Overcoming obstacles is a mental game. You might have struggled to stay productive. It might have been difficult to keep motivated or maintain the energy you need to do everything you planned for yourself. You might have heard yourself making excuses and even complaining.
The key to your success hide in the power of your mindset
Optimism is powerful
Here are some quick tips on how to start seeing the glass half-full:
Focus on what you can control
You control just two things: your effort and your mindset. To maximize both you need to allocate your time in alignment with your personal definition of success. That leads to a number of practical advice:
- Decide where you will not spend time: Given that you have a limited time budget, you will not have the ability to do everything you would like to do regardless of your efficiency. The moment you embrace that truth, you instantly reduce your stress and feelings of inadequacy.
- Strategically allocate your time: Boundaries on how and when you invest time in work and in your personal life help to ensure that you have the proper investment in each category. Properly investment of your time resources leaves you with sufficient funds for activities like exercise, sleep, and relationships.
- Set up automatic time investment: Your daily and weekly routines should make your time investment close to automatic. For example, at work you could have a recurring appointment with yourself two afternoons a week to move forward on key projects, and outside of work you could sign up for a fitness boot camp where you would feel good to show up and sweat three times a week.
- Aim for a consistently balanced time budget: Given the ebbs and flows of life, you can’t expect that you will have a constantly balanced time budget but you can aim for having a consistently balanced one. Over the course of a one- to two-week period, your time investment should reflect your priorities.
Keep investing the maximum amount of time in what will bring the highest return on your investment.
When you approach a to-do list, you want to consider whether it is an investment, neutral, or optimize activity.
Investment activities are areas where an increased amount of time and a higher quality of work can lead to an exponential payoff. For instance, strategic planning is an investment activity; so is spending time with the people you love. Focus your best effort in such activities.
Neutral activities just need to get done adequately; more time doesn’t necessarily mean a significantly larger payoff. An example might be attending project meetings or going to the gym. These things need to get done, but you allow less time.
Optimize activities are those for which additional time spent leads to no added value and keeps you from doing other, more valuable activities. The faster you get them done, the better. Most basic administrative paperwork and errands fit into this category.
The overall goal is to minimize the time spent on optimize activities so that you can maximize your time spent on investment activities. This technique allows you to overcome perfectionist tendencies and invest in more of what actually matters so you can increase your effectiveness personally and bring success to your life.
Change your your life story
When you tell yourself “I can’t focus” or “I’m too busy?,” you’re really just resisting the change you said you wanted to make in your life. Instead, consider telling yourself something constructive, such as “I’m determined” or “I always find the time,” and see how your results change. So, here are four questions that will help you align your life in the present and move past “stuck”.
Ask Yourself: What’s Making Me Unhappy?
The first step is to sit back and take stock. What is the area in your life that you are unhappy with?
Is it your relationship with your spouse or a colleague?
Is it your passionless job or your self-doubts towards an activity you would like to pursue?
Is it your helplessness in taking charge of your health or the insecurity you feel about your appearance?
It may be more area than one, because stories have a way of spilling over into all aspects of our lives. Tackle the one that is affecting you the most—and some of the others may start falling into place, too.
Ask Yourself: What’s My Story?
Now listen to the story that you are telling yourself with regards to this aspect of your life.
What is the basis for this story?
What are the experiences that form the building blocks of your narrative?
Reflect on how this “story” helped you cope or advance at a certain point in your life. Notice how it is now making you unhappy and holding you back. Now, be prepared to alter it dramatically or simply let it go and start from scratch.
Ask Yourself: What Is My Intention?
Feeling stuck or unhappy is a result of misalignment with what we want in life. However, up to 90% of us don’t even know what we want, except that it’s not what we have. Gaining clarity on your goals and purpose is key to developing powerful stories that align your past, present and future.
Whatever your goal, write it down and connect with it. How do you envision your life to be when you achieve your goal? What mental hurdles will you have to overcome to get there? What aspects of your story will you have to change?
Ask Yourself: What’s My New Story?
Since experiences are the raw materials with which we spin stories in our minds, it’s important to maintain a balanced and flexible outlook on life. Look back over your life and choose a period or an experience that will help you advance in your goals. Write out your new story and replay it in your mind until it forms the neural pathways that will move you towards your goals.
As you begin to own your new story, it will become integrated with your sense of self. After all, identity is nothing but an evolving story that finds coherence with the past, present and future. Find the flexibility in your story that allows you to adapt to changing circumstances, and you’ll be able to stand up as authentically “you” through the ups and downs of life.