If You Love The Taste Of Adrenaline — Use It.
Have you ever noticed what happens when you toss a bunch of vegetables into a pan? The heat wakes them. They burst with colour.
The same is true for many people.
Some crumble under pressure. But many, like me, need the claws of a deadline or consequence digging into their shoulders to get things done.
For example, I need someone outside of our household to visit once a week because, if no-one did, the ironing pile would kiss the ceiling, the bathroom tiles would crack with scum and dust bunnies would build warrens into the skirting boards.
Okay, it’s not that bad (but it’s close).
I joined a gym six months ago. And I’m still going. Three to six times per week.
I’ve never been able to maintain this level of dedication before. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched a monthly payment zip out of my account and promised myself I’d go tomorrow. Again.
Would it really be so bad if I wedge my hips into the couch every night guzzling pizza?Who dies? (Well, I might in a few years but I’m willing to gamble at this point.)
So what’s changed?
Crave the rush.
I love the surge of adrenaline.
And I have only recently realised that I can use this to my advantage.
I’m a quick fix person. I need speedy results. But I will also work my butt off to get them. In massive bursts. Not easy when the whole Internet is drumming on about consistency being key.
I have tried to write for X many hours per day or increase my word count by Y amount. But it doesn’t work.
I have tried to stick to diet after diet. They all work. But not for me.
I have to do something to increase my motivation. Otherwise I’m rolling through box sets on Netflix day after day, trying to convince myself I’m performing a necessary activity — come on, I’m a writer and I have to analyze stories, don’t I?
I need a reason for me do something.
No, that’s wrong.
I need a reason for me NOT to do something.
Don’t become pudding.
I’m self-employed and have to earn a living.
Thankfully I have two daughters so I crawl out of bed like a deranged golem in the mornings and blend Nude Beige 201 into the crevices on my face.
But once I’ve dropped them off, I’m free. Free to peruse the new shelving arrangement in our local supermarket. Free to organize my books by subject matter to change things up. Free to paint my nails vibrant purple because I need to give myself some love.
I have to have solid plans otherwise I’m pudding, have to turn up the heat enough to get things done.
So how do I do this?
How do you?
You find what works. There is no one size fits all.
Books which outline a method for getting from A to B are great for many but pretty useless for me. I’ve planned goal upon goal and, when the 1st of January arrives again, I make my resolutions. And Bam! I’m mortified to discover that they’re the same goals I had the previous year.
But I tried this time, I really did.
Nah, I didn’t. Not really.
Something’s not working. And I know it’s me.
If I had no financial limitations I’d do f*ck all.
How many times have you heard the question,
“If you had no financial limitations then what would you do?”
Really, I’d do f*ck all. Because I’d have no reason to do otherwise. Maybe that’s one reason I don’t do the lottery.
If you are lucky enough to have discovered your passion you are definitely ahead of the game. My father said he never did a day’s work in his life because his job was his passion — he’d have done it for nothing.
But there must be something I want to do or be.
YOU want to do or be.
If you’re not sure what it is, brainstorm. You can always test the water with something on the list. If it’s not right, you’ll know soon enough.
Now you need to define the goal properly (yes, the SMART ideal does have it’s place — make it specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-defined).
Once you’re done, you’ve probably detailed a pretty little goal and wrapped it up with beautiful parameters which any other person would break down into stepping stones and start working on.
But you and I are not like other people. We can have bursts of superhuman effectiveness if the conditions are right.
Go back and look at your goal.
What will happen if you don’t achieve it?
Who is affected?
How you can create a little more pressure so that it simply has to be done, with no excuses?
Let’s look at each of the parameters in turn:
SPECIFIC — Is this exactly what you want? If your goal is what others want you to do, you’re doomed. You have to want to do it in the first place.
MEASURABLE — Define the point at which you will know your goal is achieved. Then crank it up one notch.
ATTAINABLE — Is it a stretch for you to complete your goal already? If so, fine. If not, stretch a little more.
REALISTIC — Don’t make it so far-fetched it’s impossible though. (No, you are probably not going to become an Olympic sprinter overnight.)
TIME-FRAME — Could you tighten any of the goal’s framework e.g. the time-frame? You need urgency.
But having a SMART goal isn’t enough. You need one that’s SMARTER.
Here are my own additions:
E is for EVERYONE ON BOARD — Get accountable to family, a friend, or an online group. You need people behind you that you can let down if you don’t follow through.
R is for REASON — This is the key. This is your reason NOT to achieve your goal. You have to pen yourself into such a tight corner that you want to explode. It makes you want to get started right away. Use anything to help you — get creative. I’m not telling you to go and quit your job so that you have to replace your income quickly by completing your goal(although people have done this). I’m saying, make yourself a little uncomfortable so that it is easier to commit to your goal than not.
A word of warning.
DISCLAIMER: This method will not work for everyone. In fact it could cause adverse effects if you do not perform well under pressure — if you identify with this, please do not attempt to implement this method.
But if you excel in times of chaos, crisis and catastrophe, if you are unstoppable under pressure, or if you get a buzz out of achieving the seemingly impossible, then the SMARTER method could work for you.