You know the drill, you start the year hard with the best of intentions, changes to make, goals to kick, and then life happens. Motivation wanes and all of those noble intentions fall by the wayside.
Craig is no stranger to helping people stay the course when motivation is waning, or dropping the occasional F-bomb. Below we share some of Craig’s insights on how to stay proactive, productive and effective, when the motivation fades.
Recognise motivation is temporary
The first thing that Craig stresses, is that we should recognize motivation is a temporary emotion, it’s never going to create permanent results. Emotions, can determine our behaviours in good or bad ways if we allow them to. We get excited (motivated) but then when we inevitably become unexcited (lose motivation), we stop doing what we started and the results stop.
If we are able to live in alignment with our goals, our values, and our resolutions then we are more likely to achieve a consistent and favourable outcome. By doing this we will have more chance of weathering peaks and troughs of excitement/motivation. How to do this? Read on.
Set a realistic goal
Goals should be enough to motivate but not overwhelm, Craig recommends setting goals that are ambitious but practical. He also says to remember with goals that are personal, other peoples expectations are irrelevant. People-pleasing is a habit, a very destructive and exhausting one at that.
Identify your habits
Habits are our hard-wired, default behaviours. For this reason when asked how, at 54 years old, he finds the motivation and discipline to stay in such great shape, Craig says he doesn’t have to. He exercises everyday, a habit hard-wired in his subconscious.
Not being a drinker, Craig’s default habit is to NOT drink, so there is no need to abstain.
Craig says it’s important to take a hard look at what’s not working for you, whether it be health, career, finances, relationships, business, lifestyle and identify the less favourable habits. Acknowledge what’s holding you back with a sense of awareness and, he stresses, not self-loathing. Then think about where you want to be. Work on cultivating the habits that will help you get there, until they shift from ‘some-of-the-time’ behaviours, to ‘all-the-time’ behaviours, or your new defaults.
Create a process
Craig finds that being strategic and practical, and creating a timeline or process helps people follow through to their end goals. He also recommends building in an accountability system. Work with someone else, maybe a friend, a trainer, a nutritionist or psychologist, who-ever is best equipped to keep you honest.
Then start the doing, sequentially. For example, he states, if you want to run a marathon you start by running/walking a short distance, you don’t start by trying to run 42kms. Gradually over time you increase your distances, incrementally take more steps. You get good by doing or, as he puts it, you simply can’t master what you avoid.
Do the work, and do it early
Being productive early in the day, will help you get your tasks done. Research indicates that people are more effective early in the day, with better mental focus and emotional states.
Start with a to-do list, form clarity about your tasks to achieve for the day.
Prioritise the most important, non-negotiable tasks, and tackle them first. Be realistic about what you can achieve, avoid over-committing yourself.
What if you have done all of the above, yet disaster strikes?
As Craig puts it bluntly, shit happens. It is all part of the human experience. If you hit a road-block, press pause and assess. What is in your control? What is not?
Learn to manage the stress response. Stress is stress, not a solution. Craig likens this to when you drop a fragile item and it breaks. The damage is done, no amount of panicking will un-break it. Acknowledge the situation for what is and focus on a solution. One way to get better at this is by learning to be adaptable, i.e. improving your adaptability quotient (AQ).
A final life-hack from Craig…
When it comes to setting and accomplishing goals, Craig says to learn from other people’s mistakes, and not try to reinvent the wheel. Work smarter, not harder, but he stresses, don’t imitate, be a sheep, or clone.
Craig had his hand in innovating the self-help book genre by authoring one of the first motivational books with the F word on the cover back in 2010. At the time it was a bit funny, a bit cheeky, and perfect for the Australian audience. Now seeing that word on the cover of self-help books has become the norm, capitalizing off this innovation. So remember it’s still important to create and innovate.