I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
The famous poem Invictus captures beautifully the essence of what it means to be a Self-Leader. It is the ability to make things happen without the need of anyone else to scream down your neck. The brilliant self-leader is not merely content to make things happen—they make things happen with excellence. Regardless of whether or not there is a boss or manager around, they are giving it 100%. They do not blame others nor make excuses. Does this sound like the kind of person you would like to be? Here are 10 ways you can become a brilliant self-leader.Advertising
1. Exercise self-discipline.
Guard yourself against procrastination and laziness. Workout your willpower each day through finding a way to say “No” to yourself. Set some chocolate on your desk but refrain from eating it. Practice completing little tasks each day such as cleaning your desk, or making your bed. Strive to keep you car tidy. Discipline in one area will lead to discipline in other areas.
2. Stick to a schedule.
Write out your daily goals every morning and work through getting them done. If you do not get every task done, put them on top of tomorrow’s list. A great self-leader is an organized self-leader. Rather than letting the day dictate what you do, take charge and be the dictator of the day.Advertising
3. Track your progress.
Keep a journal of all your little accomplishments and steps that you need to take in order to get to your goal. More importantly, you need to celebrate all your little wins. Give yourself a high-five, and pour yourself a glass of red wine. The self-leader works hard, but also plays hard.
4. You are what you eat.
A healthy body equals a healthy mind. The self-leader takes good care of their health because they know that a healthy brain and clear mind is crucial for navigating through making the right decisions. Anyone can gather information, knowledge, and facts, but the brilliant self leader knows how to put it all into practice.Advertising
5. Only be with the best.
Jim Rohn gave the incredible insight, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Take a look at your inner circle of friends. Are they also brilliant self-leaders? You need to surround yourself with people whom you can learn from and be encouraged by. As iron sharpens iron, your network of friends is a great resource for brain picking. That is, if you have a great group.
6. Forgive and forget.
Even though the brilliant self-leader is constantly pushing themselves—always setting the bar higher and expecting nothing but the best—they also know how to handle obstacles and failures. To become a better self-leader, you need to change the way you look at failure. Rather than treating failure like a tomb-stone, see it as a stepping stone. Everything is a learning experience.Advertising
7. Know your weaknesses.
This will require honesty with yourself. Even more helpful is asking some friends to be honest with you and let you know what areas you are weak in. You need to see the enemy in order to beat the enemy. Once you identify these weak areas, work on improving them. A great self-leader is always looking for ways to improve themselves. Be content enough to be satisfied and happy, but not too content that you stop growing.
8. Be a mentor.
The best way to learn is to teach. It may sound paradoxical, but the more you are able to vocalize and communicate what it is that you know and pass that onto someone else, the better grasp and understanding you will also come to have.Advertising
9. Focus on your game.
It is very easy to get distracted and become envious of what other people are doing or achieving. The brilliant self-leader does not compare their life with others. They know that they have been created unique with their own set of skills and talents. They focus on refining and sharpening their own tools.
Self-awareness is key for becoming a brilliant self-leader. You need to be able to access your internal dialogue and observe the thoughts that are running through your mind. Take some time out each day and sit in stillness and silence. Take in long deep breaths and be an observer to them. When random thoughts come into you mind, first acknowledge them, label them, but then cast them aside and return to your breathing.
Last Updated on July 21, 2021
The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.
Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”
A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.
Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.
In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.
Table of Contents
From Creating Reminders to Building Habits
A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.
For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.
This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.
The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.
That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.
Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!
The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.
Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.
But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?
The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.
The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders
A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.
For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.
But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)
If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.
For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself) can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.
These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.
For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.
How to Make a Reminder Works for You
Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.
Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.
Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.
My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.
Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.
I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.
More on Building Habits
- 16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People
- How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You
- How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
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