One of the most frustrating parts of having potential is the feeling that we are unable to tap into its power. Maybe you’ve tried two or three times to lose weight but seem to lose the willpower to make healthy choices. Or maybe that promotion you thought was coming down the line was handed to someone else.
Life can be full of these disappointing moments, but fortunately we are equipped with all we need to change our outcome. Unlocking your potential is like having a savings account. It might not look like much when you open it, but as the months progress, each new effort transforms into an account balance that is impressive. When you really believe you are capable of something and dedicate consistent effort to your goal – it can be realized!
That’s why today I’m offering three tips that reveal how we can begin to unlock our potential and start seeing progress in the areas of our life that are most important to us.
1. Small efforts count!
One common misconception most people have about exercise is “no pain, no gain”. This misconception and lack of experience drive people to lift too much weight, run too many miles and workout too long, until they are exhausted and ultimately frustrated. It is much better to start out slower and recognize that you win with consistent effort over a long period of time. Starting with a 20-minute walk is how some of us start to reach our fitness goals. If we can leap over the intellectual barriers that our mind presents and break through those unrealistic expectations to let ourselves try without so much pressure, we will find we are capable of things beyond our wildest imagination. Consistency is the key!
Winston Churchill supports this truth: “Continuous effort–not strength or intelligence–is the key to unlocking our potential.”
2. Define your Why
You have the power to change your direction more than anyone else, once you clearly understand why your goal is important. Once your why is defined you will have the motivation you need. Fueled with this information, we can move forward, confident that our next attempts won’t fail. Here is a simple exercise to use in defining your why:
Why am I….
Don’t skip over this exercise. Really sit with it until you come out with a clear phrase, a sentence that explains your deepest motivation for tackling your goal. Let it guide you to persevere when you face the challenges that inevitably come.
3. Reject the excuse that you need more time.
How we spend our time is an indication of what we value most, and I believe this is true, even with the most hectic schedules. So many of us play victim to our schedules, the expectations of others, and our over commitments instead of looking at ourselves in the mirror and just admitting: “Being busy is what gives me value.”
Once we have an honest look at how we invest our time, we can begin to make progress with our big goals. No more excuses. No more blaming our bosses, our kids, our coworkers for our insane, overloaded commitments. The only person driving you to and from these chaotic events is you. The sooner we wake up to this reality, the better we can begin to wean ourselves off the tyranny of the urgent and begin making changes.
The truth is, big goals will never come to pass if they are occupying the back-burner of our lives. They need us to turn up the heat, they need us to commit preplanned blocks of time to see them through. Maybe they need us to commit more time than we are committing now, but we do not need more hours in the day to get it done. We need to use those hours differently.
With these three steps towards greater potential, we can begin to see the power we have now to improve everything about our lives.
To your excellence in unlocking greater potential,