You set goals. Lots of them. And you even put systems in place to reach them: habits, reminders, app notifications, you name it. Then, the time of actually doing the stuff you said you would do comes. You hear the alarm and decide to hit the snooze button. You can watch TV for a few more minutes right? When the alarm sounds again you decide to ignore it. You’re too tired to read today, maybe tomorrow you’ll be in a better mood.
A few weeks goes by and you notice you haven’t been doing the things you were supposed to do. Again. And you feel guilty because you fell off the wagon one more time, even though this time you were determined to reach your goals. You even avoid bringing the subjects when talking to your friends. You don’t want to feel more frustrated that you already are.
You didn’t stopped doing these things because they didn’t matter. You genuinely care, because doing them means you would be closer to become the person you want to be. And you’re willing to start again if you must.
So, how can you get out of this rut and avoid losing interest, even if you’re not a self-starter?
Start a daily goals journal
Setting a habit of writing about your goals everyday is one of the best things you can do to remember your goals and maintain your motivation.
“Argh! Yet another habit to add to my list?”
This should be the one and only habit you should complete everyday.
See this as the bare minimum thing you’re going to do to achieve your goals. Even if you did nothing else during that day, just completing this journal should be considered as a win.
This task should take no more than 15 minutes of your time. If this is too much you can just set the habit of printing the template, or just writing down your goals. It’s all about the minimum possible to get you moving.
There are the three things your journal should help you with:
- Reminding yourself about your goals and why you decided to reach for them in the first place. Take a moment to visualize how your life would look like if you reach your goal.
- Reviewing your failures. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn. Each night, reflect on what went wrong and what can you do to avoid making the same mistake the next time.
- Planning. What’s the one thing you could do tomorrow that could have more impact using the least amount of effort.
Here’s why doing this exercise should work:
- Best performers review their errors and make specific plans on how to correct them next time. Making a specific plan to avoid falling into the procrastination trap in the future could increase your chances of success.
- Focusing on one simple and relatively easy task can lower your levels of anxiety and make it easy for you to actually do something.
- Seeing your failures as opportunities to be better is a positive method to learn to thrive during challenging times. To become antifragile.
- Self-generated feedback, such as seeing what corrections you could make in the future to work towards your goals, can improve your chances to perform better and actually achieve what you want.
- Writing down your goals and why you want to achieve them will increase your level of commitment to a goal and get you more motivated.
I hope I convinced you to start a goals journal. Once you get going, have in mind these tips to increase the odds of actually completing your journal everyday:
- Print a set of templates beforehand and put them somewhere visible.
- Use a pen you enjoy.
- Pair the journaling habit with a current habit. For example, complete your journal after you brush your teeth.
Try this for one week and tell me how it went.