We all have unfulfilled desires-aspects of our lives we want to change or grow. And we all know - from experience - that having a desire, an intention, or even a plan is not enough. How many times have you wished, intended, and planned to lose weight, start meditating, write that novel, get a new job, or change a relationship pattern-only to find yourself repeating the same old habits that give you the same old results?
There is one tested and proven secret to attract and create what you desire. This secret has been used by the leaders in every field to achieve every kind of goal. It's not natural talent, perfect timing, or good fortune. It's something we all can do, no matter who we are or what we've been through.
That secret is Daily Practice - taking one action every day to engage in what you desire.
Daily Practice is the way you take life into your own hands-and invite Providence to assist you. It insures that you live your priorities and shows the Universe what's important to you. It insures that what is most important isn't pushed aside.
To create a powerful and sustainable Daily Practice - one that is both doable and effective, simply ask yourself the following 12 questions. You don't have to take a lot of time with this or give it a lot of thought-though you can, if you want. Simply ask yourself each question and see what comes to mind. Then, go on to the next question.
Are you ready?
Here we go!
QUESTION #1: What is your number one personal growth goal?
What is most important to you right now? What's your dream? Choose one thing you want to practice, no matter how big or small.
QUESTION #2: Why do you want to practice this?
What's your purpose? What do you hope to experience, gain, or contribute?
If you don't know why you are doing something, it will fall by the wayside. When you don't feel like doing it or when something else comes up, you will let it go. Knowing your "why" keeps you going strong!
QUESTION #3: What exactly will you do?
Define the actions you will take.
For instance saying "I'm going to eat healthier" and "I'm going to start exercising" are good intentions, but poorly defined practices. Instead, it would be better to say that "I'm going to stop eating fried foods and I will eat at least one cup of fresh fruit or vegetables three times a day" or "I will take a brisk walk for twenty minutes every morning." Be specific.
QUESTION #4: How often will you practice?
The recommended answer here is "daily." Daily practice establishes your practice as a part of your circadian rhythm, your 24-hour life cycle. Actions repeated daily become "grooved" faster, run deeper, and have greater effect. So, do at least one thing, every day that moves your practice forward.
QUESTION #5: When will you practice?
Set a time. Then, put it on your schedule.
If you don't schedule it, inevitably, other things will come up. Before you know it, you'll be at the end of the day. It's likely that you will feel too tired at that point. Then, you'll put it off until tomorrow. My friend, Matt Clarkson, passed along a great illustration about "tomorrow." He tells me there's a pub in England with a sign that says, "Free Beer Tomorrow."
QUESTION #6: How long will you practice?
Commit to a specific minimum. If anything, under-commit, so you'll say, "Oh that's nothing, I can do that." If you commit to too much, you're more likely to skip it or see it as "too much effort." Once you get started, you're likely to do more because you're "into it." So, start small and expand from there.
QUESTION #7: Where will you practice?
It's important to choose a place that's conducive to what you're doing. For instance, if you are starting to meditate and you try to do it in a busy or noisy place, it's not likely to work well.
To support your practice, decorate your space with appropriate pictures, quotes, or décor that signifies what you are doing and why it's important to you.
QUESTION #8: Do you need any special equipment, supplies, or support for your practice?
Some examples include: having the right food in your house for your nutrition or weight loss practice, having the right tools and materials for your creative project, setting appointments with a personal trainer for your workouts, or downloading a guided meditation to support your meditation practice.
What will help you succeed?
QUESTION #9: How will you track your practice?
Especially when starting something new, it's a great idea to keep a journal in which you define what you're doing and why, list your goals, and make notes on your experiences.
Logging your efforts makes your practice more concrete, substantial, and real. It records the work you've put in. You are more likely to stick with something that you've put a lot into it.
Making notes on your practice also enables you to review what you've done.
QUESTION #10: How often will you review and modify your program?
Check in with yourself and see what's working, what isn't, and what changes you'd like to make so your practice is more enjoyable and effective.
At first, you might want to review and modify on a weekly basis. It's likely you'll go through some trial and error. Rather than being discouraged when things don't go well, use that as information to alter your routine to make it even better.
QUESTION #11: How will you keep your practice fresh and inspiring?
The same activity will be different every day, if you stay alert, purposeful, and present with the fine details of what you are doing-rather than mindlessly going through the motions.
Become a life-long student of your practice. Read what others are doing. Experiment. If things are getting stale, mix it up. Practice in a new location, adjust your technique, or practice with someone else. Use variety to keep your mind fresh and awake.
Remember "why" your practice is important. What do you want to achieve? What are you afraid might happen if you let this go?
QUESTION #12: How will you remind yourself to practice?
Put your practice in your schedule. Post a note on your alarm, your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, or the dashboard of your car.
Now, you're ready to go! If you've answered these 12 questions, you've set yourself up for success. Now, it's time to take action.
Remember, Daily Practice is THE PATH to achieve any personal growth goal. It's the way to engage in and live your dreams every day.
So, what will you grow in your life?
Enjoy your practice!