There’s a lot of focus now on the end of the year. Some of my friends even know the number of days between now and Christmas. Christmas is indeed a joyful time for many and the change from the old year into the new brings hope to all of us.
The start of the New Year represents new beginnings…a fresh start…a clean start etc. But you and I know that there is no magical quality in any day. When we say we’re going to start on Monday, next week, next month or next year…all these days represent is a time in the future (not now) where we promise that we will do life differently.
In the meantime we prepare. We gather information, we talk to other people, and we look at others doing what we want to do because in our heads – we want to get it right. We want to know that when we start, there will be no mistakes and we will execute perfectly. We like perfect – the start of a new week, a new month, a new year. The slate is clean and we intend to fill that slate with great results.
Except… life is messy and nothing happens really, until we take action. Failure is guaranteed and relapse is par for the course. This is not a bad thing once we are able to take what we’ve learned and do better the next time we take action.
We have all perfected our stories as to why something that we say we want to do hasn’t been done yet. We often don’t have the time, or the money, or the degree, or the luck, or the willpower, or the discipline, or the opportunity.
It really doesn’t matter what we think we DON’T have. There is never going to be a perfect time to start. Things only become important when we make it important by making it a priority; when we make it a “no matter what” I am going to do this; when we burn all the bridges behind us knowing that the only way forward is to step into the unknown and see what happens next.
We love our comfort zones hence the name. They ARE comfortable until they’re not! If you want to achieve anything you have to reach beyond what’s comfortable for you.
Here’s a surefire way to grow beyond your comfort zone:
- Set a deadline. Whenever I am working with my colleague Nigel Wall, he talks about hard deadlines. He says “Giselle, I need this by 12 noon tomorrow…hard deadline…no matter what!” I almost always meet those hard deadlines. I have no wiggle room and so I make it happen!
- Examine your habits. You know the ones that aren’t serving you. Don’t use willpower to change them. Instead replace them with better habits but change them one at a time. If you are chronically late for appointments, practice giving yourself enough time to get ready and get to where you’re going so that you arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Make gradual changes by replacing a habit that’s not serving you with one that is, depending on what it is you want to achieve.
- Look at those moments when you’re most at risk for not doing what you say you’re going to do. What’s going on in those moments? What is it that you’re telling yourself? How are you sabotaging your efforts? Once you are aware of your negative self-talk you can replace those thoughts with ones that encourage and motivate you. You might have a statement or phrase that you say to yourself at these crucial times that will keep you moving forward.
David Kekich, an extremely successful entrepreneur sums it up nicely: “We need to apply all the information we’ve gathered because the point really is to use it, not to store it. You must take action. Many folks invest time and money in learning new skills but are still broke because they haven’t put them into use. Be an action taker, not an info gatherer. Don’t just talk. Do! Avoid self-sabotage. Get outside your comfort zone. Fail forward. Take responsibility for your success by being an action-taker.”
So where will you be 12 months from now? For those of us who don’t take personal responsibility and don’t take action – we will be in the same place 12 months from now, only a year older!
This is not good. I know that you want better for yourself. I know that deep down inside you get that you have all that you need right now to start. Sure, you might need other things along the way, but for right now, you can start right where you are with what you have.
If you want a better life – it’s waiting for you beyond your comfort zone. Go get it!