I like to draw upon helpful ideas wherever I find them. Here are three good ones from Isabel De Los Rios.
1. I start each and every morning with a gratitude list. This is non-negotiable. It takes me no more than 3 minutes and it changes my spirits for the entire day. How’s setting aside 3-5 minutes for a joyous rest of the day? Worth it, right? I write “I am so grateful for…” and then just write, write and write. For me that list always includes my family, my health and my work. I wouldn’t start any day without this.
I like doing this because it’s so easy to lose sight of what we already have achieved when we’re focused on working toward what we want.
2. I go to sleep each night playing my personal mind movie in my head as I go to sleep. What is a personal mind movie? Basically, it’s you imagining yourself looking, feeling and doing whatever it is you would do if you achieved your … goals.… This approach helps me to fall asleep happy and is much better than lying there thinking about all the things I have to do the next day or harping on stressful events. I sleep so much better at night like this.
I’ve heard of some writers creating their own book covers (even before self-publishing was a viable alternative to traditional publishing) so they could visualize their future success. You could also imagine yourself receiving a desired award, write potential reviews, or design bestseller lists with your book on top. This may sound silly, but athletes use these visualization techniques all the time.
3. Only talk to yourself as you would a small child…. Would you tell your children all day long that they were never going to achieve their goals, that they should stop trying or that they shouldn’t even try in the first place? No, I sure hope you wouldn’t. You would encourage them, give them hope, and tell them that anything is possible with hard work. Treat yourself, in your own mind, the way you would want to speak to your children or better yet, the way you would want others to speak to your children or speak to you.
This last one is something I was thinking about just last week. I’m not a big fan of new-age talk, but I do think it’s true that deep down our emotions (which motivate our actions) are often those of the children we once were. It makes sense to nurture that inner child. As Isabel observes, we’d never speak to a flesh and blood person the way we often talk to ourselves.
I’ve caught myself thinking in a vague, wordless way, “You haven’t succeeded in the past, and you won’t this time either.” Where the hell did that load of malarkey come from? The vagueness is the red-flag. When I stop and put this message into words so I can examine it, I recognize it for the lie it is. I have, in fact, succeeded in the very areas I’m so critical of myself.
Even if you haven’t yet attained your “big” goal, that doesn’t invalidate what you have achieved. Don’t let vague, unexamined, false messages stop you from moving toward your success. Do set short-term, measurable goals on your way to “success,” however you define it. Do examine, if you’re not making progress, what behaviors are getting in your way.
And when you do succeed, as you will, don’t expect it to solve all your problems. You set yourself up for disappointment when you do. (I didn’t really succeed because getting published/losing weight didn’t change my life.) Many of the issues you want your success to solve for you will still be there. You’ll still have to deal with them. That doesn’t mean success isn’t worth reaching for. It is. Just recognize what it is, and isn’t. It’s a measurable acheivment to build your next success upon. It’s not a panacea.
Now get out there. Be grateful. Visualize your success. Be kind. And get to work.