Now that fall is approaching and kids are headed back to school I find myself fascinated with the act of motivation.
When it strikes, suddenly you’re eating healthy for the first time in months or working all day on a brand new idea you deeply believe in. It’s intoxicating right?
And yet as quickly as that burst of excitement arises, it often disappears just as fast. One night you can’t sleep because your head is so filled with big plans, and three weeks later you pass out without giving it a thought.Motivation and passion are two different forms of short-term romance. Click To Tweet
Staying motivated is hard, so this post is about the three gamechanging steps to reach any goal.
1. Write It On The Wall
Ideas that live in our minds are dangerous, because they are never held accountable to the potential they make us believe that they’re worth.
It is only when you bring those ideas into the physical world, that we give them life.
If an idea or a goal sets you on fire, the best oxygen for that flame is to physically write it out on a whiteboard. If you don’t have a whiteboard, use a piece of paper or mindmapping software. Once you “write it on the wall,” you give it credence and start the clock of intrinsic accountability.
2. Send a Raven
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, people communicate across long distances using messenger birds (most often ravens). Every time one of the show’s characters boldly says, “Send a raven!” they intend to inform at least one other person of something important.
After writing down your intentions for yourself in Step 1, it’s absolutely essential that you share your goal with at least one other person. And the more people the better, because each one unknowingly serves as a node in your network of accountability.
As humans we intrinsically want others to think highly of us. The best way to do this is to establish trust by delivering on the things we say we’ll accomplish.
Each time you send your proverbial raven, whether in-person, over the phone or via email, you close the door on the past. Now there is only the new future you have articulated, and soon you’ll have created it as well.
3. Find The Finish Line
If I asked you to build widgets and you did so all day for a week without any end in sight, you would eventually hate the task. But if I asked you to build 100 widgets and you realized at the end of the week that you were building 12 each day, you’d be so close to your goal that you’d enter the following week eager to complete the task.
This is the exact reason that so many people enter 5K runs, marathons and grueling physical challenges. As Muhammad Ali famously said when asked how many situps he does to prepare for a fight,
People choose the pain of today when they know it will enable the accomplishments of tomorrow. Click To Tweet
“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.”
It’s the act of defining exactly where the finish line is that motivates us, even against all odds, to reach towards it.