Are you soooooo done with everything being so dang hard and stressful?
We make things unnecessarily hard for ourselves.
You don’t get a badge of honor for having so much “hard” in your life..
No, no, no!
The only thing you get is a pile of stress and a toxic mindset of “life is hard” that bleeds into everything you do.
The thought of “this is hard” is a sneaky one. It’s not accurate. What we really mean is that doing some things is uncomfortable. Ummm…. uncomfortable isn’t the same as hard. Hard is painful. Discomfort is something we can tolerate until we get comfortable.
Most people aren’t willing to experience discomfort. We are wired to avoid pain (or perceived pain) far more than gain pleasure.
What’s the worst that could happen if you put yourself on the line by doing something new, scary or intimidating? A feeling. A temporary bad feeling. It will not kill you or even hurt you.
90 seconds! We have more than 1400 minutes in a day, so I think we could all withstand almost anything for one and a half of them.
All emotions are temporary. Good and bad.
A courageous person knows that the cost of going for it is therefore worth it. Because what’s the risk, really? Experiencing some temporary uncomfortable emotions is as bad as it gets.
What would you be doing if you were willing to experience a negative emotion? Asking someone out or asking for a raise at work?
First, be willing to be uncomfortable and then try these 3 simple ways to let things be easy.
#1 Change the conversation.
The reason why things are hard is because we tell ourselves it’s hard.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is gonna be so hard.
I remember when I did xxxx, and I thought that was gonna be hard, but it really wasn’t.
This is huge.
It’s just a book, (just an instrument, just a talk, just a dish, just a class, just a test). Now when you finish that book drop the word “just”. Celebrate your accomplishment. When someone congratulates you, accept that and say “Yes!, I finished my book!” Not, “Oh it’s just a book. Lots of people write them.”
I don’t even know where to start.
Hmmmm. This is new. I don’t know exactly know what to do, but I’ll figure it out as I go.
The names you give your work matter, they have power. How you describe something impacts how you show up or don’t show up. Words can make things seem big, intimidating or scary.
#2 Start Before You Start
Starting is usually the hardest part of anything. Well, unless you’re the kind of person who starts tons of things but never finishes them. Wherever you are on the start-finish spectrum, starting before you start will make a huge difference in the perceived difficulty of any task.
First, set your intention for the day. End each day by writing the 3-5 most important things you want to get done tomorrow. Schedule those things on your calendar.
The worst thing is getting to your desk and scratching your head trying to decide what you should do first. Decide the night before.
I wear 20 different hats in my business. I can choose from creating digital products, to working on certification stuff, to administrative stuff, to networking, to writing blog posts, to personal stuff, and the list goes on. If I leave it up to how I feel in the morning, I guarantee you I will not be working on what is most important.
Finally, set up your workspace so all you need to do is sit or stand at your desk and start.
Let’s say I decide the first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is record a couple videos. Now I need to physically set myself up to start.
Tonight, I am going to set up and test all my equipment.
I’m going to make sure everything I need is charged.
I’ll also let my family know I’m going to be recording at a certain time, so they don’t bust up my recording unknowingly.
I’ll decide on what I’m going to wear and lay it all out.
# 3 Take Baby Steps
Don’t focus on going from 0 to 100. Focus on going from 0 to 1.
So stop worrying about where you’ll be 100 days from now. Put your head down and focus on what you can make progress on right now.
It’s the tiny steps you take every single day that will pave the way to achieving anything. You just need to develop the simple discipline to do it.
According to Mel Robbins, simple discipline is the practice of making and keeping promises to yourself. These promises are the foundation for your daily life, which is the foundation for achieving your goals.
The only way to change the big things in your life is to change the small things first – your daily habits, your morning routine, your evening routine and everything in between.
Start by making your bed every morning. Yes, I make my bed even when I’m at a hotel. When you make your bed in the morning it will automatically make you feel productive since you just completed something. And doesn’t it look nice?! You can throw your covers over the wrinkled sheets, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
One small task can make a huge difference in making you feel more confident to start your day.
Wrapping it Up: 3 Simple Ways to Make Things Easy
#1 Change the Conversation
#2 Start Before You Start
#3 Take Baby Steps
If you’re looking for more ways to confidently get through the scary and hard things in life hop on the waitlist for my on-line course opening this month
We are busy people. Our clocks are thin and tired, our schedules full and bloated.
But somehow we find a way to give our time to a host of wonderful distractions.
Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to finish that on-line course and then tell me about all those yummy recipes you’re going to try after watching hours of cooking shows.
Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to write your novel and then give me intricate plot details about the six shows you’re watching.
Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to update your resume and then update your social media accounts constantly.
There is a reason the average 21-year-old has played 10,000 hours of video games.
There is a reason the average American watches 35 hours of TV a week according to Nielsen.
Our minds running on auto-pilot is the reason!
We make hundreds of mindless choices every day that don’t naturally gravitate to things that matter or work we really care about. Our brains are always looking for the easy way out.
It’s all a big lie. You can’t control or manage time.
But you can control your choices.
It’s about managing yourself in the space of time.
You can’t createmore minutes in an hour or more hours in a day.
But, you can find more minutes and hours when you make better choices.
Here’s a better choice:
Wait 15 minutes to turn on Netflix and do something that matters to you. Work on a skill. Take a tiny step to move forward on a goal. Check something small off your to-do list.
I don’t care how busy you are. You have 15 minutes hidden somewhere in your day.
Ready for the challenge?
I dare you to rescue that tiny amount of time each day and then watch what happens this summer. That first 15 minutes will grow to 30 and then 45 and then 60. By the end of the summer, you will have worked for 1.500 minutes. You will have 25, on purpose, goal-crushing hours under your belt.
If you’re with me, pick one skill or goal you want to give your 15 minutes to and then get going. It’s possible to find time. All it takes is making a better decision.
Are you in a season that’s exciting and makes you want to jump out of bed everyday? Or, maybe you’re in a season where you feel kind of meh.? Or, maybe you’re in a season that’s stressful and exhausting and you can’t wait to get back to better days?
I’m in a rough season right now. It’s been grueling and has taken it’s toll on my relationships, my productivity, my energy, my focus, my self-esteem, and dare I say, my outlook.
I don’t want to bore you with the details of this season I’m in. Because, no one’s seasons are the same. Here are some different seasons you can probably relate to like; being a huge support to your grown/almost grown kids, taking care of aging parents. running your own business, staying in the game of your profession because, my gosh, you have worked so dang hard to get there.
Or maybe you’re in a season of transition; moving, becoming an empty-nester, divorce, mourning the end of a friendship that has run its course, a job change, retirement. The list is long.
Some seasons are full of joy. Others are full of sorrow. Others are little of both, AKA bittersweet.
I’ve come to learn that life is full of seasons and it’s how we navigate them that really matters. When a new season rolls around I get overwhelmed. I start to lose my footing, and as result, I become super vulnerable to anything that throws me off.
So, that’s why I wanted to share a couple different ways that I stay grounded, especially in situations like the past few weeks, when things have gotten really tough.
Here’s what has helped me stay grounded as I move from season to season.
Change Your Scorecard
We’re always wearing so many hats, and there’s only so much time to get things accomplished. If you are still measuring yourself by the high bar you set for yourself in a joyful season or a season where you were the master of your days and you are now in a season where your time is not your own, you need a new scorecard.
Because your priorities have changed. It’s time to change your expectations of yourself. There is absolutely no shame in putting things off for a few months or longer. If you’re in a really busy season you have to look at that calendar.
So, if you had all these projects you wanted to tackle but your time is now spent caring for a sick child, partner, or parent, you need to readjust your expectations. If you don’t, you’ll be constantly beating yourself up for “not getting anything done”. Trust me. It’s terrible for your self-esteem.
You should be measuring if you’ve been showing up for this person as best as you can. Have you brought your best self to the situation? Sure, you can keep one project on your scorecard, but lower the bar. I know that doesn’t feel good initially, but you will soon realize you just took a whole lot of pressure off yourself.
Remind Yourself You Are In A Season
One thing I do when things are tough is to remind myself that I’m in a season and that this, too, shall pass. The season I’m in right now is one I’ve been in for awhile, and it’s a whole lot of bittersweet.
Please hear me when I say that I’m not complaining. I’m beyond grateful to have my amazing family and friends. I’m so grateful for the business I’ve created and to have the opportunity to wake up and do the things that I love every single day. Truly. But just like you, I’m human, and sometimes it can be a lot.
By reminding myself that this is just a season and that it will eventually end, I’m able to rein in some of those negative thoughts and maintain a much better mindset.
Now, on the flip side, when things are going really, really well – when you’re just hitting it on all cylinders, like, things are just moving and flowing – that, too, is a season.
I think about how I’m in a season right now that on one hand, I’m looking forward to getting out of, but on the other hand, I know there is an incredibly painful loss that defines the end of this season. Bittersweet.
Whether it’s a great season, or kind of a rough season like I’m in now, I’m just going to be grateful because I know the season I’m in now, I’m growing. And at the same time, I’m just grateful that I know things are going to move forward and change. And, if I was in an amazing season right now, I’d be grateful for it because I know it doesn’t always stay that way.
When I started doing breathing exercises this year, I had no idea that I have the most shallow breath. It’s hard for me to take a really deep breath. Is it easy for you take a deep breath and count to four? Like, one, two, three, four, maybe fix, six? Can you do a little bit more and then hold it for four? And then let it out for eight? That’s what they do on the Calm app, I breathe in for four, hold for four, out for eight.
When you take a deep breath in, hold it and let it out, your entire body responds. Science backs this up. Deep breathing stimulates your vagus nerve that then calms you. I do this every morning before getting out of bed. Then you’ll find me throughout the day now just taking a moment, just taking a breath. Deep breathing gets me through those anxious moments.
Ask For Help
Finally, when I’ve got too many plates spinning in the air and I feel like they’re all about to come crashing down, I have to be brutally honest with myself. I can’t pretend that I’ll somehow get it all done. This is so closely tied to Changing Your Scorecard above. Lying to myself is only going to make it worse for me and everyone else.
Instead, I need to lean on my amazing family and friends and delegate some things that I absolutely need to take off my plate. Most importantly, I can’t be afraid to ask for support.
So, in this season, I’m not worrying about getting dinner on the table or grocery shopping. My family is so capable and willing to take that on. I’ve had to push some big things off in my business and focus on my 1:1 coaching clients.
Wrapping It Up
When a new season is upon you, reprioritize your scorecard, eliminating, delegating, changing expectations. Remind yourself seasons of life are normal. You will be okay. Just breathe.
My friend, whatever season you are in, know we are all in this together. Right now is the time to love yourself hard. Love those around you you hard. Give yourself the space to move through your priorities at a pace that feels manageable to you. And in the moments you feel like you’ve jumped into more than you can handle or life has just dumped it on you, remember that you’ve got this, and I am so cheering you on.
You’re constantly running from one thing to the next and not finishing anything like a hamster on a wheel. So of course you are stressed and overwhelmed.
One of the key ways I manage that kind of stress and overwhelm is batching.
Batching you ask?
Are you ready to discover some key areas in your life where batching will make all the difference?
There are so many great opportunities for batching, from administrative type tasks, to writing, to household chores.
You are about to become a batching machine!
I’ve been batching for years and have fine-tuned my process. Why reinvent the wheel? Take what works for me and see if you can use this time-tested strategy for your own life.
Are you ready to become a batching machine?
Here are some real life examples of batching. See what ideas these spark for you.
If you use social media in your profession, you might batch the writing of your social media posts for the week for three consecutive hours every Monday with no interruptions. Just three fully-focused hours creating social media posts. That’s a batch.
Batch going through your emails; unsubscribing, responding to the them or organizing them.
You might decide to batch other administrative tasks like making appointments on-line or via phone. I do this all the time. By themselves these are the annoying little things that I put off for later. Before I know it, I’ve got six appointments I’ve been putting off. So, I batch it. I make a list of the things I need to schedule, grab my planner, get on-line or make the phone call and schedule all of them. Boom, just like that I got six things off my to-do list and most importantly out of my head.
I batch my coaching sessions. I only coach on Mondays and Tuesdays. This allows me to get and stay in the coaching zone. I’m 100% focused on my clients and I’m not distracted by the hundreds of other things that come up. This is protected time.
I batch my errands. If I’m going to run out, I make a list of the places I need to hit. It could be the bank, grocery store, post office – you get the point. Call me crazy, but I map out my route so I’m not running back and forth from end of town to the other.
I batch write my blog posts, including this one. I set aside four hour blocks and create six blog posts. The first batch I do is six weeks of blog posts and then the next batch is six emails for those blog posts.
Don’t worry. I take breaks between each one or I can start to feel like a hot mess. Recharging during my batching is so important.
When I’m working on bigger projects, like creating the Undaunted Course, I batch for several days in a row. If I didn’t batch certain chunks of the course creation process it would have taken me five to ten times longer to get it done.
Batching can save you time, stress and effort.
Increased Focus and Productivity
First batching allows for increased focus when you work on the tasks you designated for that period of time. More focus equals better quality work, for sure.
Because of your focused effort while batching, distractions are majorly reduced or eliminated. This requires some willpower on your part. You’ve got to create a distraction-free zone and place boundaries around your batching time to protect your focus time.
All of this increases your productivity. You save a lot of time, hours and hours and hours of time, to be exact. Imagine what you could do with all that time.
Taking care of similar tasks in the same chunk of time will help you feel much less frazzled and stressed. You’ll know what you’re working on and for how long. Having boundaries around this time will eliminate the stress of making decisions if other things pop up. You know this batching time is the choice you made. Period. This is where you are and what you’re doing.
No Context Switching
There should be no context switching going in your batching. Context switching is when you switch back and forth between tasks. Studies show that it takes 23 minutes to get back on task when you jump around. Imagine if you context switch three times in one day. That’s over an hour wasted.
Constantly skipping around throughout the day can be distracting and disorienting. Of course, nobody’s perfect. But, this disjointed approach to your work can result in far too many mistakes and oversights, including typos and emails sent to the wrong people.
By batching, you will find yourself making fewer of these slip-ups. I’m no scientist, but I’ll go ahead and credit the fact that because you are able to dedicate all of your focus to the task currently in front of you, your thoughts aren’t as scattered, which means you are able to proactively catch any of those little blunders and errors.
Time Away From Certain Tasks
Finally, batching allows you to have time away from doing certain tasks. Even if you love what you do, having to always be touching something everyday in your life can really stifle your creativity. I know firsthand what that feels like.
Before I began batching my blog posts, I was working on my blog every single week. A little here, a little there. I never got ahead and it become a little like Groundhog Day where every day felt the same, always working on my blog. It started to suck away my creativity.
It’s important to have white space in order to be creative, to allow your brain to focus on new and different ideas, to find inspiration and refuel. If you’re constantly touching the same project every single day, you’re not allowing that creativity to flow.
What Areas Can You Batch in Your Life?
To batch or not to batch is not the question you should be asking yourself. The question you should be asking is “What are all the areas I can batch in my life?”
If you can’t come up with any, try this exercise.
Look at your to-do list for the next week.
Grab some highlighters to color code and group similar items together.
Then, write an entirely new list – paying attention to the grouping (these are your batches) of items based on your color coding.
Look at each batch category and determine how much time you want to set for each batching session.
Schedule this time on your calendar.
The couple of extra minutes you spend organizing your to-do’s into batches will end up being well worth it!
Wrapping It Up
Your next step is to decide what you’re going to batch, add your batching days to your calendar, and enjoy the newfound free time batching allows you.
When was the last time you completed a projected that truly mattered to you? When was the last time you set an important goal and you made it happen?
I mean, doesn’t it feel GREAT to check something off your list or complete an important project or say that something is finally DONE?
To take charge and be the BOSS of yourself and your goals is incredibly motivating.
Yes, of course, it feels amazing. I want you to experience that feeling more often. And to make sure that you really master this ability to finish what you start, AKA follow-through, I’m sharing the steps I use every day in my life and business. These steps create a little acronym that spells boss. B – O – S – S. Because BOSS is who you need to be to follow-through.
Now once you’ve mastered these four steps, you’re going to be way more likely to finish what you start. Okay, lets get started on building that follow-through habit using the BOSS Formula.
STEP #1: B stands for: Be Focused & Specific
Right off the bat, there are two big problems that get in our way of following through. First, most of us are working on way too many things at once. We allow ourselves to be pulled in too many directions. Instead of making meaningful progress on a single project that really, really matters, we wind up feeling constantly overloaded and overwhelmed.
Now the second problem. Oftentimes we are fuzzy about our outcome. Meaning, most of the time, we’re just working hard and trying to keep our heads above water and we don’t have a clearly defined, achievable result that we’re working towards.
The good news here is, we have the power to fix both of these problems. And when we do, we gain some serious momentum and we train ourselves to become a master of follow-through.
The very first step is this; we must FOCUS. Meaning, focus on what’s truly most important. And to be clear – I’m not talking about several things here, I’m talking about choosing just ONE thing. One TOP priority. One single goal.
What is one thing you could focus on (a single project or goal) that, if you finished it, it would make a tremendous positive impact in your life?
If you’re having trouble committing to JUST one thing, I want you to remember this:
If you’re unwilling to commit to one thing, you’re going to likely be distracted by everything.
Now once you’ve decided on the goal you want to focus on, you’re ready to Be Specific. Which means, define what success will look like when you get this done. You have to define what finished looks like. Yes, your goal has to be specific, measurable, and achievable. You should be able to say without a doubt – “Yes, I am finished and I followed through!”
Let’s say your goal is to reboot your health and you say to yourself, “Yeah, I really do want to feel better by the summer.” That, my friend, is vague and a fairly useless goal because it’s not well defined.
On the other hand if you said to yourself “You know what, I really need to reset my health and here’s my goal: for the next 30 days I’m going to eliminate gluten and alcohol and dairy and caffeine.” That’s WAY better right? Of course it is – because it is specific and measurable and achievable.
Your action item right now is to decide on ONE SINGLE goal and to define it in specific, measurable and achievable terms.
You’ve gotten focused and specific about your MOST important goal and now you’ve got to organize your life around achieving it. And in order to do that, we have got to face down the biggest BS excuse we can all use for not following through. You know what that is?
“You know what, I just don’t have the time.”
C’mon now… I know we’ve all said this. And you know what? It’s a pretty sad excuse, because we’re all given the same 24 hours each and every day. It’s just that some people have learned to use their time a lot more wisely.
You and I both know that we always make time for the things that truly matter. So if you want to master your ability to follow-through, remember this.
Meaning, if you don’t decide in advance exactly when and where you’re going to do the work, and have that time specifically blocked out on your calendar, you gotta face it, you don’t care that much about it. It’s not going to happen.
This is not just my opinion. In study after study, researchers have found ONE thing to be true. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, a professor at Columbia University,
Did you hear that? Double or triple your chance for success? Anyone?!
Open your calendar and decide exactly when and where you’re going to work to bring your top goal to life.
STEP #3: S Stands for “Set NO as Your Default Answer.”
Look, saying “no” to yourself and others is essential to follow-through. This isn’t about being an arrogant a-hole, this isn’t about saying no haphazardly. This is about saying no deliberately and strategically and, of course, compassionately.
You have GOT to give yourself permission to STOP trying to do it all. Stop saying yes to everyone and everything and every new idea. Because here’s the truth; everything you say YES to, means you’re saying NO to something else. In economic terms, that’s called “opportunity cost” and it’s a serious thing.
For example, you go to a bridal shower that honestly, you don’t want to go to, but you say yes out of a sense of guilt and drive hours to get there and spend the entire day regretting your choice. That’s time you can’t ever get back – time you could have spent working towards your goal, or just being with your family, or your kids, or doing something meaningful to move ahead.
Simply allow “no” to be your default response to all new projects, new requests, and new demands on your time.
You also need to say NO to spending hours watching TV or getting sucked into the comparison sinkhole of social media. You say NO to any and all time sucks and energy sucks and non-essentials.
Saying yes to too much only leaves you feeling frustrated, resentful and exhausted, right? It’s not a place from which you can do your best work.
When you train yourself to say yes to less, what you really get is more. More time and more space to do the deep and important work you were born to do. More breathing room. More white space. More freedom. More energy to devote to things that truly matter, like spending time with people you love.
One of the things that stop people from making their default answer “no”, is not knowing how to say no with grace and kindness.
No is a complete sentence. But c’mon now, I mean, let’s be real. If someone writes you an email asking for something and you just type back “no” and hit send, it’s not going to feel that good to you or them.
Here’s a simple and elegant way to say no.
“Thanks so much for thinking of me. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored I am to be asked.” or I’d rather not, but thank you SO MUCH for thinking of me.”
Elegant and honest, right? Just like you.
Your next action item is to re-examine your projects and your upcoming commitments. Is there anything on there that you can decline or get out of? Now of course, if you do, you’re gonna be classy and elegant about it – but honestly, from this moment forward, if it’s not a hell yes, let it be a hell no, because you and your goal matter.
STEP #4: S stands for “Start Before You’re Ready.”
The one mantra I use to start – especially when the goal or project that I’m working on is a little scary and outside my comfort zone. And that mantra is:
Start BEFORE You’re Ready.
Look. Most of us can talk about or think about an important project for months and sometimes even years before actually doing anything about it. But do not confuse activity with accomplishment.
You see, if you’ve had trouble following through, it’s not a lack of competence that’s holding you back. It is this nasty little fear-based lie that we tell ourselves called, “I’m not ready yet.” It is one of the deadliest, most insidious dream killer around. And if you’re honest, I’ll bet, “I’m not ready yet” has probably stopped you a few times in the past.
Well, my friend, here is the secret you need to know. The world’s happiest and most successful people never feel ready to make a bold move – they just GO! They understand that waiting to “feel ready” before taking action is the worst kind of procrastination.
That is why starting before you are ready is the key to executing like a champ and mastering follow-through. It’s helps you sidestep your fear and drive straight into action-based learning. Because when you stop thinking and you start executing, you literally create this energy that pulls you forward. All of the sudden there are appointments and deadlines and real life progress.
This last step is all about execution, once you get started, don’t stop.
When it comes to follow-through, tenacity matters more than tactics or technique. Be relentless about this, do not stop taking action until you can drop the mic and say, “You know what? This. Is. Done.”
Your last action item. Identify the single most important action you could take right now to execute on your goal – even if you don’t feel ready?
Is it making a phone call? Is it making an outside appointment with some kind of professional? Or perhaps it’s telling a few people you trust about your goal and your commitment to make it happen.
There is no right answer. But, I’ll bet you know it in your heart whatever it is what you have to do. Think about it, get moving, and start before you’re ready.
Let’s review our four key disciplines to being the BOSS and following through.
B: Be Focused and Specific: Choose ONE priority and define your outcome so it’s clear, specific and achievable, Set yourself up to win.
O: Organize Your Time & Schedule It: If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.
S: Set NO as Your Default Answer: No is your default answer to all new requests, eliminate non-essentials, and say yes to less.
S: Start BEFORE You’re Ready: Be relentless and don’t stop taking action until you’ve reached your goal.
And that’s it! Be the BOSS you are and make these four personal disciplines a habit and trouble with follow-through will be a thing of the past.
The trick to accomplishing anything is thinking you can do it. In other words, confidence is key. Many of the confidence killers we inflict on ourselves are thing we don’t even realize we’re doing.
But as with any behavior, these habits that slowly kill your spirit can be unlearned. The first step, of course, is recognizing them.
Check yourself to see if you have any of these 10 confidence-killing habits.
#1 People Pleasing – saying yes to everything
Saying “yes” to everyone stems from a desire to feel needed and liked. When you focus on pleasing others, you neglect yourself. Pleasing yourself is not selfish. It’s necessary. When you focus on your needs instead of everyone else’s, you reinforce that you matter. Stop linking your self-confidence to others’ approval. Instead show up for YOU!
#2 Using Always and Never
Your language is a reflection of how you feel about yourself and feeds your confidence, or not.
Using the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ is a common unconscious confidence-destroying habit that leaves you feeling like you have no ability to make changes, when that’s hardly the case.
Anytime you find yourself saying ‘always’ and ‘never’, you are destroying your confidence. Because of their seemingly absolute, black and white, all or nothing nature, you’re setting yourself up to feel hopeless, helpless and less confident.
#3 Maintaining toxic friendships
We truly are who we spend time with. If we are surrounded by people who are lazy, complain or have a victim mentality, then that is who we become.
If there are toxic people in your life who threaten your self-worth and significantly chip away at your self-esteem, it’s time to kick those relationships to the curb.
Seek out positive reinforcement, not haters.
Get a tighter rein on the positive influences. Hone your friend group and be intentional with who you surround yourself with. Make sure you’re surrounded by those who have your best interests at heart, and who love you and want to see you thrive.
#4 Bullying Yourself
You say things to yourself that you would never say to another person. These sound like, “I’m not good enough. I’m a loser. Or, I’m so stupid.” Constantly speaking to yourself this way will have the same effect as if someone else were saying those things to you, which can deal a serious blow to your self-confidence.
#5 Focusing on Your Weaknesses
The more we talk about our perceived negative traits, the more we will believe them. Not only that, but focusing on those flaws leads our subconscious mind to look for evidence that this belief is true and create new experiences to support it. At a certain point, these perceptions will turn into a self-created reality.
#6 Comparing Yourself to Others
When you compare yourself to someone who you perceive as better than you it diminishes your confidence. We have the tendency to tell ourselves that, compared to someone else, we aren’t qualified to do our job or lack the ability to be a good parent, partner, friend, or listener.
But by doing so, you’re likely to feel as if it isn’t even worth trying to live up to your expectations, thus enacting a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Instead, only compare yourself to those you can learn from. What are they doing or what do they have that you want? How did they get there? What attributes to you admire about them? How can you use this new knowledge to move forward?
#7 Spending Time on Social Media
Social media can have damaging effects on self-esteem and self-image. If negative comments or a lack of likes and interaction are getting you down, it’s time for a social media hiatus. Try to remind yourself that social media, in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty superficial place. And remember, the only validation that matters is the kind you find inside yourself.
#8 Not Admitting When You’re Wrong
Confidence is crucial, but over-confidence is downright dangerous. Knowing when to admit you are wrong is an important step in maintaining your self-esteem, because confidence doesn’t mean being right all the time. It also means being self-aware. You’ll learn that even when you make mistakes the world doesn’t come to an end. Own it. Admit your mistake. Forgive yourself. And move on.
#9 Neglecting Yourself
One of the main ways you can damage your confidence is not engaging in self-care. Not scheduling doctor appointments, cancelling training sessions at the gym, or eating like garbage send subconscious messages to your brain that you are not worth the time, money and energy necessary to lead a healthy life.
#10 Playing the victim
Thinking people are out to get you, that you are always wrong, or that you have terrible luck, are all damaging to your self-confidence. These thoughts can lead you to think the world is against you and that no matter what you do, it’s never good enough. Begin by reframing your thoughts to “That didn’t go as I had hoped, but next time will be better because I’m smarter now.”
When you are confident you will:
feel happy, valuable, fulfilled
feel worthy of the good things in your life
easily cope with life’s challenges
trust yourself to show up for YOU
stop looking for external validation because loving yourself is where true confidence thrives.
The fastest way to change the way you think about yourself is to change your behavior.
Identify which habits above you want to change and take one small step to start today.
Don’t forget to download your free confidence building guide.
“I’m exhausted and I think it’s because I don’t take enough downtime.”
This is what one of my coaching clients is dealing with.
Can you relate?
If you can, you are going to be surprised at the outcome of this coaching session.
Together, my client and I dove into what “enough downtime” meant for her. This lead us to her beautifully color-coded daily planner.
What we discovered was she had plenty of downtime planned in her schedule.
After peeling the onion, layer by layer, she discovered she was taking the downtime, but she didn’t feel like she experienced any of the benefits.
So, what was happening during her downtime?
There were distractions.
She wasn’t present during her “me time”.
Like anything else in life, we have to be there in the moment to have the experience, no matter what it is.
If you’re not present in the moment, you’re going to miss your “me time.”
It means being intentional and committing to your downtime. It is sacred and should be treated as such.
It’s not about how much downtime you have that matters. It’s about how you show up for it – for yourself.
But isn’t the point of downtime to NOT have all that pressure of showing up a certain way – to just let your mind wander and NOT have to be accountable to anyone or anything?
Well, the answer is both yes and no.
Yes. It’s your time to let all the stress go. To stop worrying. To stop doing all the “shoulds” on your list. Yes, this time is about you and no one else.
And the answer is also no. You can’t be distracted during your downtime.
Here’s an example.
You decide you need some time to yourself and you’re going to indulge in some Netflix binging. And while you’re watching you are also scrolling on your phone.
Before you know it, the first episode is over and you have no clue what is going on. You fall asleep because you were never fully invested or present. Netflix keeps popping up the the next episode and the next.
When you wake, you beat yourself up for not even making it through your downtime as you had planned. You also know that you’re not going to be able to fall asleep tonight because you took a 2 hour nap. You also know, that tomorrow is probably going to suck because you know you’ll be exhausted.
That is the exact opposite of what downtime is intended to do.
Downtime is supposed to be your time to relax and get reenergized.
Here’s another example.
You grab your phone and go for a walk. Someone from work calls and it becomes a stressful conversation. You’re not paying any attention to your walk. You don’t notice the warm breeze, birds chirping, or the new spring blooms. You’re present with work but not with your downtime.
You get back home and you’re more stressed than when you left. Ugh.
Here Are 6 Ways to Stay Present During Your Downtime.
No scrolling. You can have your phone on you for emergencies but other than that, don’t look at it during your downtime.
No multitasking. Focusing on only one thing allows you to be present and take in the entire experience you’ve chosen – be it a bubble bath, a walk, reading or working on a project you’re interested in.
Make downtime a consistent priority. Try to keep it at the same time of day. Then it becomes a habit, and you know you can count on yourself to take the time.
Don’t let others in unless they are part of your planned downtime – for example, if you’re working on a project with a friend.
Tell others you will be unavailable for the time being.
Get creative with how you spend downtime. Something active like gardening, walking or baking can help you unwind more-so than a nap. If it’s something that interests you and lights you up, you’ll be more likely to be fully present.
Remember, the challenge is not finding more free time. The challenge is being present in order to realize the benefits of relaxing and getting reenergized.
Don’t forget to grab your confidence building guide:
Are you constantly looking over your shoulder worrying about what others think of you? Is your default to assume they think the worst of you?
Ugh. It’s so frustrating isn’t it?
Here’s the thing. These critics only live in your head. Your brain takes those critics you’ve created and looks for proof that people are judging you.
But what if you stopped looking for your critics and looked for your fans instead?
Fans you say? Yes!
There are people you don’t even notice who are watching you and who think you are amazing. Oh yes, that is correct. You inspire others and don’t even know it.
You inspire others by simply “being.”
What you think is trivial is profound to other people.
You may not know who you are inspiring with your small, daily actions. But trust that everything you do may be an inspiration to someone.
It could be how you approach a stressful life event with calm and positivity.
It could be that you approach everything in the practical way.
Or, you show others that you can handle anything with the right attitude.
Maybe it’s your strong work ethic and the willingness to learn.
None of those are extraordinary talents, but the way you carry yourself through your life is both extraordinary and inspiring to others.
You don’t know you’re inspirational because you don’t know who is watching your progress. You’re not looking for your fans because you are too busy looking for your critics.
Maybe you won’t reach millions of people with your life. Maybe you’ll only reach one.
Maybe you’ll reach 10. If you can set an example for 10 people, they may not tell you you’re inspiring them, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re inspirational.
Imagine what you would learn about yourself when you look at the world through a different lens. What if people weren’t against you? What if you they were cheering you on? What if they were changing their lives based on how you are living yours?
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!
You are inspiring others simply by being you. Just by being you, just by being your unique beautiful self, you’re inspiring others to do the same for themselves.
When you be you, you give unconscious permission to everyone around you to be them and that is your greatest gift in the world.
The most powerful inspirations I know of aren’t the quotes, YouTube videos or articles guaranteeing “10 Steps to Success”.
My biggest inspiration is my Mom. She gets up every day and takes care of my Dad who has Alzheimers. I don’t how she has done it day after day for almost a decade. She does it with grace, patience, and always, always finds something to be grateful for on the worst of days. Her attitude and resilience inspire me beyond words.
Who inspires you?
Whoever it is, tell them.
These are ordinary people in your life who have inspired you and still do.
Next time you are touched by someone’s story, tweet, blog post, comment, photo, let them know how it made you feel, how it shaped your thinking, what thoughts it provoked, what it allowed you to experience, discover, understand.
Tell them the qualities they embody that touch you, such as resiliency, humility, grace, perseverance, and a can-do attitude.
Soon. you’ll realize the ripple effect that because of them, you inspire others too.
What would the world look like if we all stopped looking for our critics and noticed our fans?
What you pay attention to is a choice.
The only thing you need to remember is that inspiring people needs to come from a place of authenticity – the real “YOU”.
Stop giving the critics in your head all the airtime. Instead, look for those quiet souls who are watching you, inspired by you.
How many projects have you started and then dropped because you got bored or something newer and shinier pulled your attention away?
Within weeks or months, you realize the idea wasn’t as brilliant in practice as it was in your head.
It’s enough to drive you crazy. And then you beat yourself up, telling yourself that you’re not capable of finishing anything.
So wait, what happened? Shiny object syndrome, friend. Shiny object syndrome is what happened.
First, let’s get this straight – we’ve all been there irrespective of the field we belong to. We see a shiny object and chase it without thinking it through.
To be clear, shiny object syndrome isn’t a medical syndrome as such. It’s a name given to a condition that’s pretty common among several entrepreneurs and creatives.
Shiny object syndrome results in you being easily distracted, impulsive and unable to focus on anything long enough to finish it.
It’s human nature. We all do it.
And, if you happen to have ADHD, your shiny object syndrome probably appears more frequently and more intensely than those who don’t have ADHD.
You can tame the impulsivity to mindlessly dive into new things.
Here are 4 Quick Fixes to Prevent Shiny Object Syndrome from Winning
#1 Sleep on it.
When an idea first steps through your brain’s front door, don’t welcome it with open arms. Instead, stare it down with suspicion at first – have a cuppa with the idea and scan it top to bottom before deciding if you should sit with it for dinner.
Some prefer to call this “sleeping on the idea” or giving yourself some “thinking time”. The fact is any idea that sticks with you past the 24-hour think period is usually worth considering further.
#2 Make a doable plan to achieve your goals
When you don’t have any goals set, you give yourself permission to act impulsively and mindlessly jump from one thing to another. Setting goals grounds you. It gives you a framework to make decisions from. Set goals that speak to your soul.
Take your annual goals and break them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.
I start every week identifying the three big things that are going to move me close to achieving my goals. These are three things that I’m getting done this week, no matter what. These three things drive the specific tasks I schedule in my daily planner.
#3 Identify the cost of the shiny object
Setting goals is so dang important because when those shiny objects come in, you’ve got to have the discipline to ask yourself, “Does this fit into the goals I’ve set for this year?”
That’s how I avoid getting distracted. If something comes into my world and I ask myself, “Does this fit into the goals I’ve set this year?” If the answer is no, then I ask myself, “Do I really need or want this? Is this something I’ve overlooked but is really important?”
The answer is often no. Then I go back to the goals I’ve set, head down, do the work.
Now, once in a while, the answer is yes. And that’s when I have to decide, “Okay. Am I going to sacrifice one thing for another?” We all now that every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else and might not realize it in the moment, but you are.
If I say yes to something, I go back to rearrange the goals I’ve already set because this shiny thing I’m saying yes to wasn’t really part of my plan.
#4 Talk about your goals
Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I talk about my goals often and out loud to others, it almost brings them to life and they become more a part of me.
Talk about your goals often, and it becomes your North Star. You know where you are going because it’s just part of your conversations. It’s just a part of you.
Speaking about goals holds me accountable to myself and others and it reminds me of my game plan.
When those shiny objects pop up then I can decide:
Do I want to do them and change around what I’ve already done?
Is this something that I can put on a wish list and come back to at a different time?
Is this an opportunity I’m willing to miss because I know that I’m really clear where I’m going and how I’m getting there?
Taking a moment to pause, reflect and make thoughtful decisions is the most effective way to not mindlessly fall prey to shiny object syndrome.
Taking breaks is the counter-intuitive approach to improving productivity.
Breaks should be a priority, not a reward for completing your to-do list. Listen to your body and know when to stop. Taking a break will help you perform better, get better ideas, and feel good about yourself.
WHAT IS A BREAK?
A break is a brief pause of work or physical activity. You decide to give it a rest with the intention of getting back to your task within a reasonable amount of time.
But do you fear you’ll never get back on task?
Here are 4 ways to ensure you’ll get back on task:
One: Set 2 alarms – one on your phone that you take with you on break. That is the only thing you do with your phone on break. And a second alarm in your work area that will force you to go back to turn it off – once you’re in the space, you’re more likely to start again.
Two: Tell someone what time you need to get back to work.
Three: Write on a post-it where you stopped and where you’ll start when you get back.
Four: Work for 2 Minutes – Telling yourself you only need to work for 2 minutes will get you started. Before you know it, you’ll realize you’ve been working for 20 minutes.
TWO COMMON MYTHS ABOUT BREAKS
Myth 1: Scrolling on your phone, watching You Tube videos, playing video games, essentially anything on a screen is a great way to take a break.
Truth 1: Anything on a screen is a big no-no. As this survey by Huffington Post suggests, activities like social networking can significantly increase stress. When you’re on a screen you’re more likely to lose track of time. It is also more difficult to get your brain off the screen and it does not give your brain the break it needs.
Myth 2: Breaks take too much time. It’s better to push through without one.
Truth 2: You think you don’t have time for breaks? Truth is, you don’t have time to NOT take breaks. Read on. You’ll find out why.
5 REASONS WHY BREAKS ARE INCREDIBLY VALUABLE:
One: Breaks are essential for your physical and emotional health.
Movement breaks, specifically, lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Getting up from your chair to walk, stretch, do yoga, etc. can reduce the negative health effects from too much sitting. Just a 5 minute walk every hour can improve your health and well-being.
Two: Breaks can prevent “decision fatigue.”
Author S.J. Scott points out the need to make frequent decisions throughout the day can wear down your willpower and reasoning ability. Decision fatigue can lead to simplistic decision-making and procrastination.
Three: Breaks restore motivation, especially for long-term goals.
When we work, our prefrontal cortex makes every effort to help us execute our goals. But for a challenging task that requires our sustained attention, research shows briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation later.
A small study summarized here even suggests that prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance.
Four: Breaks increase productivity and creativity.
Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. “Aha moments” came more often to those who took breaks, according to research.
Five: Breaks called “Waking Rest”, AKA resting while awake, helps consolidate memories and improve learning.
Scientists have known that one purpose of sleep is to consolidate memories. However, there is also evidence that resting while awake likewise improves memory formation. During a rest period, it appears the brain reviews and ingrains what it previously learned.
WHEN NOT TO TAKE A BREAK
If you are in a state of “flow” it does not make sense to take a break. Flow is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself. Simply enjoying what you are doing may be a sign that you still have plenty of energy for your current activity.
In short, if it ain’t broke, don’t “break” it.
7 TIPS FOR TAKING BREAKS SO YOU COME BACK RECHARGED, REENERGIZED, AND MORE PRODUCTIVE.
One: Walk or exercise.
Get moving. A walking break leads to more creative ideas than a sitting break.
Two: Get Outside
Staying in an artificially lit, stuffy office or home, all day might be a necessity for getting things done. But escaping that space for even a few minutes during the day can have huge benefits. Fresh air helps clear the brain fog allowing you to focus with a clear head. Choose where you go wisely. Walking in nature tends to calm, while city streets amp up engagement.
Three: Change your environment
Briefly leaving your work space and going to another area will help your brain rest and switch gears.
Four: Hydrate and have a healthy snack.
Opt for high protein, low sugar snacks. And always, always, be drinking water!
Five: Take a few deep breaths.
They don’t call a rest “taking a breather” for nothing. Deliberately taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on your breathing for just 30 seconds is a mini-meditation that can relax your mind and body.
Daydreaming gives the prefrontal cortex a break, taking you on a brief journey to your unconscious mind where chaos and creativity reign.
A report published in Science Magazine found that simply letting our minds wander by zoning out or daydreaming has similar benefits to meditation.
Letting your mind drift can help you come up with more creative ideas and help you problem-solve.
Seven: Have some coffee or tea.
Coffee could be a great way to bring your brain to focus on the task at hand. A study conducted on 2010 concluded that employees who take regular coffee breaks are more efficient and productive. A dose of caffeine can keep you alert, reduce stress, and help you stay active.
HOW OFTEN TO TAKE BREAKS
While the rule of thumb is simple: take a break when your brain feels saturated, different researchers have come up with different options.
The Pomodoro Technique advises working for 25 minutes followed by a 3 to 5-minute break, and then a 15 to 30-minute break every 90 minutes or so.
While it’s true that different durations work for different people, you should decide how often to take a break depending on the type of work you need to do. Keep the momentum for as long as you can and take a break after 90 minutes. However, if your thoughts start to wander more frequently, a short break every 20 minutes might be helpful.
MONITOR YOURSELF AND LEARN
As you take breaks, be mindful of the results. Which kind of breaks seem to help you become more creative, motivated and productive? Which kind of breaks just seem disruptive to your work? Notice what works and what doesn’t. Research on breaks is a generalization; only you can decide what particular strategies work best for you.
WRAPPING IT UP
By knowing you have a break coming up, you’re more likely to stay focused and work with purpose.
Breaks are an enriching way of giving your brain that much-needed rest. According to Forbes, taking breaks as self-care can literally save your life.
In our culture of doing, taking regular breaks can be seen as lazy or unproductive. But when done correctly, breaks are the ultimate productivity hack, because they let us do more in less time. So, stop glorifying long days and burnout-inducing hours and take a break.
Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the big things that I want to do to make my dreams a reality.
Do you know what that feels like?
Your head is spinning. It can be hard to know what to do or where to start.
I’ve been playing around with this tool for awhile now and want to share it with you so you can beat the overwhelm, reduce stress and anxiety and move forward with clarity.
Let me introduce you to my version of The Mind Sweep.
What exactly is a Mind Sweep?
It’s an intentional methodical way for getting everything out of your head onto paper – or into a Google Doc, or wherever you’re capturing your thoughts in an organized meaningful way.
A Mind Sweep is different than a mind dump. A mind dump is also effective at getting things out, but it’s kind of like taking the mess of thoughts in your brain and creating a new mess on paper. And it can continue the train of overwhelm, because now you have to sort through all of the junk you just dumped out on paper.
Imagine pulling out the junk drawer in your kitchen and dumping it on the floor. That doesn’t really help much…the junk is just in a new spot.
On the flip side, a Mind Sweep is a lot more organized. We pictured dumping the junk drawer on the floor and making a mess. Now imagine yourself sweeping the floor in your kitchen.
When you sweep you’re not just randomly swishing the broom around to see what happens. No! When you sweep, you start at the edges and work in a certain direction. Every swish of the broom has a purpose, and you’ve got an end goal in mind.
That’s what happens when you do a mind sweep. You get everything out of your head in a deliberate and purposeful way so that you’re not dumping junk on a page. Your sweeping out the cobwebs so you can get more clarity and start fresh.
David Allen author of Getting Things Done, uses a Mind Sweep as part of his kind of complicated system GTD for capturing and processing information in your life and work so that you never miss a thing.
His version of a mind sweep is great, but I found it to be a bit much. I’ve played with it for a while, and this is what my mind sweep looks like now. I always tell my clients, their success lies in taking someone else system and tweaking it to make it your own.
HOW TO DO MY VERSION OF A MIND SWEEP
FIRST – Decide where you’ll capture your Mind Sweep thoughts. In a notebook? A journal? A Google Doc? Don’t overthink this. Pick something and start. I mind sweep the old-fashioned way with pen and paper.
SECOND – Decide when and how often you’ll capture your thoughts.
Will you do this in the morning or at night?
In the morning, the mind sweep can help improve focus by reducing distractions. At night, a mind sweep can help quiet racing thoughts and turn your brain “off” so you can sleep.
Doing a mind sweep takes muscle memory, just like any other habit. To start, promise yourself you’ll do a mindset sweep one time a week.
THIRD – Focus your sweep.
Organizing your thoughts into categories helps you manage them.
I sweep my thoughts into one of 3 categories; My To-Do’s, My Worries, and My Inner-Critic. Let’s talk about these from YOUR perspective.
CATEGORY #1: YOUR TO-DO THOUGHTS
This is the first category because I’ve found that these thoughts are at the forefront of my mind. When I do mind sweeps with clients, they also default to thinking about their to-do’s first.
To sweep your to-do thoughts, ask yourself; “What are the important things I need to accomplish today? Tomorrow? This week?
If it helps, think about your to-do’s in sub-categories like; work, home, kids, bills, parents, medical, vacations. You get the point.
Now that you got your To-Do Thoughts out of your head, it’s time to make a doable plan.
3 Steps to Make a Doable Plan
FIRST: Break out projects vs tasks.
Your list probably contains a mix of projects and tasks. A project is anything that has more than one step to complete.
Book a vacation is an example of a project. Choose 3 places to research is a task.
One of the most common reasons we end the day without crossing things off our to-do list is because our list is full of projects, instead of tasks. So we might spend hours working on a few tasks for one project, but not finish the whole project. So even though we made good progress – progress to be proud of – we still feel bad for not crossing it off the list.
When you identify something from your to-do mind sweep that’s a project, put the letter P next to it so you can come back to it later and map out the tasks within the project.
With the tasks that are left, it’s time to prioritize. Remember, when everything is important, nothing is important.
Start with lightening the load. What on the list can you eliminate? Now that you see it on paper you may realize you’ve been hanging onto something that doesn’t need to be done at all.
Is there anything on the list that you can delegate? Maybe to a coworker, spouse, kids, a virtual assistant, an intern? What can you delegate and get off your plate?
For the remaining urgent things on the list, schedule them into your day and into the next week with time blocks. This helps you keep what you decide to tackle realistic. You can’t get a lot done if you’re in meetings all day. But you can get something done when you have an hour open between appointments. Schedule it and keep that appointment with yourself.
CATEGORY #2 YOUR WORRY THOUGHTS
Worrying causes a huge bottleneck in your productivity. When you worry, you’re all up in your head and not solving a darn thing.
Now sweep for your worry thoughts. Ask yourself;
What am I worrying about or dwelling on right now?
What am I overthinking?
What am I ruminating over?
What thoughts are keeping me up at night?
What thoughts are distracting me during the day?
Next, review all those thoughts an ask yourself; “What do I have control over? Is there anything I can do about this worry?”
If yes, move that action or task to Category #1: Your To-Do Thoughts. If no, choose to let it go. Worrying has never solved any problem. It simply keeps you spinning.
If you must worry, schedule a time to worry. Every time you catch yourself worrying, remind yourself that you have 30 minutes of worry time scheduled at say 7pm tonight. Maybe use that time to journal about your worries.
CATEGORY #3: YOUR INNER-CRITIC THOUGHTS
Oh, these thoughts keep you so stuck. They tell you that you aren’t enough. They tell you to play it safe. And the secret here, my friend, is that most of your thoughts are outright lies.
Now sweep for your inner-critic thoughts.
What am I beating myself up for right now? It may be things like; I never do what I say I’m going to do. I’m always distracted. I never finish anything.
2. Finish this thought; I’ve never been good at _____________________. Or, it might come out of your head as “I’m a terrible writer, speaker, friend, parent, boss, leader.”
Review each thought and ask yourself if it is a fact or simply a thought.
Our thoughts are just that, thoughts. They are not facts. A fact is something that would hold up in a court of law. There is no emotion around facts. Thoughts are full of emotions. Also, notice words like, always, never, constantly, all the time, etc. Those are clues that the thought is a lie.
Now if it’s a lie, what else could you say to yourself? For example, “I keep putting off writing my resume because I’m a terrible writer.” That’s not a fact. So reframe the thought to:
“Now that I think about it, people have told me that I’m a great writer. I even got pretty good grades on my papers in school. I can tackle this resume.”
THAT’S IT! YOU’RE DONE WITH YOUR MIND SWEEP!
Enjoy the feeling that you have. You probably feel a little lighter now that your mind is de-cluttered and you have clarity like you’ve never had before.
Are you guilty of having an idea, or an intuitive hit on something and immediately saying “I’ll do it later.”? Or “I’ll get back to this when I have more time.”?
Now take a second to think about how much further along you would be if you started taking all that energy you use waiting and used it to start DOING?
Here’s the thing – that idea or tiny inspiration was a gift from the universe and what do we usually do with it? We throw it right into the “I’ll do it later black hole” where most ideas go to die.
You know you need to do it. For some reason, though, it feels impossible to muster the energy to simply get started.
Don’t worry, it’s not just in your head. Getting started is hard. The secret to building and maintaining momentum lies in the science.
Remember Newton’s Law Of Motion?
In chemistry, you need a big burst of initial energy to start a chemical reaction. This explosion of energy is called “activation energy.” Your brain is looking for that chemical reaction, that explosion of energy.
That moment of inspiration you had? That was the spark the universe gave you to create that activation energy to get you started.
But out of habit you smothered it and now you are left with the excuses of no energy, no time, no confidence, no inspiration.
You see, after that moment of inspiration passes, you’ll never feel like it, you’ll never be ready, and there is no right time. Suck it up, give yourself a push, and get started.
If you do, you can tap into the principle of momentum.
Here are three strategies you can use to create and sustain momentum.
#1 DO SOMETHING TINY EVERY DAY
This idea comes for BJ Fogg, a Stanford University researcher. When you set the bar low, it’s easier to stick to your goals.
If you have just started trying to get back in shape, for example, forget the long workout. Instead, do five minutes on the treadmill and five pushups a day. I transformed my health by simply walking my dog every day. When you start with something easy, you’ll see yourself win and you’ll keep going.
#2 CELEBRATE SMALL WINS
Making progress in small ways doesn’t always feel like it’s making a big difference. But research from Harvard University Business School discovered that recognizing your small progress every day is the key to productivity and happiness.
To make the effect even greater, reward yourself – but only in ways that further your goals. Topping off a 5-mile run with a bowl of ice cream is different than rewarding yourself with a deep-tissue massage.
#3 FOCUS ON THE SMALLER NUMBER
You can measure progress by how much you’ve done or how much you still have left to do.
A study from the University of Chicago discovered that you’ll be way more motivated if you focus on the smaller of two numbers.
For example, focus on the 3 pounds you’ve already lost, not the 17 more to go. Each new action feels even more impactful when compared to a smaller number.
Did you notice what these three strategies have in common?
Think small when you think about taking action.
Take tiny doable steps, celebrate small wins, focus on the smaller number.
When we think big, we get overwhelmed and it all feels impossible.
I challenge you to think small today.
Remember, creating momentum doesn’t happen by thinking that you have to finish the entire project NOW.
But it does happen by taking action immediately and then scheduling out more time on the calendar to sustain momentum.