Here’s Today’s Tip… Mindset.
Ever go to sleep at night with list of plans for the next morning to “start your day right” and instead find yourself pushing the snooze button when it’s time to rise and shine? I know I’m certainly guilty of this, and I think it’s fair to say we all are. Why is this such a common issue? Because our present and future selves don’t always agree with one another! We may love the INTENT of our future goals, but as soon as we are faced with holding out or instant gratification, the present self chimes in – usually wanting the opposite thing we’ve just spent time thinking about.
This doesn’t mean we don’t WANT to be successful – we all do! It just means we’re going about how we approach success and motivation the wrong way. If we know we’re geared towards more instant rewards, we need to find ways to build these into our long-term plans. James Clear, a writer and entrepreneur who focuses on human habits recommends using three strategies to accomplish this.
First, design your future actions. This means being more intentional about how you would like to implement a change. Become more productive at home by cutting out cable TV and deleting social media apps or games from your phone. Improve eating habits by putting more fruits and vegetables towards the front of your refrigerator or only purchasing items in individual snack sizes to help with portion control. Bolster your finances by setting up automatic deposits from your paycheck. Take whatever it is you are planning to do and map it out accordingly. The more we structure our environments to breed success, the more likely we are to get small amounts of gratification, and the better we become at aligning our present and future goals.
Next, reduce the friction of starting. The pain of procrastination is often far worse than simply starting. Want to go for a run after work? Pack your clothes, have your water ready, and a route pre-planned. Find a healthy to go meal service if you’d like to start meal prepping but are worried about time. Take small steps. They don’t have to be perfect. Spend time on getting yourself to simply show up and focus on how consistently you can do that rather than how well you complete the task in its entirety. The more we do this, the more likely we are to build it into a habit and start to stick with it. Go easy on yourself, reduce the barriers, and the rest will fall into place.
Lastly, set SMART goals. Make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. NO surprise that the more specific we are with what we want to do, the better we are at accomplishing it. For example, if I want to decrease sugars in my diet, I need to break down what that means. For someone who finds themselves looking for candy bars in the vending machines mid afternoon, a SMART goal could be for them to stop carrying change in their pocket at work for the next month. They could do this by putting the change in a piggy bank or container instead, and can use the money normally spent on candy/soda to purchase a non-food related reward at the end of the month.
What goal have you been trying to achieve? Take these strategies and implement them! Remember – the trick to getting ahead is getting started.