This is How to Convince Yourself to Take Daily Action

Motivation


I used to kick off the start of every year by watching Darren Hardey's presentation on the Compound Effect.  Basically, he talks about the power of consistent action and how our actions multiply to create massive results.  In his speech, we resist doing what's "hard to do" because there is no immediate reward.  

For example, if someone is struggling to lose weight, it's likely because eating sweets or high-fat meals gave them an instant reward versus eating a bland salad.  Darren asks us to focus on the long-term rewards instead of fixating on the instant gratification.  He's right, but I'd also like to challenge this idea of having to chug along day after day without experiencing any reward for our daily actions. 

Recently, I mentioned how I reached a goal weight that I haven't seen in years.  I attributed my results to "walking more."  I've used walking as my main form of physical activity for years.  But last year I cranked up my frequency.  How? Because I implemented a strategy that motivational gurus don't teach us about. 

In the old days, if I wanted to try to get rid of excess weight, I'd force myself to go for long walks for weeks until I started seeing results.  Sometimes I didn't even make it that far because I'd stop taking consistent action well beforehand.  

Last year I switched up my strategy altogether.  Instead of focusing on the long-term benefits of daily action, I'd hone in on the most immediate potential benefit and use that as leverage to motivate me into action.  

People normally tend to focus on losing weight/gaining muscle as a reason for physical activity. This is true...but there are a bunch of little talked about benefits that don't get as much recognition.  To motivate myself to leave the comfort of my home and go for walks, I thought about all the immediate benefits that would await me.  Walking increased blood circulation which would invigorate my brain. When I sat down to work, I'd be alert and focused.  I also noticed more energy on days when I walked vs when I didn't.  The energy allowed me to get more done.  Long walks also improved my digestion - another short-term benefit.  Most mornings I left the house seeking all the immediate outcomes I'd experience within a matter of hours.   

The weight loss was merely an additional side effect...one that I really wasn't thinking about when I went on my walks.  

Now that I know this method of seeking instant rewards really works, I'm ready to apply it in other areas where I tend to procrastinate.  Several projects around my house seem so daunting that I put them off altogether.  But if I were to work on them for just a few minutes a day, I'd get an instant boost of dopamine from simply having started the task.  That added sense of accomplishment would carry over into my other work which would motivate me to repeat that action again the next day.  

Even if you can't think of any immediate rewards from taking action today, you can opt to manually reward your hard work.  People who light candles after cleaning a room are doing exactly that.  I'm due for a pedicure. I can categorize it as an errand or schedule a relaxing pedicure as a reward for having worked on a neglected project.  

For anything I don't feel like doing -that I know I should be doing- I just start listing out the immediate reward I'll receive from taking action.  Motivational gurus are like "it's gonna suck doing it day after day, but you gotta do it!"  I'm of the mindset that it doesn't have to suck, in fact, it might actually be awesome if you take action right now. 

Every intention on your list of resolutions can be achieved if you fixate on all the benefits associated with working on that goal today. 


1 comment

  1. Such a great way to look at it, thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete

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