You’ve been going to the gym on and off for a while now but you still can’t see any improvement. You’ve been intending to write that book but just never seem to be able to get started. You’ve thought about making your own website and changing careers but it all seems too difficult! In short, you’re asking yourself “Why can’t I get going?”
I am writing this article as someone who still has problems with this from time to time but I am worlds ahead of the old me who got distracted at every turn and never realized why I found it so hard to see any results or achieve anything from my efforts.
I am hoping that this post today can help you skip all the time I needed to figure this stuff out and can put you firmly in pole position to be able to achieve anything you want with laser focus and real results.
How I intend to do that is by making you aware of the 3 major enemies to your progress which I’ve identified over the years and through making you aware of this I hope you’ll be able to navigate them when you realize you’ve fallen into one of the traps.
The 3 worst enemies to your success are…
These things are most commonly manifested in a brilliant disguise.
They convert into that voice in your head which justifies why you shouldn’t do something which is outside your comfort zone or possibly creates a feeling of fear or discomfort for you.
Let’s use motivation to go to the gym as our problem situation for the following examples.
That voice inside your head might say “ahhh you need a rest, your shoulder feels sore, you have other things you need to do, you will start next week etc“.
If you listen to this voice and let it decide then you will always be a slave to your need for comfort and familiarity which means you won’t be breaking any routines in the near future which means if the present stays the same as the past then the future becomes very predictable… That is, nothing will change!
This is why it’s so important we make strong decisions knowing what our end goal is!
You need something to inspire you to go to the gym, some future image of what you want to look/feel like and have complete faith that by following a tried and tested routine from those who have accomplished this before you, you will achieve the future you desire by carrying out this present task!
Feeling uncomfortable and getting out of your comfort zone is a GOOD THING!
It means you are pushing yourself to new limits which means you are also destined to reach new heights if you embrace the “discomfort“, “uncertainty” and learn to love the grind!
Remember that motivation and discipline will let you down on those cold and rainy days when you just feel like curling up on the couch and doing nothing, what will get you up and going automatically is ROUTINE!
This is why you brush your teeth and take the same route to work or school without even thinking about it, it’s become routine!
Clarity and automation will help pull you to success…what I mean is, fix a very clear image of the objective you want to achieve by carrying out the task you have ahead of you and develop a fixed, non-negotiable routine whereby at a certain time and day/s you will sit down and write for an hour, or go to the gym or take solid steps to create your website for example.
Turn off all distractions (mobile phone on airplane mode please) and just dedicate yourself and your thoughts fully to the task you have at hand. Set an alarm if you like so that after an hour or two you can give yourself a rest or call it quits for the day.
Another way to word it is “putting things off“.
You keep vowing that tomorrow will be the day you do it but that becomes your habit and tomorrow never comes!
The first thing to do is to be completely honest with yourself.
If you are trying to justify why putting this task off is better for you then it’s time to do some real self-analysis and ask the question “Is this just because I’m too lazy etc to do this now?” if the answer is YES then you obligate yourself to do it and get started.
From that moment it normally follows the same kind of pattern as that of when you do exercise:
First 10 minutes: “Uff, this is tough, why am I doing this!”
Next 20 mins: “This isn’t so bad anymore, actually I’m kind of getting into it”
Following 30 minutes: “I’m completely engorssed in this and it actually feels good!”
Afterwards: “Wow, I feel proud of myself. Why can’t I do this all the time?“
Now, the key is to really live in this last moment where you feel proud of yourself for having completed the task at hand.
Take a mental snapshot and keep it locked up in your mind safe.
Next time you have to decide whether to do the task or not, instead of focusing on the image of the task itself (which again will most likely fail to motivate you) focus on the image and sensation of “you” when you’ve finished the task and are feeling great for having done it.
This will provide a lot more motivational fuel to get started and go ahead with the activity in a more optimistic and positive frame of mind.
In other words “I can’t be arsed to do it!“.
This is not always so obvious and is hard to admit to oneself because it’s quite an unnattractive quality which we all possess from time to time but perhaps have guilt acknowledging it so we come up with all sorts of excuses as to why we choose not to do something when in fact it all boils down to the realization that the answer to the question… “Why can’t I get going?” is actually because you just don’t want to put yourself through whatever exertion that task requires.
The first step, like a recovering alcoholic, is to admit it!
“I choose to be lazy from time to time”
The language you use is very important on a psychological level so a phrase like “I am lazy” is actually a very negative one which implies it’s your character and therefore gives you an escape by implying that’s “Just how you are and nothing can change that” which is a complete cop out.
Therefore by using the words “I choose” you are taking responsibility for the feeling but also making a decision that you have the power to control your feelings.
Much like with the advice I gave for procrastination I would encourage you to focus on that motivating image of yourself in order to get you choosing to start the task you have been putting off.
I would also add here that an accountability buddy can really come in handy since only relying on yourself to keep you in check is like leaving the fox to look after the hens.
Find someone you trust and has your best intentions at heart. This could be a family member or a friend for example. Tell them what you plan to do, which days and with what frequency so that when you call them at the end of the week they have a clear idea of what you should have done and can keep you honest by being that person you have to report your progress to on a weekly basis.
A combination of honesty, motivating mental imagery and accountability can go a long way towards combatting the clutches of laziness.
NOTE: If you’re having trouble finding yourself an accounatbility buddy then check out this great article from the guys over at “itsallyouboo.com”: This Is How To Find An Amazing Accountability Partner
In other words “I’m scared about what might happen if I do this!”
A lot of people are crippled by fear which stops them ever even trying to do something they would love to if it wasn’t for the possible imagined outcomes which terrify them and make it seem like it’s better to just stay with the familiar (even when you’re not happy) than try for something which could potentially make you feel worse (at least in your mind it looks that way).
What is the worst that could happen…seriously? And honestly, what is the likelyhood of that actually happening? If that actually happened would it really be the end of the world? How would you feel knowing you never tried because you were too scared to try? Which outcome would hurt more…trying and failing or living with the eternal question…“What if?“
If you can honestly ask yourself those questions and feel at peace with whichever decision you ultimately decide to make then that is the right choice.
Conquering your fear is something that I wholeheartedly support and would say that if the fear is not a very real and likely chance of death or serious harm to yourself &/or others then the risk is worth taking and upon completion you will look back and wonder why you were so scared in the first place regardless of whether you fail or succeed in your attempt.
If you decide to do something because you realize it’s not a good idea or isn’t what you ultimately want to do then that’s fine but a decision made out of a place of fear is almost always a bad one which will make you it’s prisoner as a result.
Next time you are afraid of doing something please ask yourself those important questions I’ve listed above, realize that even if the worst happens it’s not going to be the end of the world and you’ll be at peace with yourself knowing that at least you’ll never have to live with the regret of never having tried.
These 3 things stopped me achieving anything for sooo long and I wasn’t even aware of it!
I constantly need to remind myself and do a regular self-check to see if I’m being true to myself, doing all I can to achieve my goals and not inventing excuses in order to self-sabotage due to my insecurities and laziness.
Next time you find yourself asking the question “Why Can’t I Get Going?” please come back to this post and make sure that these things haven’t crept back into your decision making process.
I really hope that this advice helps you guys as much as it has helped me over the last few years and you can all achieve whatever dream you have in mind because we are capable of so much if we just learn to get out of our own way sometimes!