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What’s the Smartest Thing You Can Do Right Now?

What’s the Smartest Thing You Can Do Right Now?

Years ago I attended a conference in Phoenix, Arizona and was lucky enough to hear Art Costa speak about Habits of the Mind. I would have to say it was life- changing for me!

The pearl of wisdom that Art shared with us way back in 2003 was to constantly ask ourselves, “What is the most intelligent thing I can do right now?”  Since that day I regularly ask myself this question and it has been a real game changer for me!

At the moment everyone is talking about New Year Resolutions and giving advice about setting resolutions or not setting resolutions. Well, here’s what I think!

What’s the most intelligent thing you can do right now?

  1. Stop and take five minutes to schedule a time over the next week or two and give yourself 1-2 hours to make a plan. Sunday mornings are often a great time to do this.
  2. Make the decision to live in the now until that time. Enjoy life and use the Habit of Mind: Responding with Wonderment and Awe to appreciate all that is amazing in our world. Consider reading Eckhart Tolle’s books, The Power of Now or A New Earth
  3. Organize a journal and pen or an electronic notebook. Whatever suits you best.
  4. When your scheduled day arrives find a quiet, comfortable place on your own, grab your journal or electronic notebook, a coffee or glass of wine and answer these questions;

    What went well for you in 2014?
    What do you really like doing?
    What wastes your time?
    What would you like to be doing in 5 years?
    Where do you want to be in 5 years?

  5. Now start two lists. Call one your Personal Plan and one your Professional Plan.
  6. Divide your Personal Plan into sections for Health and Fitness, Emotional Well-being, Relationships/Family, Financial Security, Career, Adventures, Learning and Legacy.
  7. Re-read your answers to #4 and ask yourself what you need to start doing to achieve your 5-year dreams. Fill your sections with the actions you need to take and include dates of when you will achieve them.
  8. Think strategically about your Professional Plan. Find your organization’s Strategic Plan and Mission Statement. Map out the goals you would like to achieve for the coming year. Prioritize the most important. You will need to consider this as an individual and also as part of the team or teams to which you belong in your organization. If you are not passionate about the Strategic Plan and committed to achieving the goals then it may be time to review or create a new Strategic Plan. Be honest with yourself. It may be time to look for a new job, career or opportunity elsewhere. If so, go back to your Personal Plan and consider adding some ideas to your Career section to prepare you to move into a new job or position.
  9. Write brief daily notes on what you achieved each day in your journal/notebook before going to bed. This is very motivational and it really helps you sleep better. Aim to do this 80+% of the time. Remember, we are all human and things happen to take us off track. Just make sure you get back on track.
  10. Regularly use the Habits of Mind to help you focus, stay on track, strengthen your willpower, deal with tough times and tough decisions, enjoy magic moments, have fun and appreciate your life and those in your life.
  11. Schedule weekly reviews of your plans in your journal/notebook and make a commitment to yourself to check them each Sunday morning. Rewrite new goals for the coming week to keep moving towards your 5-year dreams.
  12. Build in celebrations and rewards. A picnic at the beach, a massage, a dinner out with friends or family, a movie, a ski trip, whatever makes you happy.
  13. Every 90 days write a list of all that you have achieved, reschedule those not achieved and then formulate a new set of goals based on your 5-year dreams.
  14. Remember to frequently ask yourself, “What is the most intelligent thing I can do right now?” It really does help move you from where you are to where you want to be. Also use the tips from Eckhart Tolle and Live in the Now!

Good luck and by the way the next International Conference on Thinking is in Bilbao, Spain on 29 June this year. Howard Gardner, David Perkins, Lane Clark, Edward de Bono, Art Costa, Alex Osterwalder, Carol McGuiness, Daniel Goleman, Peter Senge, Karin Morrison, John Edwards, Robert Swartz and Guy Claxton have been regular presenters.  You might want to add this to your list of actions to achieve for 2015. Have a great year.

If you would like assistance with Executive Leadership Coaching or Strategic Planning for your organization contact Maxine at Think Strategic

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