Following last week’s reported breach at Equifax (see Danielle’s blog on how to handle if you haven’t taken action yet), I wouldn’t be remotely exaggerating to say I’ve had more than 50 conversations that included someone saying something to the effect of. . .
“I’ve been meaning to give that credit report a look.”
Whether it’s our health, our wealth; at work or at home, we all have things we seek to improve. Whether those improvements turn to lasting change or even get off the ground at all depend a lot on how we incorporate those goals into our day.
Whether goals are large or small, they are often overtaken by the hustle and bustle of the urgent in our lives. Sometimes, we get jolted into action by things like the Equifax breach. More often, though, we get subtle nudges that we need to refocus on those things we want to change. A step on the scale reminds us that the diet and exercise plan we’ve been carefully constructing hasn’t really gotten off the ground. That banking commercial reminds us that savings goal we set months ago isn’t underway.
While the urgent gets the attention, it’s the important things that ultimately lead to growth, be it personal, professional or otherwise. And growth, whether we like it or not, almost always comes from taking small, sometimes difficult, incremental steps.
I recently came across a series of quotes from noted author & speaker John C. Maxwell’s 15 Valuable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential that nudged me on some personal goals I’ve been working towards. I won’t go over all 15, at least not today, but did want to share just a few quotes that mirror themes we’ve visited time and again in this blog, our client meetings and other forums in discussing ways to achieve sustained success.
On Changing Your Routine
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. . . Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”
We often seek dramatic, fast results, but it’s the little things that stick over time. I believe that it’s not just about changing routines, but about making them so routine, so automatic, that they don’t seem like changes or work at all.
Part of my recent goals have revolved around getting back to a morning fitness regimen that has been less than consistent of late. At first, I hemmed and hawed over trying to map out a 6-month plan with all kinds of complicated goals, schedules and objectives. This led to more procrastination and lots of talk about the big plan I was going to start “next week.”
After considering the quotes above and doing some reading on the morning habits of others, I shifted my focus to all the little things I do before I begin my workout to help me get closer to my goal. Little things like making sure my workout clothes, toiletries, etc. are laid out in the same place every evening have turned what seems like 5 or 6 steps in the morning into one, unconscious process.
The goal is to get to a point where these little things are so rote, that I’m dressed, out the door and a few minutes into my workout before the part of my brain that wants to hit the snooze button and return to bed even knows I’m awake! I’m early into the process, but happy to report it seems to be paying dividends already.
On When to Begin
“If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want do when you want to do them.”
“The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”
This is pretty self-explanatory. We all have some level of procrastinator in us. Whether it’s getting a budget in place, working out, eating better or getting to work on that new initiative in the office, the best time to start is almost always right now. Whether it’s increasing savings for college or retirement, taking an extra walk or two around the block each week or reconnecting with distant friends or relatives, take the first step towards accomplishing that goal as soon as humanly possible.
There is much more that can be said on the subject, but picking something you want to change and getting started today is as good a place to start as any. Good may be the enemy of great, but perfection is the enemy of progress. Taking those small steps and immediately implementing those changes into your daily routine can be a giant leap towards success.