Sunday, August 23, 2009

How to get yourself going

Yesterday I wrote about my set backs and how much I hate them. Today I will note some tricks which can help to achieve your goals. One of my favorite motivation phrases was said by Winston Churchill:

"If you are going through hell, keep going."

When I confronted my violin teacher with this quote he started laughing and told me that he wouldn't find that motivating at all. I'll spare the asking whether my attitude is that right one part that followed afterwards. Like always the words you don't want to hear contain a great deal of the truth. To sum it up, Churchill is basically saying that if you are stuck in an unpleasant situation, the only way out is to take the next step forward.

So the first trick to achieve a goal is taking the next necessary step. Finding this step can be complicated. If you are a person who loves to see the big picture, you may get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project. According to David Allen, author of the book "Getting Things Done" you should forget about the big picture and find the next to do item
for the project. This proposal does not work out in distance studying for me. By picking up a part that feels manageable on its own and just pretending that this is the only lesson I need to learn I usually achieve good results. Once you having finished the section I just jump to the next section. It really works.

Last but not least the 60 minutes trick I've already mentioned yesterday. It sounds easy but it isn't. Commit yourself to 60 minutes of work without interruptions in favor of your project. By committing yourself to a fixed amount of minutes your subconscious will be less malicious. Practicing this method you will find out, that it will get easier to be focused within that 60 minutes. There is one pitfall within this method, never ever cheat on your subconscious by working longer than the planned 60 minutes without a break after the 60 minutes. Doing so your subconscious will be your enemy the next time when you sit down to learn or work concentrated for one hour because it cannot rely on your promise of time anymore.

Finally do something you like after working on your project. I always wondered how difficult it might be to bind a book on your own. After learning I searched the web for a dummy prove explanation and found one on a craft website. Here is the result of my short and easy late night book binding session:
I like how it turned out although I misinterpreted the instructions a little bit :(. Anyhow, I really enjoyed making it and I probably will do so again. I will use this little book for tracking my new habits, so that they won't get lost. Since the exercising turned out to be a habit now (I feel bad when I do not exercised which only occurred three times the past 4 weeks), I will try to get rid of the after work cookie habit I developed. I am aiming for a less calorie rich relaxing habit and will start with a good cup of tea every time I end up in front of my cookie jar after work.

Stay connected, I bet it will be much harder to resist the cookie jar than the exercising challenge. Good night everyone.