“Every decision you make affects someone very special: your future self”
You’ve never met this person, but they are carrying the torch of your dreams. Life is hard for them too except their further along the timeline of life than you. Have you ever wondered what the future you will be like?
It’s something worth contemplating through deep and inward thinking.
When you give up on your dreams and quit, you’re not just hurting you right now, you’re killing the future you as well. That future you is bound by the decisions that you make today. One day you will become that future you and wish you could change that decision to quit. By then, it’s too late to change the past. There ain’t no rewind button on life.
Do you really need to quit?
I know you think it’s impossible and your only option is to quit, but that’s because you’ve reached your breaking point. I’ve been there too. I’ve reached a level of failure that has become insurmountable. I too have felt like I couldn’t go on and life had no meaning.
All of your emotional states, at times, can get like this. We’re human after all and don’t you forget that. We live in a flawed body, but that’s why humans are so beautiful in the first place. You don’t need to quit right now; there’s always another way.
The best thing to do when you want to quit
This is going to sound cliché: take a break and get out of your head for a few weeks. Go somewhere far, far away and contemplate the meaning of your life and why you’re still here. I say this because your life is a choice. You can decide to end your life at any point, but you haven’t.
You’re not a coward and you’d never do that. You have courage and you’re here for a reason.
Quitting may be the best option
Sometimes quitting is a good thing. Sometimes you have too many things on the go and when you quit, you free up time to focus on something that means more to you. My only plea is that you think about your future self when you quit. Think about whether your future self will be affected and whether you’ll be happy with the result.
There are no absolutes in life, only decisions that you make which are guided by your heart. There is no one answer. No one’s right and no one’s wrong. Our circumstances and how we think about them, more importantly, determine the meaning we give to any situation.
Who do you want your future self to be?
As you imagine your future self, what is he or she doing? Can you picture where they are? When I asked this question, I got an instant response which reaffirmed what I do today. I instantly saw myself on stage giving speeches to thousands of people.
I saw myself as the person that helps find people’s why and motivates them towards their dreams. I saw myself with a family and writing a best selling book. Strangely enough, I saw my future self as I always have: doing something inspiring to help others. I saw myself unleashing emotion in others to help them push through their limiting beliefs.
Now that you know your future self, how can you help them today?
So we’ve done a bit of visualizing in this article already. It’s a powerful way to see what you can become when you don’t quit. It’s a great way to fall in love with the person that you can create in the future by using the power of today’s decisions.
“I think we all need to become dreamers every now and then. If we don’t, we get stuck in today, and in our head full of possibilities”
If I had one tip when it comes to dreaming up the future, it would be this: try and see your future better than it is. Be outrageous and think of possibilities that today would scare you. You’ll be surprised how what you dream up today can become a reality.
I remember suffering from anxiety and trying to dream what it would be like to be rid of it. I remember being scared of flying and always wanting to travel. I remember having never found love and wondering what that would be like. I remember not being able to get in front of lots of people and do any form of public speaking. I remember being too scared to be vulnerable and share the real me.
Now, I’ve completely eliminated my anxiety, I can fly whenever I want with no issues, I have experienced real love, I am on my way to successfully being able to speak in front of larger audiences, and I’m happy to be vulnerable and share my story with everybody. That’s what can happen when you treat your future self with respect.
So now what?
Now I want you to do the hard part: take action. Follow the steps above and have some fun. Leave the present for the moment and get to know who you want your future self to be. Your future self is you after all, so you need to treat them like a king or queen.
Write a list of decisions you need to make in order to create the best future you that’s humanly possible. Like I always say, “Don’t be afraid to have big, audacious, crazy dreams.” If you can’t dream it, then you can never achieve it. Remember that next time someone tells you that dreams are BS.
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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.
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