I love the Aristotle quote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Our lives are defined by how we spend our time, and what we choose to do each day.
But what if you aren’t sure how to spend your time? What if you’ve been looking for something you feel passionate about, but you just haven’t found it yet?
When you’re in the frame of mind that everything you do feels meaningless and boring, it’s even more depressing to consider Aristotle’s claim. If you are what you repeatedly do, does that mean you are a meaningless and boring person?
Practicing these strategies will help you feel more engaged in life right now and create the positive mindset you need to figure out what your passion is. Also, when you’re so focused on not having a passion, it’s easy to lose sight of the parts of your life and career that ARE working well.
If you’re already living your dream, these “passion habits” allow you to squeeze the juiciest juice from the work or pursuits you love. They keep you focused, productive, and enthusiastic about all of the amazing things you have going on in your life.
Here are twelve things passionate people do every day:
1. They wake up early.
Passionate people generally want to wake up early. They have exciting things going on, and they can’t wait to tackle them. So it’s easy to hop out of bed early and start the day.
But even for those who don’t have a compelling reason to jump out of bed, waking up early gives you a head start on the day. It gives you extra time to prepare and prioritize.
And the quiet of the early morning is often the best time to brainstorm, create, and generate solutions. If you haven’t found your passion, this early time can be used to work on finding it.
2. They set 3 big goals.
Rather than just launching into the first activity that demands attention, passionate people have a plan.
They determine what’s most important for the day, they prioritize these actions, and they set three non-negotiable goals for the day.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have more than three goals a day. But three big daily goals is a manageable number that gives you a sense of accomplishment once they are completed.
These daily goals can help move you forward toward your bigger goals of finding your passion or reaching a milestone in the passionate pursuit you’ve already found.
3. They get engaged quickly.
If mornings are productive times for you, make the first big goal you tackle for the day something that really engages you.
For me, it’s writing. I try to do most of my writing in the mornings since it requires focus and energy.
Plus it’s what I really enjoy doing, so it sets my day off on a positive, happy tone.
The first thing you work on in the morning can set the mood for the entire day. So choose something that really grabs your focus and builds your energy.
4. They exercise.
Whether it’s a brisk walk, a run, or a workout at the gym, exercise is the best way to start your day on the right foot. Not only does it have copious physical health benefits, but also it improves your mental health.
When you exercise, you feel more energetic, positive, and creative. You create momentum for your day, so you’re less inclined to waste time or sit around in front of the TV or surfing the net.
It doesn’t take much exercise to do the trick. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or jumping on a rebounder for ten minutes, you’ll get your heart and lungs pumping and your body and mind warmed up.
5. They remove distractions
All of your morning plans for accomplishing your three daily goals can be sabotaged if the phone is constantly ringing, emails are dinging, and people are knocking on your door.
Before you begin any task or action, remove all possible distractions. Shut down extraneous tabs on your computer. Turn off your phone. Close down your email.
Set a timer if you need to re-engage with the world after a period of time. But when you’re working on your goals, do everything you can to maintain your focus. For every distraction, it costs you time and energy to reengage in the task at hand.
In fact, it’s better to chunk down projects into short, manageable tasks and finish them completely, rather than trying to tackle a big project and have multiple interruptions.
6. They delegate (or simplify) when possible.
When you have a passion, that’s what you want to be doing. You don’t want to be swamped with tasks and obligations that pull you away from the work or pursuit you love.
Of course we have some unpleasant tasks we must manage ourselves, but whenever possible, delegate. I hired a personal assistant for a few hours a week to handle many of the tasks I hate (paying bills, opening mail, dealing with repairmen, etc.) so I’m more free to do the work I so enjoy.
Think about ways you can delegate some of these tasks yourself. You don’t have to hire someone necessarily. There may be tasks you’ve taken on that could (and should) be handled by other family members. Maybe there are work tasks that you could hand off to someone else.
If that’s not possible, then think of ways you could simplify and streamline your life so you have more time to focus on your passion (or finding your passion). Where are you wasting time or spending time on things that aren’t really important to you?
7. They find ways to recharge.
When I first jumped into my passion, I found myself sitting at my computer all day long, deeply engrossed in my work.
I’d lift my head at 6:00 pm and realize how stiff and sore my body was, how my eyes hurt, and how my energy had depleted.
Passionate people must take breaks during the day to recharge and re-energize. If you sit at a desk all day long, then getting up and moving around is absolutely necessary.
But you can also recharge by engaging in a brief meditation, a cat nap, or simply taking some deep breaths and stretching. Eating nutritious, energizing foods also helps you recharge.
8. They connect with others.
Passionate people connect with other passionate people. The enthusiasm and energy shared by people who are living their passions only makes the experience richer and more interesting.
This connection may be through a business partnership, a brainstorming session, a social media connection, a meet-up, or a simple phone call to discuss the events of the day. Passionate people draw energy and motivation from these interactions and intentionally make them part of their day.
If you haven’t yet found your passion, make a point of connecting with those who have. Take the opportunity to ask questions and learn from them how they found the work or hobby they love, and how they made it work for their lives.
If you spend your time in isolation, it’s easy to get depressed, discouraged, and demotivated.
9. They move positively through challenges.
Having a passion doesn’t mean you won’t have daily challenges or roadblocks. Even the most passionate work can have elements that are difficult, boring, or unpleasant.
But passionate people recognize these challenges as blips on the radar screen. They can move past them quickly and confidently, knowing that the more exciting, interesting parts of their passion await them. They have the perspective to see that sometimes a difficulty is simply a means to a passionate end.
If you haven’t found your passion, then the effort of finding it can feel like a huge challenge. Rather than accepting this mindset, recognize that the search for your passion is leading you to something wonderful.
Try not to allow yourself to feel hopelessly confused and discouraged, but rather adopt a mindset of positive expectation, knowing that your search will lead you to an answer.
10. They focus more on action than outcome.
Passionate people focus more on the pursuit or practice of their passion than the outcome they want to achieve (income, prestige, etc.).
They are passionate because they love the “doing” of their passion and see the pursuit itself as a reward. They find the deep engagement that comes with taking action more valuable than material rewards.
If you are still searching for your passion, try to view the passion search as an adventure. Every task or action you take to find it can be interesting, engaging, and enlightening. I became so engaged in the process of finding my passion that I became a coach to help other people find their own passions.
You never know what you might discover about yourself along the journey to your passion, so don’t get so focused on the outcome that you miss valuable information along the way.
11. They expect great things.
Passionate people simply have a daily expectation that good things are happening and will continue to happen.
They feel positive and motivated to expect great things because they are able to be content in the moment. Because they are focused, energized, and motivated with the task at hand, they know they’re doing their best work. And when you are doing your best, when you are highly focused or inspired, you actually do produce great things and make great things happen.
Passionate people fight against the temptation to “awfulize” the future and worry about “what ifs.” They have a level of self-confidence to support their belief that everything will work out for the best, because they are determined to do what it takes.
They also view setbacks and failures as stepping stones rather than boulders blocking the way. They learn from them, and use the knowledge to help them move forward.
12. They end the day with gratitude.
Maybe the day didn’t go exactly as planned. Maybe you still haven’t found the career that you’re looking for or the life that you want.
It’s easy to get discouraged if months and years have gone by, and your life isn’t where you want it to be. That discouragement makes it harder to see light at the end of the tunnel and to take the necessary actions to get unstuck.
But please don’t go to bed with those negative, limiting thoughts on your mind. We all have the tendency to focus more on the negative than the positive, but you have the power to control your thoughts.
Before you send the message to your subconscious mind that life is bad, put a new dialog in your brain before sleep. Keep a pen and pad by your bed, and write down all of the positive things that happened during your day. Write down all of the people and circumstances in your life that you feel grateful for.
If you have a hard time coming up with anything, then consider what your life would be like without certain people and things. Before your head hits the pillow, fill it with gratitude and positivity.
Whether or not you’ve found your life passion, practicing these passionate strategies will add passion and purpose to your day. You’ll feel more productive, focused, and energized.
As you are searching for your passion, make the act of seeking it your temporary passion until you find your true passion. There’s more satisfaction and joy to be found in the search than you might expect.
If you’re living your passion now, you might be practicing these strategies already. But if not, add them to your day, and you’ll find you’re even more energized by your passion than ever.