- Michael Thompson
“To reach your goals, you need to take massive action!”
Everywhere we turn we’re bombarded with such suggestions. From my experience, it simply isn’t true.
Sure, you need to be bold in the moments that matter. But when it comes to your day-to-day, you’re better off focusing on taking the right small steps and allowing the power of compounding to go to work. As the author of Atomic Habits, James Clear, so eloquently said — “You get what you repeat.”
And I don’t know about you, but I’d much prefer to go for a nice leisurely stroll each day instead of trying to climb castles as quickly as possible.
If you too believe all positive progress is made in the present and the best way to win your race is by owning your pace, here are five simple sentences you can write each day that have a magical way of helping the dots you collect, better connect.
1. Write one thing you’re proud of
“Liam and Luc (my kids) fell asleep before I finished reading their bedtime story but I read every word anyway.” I loved coming across this note when flipping through my daily entries. It serves as a reminder that I’ve chosen to be the type of person who doesn’t cut corners on the things that matter most.
Confidence isn’t everything. But it is a big thing. And it isn’t only found by accomplishing your big goals. It’s also found by consistently doing what you feel is right.
Track the good you do.
Rather than look for outside validation, validate yourself.
2. Write one thing you learn
This should be the only homework we’re ever assigned in school. Not only will you begin to proactively seek out learning opportunities. But when you review your list, even after a few weeks, the connections your brain will begin to make will astound you.
Imagine how you’d feel if you did this for five months and had 150 ideas and sources of inspiration in front of you. Now, envision yourself at 83 flicking through a lifetime’s worth of knowledge.
If life’s about anything, it’s being a curious life-eater.
This simple action can seriously help cement this mindset.
3. Write one memory
The world belongs to storytellers. This was true in the past when community leaders sat around the fire and entertained and educated their people on the wonders and worries of the world. And it’s true today as the spotlight has a funny way of tailing those who know how to spin a story,
In addition to choosing a life of adventure, create quiet pockets for reflection. What were you like as a kid? What challenges did you face? What advice were you given as you got older? How did certain situations make you feel?
The more memories you collect, the better you’ll get at telling stories that connect.
4. Write one thing you could have done better
We’ve covered tracking what you’re proud of, now it’s time to flip the script and lean into what you could have done better. Maybe you snapped at your kids or were impatient with your partner over something trivial. Or maybe you wrote an email to someone you admire that didn’t get a response or maybe judged someone harshly.
Look at these instances.
Identify where you could have done better.
I once stepped in dog shit twice in the same day. The first time it could have been avoided. The second time it definitely should have been avoided.
5. Write one specific way someone helped you
“Who am I grateful for?” Asking yourself this question each day is a healthy habit. But to maximize its impact, take it one step further by asking yourself why as it forces you to get specific.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It could be as simple as someone getting you a glass of water. Or someone jumping in to help you out with a project or firm up an article.
Relationships are everything. Every day, whether we take the time to notice or not, people take the time to help us. This simple habit will get you out of your own head while reminding you of the heart of others.
And if there was ever a time in humanity when we needed to remind ourselves there are good people out there, this is it.
The beauty of these questions is that the longer you stick with them, the more they will teach you how to see — which is arguably the most important skill in life that very few people talk about.
Your eyes will naturally look for learning opportunities from your past and present, where you can improve, the good in others, and the good inside yourself.
Good things happen when we keep our eyes open and make a commitment to walk.