Feel Like Giving Up? This Simple Idea Will Fuel You to Take Actions Once More
Each person has one area in life that he wants to develop.
Most people are not happy with their current performance.
They want to replace the bad habits that impede their progress. They want to improve to do more actions toward their goals.
They’ve tried Plan A, Plan B, Plan C to Z, and exhausted all their options. Yet, none of it works.
They fail to stick to the goals they’ve set. They are losing the fuel that motivates them.
The fire is getting smaller and smaller each day.
They ask themselves: Why is progress so distant? Why is it so difficult to catch? Is it an endangered species that no one can actually hunt it?
In turn, they lay on the couch to recuperate from defeat. The productivity they once had start to waver. They start to feel lazy again.
And that’s when they lose it all.
The Painful Truth About Making a Change
Change is never an overnight process. It usually takes a lot of sleepless nights to make yourself comfortable with it.
Getting stuck in a situation for so long is frustrating. But change is one thing that every person has to endure at one point or another.
As George Bernard Shaw has said:
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
You need to welcome change if you want to improve.
As you begin the process, you may experience a sudden drop in achievement and fulfillment. Days will seem long as if the transition will never end.
You will feel worse before you feel better. You will screw up more than you ever did. You will question yourself if it’s worth to put in effort. You begin to wonder what the results would be.
Most people only make it halfway through the process.
They are great when it comes to starting a change. When difficulties arise, they give up. They lose accountability on themselves.
People who embrace the entire process are able to grow well in life. They stretch their abilities to the extremes but cope up well with the difficulties.
If you want to become better, you have to face the transition process with tolerance. One small action is one step closer to your goal.
If you stick to the process, you will eventually get over it. You will, later on, be more comfortable with the emotions you are experiencing.
The hard phase will pass by just like any good moments do.
When you make a change, the brain is performing its best to cater with that transition. It usually takes time and consistency.
When you introduce a new type of experience, your neurons are rewiring. Each of your neurons will look for possible buddies where they could connect with. If the behavior is inconsistent, they will find it hard to establish that connection.
You have by now one chief aim to accomplish or to achieve. Whether it’s shedding some extra pounds, writing 1,000 words each day, eating healthier foods, or practicing your instrument skills — you know you really want to do it.
None of these will get accomplished when you don’t initiate a change. A change in the routine you currently have. Or a change in the old habits that do not contribute to its completion.
Most people welcome the journey. Everything seems so smooth in the beginning, so they think they can last for a long time.
Whey they become comfortable, they begin to see temptations lingering around.
Sweet pastries from a friend, new season of their favorite show, mouth-watering potato chips in the grocery aisle, the warmth of the bed, and another crazy list that seem endless.
To reward themselves, they have a cheat day. They do this for a day, and another day, and another day, until they fall again into the traps of the activity. This is sometimes where the problem sprouts again.
Since the habit isn’t strong enough, their inner power fails them.
No matter how much they want to improve, they continuously fail. They are forced to go back to square one.
The worst thing is — they never dare to start again.
Consistency is essential to success and improvement. Only people who develop a great deal of discipline can manage to be consistent.
They are willing to let go of the immediate gratification to achieve the possible fruit of their labor. They have set their boundaries well and are willing to swallow painful challenges to meet their goals. They have a crystal clear vision of what they are trying to accomplish.
That consistency didn’t come easy for them. It took years of polishing. Like a pencil, they had to break several times before they saw results. They had to endure painful sharpening to become a better person.
Consistency is hard to achieve. It is like the second level of development.
It doesn’t matter if you became a top writer. It doesn’t matter if you won a singing competition in America’s Got Talent. It doesn’t matter if you gained a summer sexy body.
What matters most is what you do after that achievement. If you can stay long enough to deserve that title.
For beginners, consistency is far from grasp, yet.
If you would like to reach that level of development, you have to develop one important value first.
How reliable are you?
Can you count on yourself to do what you intend to do?
Can you make baby steps toward the achievement you want?
Can you come up with an efficient decision to keep you track toward your goals?
Without accountability, you will keep failing toward your chief aim.
Accountability is what makes you credible on the things you utter. It makes people feel they can rely on you to do what you say you’ll do. It is how you build trust toward others.
It is what makes you a disciplined warrior.
Brett Hoebel shared:
“If I could give one tip for people — it’s not an exercise or nutrition regimen. It’s to walk your talk and believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don’t get you in shape. It’s your accountability to your word.”
What Music Are You Hearing?
Ulysses, the famous character in Homer’s The Odyssey, is on a sailing expedition. During the expedition, he wants to hear the legendary Sirens’ song. But there’s a major problem. The Sirens lure the sailors through their music only to lead them to perish eventually.
Ulysses made a plan. He ordered his men to cover their ears with wax and to tie him to the mast, so he could not jump into the sea when he hears the Sirens. He asked them to keep their swords upon him and whatever happens, they should never change course.
Upon reaching the area, Ulysses heard the magical song of the Sirens.
Their alluring voices tempt him so much. Their sweet and magical voices prompted him to command his men to unbind him. The music penetrated his mind and soul that made him insane.
He pushed his body against the mast to break the ropes. He strained so hard that the bonds cut deeply into the flesh of his back and arms. His crew refused to give in to his plea.
Finally, the ship speeds forward and soon they passed the area. They no longer hear the silvery voices. The crew members stopped rowing and unbind their captain. Ulysses finally came back to his senses and survived the possible death experience.
Ulysses made a plan to fight the temptations. He prepared for the battle ahead.
He knew that he can’t solely rely on himself in this situation.
Ulysses made a pact between his present self and future self to resist the temptation. He showed a great accountability by not giving into his weaker self.
Two harsh truths about life: no pain, no gain and no risk, no reward.
This One Activity Will Increase Your Accountability
Only a few people see the completion of their dreams. Not because they lack the ability to reach them, but because they lack the discipline to utilize those abilities.
Internal motivation is important to sustain you on your activity for a long period of time. But external drives can fuel your intensity to do your best work.
When the only person who knows about your plans is yourself, you probably won’t feel embarrassed when you fail, as much as when the goal is exposed.
It has been said numerous times but it is worthy to say again — there is no right moment except now. You can’t afford to rely on the waiting game to seize the right moment.
When you leap and take actions today, for sure, there are some areas that are messed up.
You’ll realize some of the things you’ve been doing are wrong. You’ll find out why your strategies aren’t working. You’ll discover that what you know isn’t enough. You’ll see new areas essential to the work you are pursuing.
Nothing of these will be unveiled if you wait for the stars to perfectly align. None of these will be known to you if you want for the genie to magically turn everything the way you want it.
This is life. And the reality is, you only get to know the answers when you start seeking for them.
That happens when you start moving.
You can start the boat moving by MAKING A CONTRACT WITH YOURSELF.
Ulysses gave you an inspiration. You can defeat your future weaker version too.
Make a Contract With Yourself
Many people make poor choices and bad decisions.
Even a person who claims to have a strong willpower will sometimes fail when faced with temptations tailored for him.
You cannot rely on your faltering willpower to help you fuel your goals.
Be inspired from Ulysses. Not to the point of asking somebody to tie you, but to make a contract with yourself to do exactly what you decide to do.
Your version of Ulysses’ Contract gives you a strong force to make the best decision when a crisis comes.
Focus on one thing that you would like to change or improve.
It is wiser to set up small goals that will lead toward your bigger goal. It helps your brain avoid confusion on which task to focus on. It gives you clarity and helps you to devote all your creative juices to it.
Bluma Zeigarnik, a Russian psychologist, commented on mental crowding which he called as Zeigarnik effect:
“Each unfulfilled goal remains active at some level of consciousness, intruding into one’s thoughts and attention, seeking to recapture attention so as to move toward fulfillment. Because of this competition, the persistent intrusions into attention from unfulfilled goals can impair pursuit of other tasks.”
Establish Your Timeline
Identify the length of time for you to achieve that one goal.
Thirty days is a good start to develop habits. As you get better, you can increase the length of time involved.
Malcolm Gladwell shares that world-class performers require thousand hours of deliberate practice to become an elite performer in their field. He said that learning to apply an effortful practice will help you get better in no time.
Of course, thirty days will not make you an expert in your field.
But those thirty days can give you the initial momentum to help you build the right habits. Those habits can usher you toward the level you are aiming for.
K. Anders Ericcson, an academic researcher, shares that in order to get better, one needs the patience to engage in extended periods called “deliberate practice.” This involves practicing the craft, getting feedbacks and criticisms, and seeking for opportunities for “repetition and correction of errors.”
Identify the Stake Involved
Choose a consequence as a result of not doing the activity. To stick to the habit, you should increase the cost of losing it.
You know that if you continue what you’re doing now — good or bad, you will reap the results in the future.
Because future is still far and not tangible, you don’t really feel the impact of it right now. It is not as powerful as when the stake is close to you.
Remember Ulysses? His next destination is death if he fails to do what he ought to do. But you wouldn’t be going to that extreme.
Thomas Schelling had a huge smoking problem. He made a commitment to stop but didn’t succeed as he wished. He developed a contract with himself. He will donate money to the charity he despises if he will not stop at a given time. It turned out that threat is all he needed to quit smoking.
Can you imagine adding to the budget of the organization you hate? You don’t support their values at all. But your failure will actually help them push their agenda.
Another inspiration comes from several doctors that Thomas Schelling helped. These doctors are well-known in their field. Very bright individuals with reputable names.
Yet, their drug addictions are stealing all the good they have. Nobody knows it except them.
To help, Dr. Schelling asked them to write a letter to the medical board confessing about their drug addiction. The letters were given to a friend who will mail it when they relapse. Their failure to resist drugs can lead them to lose their license, their career and reputation as doctors.
What are you willing to stake? hard-earned cash, hard-earned reputation, or hard-earned relationship?
Are you brave enough to challenge yourself?
Do you think you have what it takes to win against the future powerful, yet, inefficient version of you?
Carl’s problem is eating outside often. This habit contributed to his health problems. He gained extra weight. His blood pressure went up. He could feel shortness of breath whenever he walks.
To stop this habit, he started giving tip twice the amount he’s supposed to pay for his meals. Since his financial situation is not stellar at the moment, he had to buy groceries and cook his own meals. To date, he now lost 27 pounds and feeling better than the previous months.
Involving a huge stake to bet on your future performance is difficult. It is a gamble with yourself. It is a test of your endurance and how long you can last.
Seek an Accountability Buddy
To make it stronger, look for a friend or anyone you can trust to help with your accountability project. Inform him of the terms of your contract.
It must be someone who can remind you to stay on track when they see you getting distracted. They can be your family members or close friends.
Stikk is an app that can help you the same way that Dr. Schelling challenged himself. It helps people to design a commitment contracts for themselves. The process is simple, but the execution is challenging.
When other people are involved, it gives you a sense of responsibility and shame. It helps you be more competitive to yourself.
Can you afford to lose on your weaker version?
Can you let the evil within you laugh on your devastating lost?
Holding yourself accountable is possible when you choose to filter the necessary from unnecessary. You learn to devote your money, time and effort to your development.
You Have What It Takes
It is not about accomplishing your grandest goal, but winning over the small objectives leading to that goal.
Winning against your undesirable behavior can provide a lasting impact on your future performance. You will see yourself more engaged on tasks leading to your big goal.
Wilma Rudolph, an Olympic champion, said:
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
It is for your benefit when you limit your freedom especially on things that do not serve you well.
When you take initiative to make yourself accountable, you improve your performance. People respect you for following through what you said.
You establish stronger habits. You gain mastery on the new activity you have. You inspire others to do the same.
In turn, your self-esteem and confidence grow.
You can develop accountability in any task you wish to pursue. Your contract to yourself can give you the kick you need.
In the future, you won’t need a huge stake to push you to work.
You become efficient in your actions. Like Ulysses, you can overcome the voices of temptation that try to lure you.
They can never overpower you because you know how to be accountable. And that accountability is stronger than all their forces combined.
All because you worked hard for it.
Want to Fuel Your Performance?
I’ve created a checklist to help you find out if you are operating based on your inner drives. If you are driven inside, your performance and life become better.