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Tom Corley’s rich habit number seven, from his book Rich Habits Poor Habits, is to take action on your goals every day. In order to do this, firstly, you have to have made some goals. I have written about goal setting here and here. Although I do set goals, sometimes they get forgotten about as life gets in the way. I often wonder if it would be a good idea to write out my goals and stick them up on the wall. They would then be a daily reminder of what I am hoping to achieve, either in the short or long term, or both.
Once you have set some goals, which can be one of the most exciting bits of the process, you then have to act on them. Tom Corley believes that there is a war raging inside of us every day between taking action and procrastination. He says that most people procrastinate because they are not passionate about what they do for a living. Therefore, we put off things that we do not like. This happens until the pain of the consequences of not doing the thing we dread and fear outweighs the dread and fear of doing it.
According to Tom, successful people take action on their dreams and goals and this moves them forward in life. Unsuccessful people procrastinate, which creates problems that require immediate attention. They are constantly putting out the fire in their lives. The subconscious knows that completing that task is important in helping improve our lives and that procrastinating on that task will only have negative consequences, damaging our life. This can make us feel stressed.
Tools to stop you procrastinating:
To do lists – I have listened to some podcasts recently about planning and the usefulness, or not, of list making. A list is okay, but once you’ve made your list you have to decide when you are going to do each task. You need to put them in your calendar i.e. assign each task a day and a time. Now, that is the easy part, the hard bit is actually doing the task when it appears on your calendar. We all have more interesting things to do when a difficult chore presents itself to us. This is where the procrastination comes in. You think about it for a couple of minutes and then find something more interesting to do, or something easier. At work, scrolling through my emails often seems so much more attractive than writing a report. I therefore think that to do lists are only part of the solution. If you make a list, but never commit to the tasks on the list, then it is a waste of time.
The daily five – decide on five things that you want to achieve today. This is about prioritising. For work, I tend to highlight the most important tasks for that day and then rank them in the order that I should do them.
Setting and communicating artificial deadlines – telling third parties which turns your deadline into a promise. I listened to an episode of the Problogger podcast the other week where Darren Rowse describes mentioning to an acquaintance that he was going to start a podcast and committing to a certain timescale. Despite having had this on his to-do list for several years it was only a chance remark that actually made him get on with it.
Accountability partners – someone you meet with regularly who checks how far you have got on your tasks. This could be in real life or on line. Having a blog is in some ways like having lots of accountability partners. You set out your intentions, what you’re planning to do and then you write about it, giving your readers updates on your progress. One of my favourite type of posts is the monthly reviews. It is such a good way to look back at what I’ve been doing and also how much progress I’ve made towards my financial goals.
As I write this I feel that I haven’t recently been making any progress towards my personal goals. At work I don’t really have goals. I just have tasks that I need to do. I enjoy my job, but it isn’t the be all and end all of my life. For me, goal setting is all about improving my personal life.
I think that the reason I don’t feel as though I’ve made much progress recently is partly because I’ve been away on holiday and I’m still catching up with boring things like washing and ironing. Also, summer is a time when to some extent routine goes out the window. It is also when Mr Simple and I spend quite a lot of our weekends doing work in the garden, which I love, but it is time-consuming. As the nights start to draw in and the weather deteriorates there will be less to do outside and I will have more time to work on my goals.
I think that September can be a good time to refocus. Although as adults we may not be returning to school or college, it’s maybe time to return to the ‘university of life’ and work towards achieving our personal goals.
So what are your goals? Have you actually made any for this year? If so, how’s progress going? Are you able to do some work on them every day? If you haven’t made any goals, maybe it’s a good time to start. You can then review them at the end of the year and see if you want to continue working towards them in 2020. And don’t forget, if you want to know more about Tom Corley’s book, you can find it here.