If I had a dollar for every time a client lamented to me that they lacked self-discipline, I’d be a very wealthy person right now.
Everyone feels overwhelmed and bogged down by the things they need to get done each day. You’re not alone. Sometimes, you just don't want to do anything – certainly not how you thought you would feel. But deep down, you know that to be successful, you need to take regular action and find a way to get things done.
It doesn't matter whether you feel like it or not; you just have to do it. Successful people know that, and they have managed to find a way to get things done even when they don’t want to! They have worked out how to motivate themselves.
The beauty about motivation is that it doesn't have to come from within. Instead, you can get it from outside sources like a friend or a coach, or from within yourself – even your future self.
You don't have to wait for motivation. You can be successful and productive even when you don’t feel like it. Let go of your need for motivation and just do what you have scheduled for yourself to do based on the goals you’ve set for yourself.
To succeed, you need to find a way to start and finish your tasks even when you're not motivated. And thankfully, it is totally possible to succeed by offering yourself a reward for completing a task. Believe it or not, research shows that building in a meaningful reward can actually help you get things done when you don’t want to do things that need to be done. Rewards work because they provide motivation and a sense of accomplishment, which can help increase your productivity.
Maintaining focus and exercising self-discipline takes a bit of planning. An effective method to help you become more productive and get things done is to plan meaningful rewards for long- and short-term accomplishments as you plan your schedule.
Rewards keep you motivated and focused and make your entire journey more enjoyable, it can even be fun! After all, life is supposed to be enjoyable. It’s also important to remember that life is about more than just getting things done. It's about enjoying yourself along the way, and one way to ensure this happens is to set up a meaningful reward system for yourself. One that speaks to you, rather than one your friend or colleague has.
Here are some tips on how you can use rewards to improve your focus and self-discipline:
1. Make your goal realistic – It’s hard to be motivated if you are constantly setting goals that are impossible for you to meet. For example, if you plan to start selling more of your services, and you need to build new relationships, be mindful that it may take you longer at first while you build momentum.
2. Make your goal smaller – It might be too much to set a reward for just the end of a task if it’s a long-term task like generating X amount of revenue. Instead, you may want to reward yourself when you generate a sizeable portion of that revenue. Think of rewarding yourself in sprints rather than marathons.
3. Make your reward Immediate and tied to the task – When it comes to rewarding yourself, it is crucial to make the reward immediate and connected to the task. For example, if you are trying to design a new offering for your clients, you might decide to reward yourself with a blockbuster movie after you finish it. Then, if it takes longer than you thought it would, you can’t have the reward until you finish. As a result, you will be motivated to complete the task to receive the reward.
4. Be consistent – Don’t promise yourself a reward and then skip it. The experience of motivation comes after you finish something, not before. Therefore, you need to allow yourself the entire experience of getting the thing done, rewarding yourself, and being mindful of how you feel about it. Skipping your reward will decrease your self-trust that a reward is going to happen when you achieve other accomplishments.
5. Ensure the reward isn’t undermining your success – It’s vital to make sure that the reward does not damage the progress you have made. For example, if you have eaten healthily all day, you should not feast on junk food in the evening. Instead, you could reward yourself with something healthy, like a good meal, so you don’t defeat the purpose of a reward.
Other good rewards include taking a break to watch your favorite show, walking, or reading a book that you’re currently enjoying. The key is finding something you will look forward to, which will help you stay on track and not undermine your progress. Finally, when it comes to focus and discipline, there are two essential qualities for success, remember to reward yourself for a job well done – or just done. Whether it's a significant accomplishment or simply staying on track day after day, your efforts deserve to be recognized.
After using this strategy consistently for some time, you will find that those tasks that you previously rewarded yourself for, may not need as big a reward or a reward at all because you have learned to get them done, no matter how you feel about them. If you struggle with rewarding yourself, try and think about it as an alternative payment that you have earned on your journey to building self-discipline.
If you have found that no-matter the strategies you have used, self-discipline is a struggle, book in a confidential call and we can troubleshoot why self-discipline is so hard for you, and I can provide some alternatives for you to try.