Ever find yourself off track with your goals and not where you want to be in life?
I get it, trust me.
I’ve been there more times than I care to remember.
But recently, I started working with a business coach and had a long topic on the conversation.
He said the reason I keep getting off track is that I’m acting on my mood. If I don’t feel like writing, working out, or doing client outreach, then I don’t do it. And that might be why you are constantly falling off track as well..
The key is to forget about how you feel and do it anyway.
As Jim Rohn said, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”
You may be lacki ng self-discipline , which can be improved – if you are determined to make it happen .
Your comeback starts now..
1 . Admit You’re Not Where You Want to Be | Get Back On Track
It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself and admit what’s going on.
You can have a conversation with someone you trust or even write down in a journal – honestly & openly, where you currently at in life, what your doing wrong & where you want to be.
Admit there’s a problem and your brain will start working autonomously to find a solution.
If you ignore the problem, it won’t magically get better. In fact, this enforces quitting and will make it worse.
Say what you’re really feeling and then ask yourself.. Why are you feeling this way?
Ask yourself what will happen if you don’t get back on track.. Where will you be in 3 months, 6 months or a year if you don’t change?
Identify your reasons, open yourself up and develop a plan to adapt and overcome.
2 . Stop Thinking, Start Doing | Get Back On Track
As the “world’s most disciplined man” Craig Ballantyne said, “Action beats anxiety, motion beats meditation, work beats worry.”
Sometimes sitting around thinking is the worst thing you can do.
Overthinking drains your energy making the problem feel overwhelming, and is the best way to hold yourself back from taking action.
Instead, take consistent small action.
Every great journey began with a single step.
Action cures perfectionism. It helps you create momentum to keep the ball rolling.
3 . Celebrate Your Victories | Get Back On Track
Let’s say you’re trying to get into the habit of working out but you’ve ditched the resolution and haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a while.
To reignite your fire, keep it simple and start by doing some push ups or bodyweight lunges at home.
Celebrate this small victory. Pat yourself on the back, get excited, and jump around. Change your physiology to change your mindset.
Small victories lead to bigger results. Your brain loves celebration as the feel good chemical dopamine is release, thus ‘training’ your brain to seek more results.
Now think, what other kinds of victories can you get? Start doing anything you’ve been putting off in small doses and then celebrate!
Victories, no matter how big or small, can change your mood and help you keep going. Creating a new habit in the process.
4 . Accountability Is KEY | Get Back On Track
Sometimes you just need someone else to support you on your quest, whether it’s to lose weight, start a business or change the world.
Accountability can be a great way to help you stay disciplined.
Don’t be too proud to enroll in a program or hire a coach to help you stay consistent and maintain productivity.
Over time, discipline does become an automatic habit even when you normally you might of put it off.
Don’t let your lazy brain and feelings get in the way of creating the life of your dreams.
Forget what you feel, remember what you deserve.
If you’re feeling a lack of motivation these days, you’re not alone. The Covid-19 pandemic has sapped the willpower and drive of people across the nation, something psychologists say is a perfectly normal reaction. Fortunately, there are researched-backed ways to jump-start your motivation and get back on track again.
Do you get to the end of the day–or worse, the week–and wonder where the heck the time went and why you don’t have more to show for it?
If this has been happening a lot lately, it’s not just you. The pandemic has disrupted work routines and workplace relationships for nearly everyone. Euphoria at the swift development of effective vaccines has turned to frustration over how long it’s taking to get those vaccines to the people who need them. Then there’s the winter weather affecting much of the country. No wonder so many of us (including me) are feeling grumpy and gloomy and unmotivated at work.
But there are several things you can do that are scientifically proven to improve your mood and get you revved up again. CNBC.com’s Cory Stieg has compiled several of them, all backed up by research. You can find the full list here. These are some of the most effective tactics to try.
1. Create rituals that lift you up, not drag you down.
What do you do when you first get out of bed in the morning? When you quit work in the evening? Rituals are like habits, except that you choose them deliberately rather than just fall into them.
For example, before you start your workday, you could either spend 15 minutes on Facebook or 10 minutes writing in your journal, and another five minutes on a short meditation. Ample research has shown that spending time on Facebook can dramatically worsen your mood or even lead to depression, whereas journal-writing, depending what you write, has a proven potential to make you feel happier. Meditation is even more of a mood-enhancer. Exercising and getting out into nature, even if it’s only a local park, are both proven ways to lift your spirits as well.
The point here is not that you should start each day with journaling and meditation. That combination works for me but something entirely different might work for you. For instance, I can’t seem to make myself exercise in the morning, but it works great for me as a late-afternoon break. The point is that you should consider what daily habits you’re building, and choose ones that both appeal to you and will help improve your frame of mind.
2. Reward yourself.
You deserve a reward. Not only that, rewards are a great motivational tool, one which you can use on yourself. Rewards work best, experts say, if they either happen during a task that you want to accomplish or right afterward. So, for example, I have a good friend I enjoy spending time with and she recently suggested meeting for a weekly walk. Now I get the emotional benefit of spending time with someone whose company I enjoy plus the health benefit of walking three miles.
Or, you can give yourself a small reward for finishing some amount of work. For example, you’ve spent half an hour working intensely on a writing project or you’ve just finished leading a difficult meeting. Now’s the time for a few minutes of R&R, which could be playing your favorite video game, watching a video of your favorite band, or shopping for an item that you really, really want. Whatever it is, it should be something you really enjoy–this is not the time to focus on self-improvement.
3. Make a connection.
The pandemic has been awful in so many ways, but one of them is how much it’s isolated all of us from one another. Humans have a powerful need to gather in groups–that’s pretty much hard-wired into us, and so is the need to connect with other humans, especially friends. In fact, research shows that loneliness and isolation can kill you just as quickly as smoking or obesity.
So fight that isolation by reaching out to someone you care about, someone you enjoy being with. Call them or schedule a video conversation just to catch up. Meet for an outdoor activity or a socially distanced cup of coffee. Even texting with someone you like can lift your spirits.
There’s a small audience of Inc.com readers who receive a daily text from me with a self-care or motivational micro-challenge or thought. Often they text me back and we wind up in an ongoing conversation. (Interested in joining? You can learn more here.) One member of this group combines two of the above suggestions: He has a morning ritual that includes sending a text to a loved one. I think that’s brilliant.
You may need to experiment before you find the right combination of ritual, reward, connection, or other mood-boosting activities that will help you get your mojo back. That experimentation is well worth it. The ongoing pandemic and its economic effects are enough to make anyone feel hopeless and unmotivated. But with the right tools, you can fight back.
They type of motivation driving exercise is key to sustaining it in the long-term.
In the early phases of lockdown, the streets were teeming with runners, and living rooms were a blur of uncoordinated star jumps and lunges. In fact, physical activity levels peaked around mid-to-late May, just before lockdown restrictions began to be eased. Now, after months of fluctuating social restrictions, many people are reporting on social media that theyвЂ™ve suddenly lost their motivation to exercise.
The truth is that motivation is simply returning to normal. The weather was ideal for exercise in April and May, and many of us had more time available to squeeze in a workout. Two major barriers to exercise were removed. Usually, motivation is a battle of different choices. In normal circumstances, exercise fights against many other appealing leisure pursuits, such as going to the pub, the cinema, or spending time with friends. But during the most severe part of the national lockdown, the choice was either to go outside for exercise or stay home all day. The motivational odds shifted in favor of exercise.
Lockdowns around the world also acted in a similar way to a new year, new school term, or birthday. Significant dates and events can disrupt routines and provide a chance to make a fresh start, so many of us began to exercise. But, like new yearвЂ™s resolutions, our motivation steadily faded over time.
The type of motivation needed to start a new behavior is often very different from the motivation needed to sustain one. Most people start exercising because they know itвЂ™s good for them, and outside pressures (such as from TV adverts, or friends) tell them they should. вЂњShould-doвЂќ motives are an effective way to start a new behavior.
But as lockdown eased, barriers to exercise appeared again вЂ“ such as being able to spend time with friends at the pub, or the need to get one’s children ready for school again. Relying on вЂњshould-doвЂќ motives in these scenarios requires considerable mental effort and willpower. Unfortunately, one of the most interesting aspects of human motivation is that we dislike the feeling of effort and willpower and tend to avoid it. The pub, the kids, tiredness, and work all win the battle against exercise. вЂњShould-doвЂќ motives are terrible at sustaining exercise behavior.
Even some people who exercised religiously are reporting the loss of motivation. But again, the type of motivation driving their exercise may explain why this has happened. People who exercise to seek approval from others or to boost their self-esteem often report increased anxiety and body dissatisfaction, despite high levels of exercise. Lockdown (and gym closures) may have increased these negative feelings because the situation meant that people werenвЂ™t getting the compliments and boost to the ego that they sought.
To stop these motivational declines, a dual approach is needed that makes exercise easy in the short-term while developing strong long-term motivation. When it comes to long-term motivation, many psychologists believe your identity is one of the most resilient motivational systems. Identity can often be a vague term and difficult to describe, but put simply, вЂњbeвЂќ goals are more motivating than вЂњdoвЂќ goals. So instead of вЂњdoingвЂќ exercise, focus on вЂњbeingвЂќ someone who exercises.
These вЂњbeвЂќ motives require much less mental effort to act on and you will naturally seek opportunities to demonstrate your вЂњexerciserвЂќ identity. ItвЂ™s less mentally exhausting вЂњbeingвЂќ an exerciser, compared to continuously trying to вЂњdoвЂќ exercise because attention is naturally drawn to opportunities to exercise and away from other temptations. In some ways, this isnвЂ™t fair. Those people who have exercised for years and see themselves as an exerciser find it very easy to be motivated to exercise. Those of us who donвЂ™t view ourselves as exercisers, but want to exercise, require a lot of mental effort and willpower to leave the house.
This process takes some time, so we also need quick motivational fixes while our healthy exerciser identity develops. In the short-term, the guiding principle should be to minimize the effort required to exercise:
- Plan your exercise for when itвЂ™s easiest to do. For many, this may mean exercising as soon as possible in the day before temptations, and obstacles that require effort to overcome begin to appear.
- Make it easy to exercise. Get your sportswear out of the drawer and ready the evening before. Plan exercise that does not require travel to a specific venue. Do as many things as you can beforehand so that, when the time comes, starting your workout is easy.
- Break the process of exercising into chunks. For example, getting changed into sportswear only require a little effort. Stepping out of the door only requires a little effort. Before you know it, itвЂ™s harder to not exercise than to exercise.
- Do what you enjoy. ItвЂ™s simple and requires minimal motivation to repeat the exercise that felt good. If you find yourself wanting to jump rope or dance instead of lifting weights or jogging, itвЂ™s better to do what you want to do and requires a lot less mental effort than trying to force yourself to do something you think you should do.
While many of us arenвЂ™t looking forward to furthering social restrictions, this might give us another opportunity to develop a healthier lifestyle. A focus on вЂњbeingвЂќ an exerciser and minimizing mental effort will lead to fewer sudden declines in exercise motivation over the long term.
This article was originally published on The Conversation by Ian Taylor at Loughborough University. Read the original article here.
December 5, 2017
Alright, I’ll come clean: As hard as I try to stick to my diet and exercise routine, sometimes I fail. Many people think that because I’m a personal trainer I have a perfect diet and never miss a workout. Actually, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth!
As a husband, father, trainer, speaker, and business owner I have the craziest schedule. One night I could be in Dallas, Texas with expert trainer Mike Harper rocking his orientation, and the next day flying to New York City for a segment on Fox and Friends.
Sometimes my schedule gets the best of me and I fall off track. Over the last few weeks my workouts have reduced by 50% in frequency, and when I do work out I haven’t been as focused. I never “blow it out” with my nutrition, but it has been consistently off track.
But I’m not ashamed to tell you any of this. I know many of you go through the same struggles that I do—trust me when I say you’re not alone.
There will always be times when we fall off track from our goals and progress. Keep your psychology strong by realizing that you’re only a failure if you stop trying. You don’t have to be perfect or flawless, you just have to commit to the endless pursuit of your goals.
For those times when you’re feeling off, use the following four tips in my “Get Back on Track” formula!
1. Set a goal with a timeline. Solidify your goals by committing to a schedule. For example, I had to re-motivate myself earlier this year by scheduling our Burn Athlete photo shoot. If it’s time for you to take your fitness to the next level, then put it on the schedule. You’ll feel more committed to meeting every goal.
2. Be more grateful. When things get overwhelming, sometimes all we need to do is to open our eyes and fix our focus! Take time to step back and appreciate the good in your life. You are blessed in so many ways. Maybe your body isn’t where you’d like it to be, maybe you’re highly stressed at work, or maybe your eating habits aren’t consistent. But take some time to recognize the progress that you’ve made. Trade your expectations for appreciation and you’ll change your state of mind instantly.
3. Drink meal replacement smoothies. While meal prepping is hugely beneficial to building healthy eating habits, sometimes you get sick and tired of cooking and eating the same things, right? Here are 25 all-natural protein smoothie recipes that will help you to switch up your routine while still getting your protein in.
4. Modify your inputs. What are you doing between the hours of 5 pm and 10 pm? I find that this is when success happens. Many people are tuned into their phones and TVs in the evenings watching other people’s lives from afar. I live by the “No Extra Time Rule,” or the NET Rule. By filling up all the time that I’m awake with good inputs like healthy food, effective workouts, self-improvement newsletters, books, and working on my passion I have no extra time for bad inputs. Refusing to allow bad inputs like reality TV or endless Facebook feed scrolling can change your life. You must stand guard at your brain every single day and control your inputs!
I hope my tips will be helpful for you the next time you feel like you’ve fallen off track. When you start with Burn Boot Camp or any other fitness program, you will eventually lose that initial motivation. That’s only natural.
That’s okay, though, because if you’re truly passionate and dedicated to achieving your goals, that motivation will come back like clockwork!
You’re on a roll going to the gym 6x per week, killing your workouts and eating healthy. You’re feeling good, you’re doing good and thinking good! You’re on top of everything and life just feels like it’s going great.
Then sh*t hits the fan, you have a bad day at work, you have an argument with your significant other so you decide to have few drinks and eat a bad meal plus dessert. The next day you feel guilty and that leads you to continue to eat bad the entire day. Then that bleeds into your week and you continue eating bad and since you’re not on top of your nutrition you decided to skip out on the gym. So now a bad day has turned in to a bad week and now weeks later you find yourself unmotivated and discouraged because all your hard work has gone to “waste” and you don’t know how to get back on track.
We have all been there and getting started again is always hard so if this resonates with you and you’ve been in this position before or you’re currently in this funk then below are some of my tips to help you get back on track!
My Tips To Getting Back On Track:
Pinpoint the reason you fell off track. It’s important to be aware of the reason you stopped staying consistent so you can address it and not let it happen again. Was it because you didn’t “have” time to go to the gym or meal prep?
Did you get lazy?
Did you lose motivation?
Did you start eating out more?
Did you stop seeing results?
Did you stop making your goals a priority?
Maybe you have 1 specific reason why you fell off track or maybe you have more than 1. Be honest with yourself and write down all the reasons you fell off track so you know exactly what to NOT DO the next time around!
Write down your goals. Give yourself the time and space to really think about what it is that you want and write it down. This is important because now you can visually see your goals. Remember to make your goals measurable and clearly defined. Don’t just write down the goal but also how you intend to do it. For example:
“ I want to lose 10 lbs by this date _________ and I’m going to do that by going to the gym 4x per week and tracking my caloric intake every day to make sure I’m eating the proper amount of food.”
Don’t wait for the stars to align and for everything to be perfect to get started. Sometimes we think we cant commit because other areas of our life aren’t perfect. Well, things won’t ever be perfect and you won’t always feel “ready” to get started again so just do it.
Slowly get back into it. It’s especially hard to get back on track when you feel overwhelmed by how much you need to do so start small and work your way up. If you were going to the gym 6x per week before you fell off track then start by committing to 3 days then the following week increase that to 4 and so on.
Hold yourself accountable. If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT! Don’t cheat yourself by not sticking to your word. Your word and the promises you make to yourself are extremely important. Put action behind your words and commit no matter what obstacles you face or how you’re feeling. Prove to yourself that you can and will accomplish the things you set out to do, even the little things.
Remember Newton’s 1st Law: “An object at rest remains at rest, or if in motion, remains in motion.” I like to remind myself of this as soon as I start slowing down or losing motivation. When you’re on a roll going to the gym and eating healthy it’s easy to STAY on a roll. Once you fall off track it’s harder to get back on it. When you notice you’re starting to slow down or slack off just remind yourself of this. It’ll be 10x harder to get back on track instead of quickly snapping out of it and staying on track. Stay in motion!
Remember that this is a JOURNEY, not a destination. You will fall off track many, many times but the important part is to always get back to it. Don’t be too hard on yourself for falling off, it happens to all of us. The will be ups and downs and many detours but just don’t stop and don’t quit.
We have all fallen off track and “messed up”. It’s even happened to all your favorite fitness inspo’s and the people you look up to. It’s easier to just quit but if you’re reading this I know you’re not someone that likes to take the easy way out. It’s hard to get back on track but if you are committed to your goals you know that the journey won’t be easy all the time. Some days will be great and others you will feel like you’re falling behind but as long as you keep grinding it out and moving forward you’ll learn to embrace every stage in your journey!
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It happens to everyone.
There you are, not as motivated as you were the day before, the week before, the month before or [fill in the blank]. You, simply put, become complacent, and your goals and dreams, even if it’s for a short period of time — which can be hard to bounce back from — start drifting away. You become — in one word — unmotivated.
No matter how much success you have achieved in the past or are trying to achieve in the present/future, you have likely become unmotivated at one point or another. The key is to gain back your lost motivation as soon as possible, because the longer you stay in a funk, the longer you are stuck in place, not tackling your dreams, and the further away you begin to drift away from them.
If you can relate, and we know you can, fellow entrepreneurs, then you will appreciate the treat we have in store for you today. How can you get back on track with your goals when you are feeling unmotivated? For starters, you can take a bite out of the advice below.
How To Get Back On Track With Your Goals When You Are Feeling Unmotivated
- Think Back To Your Darkest Hour
- Revisit Your Goals, And Seek Inspiration In The Process
- Change Things Up A Bit
- Go On A Vacation
- Ask Yourself This Question: Is This What I Want To Be Remembered For?
Think Back To Your Darkest Hour
The best way to get back on track with your goals? Think back to your darkest hour, when you were really in the (metaphorical) dumps. Think back to how you felt then, whether this occurrence happened years before or is sitting in the near past.
Just remember how desperate you were for an opportunity to make your dreams come true, and how you would have done anything to get out of that current state, which likely consisted of you not making as much money as you would have liked (or having very little income in general), you working at a dead-end job or something along those lines.
While it’s always best to have a positive outlook on life, sometimes it’s best — and certainly motivating — to look back at a time when you came face-to-face with your darkest hour, a place you never want to visit again. If you don’t want to go back to this evil place, then take the simple route, which is gaining back your motivation and getting back on track.
Revisit Your Goals, And Seek Inspiration In The Process
One of the easiest ways to get back on track with your goals is by revisiting them. It’s easy to forget about your goals if you aren’t looking at them every day, so force them back into your life. Let these goals be your inspiration, and start enjoying the process of achieving them once again.
If you are unmotivated, then you have to search for inspiration before you get too far off track of your current journey, and sometimes finding the path back is as simple as revisiting your goals.
Reminder: It’s okay to make adjustments or change up the deadlines along the way. The key is to not put your goals on the back burner altogether.
Change Things Up A Bit
Tired of the path you are traveling along on a daily basis? Change things up a bit! It’s okay to make adjustments.
Instead of doing your work during the first eight hours of the day, take a long break in the middle, and do something you love to do during said long break (perhaps going to the gym, reading a book, catching a movie, hanging out with your friends, etc.). Maybe start doing some of your work at night, or in the morning — if you have always been a night owl. Start by tackling your goals first thing in the morning instead of waiting until all of your work-work is done.
The key? Change up your current process. Make some adjustments, whether they are minor or major. This is your life, and you have the ability to change it up and shape it however you would like — and you should.
Go On A Vacation
Sometimes a vacation or weekend getaway is the perfect way to gain back your motivation when you are feeling burned out.
If you can relate to these signs, then you likely are due for a vacation.
It’s okay to take a step back from your goals and work from time to time. After all, people are not machines, and they need breaks early and often as a result. Plus, if you haven’t taken a vacation in what feels like a lifetime, or you can’t remember the last time you had a day off, then what’s the point? It’s okay to have fun during this lifetime even when you have lofty goals.
A vacation alone could help you gain back your motivation thanks to its power to make you feel refreshed.
Ask Yourself This Question: Is This What I Want To Be Remembered For?
When you are stuck in a rut, or are simply going through the motions, or are feeling unmotivated, or everything in between, ask yourself this question: Is this what I want to be remembered for?
Is what you are doing right now what you want to be remembered for? Are you happy with your current legacy, and the direction it is going in? If you can honestly answer yes to that question, then by all means keep doing what you are currently doing. However, if you know there is more to your life (more meaning can and should be had), then do something about it.
The best way to do that is by either getting back on track with your goals, or making new goals altogether. Both are acceptable avenues (although you don’t want to change your goals all of the time when you haven’t achieved them quite yet).
“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” — Jim Rohn
Whether you like it or not, people are going to remember you for who you are, not who you want to be. Therefore, if you want to be remembered as a successful entrepreneur, business owner or whatever it might be, start becoming that person, start doing what that person would do.
To learn more about Kevin Harrington, make sure you like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and check him out on LinkedIN. You can also check out more blogs by following this link.
One of the hardest parts of being a solopreneur is getting yourself out of a rut. You know what I mean – you get behind on some projects and start adding more items to your to-do list and before you know it you’re overwhelmed.
Or you have a task you don’t really want to do so you’ve been putting it off. But you keep worrying about it. Before you know it all you can think about is this task and how you’re not doing it and your entire productivity is out the window.
Or you’ve been working on a big project for a client and letting things go in your office. Now there’s stacks of clutter on and around your desk.
You’re finished the project but you don’t “have time” to tidy. Each time you sit down to work you get distracted. You file one thing, then check your email, surf the net, get back to what you’re working on and … You feel like you have ADD. You can’t focus on anything. Nothing’s getting done.
Or you can be in true entrepreneurial hell and have all three going on – like I am right now. So what’s a poor entrepreneur to do to get out of a rut?
Get back to basics!
This is where having a coach can help you get yourself unstuck, by reminding you what works. If you don’t have a coach, you can still get yourself out. The key is to remind yourself what worked in the past.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time you have routines – things you do that keep you motivated and help you manage all the things you need to do to keep your business running. The problem is that periodically we forget them. For a while I thought it was just me. That somehow I was stupider than the average entrepreneur.
Then I joined a group coaching program. We had biweekly calls to talk about issues we needed help with. What amazed me most is during each call I’d discover that everyone else was going through the same thing as I was. These were incredible, successful people – I was in awe of some of them. And yet they all got stuck sometimes and needed to be reminded how to work productively.
It doesn’t really matter what set you off – an illness, a heavy workload, the full moon. The key is to recognize you’re off track and decide to take action.
Put On Your Thinking Cap
When you’re in that terrible place where you’re busy-busy-busy but nothing’s getting done, stop for a moment. Like they say in 12-step programs, the first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem.
Once you’ve recognized the problem, take a moment to congratulate yourself for recognizing that you’re off track. You’ve probably been beating yourself up mentally for not being more productive so stop it now. This is just part of the cycle of business.
Take a Break
Sometimes getting off track is the result of working too hard for too long. If you’ve been a slave driver to yourself, give yourself permission to take some time to walk away from your business.
Maybe it’s just an hour to go to the gym. Maybe it’s an afternoon to curl up with a trashy novel. Maybe it’s an entire weekend off to spend with your family. If burnout is the cause of your troubles, take the time to take care of yourself. You’re not getting anything done anyway and by taking a break you’ll likely come back and more than make up for the time you took off.
Write it Down
What if you’ve already taken the day off (or more) and you still can’t get anything done? You may have too many things going on in your head to keep track of. Write them down. You’ll stop worrying about forgetting something and be able to focus on the task at hand. Once they’re down on paper, create a plan. Create action steps and deadlines for each of the items you’ve written down.
If you’re telling yourself you don’t have time to plan – stop it. You don’t have time NOT to plan. What you’ve been doing isn’t working, so create a plan.
Remember my post reminding you to get your goals done for the second quarter of 2008? Guess who didn’t do her third quarter goals? Is it any wonder I’ve been struggling to get things done? Of course I know in my head where I want to go and what I want to accomplish, but they’re swimming around in my head distracting me. I need to write them down so I can free up space in my head and actually work.
Cross Some Off
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I have a bad habit of planning to do more than I could ever realistically complete in a day, week or quarter. If you’ve written things down and created a plan but are still stuck, look at your plan with critical eyes. Have you put too much on your plate?
Last quarter I completed my goals and plan but was still spinning my wheels. Then a friend gently asked if maybe I wasn’t trying to do too much. I took a second, harder, look at my goals and realized she was right. I took my book off my goals for the first quarter and told myself I wasn’t going to work on it for three months. And guess what? By crossing it off my list, I suddenly became the Energizer bunny.
When you work alone, you don’t have any outside motivation – like a boss – to keep you going. If you’re still struggling, find someone outside yourself to keep you motivated. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure as an entrepreneur – it just means you’re human.
Tell a coach, a friend, a colleague or your mother what you’re planning to do, and by when, and ask them to check back with you. You’ll be surprised about how having this outside source can keep you on track
Just do it
Finally, take action – any action. It’s like riding a bicycle. It takes more energy to get the bike moving from a complete stop than it does to keep it in motion. Your business is just the same. Take one action. It doesn’t matter so much what it is as long as you start it and complete it. You’ll find the second is easier. And the third.
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Loughborough University
Ian Taylor does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Loughborough University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.
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In the early phases of lockdown, the streets were teeming with runners and living rooms were a blur of uncoordinated star jumps and lunges. In fact, physical activity levels in the UK peaked around mid-to-late May, just before lockdown restrictions began to be eased. Now, after months of fluctuating social restrictions, many people are reporting on social media that they’ve suddenly lost their motivation to exercise.
The truth is that motivation is simply returning to normal. The UK weather was ideal for exercise in April and May, and many of us had more time available to squeeze in a workout. Two major barriers to exercise were removed. Usually, motivation is a battle of different choices. In normal circumstances, exercise fights against many other appealing leisure pursuits, such as going to the pub, the cinema, or spending time with friends. But during the most severe part of the national lockdown, the choice was either to go outside for exercise, or stay home all day. The motivational odds shifted in favour of exercise.
Lockdowns around the world also acted in a similar way to a new year, new school term, or birthday. Significant dates and events can disrupt routines and provide a chance to make a fresh start, so many of us began to exercise. But, like new year’s resolutions, our motivation steadily faded over time.
The type of motivation needed to start a new behaviour is often very different to the motivation needed to sustain one. Most people start exercising because they know it’s good for them, and outside pressures (such as from TV adverts, or friends) tell them they should. “Should-do” motives are an effective way to start a new behaviour.
But as lockdown eased, barriers to exercise appeared again – such as being able to spend time with friends at the pub, or the need to get ones children ready for school again. Relying on “should-do” motives in these scenarios requires considerable mental effort and willpower. Unfortunately, one of the most interesting aspects of human motivation is that we dislike the feeling of effort and willpower and tend to avoid it. The pub, the kids, tiredness and work all win the battle against exercise. “Should-do” motives are terrible at sustaining exercise behaviour.
Even some people who exercised religiously are reporting loss of motivation. But again, the type of motivation driving their exercise may explain why this has happened. People who exercise to seek approval from others or to boost their self-esteem often report increased anxiety and body disatisfaction, despite high levels of exercise. Lockdown (and gym closures) may have increased these negative feelings because the situation meant that people weren’t getting the compliments and boosts to their ego that they sought.
To stop these motivational declines, a dual approach is needed that makes exercise easy in the short-term while developing strong long-term motivation. When it comes to long-term motivation, many psychologists believe your identity is one of the most resilient motivational systems. Identity can often be a vague term and difficult to describe, but put simply, “be” goals are more motivating than “do” goals. So instead of “doing” exercise, focus on “being” someone who exercises.
These “be” motives require much less mental effort to act on and you will naturally seek opportunities to demonstrate your “exerciser” identity. It’s less mentally exhausting “being” an exerciser, compared to continuously trying to “do” exercise, because attention is naturally drawn to opportunities to exercise and away from other temptations. In some ways this isn’t fair. Those people who have exercised for years and see themselves as an exerciser find it very easy to be motivated to exercise. Those of us who don’t view ourselves as exercisers, but want to exercise, require a lot of mental effort and willpower to leave the house.
Doing activities you like will help motivate you to exercise. Rawpixel.com/ Shutterstock
This process takes some time, so we also need quick motivational fixes while our healthy exerciser identity develops. In the short-term, the guiding principle should be to minimise the effort required to exercise:
Plan your exercise for when it’s easiest to do. For many this may mean exercising as soon as possible in the day before temptations and obstacles that require effort to overcome begin to appear.
Make it easy to exercise. Get your sportswear out of the drawer and ready the evening before. Plan exercise that does not require travel to a specific venue. Do as many things as you can beforehand so that, when the time comes, starting your workout is easy.
Break the process of exercising into chunks. For example, getting changed into sportswear only require a little effort. Stepping out the door only requires a little effort. Before you know it, it’s harder to not exercise than to exercise.
Do what you enjoy. It’s simple and requires minimal motivation to repeat exercise that felt good. If you find yourself wanting to jump rope or dance instead of lifting weights or jogging, it’s better to do what you want to do, and requires a lot less mental effort than trying to force yourself to do something you think you should do.
While many of us aren’t looking forward to further social restrictions, this might give us another opportunity to develop a healthier lifestyle. A focus on “being” an exerciser and minimising mental effort will lead to fewer sudden declines in exercise motivation over the long term.
How to Get Back on Track When You Fall Behind on Your Business Goals
Have you fallen behind on your rank advancement and income goals, but not sure how to get back on track? In this episode I’m sharing my best tips for how to get refocused, re-motivated and create momentum in your business if you’re feeling behind.
In each episode of the Freedom Factor I like to provide you with a powerful free resource to help you get more out of our time together.
I know how frustrating and overwhelming it can feel to be behind on your goals… and I’ve found the simplest way to get past that feeling and into action is with a few simple questions that help you identify where you are now, and how to move forward QUICKLY. I call it my simple goal setting worksheet, and it’s guaranteed to help you get refocused, re-motivated and help you get back on track with any goal QUICKLY.
You can download the worksheet for free by clicking on the image above, or just click here.
For every goal I’ve achieved in life and business, I can think of at least 10 I haven’t achieved… or didn’t achieve as quickly as I planned. Too many people avoid setting goals because they get hung up on, “What if I don’t reach them?” — when the attitude you should have it, “Even if I don’t hit my deadline, I know by setting this goal I will be farther along than if I just sit here.”
You won’t always hit every goal on time… but this should inspire you to set bigger, bolder goals because it means you have nothing to lose! Even if you don’t get as far as you want as quickly as you want, you still win if you move forward at all. And every win, big or small, is worth celebrating!
I talk more about my goal setting philosophy inside the episode, so Be sure to listen to the podcast for all the details.
That being said, there are a few simple strategies you can use if you’re falling behind on a goal, to help you get refocused, re-motivated and back on track ASAP. So let’s dive in:
Revisit Your Why
It sounds simple, but if you’re lacking motivation, focus and discipline in any goal-achieving endeavor, it almost always can be traced back to your why. A strong vision pulls you despite any excuses, obstacles or roadblocks you may encounter.
It will inspire you, motivate you, and help you brush off the negative things that happen on the road to achieving your goal. If you’re struggling with motivation, discipline or focus… revisit your why and make sure it’s rock solid. I talk more about HOW to do this inside the episode.
Take Control of Your Day
As humans our default setting is to be in reactive mode. We wake up immediately reacting to the alarm clock blaring in our ear, to the demands of our calendar, our families, our boss, and the things screaming at us in our environment.
An essential part of achieving goals is to be able to move forward proactively — staying on course and taking control of your schedule, daily actions and habits.
This starts with a strong morning routine… which I talk about extensively in Episode 30.
Identify Your Action Steps
When I first started setting goals in my business I would get SO fired up about the end result. I would focus on the destination, and overlook the steps required to get me there. This resulted in a lot of frustration and missed goals… because even though I had my goals written down on paper, I failed to take the actions required to achieve them.
Inside the podcast episode I break down how to identify and execute the most important action steps that will help you get the most bang for your buck — in other words, I show you how to get the MOST results with the LEAST amount of effort. Pretty cool, huh? Be sure to listen in!
Give Yourself a Reward
An important part of any goal is deciding how you will celebrate when you get there. Our brains are hardwired to move toward rewards… so give yourself a prize for achieving your goal, no matter how small it is!
Inside the podcast episode I share some examples of “win rewards” I’ve given myself over the years to help inspire you to create your own!
Looking for a little more help to get back on track with your business goals? Download my Simple Goal Setting Worksheet to get refocused, re-motivated and into action QUICKLY!
Additional Resources That Will Help You
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