Is fear of failure holding you back? Are you suffering from procrastination?
Here’s a mantra for you: there is no such thing as failure, only feedback, which fertilises growth. Ultimately, feedback is necessary for growth. Think about it - if you do something and it doesn’t go to plan, but you can learn something out of it, then that’s progress! You’re in a better position that you were. Sometimes you’ve got to know what not to do, in order to succeed with what you do.
In addition, remember to take small steps, so that no part seems daunting. Split tasks up into manageable chunks, and start small, even tiny! Let’s say you’ve wanted to start exercising for 30 minutes a day for a while now but you find yourself procrastinating or making excuses instead because, if you’re being honest, you hate exercise. Or perhaps you can’t imagine succeeding at a full 30 minutes. Well to overcome that, step 1, don’t do the 30 minutes. Now, you might be thinking ‘what?!’, but let me explain. We’re far more likely to do something if it’s easy than if it’s hard - we can all agree on that. So rather than setting out to do a full 30 minutes, start with 30 seconds… Even 10 seconds! And it can be gentle exercise -nothing strenuous. Now, how likely are you to put off doing that? A lot less likely... because it’s easy. So rather than doing nothing at all on day 1 because you procrastinate instead, you’ve successfully completed your target for the day! And you should let yourself be happy with that, however tiny the accomplishment, because it’s huge in comparison to nothing. And success is one of the most effective motivators.
The next day do a little more, just a little, say an extra 30 (or 10) seconds – we’re avoiding doing anything that makes you think ‘I don’t want to do that again!’, and we’re getting you into the habit of choosing to exercise. So during this initial period, even though you’re doing very small amounts of exercise, you’re constantly building momentum. That’s what will keep you going. Plus, soon you’ll have built up to doing a more substantial amount of exercise, and it will have become a habit. Now that’s important because the human mind loves what is familiar, while it resists what is unfamiliar. So once something becomes a habit, as most of us will have experienced, it’s easy to keep doing it, and not so easy to stop. Now, you’ve turned yourself into a regular exerciser without struggling with procrastination!
This can be applied to anything and everything – let’s say you’ve got to write an essay or an article or a book: start with one word, or a line of a plan or draft. Build up from there. That way, every day you’re making progress. Every day you are succeeding at moving towards completion.
To summarise, set yourself up to succeed by making it really hard to fail! It's much better to ease yourself in than to never even start. Don't wait to "be motivated" - unfortunately motivation doesn't just appear out of nowhere, you have to start in order to gain motivation and momentum. The good news is that success breeds success, so even tiny achievements will be enough to make you feel better and that will motivate you to want to do more; meaning you can start with the smallest of tasks. Finally, take little steps every day – consistency is key - and it will make your given task into a habit. Successful habits make a successful person -more than the other way around, I would argue.
And as a little extra motivation, remember this quote by Marisa Peer: “not taking risks is the biggest risk of all”.
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