Everyone wants to change something about themselves. It’s true. Please let me begin by telling you that I would like nothing more than sitting on my couch with a plateful of corn dogs. I love corn dogs. But at the moment, I can’t afford to lounge around and eat corn dogs every day. My dream, as weird as it may be, can’t happen unless I take it upon myself to start to change how I live my life. You see, it’s up to you to motivate yourself. Do you want success? Do you want to be successful? I certainly do. How about you?
1. To begin, you need to make a promise with yourself. You need to make a commitment. You need to feel confident that you can make this happen. Don’t feel intimidated by your plan. Keep your eyes on the goal. You need to actualize your plan to start, and if you’re intimidated, you won’t go anywhere.
2. Keep your plans for success simple. Don’t make it overly complicated. You know, you want to lose 10 pounds, and you start out counting calories, sign up for a gym membership and try to run 5 miles from the get-go. That’s not how it works! We can dream as big as we want, but we need to start out small. You know what people say: Baby steps. And you have no idea how true it is. Try running a mile, then 1.5 miles, 2 miles, and clean up your eating habits slowly — like drinking seltzer instead of soda, using smaller plates, snacking on popcorn instead of chips.
3. Clarity is key. Be clear about your goals and don’t try to add loopholes that you can “exploit” when the going gets tough. Remember, this is to make your life better. This investment will pay dividends after you get in the habit of doing things. If you’re going to save $5,000, then make sure you’re clear about expenditures and where you want the money kept. How much will you be putting into the account every month? Will it be every week? Every month? Do you want to make investments? Will you be withdrawing from the account at any moment? When you’re clear from the start, there won’t be any “gray areas” for you to muddle about in.
4. Be consistent. Consistency is what will make it a habit. Do it every single day. If you’re going to save $5,000, adding $100 to the account here and there won’t get you to your goal. If you’re going to lose 10 pounds, going to the gym when you feel like it won’t get you anywhere close.
5. Always be motivated. When you start your habits to actualize your goal, you feel like you can do it every day. You’ll notice that your enthusiasm peters off towards the end of the week. Then you feel like nothing is happening, but that’s not true at all. Find motivation in knowing that you are getting close to your goal with every step you take, every time you wake up, every conscious decision you make. If you’d like, you can find a role model — someone who can motivate you. I look up to James Altucher. He motivates me to keep going with my habits to achieve success.
5. A way to be consistent and find motivation in your path to forming your habit is creating a small quota every day. If you want to lose 10 pounds, run at least a miles today and eat 2,000 calories. Don’t go over, because you’ve set a rollback — whenever you go over your limit, you have to subtract it from the next day’s quota. So if you go 500 calories over your 2,000 calorie diet, you can only eat 1,500 calories the next day. Or if you ran only half-a-mile today, then you have to run 1.5 miles the next day. You can’t make it easy for yourself, else you’ll go soft and stray from your goal. Your quota, although small, will add up at the end of the week. Take action against inaction.
6. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat your goals to yourself. Repeat your actions. Make sure you repeat enough so that it becomes second-nature to your brain, your body, your mind. Habits are formed from repetition.
7. Stick to your plan. Don’t sabotage yourself. That’s how you begin a downward spiral to failure. Don’t make exceptions, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Make it up the next day.
8. Get in the mindset of doing it now. Don’t put it off till later. If you want to write a 10,000 word story, you can’t put it off until you think you’re inspired. You need to write. No writing means no words.
9. Start an “If then” chain. Just like in programming, where an “if then” statement controls the flow of scripts, your “if then” chain directs the path of your habit-making success. If you do this, then that. It’s as simple as that. If you’re tired from work, then you’ll take an hour-long nap and go workout!
10. Talk about your plan. Reinforce it by talking to friends and family. If you want to run 3 miles, tell the world. If you want to write a novella, tell people you know. It’ll motivate and push you till you achieve it.
11. Learn to embrace the pain. Optimists say, “It’s the journey to success that truly matters.” Hardships that were overcome, the determination that you were able to conjure up within yourself, the adversity that you were able to face — those are lessons learned and a reason that you truly deserve your goal.
12. Remember this: It’s about changing your lifestyle. Not your life.