Learning to maximize your potential is simple once you understand the proper way to approach it. By following certain steps, you can make each and every day your best day yet.
How does the speed of your day go? Does it move so fast that sometimes, you forget all that you’ve done and accomplished? Do you finish each week knowing you did all you were capable of doing?
Studies have shown that the most successful men and women are those who can maximize their potential – not just in life as a whole – but each and every day. Our full potential is not just related to work, but also in our relationships. It’s not just in moments of task completion but in times of rest and relaxation.
The ability to maximize your potential is directly linked with your capacity to plan, manage time, and execute tasks. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, the question is: How can we use them to fully express ourselves?
How to maximize your potential every day
1. Remind yourself of the big picture.
“I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.” – Ellen DeGeneres
What’s your reason for waking up? What is so important that you do what needs to be done? Yes, it’s 5AM, it’s cold in your bedroom, you feel great under the sheets…so why get up? Why have the discipline to do things, even when you don’t always feel like it?
It’s so easy to NOT do anything, to allow yourself to be sidetracked by fleeting comforts. But when you see the big picture, life has a special kind of energy. Focus on establishing that. Become clear about what you want your life to look like and why. That’s the first step towards maximize your potential every day.
ACTION STEP: Write down 5 -7 sentences describing YOUR big picture. What does your ideal life look like? Then write down 30 reasons why this life is so important for you.
2. Create a plan.
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar
You don’t just maximize your potential because you want to – but you must plan to. Without a plan, it’s easy to stray from the course of getting things done that will enable us to move forward. Try planning your entire week during Sundays. Use this day as a day of rest and reflection as well.
Set realistic goals for the week. This might take a while to master. In the beginning, it’s easy to overload with a lot of tasks. Each day, work on 3-5 things that will help you accomplish your week’s goals. It feels good to get things done. When you achieve this, celebrate and enjoy it!
ACTION STEP: Think about ONE thing you want to accomplish. Don’t over-think your choice, just pick one thing. Break it down into as many tiny steps as possible. Then spread those steps out throughout the week.
3. Treat time like gold.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
You’ve heard the clichés: once time is spent, you don’t get it back. Oh so true! If we have zero time management skills, 15-minute tasks can turn into 45 minutes, or even longer.
This is not just bad for work, but now time is cut short for other areas of your life, like exercise, family, or relaxation. Become a student of time management. Don’t just study, execute.
ACTION STEP: This week, use a timer to get work done. Also, research one time management strategy each day.
4. Become the most positive person you know.
“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston
A huge part of life is perspective. How we see ourselves and the world will dictate how we live. We must see ourselves in a positive, deserving light – or it would be quite difficult to maximize your potential. Being positive isn’t a naive quality; it’s an intelligent decision in the face of conflict, confusion, and chaos.
ACTION STEP: At the end of each day, write down 10 things that went well and made you feel good.
5. Do one thing at a time.
“Do one thing at a time, and while doing it put your whole soul into it to the exclusion of all else.” – Swami Vivekananda
This is the part where we stop talking about what we will do, and start talking about what we will say NO to. How about putting our phone on silent, or in the another room while working? How about making a commitment to only check emails once or twice a day?
There are apps out there to block sites like Facebook for a certain amount of time, like the Google Chrome extension, Stay Focused. There are many small things we can stop doing that constantly drain our focus and energy.
ACTION STEP: What are your three biggest time-wasters? Write them down. Own them. When it’s time to work, keep the list in front of you as a reminder of what you will NOT do.
6. Don’t forget to rest.
“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.” – Ernest Hemingway
You can’t maximize your potential if you don’t have sufficient energy during the day. Rest is vital and so often overlooked. Finding strategies to rest and relax is just as powerful as our strategies to be more productive.
Whether it’s listening to nature sounds, meditation, prayer, reading a fictional story before bed – rest plays a key role in our mood, energy levels, metabolism, and stress management. Recharge yourself like batteries in order to live with power!
ACTION STEP: Think about what you do before bed. Are you preparing yourself for a great night’s rest, or have you just closed your laptop? Take 30 minutes to prepare for bed by listening to soothing music or a story.
7. Make life simpler.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
I once heard Dr. Wayne Dyer give a presentation on how to quit smoking. He said:
“…that in order to smoke you have to spend a lot money on cigarettes, invest in a billion dollar company with no return on investment, ignore the idea that you are killing yourself, go into your pocket and find them, go outside and smoke it. Some people even hide it from their kids, and then they repeat these behaviors every single day. That’s a lot of work. Where as to not smoke, all you have to do is one thing: not smoke.”
Habits are so fascinating because often, we fight to keep the ones that do not serve our best self. For example, what if we decided the time we are going to wake up, tomorrow’s outfit and tomorrow’s meals – the night before?
Now that small decisions are off the table, we can focus on execution instead of wasting time and energy trying to figure out which direction we need to move. It’s the small, day-to-day decisions that can leave us feeling drained and off-balance. This disrupts our ability to make major decisions.
ACTION STEP: What are some small decisions you make daily, that you could make ahead? Think of 3 – 5 things. Focus your energy on executing those ideas so you can maximize your potential every day.