The answer to this is literally in the second half of the first sentence – just start doing. Where most of us get stuck is changing our daily habits and doing something new that may actually lead us to our goals or dreams. No, I will not focus on creating a new effective routine and completely changing your daily habits in this post. I’ve been there and I know that while there can be a perfect plan and scheduling, everything falls apart the moment we stop trying. Since our daily habits do not lead to our dreams (and for those that do, this is your cue to stop reading and get back to your winning habits. I envy you), most likely something needs to be changed or tweaked so that your daily actions lead you to the outcomes you want.
However, the problem is deeper here. It is lack of self-awareness. Let me demonstrate through my own example. Since I was about 7 years old, I loved writing. I was always the best in my class when any essay or short story was assigned. While it was Russian Literature course (I grew up in Ukraine), I had the most fun writing or brainstorming stories. When I went to high school (in Canada), and had to learn English, my friend and I wrote and developed comics for fun. We had over 60 of them in two years! However, when it came to picking a subject to study and a career path to select, writing or literature did not even occur to me. I always dreamed about writing a book and yet pursuing anything related to English or Literature or Writing did not occur to me! So fast forward 6 years when I finished Bachelors and Masters degree, settled in a government job and got married. I returned back to writing and started writing things on the side, during the spare time between full-time job, travelling and anything else that newly married life brings.
Fast forward another 5 years. Someone at work refers to someone else at work as a writer. We all know he is taking time off work to write his book and he already finished first draft. My first reaction was to get offended, because I felt he was not the only writer in our team. Then I had a spark of self-awareness. “Hold on”, I said to myself, “what did you do to be called a writer? Have you finished writing a single book? Did you ever tell anyone? Do you do something on a regular basis to contribute to your dream coming true?”.
And this is when I realized that my own perception of myself as a writer was not aligned with my activities. While I did lately decorate my office with a ‘writer-like’ accessories such as images and toy-sized typing machines and all kinds of writing supplies and notebooks, I only wrote when I felt like writing, while the guy from my work was writing every single day. As I discovered last month, I had started writing 5 different books on different topics but have not completed even half of one book. Again, it does not mean I am not a writer. It is all about self-awareness – while I have convinced myself somewhere along the way that I was actually a writer and had the right skills, I kind of forgot to back it up with ongoing action.
There are many examples like this – we have created a belief about ourselves because at some point of our lives we did live like a certain person, and then, even as we stopped doing things that made our actions align with our beliefs, we continue to carry a certain title inside our mind. The good news is that we can always change this – just start acting as the person you want to be. For example, I believed that I am a healthy person. However, having fries, pizza, cake, wine in one day and not exercising was also absolutely acceptable to me as well. It is all about self awareness – once you start paying attention at your daily activities, they illustrate exactly whether your actions align with your beliefs or not. You have the power to change and alter your actions so they help you get where you want to be. Do you see yourself as a powerful and influential entrepreneur who also has a health-forward approach to life? That’s fantastic, now just ask yourself – what would this kind of person do? What would this person select to read, to listen to or to eat? And then just adjust your actions accordingly. And yes, I am going to write my book now:)
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