Losing weight is simple: Eat less and exercise more. Simple, right? But not easy, as you can attest if you have ever tried to drop those stubborn pounds. Keeping the commitment to make healthy eating choices and hit the gym regularly is hard.
That is the way it is in much of life, including business. We know what we should do—that’s simple. But doing it, consistently and for the long term, is anything but easy.
How can you stay on the right track, doing the simple things that will make you successful? Here are some tips for doing the right thing, even when it isn’t easy.
Focus on your goal. Instead of fretting about how hard it is to do something, concentrate on how good things will be when you reach your goal. Thinking about what success will be like can make working toward the goal seem easier.
Have a plan. What steps are you going to take to reach that goal? Be specific. In the weight loss example, your plan might include walking a certain number of miles every day or going to aerobics class three times a week, not just “exercise more.” Your plan might be writing a certain number of pages of your novel every day, making ten cold calls, posting to your blog, completing one language lesson, or any specific action that takes you toward your goal. Break your big goal into small steps.
Write it down! Once you have a goal and a plan, write it down. Putting it in writing makes it more likely you will follow through and do it. Post your goal and your plan somewhere where you will see it every day: on your bathroom mirror, over your computer monitor, or next to the telephone.
Share your goal. Tell others what you are doing. Making a commitment outside of yourself helps you to stick to your plan.
Get rid of negativity. If you are surrounded by people who are hopeless and helpless, you will start to be that way, too. Spend your time with people who are upbeat and positive. It will make a huge difference in how you feel and how much you accomplish.
Do something every day. Doing what you need to do can become a habit. Get in the habit by doing what you know you should do every single day. I love this productivity tip from Jerry Seinfeld.
Reward yourself for small successes. Celebrate when you reach a milestone. Or perhaps just for keeping at your plan. Get a massage, go out to lunch with a friend, or buy that small extravagance you have been coveting. Appreciate the progress you have made.
Don’t beat yourself up when you backslide. It happens. You will have a day here and there when you do not move toward your goal. Maybe you even get farther away from it. Do not waste time berating yourself, but pick up where you left off and start moving forward again.
Just do it. Do not wait for inspiration or magic. Just get up every day and do what you know you need to do. It will not always be easy, but the rewards are sweet.