A Complete Mess
Everyone has a different starting point. Some of you out there basically have lives that are a total mess. No matter what area you focus your attention upon, it is a train wreck. The idea of improvement is absolutely daunting because of the magnitude of the garbage piles in your life. Financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally rank in negative numbers on a scale of 1-10. Just getting back to zero would be a major accomplishment and that is the idea behind this article.
The advantage to being a complete mess is that improvement is rather easy to attain. For those who have put forth major effort over a long period of time, a noticeable difference is harder to attain. But for the ones who dwell in the garbage dump, success can be had with a few basic changes. It is this point that I want you to grasp onto and hold dear.
As is my custom, I will use analogies to emphasize the lesson. Here we will use weight loss, my favorite topic since the results are physical and visual in nature. Let us compare two women; one 250 pounds and the other 130 pounds (we will leave out height in this example). With these women, we are going to presume they both can lose some pounds and, hence, embark on a weight loss program. Now, here is the question, who do you think will have an easier time losing weight?
If you answered the 250 pound person you are correct. When someone has such poor habits that she is able to maintain that excessive weight, any change in her diet or exercise will net huge results. For example, simply cutting out sugary drinks while going for a 30 minute walk each night might help this person drop 20 pounds. For someone at 130 pounds, it is going to require a great deal more effort to get the same results because it is presumable that her eating and exercise habits are much better.
Low Hanging Fruit
The key to change, especially if you have not exerted much effort in a particular area, is to go after the low hanging fruit to start. In the weight loss example, the idea is to eliminate those foods which have the greatest impact first. Thus, sugary drinks, donuts, cakes, potato chips, and candies are removed. Someone who is obese can realize a rapid difference by doing this. For someone in shape, like Michael Phelps, he would have to swim an additional 8 miles a day to notice any improvement. His fruit is at the top of the tree.
One point I need to emphasize is that people too often look to see a difference. Again, going based upon our example, which person will notice more of a difference by losing 20 pounds? Naturally, the one who is 130 pounds. If she lost 20 pound, reducing herself to 110, most would notice the huge loss as a percentage of her body weight. Someone who is 250 going to 230 will not see that much of a difference visually. And this is where the mistake is often made. Do not focus upon the comparison but what it takes to get results. Sure the 250 pound person needs to go a lot further than the 130 pound person to be fit. Nevertheless, when starting out, the advantage lies with the heavier woman. If some area of your life is like this, use this to your advantage.
I will give you another example. In my front yard there is a bed of seashells that line the front walk. As you can guess, over time the weeds will grow through the shells creating a mess. Recently, I looked at that bed of shells and noticed how the weeds took control. So what was my solution? One morning I spent about 10 minutes pulling the BIGGEST clumps of weeds out. I did not worry about the small ones at that time. Obviously, over time, they will grow to be a bigger problem. Nevertheless, my goal was to make a noticeable difference in the look of the bed. Hence I went after the low hanging fruit which netted me the greatest difference in the least amount of time. Now, if I spend a bit of time each week pulling weeds, my level of fruit will be higher up on the tree.
Results Are Visual
We live in a physical world where things are judged visually. People need to see results not just hear about them. This is something everyone knows. Our boss does not want to hear about our plans for the report, he or she wants to see the report completed. Therefore, when seeking to completely turn around an area of life that presently is in chaos, we need to concentrate on the largest items first.
There is another mental analogy that is widely used in the personal development area. Picture an empty jar that you are going to fill completely. What is the best way to start? The lesson goes is that to best fill the jar, put the largest rocks in first. Once those are in the jar, one proceeds to put the next largest and so on until all the rocks are in the jar. Of course, after the rocks are placed in there, then the sand can but dumped in. The reason for this methodology is that the small items will fit into the pockets created by the larger items. However, if we concentrate on the smaller items first, we will have difficulty with the larger ones later one. It is the same thing in life. Focus on the largest items first.
Have you ever seen someone who had a car that was a complete mess? Here is a person that seems to never throw anything out. Naturally, the rugs in the car need a thorough vacuuming but that is an assumption since you cannot see them with all the fast food bags and soda bottles thrown about. Therefore, the starting point is to take a garbage bag and fill it with all the excess trash. This simple act will make a huge visual difference even if the vacuuming is not done. Again, if we are going to compare, the person who keeps his or her car spotless is going to have to take the step of paying for a professional detail job to make a noticeable difference. The cost (effort) is much greater for this person.
In closing, realize the worse things are for you the easier it is for you to change direction and create momentum in the other direction. Forget about where you are as compared to where you want to go. A mindset like that will overwhelm you eliminating all desire to move forward. Instead, keep the visual of a fruit tree imprinted upon your mind and ask yourself what is the low hanging fruit that I can tend to which will make a major difference. The above analogies should give you a good idea of how to do this. Look for the habits/actions which either cause the most problem (eliminate them) or the ones which will net the greatest results (implement them). There are plenty of areas in life where you are the 250 pound woman. Seek out to drop that first 20 pounds; that is the first big stone to go into the jar.
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