Forget other people’s checklists

You know this feeling: You get bombarded with blogs, articles, TED talks and videos that constantly tell you a variation of:

Click here to learn the .

Examples are

The 5 ways to become a better leader.

The 7 ways to get more clients.

The 9 ways to make your child love you.

The 4 ways to become financially secure.

Even the 6 ways to be always happy 🙂

I’ll be honest: The more I read all these blogs, articles and videos the more restless I become. When I looked inside this morning, I realized these inputs actually scatter my practice and drives me away from my mindfulness practice and making long-term changes.

Why is this?

As with many of my clients, I have tendencies towards perfectionism. And I am constantly driven to improve myself all the time.

Combine those two patterns with a consistent attack of tips, tricks and techniques and you have a recipe for loads of superficial quick-fixes that I can’t possibly integrate in my life and make me regularly feel overwhelmed.

It’s not that these are not useful tips or techniques. It’s just that the sole action of reading more and more of these tips don’t impact my long-term behavioural change. They just give us a little ‘buzz’ when I see them and then I continue my day like before I read the article.

In my coaching, I often encounter clients that are constantly searching the next great insight, realization and revelation. Always signing up for the next workshop or next teacher. Some of them read a new self-help book every week or two.

They can articulate remarkably well what they should do. Or what others should do! However, their ability to shift long-term patterns through a dedicated and systematic practice over a few months is often scattered and interrupted.

I call them ‘insight-junkies’.

Well, I just realized that there is an insight-junkie inside of me as well….

So I am on a ‘quick-fix’ detox. No more search for new insights outside of myself for the upcoming month.

Instead, I go back to basics. Define my 2-3 practices that I’ll focus on in the next month and stick to those.

Mine will be:

Do my best every day to practice happiness and gratitude (I know the specifics that work for me to feel these);
Do my best every day to practice generosity (of my time, money and compassion);
Do my best every day to engage in work from a place of lightness and fun
That’s all. I am determined to rewire my brain on these matters. Neural pathways, here I come! Which means I need to reinforce these practices at least 60 days. No big distractions in the meantime.

One thing that helps me is a tip that world-famous coach Marshall Goldsmith gave me once: The daily check-list. In short, like my list, this is a list of practices that YOU define with items that you want to bring into your life.

Every evening an automatic email will come into my inbox that asks me the above 3 practices and whether I did my best. You can also ask somebody to call you every evening. In this way, I will face my diligence every day and my practices keep top-of-mind.

If the above appeals to you, join me! Forget other people’s check lists, TED talks and blogs for a month, define your own list of practices and set the automatic daily email to keep them top-of-mind. See what happens.

Mindful regards,

Gaston, Coach, Asian Leadership Institute