As the years fly by, I realize that I still have so many things I want to do, but haven’t done. This very simple equation has become increasingly clear:
Results = time + attention
I can dream about a business endlessly, I can imagine drawings and paintings I wish I could make, I can wish to be a published author… but if the only place these things occur are in my head, there they will stay.
It is doing that makes things happen. I’m a person who can get bogged down by “analysis paralysis,” as one of my former bosses used to tell me. Because of this, one of my favorite sayings has become a mantra:
Clarity comes with action.
Or as Jon Acuff put it beautifully:
For every idea I have, I have dozens of reasons why it will not work. For whatever reason, I usually either picture my business ideas as failures, or as wildly successful. What I want is something somewhere in the middle; something that works. Yet, I will never know if an idea is good or not until I take action.
The times I’ve been most successful is when I’ve made a flying leap and committed to an idea. Usually I’ll put things in motion quickly that tether me to committing to it.
Even if an idea doesn’t work, it may lead to another idea that does. But I may never get to that next idea by thinking and dreaming only. It will likely only be the fruit of taking action.
Prompted by Gretchen Rubin’s excellent book, “Better than Before,” I’ve been thinking a lot about habits. According to Rubin,
When we change our habits, we change our lives.
Pretty powerful statement when you really think about it. So the question becomes, “What habits can I create or change that will get me to my goals?”
I have four pursuits currently that I really want to invest time in (not including my husband and children, who are my priority – the wrestle is to fit these things in around my family activities). Here is what that looks like for me. I am scheduling daily time to:
- Work on my business start-up
- Sketch, draw and paint, and watch instructional videos
- Write 500 words a day
- Meet my reading goals
I may not hit this target every day. With young children and a busy life, some days these things will not happen. But the goal is to keep making it happen, on the days when it’s possible.
I was recently at a children’s birthday party where there was a large piñata. Each child took turns with a small bat, hitting the piñata. A few adults swung at the piñata as well. For a few minutes, it looked like that piñata was never going to burst open. But the kids didn’t give up – they kept hitting it. And eventually that piñata split open, raining treats on all the kids.
To get to my goals, I’ve got to keep swinging. I may have to put my bat down a day here and there. But if I keep picking it up, keep giving my goals time and attention, keep swinging, the rewards will come. Every swing counts.
As the old song, “Wishin’ and Prayin’ goes:
Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
Plannin’ and dreamin’ each night of his charms
That won’t get you into his arms
So if you’re lookin’ to find love you can share
All you gotta do is hold him and kiss him and love him
And show him that you care
Do you have some dreams and things you’d like to accomplish that you never seem to get to? Try putting some time on your calendar this week and making some next steps. Show your goals that you care!