Let's start with the obvious. If the activity needed to meet your goal is unpleasant, maybe it's the wrong goal?! If you've followed me for a while you know I'm a BIG-TIME BELIEVER in a benevolent life force that WANTS us to exist in joy and rapture! So when a client says to me "I'm having a hard time achieving my goal of a nightly skincare routine" my first question is "What about the routine is unpleasant?" followed by "What is your motivation for a nightly skincare routine?". If the motivation comes from a place of needing to 'fix' yourself, we're going to have a discussion about that!
But in general, having true clarity of what we want as an outcome and pure intention about WHY we want it helps generate VISION and POSSIBILITY, both of which are required for success.
Basic tips for ATTAINABLE results from your productivity efforts
Have a clear vision: Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve will help you stay focused and motivated.
Break tasks down into smaller chunks: Breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones can make them feel less daunting. Sometimes this also means having fewer 'rules' that require complete compliance which is a fairly unrealistic expectation. Humans rarely do something 7 out of 7 days beyond sleeping and eating!
Create a schedule: A schedule can help you stay organized and ensure that you're making progress toward your goals.
Use a timer: Setting a timer for a specific period of time can help you stay on task and avoid getting distracted.
Notice and manage distractions: Notice what calls you away from unpleasant takes. Is it your phone and checking texts? Is it open tabs on your computer?
Reward yourself: Set up a system of rewards for completing tasks, such as taking a break or treating yourself to something you enjoy.
Prioritize: Focus on the most important tasks first, and save less important ones for later.
Find an accountability partner: Having someone to hold you accountable can help keep you on track.
Take breaks: Taking regular breaks can help you stay focused and avoid burnout.
Use positive self-talk: Instead of focusing on negative thoughts or feelings of inadequacy, use positive self-talk to boost your motivation and confidence.
By implementing these tips, you can stay focused and productive while avoiding the temptation to procrastinate.
But WHY do I struggle so much to stay consistent when I KNOW this is something that's good for me?
There are many reasons why you might give up on things they say they want, such as going to the gym, keeping a skincare regimen, or eating healthy. Some of the most common reasons include:
Lack of motivation: You may struggle to maintain motivation over time, particularly if you are not seeing immediate results. In a world where everything seems instant, having patience is an act of self-care. Go easy on yourself!
Unrealistic expectations: You may have unrealistic expectations about what you can achieve or how quickly you can achieve it.
Lack of time: You may feel like you don't have enough time to devote to these activities, particularly if you have other responsibilities such as work, family, or school.
Lack of support: You may struggle to stick with certain activities if you don't have the support of family or friends.
Worthiness issues: Consciously, you may talk yourself out of sticking with these activities by engaging in negative self-talk, such as telling yourself you're not good enough or won't succeed. Subconsciously, you may hold a belief that your desired outcome isn't possible for you.
Overwhelm: You may feel overwhelmed by all the different things you need to do to achieve your goals, and as a result, give up. (Go back and read the second tip, or read this blog article dedicated just to dealing with overwhelm! )
Lack of knowledge: You may not know how to properly execute the activity or achieve your goal, and may feel frustrated by your lack of progress.
It's important to remember that making changes and sticking to new habits is hard work, and setbacks and challenges are a normal part of the process. People may need to experiment with different strategies and approaches to find what works best for them. It's also important to have self-compassion and not beat oneself up if a setback or failure occurs.
To aid you in your pursuit of productivity, here is a quick synopsis of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear!
Small habits create big results: Making small, incremental changes to your habits can lead to significant long-term results.
Focus on systems, not goals: Rather than focusing solely on achieving a specific outcome, focus on building a system of habits that will help you achieve that outcome.
Make habits obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying: James Clear's "Four Laws of Behavior Change" can help you create effective habits by making them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.
Use habit stacking: Habit stacking involves adding a new habit to an existing one, making it easier to incorporate new habits into your routine.
Build identity-based habits: Identifying with a particular habit can help you maintain it over the long term.
Use the 2-minute rule: The 2-minute rule involves breaking a habit down into a simple, 2-minute task to make it more achievable.
Use temptation bundling: Temptation bundling involves pairing an activity you want to do with one you need to do, making it more likely that you'll stick to both.
Plan for obstacles: Plan for obstacles that may arise when trying to build a new habit, and have strategies in place to overcome them.
Use the power of environment: Your environment can influence your habits, so set up your environment to make it easier to maintain good habits.
Continuous improvement is key: Habits are never truly "finished," so continually reassess and improve upon them to achieve long-term success.
Let me know in the comments what in this article struck a chord with you!