We are entering the third week of the new year, and if you’re like me, most of your New Year’s resolutions are gone through the window and you’re back to your old routine and nothing in your life has changed.
Most of our New Year’s resolutions are built around some sort of change in our lives. We want to improve our health, relationships, status, and, in general, to live a better life and to become a better person.
When we decide to make a change in our lives, we think about benefits which that change is going to bring us; we get the picture of our future and we like it. In other words, we are inspired to commit to that change.
To reach to the other side of change, to become the person we want to be, we need to make a certain set of steps. Each decision we make in a day can be marked in two different ways; it either puts us closer to our goal or farther from it. The better decisions we make the closer we’ll get to our goals.
It all seems easy, right? We make the right decision and we are one step closer to our goal; to the image which we’ve set up to be our ideal self.
But, when put into practice, we most often fail in our endeavors of improving ourselves and our lives. The main reason we aren’t succeeding lays in the decision-making process.
There are two types of decisions; the emotional and the rational decision and we seldom choose the latter. Instead, we are driven by our emotions and the way we feel at the moment.
Let’s say that you’ve decided to write a novel in a year. You’re inspired, you have the idea, you know what to write about, you can even see the cover of your book and you sit down and write for a couple of days, maybe a week but each day it gets harder and harder.
Then, you decide to take a break; you make your first emotional decision. You simply don’t feel like writing. Then it happens again, and again, and by the end of two weeks, you think that writing isn’t actually what you’re meant to do.
Same goes for your weight loss. You decide that you’re going on a new diet and that you’re starting to exercise. You’re inspired and you’re going all in. Two weeks later you go out for lunch and you have a dessert; you make your first emotional decision. One cake isn’t going to kill you, right?
You know that cake is not going to help you to lose weight, but you also love eating cakes. I mean, who doesn’t? But sometimes, we don’t do what we love, we do what’s right for us and for our goals.
Make your decisions wisely. Don’t let the emotions choose what you’re going to eat and what you’re going to do instead of the things which you should’ve been doing.
We all enjoy eating sugary junk foods, we all enjoy partying, laying around, watching movies and TV shows, but we can’t do that whole day. These joyful but harmful activities can’t replace the things we should be doing.
You are what you do. If during each and every day, you spend some time writing, you are a writer; if during each and every day, you spend some time working out, you’re an active person; if during each and every day, you spend some time picking your nose, you’re a nose picker.
The other important reason why New Year resolutions don’t work is that we only tend to do things when we’re inspired. Usually, we see New Years as times of new beginnings. We are inspired to become a new person just because we’re entering a new year.
Unfortunately, changes we seek to accomplish require long term work and inspiration isn’t sustainable for a prolonged period of time. Inspiration is like falling in love and being in a relationship.
At first, we glorify the person we’ve fallen in love with. We can’t see her faults. She’s a goddess; a one and only.
As time goes by, the honeymoon feeling vanishes. The butterflies in our stomachs have laid their eggs some time ago, the caterpillars have hatched and we start to see the real picture and it isn’t as pretty as it used to be.
We discover that the person we’ve fallen in love with isn’t perfect at all. She has some flaws; some major flaws indeed. We aren’t in love anymore and we question ourselves: are we ready to accept them? Can we live with them?
If our the answer is yes, then we truly love them and we may enter a longterm relationship. Otherwise, we are going to seek a new, potential, longterm partner.
Same goes with our resolutions.
We fall in love with the idea of finishing a novel or having a new, shredded body and we dedicate all our being to reaching these ideals.
As time goes by, we realize that it’s not going to be as easy as we imagined it to be.
Yes, we know that we need to exercise each day, but it’s painful.
We see the ugly side of the medal and we question ourselves whether we are willing to go through all that pain just for having a six-pack?
Well, it turns out that most of us give up on this step.
We fall out of love with our goal arent’ inspired anymore and we can’t make a rational decision.
However, if accept the painful nature of exercises, it means that we truly love them, and our goal seem easier than it is.
Similarly, we know that we need to write each day and to put a certain amount of words into our empty pages or screens, but at the same time, it’s painful.
Again, we face the ugly truth of the job.
We question our desires; we wonder whether having a finished novel is worth going through all that pain and sacrifice?
Again, as it turns out, we fall out of love and we give up on this crucial step.
We make an emotional decision and we do something more pleasant, instead; something more entertaining.
So, how do we fix that? How do we sustain our desires? How do we finish our novel? What do we need if inspiration isn’t working?
We need motivation.
Although they might seem like one thing, they actually aren’t.
Inspiration is a momentarily feeling which puts us in love our ideas. It makes you move the first step.
Inspiration isn’t anything bad. It plays a crucial part in our lives; it gives us motion but for longterm achievements, we need a different type of fuel; we need motivation.
Motivation is something that makes you leave the bed at 4:30 in the morning when it’s dark and cold and just to do the most important work.
Motivation is the force which pushes you towards your goals and it opposes all the forces which drag you away from your ideas.
If it’s not strong enough, motivation breaks under the burden of emotional decision making.
You need to make it stronger, to build it up, you need to ask yourself why do you want the thing you desire?
Give yourself a strong enough reason to do something. You must know the reason for writing the novel; you must know the reason for losing weight and looking good; or anything else that you came up with.
It’s not to impress the other people, it’s not to earn money, it’s not to gain status, or prize, or anything material. It’s to feel good about yourself. It’s the ability to look at yourself in the mirror and say:
This is me. I made a promise to myself and I kept it. I’ve changed. I’m better. It was worth it.
Keeping a promise to yourself is the hardest thing in the world. You make it in the evening and brake it in the morning. Compare that to making a promise to your boss, who you probably hate.
You keep it, right? Do you have to? No. You simply keep face. You do it, even though you don’t like it and don’t want it. You need that job. You need to pay the bills.
How about you? Do you matter to yourself? Do you realize that you’re the person who spends most of the time with you? If you’re not in a good relationship with yourself, you’re gonna suffer; you’re gonna be full of hate and you’re gonna project it toward the others and they’re gonna project their hate back to you.
Wake up. Motivate yourself. Find people who have already done what you desire. Find people who have written the book, who have lost the weight, who changed their lives.
Feed yourself with the content they create on daily basis. They will keep you motivated. They will keep you strong.
Some other motivational tips
Say no to lots of things and people.
I don’t mean to lock yourself in the room and not to talk to anyone until you accomplish what you desire.
What I’m saying is that you need to dedicate some time-blocks for you; for your work, for your desires.
Don’t let anyone take that from you. Not your spouse, not your children, not your friends and for f#[email protected] sake not the buzzing from your notifications.
People are expecting from you to instantly reply to their demands just because you’re able to.
NO – you need to do take care of your stuff first, and only then you can take care of their shit. Remember, as George Carlin pointed out, your shit is stuff, and their stuff is shit.
Monotasking is the key to productivity. Focus on one task at a time. We’re not designed to write, listen to a podcast, text with our wife and do the dishes at the same time.
One at a time, remember – one at a time.
Wake up early
Wake up early, take care of your body and do the work while everybody else is sleeping. When you do your daily chores, you can do whatever you want, but remember to stick to your rational decisions. Don’t let the hunger for dopamine to ruin your future self.
Take a rest. Have enough sleep and feed your body with proper food. The food affects your body, your thinking, and your emotions. It’s simple; if you put the bad fuel, you’re gonna break your vehicle and it won’t get you where you want it to.
Finally, read this article once a week. I wrote it for you; so that you could accomplish your goals.