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8 Tips to Stay Motivated When You’re Ready to Quit

8 Tips to Stay Motivated When You’re Ready to Quit

There you are, in the middle of it all, just staring off into space. Once you snap back to reality, you look down at what you’re doing. All of a sudden you need a break, to stretch or whatever—just something to get away.

You’ve become so antsy in your chair. You know you have to finish but for some reason you just can’t get your head back in the game.

So you continue to stare off into space. Hey, it was pretty entertaining the first time around.

Mom is not around anymore.

You’ve completely trailed off course. This is usually the point where your mother would intervene and get you back on course. But you’re a big kid now. Mommy isn’t around to make sure you finish your homework. You’ve got to get it all done yourself.

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But what just happened? You got over what you thought was the biggest hurdle, starting, and now you can’t finish. You lost steam mid-task. Somewhere down the line you lost the motivation to see the task to the very end. At this point, you’re probably not too interested in completing it at all. You’re pretty much ready to quit.

But you know you have to get it done eventually. And you originally carved out the time to do it now. So somehow you have to do what your mom always did, but a little differently.

You’re going to see this task through by maintaining your own motivation. Long gone are the days when someone else motivated you. You’re on your own now kid. And this is how you’ll pull it off.

1. Be happy.

Kind of odd, I know. But think about how hard it is to do something when you’re miserable! You can’t tell a miserable person anything. So if you’re unhappy you’ll have your work cut out for you when it comes to getting anything done.

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Regardless of how you feel at the moment there is a reason somewhere to be happy. Focus on that reason and the other wonderful things around you. The happier you are the more positive work you can do.

2. Expect mistakes.

By now you should know that they are a part of life. Of course you should minimize them whenever you can. But no one expects you to know every single thing at one time, so mistakes are going to happen.

And that’s perfectly fine, as long as you don’t use making a mistake as a reason to throw in the towel. Better yet, use your mistakes to your advantage.

3. Be present.

When you’re staring off into space you tend to think about everything except for what’s going on now. Worrying about the future or dwelling on the past isn’t going to help you one bit in the present. In fact, it’s taking you away from it. Regain control of your thoughts and focus on what you’re supposed to be doing now.

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4. Clock it.

When you have to complete a task that is less than thrilling, determine how long it will take and clock yourself. This will make sure that you’re making the best of your time and reduce the allowance for distractions. There’s nothing like working against a deadline to kick your butt in gear.

5. Think about the results.

You do things for a reason. You take on a task because you want to get to the end result. Remember that.

Feeling less than motivated to continue? Remind yourself what it’s all about, why you’re doing it in the first place. Then, the motivation will come.

6. Reward yourself.

Remember when your coach would take the team out for ice cream after a win? You probably spent the whole game thinking about all the toppings you wanted to put on your cone. That’s what motivated you to hit that home run. Who cares about a trophy when you can have your own personalized ice cream cone!

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You should continue to reward yourself the same way as you finish different tasks. But I wouldn’t recommend eating ice cream every single time you complete something.

7. Keep track.

When you don’t realize how much progress, you’ve made you can easily convince yourself that quitting is a fine choice. Think about how annoyed you’d be when you realized that you quit after you’ve done so much work and were almost done. Keeping track of your progress will motivate you to hit another milestone.

8. Consider the cost.

Not completing a task means giving up on something bigger. Ask yourself, if you gave up now, what would it cost you? Sometimes fear and pain are the most powerful motivators. They can compel you to begin again when nothing else works.

Look Mom!

Once you master these tips you’ll become a certified finisher. You’ll be able to get more done and be successful at whatever you take on. Nothing will get in your way. Make your mother proud!

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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