We have new year resolutions, birthday resolutions, short term goals, long term goals so on and so forth. But very few actually succeed in achieving them. Why is it that many of us fail?
We constantly look for motivation. Someone to motivate us. We search for motivational stories and videos. But for how long will we keep looking for something external? Is there a way to make it internal? Habits make the motivation internal. But what about the motivation to make habits? We can use external motivation till we make the motivation internal. The following are a few ways to make use of external motivation:
Clarity of the purpose:
When I am clear about what I want to achieve from my goal or resolution, I tend to stay with it for a longer period till the purpose is realized or defeated. When I was preparing for a competitive exam, I was clear about the end objective. I knew what I would get out of clearing the exam and what if I did not. I kept preparing for it after failing twice because I wanted it then at any cost. But later on, I gave up that goal since the purpose became obsolete. After failing in that goal, I could not stick with any other goal because I didn’t have any clear purpose on the new goals I was setting. So write down the purpose of your goal or resolution and the consequences of not achieving it. On the days you like giving up, go back and read it. If you still feel the need to achieve it, you will take it more seriously. Otherwise, you just trash it.
Availability of resources:
I always loved reading books.I lose track of time. But if I look at the number of books I have read till now, the number is very low compared to the passion I have for it. The reason was obvious. I don’t enjoy reading e-books much and I have a dust allergy because of which I can’t read books which are dusty or ill maintained. So when I started working, I borrowed books from an online library which delivered books home. All I needed to do was select the book online. The result was I read 20 books in 4 months. The same is the case with another hobby of mine.I love oil painting but have not done it in a while because the resources and procedure required for it are not as easy as getting hold of a book. So list down the resources you require and keep them handy.
My new goal is massive. I hardly made any progress in the beginning as I didn’t have a written plan on how I will achieve it. I was constantly failing to make any progress. Even though I allocated some time for it on a few days, I used to not know from where to start. I used to work on a task but I did not have a log of what I finished. Then I realised that I need to break into small parts which won’t scare me. I broke down the entire goal into multiple parts – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly level. I made a note of time I can afford to spend on it. Later, I made a note of actual time I spent on it which in turn helps me in assessing the time I take to finish a task. This way planning creates a sense of urgency and accomplishment. So break down your goal into easily doable tasks and have timelines and deadlines for it.
Measure your success:
I keep a track on the number of repetitions I do for each type of exercise and the food I consume daily. Since waiting for a few months to see the end result is a long time, daily tracking gives me motivation towards the end goal.
Declaring your goal to people who keep a check on you:
My new year resolution was to stop complaining about trivial things. Since I spend most of my day at the office, I declared my resolution to my colleagues. They keep reminding me of my goal every time I tend to complain. Since I don’t want to be a person who can’t keep my words, I follow through.
All the above will work as a recipe for motivation till you form the habit. Once the habit is formed, you will be executing the tasks automatically.