Trouble is for a lot of people, they don’t know. They only know that this life they are living isn’t it. Or they do know what they want, but haven’t a clue on how to get it.
For some, they are fine just coasting, believing when the right choice comes along, they will just snap it up. But will you know? For others though, they’re ambitious. They do want to get ahead, it’s just not knowing how to do it that holds them back.
All of which causes a sense of overwhelm which is sadly common. We go through the motions of the day, juggling all that we have to do, with little or no time to ask ourselves, is this what I want to be doing?
In his book The 1% Principle, author Tom O’Neil argues that we can start ourselves on the right path, just by asking ourselves each day “what is one thing I can do today to improve my life and the life of someone near me by 1%.”
His argument is that by taking small incremental steps we can reach our goals and change our lives for the better. This way we are consistently moving forward. He calls them mini-goals which can impact different aspects of your life.
After getting you to look at different aspects of your life so you can measure how well you are doing, he proceeds to provide you with lists of daily items that you could undertake - simple things like arranging to pay your bills automatically online. In other words, stuff that’s likely on your to-do list but never seems to get done.
He does caution about not trying to do too much as that somewhat defeats the point of the exercise. To me this is like the “Swiss Cheese” approach I take with a big project, breaking down what has to be done into bite size tasks that build on each other.
Certainly if you can start to clear away the minutiae of life that can take up your time, then you can focus your energies on what you want to do.
Sometimes that means taking time alone to think through what you enjoy, what you are good at and where potential opportunities await you. Once you become clearer, bounce your ideas off a friend, one you trust who will be honest with you and quick to tell you if you’re on the wrong path.
Many people have found it helpful to have a coach, who will objectively listen and ask prodding questions to help you refocus and rethink your next steps.
But I think O’Neil is right, the habit of doing one small thing each day will make you feel you’ve accomplished something. Setting a goal to also do something for yourself on a regular basis – a ten minute walk, reading a book, coffee with a friend – can move you forward to what you really, really want.