A FRANTIC PACE CAN THROW US OFF BALANCE
In my coaching, I often refer to what I consider the most important aspects of a successful life:
Career | Finances/Wealth | Health | Family Time/Free Time | Relationships | Personal/Spiritual Growth | Community Involvement
And while this is easy to recognize and define on paper, it can be difficult to balance all of these key aspects during the course of a day, week, month, year. The quickest and easiest method to start tracking how much time you give to each of these important aspects is to start journaling every day. At the end of each day, take five minutes to estimate how much time you gave to each of these aspects above. In my experience with clients which parallels national data, the aspects of 1) health, 2) finances, and 3) wealth and family time/free time were not being exercised enough during the course of an average week, month, etc.
Which aspect above is your lowest investment of time and energy? How can you start investing more time and energy into those aspects?
I can think of a few...and though I don't know your current circumstance and habits, I'll give you some averages about some habits that unfortunately don't serve us. Historian Will Durant once summarized an idea of Aristotle's as, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." And often it is your habits that determine your success - or stand in its way.
LETTING EVERYONE ELSE DICTATE YOUR LIFE
It's your life. You get to live it, in this body of yours, once. If you currently aren't completely in charge of every choice you make, start. The fact is, you are 100% responsible for all of your outcomes. Not 99%...100%. You have to start accepting responsibility for everything in your life, and do so right now. There are no external circumstances, people or events that force you to do anything in life. If you disagree with me, you are living in a world of excuses. Stop the blame game and start accepting responsibility for yourself. Be the master and commander of your own life. The opinions and advice of others can of course be a welcoming and progressive thing, but if you make your life choices based on what others think is best for you, then you are not in control...in fact, you are powerless. This mindset and way of life will NOT create success.
PLAYING IT SAFE
Playing it safe is what I consider living (and staying) in your comfort zone.
So exactly what is the comfort zone?
I'm sure you've heard the phrase before, and I'm sure you've been influenced and motivated to breach your own comfort zone. But if you don't know exactly what your comfort zone is, then you probably haven't breached it and reached a new level of success, happiness, wealth, etc.
Simply, your comfort zone is a behvioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress. Some examples of this are staying at your current position instead of striving for something greater, or perhaps even starting a new business. Or maybe you come home from work and watch 5 hours of television (the national daily average) instead of working on minimizing your debt and focusing on financial freedom. Or maybe you buy the same safe foods you've always bought instead of reaching for those funky looking leeks and jackfruit. Whatever it is, you can find it in your normal daily routines. Some of these patterns are perfectly fine and don't need adjusting, but often many do.
In 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson explained that a state of relative comfort created a STEADY level of performance. In order to MAXIMIZE performance, however, we need a state of relative anxiety—a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This space is called "Optimal Anxiety," and it's just outside our comfort zone. Please keep in mind that too much anxiety and we're too stressed to be productive...our performance actually drops off sharply. So there is a fine balance between pushing too hard and simply working gradually towards new levels of success and opportunity.
The idea of optimal anxiety isn't anything new. Anyone who's ever pushed themselves to get to the next level or accomplish something knows that when you really challenge yourself, you can turn up amazing results. More than a few studies support the point. However, pushing too hard can actually cause a negative result, and reinforce the idea that challenging yourself is a bad idea. It's our natural tendency to return to an anxiety neutral, comfortable state. You can understand why it's so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.
How many negative people do you have in your life? How many negative thoughts in a day? It's easy to be surrounded by negativity without even being aware of it. But it's expensive--it often comes at the cost of the things you want. Cut out negativity from your life, and give that energy back to yourself.
LIVING IN THE PAST
We must constantly forgive and let go. Releasing any negative feelings that crop up from past events must be done, and must be done recurrently. It isn't enough to do just once. The fact is, if you keep having old thought patterns creep up, you have some more releasing to do. We can release through meditation, emotional freedom techniques (tapping) and even powerful positive statements, repeated every day.
Turn off your television. Get to work. If you can't get to work, pick up a book, meditate, or go outside and take a walk. The average time dedicated to television for Americans is five hours per day. Put those five hours to better use.