If you’re looking to ‘crush it’ in life, you not only need motivation but you also need to start looking for a fuel source that will last a tad bit longer. That’s right, discipline is what makes or breaks people. Motivation is easy. Anyone can be motivated by a goal or an idea, but it takes energy to do the necessary work. We always hear people talking about how they need to find motivation, but we never hear anyone talking about how they need to find discipline, and this here is the fundamental error.
Building discipline is done by forming core habits that will advance you in whatever goals you have set. Building habits are done so that we do not have to rely solely on willpower to get things done. Willpower is also a limited resource and runs out throughout the day as we face the challenges of life. Taking out the trash requires willpower, fulfilling your responsibilities at work requires willpower, even cooking food requires willpower. You can’t hope to accomplish the huge amounts of things you will need to do in order to reach your goals solely on willpower. We are after all human.
Habits are the key to staying motivated long-term because they don’t require the expenditure of a lot of willpower. Once you form a new habit the task becomes a faculty of the subconscious mind, and will not tax your willpower. You’ll find yourself doing the necessary actions for your success habitually if you can manage to form the right habits. Do you have to expend a lot of willpower to brush your teeth or take a shower every day? In the same way that you handle these day-to-day activities, you’ll handle your most important objectives. Once you form the core habits needed to accomplish your goals, your success will be inevitable.
I can only speak for myself, but overall motivation tends to be easier to make a commitment when things are meaningful to me and really align well with who I am and who I want to be, versus trying to commit to opportunity ignited by external influences. The challenge is knowing what is meaningful to you. Not what society says should be important, not what your family or friends say should be important, but what you determine to be truly meaningful. Now, I’m not telling you to disregard what your family and friends say, but you have to make the final call and when you do it has to be true to you. Here are a few ways you can stick with staying motivated and instilling discipline:
Clearly Define Goals
The problem most people have is that they don’t set the right goals. In order to increase your chances of actually accomplishing your resolution, set SMART goals. Goals need to have Specific outcomes. Otherwise, it’s easy to make up excuses or shift when circumstances change. You need to have a way of Measuring your results. This way, you can gauge your progress and stay motivated. Goals need to be realistic and Achievable. Otherwise, you’ll lose focus and drop off early on in the process. Good goals are Relevant. If a goal is irrelevant, you don’t really have any motivation to keep chasing it when your schedule gets busy. Goals should be Time-bound. A goal needs to have a defined end date.
It’s one thing to have a goal like, “I want to lose 25 pounds by December 31st.” It’s another thing to state, “I want to lose 2 pounds per month, every month this year.” The latter gives you something to work with. You need to lose 2 pounds every month, which keeps you on point. If your only goal is to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, it’s easy to put things off until October or November or never.
If you’re a visual person, you need to keep a calendar with reminders on it. Find a calendar that you like, hang it on your wall, and place little notes and progress reports on it. This allows you to look ahead and see what needs to be done during any given week or month in order to help you realize your resolution for the year.
Allow for Flexibility
One common problem people have is that they feel as if their resolutions are all or nothing. In other words, if they can’t fully check something off the list, they won’t do it at all. This is a dangerous way of thinking and you need to avoid it. The difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge. The bottom line is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.
Find an Accountability Partner
When someone else is aware of your goals and resolutions, you’re much more likely to stick with them. Connect with someone you trust and ask them to hold you accountable. Those close to you might be willing to give you a pass when you want to slack, so consider connecting individuals with similar goals. You’ll might find yourself even more motivated to not let them down because you know they need the support just as much.
written for Cliff Original by Frederick Entenmann, Best-Selling Author, Health & Wellness Consultant, Life Performance Coach for CEOs and Professional Athletes, Founder of Mind-Body-Life. Frederick is a former professional athlete who is a leader in the fields of corrective, high-performance exercise kinesiology, mind and body holistic health.