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Motivation

4 Essential Steps To Push You Ahead of the Pack

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4 Essential Steps To Push You Ahead of the Pack

Just like you, a lot of folks start the process of becoming a better version of themselves. And just like you, they can get some momentum going when things are happening as planned. 

But then, all of a sudden, something pops up to disturb their routine. Now they are faced with a dilemma. Are they going to let their habits slide for the moment and get back to them once their routine gets normal again? Or are they going to push through and keep moving despite getting shaken up? Most people bail, intending to get back to it, but just never quite do. Are you most people?

 

Are cupcakes, Amazon, and binge watching Netflix, the solution?

When something happens in our lives to throw us off course our first reaction is to look for happiness, comfort, or distraction in the quickest and easiest way possible. That’s probably going to mean buying stuff, eating crap, sleeping in and skipping a workout, watching TV, or whatever your short-term pleasure of choice may be.

While seeking short-term pleasure in the face of a bad day is not the worst thing in the world, unless you are extremely diligent, it can become a problem. Pretty quickly it can move from a one-time thing, to a habit. The problem with that is, it is a habit that doesn’t do anything to keep you headed towards your goals. In fact, it is likely counter-productive.

 

The super bouncy ball bounces back

There is another response you can have to the bump in the road. You can practice resilience. And the bump in the road will actually be a huge opportunity. If you practice resilience by sticking to your habits, even on your bad days, you cement your good habits.  If you can keep them when things go sideways, then keeping them when things are going well will be easy peasy. So having a bad day every now and then to let you get a little resilience practice in is actually a good thing. Each time you practice, being resilient gets easier and easier. But how do you do it?

 

Gever-Tulley quotes
 

Here are the 4 steps you should take each time you feel like your good habits are on the brink of being derailed:

 

Step 1: You’re not going to ride a unicorn home on a rainbow highway

No matter what you do, something will eventually screw up your routine. All too often we go through life assuming that the best-case scenario will be our reality forever. But it’s not true. There’s going to be some worst-case days, or at least not best case. If you prepare yourself for them by accepting that they will occur and that you will have to show some resilience to keep moving, then you are in a position to do just that.

If you live in La-La-land, assuming everything is going to be rainbows and unicorns each and every day, when it doesn’t work out, you are going to be hard pressed to respond in a resilient way. So don’t do that. Recognize that there will be a day where keeping your habit is going to be harder than it is on most days, and make the decision to do it anyway, before you are faced with the challenge.

 

Step 2: Watch out for falling boulders

If you don’t recognize that something is going awry with your normal routine and that it is threatening to disrupt whatever good habits you are trying to keep up, you can’t respond to it. Instead, you will fall into bad habits without being completely aware it’s happening. And once you finally recognize it and decide that you need to do something, it will be much harder to force yourself back to your path. So be diligent.

Whenever you feel yourself slipping (skipping a workout, pushing off that meditation, telling yourself you will write your gratitudes in your journal later) ask yourself what is going on? Why today? What’s going on with my schedule? Where is my head at? Did someone do something to piss me off, make me sad or disappointed?Once you recognize the outside force that is intruding on your habits, you can then move to preventing it from negatively impacting your long-term goals.

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” – Benjamin Franklin

Step 3: Blessing or curse, you’re going to have to respond

You can think of your problem as a disaster and be a victim, or you can look at it as an opportunity to practice resilience and grow. Choose to see it as an opportunity. To make sure you do, be thankful for the opportunity. I mean this literally. Thank whatever is testing you, for giving you this chance to practice resilience.  Do it out loud. If you made it to this step, you are way ahead of the game and you should be thankful that you were given an opportunity to practice your ability to stay on task in the face of a challenge.

So, say so out loud. Turn what could be a negative into a positive by just reframing it. The reality is this, building resilience is something you should strive for. It should be a habit on its own because having the habit of resilience makes creating all the other habits you want possible. Without it, you are destined to a start and stop cycle of habit forming that will likely get you nowhere. And the only way to create the habit of resilience is to practice it. So be thankful for that opportunity.

 

Step 4: Just do it

Nike was on to something. And yes, it is that simple. But without the first three steps, just doing it is a daunting thing that likely won’t get done. However, after you have gotten yourself mentally prepared through steps 1-3, the only thing left to do is to put your head down and do it even though it’s hard. You won’t feel like doing it. But, you have to do it anyway. Just act like you feel like doing it. Ask yourself, what would you do if things were going fine? Do that, even though things aren’t.

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

Conclusion

Making sure you stay on task when it feels like the world is moving to make it more difficult is hard. But if you can do it, you will feel great, and you will be exponentially more likely to keep moving, because you did so even when it was hard. If you use Steps 1-4, you can absolutely do it. You can be resilient and you can push through when most people quit. And that will separate you from virtually everyone else.

Let’s get started, take Step 1 now by posting in the comments below the last time you tried to start a habit but it got derailed by some outside force that upset the applecart on you!

Craig had an “aha” moment when he realized he didn’t want to be a walking contradiction to his son, teaching one set of values and living a life driven by a different set. So he had to make a change. He started Forge Tomorrow Today to help others in the same boat. Craig put together a guide to help you lock in your motivation so you are willing to crawl up the mountain if necessary, but you aren’t willing to quit, get it HERE.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Lawrence Mitchell

    Oct 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article and will share it because it there’s so much great stuff on there. Trying to find time inbetween family and being a corporate director, to work on my website and getting the message out there is always tough. I try and put aside Sunday evenings to ‘be creative’. But when I get dereailed, and it does happen, the thing I try and do is not beat myself up about it too much. It’s easy to be hard on yourself. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jan 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Congratulations Lawrence! Best of luck on your website and branding projects! If you need any assistance branding your LinkedIn profile in order to attract your ideal client and partnerships, I would be happy to assist.
      charlene@charlenerhinehart.com

  2. Craig Boneau

    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Totally agree Marquita, and thanks for sharing your great story! Congratulations!

    That “middle mile” really is the hard part. I love that term. It really is apt.

    In the “middle mile” there is no initial excitement, and no light at the end of the tunnel in site. It can feel very lonely, and very much like running in knee deep mud. But, the beauty is, everyone else runs in to too, so if you can push through, you are already part of an elite group, which your story beautifully demonstrates!

    T

  3. anomuogharan tanrose

    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Beautiful one Craig, hit me when I needed it the most. GOD Continue to use u to bless lives.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      So glad to hear that it helped! Keep pushing!

  4. Theodore Nwangene

    Sep 13, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    This is really so amazing Craig,
    I’m indeed moved. You just boosted my spirit and strength. We often let small hurdles stand on our way towards moving on with our habits but if we can stay focused and practice resilience in every situation then, we will always be a success.

    This is really a very wonderful article Craig and i will put the tips to practice.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Awesome Theordore! Feel free to come back and share your success as you do, I’d love to hear about it.

  5. Heitem Ak

    Sep 13, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Nice one, Craig!

    I think that persistence is the ability to put the same effort in a task no matter our circumstances.

    It’s the ability to put our emotions aside, and keep moving forward.

    You are right, we should always be prepared for hard times, but it is important to focus and to stay positive.

    As Wiz Khalifa said; “Worrying is stupid, it’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain”

    I know, a very unlikely source, but a great advice.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and keep them coming!

    Heitem Ak

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks Heitem, there’s a lot more wisdom in hip hop than most people think.

      I love being positive, just not oblivious. The positivity I’m talking about is believing that you will find a way to overcome whatever happens, not believing nothing bad is going to happen. It’s a somewhat fine line, but an important one I think.

  6. Bryan

    Sep 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    This is great advice. I find myself periodically going in and out small failures. However I won’t give up and will continue pushing ahead. Thank you for providing such great perspective.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Happy to do it Bryan. It’s all about plugging along so the little things can add up to something big. Keep moving my friend!

  7. Marquita Herald

    Sep 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Excellent advice though I don’t have a stumble story to share. Truth is I’ve always been tenacious. I once set a goal to go from being an executive secretary in a hotel to get a job in international sales. My application for the company’s executive training program was denied 8 times because I didn’t have a college degree, but I kept pushing and was finally given a shot. They made me work full time while going through the training but I did it and completed the 12 month program in 10 months, got my job and went on to move up the ladder and eventually take over sales and marketing.

    My point in sharing that is I think one of the biggest challenges for many people is they fail to grasp that most worthwhile initiatives we undertake will inevitably be a little harder and take longer than we expect at the beginning so getting to the point where you can effectively push through what I call the “middle mile” makes all the difference. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Marquita, what an awesome story and success! Congratulations!

      I love the “middle mile” term. It is so apt.

      The hardest part is when the excitement of beginning has worn off and the light at the end of the tunnel is no where in site, the “middle mile.” It often feels like running through knee deep mud.

      But as your story so brilliantly shows, when you are able and willing to push through, you are almost destined to succeed because most, if not all, of your competition is still stuck in that “middle mile” or has given up completely.

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Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.

Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.

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1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side

Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.

2. Do something that you love

When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all? 

Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk

3. Don’t overcomplicate it

Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.  

4. Get up and get moving

This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.

5. Reset your focus

It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do. 

One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.

6. Listen to your favorite music

Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.

7. Expand your knowledge

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8. Meditate

If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.

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