Everyone knows someone with incredible potential but a mundane life; perhaps you are afraid it will be you. It doesn’t have to be. It may be impossible to meet all your life goals but making progress regularly will guarantee that you feel more energized and motivated to keep going. It seems counterintuitive, but routines are a key to creativity.
You have goals, large and small; you may want to become an esthetician, plan a trip to Milan for Fashion Week, or discover a great pizza place where you can take your brother when he visits. Focus on one goal this week. Each morning make a five-item to-do list—only five, because including too many will overwhelm you and then you may not accomplish anything—and make sure one of those tasks advances you toward your goal. By week’s end you will be seven steps closer to your goal! You can switch to a different goal each week or keep progressing toward the same one for months.
Halfway through your day, take another glace at that to-do list. Is anything checked off? If not, do one immediately. If you cannot complete a task take a small step toward completion—you may not be able to leave work to try the new trattoria but you can call to inquire if they offer gluten-free crust. The purpose of this check is to gauge your progress while there is still time to do something about it so don’t put it off until you’re about to eat dinner. Make it part of lunchtime or set a 2 p.m. reminder on your smartphone.
Obviously, this practice is for closure. Studies have shown that people who employ a bedtime routine such as listening to calm music and drinking herbal tea get better sleep. Take the idea a few steps further with a quick review your day. Mentally catalogue one thing you’re grateful for, one thing you enjoyed and one thing you accomplished. That way you end each day as a success!