Begin with Why
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If you have been dreading the 7 am alarm and dragging your feet to work, wondering why you signed up for the job, its time to put some pep into your step! No, we’re not suggesting you gulp down power shakes or start the day with pilates and the like (though that would help!)
So where do we begin? Simple. Firstly, having clarity & focus for your goals will help you wake up with purpose, not just to get by the day. Having this “higher purpose” or knowing your “why” will ultimately increase your motivation and self-discipline, in turn helping you to consistently achieve your goals.
“Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to get themselves there.” -Darren Hardy
If you want to see significant improvement, you need to make your goal specific and list down specific actions to take in pursuing that goal. Without a deep appreciation for why the goal is important to you, you will not be motivated to act; instead, you’ll come up with excuses to say “no”. The tipping point? When you want something badly enough or desire significant improvement over the status quo, you will start taking action. Once that happens, the means to achieve an end will be set in motion and run on autopilot mode for as long as you have clarity.
By now you should be able to see that a vague goal will get you nowhere. For example, everyone knows exercise is beneficial but few will stick to a regular exercise plan. Reasons like “It makes me feel healthy”, or “my colleagues are walking 10,000 steps a day” simply won’t cut it. That may explain why we may start with all good intentions to run 2 hours a week only to soon revert back to our old habit of watching online videos the following week. Instead of “it makes me healthier” – make it more specific by stating, for example, how exercise would help reduce backaches and improves joint flexibility for you. In this way, you will see the specific value to your life and start climbing that flight of steps or start work on those house chores without much resistance.
Another way of looking at this is to ask yourself whether you are “interested” or “committed“. John Assaraf put it aptly:
“If you’re ‘interested’, you come up with stories, excuses, reasons, and circumstances about why you can’t or why you won’t. If you’re committed, those go out the window. You just do whatever it takes.”
The difference between being interested and committed is in the word “discipline”. Medium.com writer Anthony Moore believes that discipline is a key ingredient to being successful. And being just “interested” is just not enough fuel to help you reach your goals. You need to be “committed” and disciplined.
In keeping on track to achieving your goals, you may wish to try the following visioning and writing exercise:
- Write in detail about what you want to accomplish & rank how specific it is – anything below a rank of 7 or 8/10 needs fine tuning to be more specific;
- Examine and write down the real intent behind the goal; why does this really matter to you?
- Think and jot down how long it will take;
- Write down specific steps you need to take every day to get you closer to that goal.
Keep this written note with you at all times and read it aloud with vigor twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. Do it consistently over time and believe in it and you will see results.