Written by Anhayla Stanley
Everything needs effort...
Actually it requires it.
But what is effort?
Cambridge defines it as “physical or mental activity needed to achieve something, or an attempt to do something.”
Everyone has a different idea of the level of effort it takes to do something.
Going to the gym every morning could be easy for one person, while for another it could be extremely difficult and require more effort. We all have different temperaments, different personalities, different upbringings, however, when it comes to effort we usually talk about it in a one size fits all package.
Effort does not mean being perfect.
We don’t have a magical potion to make us perfect beings but every living being has the potential to improve themselves. We know we have it in us but to get there it takes effort.
Here are three methods that you can use to train your mind to use more effort. With more effort, you’ll take more action and procrastinate less.
1) Change your motivation for doing what you are doing.
Have you stopped to ask yourself exactly why you are doing what you are doing?
That goal you've had for the past few years but can't seem to accomplish. That desire to go travel. The new year’s resolutions that repeat yearly.
Why are you doing what you are doing?
The first step to finding more effort is to clearly define why it is you need to accomplish your goal. Make it personal and be specific.
You may not be applying any effort because you're not motivated to do it. You don't have any incentive and the goal doesn't connect with your other life goals.
Sometimes, when we stop to ask ourselves why we’re doing certain things, we’ll learn that we never really wanted to do them in the first place. Or, maybe you will discover a deep passion for why you need to accomplish your goal.
This can be a great exercise for examining all the things that we do to make sure they are in alignment with what we actually want for our lives. Make it beneficial. Find purpose in it all.
2) Simplify what you are doing
We’re taught to dream big. As result, a lot of people take big dreams to the graves because they never got around to doing anything to reach it. It’s nothing wrong with having a big dream, but all big dreams require small goals.
Many times, we can never find the effort to work on our goals because it appears too big in our minds so we simply don't even try. We get discouraged easily because we are use to instant gratification. When we don’t reach our goal immediately or we are not the best at what we’re doing, we get discouraged and stop because it feels like failure.
Don’t let that discouragement overrun your effort. Instead of saying I want to lose 100 pounds, I would say... I want to eat healthy today or I want to go exercise in the morning. These small goals seem more attainable in our minds...so the brain will use effort to get it done.
The brain can solve easy math faster. Take your big dream and strip it down so you can simplify it for your mind. Starting out, don't make anything too complicated. Even the goals that are complex...find a way to make it easy on your mind. For example, instead of saying you're trying to start a billion dollar, high performing company with 30 locations across the world... simplify it and say you are incorporating a company that you are financially invested in.
When you start to simplify your goals you set yourself up to succeed instead of feeling discouraged.
This way you start your goal in the black instead of in a deficit. You will apply more effort when you are winning vs when you feel like you’re constantly loosing.
You don't have to be perfect. Acknowledge the small steps you take to improve yourself. Every small thing you do is nudging you closer to your big goal. You're still moving forward.
3) Make what you are doing fun.
A lot of people create boring goals. They don't make them fun because being consistent and applying effort has always been dressed up as something very serious, militant and time consuming.
However, ask yourself why would you want to do something that you didn't even like doing in the first place?
Make your goal interesting.
Children are great at goal setting because they enjoy everything they do...they don't look at it like a daunting task. They are excited to learn how to ride a bike or learn their ABC’s because its new and exciting.
Find something new about your goal that you haven’t. Create fun around it that inspires you to actually do it. If you want to go to the gym each morning find something fun at the gym you enjoy doing....maybe it's listening to your favorite song while you walk on the treadmill.
Retraining your mind to view your goals as fun...is a process. You have to find what feels good daily when working on your goals and wake up the next day and do that again. Eventually, your mind will start to associate your goal with fun instead of dread and misery. Don't be afraid to get messy and put the joy back into what you're doing.