The Big Idea
Believe it until you become it.
Questions I Answer
- How can I break down my big goals and make them achievable?
- Why do I struggle with goal setting?
- How can I set better goals?
- What steps do I need to take to get myself more motivated?
Actions to Take
- Figure out why you may be pushing things off and procrastinating so that you can create better habits and solutions so that you can actually get motivated.
Key Topics in the Show
3 key reasons why you’re procrastinating getting started on your big goals.
Why we need to eliminate the word “lazy” from our vocabulary.
Actionable tips for creating and maintaining a motivational mindset that will change the way you think about your work.
How to create a motivation plan for yourself so you can tackle your passion project.
Examples of how you can set up penalties and hold yourself accountable so that you can make deadlines work for you.
Resources and Links
- Related Episodes:
Welcome to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press, a podcast focused on finding true fulfillment and happiness through the power of productivity. To get your free checklist, five minutes to peak productivity, simply sign up at inkwellpress.com/ podcast. And now here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello, hello everyone, welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, owner of inkWELL Press and this is episode 51. Today we’re going to be talking about how to actually motivate yourself to start that passion project. But before we get started I want to give a quick shout out to today’s sponsor, inkWELL Press. inkWELL Press is a company focused on creating high quality and effective productivity tools so you can start living your beautiful, successful live today. You can check out the complete line of productivity and planning products at inkwellpress.com, and I’ll be sharing a little bit more later on in the episode.
But let’s go ahead and get started. I want to talk first of all about why do we push things off when we really want to move towards our goals and our big dreams? Well, a lot of times we’re procrastinating. We have to figure out why you’re procrastinating in the first place, and then use a strategy to tackle that reason.
And there are three key reasons that contribute. Reason one, well you’re afraid of messing up the project, so you put it off. It’s also known as the fear of failure, and I could spend several minutes of the entire episode really going over this. But really, if this is your reason, head out over to episode 42 where I really dive into this sphere.
Reason number two, you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m going to let you in on a little bit of a secret, no one knows what they’re doing. We’re all fumbling around trying to do our best. There isn’t anyone out there that has all the answers to everything. Boy wouldn’t that be nice. Yes, there are things you don’t know how to do, and yes, there will be people out there who know more than you, but you’ve got to get over it. Keep in mind that asking questions doesn’t mean you’re weak, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn. Don’t be afraid of the questions. I promise you Google is not going to judge you when you ask the same question over and over and over again.
And I want to encourage you too to ask friends or family members who might have valuable advice, even in places maybe that you don’t expect, like your uncle who’s a mechanic. Yeah, he’s not doing the same thing you are, he’s maybe even in a totally different industry, but he might have some insight to share. And it could be sharing how he’s dealt with customers, or how he’s figured out ways to balance his finances. You never know until you ask.
Reason number three, you’re putting something off because it’s hard, it’s boring, or in some way unpleasant. In other words you just don’t feel like doing it. When we say things like “I can’t get out of bed early in the morning to work out on my project,” or “I just can’t make time,” we really mean we don’t feel like it. Nothing is actually physically stopping you, you just don’t want to do it.
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Listen, if you have time to watch TV, scroll social media, or play Candy Crush, you can work on your project. You just choose to pretend like you don’t. There’s no rule that says you have to wait until you feel like doing something to start. Yes, you
need to be committed to what you’re doing at some level, but remember how we talked about this at the start of the season? I said the question you really need to ask yourself is not what you want to do, but what are you willing to suffer through?
Back in episode 40 we talked about the fact that it’s not going to be all rainbows and sunshine. There’s going to be harder tasks to wade through. So we have to start shifting our mindset, and one of the first mindset shifts that you have to change is you’ve got to lose the L word, stop saying you’re not working on something because you’re lazy. I’ve mentioned this before I think, but lazy is my least favorite word, because first off, are you actually lazy or are you just maybe overwhelmed?
In today’s society there is a glorification of busy, so we can feel that doing things you enjoy is a cardinal sin. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not focused, productive or active enough. I suggest we eliminate the word lazy altogether, because it’s useless, and it really disguises the real problems. It could be that you lack a little bit of motivation, or it can be that you maybe have unrealistic expectations, or you’re having a hard time with focus. If it’s focus, is it because your schedule is packed and you’re not actually getting as much done? You might need to remove some distractions to find a way to boost your will power.
Is it the unrealistic expectations? If your schedule is packed, and you’re getting stuff done but you still feel lazy, you’re probably being too hard on yourself, and you’re setting these unrealistic expectations.
And if it’s motivation that’s your problem, motivation is something that a lot of people deal with. We all deal with it at some point, no matter how we feel about our jobs. Early this season, in episode 45, we talked about the power of choice, and how that actually increases our motivation.
So start looking at each day as a series of choice to see if that doesn’t help. But we need to stop using that word Lazy. It’s negative, and it speaks so poorly of you. I want you to begin to look at your work with new eyes. Reframe what is actually work in your mind. How you treat your work sets you up for how you experience it. We know our job performance has as much to do with our mindset as anything else. Try taking the time to list out the benefits and the things you enjoy doing, even the small tasks. Are you satisfied when you complete a task for your job? If you’re the CEO of your home, do you love it when the last load of laundry’s put away? Write out all that you do to remind yourself.
And then I want to encourage you to associate with the type of person you want to be. For example, if you want to be an entrepreneur, find ways to hang out with other successful entrepreneurs. Notice I said successful, meaning they’re actively working on their businesses. The longevity project, which studies over 1,000 people from youth to death found that people you associate with often determine the type of person you become. If you want to improve your health, associating with other health focused people is usually the strongest and most direct path to change.
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Research shows that over time you develop the eating habits, the health habits and even career aspirations of those around you.
If you’re in group of people who have high goals for themselves, you take on that same sense of seriousness. The opposite end of the spectrum rings true too. If you’re surrounding yourself by people who hate what they do, or they’re unmotivated, that can rub off on you as well. Hearing only negatives about your work makes it hard to see the positives and we become who we hang out with.
So begin to see yourself as a motivated, productive person. Research shows that how people feel about themselves has a huge effect on success. From the 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People it says “For most people studied, the first step towards improving their job performance had nothing to do with the job itself, but
instead improving how they felt about themselves.” In fact for eight out of ten people, self image matters more in how they rate their job performance than the actual job performance.
You have to change the way you look at yourself. First thing to do, get rid of that word lazy when you’re describing yourself. We really want to change the way you feel. Now I want to talk to you about creating a motivation plan for yourself. But before I do, I want to give a quick shout out from our sponsor, inkWELL Press.
All this season, we have been talking about our big goals and dreams, and there’s no better time to get started. inkWELL Press is a company designed specifically to help you achieve those goals and dreams. With their range of planners from weekly planners, to daily planners, to meal planners and productivity notepads, inkWELL Press has all the tools you need to start 2018 on the right foot. Just head to inkwellpress.com to start living your dreams today.
Okay, I want to talk about creating a motivation plan, because as you know, I think creating a plan is the first step in figuring out what it is you want to do. It’s easy to put off our big goals in favor of staying comfortable. It’s easier to avoid our fears. Adam Savage of Myth Busters points out that we all go through the same process when we set our minds to something. Step one, I don’t know how. Step two, I can’t afford someone else to pay to do it. Step three, I have to do it. And in step four, hey, that wasn’t so hard.
Tackling your passion project isn’t easy, and it probably never will be, but it doesn’t have to be hard with the right plan, and the right attitude. So let’s figure out how to create a motivation plan for you. First off, try to organize your life so you don’t need to be motivated to do everything on your list. Use things we’ve talked about like habits and automations to take the thinking out of it whenever we can. If you need help with that, you can listen to episodes 31 and 35 and well, honestly, most of season two.
When you’re actively working to take the thinking out of it through these methods, when you create systems, it makes it easier for your brain to want to work, because you’re saving it up for the really big stuff.
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Next, I want you to sit down and figure out your project goal. Literally, just sit and think about what you want to do, and of course, you know I’m going to say to write it down. Start with one concrete goal and write out what you want to do, and most importantly, the why. The key with any goal is to understand your foundation of why. Why do you want to accomplish this project? Why is it so important? Don’t skip this step.
To me, writing out your why in big bold letters were you absolutely can’t miss them is the boost in your motivation, because when the going gets tough you have to dig into that why to remind you of why you’re working so hard and to get you up off of that couch when you really just feel like watching the whole season of Stranger Things again, right?
You’re more likely though to see your work as important if you think of the benefits it’s going to bring to both you and to others. So really focus on that why. And then, focus on the how. You can use my action road map download that I went over back in episode three to help you flush it out. I’ll make sure to include that download with the show notes from today. You can grab that at inkwellpress.com/ podcast and look under episode 51.
I go over it step by step on how to fill it out in episode three, but it’s pretty self explanatory, and I really want to encourage you to create an action road map. Create the flow you need to follow. Again, we’re doing this from the start, to help with taking that thinking out of it, to eliminate the excuses when you say you don’t know what to
tackle next. When you set aside time to really dig into this, the next steps begin to appear much more readily, because, well, you’re much more ready.
So look at the big picture, think about it. When you zoom out and look at something from a birds eye view it’s so much easier to see how you’ll move forward. That’s why it’s important at least to outline these steps at the beginning. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s so much harder. We often miss the forest for the trees. And if you’ve heard me speak about goals before, you’ve probably heard me talk about the river analogy. Let’s say that you’re walking along and you come to a wide river. There you are on one side and your goals or your project is on the other. You can either jump in straight away and possibly make it to the other side, or possibly get swept away be the current. Or you can look for ways across, you can spy one rock and look for another one that you can jump too, and then jump to the next and then another. And map out the route to get you to the other side, to get you to your ultimate goal. That is the beauty of an action road map.
And while you’re doing that, you can set deadlines. Work rewards and accountability into your system so that you really are encouraged to stick to those deadlines. Rewards can make your passion project feel like a chore you need a break from, so come up with rewards that are related to your goal. This might be buying a new book on the topic of starting a business, or buying yourself new art supplies if you’re trying to launch an art career. Make sure your rewards compliment your goal, not contradict it. Reward yourself for the things you do, and even set up penalties for the things you don’t do. And that’s a really clever trick there is to set up penalties for things you don’t do.
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So an example of that would be give your friends $100, and if you get the task done by 5PM, you get your $100 back. If you done complete it, you lose 100 bucks. Nothing is more motivating than a $100 bill.
Everyone is different, so figure out how you can make deadlines work for you. If you’re not great at following your own deadlines, use someone else’s. Think of groups like a startup bootcamp, or a writing group. Commit to going to an event where you have to have your work finished to show it off. It’s so easy to push around our deadlines when there’s nothing really holding us accountable. But if you have to show up to a group or an event where they expect you to have your work done, you’re going to get that work done, or at least it’s going to be harder to not have the work done.
And that ties in with the idea of getting an accountability partner. Sometimes it can be really hard to hold yourself accountable, so think about having someone else help push and motivate you. Marshall Goldsmith, whose considered by many to be one of the top business coaches, has famously talked about how he has hired someone as his accountability partner. There’s no threat of judgment, and he checks on him every day. She asks him a series of questions that he himself has come up with that are focused around his goals. So if his goal is working towards better health, it might be a question about how many steps he took that day. If it’s project, it might be a question about how he worked towards getting that done.
Now your accountability partner doesn’t have to be one person. As a matter of fact, one of my products, the daily download, is designed to do that without using a person at all. One of the things you do is you write down every day how you work towards a goal, or, as I mentioned earlier, find a group. A good example of this is national novel writing month has gotten extremely popular because it creates a high level of accountability. Now with national novel writing month, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. And there are tons of groups that meet up to hold you accountability and keep you on track for this goal.
You can find and partner with a group of peers who are committed to helping each other reach their goals, and you can plan to check in on a regular basis to review your progress, share your goals and provide support, feedback and encouragement. Collaborate with others, because collective pride in a project increases motivation.
And then I really want to encourage you to give yourself the time to work. Even something as little as five to fifteen minutes a day, it’s better than nothing at all. The easiest way to stop a project before it even starts is to claim you don’t have enough time to dedicate to it. If you don’t have 15 minutes a day to dedicate to your passion project, it’s time to give your daily priorities another look.
Start small, but just start. Start working for five minutes. Often you won’t want to stop after that five minutes. One trick that I like to use is I block off time in my calendar first. I give my important project the first crack at my day. I schedule those in, and I treat them like the priority they are. Those blocks are non negotiable. Other tasks I have have to work around those blocks in order to make it in my schedule at all.
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I treat my priorities as that exactly, priorities. They get top billing and they get the lion share of my focus. And I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking it’s so easy if you run your own business, but what if you want to start a passion project while you’re working full time? I think that’s when you really have to look at your time outside of work. While you’re on the job it’s not okay to spend chunks of your time on your side business, your employer is paying you to do your job. So it’s your obligation to give them your best work. But your off time is the time you own. So own it, and that means you may have to say no to drinks out with friends, because you’re working. Or you may have to skip binging on the hottest new show.
When people ask me how I managed to shut down my old business, and went without income for my family, well I worked to get inkWELL Press off the ground. I can tell you this, it’s easy to go to a one car family. It’s a piece of cake to skip the sushi dinners, or to miss out on the latest movie, because when you’re chasing something you’re truly passionate it’s easy when you’re working to do something that you love.
So I want to encourage you to really look at things a different way. And I want to remind you, don’t forget to grab that action road map at inkwellpress.com/ podcast, look under episode 51. If you’re already subscribed to our podcast emails, we’ve already emailed that download to you. We always send out the downloads that go with each episode the week is goes to live, so if you want to make sure you always have access to those downloads, just sign up for our emails at inkwellpress.com/ podcastemail.
Alright. Next week is our final week, and it’s a big week because episode 52 means that’s my one year anniversary for this podcast. So I am thrilled that next week we are going to be bringing this whole season home together. We will be talking about choosing how you want to spend your day. It’s going to be a good episode, and I am so excited about our one year podcast anniversary. So please make sure to meet up here with me next week. Alright my friends, until next time, happy planning.
Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press. To get free access to Tanya’s checklist, five minutes to peak productivity, simply register at inkwellpress.com/podcast.