If our journey in life hinges on our own ability to make the right choice in any given moment, we're setting ourselves up to fail, big time.
For one, our motivation levels fluctuate, and the inspiration to keep going when we don't feel like it sometimes just isn't there. And even WITH all the motivation in the world, we're still limited: we only have so much time in the day, and our brains only have so much capacity for conscious thought-processing and decision-making. With our long lists of goals and responsibilities, any progress we make in one area is often matched by shortcoming in another.
Thankfully, there's a simple solution that will take us far past where our own aspirations or willpower ever could.
It's true: we all want to improve in life, but it's impossible to give specific effort into every area of our lives all the time every day. And, to be honest, we'll never get better that way or see the results we're hoping for anyways.
The key to lasting growth, then, is to start making choices today that will make choices for you tomorrow. Or, to put it differently, we need to make lasting decisions now so that we have fewer decisions that need to be made tomorrow. With a little bit of up-front intentionality, we can live the life we want to live and consistently meet our goals without much conscious effort at all.
Practically, we accomplish this by developing beliefs and by creating habits (or rhythms). Beliefs reflect your identity - who you are, while habits describe your behaviors - what you do. These are things that do not need to be left to your in-the-moment choice, and certainly not to chance; these are decisions that can be made now that will affect the course of your entire future. Let me give some examples from my own life:
These are just a few examples, but the point is not whether you share these beliefs or find these habits impressive. What I'm highlighting is that because I hold these beliefs and habits, I'm able to accomplish these things easily, without even trying. This enables me to live with far more consistency, satisfaction, and ability than I ever could without them in place, and you can too.
Admittedly, developing beliefs and creating habits take time. You can't cultivate 50 deeply-held beliefs and generate two dozen new habits in a day. But you can - right now - pick one or two beliefs, and one or two behaviors, and focus on deepening them for the next several weeks / months. Before long, they'll be so ingrained in you that you hardly have to think about them again. Then you start on the next ones! Over time, your life will feel like your own masterpiece that you can be proud of :).
And the best part about it is they only grow stronger & build upon themselves. Because beliefs and habits don't rely on scarce resources (like motivation, energy, effort, thinking, and decision-making), you'll find yourself getting off life's roller coaster and climbing victoriously from summit to summit. Not only that, but you'll end up with all this extra thought power that you can put to good use, like brainstorming how you're going to change the world, make a difference, start a side-business, and love your family.
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You're the only one in the world with your voice and your story - we are ALL better off when you let your light shine!