When you change nothing, nothing changes. When life reaches a point where every day is like the day before, things get comfortable. You know what is expected from you, what you expect from people, and what you will achieve that day. But in the long run, your achievements will be minimal in relation to the number of days you lived.
So why wait for the change to happen when the factor that is needed is you. You need to change to enforce change. You need to do things differently to get higher results or, at least, something else. Yes, we are all guilty of taking the back seat in our lives but we shouldn’t settle because there are many things out there that can be achieved.
Things you wanted to do before you turned 30 shouldn’t be a list thrown away. Even though 15 year old you is only living in the past, you owe him/her some respect towards their desires; he/she is still a part of you. When change happens, everything happens.
Your comfort zone is like your home. You feel comfortable in it and you stop growing. You stop learning, and you stop expanding your horizon. The world is continuously changing and people who follow these trends and accept these changes are no longer prisoners of their fear. Fear of change and fear of growth.
But how can you be the factor that induces this growth? Takes you from one phase in life to another? First, you need to accept the challenge and know your strengths and weaknesses. You need to identify what you want done, face your biggest fear, your demons, head on. You need to take one step outside your comfort zone. Feel uncomfortable: it won’t kill you.
There are many cliche sayings such as “think outside the box” and “there is no box” and “be the change you want to see in the world,” but in my opinion, the best is “There is no spoon”. Yes, there is no spoon because the boundaries and your fear is all in your head. For example, let’s assume I am afraid to present in front of a big group. It’s not an impossible task; many people are capable of doing it and yet my speech starts to slur and I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown. Now, this contains me in a little bit, taking away possibilities and choices, and reduces my skills by one skill. Imagine that this goes on to include more skills: networking, socializing, report writing, too scared to watch movies that have to do with death, too scared to read books that have more than 300 pages. These are all restrictions on ME. I am actively putting myself in jail and making it smaller by these ridiculous constraints that nobody placed but myself.
So why do it?
Because it’s too scary?
Well, outside is where the magic happens. Where possibilities are infinite and everything is within reach. Stepping outside your comfort zone may be hard to start, but after a few steps and familiarizing yourself with your new surroundings, you have a new bigger comfort zone. One that may have included one thing you consider “magic.” And you take another step out, and you grow your comfort zone, thereby including more magic in your life.
Stepping outside your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean meeting new people, it could mean doing something different. Skiing, skateboarding, traveling, meditating, taking a journey inwards, taking a journey outwards, reading a new genre, it doesn’t matter. It only matters that you made the effort to change your days and understand that perception is everything. You are the only one binding you with unnecessary limits in a place where there are no limits.
Think. Step outside. Grow. Find your magic. And remember, there is no spoon.
Everyone has a boost in motivation when writing their New Year resolutions and, honestly, why not? It’s a great time to start something since everyone else is doing it. It’s usually the time when people are very optimistic about the 365 days coming up they feel that they can do anything, everything, the thing they never got around to, and thing they vowed will be done, and the thing they will probably stop doing in a few months.
Now why is that?
Well, beginnings are always hopeful. The start of a new job, the start of a new relationship, the start of a new goal, and so on. The problem is the start is usually where we make mistakes.
When setting goals, you should make sure that they should be SMART goals. I’m sure many of you know the concept of SMART goals in work but, as a reminder, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. We apply SMART goals in our jobs and it honestly travels well into our lives.
Now let’s take the classic example of losing weight. The usual resolution is “lose weight” or some more specific version such as “lose five kilos this year”. Alright the second one is a bit better but the goal is so vague Future-You would look for (and find) the loop holes. Future-You would say “well, I lost a kilo so I’m alright” NO! You’re NOT alright, you must be stronger than Future-You. You must be SMARTer 😉
S- Lose five kilograms
M- measurable with a weighing scale
A- it is most probably attainable
R- yes it’s relevant as it has to do with your weight
T- by June 30, 2015.
(Motivation: one slice of chocolate cake- this addition would help keep your eye on the goal. But internal motivators should be used for better results).
Aha. Now you can apply the same method to your other goals.
Challenge yourself, set your goals and make sure to keep milestones that would keep your motivation up. It helps when you can see the end that’s why 30 day challenges work well. For writers who plan to write a book, milestones can be the chapters written or reviewed. For photographers, milestones can be a certain number of pictures taken and shared or sold, and so on.
Identify the goal so you can keep it right in front of you. Identify your goal and work towards it. Identify your goal and reward yourself when you reach. Pat yourself on the back and be proud.
Stop giving yourself excuses, start somewhere SMART.