Success is not a matter of luck or skill. Unless we are playing the lottery or performing neurosurgery, success comes down to a few simple ingredients. In fact, the ingredients are so simple, even the unluckiest person can achieve success! (And that’s saying a lot coming from me… if lightning strikes, I’m happily the rod :p)
So what are these ingredients, you may ask?
- Setting Intentions. Some psychologists refer to this step as ‘Implementation Intentions.’ When we tell ourselves not just that we are going to do something, but when and where, we create a commitment in our minds that we are more likely to follow. We create a plan that becomes a lot more concrete and easy to follow than just “I’m going to do x.” The structure of these intentions matters, though. Practice setting intentions in the form of “When I am in situation x, I will do action y.” So tonight ‘when the clock shows 8 pm, I will turn off all technology,’ for instance.
- Setting our intentions aloud. It’s easy to discard a thought as just that – a thought. But what if we tried to make our thought more concrete? What if we made our thought a contract of sorts? Whether you choose to write down your contract or speak it aloud, there is power in turning a plan into a concrete commitment. In any instance, speaking a thought aloud makes it feel more real. Even the internal dialogue you have with yourself becomes more emotionally grounded when you speak it aloud; for instance, shouting, “I love myself,” carries with it such a bigger smile if shouted aloud versus in your mind. So complete Step 1; set your intentions. And then speak those intentions so you know you will follow through.
- Remembering your why. It is SO easy to ignore an intention when it is not important to us. Even if I say aloud that “I will wear neon green socks today,” I may be more likely to wear neon green socks, but I won’t by any means go out of my way to make that happen. I don’t care what color socks I am wearing. It doesn’t affect my life or my self perception in any way. But, if I had a ‘why,’ an internally motivating reason to pursue that action, it would be a different story. For instance, if my entire workplace was going to wear neon green socks and I valued being part of the community, a team player, well, all of a sudden I am searching my sock drawer, stopping at Target, and making sure this intention – one that actually means something to me – is going to come true.
- And finally, taking it one day at a time. Listen, even I get overwhelmed thinking about this challenge I am currently on to exercise twice a day for 75 days. I’m instantly exhausted just by the thought of 75 days. But exercising twice today… I can manage that. Exercising twice tomorrow? Even that is doable. Breaking goals into small chunks makes life just a lot more manageable. So make your commitments short term and focused, and you will see the difference instantly.
It may be challenging to follow through with daily commitments, like exercise or going to bed early, but when you follow a few simple steps, these commitments become a part of you, and a part of your life.
So what are you committing to accomplishing today?