It’s winter 2005; I’m sitting in Advanced Calculus, not paying attention, with my daily planner in front of me. I have written my goals for the week:
- Stick to my diet.
- Run before school.
- Go to practice.
- Hit the gym for Day 1 & 2 lifts
- Do my homework.
- Watch a Prefontaine movie for motivation.
- Get to bed by 9 pm.
I’m highly motivated and desperately want to achieve my goals so I can crush it in sports/the classroom to earn myself a ticket to college. I wake up each day with a renewed vigor, ready to tackle any challenge.
It’s December 2021; I’m sitting in traffic after picking up my son Dean from his grandparents. I see the bright lights of Wendy’s and think, “Hey, I haven’t eaten dinner, and it’s going to be a long ride home.” Thoughts of the diet I have been meaning to go on fade away as I order a number 6 and ask for “extra Ghost Pepper sauce.” As I drive down 95 South, eating French fries, I think, “Working out, writing, and the diet can start tomorrow.”
Motivation/discipline can come in waves that last years, months, weeks, or days. Some like Jocko Willink, David Goggins, and others seem to have it every day. Still, even they speak about falling into ruts and having to dig themselves out of them. Maybe you’ve been focusing on other aspects of your life like family, work, or travel, and your personal goals have been left at the wayside. If 2022 is your year to get back on track to crush your goals, you need to set yourself up for success.
We’ve all heard about making SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Based) and the other common tips to sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions (or 2022 Goals, as I like to call them). Here are some uncommon tips that will help you keep to your goals and make 2022 your year.
1. Don’t Post Your Goals on Social Media or Tell Your Friends Until You Achieve Them
This sounds counterintuitive right, won’t posting your goals on social media or telling friends in a group text make you more accountable to them? Wrong. When we post these goals and get validation for saying we are attempting them (likes on Facebook/Instagram), you are less likely to actually follow through. That’s because you’re receiving an early dopamine reward that will leave you less motivated/committed to your goals.
Instead, let that final post of you achieving your goal/or showing up to a friend’s cookout looking awesome be the reward that drives you to work harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t find accountability partners that keep you on track, just don’t share your goal until you achieve them, keep the fire hot and burning.
2. Pretend They Are Making A Documentary About You
It’s much easier to grab that bag of chips, skip a morning workout, or blow off working on a personal development goal when you don’t have a camera following you around. But what if they were?
Use your imagination and make yourself the Rocky of your own comeback story. When the alarm goes off, and you want to hit ‘snooze,’ think, “When people see your 2022 comeback story, do you want them to see you sleeping in or getting after it?”
Act like people are watching and take the actions you would be proud of while watching your documentary.
3. Pick Goals that Truly Motivate You
Shoutout to Mel Robbins for this one. We often pick goals that we think we should do based on family, friends, and society. I should eat healthier, smile more/be grateful, or read 52 books because that’s what you think you should pick/do. However, if none of these goals are what you really want, you won’t be excited and won’t follow through on them.
It’s okay to have specific goals that may be silly or a bit narcissistic if they genuinely are what will make you happy/motivate you. Instead of, ‘I want to eat healthier,”…pick ‘I want to fit in my pants from college and look great Jojo’s annual Memorial Day Party.”
I alluded in the intro to working very hard in high school to be able to go to college. I was told when I was younger I wouldn’t be able to afford it, and I would need to find another way. I worked hard night and day after this goal. I wish I could tell you it was for some altruistic reason like I wanted to be a doctor or be the first person in my family to attend college. However, if I’m being honest, it was because I saw MTV Spring Break in middle school and said to myself, “I have to go to college.” But that lit the fire and got me going, whatever it takes.
4. Set Milestones with Rewards and Make it a Game –
If you have a big goal, break it down into measurable milestones with mini rewards that motivate you towards your bigger goal.
When I started lifting in high school, I bought a packet of little gold stars like they give out to 2nd graders for completing homework assignments. After I finished each workout, I would give myself a star. After 10 stars, I would reward myself with something like I was allowed to go to the movies or buy myself a new pair of Nike sweatpants. Just earning the stars became fun and something I looked forward to after each workout.
5. Do Not Trust Your Future Self – Do it Now –
What’s so different about the future you that makes you think they will want to do the task that you are putting off? Instead of putting it off for “tomorrow,” “I will do it in the morning,” or any other method of self-sabotage, get in the habit of doing it now. Instead, say, “Hey, future me, I’m going to do this now and get it done because I’m not sure you will want to accomplish it either.” Your future self will thank you.
6. Motivation Fades – Rely on the Process and Commitment You’ve Made to Yourself
A lot of these tips have been on how to stay motivated, but the truth is, motivation fades. If you genuinely want to accomplish your goals and stay committed, you must focus on the process.
Let’s say your goal for 2022 is to finish writing your book. Your process has been to commit to writing 1 hour a day, no matter what. At first, it’s a breeze, you’re motivated, and the words are flowing. Then come days when you do not want to be near your computer, and all motivation has fled. Instead of giving in and giving up, just trust the process and write for that 1 hour. It may take all your will to get going on some of those toughest days, but you may also uncover the most beauty in your pursuit on those days.
7. Watch Out for Your Traps –
The best predictor of the future is the past. If you have had a real problem sticking to your goals, it’s time to make an honest/hard assessment of where/why you are failing.
If you never make it off the couch after work, maybe you need to go to the gym right after work or before work. If you have a problem zoning out, watching TV, and munching chips, replace the chips with carrots. You need to identify your traps and put in controls to help you succeed.
I hope you found a few nuggets that can help you with your goals. Remember to enjoy the process and have some fun while crushing your 2022 goals.