In a world full of distractions and fears of missing out, it's very hard to be consistent. And when you've got the feeling that you are, you can't even keep that consistency claiming that you've lost motivation!
In this article, I talk about how to stay consistent without even being motivated.
Why Motivation not Necessary?
Lacking motivation today and feeling like you want to watch youtube or see your Facebook newsfeed? Bored and have even nothing to do?
We all experienced that feeling. It's global. Even to successful people who feel the same lack of motivation as everyone.
But. They find a way to show up despite the feeling of boredom. They are focused and consistent.
If watching motivational videos will fuel your energy, it's momentary! or by the best chance, it can last hours or days, maybe weeks?! Please let me know if some motivational speaking fueled your energy for months!
What makes us consistent is the habits we practice regularly that build the muscle of the desired skill we want to be consistent with.
If that muscle is strong enough, you won't need motivation.
Two components you must have to be consistent:
- Those habits are satisfactory
Let's see how to make each one:
Let's see first how a habit is formed to understand how it is ingrained into your brain that can allow you to change formed patterns or create new habits which can develop self-discipline and consistency.
The science of habits shows that a habit consists of three components: cue, routine, and reward. Cue is the key that triggers you to make that habit which can be a visual trigger, a time of the day, a sequence of thoughts, or an emotional state.
The reward is the feeling you get after doing the routine which can be a specific meal you love, a good word you want to hear, a physical sensation you get, or feeling proud of what you have accomplished.
Before building that habit, you need to first set a goal. But how?
Redefine your goals
The problem is that we focus on goals associated with results and we forget to put systems associated with processed to achieve those results. Focus on systems instead of goals!
Redefine your goal by setting a timeline narrowed down in scope. For example, let's say you have a blog and you want to increase the number of visitors. A potential goal you can set there is to "double your views in two months".
Don't say, 'increase views in two months' because by saying just increase you leave it open. So be more specific and narrow your scope.
Also, don't set it like this 'Double your views'. By that, you left it open to time. Rather, ask yourself when exactly should you double the views? next decade?!
And it's important to focus on just one thing that matters the most. Here is how.
Focus on just ONE thing
In Gary Keller's book The ONE Thing he stated, Look for just "one" thing that you can do so that everything else would be easier or unnecessary.
You might ask:
Why do some people seem to get so much more done than others?
Short answer: They go small.
The one thing exists in many fields. For example in business: there should be one product, one service. KFC: chicken. Google: search. Even companies grew and started investing in more products, those companies started with just ONE product or ONE service.
If today your company doesn't know what is ONE Thing is, then the company's ONE Thing is to find out.
We always get excited at the beginning of something new and have high hopes.
That's what BJ Fogg shows in Behavioral Design Lab at Stanford.
Starting small is very promising in the long run. Say you want to be consistent in reading every day. Start with 10 minutes a day!
While 10 minutes seems trivial to you, please keep doing it until it becomes second nature, and then you can take that 10 minutes to the next level and increase 10 minutes further day by day until you feel more confident.
Keeping more consistency can get you very motivated and feeling confident about what you’re doing which makes it hard for you to keep developing your behavior in terms of time and using your brain 🧠 to process that much information.
So you start with the simplest level that you’re able to do and be consistent in doing it for some days until you’re used to it. After your confidence level is increased, you can build upon it and start tuning in the ability axis and make it harder until you reach a level that you can do daily.
After the habit is formed and you started to realize that it's already ingrained, beware that you might break the chain and miss a day!
Before any misses, you need to know to own your time and create a schedule. Here is how?
Block your schedule
Respect your time! Time is the most important asset you have in this world.
Learn to say "no" to an invitation to something that would be considered shallow work! By shallow work, I mean some events that can interrupt your deep work (I mean when you're focused).
Just say "sounds interesting but I can't make it due to schedule conflicts." Don't provide details to the requester.
You might say the problem is that you get distracted by your phone. How can you avoid that?
Burry your phone
Yes, bury it! Put it in another room! Make it unreachable for you when you're doing the work that you committed yourself to finish.
Keeping your phone away from your sight is so important that you can't keep an eye on any notification. Not even a quick look!
If you can bury your phone under your mattress, do it!
The question now is how can you make the deep work of your habit that you want to focus on, fulfilling and visual?
Make the reward visual
A trick a 23-year-old stockbroker was making every day. He had two jars, one had 120 paper clips and the other is empty. When he was doing each sales call, he transferred one paper clip. Within 18 months, he raised $5M. This is known as the "Paper Clip Strategy".
Say you want to read 10 pages a day, apply this strategy and have 10 paper clips in a jar, and when you finish one page put one paper clip inside another empty jar.
This is a reward that helps you stay consistent. But how can you make that work satisfying more?
Make the habit satisfying
In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear states the 4th law of human behavior is 'to make it satisfying'. This law is important because it increases the chance for a behavior to be repeated.
What makes a habit not satisfying is that the immediate outcome is probably not measured and unenjoyable. However, the outcome feels good.
If you think about that, you'll see it's logical. Good habits probably have little enjoyment in the present but in the future, you'll be someone else if you're consistent.
Vice versa with bad habits, you'll have high enjoyment in the present but in the future, it will probably ruin your life.
Forgive yourself if you happen to break the chain
If you happen to miss that consistency in one day, it's not the end of the world!
But never miss twice when you feel like your habits slide off track.
In this article, we learned not just how to be consistent but also how to stay consistent in this distracting world.
At the end of the day, motivation is not needed. You just need to form a habit with a redefined goal focused on just ONE thing with a small start. That habit should be scheduled and that schedule can not be interrupted. And during this deep work, you must keep your phone away from your face.
Also, don't forget to reward yourself and make your habit satisfying. And remember! You're human, you need to forgive yourself if you missed one day from continuity, but NEVER miss twice!