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It’s easy to get bogged down with all the information telling you to do this or that or something else entirely. You want a better life for your family – a sustainable, self-reliant life – but there is so much information out there telling you how to get there.

How do you cut through the …. well, let’s say the baloney … and figure out what really matters?

It's easy to get bogged down with all the information telling you to do this or that or something else entirely. You want a better life for your family - a sustainable, self-reliant life - but there is so much information out there telling you how to get there. How do you cut through the .... well, let's say the baloney ... and figure out what really matters?

You might be surprised at how much you can benefit from asking yourself two simple questions!

Take a long, hard look at your answers. Don’t use them to judge yourself, but to determine if you’re on track to being where you want to be. And if you’re not, now is the time to make an action plan to get you there.

Ok, so here are the questions and why they’re so important:

If an invisible person followed you around all day, what would they see?

It’s very easy to get caught up in busywork, wasting time but feeling as though we are doing something important. What percentage of your time are you spending in meaningful activities that bring you closer to your goals? How much time is spent just going through the motions, performing actions that fill time but do nothing useful?

As an online writer, I find myself caught up in reading Facebook posts, convincing myself that this will help me get where I want to be. And of course it doesn’t. Perhaps you have the same problem? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – they tend to suck up our time while pretending to be helpful.

Offline, of course, there is also plenty of busy work.

Maybe you spend two weeks agonizing over the perfect garden plan. Or you spend hours and hours painting and decorating that chicken coop until it’s good enough for your mother to sleep in. You might have yourself convinced that no one else in the house can do the dishes like you, and therefore you’ll do the important things later.

And let’s not even get started on Netflix. In the back of my head, I have this idea that I can write a great blog post and design interesting graphics even when Murdoch Mysteries is playing on the tablet beside me. It’s not true, but I’m very good at convincing myself that it is.

In order to do this little exercise, of course, you will need to understand your personal why. You will need to have your goals in mind, preferably written down. Because it’s quite possible that a perfectly designed garden, a hotel-quality hen house and spotless dishes are very high on your goal list.

But if they’re not, if you’d rather those be “good enough” so that you can do the things that really matter, then you need to really examine what you’re doing.

Our lives are largely the result of the actions that we take each day. Are you taking actions that move you forward to the future you desire or are you engaged in time-wasting, worthless activity?

What would that invisible person logically conclude about you and your life?

If you lived that average day, every day, for the next 5 years, what is the logical outcome?

Be honest with yourself. Where is your life likely to end up if you keep on doing what you’re doing? How does that compare to the life you want to have?

Are they the same?

Are they even close?

Financially – are your daily actions taking you toward your financial goals? Perhaps it’s time to sit down and take a good, long look at your finances. If you continue as you are today, will you be living your desired financial life in five years?

Physically – are you likely to have the body that you want? Are you eating nutritiously and exercising regularly? Or are you waiting to start tomorrow, or Monday, or the first of the month, or the first of the year? It’s not going to happen overnight and, let’s face it, it will get more difficult with every passing year.

Relationships – Are you happy with the people in your life? Sometimes we have friends that we treasure and cherish, who bring out the best in us. Sometimes, though, we find that we have accumulated a pack of “frenemies” who not only are not bringing out our best but they may well be sabotaging our efforts at self-improvement. Are you pleased at the idea of the people you know being in your life in five years? Do you need to start meeting new people?

Career – Have you been taking steps towards advancement, if that’s what you desire? As you look over the last year’s performance, is it likely that you’ll make plant manager anytime soon? Floor manager? That guy we don’t know what he does but he comes here every day? If you have a small business, or an online business, have you been laying groundwork to have that business running a profit?

Now you can make some reasonable plans and create some good habits. What do you need to do on a consistent basis to achieve the life you hope for? If you want to lose 10 inches off your waist and weigh 75 lbs less, then your daily actions need to reflect that.

People largely fail to end up where they wish to be for two reasons:


They have no idea where they’re going.

You can’t get there if you don’t know where there is! If you don’t have a plan, you are going to live by default, sitting around until something goes wrong and then spending your energy fixing the issue. Instead of acting, you will always be reacting, Alternatively, if you spend your energy driving towards something, you’ll eventually get there.

They don’t do the things each day that will create the life they want.

I am a huge believer in affirmations – but only if they are gearing you up into action. In other words, affirmations like “I am a millionaire” are completely worthless unless they are backed up with a solid plan of action. You just can’t wish your way to success. Success comes from knowing yourself to be the type of person who makes positive decisions and who takes actions to reflect those decisions.

Affirmations work when they change your mind about who you are so that you can take action based upon your new view of yourself.

Ask yourself the two questions above. You might be shocked when you really look at your average day and realize where you’re likely to end up as a result of doing those same things every day. It doesn’t take a lot to be very successful, but it does take consistency.

What if your goal is weight loss? If you consistently lose a pound a week through healthy eating and a small increase in your activity, you can lose 52 pounds in a year. Imagine if you had done that last year. What would your life look like in a year if you started today?

Small steps and little changes done daily will make a tremendous difference in your life.

Just Plain Living

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