When my friends come to me for advice about reaching their goals, I give it to them. Usually, after that, I hear excuses. A few classics:
“Oh, that won’t work because … ” “I tried something like that once … ” (and, my personal favorite), “I don’t have enough time.”
Despite my frustration, I am the first to admit that, just like them, I can rationalize inaction or find an excuse for anything I don’t want to do. I'm only ready to change when there's a truly compelling reason to do so.
That doesn’t necessarily mean hitting rock bottom, although that’s definitely a motivator. When I have a goal I'm super excited about, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to reach that goal. I’m willing to stop self-sabotaging, take a good look at myself, and clean house. Literally.
That, in fact, is the topic of this article.
A lot of people ask me about how I started my company, Aligned Holistics. These people generally fall into two camps:
The people who want to know all the juicy details of how I healed my depression and ADHD and the people who want to pursue a goal (like starting a business) but can’t seem to find the time to make it happen.
To some degree, the two go hand-in-hand. See, a major element in creating a life I love (and getting off the meds) was creating systems that supported my needs—from self-care to organization and time management, I needed to create structure that allowed me to get out of my own way and let the magic happen.
I could write an entire book on how to start a business doing what you love, but here I want to focus on the tools that’ll give you the biggest results in the smallest amount of time. When it comes to conquering your demons and reaching for your dreams, here are the three simplest changes to make for the highest impact:
1. Organize your space.
Back when my ADHD was running the show, I spent way too much time sorting through papers, looking for keys, and getting distracted by items strewn on my countertop. My disorganized space led to a pervasive, low-level anxiety that made my home a stressful work environment.
Not surprisingly, with all the reminders of things that needed to be put away (and seemingly nowhere to put them), I didn’t get much done. So I met with an ADHD coach (yes, even coaches need coaches), and the first thing we did was get me organized.
Where to start:
Create an exit station. Located near your door, this hub should house your keys, sunglasses, wallet, mail, gym pass, etc. It should be home to everything you'd grab on your way out the door. I also use it to post affirmations or intentions so I start my day on a positive note.
2. Purge, purge, purge.
I'm sure you've heard this before, but until you get rid of that sweater you haven't worn in a year, the papers you could have scanned and trashed, and the broken belt that you swear you'll get fixed, it has to be repeated: If it's taking up space in your home, it's taking up space in your mind.
For many years I held onto things that had "sentimental value." Then I realized that the item is not the same as what it represents. For example, last week I got a thoughtful card from a friend. Today I threw it out. That doesn't mean that I don't value the person who sent it to me, it just means that New York City real estate is at a premium and so is my mental capacity. To make this easier (and eliminate any guilt), snap a picture with your phone first.
Where to start:
If you haven't used it in the past year, throw it out.
3. Pick three wins.
If I could give any piece of advice to my fellow entrepreneurs, it would be to pick the three things you must accomplish on a given day and prioritize them. When I work with private clients, I'm often asked, "How do I know what to pick? Why only three?"
I suggest they filter their actions through this lens: "Will this action take me closer to or further from my goal?" If it leads you to your goal, it makes the cut. I always say to start with three small wins, because it’s enough to give you a sense of accomplishment but few enough to feel achievable. Anything you do after that is extra credit.
Where to start:
Each morning, complete the following sentence, "If I only get these three things done, I'll feel good about what I accomplished today." Then, do them!