The question is - how do we achieve these seemingly impossible aspirations?
Unless you have a foolproof way to win the lottery (please contact me immediately if you do).
Or if you suddenly develop superhuman powers (please contact me regarding this as well), you are going to have to work long and hard to achieve these things.
And the issue with working long and hard is the fact that this requires massive amounts of determination, motivation, focus, discipline and coffee.
So, how do we create an environment that will allow us to develop these constantly fleeting skills instead of taking the more compelling option of watching reruns of Seinfeld all day?
1. Surround Yourself with Positive People
You’re not going to get anything done if you’re constantly surrounded by people who are shooting down anything you say or who sit around and mope all day while playing the violin.
The mind can be a very fragile creature and when you are in an environment where your ideas are oftentimes belittled or met with cynicism or skepticism, you will be very compelled to give up on everything and join your friend with the violin.
Surround yourself with people who are going to empower you and make you feel great. If I have a great idea, I want it to be greeted with enthusiasm and constructive suggestions.
What I don’t want is to be told that I am going to develop testicular cancer followed by a vengeful tornado ripping through my home if I act on that idea.
2. Hold Yourself and Have Others Hold You Accountable
If getting things done was as simple as making a grand proclamation then we would all look like supermodels, have more money than Saudi Arabian oil princes and the only thing cigarettes would be used for would be to poison vermin.
It’s really easy to announce something, it’s much harder to actually do it.
That’s why you’re going to have to hold yourself accountable to the things you do and don’t do. If your plan is to go to the gym three times a week and you only go twice, you need to have someone there who will beat you with a (metaphorical) stick for not going.
You need someone who is not going to let you get away with settling for mediocrity.
It’s ridiculously easy to convince ourselves not to do something that we don’t want to do (e.g. “Go to the gym again? Actually, I already worked out once this year so I’m good!”). On the other hand, it’s much harder to convince someone else of the same thing.
So, if you don’t trust yourself to hold yourself accountable, get someone else to help you with that. That’s another bonus of having positive friends.
3. Find the Purpose in Whatever You're Doing
It’s really easy to lose all motivation and give up on something when you just don’t see the point of doing it.
For instance, why would you clean the entire house if you know that a parade of stampeding horses is going to gallop through it the next day?
That’s why it’s so crucial to just sit down and think about why you’re doing what you’re doing. How does it benefit you?
How does it improve your life? What does it teach you? Come up with compelling answers to these questions and you’ll stay motivated and determined.
4. Keep Track of All Your Accomplishments
Any big goal consists of many much smaller accomplishments.
For instance, if you want to lose 894 pounds before Thanksgiving (the big goal), you’re going to have to eat right and exercise.
To eat right, you’re going to have to come up with a diet, actually stick to that diet and burn down your local McDonald’s.
To exercise, you’re going to have to come up with an exercise routine and actually follow through with it.
And any one of these things you have to do can be broken down into a million smaller tasks – or smaller “wins.”
These small wins are absolutely integral to getting our lazy asses to stay motivated and inspired as they make us feel like we are actually accomplishing something. You just have to realize you’re accomplishing something in the first place!
5. Do Something for 21 Days Straight
Research shows that it takes 21 days to develop a habit.
So, whether you want to wake up earlier each day, drink less alcohol or do a jumping jack every time someone says the word ‘currycomb’ then you will only have to really struggle for 21 days.
What sounds more achievable – working out for 21 days or working out every day for the rest of eternity?
Whatever that big audacious goal that you’re ever-so eagerly starting to work towards, just remember that working towards that goal will become second nature to you in less than a month.
The issue is actually doing that thing for 21 days straight, which leads me to my next point…
6. Break Out of Autopilot
We all set goals for ourselves - the issue is that thing called life somehow keeps getting in the way.
For instance, I set a goal of taking the stairs every time I leave my building in an effort to naturally become more active. A couple months after setting that goal, I had won the lottery an equal amount of times as I had used the stairs.
What was the reason behind this? Was it due to the extremely likely reason of having had broken both my legs while absconding to the South of France with a gaggle of gorgeous supermodels and thus could only take the elevator, or was it just because I was really lazy?
Actually, I could just never remember to take the stairs. It was that simple.
The problem is, we are so used to doing things a certain way that we run through everything while on autopilot.
We get into a set routine and can’t break out of it – not because we don’t want to, but just because we’re so damn used to it that we forget there are other options. That’s why it’s so important to set reminders for yourself in and around your environment.
Whether it’s through signs plastered all around your home reminding you to stay positive, a pair of running shoes sitting by your door to remind you to go running or by having an alarm go off at 7pm everyday reminding you to stop eating, try it out and see how it works for you.
The (Not-So) Epic Conclusion
And that, my friend, is how you can achieve virtually anything you set your mind to.
The secret is in actually setting your mind to it!
It may not be the easiest thing in the world, it may take some work and you may have to shift some things around in your life – but you can bet your diamond-encrusted cubicle that it’s going to be worth it!
|Written on 10/14/2012 by Oren. Oren writes at Sarcastic Health, where he shows you how to stay healthy and happy in a demanding world without throwing you into a boredom-induced coma. He also runs Patch Hero, a health supplements store focused on vitalizing your life. Use the coupon code ‘DUMBMAN’ to get a 20% discount on all products!.|