As a culture, we get very wrapped up in "what" we're going to become, instead of how we become it. We worry about where we will end up instead of focusing on the journey. We strive for the end of the rainbow without playing in the rain along the way.
This "end-all" thinking is what leads many astray. They spin their wheels, they work really hard, they tire themselves and burn the candle at both ends and still don't end up reaching their goal. To be honest, most of them forget what their original intention was in the first place. They lose themselves in the weeds instead of stepping back and seeing the forest.
Here's the thing: It all stems from who you are and what you do today.
If you want to drastically improve your life in a single day, you need to approach your day, every day, as if it's your last.
Here's how you can do that:
1. Do What You Say You're Going To Do
Success begins in the morning.
The easiest way to practice doing what you say you're going to do is to wake up when you say you're going to wake up. If you set your alarm the night before for six a.m., and you hit the snooze instead, you've just broken your first promise of the day.
Wake up on the first alarm. Keep that promise to yourself.
2. In Our Busy Culture, Find Ways To Practice Focus
I am relentless about practicing discipline. We live in a culture where notifications plague our coveted personal space. E-mails. Texts. Phone calls. Slack pop-ups. Everywhere we go, people can reach us, and it prevents us from ever really diving into what Cal Newport refers to as "deep work."
Find opportunities in your day to practice deep focus. For example: If you are going to sit down to work on something particular, remove all distractions. Turn off Slack, turn your phone on silent, turn off your e-mail, etc. A focused hour and a half is worth so much more than an unfocused three or four hours. You'll be amazed how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time when you aren't constantly disrupting your train of thought.
3. Make Time To Get Back In Your Body
It's no secret that health, wellness, and fitness are an important element of business and entrepreneurship. If you spend all day in front of a laptop, up in your head, thinking and solving problems and over-clocking your logic and reasoning muscles, then it is extremely important that you take an hour (minimum) at the beginning or end of the day to get back in your body.
Some prefer going to the gym. Some enjoy yoga or playing recreational basketball. No matter what it is, make time to get back into your body. You will be so much more productive and excited about your work.
4. Practice The Art Of Discipline
This is one of the most underrated values, but I believe it is one of the most important. Discipline is a muscle, and it requires practice.
In order to become a disciplined person, you have to create opportunities for yourself to practice discipline. Take things that are easy to overindulge in and see how long you can go without them. Give up sugar and candy. Give up alcohol. Give up watching TV before you go to bed. Train yourself to let go of things that do not serve your bigger purpose, and get that muscle acclimated to making decisions from a wider perspective.
People that have mastered self discipline are tremendously powerful in manifesting their intentions. They understand the value of each and every life choice, which means they don't take anything for granted. Discipline is difficult to acquire, but extremely valuable to those willing to put in the time and effort.
5. Reflect Before Bed
At the end of the day, instead of doing something mindless, prepare yourself for the next day. Use this quiet time to begin preparing yourself for what is to come.
My suggestion would be to keep a journal. Reflect on the day and make note of what you accomplished and what you left on the table, what things you did well and where you fell short. Audit yourself and see where you can improve--and then write down what you're going to do differently the next day.
This is a habit most people shrug off without ever giving it a fair chance. It is so simple, and that's the point. It shouldn't take you more than ten minutes, but it can have a drastic impact on the flow of your life.
Bonus points for those who wake up the next morning and re-read what they wrote, reminding themselves of how they are going to improve today.