Are you struggling to achieve even the simplest of goals like saving money or becoming healthier? If so, I want to share with you nine simple ways that you can improve your health, wealth, and productivity — no matter how busy how you are.
1. Write your behavior down.
This is perhaps the easiest, yet most tedious, place to start. As Jean Chatzky, an award-winning financial journalist, author and motivational speaker, writes, “As you go through the day, write your behavior down. If you’re looking to save money, you track your spending. If you’re looking to shave pounds off the scale, you record what you’re putting in your mouth.”
The reason? It comes down to habits. For example, you grab a donut when getting your morning coffee at Starbucks or paying for your new outfit with your credit card because that’s what you’ve always done. It may not seem like a big deal, but those things add-up.
By writing your behavior down you can see your bad habits — either with pen and paper or document on your phone — and start working towards changing them.
Chatzky’s final piece of advice is that, “You have to be detailed. And you have to be vigilant. But if you can stick with it a solid couple of weeks (or even better, a full month), it absolutely works.”
2. Change your thinking.
Since you’re already writing down your behavior down, also jot down how you’re thinking throughout the day. This way you can become more self-aware since you can track what internal or external thoughts influenced your thoughts and feelings.
You can then experiment with mini meditations, affirmations, and mantras. It keeps you focused, brings you back to the present, and prevents those negative thoughts from popping-up since it changes your thinking. For example, while training for my first marathon I would say, “Breathe. Breathe Again. Focus on Being rather than Doing” whenever I felt like I was hitting the runners wall.
3. Set the right goals.
After studying the habits between the rich and poor, Tom Corley found in his book “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” that “70 percent of the wealthy pursue at least one major goal, while only 3 percent of those struggling to make ends meet do this.”
Just remember that when setting goals they should be S.M.A.R.T. This means that they’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive. If not, your goals are just wishes that will never be achieved.
4. Become an early riser.
Some of argued that 4am is the most productive hour of the day because there aren’t any distractions and it makes you feel like you have more control in your life. While 4am may be a bit too early, the fact is successful people ranging from Apple CEO Tim Cook to former first lady Michelle Obama swear by waking-up early — I also agree.
Being an early riser gives you time to exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, and encourages you to get a good night’s rest. As a result you’ll be more productive. Besides having fewer interruptions, our brains are more focused and alert in the morning so that you can get cross-off your priorities bright and early.
5. Unload your childhood baggage.
Take a moment to identify those past negative influences you’re had with health and wealth.
As I previously wrote in another blog post, “I grew up in a household believing there was not enough money and when you had it you had to spend it as if it was going to expire.” After realizing this, I changed my relationship with money by changing my thinking regarding money in order to to create more security.
For instance, if you want to start saving a specific amount money you have to realize that you’re never too broke to save…even if it’s just 5% of your paycheck.You could also start eliminating debt using something like the Ramsey model.
6. Make it automatic.
This is a great tip is from the Chief Mom Officer;
“Wealth – Setting up automatic deductions to invest, and automatic payment of debt, helps keep willpower out of the equation. Your money goes where you want it to, without you needing to consciously decide every time to make a good choice.
Health – Keep only good for you food in the house. Set up routines for activity, where you’ll be active for a part of every day. By keeping only good things around, and building routines, you set yourself for automated success.”
7. Develop a “growth” mindset.
Carol Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford Professor and researcher, spent more than three decades studying what separates the top-performers from the rest of the pack. She discovered that it was their mindset.
Successful people have a “growth mindset.” This is where they “ believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
Less successful people have a “fixed mindset” where they “believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
Developing a growth mindset starts by stepping outside of your comfort zone and being confident in your abilities. It also means realizing that you won’t while you won’t succeed at everything, you need to try new things so that can uncover new talents to help you achieve your goals, like taking a step to becoming a millionaire or completing a 5K.
8. Don’t go it alone.
Surround yourself with a support system to help motivate and encourage you to achieve your goals. You may even ask them to hold you accountable. This support system could be your spouse, best friend, neighbor, professional advisors, or a community or organization.
9. Overcome obstacles.
Throughout life there are obstacles you will have to overcome if you want to achieve your goals. They often come in the following forms;
- External obstacles. These are the obstacles that you have no control over, such as it’s raining today so I can’t go for a run.
- Internal obstacles. These are usually one-time issues that you have control over like getting out of debt.
- Habitual obstacles. This is when you get in your own way and need to change your behavior to remove it.
You can remove these obstacles by becoming more self-aware so that you can get to the root of the problem. Again, writing down your behavior can help you identify the obstacles blocking you from success. You also need to change your thinking and be more open-minded. There’s more than one way to achieve your goal and every obstacle is a new opportunity.
I’ve also learned that you need to be as prepared as possible. You can’t anticipate every obstacle, but having multiple options prevents you from making excuses. If you planned to go for a run, and it’s pouring, then leave the house with the proper gear or plan to hit the gym instead.
Do you have any tips on how you’ve improved your health, wealth, or productivity? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment.