Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had an easy way to motivate yourself to achieve your goals? How often do you say to yourself that starting on Monday, everything is going to change? You will start eating healthy, working out, writing in your journal every day, or beginning some other habit that will benefit you and move your life forward.
Here is How the Week Unfolds…
You start with these good intentions, but here is what ends up happening and how the week unfolds: Monday, you stick to it – everything is going well. Tuesday, you stick to it, but it is not as easy as it was on Monday. Wednesday, the voice inside your head is telling you that it is ok to skip a day, it won’t hurt anything, but you don’t listen, and you stick to it. Thursday, the voice in your head is now screaming at you to take the day off, and so you listen, and you take it off. Friday, you tell yourself that you will start over again on Monday. When Monday comes, you have moved on to something else.
Why Does This Happen?
This cycle happens because you don’t have anything concrete in place to counteract that negative voice in your head telling you that it is alright to miss a day or two and that your life is fine the way it is, why should you suffer to change it.
So what is the solution to this negative cycle? An easy way to break this cycle and motivate yourself to achieve any goal is a simple concept known as “Don’t Break the Chain.” This concept can also be adapted to help you start a new habit or eliminate a bad habit.
Don’t Break the Chain in Four Easy Steps.
Step 1 – Grab a paper calendar (you can print one out here if you need one). Alternatively, you can use a piece of grid paper. You are going to keep this calendar or paper in a place where you can see it at all times. You can get a printable habit tracker below.
Step 2 – Identify a Single goal you want to achieve or a single habit you want to start or eliminate.
Step 3 – Identify what minimum success looks like for you. Think about what specific action or set of activities you will need to complete to consider that day a success. For example, if you want to start eating healthier, maybe that means that you eat at least one piece of fruit that day or one salad a day. Or, perhaps you want to start to write in a journal. Minimum success might be that you write at least one page or for a minimum of ten minutes for the day.
Usually, success will be identified by a minimum length of time that you do something or a minimum amount of some kind.
Step 4 – Each day, you experience your identified minimum success, put a big X in the box representing that day in your calendar or other tracking tools. Continue to chain together as many successful days as you can. Use that momentum as fuel to continue succeeding. Seeing this continuous chain of X’s will motivate you not to want to break the chain.
How to Use This
Identify a goal you want to achieve or a habit you want to start or eliminate. Get to work right away, building your first chain! Below are some ideas for habits that you can begin by using this technique.
- Begin eating healthy
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
- Organize your home for at least 15 minutes per day.
- Drink eight glasses of water each day.
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes per day.
- Write at least one page in your journal each day.
- Declutter for 15 minutes per day.
- Keep up with your daily cleaning schedule.
- Take your vitamins each day.
- Read for 30 minutes each day.
- Begin a meditation practice and meditate every day.
- Do one load of laundry every day, so you never get behind.
- Walk 10,000 steps each day.
- Floss your teeth every day.
- Create a morning routine and complete it each day.
Below are some examples of habits that you can eliminate using this technique:
- Stop or cut back on smoking.
- Stop biting your nails.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Quit yelling at your kids.
- Limit the amount of TV you watch.
- Limit the amount of time you spend on social media.
- Cut sugar out of your diet.
- Stop swearing.
- Limit the amount of caffeine you drink.
- Quit eating fast food.
- Quit drinking soda.
- Limit the amount of time spent playing video games.
- Eating in between meals/snacking.
- Stop eating after 7 pm.
- Stop complaining.
A Final Note About the Unavoidable
One final thing I would like to add is that some days you will have the best of intentions, and you will still not be able to complete your minimum success for the day.
This is not necessarily due to the negative self-talk going on in your head, but rather an emergency or other interruptions that you could not have anticipated that may arise. When this happens, and it inevitably will do not let this discourage you. It is just the nature of life. Just keep moving forward and continue to give yourself those X’s and aim for a longer chain than you made the last time. Pretty soon, you will have created the new habit or broken the one you wanted to eliminate.
Conclusion for How to Motivate Yourself
So there you have it. Start by picking just one thing from either of the lists above or anything that you want to start working on or eliminating and get to work! Let me know in the comments if you try this technique, and it works for you.
If you are already working on developing some good habits or eliminating some bad ones, and you would like to track several habits at once, you can download the habit tracker shown below. It has space for ten separate habits and enough boxes to mark 24 days worth of Xs. Since they say it takes 21 days to create a habit, this should be enough for you to solidify them.
Get the daily habit tracker for multiple habits below:
You can track up to ten habits at once with this habit tracker.