By Dawn Onley
At the start of each new week, I put together a “To Do” list which is comprised of the work and household-related tasks I need to finish by the end of the week. Items like “draft press release” or “pay Pepco” are written out as reminders of things I need to get done, and I get downright giddy about scratching items off of my list as each are accomplished.
But I started to notice something several years ago. My lists were filled with the day-to-day minutiae but didn’t include any items that would help me start taking steps toward my dreams. Weeks and months would pass and I would be no closer to the things that made me the happiest. Further, I was thinking of my goals in too ginormous a way (e.g. write a book) instead of the hundreds of steps in between, yet wondered why more weren’t getting accomplished.
I set about changing that. I now incorporate all of the “To Do” items on a single list – my work, my home, and my dreams.
Success is accomplished by taking small, persistent, actionable steps over a period of time. It is planned. It is diligently worked on. It doesn’t just happen. Success starts off in the classroom in pursuit of a field of study. At the piano, learning a song. Or, in the fitness class at the gym that left you gasping for air, yet still you returned. No one becomes fit overnight or masters classical dance after one practice. It’s about these small steps that over time lead to greatness. The weekly grind is all about the pursuit of better.
It starts as items on a “To Do” list in which we apply the same methodology that we use to accomplish our mundane tasks, and it yields the same effectiveness. There’s a good reason for this: it is because it is intentional. We are intentional about what goes on our lists and for the most part we are effective in accomplishing stuff.
“Success is not accidental, it is intentional. Do something intentional everyday to create the success you want and deserve,” says Jim Palmer, a marketing coach and author.
This thought occurred to me as I reached for a second bottle of water one recent day. Out of all of the beverage options, it can be tough and a bit boring to drink water. But it’s necessary, to maintain optimal health and weight. It got me thinking that eating and drinking healthy is not convenient or easy. For the people who slog through it, drinking several liters of water a day, the intent is for a greater purpose.
Reaching any goal takes preparation, determination, and intention. It’s the mind’s work, and the mind controls our behavior and our actions. Set upon your mind to be successful, plan for it meticulously — like you would items on your weekly schedule — and watch and see what happens. Dreams take flight.