Act Your Way Into Feeling
Motivation comes and goes.
Somedays it seems that we can push through any length to-do list – tackle any project – manage every commitment we have for ourselves and our family…
And then there’s the days that it seems monumental just to get showered, much less tackle running the kids around, doing laundry and cooking supper (this is for everyone, men and women alike. Fellas, you better be doing all these things too!)
Zig Ziglar once said, “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
One more quick quote to parallel this topic…
“The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.” –John Maxwell
So, motivation doesn’t last. It’s something we must continually seek after – work for every day.
Our daily “agenda” – or habits/routines – ultimately lead us towards success.
Or lack thereof.
And please understand, success is relative to every individual. What qualifies as success is ultimately up to you.
How do we go about finding this motivation? How do we work towards success each day?
Make a plan, and take one step forward.
Some people will create to-do lists every day. I do most days as well.
But forget all the menial things that typically clutter up your to-do lists.
Take a shower. Eat breakfast. Run a load of laundry. Pick up the dry cleaning. Take kids to school.
These are necessary, but just part of life.
Important – but not monumental.
Your to-do list should be short and sweet.
Think about the high-quality tasks that will make you the best you.
Drop the idea of high-quantity. You don’t need a list of 20 or 30 things every day.
I find the sweet spot at 5 to 6, give or take.
Fewer if they’re part of a bigger project and require more time and focus.
Three may be enough for you.
Perhaps you’ll have 2 or 3 things related to your health and fitness, 2 or 3 for business and work, and 2 or 3 for personal and family goals.
The idea is to prioritize the important things, and then get to work.
As we eluded to in the title, taking action will often precede the feeling of motivation.
Rarely will motivation overtake you and lead to action. It happens on occasion, but can’t be relied upon to keep you consistent in any endeavor.
Taking positive action – no matter how small – will often get the snowball rolling. Before long, that snowball of positive action grows and grows, and momentum is then on your side.
To-do lists get completed.
Workouts get finished.
Projects get done.
And confidence is slowly built with every step taken.
But don’t stop there.
This is where it has to become a process.
As Maxwell said, your daily agenda is where you’ll find success.
Not, “your once in a while productive day is where you’ll find success.”
Nope. You’ve got to keep going.
Build the consistency of taking positive action.
Break it down to just a few things that you can do, each and every day.
Write that list out if you need to. I still use little 3×5 notecards to create a daily action list.
Use a journal, or a notes app on your phone. Be careful not to get distracted with your phone if you do so, but whatever works for you, do it.
Building this habit is one that will guarantee success if done every day for months and then years.
Don’t get bogged down by the thought of years of hard work.
Just focus on today.
Tomorrow will come when it’s ready. And we’ll tackle tomorrow – tomorrow.
Today, jot down 3-5 things to start.
Keep it simple when beginning this habit.
Maybe it’s workout for 30 minutes, read one chapter of that book you’ve been meaning to start, and email those two leads at work.
Do your best to remove distraction, stay focused, and before you know it, those tasks could be completed in an hour’s time.
This “power list”, as some call it, doesn’t have to fill up your entire day. And it shouldn’t.
But it should be a tool to help you focus on what will really move you forward, both personally and professionally.
I personally believe that most of us know what we should do to take care of ourselves – whether it’s working out and eating more fruits and veggies, or reading more and spending less time on social media.
Our problem is not acting on those habits and behaviors consistently.
We choose other, easy activities that may be more “entertaining” and thus gratifying in the moment.
But give this a try for the next month.
After disciplining yourself to crossing off your 3 to 5 important tasks each and every day for a few weeks straight, I bet you’ll find that it becomes gratifying in itself.
And the discipline of doing so will build you up in more ways than just losing a few pounds or finishing a couple books.
- Act first, and then the motivation comes.
- Act every day, and build the momentum that leads to success.
- Keep up the effort, regardless of how you’re feeling.
You got this.