We've all been there - we really, really want to achieve a particular goal, but instead we procrastinate, make excuses and generally fail to follow through... Again and again and again! Overall, people are great at imagining what we want to do but can't seem to cross the finish line on most of our goals. So what is the missing link? What are we all forgetting about when we create our bullet lists, mind maps and routines?
Research shows that trying to fight your feelings about a particular situation will only amplify their intensity. And thanks to the way that our brains function, feelings will beat out thoughts every time. With that in mind, emotions and feelings play a crucial roll in getting anything done; we require thoughts to plan, but only feelings can inspire us to act.
Here are 3 steps to harnessing your emotions & getting more done...
1.) Focus On Rewards
Just as when we were children, being rewarded feels great and being punished feels bad. Because they each incite such strong emotional reaction on each end of the spectrum, they can work wonders for motivating you. In fact, research shows that rewards account for 75% of the reasoning behind why you do anything. So treat yourself to a pedicure after acing that exam you've been studying tirelessly for, or take a weekend getaway after a month of long days at the office.
What if there doesn't seem to be any reward motivating enough to get you going? Try the 'commitment device' approach instead. For example, give your friend $100. If you complete your task/goal within the committed time frame, you get the money back. If you don't, you lose it completely and your friend is $100 richer...
Suddenly those items you've been putting off for 2 weeks seem much more important!
2.) Get Peer Pressure
The common saying goes along the lines of, "You are the 5 people who surround yourself with the most." If this is true, are you who you want to be? Spending time around the sort of individuals that you strive to be like makes it far less stressful or difficult to do the things you know you should be doing.
Friendship and it's benefits, challenges and hidden elements has long been studied. From an interview, author Carlin Flora of "Friendfluence" states:
"Research shows over time, you develop the eating habits, health habits and even career aspirations of those around you. If you’re in a group of people who have really high goals for themselves you’ll take on that same sense of seriousness.."
Make friends with people that will encourage you to challenge yourself, and serve as a support system from beginning to end.
3.) Get Positive
If you're like the majority of the world, procrastination is most likely to happen on a day that wasn't ideal. We woke up late, didn't get enough sleep, still haven't had our morning coffee or got into a fight with our partner on our way out the door. Oh,science doesn't lie; happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful!
But what if we can't seem to shake the blues? What if we just aren't feeling it?
Check in on and celebrate the progress you've already made. Nothing is more motivating than witnessing and appreciating your own progress. It will get you through to the next accomplishment, and reassure you that you can do this.