You need an effective road map, winning strategies, and relentless commitment to achieve your most valued goals. These ingredients are the recipe for consistent progress towards your goals. They aren’t enough though.
You still need to take action every day. You need to take massive action. Not once in a while action. Not when you feel like it action. Fear of failure, lack of motivation, and procrastination are always plotting to keep you from taking important action.
Here are 6 ways to combat those forces and jumpstart your progress:
1. Just get started
Don’t overthink it. Don’t create the perfect plan. Don’t worry about every obstacle you may face. These actions add friction that keeps you from taking action.
Eliminate the mental barriers and limiting beliefs that slow you down. Cultivate habits that make it easier for you to start moving towards your dreams. You can set weekly goals that are based on effort instead of outcome.
For instance, you can set the goal of working ten hours per week rather than targeting specific results. This is an incentive to take action. Being attached to the results early on can paralyze you into inaction.
Build the habit of taking action regardless of how you feel (especially when you’re uncertain, uncomfortable, and insecure). You’ll learn and adjust along the way. The most effective strategies and paths will only reveal themselves after you’ve gained enough experience through trial and experimentation.
“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” – Tony Robbins
2. Set bigger goals
If you have a burning desire to achieve your goals, you don’t need motivation. You’re driven by how much you want it. Taking action comes naturally and effortlessly. You’re singularly focused on finding the best way to get there.
Elon Musk doesn’t have to drag himself into work every morning. His goals are so compelling that he doesn’t need to search for willpower or motivation. He doesn’t need to google inspiring quotes to get himself going.
If your goals are average, your effort will be mediocre. You will have to strain your way towards your goals. If you’re procrastinating and putting up a lackluster effort, the problem may just be that you don’t care enough about the goals you’re pursuing.
This leads to uninspired action. There’s a simple solution to turn this around. Set goals that fuel and excite you.
3. Know your why
Do you know why you’re pursuing your specific goals? If your answer is no, take a step back to get crystal clear on your motivations. You may realize that you’re going full speed ahead towards the wrong things. If you make massive progress but reach the wrong destination, you’ll feel like you wasted your time instead of being happy about achieving your goal.
If you find that you’re currently on the wrong path, that’s okay. Use this as an opportunity to redirect your efforts towards goals you’re passionate about. Use it to discover meaningful goals in your life. Be grateful that you gained clarity that led you to recalibrate your target.
Once your goals are aligned with your values and priorities, you’ll pursue them with more determination and commitment. The why provides the fuel that supercharges your progress.
4. Celebrate small wins
On the road to success, you’ll experience many setbacks and failures. There will always be another problem to solve. You’ll be stressed and anxious at times. You’ll wonder whether you’re working on the right things at the right doses.
The prescription for these worries is to celebrate the small wins. Break down the goal into many small milestones and congratulate yourself each time you reach one. High five yourself for your effort and dedication.
As you build the habit of celebrating small wins, you shift more of your focus towards the next challenge instead of being concerned about the next ten challenges. Your belief in your ability to succeed is strengthened when you see and recognize the progress you’ve made.
5. Build good habits
Ride the wave of motivation as often as you can. You can’t rely on it though. You can’t schedule motivation on your calendar. You can’t predict how long it will last.
You can’t just rely on willpower either. It diminishes as you make more decisions and tax your cognitive abilities. When your tank of motivation and willpower is empty, habits save the day.
Habits allow you to perform tasks automatically and effortlessly, without using up your valuable brain power. Automate the repeatable activities. For examples, you can schedule when and where you’ll work on your goal.
Instead of making that decision every week, you can do the work at the same time and place each week. The more decisions you automate, the more mental energy you save for the most important activities (like finding creative solutions). Cultivate habits that lead to success.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
6. Plan for setbacks and failures
Many people have already achieved what you’re trying to do. This is great. You can use their experience to your advantage. Study their journey. Learn where they faced major obstacles. You can plan to face the same obstacles at similar stages in your journey. You can know what to expect.
The failures and setbacks will still suck. They’ll still be deflating. They won’t catch you by surprise though. You’ll be prepared for them. You’ll have time to find effective strategies to overcome the setbacks and keep pushing towards the finish line.