Achieving goals is not a matter of having “discipline”.
It’s a matter of motivating yourself and keeping your focus on your goal. Follow these tips or any combination of them that works for you, and you should have the motivation and focus you need.
#1 Keep track of your progress.
What gets measured gets managed. I use multiple different goal tracking software like Beeminder and Habitica. These websites are not just for me to look back and see how I’m doing. They are there to motivate me to keep up with my goals. If I look at my goals every day and check off my daily to-dos then I will want to make sure I check off everything in order to keep my streaks going. I will think to myself “I better do this today if I want to keep my 20-day streak alive.”
This is a small boost of motivation but trust me it definitely helps. You may prefer to write down goals or have a training log, and these things work just as well. As long as you are keeping track of your progress you will feel more motivated along the way.
If your goal is to lose weight then consistent tracking, even if you have no knowledge of fat-loss or exercise, will often beat advice from world-class trainers.
#2 Build a success fire
I used to use success fires a year ago and I have no clue why I stopped, I recently started one again and it works better than anything else at increasing my motivation. I first heard about this idea in the book the motivation hacker. In the book, it was called a success spiral instead of a success fire. I renamed it because I think it helps explain it better.
Basically, a success fire is an imaginary fire that is fueled by your goals and accomplishments. Every day you achieve your goals the bigger and brighter the fire gets. The bigger your fire is the more you will be able to accomplish because the motivation from your past successes will keep you going. You will get to a point that any goal seems achievable.
The most important part of building a success fire is when you first start it. When you start a real fire you need to use small twigs and kindling, the same is true for a success fire. You should start off with goals that are very easy to achieve, this will be your kindling. If you start off with goals too big that is like putting a huge log on top of your fire. It might burn a little but you will end up smothering and putting out the fire with that log.
Once you have gotten your fire going with all the kindling, you can then start to add in sticks and small pieces of wood. Once you are done doing that your fire should be strong enough to finally handle that big log. Eventually, your fire will be big enough to engulf anything you throw at it and you will feel unstoppable.
#3 Break it into smaller, mini goals
When I start with a new exercise or make any goal for myself I am always excited to start and I overestimate my own capabilities. When you first start you need to remember that you won’t always be as excited as you are about this task right now.
Also, larger goals usually have end dates that are far away. This makes the end goal seem even less achievable. You should make mini goals that act as checkpoints to reward yourself and show that you are on pace for your main goal. Apps like Beeminder help with this.
By starting your goals too high you are making it so you will most likely fail. This is extremely bad for your motivation. If you make your goal too big and fail because of it then you will be building a negative success fire which is not what you want. What you should do instead is set goals that you know you can easily achieve and work your way up from there. So instead of saying “I am going to run 5 miles a day” you should probably start with just one.
This will help you create a very good success spiral that you will use to accomplish any goal.
#4 Keep your goal somewhere visible
By keeping your goal visible you will be constantly reminding yourself of what you need to get done. This will keep you more motivated to do it and it will also help you remember to do it. It would be a shame to let your success fire go out just because you forgot about it.
I prefer to do certain goals in the morning but sometimes I would forget. Then I would need to rush at night because I forgot to do my morning goals. I started to put post-it notes on my computer screen to remind me to do those things before it got too late. Doing this helped increase my ability to do all of my goals better.
#5 Talk about it
If you are really committed to achieving a goal the best way to keep yourself committed it by telling other people about it. Use this tip sparingly though because if you overuse it you won’t get the same effects.
There are many more tricks like this for increasing motivation. These are just some of the ones that worked the best for me. But everyone is different so test them out and find which ones work for you.
If you are interested in increasing your motivation even more, then I would highly suggest reading the book The Motivation Hacker the link to it is below. I also made a post a while ago on the same topic that shares more ways to increase motivation you can read that here.
This book is still my all time favorite book and I have read it 3 times now and I keep learning new things each time. It is a short book but it is full of useful information.
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