Recently, I was chatting with a colleague about being disciplined and using that as a way to fuel your motivation, as well as drive for success. As I continued to think more about this conversation, it further inspired me to write a blog post about the practices I’ve put into place over the years that have pushed me to chase my dreams.
In general, it’s easy to get caught up in your own excuses for why you can’t make something happen. Some of the common ones I’ve heard:
- I don’t have time.
- It’s too big of a risk.
- I can’t sustain the motivation.
- I procrastinate too much.
- I’m just not ready.
These are all understandable, right? Well, in my opinion, I’d say it is only understandable to those who don’t want to make their dreams a reality. It’s easier to talk yourself down before even getting started so that you can justify “why” you’re not doing what you actually want in life.
1. Start Small with Daily Habits
After I had my second baby, getting back into running took time. Instead of pushing myself to run 4-5 miles per day, I started off with walking 1 mile, then running 2 miles, and so on. The goal was to build my endurance back up to being able to do 4-5 miles again, but in order to make that happen, I had to break down my end goal into bite-sized chunks.
Progress with anything will take time, especially if you’re wanting to start a business or even a blog. Instituting small daily habits will get you to climb higher steps without having to feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need to be implemented before you hit a milestone.
I can only speak from personal experiences, and as such, I want to use it as a way to inspire you and apply them to your own journey. At the beginning of this year, my goal was to try to really ramp up my blogging game. In order to make this happen, I committed to the following goals:
- Write every single day.
- Subscribe to the bloggers that I admire and want to mirror my blogging career after.
- Publish a new blog post every day or every other day, but keep pushing for progress.
So what happened?
From January 11 to present day, I’ve published 91 blog posts. I’ve missed a few days here and there, but really wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose momentum just because I missed a few days. To me, it was about making progress, and pushing out content that was valuable to my readers.
2. Stop Making Excuses
One of the biggest challenges that I had to overcome before running my company full-time was to stop making excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. Once I surpassed this hurdle, my mindset changed from “I can’t do this because of…” to “I realistically can do this at this time.”
Just this simple shift of thinking and approaching my entrepreneurial path is what really helped me see what I was capable of achieving. Sometimes the reason behind making excuses came from the fear of failure, the fear of not having financial stability, not knowing what to expect, not feeling like I was ready, and being afraid of being judged.
3. Set Up the Right Environment for Little Wins
Having a specific workspace or time blocked so you can focus on your craft can do a lot for staying productive and pushing for progress. For instance, this Harvard Business Review article notes: “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference in how they feel and perform. The power of progress is fundamental to human nature, but few managers understand it or know how to leverage progress to boost motivation.”
Know that it is natural to always have your mind on the end goal — sometimes to the point where it steers you away from the small steps of progress you are making that are building the foundation for you to reach that end goal. So rather than thinking of how far away you are from achieving your goal, celebrate the little victories along the way to boost your motivation and drive.
4. Know Where You Have Influence and Direct Impact
In my career, I have had to work hard to control the anxiety around what I can and cannot control.. I’m sure it’s easier for others to manage this, but being eager to have the life you want can make this type of anxiety surface.
One of the best ways I’ve learned to deal with this hurdle is to outline the things that I have influence over and the things I can directly impact that foster my ability to achieve greatness. For example, I know that I have an influence when it comes to building relationships with potential clients because of my expertise. However, I don’t have control over their decision of whether or not to work with me. Therefore, I need to focus on what will enable and influence potential clients to easily weigh the pros as being a big win for working with me.
Once a client makes the decision to work with me, the direct impact I can then have is on producing results for the initiatives I put in place with their marketing executions. Again, I don’t have direct control over how long this working relationship will last, but I can certainly do my part to ensure that I yield strong results for the investment they make in me and my team.
5. Stay True to Your Purpose
The easiest way to lose motivation — no matter how disciplined you are — is to not have a true sense of purpose for the work that you are doing. I’ve said this before, but only tying your purpose with money won’t make you happy in the long run, nor will it sustain your sense of motivation.
A deeper sense of purpose will help ground you, keep you focused on the bigger picture, and help put things into perspective as you work towards achieving greatness. Having a sense of purpose will also help you define the “why” behind your work. For example, knowing “why” you want to be an entrepreneur will help guide you on a path where you do work that’s meaningful and adds to that purpose.
Remember that instilling daily habits that will inch you closer to achieving greatness is up to you. It’s not about making substantial progress everyday but that you take the little steps that will build up to larger milestones.
Finally, minimize your distractions and stay focused on what you’re trying to make happen. Don’t expect overnight success, but do expect results if you are putting in the work. The results could take a months to years, but what matters most is that you are putting in the effort.