SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

At least once in our lives, most of us have made numerous New Year resolutions on January 1st and we say to ourselves, “This is the year! I am going to stick to my new year resolution this year and I will develop new skills!” Well, having this kind of self-belief is great and it is empowering. But many times, we fail to turn this immense hope and self-belief into reality and till the end of the year, most of the items on the New Year Resolution stay unchecked, and often we completely forget about our resolutions as well. Now, the question that comes to mind is, “Why don’t we achieve all the things we aspire to at the start of the year and how can we do that?” Read on to find the answer…

   The biggest reason behind our failure to check off our New Year Resolution list is that it seems too intimidating. At the beginning, we are all excited, happy, and highly hopeful because of which we write down all the things that we want to achieve in one go. Then when we look back at the list, the tasks and the improvements seem too time consuming and effort-demanding, and thus we put that back and continue to do our normal work just the way we did it last year.

   This doesn’t only happen in terms of the New Year Resolutions; this even happens when we have a big task to do in a short amount of time or when we set a goal for ourselves but the first step seems too overwhelming. This is the biggest barrier that we confront in our journey towards self-improvement. But, like everything else, we have the strength to overpower this barrier as well. And to undermine this barrier, we need to follow the four steps listed below: –

  1. The paradigm shift. This is the first and one of the most important steps that we need to take in order to make our goals less intimidating and actually achieve them. To make our goals achievable, we need to break it down into smaller and simpler pieces, and this will happen when we shift our perspective and look at the task at hand in a different manner. Let’s say that your goal is to have a slim, sleek body but right now you are overweight. If you keep the slim, sleek body as the goal and decide to achieve this, it will seem too big and too difficult to achieve because it is completely opposite of the person you are right now. This way, you will go to a gym and pay the membership fees, but after seeing no results even after weeks of exercise, you will eventually give up thinking that your goal is unachievable. However, if you simply change your perspective and keep the goal of going to the gym for 15 minutes today, the task will seem very simple and very easy to do. This is the paradigm shift you need to make in order to make your task less intimidating. If you are thinking of writing a book, don’t see the goal as writing the whole book, but see the goal as writing 500 words everyday by taking out 30 minutes or so. The book will eventually come together as a result of your consistent actions. Make this paradigm shift and break down the intimidating task, and you won’t find it difficult anymore.
  2. Find your Super Power Zone. I first came across this concept while reading the book ‘Turn the Tables’ by Priya Kumar, and from then on this concept has been intriguing me. What does it mean to find your super power zone? Well, it simply means finding a place where you feel refreshed and are able to do things easily and efficiently. This place just refreshes you and helps you gain a new energy to do things and to achieve your goals. It may be your garden where the scent of the flowers refreshes you. It may be the local park where the warm and social atmosphere pleases you. It can be anything that strikes a chord in you and pushes you to work. This is the place in which you are at the peak of your productivity. For the author, it was visiting multiple parks while going to school in the morning. For me, it is my study table. Every night after having dinner, I put everything back into place and set my table up for the next day. And when I come to my table the next day, I feel a completely different professional vibe because everything is in place and I have my laptop and books ready for the day because of which I launch into action and am able to study and write with full concentration. The reason why these kinds of stimulus matter is that our mind consciously soaks in everything around us, and when something pleases us or puts us into the state of productivity, our mind notes it down and the same stimulus when provided again and again get embedded in our minds, and that is the place from where the super power zone originates. So, consciously keep track of all the places where you do your work, or better, experiment with different places and you will surely find your super power zone.
  3. Understand when do you feel the most productive. This specific point is colossally important to implement and understand because it can create a major difference in how you feel when doing your tasks. Understanding this can help you do even the most demanding tasks in an easy manner. Let me share my own experience. My mom is a person who can work and study even the most boring things at night with full concentration, but she can’t do it the same way after waking up early in the morning. She feels most productive at night and so do some of my friends at school. Therefore, I thought of an experiment a few months back. I was making study notes for a history chapter and by 6 in the evening, I was halfway through and thought of continuing it the next day. However, I changed my plan and after dinner, I got to doing the work at 8 and decided to stay up at night to finish it and start with the work of some other subject. I worked for one hour or so, but after that I felt sleepy and lethargic because of which I just could not do my work. I came back to bed and slept. From this experience, I learned that working at night is not when I feel the most productive, but after waking up, I feel completely refreshed and I am fully ready to do my work. Now, I wake up early around 5 in the morning and use my morning hours to do a lot of work, from writing to studying. This is the way you need to identify when you feel the most energised and productive. Some people can work till 5 in the morning, sleep for three hours and get back to their day at 8 AM. While others sleep at 9 or 10 at night and wake up even before the sun rises and feel fully refreshed. Your most productive zone may be in the late morning and early afternoon or in the evening, but you need to make sure that wherever it is, you identify it and use it properly.
  4. Combine everything and prioritise your actions. Now that you have shifted your perspective, found your Super-Power zone, and identified when it is that you feel the most productive, you need to understand how to combine these crucial pieces of information to make the best use of your day. You need to decide on which goal you want to concentrate on. Then, you need to break it down into small achievable actions, and after that you need to link it with your Super power zone and your productive time. If your goal is to have a fit body, you break it down into 30 minutes of exercise in a day. Then, you find out that you feel the most refreshed in outdoor green spaces like parks and gardens and you know that you feel the most active early in the morning, then the best thing for you to do is exercise in your lawn or go to the outdoor gym at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. This way, you will be able to put your most important tasks and goals in the right place and time because of which you will give your hundred percent and definitely achieve your goal. I personally do all of my writing and studying on my study table, with the most important tasks being done in the morning time, like writing this blog. This way, you also need to link everything together and do the right thing in the right place at the right time.

Now you have the tools to break the barrier of overwhelmingness and get to your goals. Implement these four steps and you will naturally find yourself doing even the most difficult tasks in a flow like state. Remember, do the right thing in the right place at the right time and nothing will be able to stop you from doing your tasks properly and taking those small steps towards your goal!

   Thank you so much for reading! I hope that through this blog, I was able to add value to your life in some way or the other. Do share your learnings and your reflections in the comments below. I will love to read them!

Well wishes,