Last updated on May 23, 2016 | Follow @deanyeong on Twitter
These steps are applicable for almost any stage of your life, but I believe it’s much much more relevant if you’re at your 20s.
I still vividly remember the day when I first put on my school uniform. In the blink of an eye, I’m now in my mid-20s. They’re the best years of our lives. It’s the time we experience many good things in life without much commitment, and it’s the time for us to try, to fall and to get back up again.
For some people, their 20s are the time to do whatever they like, without any tiny bit of worries for their 30s and 40s. But if you are using this period of time right, you’re going to sail smoothly in your 30s and beyond.
It doesn’t require much. Here are three simple things you need to do in order to form a firm foundation for your golden years to come.
It’s important to know what you want in life, but never obsess and overthink it during your 20s. Social media acts as a spotlight on all the best times of successful people, which makes many young people think that’s the way it should be their whole life.
With that, most of us are trying to sprint all the time when life is really a marathon race.
Rather trying to define your life goals for your 70s during your 20s, focus on tiny actions you can take now. Do something that you love. Opt for something challenging. Start something small.
Why tiny actions? Because they work best. Everything we do, every decision we make and every action we take comes with resistance. That’s why most of the time, we don’t do what we do.
To beat your procrastination, start small, simply because tiny actions have lower resistance. Want to write a book? Start off with writing 500 words a day, every single day.
Besides, consistency is much more achievable with smaller actions. Too many people in their 20’s want to achieve big things without breaking them down into small practical actions for them act upon, and that’s why most of us never start and most of those who started – failed (quit).
In 2009, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson made a surprising discovery in the science of motivation. She conducted a series of studies where she asked participants to solve a set of puzzles and problems.
One group – the “be-good” – of participants were told that the puzzle was a test to evaluate their ability and skills in problem-solving, and the other group – the “get-better” – of participants were told that the problem was a training tool to improve their problem-solving skills.
The surprising finding was how some randomly selected participants in the two groups deal with unsolvable problems Halvorson included in the test purposely without telling any of the participants.
The ones in the “get-better” group remained calm and solved as many as problems in the challenging conditions as the easy ones. The stayed motivated and kept trying to learn.
The ones in the “be-good” group, however, were so frustrated when they got on the challenges and obstacles that they solved substantially fewer problems than those who didn’t have to face them.
And those differences happened just because how the initial goal was framed. As I mentioned above, if you want to write a book, focus on the tiny action like writing 500 words a day. Focusing on the progress to make small improvement each day is a better solution to achieve great results in life.
Create a system (daily, weekly, monthly routine) to work toward your goal. And put your full focus on the system.
Our mind is tuned to crave for instant gratification. That’s how our ancestors had survived in the wild with scared resources and unpredictable threats. They have to eat immediately when there is food and act immediately when there is a danger.
Even though our world has changed in the recently, our brain haven’t changed a lot. We’re still craving for instant results, just in a different form compared to our ancestors. One popular research – the marshmallow test had shown that the ability of delay gratification dramatically impacts the rate and possibility for one to be successful.
That’s so true in today’s world because nothing is achievable without going through the assessment of time. Success simply doesn’t work when you take consistency out of the equation. And there is no such thing as the overnight success!
With the abundance of information and ease of communication (the Internet), more and more 20’s can’t wait to prove themselves to the world. Rather live life in a hurry to prove ourselves, opt for mastering some skills or abilities to serve a particular group of people.
Besides, I firmly believe that 20 to 30 is the best time to experience all kind of failures in our life because we will still have time to get back up quickly.
With these three simple steps, you can have a better grip on the later years to come, by spending a decade on refining yourself, understanding yourself and strengthening yourself.
There are so many people trying to sell the idea of working smart instead of working hard today. But from my studies of successful people, hard work is still the core in achieving great results in life. So, let’s work hard and never give up!