Everyone wants the secret to motivation. Well here it is.
Here we are. Approaching the end of Q4.
Just 31 days left of this year.
If you heard the sound of a record scratch, you are not alone.
Do not adjust your TV sets, folks, 2021 will soon be but a memory.
Reminding me of the impending annual milestone is an awesome app I use called Countdown. It does a countdown on my phone to significant dates for my work and my personal life, and what I find most beneficial about this useful tool is that it reminds me daily that I’ve got goals with deadlines.
Only 31 days. Phew! That went fast. This was THE year. The year after 2020 – the great RESET.
So. Did you reset? Did you take the time to dial in where you are going, and take action?
Because there are only 31 days left, and let me share why that’s important.
Every year, sometime near mid November, many throw in the towel for the year. It’s equivalent to running an important race only to stop mid-stride once you see the finish line in the distance. Chock it up to some weird mix of societal norms and human psychology that says, “eh, I’m not going to hit the goals I thought I would. Guess I’ll ride out the rest of the year and start fresh in January.” I get it. The end of the year, the vacation time, the holidays – we get stretched so thin. And who wouldn’t want to take the easy road every now and again?
But, stay with me here. It doesn’t have to be this way. When we are conscious of our personal countdowns we can choose differently. We can plan our time accordingly.
Time is the key. If we halt progress on our goals, we will lose the momentum we’ve so painstakingly nurtured up to this point. It’s that momentum, that consistent flow of energy, that will carry us through to the end of the year.
Let’s talk about why momentum is so important.
Because of Newton’s First Law. The Law of Inertia- an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Weather Sir Isaac Newton was aware of it, he was talking about personal productivity as well.
If you are resting on your haunches, you will stay on your haunches.
Certainly nothing magical happens on January 1st (unless you make it magical on January 1st).
The motivation fairy does not sprinkle magic only on Day 1.
Calendar dates are merely a social construct, intended for order and organization. Motivation is something you can create at any time. And I’m asking you, in the spirit of maintaining momentum, to create it now.
I’m challenging you to resist the urge to put your energy to rest. And instead, keep it in motion.
And why does this work so well?
Physics for the win again!
Because the other side to the Law of Inertia is:
An object in motion tends to stay in motion.
When you get your behind in gear, it tends to stay in gear. Is perfect execution required for the object to stay in motion? No. And that applies to you, too. Get back in motion. Or stay in motion. On whatever it was you wanted to achieve at the beginning of this year.
Because once you are moving, you will have momentum.
How about this? Think of your energy as a merry-go-round. Sitting there still, initially it’s hard to move it. There is no momentum. Going from 0 to 1 is always the hardest. But once you have momentum – it’s easier to go from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. If you grab the handle of the merry-go-round and the first push you do isn’t very effective, not the best you could have done– does it matter? No, it’s still progress! And the second push will be easier, and the 3rd even easier. This is leveraging momentum.
It doesn’t matter how imperfect you began. It only matters that you began.
This applies to you. To your life. Your goals.
You need to reach out and grab the merry-go-round and start moving it. And you need to do it before the last holidays set in.
So what’s our solution here? How do we take this physics lesson and apply it in our own lives?
We identify the goal you don’t want to drag into the new year, and you take action on it today.
What is the thing you need to make progress on? What’s the thing you don’t want to “start” at New Years but rather want to pick up speed at New Years?
And I want you to take a small step, progress it. Reach your hand out and move that merry-go-round. If you have been a rest, it is time to take action.
Stop procrastinating on the thing you said was most important at the beginning of this year.
You said it. You declared it. Maybe you wrote it on a piece of paper, a journal? Put it as your Facebook post on January 1st of 2021? You said this year would be different this year. Is it?
Did you make it different?
Because no one is going to do it for you.
The motivation fairy is not coming with her magic dust.
You have to create the momentum. You have to build it.
Everyone wants the secret to motivation. Well here it is:
Start. Begin. Create something. Something small, but leverage your psychology and begin.
The motivation will come.
For our purposes today we will leverage James Clear’s 2-minute rule from his amazing book Atomic Habits. Make progress towards your goal for 2 minutes and it will help you establish the habit for completing that goal. Just work on it 2 minutes a day, and that will combat procrastination. That is where you’ll find your motivation. In your daily habits.
Let’s get into some examples, real time examples from my masterminds this week.
Example 1. One of my clients wanted to run 5 Kilometers every day. Great. But he wasn’t running at all. I told him to run 2 mins and stop. I knew it was more important that Alex built the habit of running again, lacing up his shoes, getting his air pods in and heading out—than it was the mileage he ran. I just wanted progress, no perfection. Once he had established his new habit, he had progress, his merry-go-round was moving, then we’d optimize it. Notice I didn’t say perfect it.
Perfection is an illusion. It’s like infinity- you never reach it but you can die trying.
Example 2. I had another client that every year she writes “start a new business” on her January list. She had researched the right next business for her. Had spent a lot of time “researching” (staying in Education) but really made no progress (no Execution).
What did I ask her to do? Open a business, an LLC in her name. Bam she’s a business owner. As she hones in on what the business is, she can change the name, do a DBA- lots of things. Does having an LLC filed with her state matter much? Was it strategically the right next move? No. But psychologically it was. Once she saw herself as a business owner, she had progress and she has a new identity, and she’d move her merry-go-round faster.
Example 3. Another women was tired of putting “write a book” on her goal list every year. She said “I’m going to go away on a writing retreat! In the woods, I will be inspired, I will bang out half the word count during those 3 days!” Maybe. I like it, but she’s hoping the motivation fairy finds her there. And maybe she does, but here is what I told her – “Great, do that, but also, give me 100 words a day. That’s going to take about 2 and ½ minutes on your computer or 5 mins by hand.” She thought that wasn’t enough. Oh it is, because just like Alex and running, I’m more concerned that she build a habit than bang out a book in one weekend.
So, enough examples, I’m turning to you.
What is your 100 words a day goal?
What is that thing, you need to progress before the holiday slow down sets it?
It can’t just be anything.
It’s something you are tired of writing on your New Year’s resolutions every year. Losing that same 20 pound every year.
You are tired of dragging this goal into every year hoping it will be different.
What’s the thing you don’t want to “start” at New Years but rather want to pick up speed at New Years?
We are making a push today. To make sure we have momentum before many downshift for the holidays.
31 days left of this year, and this next 2 weeks really count. I don’t expect you to complete this goal by the end of the year, but I do expect progress. Because that progress, that momentum will carry you through to the end of the year.
Today we talked about the lagging goal that you haven’t tackled for this year. The one that keeps showing up and you are tired of dragging it around to each New Year’s Resolution list.
You are going to identify it, and you are going to take imperfect action. You are going to do it sloppy for 2 minutes a day.
You are going to put yourself in motion. So that you can stay in motion until the end of the year.
I’m asking for 120 seconds of your life. Do it now. Do it messy.
And when you do it, let me know.
But I’m rooting for you. See you at the finish line.
#motivation #newyears #newyearsresolutions #goals #momentum #resolutions #goalsetting #jamesclear #atomichabits
This article first appeared on April McKeegan-Garcia LinkedIn page.