So many people want to accomplish financial freedom, but so few ever achieve it. The same is true with good time management and life balance, why is this? I have come to find that this is because achieving financial freedom or balance or mastery of time is really about achieving mastery of self first.
If we are honest, ALL of us know that there are things which we could be doing that would make our lives better. This is true in regards to our health, our relationships, our finances and our management of time. So why aren’t we doing everything that we can in these areas?
It has to do with how well we have mastered our own habits and our emotions so that they are our servants instead of our masters. Until you have control over your own behaviors, you cannot (not for long anyway) control anything on the outside of you.
This includes your time, your energy, your relationships, your health and your money…it all goes back to your ability to manage yourself. That said, let’s look at some simple things you can start doing to gain master over your habits and build greater self-control and discipline…
First Step: Understanding What Motivates You
The key to self-mastery is understanding your own motivations, which might sound simple…but few people have taken the time to really understand themselves at this level. Even if you think that you have it together in this area, start keeping a journal and keeping track of what you are feeling at the end of the day. What do you feel about what you did that day and why did you do the things you did? What motivated you to stay on task…or to get distracted? What motivated you to stick with a plan that you had made….or abandon it for a moment? What caused you to respond to someone the way that you did or to have a feeling about something which was bad or good.
The better you understand these things, the more clarity and control you will have and the easier it will be for you to do more of what you end up feeling good about and less of what you end up feeling bad about. You’ll also discover a lot of your personal limitations which might be currently keeping you from setting and achieving goals.
Second Step: Changing What Influences You
People are most influenced by the things which they focus their attention on, whether those things are negative or positive. For example, if you are always focusing on how painful and inconvenient exercising is, you’re probably going to be influenced to quite or to “take a day of.” However, if you focus instead on the benefits of working out, you’ll be influenced to stick with it. This is a simple distinction but it’s critical if you want to succeed at anything. Pay close attention to what you are focusing on and remember that what you focus on has the strongest influence on your behavior. Doing this, and understanding your own motives better will help you to build a LOT more self-awareness, self-control and discipline.