Want to do make your life more meaningful in only three minutes a day?
Let’s assume you’ve got a life plan, some goals and even values you want to work on. That’s great but now what do you do with them? Put them aside and hope for the best? Of course we actually have to do the work. Spend the time and make the effort.
This is where problems show up for many people. We say we’re going to exercise, write, or travel but somehow we don’t stick with it. We get all excited about a new goal but the emotion soon wears off. Soon weeks go by and we haven’t made much progress.
The solution? We have to look at what we do and see if our actions are taking us where we want to go. And not just once a month or even once a week. Those time periods are too long and it’s easy to get off track. We need to set aside time everyday. It only takes three minutes but it will make all the difference.
Want to create a revolution?
Lots of methods exist that help us stay on track. Different methods work better depending on your own preferences and circumstances.
You can do it like Ben Franklin and keep a paper notebook. He listed his “virtues” and then made a column for each day of the week. A black mark was placed next to any virtue where he slipped up during the day. Franklin admits he never lived a perfect day without any faults but that simple method made him aware of where he wanted to improve. And because of that awareness he believed he was a better and happier man because he made a conscious effort to improve on a daily basis.
Want to be a best-selling author?
Or like Marshall Goldsmith, a best-selling author who specializes in coaching high-level executives. He has a list questions he wants to consider each day. Here’s a sample of what he reviews every day. His questions are both personal and professional but they’re all consistent with his values and goals:
How many minutes did you write? How many situps did you do? How happy were you today on a scale of 1-10? Did you say or do something nice for your wife? For your daughter?
Goldsmith adds something a little different. He doesn’t just review his own list daily but he makes a phone call to a friend who also has his own list of questions. They spend a few minutes each asking each other questions. Holding each other accountable.
Make millions and make people laugh
Jerry Seinfeld is another example of daily accountability. Here’s the advice he gave to a new comic.
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself—even when you don’t feel like it.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.
Alone or with a partner
Daily accountability is extremely useful and it only takes three minutes. Accountability leads to awareness, which leads to action and that creates results. Whether it’s marking a big red X on a wall calendar or a daily phone call from a friend.
More than that, daily accountability is a simple way to confront reality. We say to ourselves we want to behave a certain way. Or we want to accomplish a goal. But if we look at what we do all day and don’t include any activities that move us in that direction then what?
Then it’s time to think about what we’re doing. Are we serious about the goal? Is it really important or just something we fantasize about? Maybe we need to stop doing other things that take time away from what is important to us.
But the answers to all those questions will be much more clear if we first spend three minutes a day.