We all have things that we want to do: passions we are aiming to pursue, dreams we are trying to morph into reality and ideas that we want to share with the world. If you don’t have a dream, you are probably a robot, and with that being said I think that anybody reading this knows how easy it is to say “I want to do this,” but how difficult it can be to turn that sentence into, “I did this.” I, myself, am all too familiar with the idea of saying I want to accomplish something but then falling short. I for lack of a better cliché, have talked the talk but have failed to walk the walk.
One day (actually over the span of many frustrating years of all this potential and nothing to show for it) I decided to develop different tactics for myself that would help me execute all of my plans. If you are in need of a little inspiration to get focused on doing what you are saying you will, then try one of these methods of gaining focus, traction and results.
Clearly Define Your Objective
What exactly is it that you want to achieve? Don’t just think it: write it down and put it somewhere you will see it every day (on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, etc.) Vocalize your objective, too, by telling friends and family what your goal is. Also be sure to visualize yourself actually working towards your goal instead of daydreaming about the perks that will come with your accomplishment. These methods will become embedded into you and will make you more driven to successfully carrying out the tasks to get to your end point.
Make a Schedule
Want to write a novel? Great. Schedule how many pages you want to have written by the end of each week. Creating deadlines for yourself will lead you to be more accountable for your actions. When making this schedule, be realistic but really strive to push yourself. You won’t get anywhere if you are writing one page of a novel every week. Give yourself a goal that, in order to achieve it, requires you to work diligently and efficiently.
I cannot think of a case where positive reinforcement hasn’t worked for me, but that is probably because I am obsessed with ice cream and will complete just about any task in order to get a scoop (or four.) Every time you achieve your weekly schedule’s goal, treat yourself. Make it something that you don’t usually get, and bonus points if your incentive is somehow tied to your objective. If you are trying to eat healthier food, make your treat the chance to go to different healthy restaurants in your area. Or treat yourself to some “healthy” dessert, like dark chocolate.
Leave notes of encouragement around so that you are constantly being inspired to follow through on what you say you will. Think about strategically placing these notes in places where they will be seen when you are thinking about slacking off. Back to the healthy lifestyle example, put notes on your fridge and within your grocery list so that you are reminded to make good, clean decisions with your meals.
Adopt a Mentor
Find somebody who has accomplished the same goal you have, whether it be a friend, a co-worker or even a celebrity. Hearing their story and how they got to where they are will inspire you to follow suit. You can adopt their routines and add your own flare so that it is customized to your lifestyle (because we all can’t hire super expensive trainers like Jennifer Aniston, now can we?)
Recruit a Sponsor
Find a friend or a family member who will help keep you on track. How much they are involved is up to you—simple reminder text messages or motivational phone calls are manageable for them, but if they want to help track your progress then let them! Having a support system will fuel you to make not only yourself proud, but to make somebody you trust and respect proud of you as well.
Your Words Matter – Use the Right Ones
Make sure you are constantly using positive, proactive and motivational vocabulary when talking about reaching your goal. Instead of saying “I want to write a book,” say, “I am writing a book.” Instead of telling yourself, “I will never accomplish this,” tell yourself, “It will not be easy, but I am determined to succeed.” How you frame whatever it is you are thinking out loud truly does influence how you will go about accomplishing your goal.