Let’s just say that I didn’t have the best childhood in the world. My parents divorced when I was five years old and that destroyed my life. I developed a severe case of anxiety. What did I do to cope with the pain? I ate. And I ate a lot.
I became the fat kid of the class who sucked at sports. Do you remember the guy that got picked last for sports? That was my childhood. I got picked on at school and life at home was not the best. I soon started feeling like I had no control over my life. This sense of being powerless made me develop a stutter.
By the time I was 14 I had lost complete control over my life and I was thinking about ending it.
For some reason I decided to join a gym on a New Year’s Resolution and that was it. That became my escape.
It took me 7 years of GRINDING to get where I am now but the lessons that I learned where priceless.
Lesson 1 – Don’t be afraid to create your own path
I’ve always been a nerd so it was natural for me to approach the gym with science. I started counting macronutrients when I was 15. There were no applications or programs for me to use back then.
I would constantly carry notebook and a calculator making calculations concerning the foods I was eating. I needed to make sure that I was consuming the EXACT amount of protein, carbs and fat in each of my meals.
I also had to make sure I was eating my meals at the exact times of the day. Everyone looked at me weird for doing this. I didn’t care. I knew that with time this was going to pay off.
Lesson 2 – Work your ass off
I lived by the following motto: “I don’t care if you’re better than me. I will work a hundred times harder than you. If I lose, it will not be because someone worked harder than me”
Every day at 3:15 I would raise my hand in class and run to my locker and get my pre workout meal. I would go eat it in the bathroom. Why? I wanted to have the exact amount of carbohydrates exactly 45 minutes before I was going to work out.
Every little detail counted. In the gym I worked out until I was about to faint. During my free time I would spend hours and hours researching every single aspect of training and nutrition.
Fridays were my favorite day of the week. Why? I could workout for 2 extra hours cause there wasn’t any school the next day.
Lesson 3 – Losing everything makes you stronger
I realized I was motivated to compete in bodybuilding my senior year in high school. But there was one problem.
I was born with a deformity where my chest bone and rib cage sank into my body. This did not look pretty at all and gave my entire upper body a very weird look.
I was so determined to accomplish my goal that I went through a surgery where they inserted a metal bar underneath my chest bone to push the entire rib cage outwards.
Imagine braces but for your chest bone and rib cage. I couldn’t work out for 6 months and my recovery was almost a year. I lost every single pound of muscle I had ever gained.
Do you think my friends supported me? They would constantly remind me that I looked anorexic.
Recovering from that surgery and gaining all my muscle back gave me the confidence to know that I could lose it all and would still manage to find the way to gain everything back.
That experience gave me more confidence than anything else. And yes. I still have a metal bar in my chest.
Lesson 4 – Embrace the haters
Everyone around me told me I wasn’t going to make it. Everyone around me told me that my tactics were weird and wrong. Trainers at my gym would mock me and tell me I would never get anywhere without steroids.
I took all of this as fuel to the fire. I knew that one day they were going to blush at what I was going to attain.
Prove people wrong just once and you will NEVER doubt yourself again. You will start believing you can do anything.
Lesson 5 – Each Day Counts
How fast you accomplish your goals is completely up to you. Each you have an opportunity to do one more thing that will get you closer towards your vision.
Christmas parties? I took my own meals to every single Christmas party and every single birthday. I refused to break my diet no matter the occasion.
I will admit that I went to a few parties throughout high school but I would always end up leaving towards the middle to go buy some yogurt from a gas station.
What happened with my stutter?
At age 19 I realized how much I had overcome. I realized that I finally had the power to control the course of my life.
This realization made me realize that I too had control over my speech. After one week of confidently talking to people, my stutter disappeared.
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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