Gaining productivity is a challenge, maintaining it even more so. Add a new goal or objective and things can get scary. We worked hard to get where we are in life, and things are running smoothly… for the most part. This new thing has the potential to pop in and muck everything up.
So, how do we handle these things with the “right” attitude?
If our expectations are too high, we’ll likely end up with disappointment. But, we also need to have confidence in ourselves and our ability to achieve anything. Here are a few things to think about:
Break down walls.
When you have a new goal or resolution, it’s easy to talk yourself down, or even out of it before you ever start. New things can be intimidating, and it’s so easy to feel like you are not capable of achieving more than you already have.
These negative thoughts toward yourself are just a wall you’re building between you and your dreams, and it’s very important to break down these walls before you start something new.
Any time you hear yourself saying…
- “This is going to be so hard”.
- “I’m not going to get this right”.
- Or even, “I just don’t want to”.
It’s important to catch that naysaying notion in your hand before it floats up to the ceiling like a balloon, where it will float around and haunt you the entire process.
Catch that balloon and pop it. If visualization isn’t your thing, or even if it is, blow up a few cheap balloons, write your unfavorable thoughts on them, and just pop ‘em.
You’ll feel better.
Routine is everything.
You’ve already worked toward more productivity in your daily life, and you’ve gotten somewhere. You have a routine that works for you, at least most of the time, and it may seem counterproductive to rearrange everything.
But, consider which will actually be the least productive: adding an extra slot of time to your routine, or procrastinating, trying to shove it into your free time, and constantly worrying about when you’re going to get it done?
It might seem easier to incorporate certain goals into your routine, while others won’t make much sense. For instance, if your goal is a new hobby, like learning to play an instrument or crochet, it makes sense that you’d set aside a half-hour every day to practice.
But what if your goal is something less concrete, like saving money on groceries? Remember that everything good takes time, even if just a little.
Still set aside time, maybe not every day, or maybe not as much, to reach this goal. Plan your menu before you grocery shop, work out a budget, and maybe take some time to scope out different prices at different stores or learn how to use coupons.
Even if your goal is just to smile more, it might be worth it to set aside a few minutes a day to think of happy things (or watch cute kitten videos).
Make it stick.
Whenever you try to incorporate a new task into your routine, you’re basically trying to develop a habit. It’s hard to make a new habit stick, especially without instant reward.
But, it can be done.
If your goal is far out of sight, it might be hard to keep that in mind when working toward it, especially if the work is unpleasant. Visualizing the end result can help you feel like your goal is within reach, and it also makes the work seem more worth it.
There are also some clever ways to make unpleasant tasks enjoyable. You can listen to your favorite music while cleaning or organizing or read your favorite book while on the treadmill.
You can even call up your best friend and put her on speaker while you work on a new craft or DIY project. Talking about your progress while you’re working on something can be a major motivator, especially with supportive loved ones.
Also remember to be patient, with yourself and the process. According to science, it takes a little over three months for a habit to stick. So just stick with it as much as possible, and before you know it, time will breeze by and it will feel like a normal part of your routine.
There’s more to this than just setting aside time to work toward your objective – it’s important to set aside the right kind of time. If your goal requires a lot of physical work, work on it during the portion of your day when you’re most energetic.
Some of us focus better in the morning, while others find it easier to hold attention and intent in the evening. If your task is mentally draining, schedule it during a chunk of the day when your mind is most likely to be on-point.
If the work you put toward your goal happens to be something enjoyable that you look forward to, use it as leverage. Save it as a reward you can partake in after you’ve completed a less desirable task, like dishes or laundry.
The last thing to remember is that you need to be realistic about your goals and your abilities.
I don’t mean to talk yourself out of something that seems too grand, or to lower your expectations.
When I say be realistic, I mean: be easy on yourself.
You are a human, and you are not going to be perfect all of the time. Some days you are going to procrastinate, and others you just won’t be able to fit everything in. Just like a diet: you can’t turn down that piece of pizza or slice of cake forever.
Remember that you are the worst judge of yourself, and don’t let this discourage you. Did you skip a day practicing the guitar? You might think it’s a big deal, but wouldn’t your parents be so proud of you for how far you’ve already come? So you only managed to get that yard work in three days instead of your intended four, but would your partner be happy with that and grateful for what you did get done?
Hopefully, those are yesses, and don’t forget; you always have next week to exceed everyone’s–even your–expectations. When you get right down to it, this is all about not letting a new goal or task scare you.
You’ve got this, and in the end, you can attain all sorts of wonderful things without putting a wrench in the spokes. Take a deep breath, think of how far you’ve come, and remember just how plausible it is that your forward momentum isn’t coming to a stop any time soon. Ever, really.