Imagine for a second, a world where we did all the things we set out to do in a timely manner, allowing us to achieve the dreams we see for ourselves. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, why is it, that we accept anything less? What is it that keeps up from doing the everyday tasks that can get us one step closer to our greatest life? For me, it is the excuses that I allow to build up in my head telling me that it won’t matter (IT DOES MATTER!). Most of the time, it’s just the big bad wolf of anxiety that causes an influx of thoughts that, more often than not, keep me from doing the things I know I should be doing. After talking to my therapist recently he told me to try something new. Instead of allowing a negative chain of thoughts to spiral out of control, ask yourself instead, “Are these thoughts productive?” What a simple question to ask yourself, and I had never once thought to try this method. When I find myself overwhelmed with anxiety about things I cannot control, I practice this new way of looking at the situation. There has yet to be a time where I found the anxious thoughts to be productive, and as I get better at recognizing moments that cause me to feel overwhelmed, I give myself the opportunity to stop thinking so much, and to START doing more.
My recovery has been all about learning how to rewire the way I think and feel; about myself, about my intentions, about my goals, and just about my life in general. This is not to say that you must be in recovery for any of this to apply to you. Recovery has simply just been one example of how I have changed my thoughts into actions! Setting goals and taking the steps to reach them is something that we ALL need to be working on, and let’s be honest, there is a smaller percentage of people out there who are following through with everything they set out to do in their life.
Comfort vs. Routine
Comfort is what holds us back, routine is what propels us forward…that is, of course, the routine we develop is productive. These words can often be confused for the same thing depending on how they are used, but as far as this article is concerned, they are polar opposites. Comfort occurs when we settle into the life that has become easy for us. This is when we find ourselves in jobs we thought we would have left by now, locations we were determined to move away from at one point in time, and surrounded by those who no longer offer us a positive challenge. Comfort is when we begin going through the motions. Yes, there is routine involved in this as well, but it’s a kind of routine that we no longer have to think about. Comfort is dangerous because it can blind us from the goals we once wanted for our lives but put aside because ‘life’ got in the way of seeing them through. Routine, when done correctly, are the small things we do every day that become the stepping stones to what we can achieve. For example, if your goal is to become the kind of person who never misses a workout, the routine you must develop is making sure to be active at some point each day. Big or small, it is through the act of doing something every day that we are able to build that ‘Routine Muscle Memory’…no pun intended. Having to a develop a routine that causes change within us, is anything but comfortable. It is because of change that keeps people from finishing what they started. We cannot allow the thoughts in our head to keep us from the actions that will help us. I agree that ‘Actions speak louder than words’, but first, we must learn how to tune out the thoughts that overwhelm us.
The Rule of Five!
Need a good place to start? Let’s take a look at a concept called, ‘The Rule of Five’, created by Jack Canfield, and Mark Hansen. When feeling overwhelmed with what it is that they were trying to accomplish, they received some sound advice that really spoke to them; “If you would go every day to a very large tree and take five swings at it with a very sharp axe, eventually, no matter how large the tree, it would have to come down”. It was with this advice that they created, ‘The Rule of Five’ -- A commitment to taking five actions – every day – to help move them in the direction of their goals and see them through to completion.
By implementing that rule into their lives, they were finally able to notice the results of their actions, and achieve the goals that they had for themselves from the beginning. This is a tool that has been used by many successful people since then, and it is a rule that you should incorporate into your ROUTINE!
Maybe you are an entrepreneur who has become discouraged by your businesses growth. The five actions you could take may include, cold calling potential clients, updating your website, listening to a beneficial podcast, creating a new budget that works for you, and picking up a book on a topic that may offer you a new business perspective. The point is that you are taking action. It is the little things that we do every day that get us the big results in the end.
Whether or not you accomplish your goals in life…that all boils down to the daily choices you make. We are a result of the effort we put into our lives, so why should our goals be treated any differently? A good idea is just that if there is no effort put forth to see it manifest in your life. By allowing your thoughts to be louder than your actions, you are doing yourself an injustice, and you deserve to see your dreams come to life. They are possible, you just have to do the work that it takes to see the results. YOU are a RESULT of YOUR actions!
Oh, and don’t forget to ask yourself when you cannot seem to get out of your own head, “Is this thought productive?”
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!