It’s not uncommon for us to start a new and exciting project or goal only for us to completely abandon ship overnight or over the course of a week. It happens to everyone and it’s nothing to beat yourself up over. What’s important is that you get back up and start again. Even professionals like the likes of Matt D’avella and James Clear have fallen off the wagon from time to time, how do you think they got so good at creating systems for their habits?
I myself go through cycles of being extremely productive and aligned with my goals and then… not so much. It’s always hard trying to start back up again after losing all your momentum, but it’s possible and I’ll show you how.
1. Write down your intentions
Are you trying to get in shape? Write down how many times per week you are going to be going to the gym or doing a workout. If you’re trying to finish a project set out an outline of what steps need to be done and give yourself a due date for each step. It helps if you get very specific with your intentions such as “I will go to the gym every Monday and Thursday morning”. If you just say “I’m going to work out more” it doesn’t give you the specific call to action your brain needs.
2. Make your goals achievable
Don’t set yourself up for failure by saying “I’m going to write 3000 words every day for a year”. You’ll likely not be able to keep up with a task that hefty. It helps to give yourself small goals like writing 500 words per day and if it’s too easy you can always increase the threshold if necessary. What usually happens, though, is that with a small goal you are willing to spend the time to complete it and often you’ll find you actually go beyond the necessary cut off. Sometimes you’ll just be on a roll and keep writing beyond your 500 word count, or you’ll stay an extra 20 minutes at the gym. What’s important though is that even on days where you’re not feeling overly zealous, you’re still able to complete your minimum.
3. Minimize Distractions
We all have our own bad habits we fall into. If you’ve been following me for any time then you know I tend to spend an unholy amount of time on my phone scrolling through social media. This can get in the way of me completing my creative projects or even housework. For others they can get carried away playing video games or talking on the phone with their friends when really they should be working on that research paper. My point is, it’s important to figure out what your distractions are and to make it harder for yourself to get sucked into them. Currently I do not charge my phone in my bedroom which forces me to spend an hour before bed doing something other than looking at my phone screen. For others it might be a case of unplugging your video game system from the tv just to add an extra step into making it that much more effort to play a game rather than doing work.
4. Make Your Good Habits Easier
Putting out your workout gear the night before so you don’t have to think about it in the morning can make just that little bit extra of a difference to help you get going. If you want to read more, leave your book somewhere where you’ll see it and then you’ll be more likely to pick it up and start reading. If you want to eat healthier try preparing your meals ahead of time or deciding what you’ll eat for the day the night before so you’re not trying to make that decision while you’re hungry. Trying to take the guesswork and decision making out of the task makes it easier for you to just go do it rather than think of all the little steps you need to take and how long it will take you to get ready etc. etc. See how easy it is to come up with excuses? Having systems in place eliminates the need for your brain to choose whether or not it’s going to do something. If everything is already laid out and ready for you to go, you’re less likely to fall into decision fatigue as the day goes on.
Those are my quick tips for how to snap out of a slump and get yourself back on track right now. It can be hard getting back to the grind but the more often you do it the easier and quicker you find you can bring yourself back to the task at hand. Have any of these tips worked for you? Are there any methods you use that aren’t listed above? Share them in the comments below to spread the word!