Do your plans often end up like this?
Let’s say you finally decided to join the gym.
You’ve been thinking about it for a while now. You know you’re going to be healthier, more attractive and feel like a million bucks. You even know when: “Monday I’m going for sure!”
But then a strange thing happens: when Monday comes around, you just don’t go. You’re not even sure why.
You get caught up in life, maybe you stay up late on Sunday night, or you forget to set up the alarm, or something urgent comes up. Or maybe you’re feeling a bit too tired, and you should wait until next week. This way you can get a proper start, right?
Whatever the excuse, the fact remains:
You’ve done absolutely nothing towards your goal of being fit. Nada. No change. Or maybe a couple of hours later you even feel worse, thinking to yourself: “why am I such a failure, why can’t i just do this already?”
I’ve been there, stuck in the busyness of my routine. For years I wanted to join a Capoeira class, which is a really cool Brazilian martial art combining fight, dance and music.
I made all kinds of excuses not to join: money, time, distance and what not. But when I finally joined, I was incredibly happy to be there.
So don’t wait forever, here’s a couple of things you can do right now to get your gears spinning:
Ask yourself: “Why am I doing this? What’s in it for me?”
If you don’t know exactly WHY you’re doing something, you’ll fail or give up before you even begin.
Reasons are the power source for your motivation and commitment. They pull you forward and make you stay on track. Especially when things get tough. And they always do!
So take the most important goal you have right now, a piece of paper and spend 10 min to write down all the reasons why you wanna achieve it.
What will you get out of it? How will it make you feel after it’s done? How will your life change after you make it happen?
Don’t forget to also write down everything you’ll lose if you give up on it. How will that make you feel? How will your life look in 5, 10 years from now if you do nothing?
Keep this paper somewhere visible and read it every morning until the goal and feelings that come with it become a part of you.
If your reasons are strong enough they’ll make you move mountains to make it happen.
Do more and consume less information
Here’s the cold hard truth:
Thinking about your goal isn’t going to make any change in your life. Talking about it won’t do it, reading about it won’t do it. Nothing is going to change until you take action.
When you set time aside and get started with those first few words, brush strokes, phone calls, that’s when things get going.
Don’t get stuck in “study mode”, paralyzed by endless research. That’s just another flavor of procrastination.
You know what you have to do. You already read 100 articles about it. You know everything about marketing, finding clients, social media, the whole deal.
You know all of it, but you’re not doing any of it.
Your knowledge is useless without action and getting more of it isn’t gonna help. Stop for a moment and apply what you already know.
Be willing to start small
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
I understand, you have big plans.
So big you don’t know where to start, it’s intimidating. And you don’t wanna wait 5 years to reach your goal either. You wanna be fit, or open a business, or meet the love of your life, YESTERDAY!
Our need for instant gratification is now bigger than ever. Hell… I’d love to have a “Create dream life” button. But don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Slow down a bit, look around and enjoy your journey, every step of the way.
And here’s the really good news: as long as you don’t quit, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to get your goals, sooner or later. If you’re passionate and creative enough, you’ll find a way.
You don’t have to make a massive change in your life from one second to the next. If you have a massive project up ahead, you don’t need to tackle everything at once. Instead, break it down into tiny parts.
Doing 5 pushups might not give you 18″ arms by next week, but doing 0 pushups is going to do exactly nothing. In fact, I expect you’ll be worse in 3 years.
Taking just one small step towards your goal might seem like little progress, but once you start, you get the power of momentum on your side. Small steps can quickly add up and turn into big leaps.
Break it down and take it step by step
Set a goal so ridiculously easy to accomplish, it seems impossible to make excuses for inaction.
How long does it take you to read a 600 page book? A lot. But you don’t need to read it all in one sitting. Just tell yourself you’re going to spend 1 minute a day reading from it.
You can definitely read for 1 minute can’t you?
Now, 1 min was the minimum goal, but you don’t need to stop there. You’ll often find yourself still reading 5,10,30 minutes later. Once you start doing something, you usually find it far easier and more enjoyable than you thought it’s gonna be.
After all, why did you buy it in the first place if you don’t find it interesting?
Make taking action a habit, not an occasional event
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
Consistency is key. It’s the most important skill to practice if you want to get results.
It doesn’t do anything to work on your goals once every couple of months. Or be extra social and polite today, after which you go back to your moody self for a few weeks.
If you’re going to create lasting change you need to change your habits.
How do you do that?
Habits are things you do consistently, every single day. They’re always there, you don’t even think about them anymore. You don’t need any special motivation or convincing to engage with them.
If you wanna turn something into a habit, do it daily, preferably around the same time. Doesn’t matter if you do it for less time, or with less intensity, as long as you stick with it long enough. Do it until it becomes a part of who you are and you don’t have to kick yourself in the butt to do it anymore.
Tell everybody what you’re up to
You can always make excuses to yourself.
And they’ll sound perfectly reasonable too: “I don’t have time”, “it wouldn’t work anyway”, “I didn’t want this in the first place”.
Sure! You can keep lying to yourself all day.
Now imagine you have a new plan: let’s say you wanna go running 20 min a day and lose 10kg before summer. Only this time, you tell everyone about your goal. Every single person who’ll listen. And you tell them the specifics too: how much you’ll lose, why and what’s the deadline.
If they are good friends they’ll keep you accountable and also try to help you stay on track.
I bet you’d feel a lot more compelled to follow through with it this time, wouldn’t you?
Those people will ask questions, you don’t wanna let them down. They’ll be curious how your plan’s going. You don’t really wanna make excuses to 20 people who one after the other are staring at you with the same unconvinced and unimpressed look, do you?
Now I wanna know from you:
What’s the most important goal for you at the moment? And what’s the 1 simple action you can take right now that will bring you closer to achieving it?
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