From beginning a Professional Doctorate, moving countries, crewing with Race Across America and starting to work for a professional cycling team, 2018 has been a big one. Here’s 3 key life lessons I’ve learnt this year.
THE ONE THING
One of the most impactful books that I’ve read this year was a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller. It’s packed full of an absolute tonne of useful tips and advice that you can incorporate into your life to be more productive on a daily basis.
One of the tips that has really struck me this year was The One Thing concept. What’s the ONE thing that you can do right now that is going to help you towards a long term goal bit by bit, working towards a weekly goal, a monthly goal, an annual goal, a 5 year goal. Little things that you do consistently all build up and collectively have a huge impact on a specific goal that you are working towards. Just like the domino effect – pushing over one domino causes a series of chain reactions much bigger than the individual domino itself.
For example, I’m now part-way through my Professional Doctorate so a long term goal of mine is to complete this within the next two years. However, without being intentional about reading, writing and conducting nutrition research on a daily basis, it’s easy for time to slip by without noticing. Then before you know it there’s this huge mammoth task of writing a thesis before you. An example of One Thing I could do right now (rather than mucking about on social media) is to read a journal article, summarise it and write a couple of paragraphs towards a chapter of my thesis.
It may only be one article and one paragraph. But with consistency that one article or paragraph then becomes 5 in a week, 20 a month or 240 over the course of a year without breaking a sweat. It’s important to make time on a daily basis to do these little things, block it off in the diary and make it non-negotiable. Of course there’s times that it’s not always going to happen, but making that commitment and being consistent with those small things has a HUGE impact in the long term.
Lesson: What’s the one thing you can do RIGHT NOW that builds towards your weekly, monthly, yearly, 5 year goals? Little things done consistently have big impact.
ELIMINATE MENTAL CLUTTER
I’ve spoken before about the value of working with a psychologist or counsellor to clear any anxiety, or insecurities. This year some SERIOUS work got done working through some stuff I had that was holding me back and taking up so much brain space. Rather than ignoring it, bottling it up or hiding it away I decided to take some time to sort through the mental clutter.
It wasn’t particularly easy, but the peace of mind and freedom is has given me back is incredible. I can honestly say after a couple of tough years that I am ‘me’ again, that my happiness has returned and I can feel and see my joy for life spilling out and reaching those around me.
Interestingly, I’ve noticed that physical clutter in the environment around me can influence the state of my mental clutter. Which means I’ve worked on trying to be tidier around my workspace, bedroom, house etc. There’s still work to be done in that regard though.. especially when it comes to my kitchen explosions!!!
Lesson: Dealing with things can be tough, but it gives you freedom, breathing space that allows you to focus on what matters.
CLARIFY YOUR GOALS
This has been a big one. As a person who struggles to say NO at times and wants to help others out it can be very easy to over commit and say yes to awesome opportunities that distract you from your core goals.
I’ve learnt that anytime an opportunity comes along I must evaluate whether it is going to help me achieve a certain goal, or whether it’s going to be a distraction that pulls me away. Everything always takes more time than you think it’s going to, and there is only so much time and energy I can give that is going to be productive.
Completing my Professional Doctorate is my primary goal for the next few years. It’s extremely important to me, and as such I must dedicate a LOT of time and energy towards that. However, like everyone I need to work and pay the bills! So all work opportunities must be weighed against whether they will support my research work or distract me.
Having clear goals that are written down is key here. It’s also fantastic to see your goals being achieved over time and seeing progress being made towards them – whether career, physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
Lesson: Be clear on your goals and learn to say NO to opportunities that distract away from them.
What have you learnt this year?
Here’s to an amazing 2019!