Reality: the stuff you've been dreaming of, and wondering if you'll ever make happen, can start to become true for you in as little as the next 7 days -- so long as you're willing to make some fast changes.
Before we talk about HOW (and I can guarantee it's pretty much all stuff you already know but no doubt STILL need to hear again!), a quick question for you -
How much time (never mind emotion!) would you say you have spent in earnest attempt to reach your goals?
I'm not talking about the time spent in -
Thinking about them -
Talking about them -
Trying to figure out HOW to achieve them -
Bemoaning the fact that you know you'll NEVER get there -
Getting excited over the fact that for SURE you'll get there! -
Creating vision boards about them -
Studying examples of others who've achieved similar -
Spending an hour on Facebook in lieu of working on them -
And so on and so forth.
I'm talking about actual, nose to the grind, work your knuckles bare WORKING on achieving your dreams.
The one foot in front of the other and LARGELY unglamorous down in the trenches Real Work of getting from where you are now to that place of magical transformation and wonderment.
Did anybody ever tell you, in the midst of all the ra-ra seminars and books, that doing the Real Work is actually pretty fucking awful?
I know - how dare I - a motivational author, speaker and coach, no less! - say such a thing?!
Well, because it's the truth.
And SURE, once you're in it and certainly once you're nearing close to the end of it, it's quite a feeling - quite an amazing feeling! - to know that you're actually DOING it, you're achieving, you're doing what others WON'T so you can live a life they can't, and you're SO damn proud of yourself!
But the EVERYTHING - and boy is there a lot of everything - necessary to get you to that point in the first place never mind day after freaking day afterwards? That's the fucking awful part.
The part that is most awful is that there's really no good reason why it IS awful.
It's not usually physically demanding -
It doesn't demand unreasonable amounts of intelligence or knowledge -
It doesn't HURT emotionally -
It's just. fucking. awful.
Mostly because you just don't WANNA.
And you might tell yourself it's because you don't know how, or don't have time, or the kids are underfoot (as mine are right now, throwing food on my laptop randomly and trying to type never mind constantly attempting to kill themselves just as it looks like I might finish ONE uninterrupted sentence!) or any other myriad of on the surface TRUE reasons but the truth is you just don't WANNA.
Because God knows that when you really DO wanna do something it really DOES get done!
So. Reality check.
There is NO force on earth - and certainly not YOU! - that can stand in the path of you achieving your dreams so long as you DO THE ACTUAL WORK.
Which, quite honestly, is really as simple as just DOING it but given that it's obviously not that easy, here are 8 'hacks' I use when I know I need to just get off my butt and DO.
1. Done by 8am
Imagine how awesome you'd feel if all of your important work for the day was done before the day even BEGAN for most people? Getting up early can SUCK but also - there really is no better feeling than being done before breakfast! You'll likely work faster first thing as well!
My rec: Set as many alarms as needed to get yo' ass out of bed by 5am and get to WORK, even for an hour, first thing each morning.
I love this technique, named after some uber-productive Italian dude. It works on the premise that you use a timer (I like www.ticktocktimer.com) for 25 minutes of focused fast work-time, followed by a 5-minute rest / coffee / Facebook break, followed by another 25 minute block of work. I do a lot of my truly important work (like writing for my books) in 25 minute blocks, as it feels achievable to start and I like the sense of working against the clock.
My rec: Set your timer and GO. Set a goal of even one pomodoro a day on your truly important 'big' dreams or goals. If you can't suck up 25 minutes of work on the thing then it can't actually matter to you!
3. Rewards or consequences
This only works if you actually stick to them. I personally don't tend to; I'm not that disciplined in this area I guess. But I know friends of mine who love this system. For example: once you've done 'x' amount of work for the week you get to have a massage, or if you don't do your work for the day (i.e. one pomodoro!) then you miss out on your nightly chocolate.
My rec: try it and see if this works for you. Make the reward or consequence significant enough for it to influence you.
4. Public display
No, not of affection :)
Public accountability works a REAL treat I find, especially if it's to people whose opinion you care about. This might be as simple as just putting it on your Facebook feed!
My rec: whose opinion counts? For me it would be my clients; i.e. stating something in my own forum to my community and then reporting back when I've done it. I also use one of my own mastermind groups (that I'm a participant in) from time to time to announce my tasks for the day or week.
The idea of routine can be quite boring for us creative types, but it really does make it easier when you don't have to think about what you're going to do because it's just automatic.
My rec: identify the 1-3 (max) tasks or activities you REALLY want to make happen on a daily basis, and then decide on a time of day you can create a routine around in order to accomplish them. This MAY very well mean having to suck it up at a time of day not usually fun to work, i.e. early morning or late evening.
6. Know what you're actually dealing with
Of course it's far easier to create a routine for something when you know what that something IS. When you're embarking on a new goal or dream you may NOT actually know what is required to get you there, so it's easy to tell yourself you can't decide on your ideal plan of attack or routine yet. This is, of course, complete B.S.
My rec: lock in at LEAST the length of time you want to put aside towards your goal each day, even if you have no idea what ACTIVITIES you'll put into that time. Trust me - if it really matters to you you'll find something to do in the time! As you learn more about what it's going to take you can start to plan for specific activities within your allocated time.
It sounds stupidly easy, but using triggers to 'automate' your actions is probably one of the most effective productivity hacks out there. For example - my early morning routine for years now has been the same: get up, throw on gym clothes, grab laptop, pen, journal, head out the door to the nearest cafe (or sometimes make coffee at home), read something inspiring, journal, then write.
I've structured my life around being able to do this (i.e. getting up early enough, while my husband and kids are still sleeping) and it's rare I miss a day. As such, I don't even have to think about it and my writing automatically gets DONE each day.
My rec: what are the tasks that matter to you MOST, not just for your big dreams but on a personal 'life enjoyment' level as well? What triggers can you set around these tasks, so you don't have to think about whether or not you do them? It could be that you decide to 'always' meditate after lunch, for example, or that you make a habit of regularly doing 30 minutes of work right after you exercise.
8. Deal with it
You can use all the productivity tips and tricks out there, but at the end of the day you ARE going to have to push through resistance and just do what needs to be done. It'd be great if it could be nice and orderly, and the ideas in this post might help you to achieve that, but sometimes - often, in fact! - it just doesn't look that way. If you want to make it happen then you MAKE IT HAPPEN regardless.
This post is a great example - I've written it in fits and spurts over breakfast with the kids and now whilst in the waiting room for my daughter's dentist appointment. Is this my preferred way to write, and does it fit into my normal morning routine? Hell no! But because of the way my day today is chock filled with appointments if I don't write THIS way today it won't happen at all. Of course sometimes you do have to just let it go, and it's fine to miss a day now and then so long as it is NOW AND THEN. The reality, however, is that most 'now and then' days turn into a week, a habit, a lifetime. Which is precisely why most people NEVER achieve their big goals and dreams.
My rec: If it matters to you, make it happen. Simple.
Life is Now. Press Play.
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