a lot to be frustrated by.
What can we do about it?
Odds are, you know or have heard the saying, “You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it.” How well are you controlling your controllables?
Back to my initial question, “How are you feeling?” In spite of everything, do you feel like you’re succeeding? Is that even important to you?
It’s really important to me. Because of that, I thought I’d share my thoughts on how I think about and work towards success in a three-step process.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Decide what success means to you
- Determine what activities are required
- Prioritize those activities
Let’s get started.
Decide what success means to you
I don’t think this is an obvious or easy question to answer. We all have a million things going every day, and many of us are just trying to keep our heads above water. I get it. There are days when I wonder if I’m going to make it.
But it makes sense that you’d want to know what success looks like. It’s logical to be able to pause and assess whether or not you’re succeeding. So how do you do it?
First, when you think about “success,” what comes to mind? Next, why do you think that? Is that idea of success your idea, or is it somebody else’s idea?
Coming up with your definition is also difficult because it’s an abstract question. Whenever I’m trying to answer a difficult question, I find prompts helpful. There are six key areas to focus on that can help you get clarity on what’s most important and what success looks like:
- Career and financial
- Personal development
- Peace of mind
In each area, write down what you want. Let’s take Family as an example. Perhaps you’d like to get married and have kids. Maybe you’d like to have a better relationship with your parents, or a sibling. Whatever you desire in each area, write it down.
If you’d like to dig deeper in this exercise, you can access our Goals course for free.
Getting clear on what you want is the first step on your path to success. Again, the only way to live how you want, is to know how you want to live.
Determine what activities are required
So now you know how you want your life to look, what will it take to make it real? There’s a lot of talk about visualization, manifestation, and the law of attraction. While those are powerful tools, they will not come to life without taking inspired action. What actions will you need to take? This is the missing link between the life you want, and the life you have.
In each of the six areas, determine what actions are required to make your goals happen. For example, you may have the goal of having a strong and healthy body, which will allow you to run marathons and have the energy to play with your kids (or grandkids). Required actions will include, but not be limited to, eating the proper foods, getting the right amount of sleep, engaging in the right exercises, and eliminating poor habits.
Do you know how to do the things you’ll need to do? If not, how will you learn to do them? When will you get started? How can you incorporate them into your life?
Life rewards activity, not intention. You need to get started, and keep going.
Prioritize those activities
Planes burn an enormous percentage of fuel during take-off. It’s hard to get a stationary object moving, and it’s easy to keep a moving object going. When it comes to human behavior, getting started with something new can be difficult, but so is keeping it going. Think gym attendance in January versus March.
But what we’re talking about is far too important to give up on after a couple of months. We’re talking about living the life you want. In order to position yourself for success, you must learn to prioritize your most valuable resources of time, attention and money.
If you’ve ever lived paycheck-to-paycheck, you know that it’s common to have more month than money. The remedy for this is to re-examine your lifestyle, and to begin paying yourself first. When you pay yourself first, you save money for yourself on the first of every month, and then pay everyone else.
And you can pay yourself first with every other aspect of life, including your time and attention. This is at the heart of prioritization.
For family, if it’s your desire to have Sunday dinner with your family every week, that needs to get put into everyone’s calendar. For fitness, if your desire is to work out three days a week, that needs to get put into your calendar.
Once you’ve determined which activities are essential to complete in order to have the life you want, those activities need to become your top priorities. Next, they need to get put into your calendar so they don’t get bumped by some emergency. Failure to protect these activities will make succeeding at life a lot harder.
Here’s one more key idea; you’re worthy and deserving of the life you want.
But simply being worthy and deserving won’t bring it into existence. Hard work done consistently will.
We’ve got a program I’m proud of called the Strive Online Bootcamp, and I invite you to check it out. It’s an effective way to jump start change in your life.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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