If, like me, you’ve been a life-long planner only to realize that at least half of what you plan never turns out the way you planned it, then you’re probably looking for a new approach. I wrote, at the close of 2011, about how I was trying to approach 2012 differently. No big plans or goals and few definite timetables – less intention and more direction.
It’s a good thing too, because in the first month of the new year, my workload has unexpectedly increased, a couple of unanticipated projects have come my way and…my laptop crashed. Died. Destroyed. Failed. So there go my big plans for January, 2012 …except I hadn’t really made any. For once.
Instead, I’d been making small changes to get rid of bad habits and replace them with good ones. Every single day – not declaring intention, but instead heading in the direction of the place I want to be. And no, (ok, very few) goals. In his guest post on Zen Habits, Jeff Goins wrote about what to do instead of setting goals…
There is an alternative to setting goals that will bring you closer to the life you want. Focus on a few practices you can enjoy doing on a regular basis. The trick here is consistency. These four helped me:
- Get up early. When the world wakes up, distractions abound. If you are going to focus on creating a new life for yourself, you’ll need to find the time. The best way to do this is to work while others are sleeping. At first, I didn’t like waking up before the sun, but eventually my body adjusted and I began looking forward to the solitude.
- Over-commit. The adage “under-promise and over-deliver” is a farce. It only propagates the status quo. Real difference-makers push boundaries. They test, prod, and poke until something gives. You can do this, too, by saying “yes” to more things than you’re comfortable with. Learn to stretch yourself. You might be surprised by what you’re actually capable of. Your confidence will grow, too.
- Talk to strangers. Relationships are what make the world go round. This is true for your career, personal well-being, and inner life. When you meet new people, you make connections that can lead to all kinds of future breakthroughs. Even when it’s uncomfortable, reach out and introduce yourself to new people. The worst they can say is “no.” Fortunately, many won’t.
- Practice generosity. Give away your time, money, services, and ideas. When you do this, you will get a lot more than you give. People will learn to trust you, and if you really help them, they will tell others about you. This will build your reputation, and you will have more friends than you know what to do with. And as the saying goes, what goes around really does come around.
You can read Jeff Goins’ entire post here. How much closer are you to giving up the life you’ve planned for the life that’s waiting for you? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on our Facebook page.