By Pat Carter
How have you expressed yourself today, both intentionally and unintentionally?
Have you stopped and asked yourself that question lately? If you are truthful with yourself, no one else needs to know. You may experience a range of emotions from surprise and thankfulness to disappointment. I’m not asking you to reflect on a question to make you feel a sense of accomplishment or defeat, but instead to identify an area or areas that you could, with a small tweak, improve your desired outcome.
Think of Valentine’s Day— it forced me to ask myself this question. Whether it is improvement in your relationship, family, work, fitness, spiritual or any other area of your life, use Valentine’s Day as an example. Did you reach out to someone that you normally don’t take the time to? Did you tell your family that you loved them and were thankful for them one time or one more time than you usually do in a day or weekend? Did you take the time to make time to create a memory? Any answer to the above would be what I would call an “expression.” Something that you intentionally created through action to cause something to happen in your life that directly impacts someone else and potentially, yourself.
Why do I think this is important and challenge myself and others along the way? Ghandi said it best: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Whether the change is pushing yourself to be at a better fitness level, be happier, have more friends, be financially confident, have a great relationship with your spouse and kids, or [INSERT THE BLANK], it all starts with you.
What are the expressions that you want to make on both yourself and in helping others? Here are a number of suggestions to help you address, implement and ultimately experience the change that you want to see.
Know your why
What is your why and what drives you to be excited every morning?
Write it down
Don’t overcomplicate this – grab a pen and paper or your computer and put down in words what it is that you want to accomplish. Be explicit and be detailed.
What are the specific and measurable actions that you have to take to accomplish what you wrote down? What are your daily activities? How are you going to hold yourself accountable? Who is going to be your accountability partner?
Anyone else read this and think, “I’m going to start at the beginning of next month…” or “I just made a resolution and didn’t keep it, no thanks.” I habitually fell into the trap of planning to plan and planning to get started and not taking action. Begin taking action the day you set the plan or, if you want to be lax, the day after you set the plan!
“What gets measured, gets done.” I used to hate this line, but now realize its importance. Set up a weekly schedule at the very least to review your progress and hold yourself accountable.
Celebrate the win
When you hit your goal, celebrate. Don’t only celebrate, include those that helped you along the way and held you accountable.
The list above looks daunting and a commitment to something sounds deep. Don’t give yourself an out. Start small, take actions and create wins to fuel you along the way. Think back to the question, “What have you expressed today, both intentionally and unintentionally?” Make the choice to tweak something in your life to choose a better desired outcome. We all fear that it takes massive change to get where we desire and dream. I would contend that the small tweaks we make on a daily basis are what build into exponential change.