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You Should Pick Up These After-Work Habits of Highly Successful People

You Should Pick Up These After-Work Habits of Highly Successful People

Motivational tips don’t have to be limited to your career! Check out these after-work habits of highly successful people, and see how you can change your life when you’re off the clock.

1. Explore your creative side.

Leave behind the restrictive clothes, desk, and computer when you leave the office. Wear your favorite comfortable clothes and get ready to explore your creative side! Do you like to draw or paint? Spread out on the table or floor and spend some time sketching and shading. Are you working on the Great American Novel? Take an hour or two after work to write a chapter. Practice an instrument, film silly videos, do whatever strikes your fancy! Taking time to explore your creative side will make you feel more in touch with your true self as opposed to your work self, which will in turn make you feel more refreshed and motivated when you’re at work the next day.

2. Spend time outdoors.

Fresh air and exercise will help you feel great after a day cooped up in the office. Both of these things will get your blood flowing and keep you from crashing on the couch as soon as you get in. The increased blood flow and heart rate will also inspire you to work on other things once you get home, whether it’s chores, creative endeavors, or just spending time with family.

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    3. Play a physically demanding sport.

    Spending time outside is fine by itself, as is exercising. But playing a physically demanding sport challenges other parts of you. Most physically demanding sports are partner or team sports, like tennis or basketball, so you’ll be socializing and working together as you play.

    4. Get more sleep.

    Who doesn’t love an afternoon nap? Getting more sleep will make you feel more refreshed later in the day, and even make getting up the next morning that much easier. Whether you have to go to bed earlier or slip in some short naps throughout the day, make sure you’re getting your full eight hours of sleep a day. 

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    5. Catch up with your family.

    Family time is something that often gets rescheduled because you know they’re always hanging around. Instead of taking this for granted, make time to be with your family. Even if you have to plan days in advance to have dinner together or watch a movie, do it and don’t let anything change these plans. Spending time and talking with some of the people who know you best will make you feel rejuvenated.

    6. Plan a vacation.

    What’s more refreshing and invigorating than going on vacation? Knowing you get a break from the daily grind is enough to get you through the most difficult week at work. It might sound silly, but even just planning a vacation might help you get a hint of that freedom. Research places you’d like to visit, check hotel availability, see what sight-seeing tours and museums the town offers. Even if you can’t take the trip right now, you’ll have the excitement of planning it, and you can save your notes until you get time off!

    7. Read a novel.

    Reading is a great way to unwind because you’re escaping your own life to read about someone else’s. You can travel to other countries and live there without leaving your couch. You can learn new things about other cultures and lifestyles without even realizing it because you’re having a good time reading.

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    8. Enjoy cooking dinner.

    Cooking dinner can seem like a hassle when you have to do it after putting in a long day at work. You have to plan the meal, cook it, serve it, and clean up afterwards. Instead of thinking of this as a hassle, enjoy the experience! Plan a meal that’s healthy and satisfies your cravings. Get your family to help with tasks so it gets done more efficiently, and you get to spend time together. If everyone helps with cleanup, dinner won’t be a hassle – you’ll get to be with each other and enjoy a delicious meal while doing so! 

    9. Meditate.

    It can be hard to completely clear your mind, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. Take time in the morning before work and in the evening before you go to bed to sit by yourself and let the day wash over you. Don’t dwell on what did or didn’t happen. Don’t think of everything you have to accomplish tomorrow. Just be in the moment, see where your thoughts take you, and relax.

    10. Make your mornings about you.

    No one likes to hear their alarm blaring in the morning, but making mornings about you can make that sound a little sweeter. Take your time waking up, enjoy coffee and a good breakfast so you have the right start to your day. Don’t get bogged down by what you need to do that day, don’t assign chores or let your family members nag you. Encourage everyone to be quiet and calm when they wake up, and see how that helps set the tone for your day.

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    Featured photo credit: L’eau Bleue via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

    How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

    There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

    With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

    With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

    1. Determine Your “Why”

    Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

    The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

    Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

    “Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

    That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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    I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

    Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

    Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

    2. Write Down Your Goal

    If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

    This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

    When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

    3. Set a SMART Goal

    A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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    Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

       

      By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

      • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
      • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
      • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
      • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
      • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

      Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

      4. Take One Step at a Time

      Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

      Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

      For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

      This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

      5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

      With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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      For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

      The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

      Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

      6. Schedule Your Tasks

      Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

      What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

      For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

      Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

      While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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      7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

      Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

      Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

      You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

      8. Check off Items as You Go

      You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

      There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

      If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

      9. Review and Reset as Necessary

      Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

      If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

      The Bottom Line

      When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

      More on Goal Action Plans

      Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

      Reference

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