Growing Towards Excellence. Would you like to become a better person? If I did a survey asking people this question, I’m sure I would receive a 100% response YES!

Let me ask you a question:

“Who started today deciding on one thing they were going to be aware of and work on today to make them a better person?”

I asked this question recently to a room full of people and only one person said YES!

Many of us have desires and aspirations that we would like to see fulfilled in our lives but are not actively taking action to make those things happen. It can be difficult to relate what happens in the present to the results we would like to see in the future. However, the future is prepared for today, by the choices we make and the way we invest our time and energy.

Most people want to be the best they can be, but get discouraged because it seems such a huge mountain to get there. We live close to Burnaby Mountain and often take the dogs for a walk there. There’s a really pleasant trail near the bottom, shaded by trees, along the bank of a stream However when it is time to walk home up the steep hill the prospect seems daunting. I can never walk up to it without pausing for a break somewhere. At the steepest part of the hill, every step seems a huge effort, and I eventually stop to get my breath. When I look back, however, it is amazing to realize how far I’ve come. My whole perspective changes! The process of walking is automatic normally. When we walk, our mind focuses on other things unless the going gets tough. We make progress but it is not a conscious process. That is because walking has become a natural habit for us. This is also true of life and the skills we learn. The mechanics of driving a vehicle become second nature, as the skills become so well-practiced and familiar that we do not consciously think through each action. It becomes almost instinctive, as natural to us as breathing.

To consistently grow towards becoming better in our lives we need to create new habits that will move us there. At first, implementing a new behavior, thought pattern or action into our lifestyle is a very conscious act. It’s like walking up the steepest part of the mountain. However, that is only in the beginning stages. It only takes thirty days to form a new habit. Then, that positive habit in our life becomes more a natural part of us. It moves to the more subconscious part of our life.

Pat Riley said Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.

To move towards more excellence in your life, the journey starts and will continue to be one small step at a time. One small step a day is far more effective than to make a resolution to take a huge jump forward, and then not make any progress for a while.

Gradual – it is a process, and not seeing the results immediately can be discouraging. One helpful thing to do is to set small landmarks with some motivating reward when they are achieved. It is good to have the attitude and habit of always striving to do better in every area of life all the time. However I would also suggest a focus on one main thing at a time, and as that becomes habitual in your life, select another area of focus. Always -it needs to be every day; a small discipline at first that becomes a positive habit. I would suggest developing as part of your morning routine a time and place when you deliberately pause and reflect on the new lifestyle habit you are presently working on. During that time consider your specific goals for that day. What are you specifically going to do or how will you change a thinking pattern to reinforce your growth in that area. Set a goal for the day. It is helpful to read or carry with you a short sentence or quote that will motivate and remind you of your goal during the day. Perhaps a Post-it note in the car, or kitchen as a way of re-focusing during the day, it needs to be a daily conscious act, otherwise, days missed turn into weeks, discouragement sets in and it becomes easy to give up. When a new habit is formed and is part of your lifestyle when you look back you will be amazed at the changes you see.

To take even just a couple of minutes set aside at the beginning of your day is a very powerful key and works well. We all need frequent encouragement and motivation. It also is an excellent way to start your day positively and will set the tone for the day.

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