The ONE thing that transformed my life and success
In July last year I had the privilege of participating in a Deepak Chopra workshop. Deepak shared an exercise that asked me to grade individual elements of my life on a scale of 1 to 10. These included the state of my health, how often I see family, my work/life balance and so on. Once finished I had in front of me for the first time a visual compendium that rated my overall quality of life. Not only this, I had a set of principles which I could monitor day by day to make positive change.
This conscious awareness that Deepak switched on had a profound impact on me and that night I created a list of 15 simple daily actions in my new journal that I could actively choose to do every day. I fully expected Deepak’s teachings and my responsive actions to bring more meaning, love and happiness into my life. Here is a photo of my list.
And here’s the criteria in case you can’t read it:
Further My Dreams
Value My Time
Remember My Family
Remember My Responsibilities
Be Careful With My Words
Random Acts of Kindness
Send Healing and Prayers
Let me pick up the story…I closed the journal feeling great that my life was forever changed for the better…
The next day I sat down to complete my assessment. I had made a huge effort that day to be purposeful and conscious of my choices, I even drove 2 older ladies home from the bus station to ensure that I had a random act of kindness to add to my score.
This photo shows my great start to this new life:
No achievement = 0 points
Partial achievement = 1 point
Full achievement = 2 points
Unfortunately that photo is the complete history of my ‘purposeful’ days.
Shamefully I never made it past the first day.
Enough time passed for me to accept that the journal was unlikely to come back off the bookshelf. I needed something else…fast. Scrambling to find a new way to seek a more intentional life, I came across a gem of an idea.
The Morning Routine!
I loved it. It was so simple.
All I had to do was pick the 5 most beneficial things that I could do each morning. I wrote these down and contacted a designer on Fiverr.com to make it into an infographic that I could print off and keep by my bed. This time I was really serious, none of that 15 steps nonsense – just 5 small things to do every day on waking. I thought back to Deepak’s seminar. This must have been what he really intended for me to learn; that it is all about intentions, get out of bed with the right intentions and the rest will follow.
You can see the infographic I created here
I remember smiling. It was almost too easy.
Fast forward six months and here’s the results:
I’ve misplaced the infographic
I have literally never done any of those 5 things…ever.
Honestly…I was pretty much out of ideas.
True, I was down, but I wasn’t out. I now knew that Deepak’s lessons of conscious awareness and the power of intention weren’t working, so what steps would make my life more meaningful?
I recollect staring into my Dorset Cereals Honey Granola, hoping the delicious oats might provide inspiration. It was 6am and still dark outside on this particular cold Monday morning.
I was trying to focus, but instead my mind kept wandering. I kept thinking about how much I was enjoying the crunch of the oats. The reason for this slightly bizarre thought, is that Granola was on my no-go list for a long time. Not because of some new faddish diet, but because it was so darn hard to eat whilst driving my car. Thick porridge is pretty much the only car-friendly breakfast I know of as it is the least likely to suddenly fly out of the bowl and onto your car interior. During this period of my life I was forced to choose driving-friendly breakfasts since I was getting up so late for work and was always short of time.
Suddenly the kitchen lightbulb went on above me. I realised that I had been successfully getting up at 5:40am every day consistently for several weeks to make time for breakfast.
This was big (for me)
Ok, I wasn’t leading a life of sentience, bringing love and light to the world through my 15 step daily plan. I also wasn’t religiously visualising my success each morning whilst doing star jumps and thanking those I was grateful for.
But I was eating breakfast. Everyday. I realised I had started and continued a new positive habit.
This one small change was momentous. I had chosen something small that I wanted to change and because it was so small and the reward was instantly positive I had managed to achieve it.
I decided to put this to the test. For months I had been putting off doing my press up routine, so I ‘anchored’ press-ups (a Neural Linguistic Programming term for linking something to something else) to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The goal was just to do press-ups. Whether it was 2 or 2,000 it didn’t matter, all I had to do was press-ups every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And it worked! 10 weeks later and I have done my press-ups religiously three times a week.
I am now realising a compound effect of benefit, the two things I accomplish consistently every week are easy to do, which means (therefore) that they are also easy not to do.
But, now that it’s a habit, it’s easy.
So there it is, the power of setting and accomplishing one goal.
Want an accountability partner? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me what you are going to do and I will challenge you to keep it up until it becomes a habit.