The trajectory of your life is determined by your daily habits. Everything you are still doing in 2021 is either setting you up for massive success or catastrophic failure.
Samuel Johnson was right when he said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
Many people aspire to be the best versions of themselves. They want to be healthy, mentally strong, more productive and build better habits for success but they consistently succumb to distractions and bad habits. They keep repeating the same routines that have no value in their lives.
The good news is you can change your future self by investing in results-oriented habits today. These are a few effective and productive habits you can adopt right now to change the direction of your life.
Self-learning creates a bullet-proof career
Aristotle once said, “Each human being is bred with a unique set of potentials that yearn to be fulfilled as surely as the acorn yearns to become the oak within it.” Your capacity to improve has not peaked.
You have more to offer the world than you think. “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live,” argues Mortimer Adler.
The rapidly changing world has turned the labour market upside down. Many people need more than hard skills to survive in the new world.
Millions of people are rethinking how they fit in and what they can do to be indispensable to their employers or if they’ve chosen to work for themselves.
Today, right now, you can choose to retrain, improve, upgrade your skills or expand your skills. If you respect your growth and working skills, you will take your skill development seriously and actively do something about it.
“The best yardstick for our progress is not other people, but ourselves. Am I better than I was yesterday? This is the only question worth asking. As long as you go to bed at night a better practitioner than the one who woke up that morning, you have succeeded,” writes Chris Matakas.
The changing world of work requires people who are ready to evolve. People who can adapt, improve or relearn new skills. Whilst you still have time, think about acquiring new skills or expanding your existing skills to become indispensable. It’s a much shorter path to success in the new world.
“The wisest mind has something yet to learn,” says George Santayana. What can you learn to become wiser and more skilful than you were last year? Your unique skill is the asset you need to thrive this year.
A daily routine can generate 10x return
“Move well, study well, play well, eat well, rest well — That is the turtle master way!” says Akira Toriyama. You can’t make significant progress in life without a daily structure or routine. A daily schedule helps you prioritize your wants and needs efficiently.
“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good,” says Todd Stocker. A daily routine holds everything together. It helps you start your day on purpose and prepare for an efficient day tomorrow.
It just needs to be regular and help you achieve your goals, whether intellectually, emotionally, socially or professionally. The best routines not only make you more productive but also give you a sense of pleasure and accomplishment.
“So many people have big goals for the future. I think it’s better to know what your perfect day looks like. Then you can ask yourself with each opportunity and choice: Is this getting me closer or further away?” writes Ryan Holiday.
For a productive day every day of the week, identify your priorities the night before, start your day with your most important work, work according to your personal energy levels (do high-energy work until around noon), use time blocking to work on one thing at a time, limit external distractions for deep work and take short breaks more often to recover.
Strong work-life boundaries can help you manage stress and improve mental clarity
Our daily experience of work has changed significantly over the last 12 months. The world of work may have changed forever.
Work and life are more intertwined than ever. Work as we know it will never be the same, even if we don’t yet know all the ways in which it will be different in the future.
The drastic rise in remote work and the increasing dependency on technology means you are in control of your time some of the time if you work for someone else. If you work for yourself, it’s even more important to know how to create strong work-life boundaries.
Everything worth fighting for (career and life outside work) unbalances your life. Your career and your life are happening at the same time, so it pays to know how to simultaneously drive them forward in the healthiest way possible. “You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you,” says Marissa Mayer.
Strong work-life boundaries require you to develop a disciplined commitment to the most important things in your life. It requires you to declutter your physical and mental space and make time for yourself.
You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. Define the important things to you and build your daily routine around them. Find your rhythm, do more great work but make time for complete breaks from work.
Here’s a powerful statement from Brian Dyson, former vice chairman and COO of Coca-Cola to remind you to build better boundaries if you work from home or work remotely:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
Don’t confuse your career and your life. If you work from home, create an environment that promotes productivity and when you are done working, unplug from work completely to make time for your loved ones.
To succeed in life and career in 2021, take your learning into your own hands — educate yourself and improve your skills. Build an efficient daily routine — it’s the best foundation for a productive day. And don’t forget to set strong work-life boundaries — your sanity depends on it