Living an amazing and successful life will mean something different for each of us. There is one common theme that many of us would love to have in our life, and it can best be described in one word: Freedom.
We long to live life on our terms and wake up each day doing the things that are important to the kind of life we want to live.
For 12 years, I delivered bread in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was 170 pounds overweight, and our family was $180,000 in debt. I could never dream of a successful life because my self-limiting beliefs convinced me my life would never be more than what it was. I was stuck and woke up every day hating life.
In 2011, everything came crashing down on my head at the same time. At my lowest point, I was crying on the living room floor of a friend’s house. After two days of feeling sorry for myself, I made a decision. I realized that if something was going to change in my life, I had to be the one to change it.
When I made the decision to change, there were five mindset traps that tried to keep me from the life I wanted to live. These traps are common and keep too many dreamers from living a successful life.
Here are the 5 mindset traps that will halt your motivation and success:
1. “I’m not strong enough”
You may not be as strong as some other successful person you know, but you don’t have to be. You have the strength inside of you waiting to break free. Strength comes when you clearly identify your “why”—the reason you’re chasing a dream. When you can look past your circumstances and focus on your goal—you become stronger.
2. “I’ve failed in the past”
If you trace many of the people we consider heroes: Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and so on, you’ll see a story of overcoming failure. Everyone experiences failure, but not everyone handles it the same way. Don’t let previous failure keep you from future success. You can and will overcome failure if you choose to.
3. “It’s too hard”
It would be easier if life worked out like the movies, but it doesn’t. Life is hard and messy. Circumstances never work out as planned. Making big changes and chasing dreams is hard work. It takes hustle, determination and overcoming self-limiting beliefs. The hard work will help you appreciate the dream once you make it a reality.
4. “People won’t understand”
Change is scary. It scares those around you because all of us are afraid to move outside of our comfort zone. We have been conditioned to stay within a certain path for most of our life, so when we deviate, people around us try to convince us to conform. They may mean well, but they don’t have to walk a mile in your shoes. This is your life, and you have to live it for YOU.
5. “I have more time”
Life is short. Each of us can look back on a memory that felt like it was just yesterday but was actually years ago. Life can pass us by quickly. Assuming you will have more time is a slippery slope. All we have is today, and we should live each day as if it were the last.
“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” – David Frost
It took three years, but I lost the 170 pounds, I quit a job I hated for 12 years, I self-published two books that have sold over 100,000 copies. The book sales allowed us to pay off all of the $180,000 in debt. The cherry on the cake was moving our family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to our dream destination of Maui, Hawaii. We have been here for 15 months now.
I’m not different. I didn’t win the lottery or get any lucky breaks. It took three years of hustle and hard work, but I made my dreams a reality. I was a bread guy from Wisconsin who beat his self-limiting beliefs. You can, too. You can live whatever a successful life means to you if you take action. You will fail, you will want to give up, but if you can rise above what you feel at that moment, you can achieve success.
Have you let any mindset trap keep you from success?
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We have all been there, looking at something and wishing we had it. The girl, the car, the money, the family, the lifestyle…but then we tell ourselves “Yeah, but that’s not me”. The people who get that are cut from a different cloth and we keep telling ourselves that until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We waste the wings we got believing the entire time that we can’t fly and that it’s impossible for us. We don’t even see our wings most of the time. (more…)
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?
It’s Thursday, 8 PM. I’m relaxing at home, doing normal things, and scrolling social media. Tomorrow is a big day. There are lots of things to do with moving pieces of furniture because I’m moving to another city. On top of that, a repairman is coming to my house at 8AM, so I’ll have to get up early. (more…)
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