A busy schedule is like a spider web, it’s all too easy to become entangled amongst life’s daily tasks, anchoring us into a perpetuating cycle of stagnation. The desire to achieve our goal lies beyond the confines of routine, requiring self-investment and positive action in the direction of our dreams. To break through the humdrum attitude, we must objectively observe the habits that control our day and then ask ourselves, is this holding me back from setting up my own business? If the answer is yes, you’ve made a break through and now it’s time to make that change.
Procrastination is productivity’s worse nightmare, but it’s our best friend when we want to avoid working on a project for whatever reason. We procrastinate and then talk about how we don’t have time to do anything these days. I’m guilty of that myself. But what I’ve found over the past couple of years is that by taking a small section of the day and dedicating it to the practice of positive habits, you can develop a new outlook which will guide you into taking positive actions towards accomplishing your goals.
One of my favourite ways to gain perspective has always been the ‘hour of power’, a practice in which you dedicate 20 minutes each to reading, meditating and exercising. I adopted this while I was revising for exams, during which I would pick up an inspiring read e.g. Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know for Sure, I started doing yoga and meditated afterwards. I was inspired when I came across the hour of power in a speech given by life coach Tony Robbins, and I began to develop a great habit of waking up and practicing the hour of power before I started to revise. It helped me calm my nerves, focus on the present and make me feel like I could tackle the day ahead.
But then the summer rolled around and exams were over and there was just so much I wanted to do in my summer break, that the hour of power became a non-existent hour. I forgot all about how it inspired me to take positive action towards my dream of becoming a writer. I just wanted to enjoy my long summer break. When you say you’ll do it tomorrow that tomorrow turns into next week, and then into next year.
When you watch a motivational speech, it’s so easy to be amped up in the moment, but what’s going to make you take that information, that habit and apply it to your life for the rest of your life? This struck me when I was thinking about why I gave up such a useful practise and in that moment I could have drummed up a whole list of reasons to justify myself, but I didn’t. I remember recalling a book I had previously read, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, in which he notes that success is impeded by the common trait of having air-tight alibis for lack of achievement. He also explores how discipline is the master key to unlocking your dreams, instilling in me the thought that to achieve the level of success you aspire to you must first harness the discipline to complete the actions and habits you have adopted in order to get to where you want to go.
With any positive habit that takes up time, it also requires discipline and commitment. I realise that now, but sometimes you can easily just click the snooze button on the alarm or sit in front of the TV for hours to avoid working. I get around this by using Mel Robbins’ five second rule, whenever you feel like procrastinating count down from five and get to work. It might seem farfetched to begin with, but it really does help you to get out of that tired state of mind.
Sometimes you just need that boost of activation energy, the determination to make a start on whatever project you need to complete, to realise that procrastination provides a fleeting sense of calm, but discipline and commitment are the road maps to lasting success.
Aminah Khan is a journalism student at the University of Sheffield. You can follow her on Twitter at @aminahkhan246
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