It’s hard to imagine ourselves sometimes at the peak of our lives. Many of us will never get there. Even more lack the self-discipline to persist long enough to make it. We get overwhelmed by the enormity of the goals ahead of us. Many of us, especially a lot of those who are regular readers of this site, have the goal of becoming wealthy, but many of us don’t know how to get there or are simply too lazy to take the action required to make it to the finish line. It’s the skill of knowing how to follow through that so many people lack. Many will start but never finish, and it comes down to something as simple as being lazy, or so we think. In reality, a lot is going on mentally and biologically which prevents us from completing hard tasks or practicing delayed gratification. Instead of earning the privilege of eating lobster and caviar every day down the road, we’re content to eat frozen burritos because it’s quicker and easier.
We are all hardwired to take the easiest route, especially in today’s world. Because life has become so easy for most of us, we do not exercise the part of the brain responsible for making good decisions for our future in exchange for a small pain today. Instead of waiting to get 6 Twix later, we’d rather have 2 right now. It sounds kind of crazy, but when put in this position, the decision is often harder than you think. On paper, it’s simple, it’s obvious, just wait an hour so you can have more, but when that Twix is sitting in front of you and you have to stare at it for an extended amount of time, our willpower breaks down and we cave into the temptation to indulge. All is not lost though, you CAN exercise your mind to create the mental fortitude required to have patience, and follow through to the end to reap the best rewards. Here are a few tips on how to create that mentality and complete the tasks you set out to do.
1. Avoid Distractions
We’ll start simple with this one and say that all you need to do is avoid distractions. This is a lot easier said than done, but none the less, it stands true. One of the best ways to follow through and complete a task is to simply remove and avoid distracting objects or activities.
Next time you sit down to read a book or complete a task, put your phone on mute, and put it in a different room. This way, with it out of sight, you’ll be less likely to want to flip through social media or whatever in the middle of your workflow. Extend this to anything else that may distract you from your task. If you have apps on your computer that often pull your attention away from your work, delete them or at least make them harder to access.
2. Keep Score
This one is a little more complicated to get started but has a very high ROI. It is important to keep track of your progress. It gives you a clear vision of how far you’ve come since you started. This helps keep you motivated to keep making progress. A journal is a fantastic way to keep track of your development, but it isn’t very good for glances to see your progress. If you decide to keep a journal, I encourage you to use that for more in-depth day-to-day events. I’d recommend a checklist of sorts for you to fill out to be able to quickly notice what needs to be done. It may take some time to create something that helps you see your progress at a glance, but it is highly worth it. To make it a little easier for you, I have developed a checklist that will help you track your progress. It’s free, so go ahead and click here to download it. You can fill it out digitally, or you can print it out to have a physical copy you can place anywhere in your home. The more often you see it, the better.
3. Stop Overthinking It
So many people get overwhelmed when they set out to start a new task or set a new goal. Often, the reason we fail is as simple as overthinking what we need to do. We spend so much time wondering what we need to do, or what might happen if we fail that we never take the steps required to make progress. No time is ever going to be a perfect time, so stop worrying about what may or may not need to happen before you begin, just start. You may think you need a new computer to build your new website when really, your old laptop will do just fine. No one is perfect and eventually, you WILL fail, but that is not a reason to give up. Failure is a part of the journey and is a necessary step towards our goals. We overthink our failures, we fear that it has ruined our chances of success when in reality, it has brought us so much closer. Failure tells us what not to do, and in experiencing it, we learn something we may never have known otherwise.
4. Maintain a Focused Environment
This one is pretty straight forward. Adjust your environment to be free of distractions. Many of us have walls covered with posters and other random, pointless things. We have bookshelves filled with distracting paraphernalia. Our computer desktops are covered with unproductive apps or just plain unorganized. Our phones are not on mute and are filled with apps we don’t even use. So get to fixing these problems. Here’s a step by step guide.
Step 1: Clear up your walls. Clean that junk up. You don’t need Kate Upton’s Sports Illustrated poster.
Step 2: Remove the random knick-knacks and other useless and distracting items from your bookshelf or desk. Throw away that stupid POP! figurine for god’s sake.
Step 3: All the files on your desktop that you haven’t touched in over a year, put them in the trash. Stop spelling “boobies” with your desktop clutter and just clean it up.
Step 4: Delete those unproductive apps from your phone, especially the ones you haven’t used in forever. I’m looking at you, 2048, no one plays you anymore.
Step 5: Mute your phone when you are working, Felicia’s snapchat nudes can wait. Better yet, mute it and put it in a drawer or in another room. There are very few things you need to do with your phone while you are working.
Easy Peasy. Like I said before, don’t overthink it, just do it.
5. Curate Relationships
This tip can be one of the hardest to implement. Many people have those friends we’ve known for years and that we love to get drunk with, but if that’s all you do with them, stop. As hard as it may be to stop hanging out with these people, relationships like these are unproductive and don’t help you get ahead. Most of the time, relationships as shallow as these won’t amount to anything anyway. If anything, hanging out with drunks or the like will drag you down and prevent you from reaching your goals. If you have an abusive family member who is constantly putting you down, get away from them, cut them off. I don’t care who they are, if they won’t encourage and support you through your pursuit of happiness, they are not worth being around. Friends like these will relentlessly tempt you to indulge in unproductive and self-sabotaging activities. It is up to you and you alone to take the necessary steps toward becoming the best version of you.
6. Find an Accountability Partner
This goes along with curating your relationships but deserves its own section. It is incredibly important to find someone who will actively help keep you on track and vice versa. I don’t mean simply going out and telling people your goals. (this has actually been proven to make it less likely you’ll reach them by the way) What I mean is finding a friend or family member who you can closely identify your goals with and work together to reach them. Constantly text, call, or talk to them about their progress and whether or not they are sticking to their path.
Need to lose weight? Find a friend who is trying to do the same thing and let them help you stay on track while you do the same for them. Make sure you are both going to the gym and eating better. And make sure you stay in constant contact with each other in order to hold each other accountable for your failures and to praise and congratulate each other when you stick to the regiment or reach a milestone.
Having someone else that you have to answer to on a daily basis gives you the desire to perform and become better. It gives you a reason, beyond your own desire to improve, to keep on finding ways to grow.
Some of these tips are hard to implement, others, not so much. None the less, adding all of these to your lifestyle will give you a massive boost towards self-improvement and the pursuit of your goals. If you are serious about building self-discipline and learning to follow through on the things you say you’re going to do, get the free self-improvement checklist by clicking here. Once you get the checklist, set a goal to complete everything on that list for 30 days. This time will go by before you realize it, and by the end of it, you will have learned so much about self-discipline. Plus, you will have followed through with your first task. Another thing before you go, in this checklist, is a task that demands that you meditate daily. This may weird you out, but trust me, it is worth it. If you need a push to complete this task, please read my previous post, The Perks of Meditation. It gives some insight as to what meditation truly is, and gives you a cool app to use on your phone or computer in order to get started and learn the basics.
Become the best version of yourself by downloading this free checklist. Packed with healthy habits and ways to easily keep track of your progress, this is the best way to quickly and easily improve yourself!
Live Intentionally: A 90 day Self-Project
A special thanks to Life Math Money and Harsh Strongman for creating this awesome program. The fact that this website even exists is thanks to the motivation I received from it. Click the image above to check it out! If the program doesn’t work for you, get your money back.