"A year from now, you'll wish you started today."
It’s amazing how simple reminders can change your life.
A little over a year ago, I was running out my apartment door Monday - Friday at 8 am, coffee in hand, lunch packed (most days), to sit in 30 minutes of traffic, then to sit at my downtown desk job until the clock hit 5:00.
My job was fine. I had truly wonderful co-workers. Some days were interesting, and I loved the days when I had piles of work to do. But the days, weeks, months slid by; sometimes the passage of time felt completely unnoticed. Suddenly it was another holiday, another month-end. I remember driving home one day in traffic, thinking that in 12 hours, I was going to be going right back to the office for yet another day.
Most of all, I remember feeling like my life was passing by right in front of me, and all I was doing was watching.
One morning while sitting at my desk, I opened my calendar and started flipping through the last year’s pages. I typically enjoy looking and reminiscing about past trips, events, appointments...until I came across a list of goals that I had written down. Honestly, I don’t think any of them had to do with starting a business (that would have been WAY unachievable to me at the time, so I probably didn’t even write it down).
There were things like:
“Study Italian for 30 minutes every day”
“Run 2 miles in the AM before work”
I was stunned because if I had followed through when I wrote those things down a year ago...TODAY, I could probably be semi-fluent in Italian, and probably in the best shape of my life. Whaaa? It could have been so achievable had I actually followed through everyday! I remember letting out an audible “HARRUMPH” of frustration, whirling around in my swivel chair, snatching the closest piece of paper to me, and scribbling down with a hot pink sharpie:
“A year from now, you’ll wish you started today”
No fancy graphic, not framed. Just jotted down on a scrap piece of paper. I tucked it just under my keyboard at my desk so that I would see it dozens of times everyday.
A short time after I wrote that down, my mindset slowly began to shift. That simple reminder sparked my imagination daily and I began to ask myself “What could I accomplish in a year, if I did it regularly?” ...this slowly changed to...
“Honestly, what COULDN’T I do in a year, if I did it regularly?”
This simple little note at my desk started a subtle shift in my mindset. This shift in mindset slowly opened up my imagination to what was possible. Once I started imagining what was possible, I started writing down the exact steps I needed to take in order to make sure that the next year looked different than my current one.
...which brings us to today. Today, I own my own business.
In the last year, I started my company, turned in my notice to my office job, looked fear in the face and then launched into entrepreneurship full time.
I’ve spent the last year cultivating my existing talents, learning new skills, developing better workflows and products. I’ve found clients (many, now friends), run a half marathon in Hawaii, and travelled almost every month of the year.
I’ve built my business, made mistakes, spend days on an emotional rollercoaster, and learned some hard (but important) lessons (...ALWAYS set aside money to pay self-employment taxes!!).
That little scrap of paper is now pinned on the little board next to my home office desk. I’ll definitely keep it forever, as a reminder that:
the place that I want to be in a year from now starts today.
The takeaway for me (and for you!) is that if you’re unhappy with something, imagine your life a year from now. Get specific.
What do you want to change?
Where do you want to be?
How do you want to feel?
And now….what is the first step towards making this happen? You don’t need to get crazy - this can be a tiny baby step. For example, if you want to run a half marathon in a year but that sounds INSANE….then start by going for a walk after work 3 days a week, while listening to a cool podcast. Then after two weeks, make it speed-walking after work 3 days a week. Then two weeks after that, make it a slow jog/walk. You feel me?
The same goes for any goal. The important part is writing down where you want to be this time next year, and working backwards to create smaller, bite-sized goals for yourself. It’s totally fine if you don’t exactly know all of the steps...you'll figure it out as you go, as long as you take the immediate next step today.
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