ESTABLISHING A NEW ROUTINE
Have you ever realized how easy it is to get something accomplished that is in your regular routine? Once we establish a schedule or routine, it makes taking the action we need to accomplish much simpler. Instead of struggling to conjure the motivation to workout, it is simply done on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because it’s already set up. Establishing a routine in the first place is the hardest part. In this article, I discuss steps that enable and motivate us to reach our goals and get into that effortless rhythm we all desire.
The biggest obstacle to reaching goals is often taking the time to decide what the real goals are and how to achieve them. From there, dedicating yourself to the work required can also be a challenge.
“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.” – Nicholas Sparks
When I was growing up, I associated the idea of hard work with something bad, but I think the truth is that hard work towards a meaningful goal is one of the secrets to happiness, growth, and possibly even health. Another truth is that once we commit to a goal that is important to us, the work simply becomes part of the journey. That journey is what life is all about. We gain experience, knowledge, humility, fulfillment, and more by putting the time in. Eventually reaching the goal is nice but the goal can change over time. Even if the goals are not met, better things end up coming from moving toward them.
5 Simple Steps
Get a Vision: There is a verse in the bible that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I believe this statement has metaphorical value. Replace the word perish with struggle to remove the metaphor. Having a direction or goal gives us purpose and strength and is essential for growth and ultimately fulfillment in life. A goal may not need to be grandiose but it needs to be meaningful to you. Maybe it’s a career change, losing weight, getting healthier or finding a partner. Maybe it’s making sure you have flowers on the table to brighten the room, just because it makes you happier in your home. Start by making the time to find clarity as to what you want, then get a picture of it and put it on your fridge or write it down. Think about how would it feel to accomplish it and how your life would change. When the inevitable thoughts of fear, failure, or loss come, brush them off and don’t buy into them because they likely are not true. Remember the acronym F.E.A.R.: False Evidence Appearing Real. These negative thoughts can derail or prevent us from taking action. Typically, these FEAR thoughts centre around being unable to achieve something, others being better than us, it being too hard, too expensive, taking too long, or fearing the consequences of failure. If you have these thoughts, work to turn them around: what if it can be achieved, if it can be done more inexpensively, it isn’t as hard as anticipated, or doesn’t take as long? What are the results of success?
Get a Map: Once you have crystallized your vision, you need to decide how to accomplish it. Don’t get hung up on being perfect; action is the key. You may need to change things as you go along, and that’s normal. Write down the steps you need to take, when to take them, and who to involve. For instance, if you want to get fit you may decide you need to ride a bike three days a week. Step one: acquire a bike – buy or borrow? You decide. Step two: which days? Choose days which will consistently work for your schedule and stick to your days. Step three: do you need to involve someone else? If you are borrowing a bike, yes. If it would benefit you to have company, yes. But all this is under your control and you can make the decisions. Remember: don’t let the FEAR get you.
Turbo Charge It: The next step is to make sure you have what you need for your action steps to have maximum power. If we use riding your bike to work as an example, what will make it easier for you to do it and keep it going? Examples include recruiting friends to keep you accountable, having proper equipment, and all other preparations needed to make it as pleasant as possible. I recommend using a check-list to make sure you’ve thought of and prepared for what you need to be successful.
Act On It: Nothing happens until you act. All the careful preparations you did that led you here are useless unless you do something. It’s important to bring this up because often we wish things were different. The key word is wish. Wishes or wishful thinking is like daydreaming: sure it’s nice, but typically it doesn’t come true unless we act. However, when there is a strongly desired goal, we should act toward it and stay patient and persistent; then there is a very likely chance it will become reality.
Keep Acting: What happens when the routine gets thrown off? Eventually something will disrupt the routine: a bad cold, a flaky workout partner, having to travel for work. How do we stay motivated when the days get darker and shorter? There is no simple answer but there are many ways to keep that fire burning.
- We spoke earlier about having a picture of what you want somewhere visible such as your fridge. This is a good reminder of why you are working so hard.
- Be disciplined with yourself and hold yourself accountable. Once you’ve acted it always feels good and you can give yourself a pat on the back. Remember that the pain of regret is almost always greater than the pain we feel from work.
- Try involving others; this is another great way to keep yourself accountable.
- Spend a few minutes in a quiet place that’s free of interruption and visualize how it feels to be or have where you desire.
- The more realistic your visualization the greater the feeling, and this will lead to renewed motivation.
- Have a schedule written down or in your calendar so you know when you’re taking action.
I hope you found this helpful and good luck in your quest!
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