Happy new week and hopefully new goals… Or old ones. Speaking of goals, we always seem to have a goals or several. The very essence of human life is growth and the way we measure growth is through goals met. Whether it’s fitness, school, understanding a topic, our spiritual walk, finances, jobs, business, grades, maturity or just life in itself. We have both long term and short term goals, we have aspirations, we have things we are working towards and hoping to get an achieve. But more often than not we procrastinate, putting assignments and reports off to the last possible minute, saying we’ll start the project or the workout/diet tomorrow, lying to ourselves that we’ll come back and do that thing later or that we’ll go there next time.
Losing focus and motivation is such a human thing and it always affects us at some point or another. It doesn’t matter how much we love what we’re doing or are looking forward to the reward, we still take forever to get there because we procrastinate so much that we lose focus. Case in point, I’ve been transferring out of the university for the last year and a half and going to do my drivers test for about the same time. It’s not that I don’t want to do these things, there just always seems to be something else that comes up. So how do you cultivate focus? How do you keep your motivation up? How do you avoid procrastination?
1. Don’t give in to fear:
Sometimes just as you near the end, or just before you take that first step, you start to feel fear creeping in and before long it grips you. Lies like ‘you can never lose that much weight’ , ‘ you can’t get that far in that industry’ ‘you’re not smart enough or pretty enough or fast enough’ and so many more. You experience the fear of failure or of the unknown or of the past repeating itself. So you lose motivation or your focus shifts to your fears and you keep putting off doing whatever you’re meant to be doing. Don’t let the fear win, be strong and courageous and take a stand. Encourage yourself by speaking truth to yourself and reading the word of God and surrounding yourself with cheerleaders as opposed to those ‘realists’ who only tell you what could go wrong and never help.
2. Celebrate the small wins:
When listing down goals, we tend to write the big ones. Lose 40 pounds, get first class honors, buy a car/house, become CEO, get married etc. Even our so called small goals tend to be big like lose 2 pounds a week or finish the assignment by Friday. I have found that if I celebrate the seemingly inconsequential wins, I tend to have more fuel for my motivational fire and I don’t procrastinate as much. When I rejoice at the 2 paragraphs of pure genius I wrote in the assignment that still has 800 words to go, when I pat myself on the back for saving 3000 shillings in my home/car fund. I realized looking at what you’ve actually done, however small, reminds of how far you actually have come and that serves as motivation and keeps you on track instead of you just putting things off to when you can do it all at once.
3. Reward yourself:
Don’t wait for your boss to promote you or your lecturers to congratulate you or your trainer to give you a cheat day, reward yourself. Develop a system where you actually treat yourself for work well done that way when you feel like giving up or leaving your report for another week, you have something tangible to look forward to in the horizon and that motivates you to keep going.
4. Remove distractions:
This doesn’t mean put your phone on silent because you keep looking at memes you’re tagged instead if writing your paper, it means turning it off until you’re done. Throw out the cookies and coke, turn off the television, drop those friends who only want to party, move out of the dorms. “Throw off any hindrance and the sins that easily entangle and run the race set before you with perseverance” is how Paul puts it and I so agree with him. It is easy to procrastinate when you have other things holding your attention but if there is nothing more interesting, then you will stick to the task at hand. That includes getting out if your room and studying in the hallway if the bed tempts you to sleep.
5. Set small challenges:
The same way you celebrate the small wins, set small challenges to fuel your mind and compete with yourself. Yes have a main goal and break it down to bite size goals but still sprinkle in minor and fun challenges as you tackle your goals. If you ran 3 kilometers steadily for tye last week and you want to be running 5 by the end of the month, why don’t you try increasing your speed every day? Or sprinting for 10 minutes one day then going back to your usual pace? If you are typing your report or assignment then why not try increasing your typing speed? You see what I’m getting at? Small and fun challenges keep the momentum going and keep you from procrastinating because you engage your mind in a new way each time.
Try the above for the rest of April and see how much more you can accomplish. Working hard doesn’t have to be tedious and boring and you don’t have to rely on others to make it interesting or keep you going. Pull your own socks up and clap for yourself, you’re your biggest supporter.
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Much love and light to you,