You’ve heard the old procrastinator’s turn of phrase, “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” Well, the same goes for procrastination itself. Put if off until tomorrow. Seize the future you want by seizing the present you have. Get started now – not tomorrow, next week or when you get around to it. “Around to it” never seems to get here.
We grasp at the latest fads and the newest techniques, all with the hope of capturing the magic we see in others who are highly successful. We emulate strong role models, we study, we strive – all to find the secret of success.
Ultimately, scientific studies reveal this secret is not necessarily a matter of talent, intelligence, creativity or strategy. Success on any level requires the ability to follow through, to execute a plan, to persevere … to stick to it. A good plan might get you into the game, but sticking to it catapults you into the winner’s circle.
In Lee J Colan’s first book, Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence, he introduced the Adherence Equation. It is based on research and real-life experiences of the absolute highest-achieving people and teams.
In this equation, there are three success factors that high achievers practice. They continually:
• Sharpen their Focus
• Build their Competence
• Ignite their Passion
Below is a sampling of tips from the companion book, 107 Ways to Stick to It to help you get the year started right.
Sharpen your Focus
Tip #8: Keep your goal visible at all times… literally! Keep your goal on your desk, in your wallet or purse, on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator. This plants the seeds of success in your mind and focuses your attention on things that will help you achieve your goal.
Tip #25: Worry wrecks your focus. We all worry… the trick is to minimize the time between your first worried thought and your first action to attack it. Remember, much of our worry is based on concerns in our minds, not reality. Mark Twain once said, “I’ve suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened.”
Tip #30: Tame your technology… or it will become your master. In today’s highly connected world, you have to define boundaries around your time. Just because your Blackberry or cell phone notifies you of a new message doesn’t mean you have to shift your focus to attend to it. Constant accessibility can blur your focus. Block out time to respond to texts, voice and e-mail messages.
Build your Competence
Tip #42: Prepare for two steps ahead. Balance your focus on the task at hand with preparation for the next step. This prevents complacency. Ask yourself, “What knowledge, skills, relationships, experiences do I need to develop, to be prepared to succeed?”
Tip #48: Create it once, use it many times. If you know you will perform a task more than once, create a checklist, form or template to save time and improve your consistency over the long haul. No need to reinvent the wheel every time you conduct or coordinate an off-site meeting, prepare a proposal, send out a mailing, plan a new project timeline, etc.
Tip #54: Ask the right questions. The fastest way to change the answers you receive – from yourself and others – is to change the questions you ask. Asking the right questions will get you better answers whether you are asking it of yourself or of others. The questions you ask will either limit or expand the possible responses.
Ignite your Passion
Tip #74: We gravitate to our dominant thought and we move toward that which we believe to be true. Use these natural forces to pick a goal that ignites your passion (you should feel the tingle up your spine!). Next, select an image (i.e., relaxing on the beach, the smiling face of a friend, a hand reaching out for help), word (e.g., victory, abundance, legacy) or physical item (e.g., ring, coin, sticker). Then, use the image, word or item you select as a constant reminder of your goal. It will trigger an emotional response, ingrain your goal into your mind and more quickly start moving you toward your goal.
Tip #76: Ask yourself before leaving the office each day, “Did I do something today that leaves a positive, lasting impact?” If the answer is no, stay until you do.
Tip #83: Listen to Yoda. In the immortal words of the Star Wars Jedi Master, “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.'” If you are nervous that your plan won’t work, you might find yourself saying, “Okay, I’ll try to do it.” You are laying the foundation for being unsuccessful from the beginning, giving yourself a way out. Yoda’s adage is a passionate reminder that life rewards those who let their actions rise above their excuses.
Tip #106: We get what we expect. Expect the very best of yourself and of others. Great success is always rooted in great expectations.
Check out 107 Ways to Stick to It for more tips.
Procrastinate tomorrow. Stick to it today!
Lee J. Colan, Ph.D., is president of The L Group, Inc., a Dallas, Texas-based consulting firm. Lee’s passion for serving leaders enables him to deliver cut-through-the-clutter tools that elevate leaders and their teams. He is a high-energy leadership advisor, author and leadership expert.
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