The days are getting shorter. The temperature is dropping. It may be raining and dreary now but soon those rain drops will be snowflakes and that puddle will be a pile to shovel. It seems so much nicer to stay in the warm bed, rather than touch that cold floor. That blanket can’t snuggle itself nor can that hot drink slurp itself. Not to mention the holiday parties, treats and seasonal responsibilities. Just when the weather makes you want to hunker down, your calendar fills with seasonal responsibilities. How do you stay motivated and moving toward your goals during winter? Whether you have fitness, health, career, financial or other goals, there are things you can do to keep your motivation up. Here are a few suggestions: Adjust the heat: Cold floors absolutely make it harder to leap out of bed and put on your running shoes or hit the spreadsheets – depending on your goal, of course. If you have a programable thermostat, set it to warm up a few degrees before your alarm goes off. Alternatively, ask someone in your house to turn it up when they get up. One year, I got up an hour before my wife. I turned up the heat after my shower so it was nice and warm when it was her turn to rise. If those aren’t options, make it a habit to turn up the heat right when you get up and then jump into a warm shower. By the time you get out, the floor will have warmed up a bit. Grab a hot tea or coffee and enjoy it. Focus on your milestones: If you have created a proper goal with an action plan, you have also created some milestones. Tighten up your milestone schedule to give yourself weekly or even daily milestones. Make sure they are obtainable. Push for those short term wins. They may be small by themselves but they add up quickly. Celebrate each and every win. Use triggers to remind yourself of your goal: If you are working this winter to earn a tropical trip this summer, use tropical music as your alarm, put up appropriate posters, change your screen saver, eat a pineapple, etc. Record a message to yourself about how important or great your goal is going to be. Email that message to yourself with a future delivery date. However you can, whenever you can, remind yourself that you have a long term goal that is worth the effort now. Brighten your life: The longer hours of darkness can really affect your mood. Invest in good lighting, especially for your morning routine. Take a sun break and sit by a window. Dress appropriately and get outside. The extra light, being outside and the movement will do wonders for your motivation. Enjoy the season: Winter brings many opportunities to get together with friends, neighbors, family and co-workers. Take advantage of those opportunities without guilt or reservation. Share some laughs and hear some stories. Tell people what your goals are. Ask them about their goals. Maybe even ask them to join you, lend a hand or give some advice. People are a wealth of information and motivation. Let them help you and be sure to help them whenever you can. Relax: You may miss a run because the cold. You may fill up with an extra 2000 calories on Thanksgiving. You may take a night off from your business. It is ok. Make that decision and own it. Today is a new day. Don’t take another day off today because you decided to take yesterday off. Don’t carry forward any guilt or self-doubt. We all have our moments to shine and our moments where we didn’t shine quite as bright. It is ok. It is human. Now go shine and brighten up your life and those lives around you.
What does every successful person in the world and you have in common? Time. We all have 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No more. No less. Every hour that ticks away unused is gone forever. This is true for everyone. Every successful person. Every failure. You get to decide which one you are going to be.
Look at all that the most successful person you can think of has accomplished. Really try to list off all of their successes. All of their accomplishments. You have the same amount of time as this person. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year.
We all have enough time to be very successful at that one thing we really want to do. The problem is that we don’t have enough time to be successful at everything we may want to do and we don’t have enough time to be amazingly successful AND to throw away too many hours on non-productive activities. Not having enough time for your main passion means you haven’t given your passion enough of a priority. You are allowing too many other goals or pleasures to interfere with your productivity. A lack of time means a lack of priority.
A tool that can help you be more focused on your priorities is the Time EDIT tool. This tool graphs that tasks that are taking up your time on a chart comparing “your level of influence over the outcome of that task” and the “level of importance to you” of that outcome. This will put your tasks into one of four categories: Eliminate, Delegate, Investigate and Transform.
Eliminate: those items that you have little control over outcome and the outcome is of little importance to you. That is any amount of time you are putting into these tasks are a waste of your time and energy. Simply stop doing as many of these as you can.
Delegate: those items that you have a lot of control over the outcome but the outcome is of little importance to you. Some of these items can be eliminated but you can also delegate these tasks. In a home life, you can ask spouse or children to step up and take over. In a professional life, you can attempt to delegate these tasks to other team members. The important thing to save your time is to really delegate these tasks. The outcome isn’t that important to you, so don’t micromanage. It is ok if the person who steps up doesn’t do it as well as you or simply does it differently.
Investigate: these are tasks that are very important to you but you have little control over the outcome. These tasks have a huge ability to drain your hours, your energy and your sanity. With these tasks, you need to really consider if the outcome really is that important to you and what about the outcome is important. It may be you can get that satisfaction with a task that you can influence. Alternatively, ask yourself who does have the influence over the outcome? Why is that? It is their abilities, their position or something special about them. Can you learn those skills or create a situation over time where you can have more influence. Additionally, can you speak to the person who does have influence. Can you influence the influencer. If you can’t change the situation, then consider if you can minimize your efforts here. It might not be worth the heartache.
Transform: this is the perfect combination of where you have the ability to influence the outcome and the outcome is important to you. This is where you want to spend your time. These tasks have the ability to transform your life. Double down on the tasks that fit here.
Imagine your life rides on a cart with one wheel. Each of the spokes on the wheel is a different aspect of your life; health, wealth, career, family & friends, spiritual connection, love/romance, etc. The length of each spoke is determined by how satisfied and fulfilled you are with that aspect. If each spoke is approximately the same length, then the wheel will turn smoothly and the cart will ride smoothly down even a bumpy road. This cart will be easy to push and steer. It is easy ride around potholes or ride right over a pot hole if you didn’t see it in time.
Now imagine that the spokes are of very different lengths. One may be very long and several very short. This is a very bumpy Even on a smooth road, the cart is going to bounce around. It is hard to push and hard to steer. It is difficult to avoid potholes with a bumpy wheel.
Additionally, moving from a spoke that is short to a spoke that is long requires so much additional effort. For example, even if your career is going strong, it requires more effort to maintain that level of success when your love & romance spoke is short.
Making your spokes, your satisfaction with each aspect of your life, similar length with make your life run more smoothly. It will make those strong aspects of your life easier to maintain and enjoy. It will allow you to avoid or better handle surprises that are outside of your control. Focus on making your shorter spokes more equal to your more successful spokes to make your total life more fulfilling, enjoyable and energized.
List out each aspect of your life that is important to you. Common aspects people list are listed above; health, wealth, career, family & friends, spiritual connection and love & romance. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is totally satisfied, rate each aspect and write it down. Which aspect is the shortest? This is where you need to focus your healing and productive energies. Give this aspect your time and attention now. This will make all aspects of your life more enjoyable and successful.