I used to sleep walk through each day not knowing my direction. I would have these vague ideas of what I wanted my life to be but have no idea how to get there. Each day would flow into the next as I followed a winding path to nowhere.
I wasn’t sure what my life would amount to. I wasn’t sure I had much control over it. I figured I would work hard and see what happened.
But this approach didn’t get me far. I found myself in an endless loop at the same job and in the same city. Since I didn’t know my desired direction, my life stalled. The world was moving on without me.
It wasn’t until I took charge of my my life that things started to change. I began a practice of daily habits that helped me to add structure and direction into my life. I soon realized that I did have control. There was a method. There were steps I could take to shape my life.
Today I want to share with you the four daily habits that fundamentally changed my life. These are all things you can implement today. All you need is a notebook, a pen and a smartphone.
1. Strategic Goals List
In order to add direction in your life, it’s first important to understand where you want to go. What is it that you want to accomplish over the next year in your personal and professional life? What does success look like to you?
The best technique I found to do this is to create a running list of your strategic goals and check it daily. I simply use the Notes App on my iPhone to track this list. By keeping a digital copy it is easy to edit and at your fingertips all times.
This list should not read as a mundane To-Do list with items such as “grocery shopping” or “go to the gym”, but rather a set of goals that are out of your normal routine and can change your life. For instance, if you want to get a new job, buy a house, or take a trip across the world, these are items you can add to the list.
Once the initial list is created you have the ability to edit it from there. The most important thing is to check it daily so that these goals seep into your mind and that your daily actions start to reflect these strategic goals.
2. One Big Thing
After setting your strategic goals, the next thing you want to do is break them down into actionable steps that you can factor into your daily life.
For this I use a really simple app, called One Big Thing, which helps you to set one essential goal for the day. Wake up every morning and check your Strategic Goals List. Then choose one item and find a way to take action on it today. Add this one action item to the One Big Thing app and that will become your goal of the day.
By using this simple method, you will start to gain little bits of moment towards your goal that will add up over time and ultimately help you reach those long term goals.
3. Life Vision – Affirmations
In the day-to-day grind, it’s easy lose track of what you want your life to become. What are your dreams? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where are you living and working? Who are the people that surround you?
On top of your strategic goals you want to form a long-term vision that coincides with them. You should envision what your ideal life looks like 10 years from now. Then use a pen and piece of notebook paper to write a detailed journal entry that captures this vision.
Write as much as you’d like and make sure not to hold anything back. The life you write down should be one in which anything is possible. Don’t doubt yourself. Reach for what you desire.
Once you’ve written this entry, date it, and refer back to it on a daily basis. Read it out loud to yourself every morning so that the vision begins to form into a mantra. By using this combined with your Strategic Goals List, you will start to feel the direction you want your life to take which will then trickle down into your day-to-day habits.
4. Five Minute Daily Reflection Journal
After you set your life vision through your strategic goals and affirmation, it’s then important to set a system in place that allows you to reflect on your progress. A journal is an amazing form of self-therapy and also allows you to see what is or isn’t working in your plan.
The biggest thing a daily journal can do for you is reinforce gratefulness into your life. As you now look to the future to accomplish your life’s goals it’s easy to lose track of what you’ve already accomplished.
This is why it’s imperative to incorporate a daily reflection journal into your life. You can choose what you’d like to write about, but I always cover these three topics:
- What’s bothering me
- What I’m grateful for
- Recent life victories
These topics allow me to destress from any floating anxieties and gain appreciation for how far I’ve come. If you incorporate them, they can do the same for you. This will be your cornerstone to stability as you strive for your long-term goals.
So whether you’re stuck in a career you hate or find your personal life spiralling out of control, there are daily habits you can use to turn your life around. By implementing these habits you will start to realize that your life direction is in your hands. You have the power. You’re in control.