In 2014, when Matthew McConaughey stepped up to the podium at the 86th Academy Awards to receive his Oscar for best actor, he started off his acceptance speech by giving an incredible insight into the reasons behind his success.
He said there were three things to his knowledge that he needed each day. These were – someone to look up to, something to look forward to, and something to chase.
McConaughey’s continued success over the past two decades hasn’t been a function of random luck, rather it’s been the product of many years of dedication and persistence to crafting his vision. His Oscar is direct evidence of the important role that a simple, daily practice can play in that journey.
A simple routine that you own and repeat consistently is something that can also have a dramatic influence on your life – here are some great, easy and proven tips which you might want to consider for your own daily practice.
(1) The Ultimate Mental Kick Start: Prime Yourself
This technique comes straight from the king of success coaching and personal development, Tony Robbins. Just as an athlete prepares their body by warming up before a training session or important event, a morning priming routine similarly prepares your mind for the important day ahead.
If you’re not a morning person (like me), then this 15-minute technique will train you to slowly develop a habit of feeling positive and alive through a series of short actions focusing on your breathing, developing gratitude, asking for healing in yourself and others and finally setting a few positive intentions for the day ahead.
It’s an incredibly powerful and inspiring way to start a day and one which will set you on the right path to success.
(2) Clear Out Unconscious Rubbish to Get Your Creative Mind Flowing – Morning Pages
For those who feel stuck, blocked or who need to empty any lingering thoughts in order to be creative, morning pages are an unbelievably useful practice to get your mind cleared and your creativity flowing.
The process is very simple; set aside three pages in a book or journal and write whatever comes to your mind – literally anything will do. It doesn’t need to make any sense or even be legible, it’s’ just you and your thought stream.
I’ve been practicing this technique lately and I’ve found a better way to do it is to write the first page, then go back to the top of the page and just keep writing on top of the words you’ve already written. It feels great to see all of your unconscious thoughts meld into a mess on the page like this, and this way no one will ever know what bottled up thoughts were on your mind, which is great, because this isn’t your best work, it’s just your warm-up for the big show ahead.
(3) Review Your Daily Plan and Get Your Priorities in The Right Order
Every day before I get to work I have a daily event where I sit down and look at my list of to-do items to accomplish that day as well as whatever has been left over from the day before.
I use the urgency vs impact planner below, which a close friend of mine showed me, in order to set a score for each item on my list. The planner is great at doing all the hard work for you and it stops you from spending too much time on the urgent tasks when you should really be spending your time on the important tasks.
To use it, when you write down a ‘to-do’ item in your daily planner, immediately give it a rank for importance and urgency (1 being least and 4 most). The higher the resulting priority score, the higher up the list the item goes, no matter what. You then use this list as a guide to move through your day completing the highest ranking items first. When new activities come up, you just run them through the planner and add them to your list.
When you stick to it and do this exercise every day, it’s amazing how efficient you soon become, and the amount of time you consequently free up.
Setting aside a daily planning event is non-negotiable if you want to reduce stress, gain time and knock over your important goals.
(4) Warm Up Your Heart – Connect With The People That Matter
This year, as part of my New Year’s Resolution, I made it my objective to speak to my Dad every day. Sometimes it’s just a message asking “How’s your day going?” and sometimes it’s a conversation over the phone or in person, the point is I make the point to touch base. Dedicating time to do it means I’ll have at least 365 more interactions with one of my family members then I would otherwise have had.
Meaningful connections like this give us the joy, support and a purpose we need to be successful and to push through hard times. Making a habit of reconnecting frequently is also a great way to show your gratitude for the most important people to you, and as Matthew McConaughey also mentioned in his Oscar speech, it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates!
So make it a daily practice to connect with the most important people in your life. If not in person, then through a phone call in the morning on the way to work, a text message during the day, or an email in the evening. This is a routine you will never regret.
Creating these small daily habits may not seem like it will make a huge impact on your life, but having a process that you own is an essential element to setting you in the right direction to achieve your optimum output in life. Like anything, it’s the simpler things which are the most effective, so don’t try to do too much, just develop a routine you’re comfortable with.
Mentally priming yourself, clearing your head for creativity, prioritising your day and practicing gratitude will all help you put the necessary steps in place to break through to your defining moment and thrive. Alright, alright, alright.
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