Have you ever let things slide? I know I have.
You’re doing great, eating healthy and exercising consistently, but then you start to let up a bit. You start eating fries instead of a salad, having an extra glass of wine, and sleeping past your alarm. It happens.
And because it happens, we have to pay attention. We have to recognize the importance of keeping our eye on the ball. Why? Because problems, like weeds, grow everywhere. To enjoy the level of success we desire, we must be a constant gardener, always patrolling our figurative gardens for weeds.
“Weeds” come in many forms like weight gain, a child’s poor behavior, employees showing up late and leaving early, and one of my personal favorites, cutting corners.
Weeds also have universal characteristics. They are relentless, burdensome and fast-spreading. But here’s something else that’s true about them; they’re normally pretty easy to pull out of the ground when you find them.
The trick is to consistently be on the lookout so you can avoid having to spend all your resources pulling weeds. That’s why we’ve got to pay attention and recognize that where we put our attention matters.
It’s my desire to help you identify the areas in your life and work which are most important, to treat those priorities accordingly, and to create systems for managing them which are easily maintained
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Where you put your attention matters
- What gets measured, gets managed
- The value of time
- Accept personal responsibility
- How to make it real
Let’s get started.
Where you put your attention matters
“The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.” I wish I could give credit to the person I heard that from, but I can’t remember who said it. Do you know your “main thing(s)?” In order to know where we should focus our attention, it’s essential to know what your priorities are.
Here’s another solid one, “Don’t major in minor things.” It’s easy to get distracted and to focus on things that aren’t the most important things to focus on. I break my life down into six key areas, and work to get the most important things done in each area:
- Personal development
- Peace of mind
If you haven’t segmented your life out, and identified the things which are most important to you, this framework could benefit you.
In each of the six areas, think about two or three things you need to be consistently doing to get the results you want. From there, continue working to distill them down until you know what you should be focused on. For example, it may be a top priority for you to touch base with your significant other at least once a day, and to exercise at least three times per week.
If you’d like to dig deeper into this, you can access our Goals course for free.
What gets measured, gets managed
Once you’ve identified your priorities, you need to respect and treat them as such. That means they take precedence over almost everything.
Odds are, you heard the phrase, “Pay yourself first” in the context of saving money. While it’s a key to your financial success, it can also be applied to other areas of life. The thing is, because we have limited resources, we have to put our top concerns at the front of the line. Everything else, literally everything else, will have to wait their turn.
When you’re happy with your priorities, you need to pay attention to them. That doesn’t mean constantly checking in, but it does mean giving it the time it deserves. Fundamentally, I want to make sure you don’t ignore the important things in your life.
The value of time
“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Jack Kornfield
You and I have enough time to do most everything we want, but not enough time to waste. Money has time value; the longer you wait to pursue your financial priorities, the harder they are to achieve. This is also true of physical goals and can be true for your business as well.
I approach life with a healthy sense of urgency. I’m not stressing myself out, but I act as deliberately as I can. Adopting a sense of urgency for achieving your goals and desires will go a long way.
Accept personal responsibility
Own the things you’ve prioritized. When you accept responsibility for your successes and failures, you upped the ante.
How do you know if you’ve done this? When you find you longer blame others when things don’t go as planned. That’s when you know you’ve accepted ownership.
Also, don’t stress yourself out over things which aren’t your priorities. Don’t let other people try to enroll you in their causes if they’re not aligned with yours. I see people fall into this trap all the time, and with social media, it’s easier than ever.
How to make it real
The first step is setting the intention. It’s deciding you’re going to do something. The next step is not self-discipline, it’s structure and systems. I’m a massive fan of self-discipline, but I recognize it’s a muscle which needs to be trained and strengthened over time. Until you’ve developed your self-discipline muscle, position yourself for success by creating structure and systems.
This can be done as simply as creating recurring events in your calendar, setting automated reminders, and finding accountability partners who can help you stick with the program.
Also, don’t throw in the towel when you slip up. We all backslide and the last thing I want is for you to throw the baby out with the bathwater when things don’t go completely to plan. Rather, look for opportunities to improve and strengthen your muscle.
As humans, we’ve got these incredible brains which make us formidable. But we also need to recognize the limited nature of our resources, especially time and attention. We can’t focus 100% on everything. We need to be good stewards and prioritize those things which are most important. Once we’ve done that, we need to pay close attention.
If you’d like help jump-starting your process, check out the Strive Online Bootcamp. It could be just what you’re looking for.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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