Once you’ve committed some time to doing what you wanted to do, how do you keep it up? Here are some basic tips that I use to maintain motivation on Dreams of the Week.
· You have to make it fun. If it’s not fun, you won’t want to do it.
· Don’t give yourself an out. This requires that you understand yourself enough that you
I use to ride my bicycle to work every day, but slowly I started using more and more creative excuses to get out of it, "I'm tired," "It's too dark," "It's too wet," "My legs are sore," "I already biked 3 times this week — that's good enough, right?" Eventually the excuses mounted up so much that I stopped riding.
You have to watch yourself — we can talk ourselves out of just about anything, even things we like doing. Find the root causes of this. It might be that you will want to change your Dream of the Week, that's okay — I do it all the time — or it may be that you need to dig in your heels and ride it out. Know thy self.
· Once you pick a schedule, stick to it.
My wife has gone for a walk every day for the last 3 months, which has been one of the most impressive feats of discipline I have ever witnessed. (Go ahead, try it! See if you can do it in the autumn in Washington.) There have been many opportunities when she could have used any number of excuses (like I had above), but didn’t.
Just the other week we had a nightmare of a night. I took her to the ER because her entire arm was tingling in a bad way, and then after a couple hours of sleep we had to take our dog to the emergency animal hospital because he had a cluster of seizures. She could have used this as an excuse not to walk, but she didn't. That's hardcore. She's badass.
For her, it was important to walk every day and so she started with a daily walk of less than half a mile, but the thing was to do it, to make it part of her day. She did the half mile walk for three weeks before she was sure that she was committed to the schedule she had chosen. She knew that if she found an excuse to take one day off, she would use it as leverage to take more days off, like I had with the biking. She knows herself very well. (And is currently at 2 miles every morning.)
Check out The Walking Site for additional information
Similarly, my undergrad writing professor would sit down to write for a minimum of five minutes every day. If he wrote for longer than that, great. But if all he could manage was five minutes, he had met his requirement for the day.
These kinds of habits are good to keep in mind as you consider adding a new routine (a Dream of the Week) to your life.
It's important to take time to really look at what has historically weakened your focus and look at ways to stop getting in your own way. Try setting little goals for yourself to get going and maintain motivation on your Dream of the Week. If all you have is five or twenty minutes a day, start there, and slowly build. Nurture it until it grows. Don't forget to make it fun.