M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
Wish you could WANT to do the things that you HAVE to? Struggling to get excited about what you need to do next? I totally get it. Staying motivated is tricky. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons we procrastinate.
That’s why, in today’s update, I thought I’d show exactly how to master motivation. I thought I’d share a small excerpt from chapter 9 (“Beat Procrastination”) of TAoL’s Ultimate Productivity Primer, STOP WORKING HARDER.
The best part? If you enjoy this quick preview, you can…
But for now, if you’re struggling to get motivated…
How To Stay Motivated
Here are three simple steps that might help:
- Rephrase your goals – Change your attitude about what needs to get done;
- Reframe your goals – Reconnect with a reason to take action; and
- Rethink your goals – Consider doing something else.
Let’s double click…
1. How To Rephrase Your Goals.
A simple and powerful way to rekindle motivation for your goals is to change the word “have” into “get”…
|I have to exercise today.||I get to exercise today.|
|I have to organise date night.||I get to organise date night.|
|I have to study for my degree.||I get to study for a degree.|
|I have to save money for kids.||I get to save money for my kids.|
How many everyday things that we turn into chores are actually incredible privileges? How many people would kill to be able to run? Or to have a partner to organise date night with? Or be able to study full time? Or save money? Or have kids?
It’s not a silver-bullet solution, but remembering that each task – that each moment of life – is a privilege can sometimes be all that it takes to rejig your perspective and help you start getting things done.
2. How To Reframe Your Goals.
Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of “why” we do what we do. Or to never really think about it in the first place. Or to have tasks appear on our to-do lists that feel like a pointless distraction.
In that case, it can be helpful to reframe our goals; to take a few moments to connect them to something we do care about…
|↓ Run 20 minutes [M][T][W][T][F]||↓ Spend  hours on assignment|
|↓ Stay healthy and full of energy||↓ Get a good grade|
|↓ Be able to keep up with my kids||↓ Go to a good college|
|o Be the best parent I can be||o Become a doctor|
Don’t worry about tracing every goal back to a lofty and worthwhile mission. You don’t need to cure cancer or find enlightenment (…for now, more on this later).
Just take a quick moment to consciously pause, think and connect. Find a person, goal or character trait that excites you and link the two things in your head.
View each step in isolation and you’ll struggle to keep moving forward. But reframe your goals in the context of a worthwhile journey and you won’t just find it easier to take action, you’ll feel more motivated to get big things done.
3. How To Rethink Your Goals.
A good “why” is essential to action. It’s the motivation that drives any “how”. But what happens if reframing and rephrasing don’t work? What if taking action is actually pointless? Or even harmful?
The answer is simple and obvious. You should stop (or at the very least do less of) whatever you’re doing. You should do that as quickly as possible. And you should think about doing something else.
If you set out to eat at a restaurant and find out half way there it was closed, would you keep driving there anyway just because you’re already on the way? Of course not. You’d quickly switch up to plan-B.
It’s not rocket science. And yet many of us make this mistake every day. We keep working jobs that we hate. We double down on relationships that hurt us. We sustain habits that we know make us sick. We pursue goals that just don’t make sense.
And then we can’t work out why we procrastinate.
So here’s the solution: Review every part of your life and ask one simple question:
“If I wasn’t already doing this, would I start doing it today?”
|If I wasn’t already smoking, would I start smoking again today?|
|If I wasn’t already married to Tim, would I marry him again today?|
|If I wasn’t already working here, would I take the job again today?|
|If I wasn’t already paying for this car, would I pay for it again today?|
If the answer isn’t “Yes!!” (with double exclamation marks) then get out as fast as you can. Revisit the steps in the last section (“How to beat lack of courage”) if you find that thought scary. Invest your new time, space and energy in doing something else.
Stop settling for “Why not?”, stop doing things “just because”, stop chasing goals that no longer make sense and you’ll find it far easier not to procrastinate. You’ll find it far easier to take action. You’ll instantly get way more things done.
Want to learn more about beating procrastination?
And until next time, stay awesome, take action and go well,
Arthur “Why > What > How” Worsley