I have always found those who are committed to growing and developing themselves as inspirational. It’s a beautiful thing to want this, yet so few of us take the time to ask ourselves the question of “How do I want to grow and develop myself.”
And even when we do, many fail to follow through with the sort of action required to make a meaningful difference. Without taking the necessary action, our best intentions remain exactly that: intentions!
When preparing for a workshop I recently ran with JCI, I came across some interesting statistics about New Year’s resolutions. By the first week of February, more than a third of people who had set resolutions will have broken them and before the end of this year, just 1 in 11 will have successfully achieved what they had set out to do.
Are our brains really that allergic to resolutions?!
I certainly don’t think this is the case. In fact, I believe it primarily comes down to how you go about setting resolutions, goals and the like.
Resolutions that are set, typically rely on willpower or what I like to call “motivational push” – the sort of push that is often required for you to complete the things you should or are supposed to be doing. Does any of the following sound familiar?
- I’m going to quit smoking
- I want to lose lots of weight
- I’m going to get out of this life-sucking job
Apart from the fact that they’re all focused on what is not desired, it’s the equivalent to you walking into a gym and squatting a 150kg barbell with no prior training. And unless you’re Clark Kent, you’re likely to fail!
While I’m all for motivation and see it as serving a purpose in our lives, it can be somewhat short-term in nature. We psych ourselves up, get what we need done and then have to call on this cycle again when having to complete something we’re supposed to be doing.
Inspiration however, comes from an entirely different place and has the power to lead to effortless living, frequent feelings of excitement and ‘flow’ experiences.
Having a magnetic vision of where you want to get to creates what I like to call an “inspirational pull,” which raises your awareness of the oceans of potential that exist for you.
It excites you.
It creates a fire within you.
It makes you feel alive!
Motivation tends to come in the form of an external force (a deadline being set by your schoolteacher or a reward from your parents conditional on you completing an activity), whereas inspiration comes from deep inside: an insight that is experienced after reading an uplifting book, witnessing greatness in action or during a relaxing, warm shower with no distractions on your mind.
“OK, so I have this inspiring vision of who I want to become and what I want to do. But how do I get there and how come some get there quicker than others?”
The magic here is to avoid being too attached to the outcome.
If you do, you pin your feelings to that end result, which will come at some point in the future if at all and may change as you begin taking steps towards it. The outcome inspires and gives direction as well as context, but what increases your likelihood of getting there infinitely quicker, is a focus on your habits and daily rituals. They are things you can embrace and change this week, today, now.
You are what you repeatedly do everyday and as a result, you become defined by your daily rituals.
As James Allen stated: “The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
What makes successful people different to the average person is not some natural ability they were born with or that they have so much more time to get things done. Remember, they have the same 24 hours in their days as you and me! The difference comes down to the daily rituals they have cultivated over the years that have made them who they are today.
Simply put, if you want to live life at a higher level, you must live by higher standards.
I love how Leo Babauta puts it when he says, “Changing habits, at its core, is simply a process of changing what’s normal.”
For me, eating an apple and banana instead of pastries every morning became normal; meditating everyday became normal; planning daily ‘time-outs’ with my partner away from technology and other distractions became normal; and, exercising for 45 minutes everyday became normal.
Supportive habits help frame and give structure to our lives.
And as you complete these tasks and they become part of your daily life, you begin to foster a ‘winning mindset.’ It’s the consistent achievement of small wins each and every day, which make the biggest difference in our lives. Have the discipline to do the small things well and the big things will look after themselves as they say.
The key here is to start small with one habit that is easy to begin with, to consider it a fun challenge and then to build on it.
So if you’re someone who is inspired to live a less stressful life, you could begin by embracing the habit of just five minutes of meditation every morning after you wake up. As you accomplish this, you create forward momentum. And as this becomes normal for you, you adjust again.
Habits are like a recipe for success and soon enough, you’ll be acting, looking and feeling as the person you want to become.
Thanks for taking the time to read and as always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
What’s one habit you can begin embracing right now into your daily life, which will help in moving you towards where you want to be?
As a fun little exercise, note this down below and once it’s become your new normal, send us a photo of you in action with a note on the benefits you’ve experienced and I may even share your success with my social media followers!
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