The overwhelming takeaway from the London 2012 Olympics for me, has been the way so many people have been inspired by watching the athletes compete. Seeing people who have dedicated lifetimes of practice, isolation and focus is such a powerful motivation. My friend described how he threw on his shoes and went for a run after seeing Mo Farah win two gold medals, smashing his personal best. Others have described how they’ve taken up some of the niche sports they’ve watched. Many of these athletes we see took inspiration from athletes of the past, made small steps, made themselves a commitment, achieved something great, then paved the way for the ones of the future.
However, the problem with being inspired by an end result, is that the effects peter out over time if you don’t continually tend towards making it happen. However small those steps are, the momentum is often the most important factor.
People have been known to write a Bucket List (a list of X number of things to do before they die). I found, the problem with just writing a Bucket List, is that it typically gets written once, gets tucked away in a draw and represents a list of things from one point in time.
Here’s my version, that’s fun and effective that I’d like to share…
At the start of the year, I would take 40 blank 6×4 inch post cards [any stationery shop or post office will have them] and write titles on them with a marker pen that represent things that I want to do that year. It could be something simple, like starting a new hobby, visiting a certain country, doing something regularly for a period of time. However small, the fact that it’s something you want to do, it’s going to have a positive effect achieving it.
I would slip all the cards into a AA sized Picture Pockets, which I’d then hang on the back of my bedroom door. In essence, it represents a Bucket List, but with a difference. By being hung on your bedroom door, you’re going to see it every day. Starting each day thinking “what am I going to do today” sets up every day in a positive, fulfilling way. Being daily whether you like it or not, rather than when you actively decide to look at your list, the typical habit of letting life slip by without attempt is much harder. Being inspired daily shouldn’t be underestimated.
Putting this list together yearly, means that the list better represents your current desires and is less likely to crash-n-burn with things you no longer want to do. It’s something tangible and achievable. More likely to be achieved, acting as a stepping stone for something more.
The beauty of it being held in Picture Pockets, is that each time something on there is crossed off, I take a picture and swap it out with the post card. It doesn’t have to be a cheesy self-portrait type, but something that when you look at, represents each minor achievement and triggers that positively anchored thought. You can print pictures in minutes at your local Boots, Jessops, Kodak shops for next to nothing.
As you cross off more and more from the list during the course of the year [hopefully], you’ll be left with a full Picture Pocket representing the year. Hang it up somewhere in your home with pride and if people see too it will inspire others. It’s a lovely feeling seeing others take example.
As for the next year? Write up 40 more cards in a second Picture Pocket and cycle these two Picture Pockets round each year. One your working for this year, one that represents the year just gone. Unfortunately for me, this year, I’m going to have to turn mine virtual.
Have an idea how to do this on the road? I’d be interested to hear from you.