[ Read time: 4 minutes ]
With 2019 looming closer, we all inevitably begin to reflect on the year that has past. We think about the things we have accomplished, the adversities we have overcome and the relationships developed.
We also think back to the goals we set but never met. The changes to our lives we thought about but never took action on. The gym memberships that are now collecting dust (and debt) and we wonder why the all empowering and all encompassing motivation we had at the start of the year couldn’t bring us through to the end. We wonder why it wasn’t enough?
Motivation is bullshit.
Don’t get me wrong – motivation and inspiration are important. It’s what gets you going (pardon the pun), but it’s not what keeps you going. Everyone can feel motivated. It’s easy. You can walk out of the cinema after watching Forrest Gump and be ‘motivated’ to run a marathon. But do you do it? Maybe – but probably not. The next day, the emotion that you had fades and you revert back to the path of least resistance. You seek comfort over discomfort.
Over the years, many of us have wired our brains to crave comfort. Comfort becomes a habit. Just like how you never have to think about brushing your teeth in the morning and night (I hope) – your brain doesn’t think about picking soda over water, or opting for the couch and netflix over the gym and deadlifts. If you’ve been doing something for years, there is no way a short burst of ‘motivation’ is going to change years of neural programming in your ancient brain. It just doesn’t work like that.
So what’s the answer?
Build DISCIPLINE and you can achieve anything.
Discipline is when you hold yourself to a certain standard or framework of behaviour regardless of any changes in your motivation. You eliminate a connection between action and emotion. You don’t think, you just do – because you’ve told yourself you’re going to do it. You don’t make a decision to go to the gym, you just go. You wake up at 6am every day not because you want to, but because you have to. You turn into a machine. A machine that plows the way forward, 1 inch (or centimeter) at a time toward a clear goal.
Sounds good… but how to do build discipline and how do I use it to reach my goal?
Start with your goal and find your deepest ‘why’. This process will turn your motivation into inspiration. When you can attach a goal to a core part of your sense of identity, it is much less likely that you will forget where and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Break down that goal into a process and list things that need to be done to fulfil that process. When you have your daily actions you will have the answer to what behaviours you must do on a ‘micro’ level to achieve your goals on a ‘macro’ level.
“A wall is built, brick by brick”
Instead of: Go to the gym 3 times a week for 1 hour.
Opt for: Exercise for 10 minutes every day.
Instead of: Eat only healthy salads
Opt for: Have a homemade breakfast ‘super-smoothie’ every day
Instead of: Plank until failure 4 times per week.
Opt for: Do 50 sit ups every morning
Instead of: Do the splits by the end of the year
Opt for: Stretch for 10 minutes a day.
Instead of: Do a speech in front of 100 people to build confidence.
Opt for: Do 1 small thing every day that scares you.
Instead of: Become more mentally strong
Opt for: Take a cold shower first thing in the morning.
Instead of: Don’t be late
Opt for: Wake up to your first alarm every day.
The TAKE AWAY Message:
Find behaviours that you can do every day so that you eliminate the need to make a decision. These behaviours should be only just past your ‘resistance point’ where you feel almost silly if you don’t complete it. Hold yourself accountable to these behaviours. Put your honour and integrity on the line.
Do these behaviours for at least 21 days and you will notice that it no longer requires effort to accomplish. It has become a part of your daily routine. Once you have rewired this behaviour have a couple days rest, then level up (again, to a point only just past your comfort zone).
So for example, if you were doing 15 minutes of exercise per day, increase that to 20 minutes per day for the next 21 days. Gradually, because of sheer volume and consistency you will outwork every one that pushes themselves too hard, too fast.
We’re in this for the long run. Be the tortoise that trudges along no matter what, rather than the hare that burns himself out. If you embrace the long term – you will be slower to start but you will always finish. Rewire your brain to be just 1 percent better every day and by the end of next year you won’t recognise yourself.
So what are you waiting for?
If you’re looking for a bit more guidance on how you can overcome to inner demons and finally stick to your goals: give us a call on 1800 446 464 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we are more than happy to help!