A Fast Company journalist shared a trick that helps her get started on unpleasant tasks.
- “It’ll wear off eventually.”
In high school, I didn’t really like to write paper and homework; I preferred sports and outdoor activities, so I played on the soccer team. To warm up, we had to run 100 meters in 17 seconds, and then go back at a slower pace in 30 seconds. And that was ten times in a row.
I was always dreading that moment. It was very difficult to run. I was in a lot of pain. I had to give it my all. But I knew that in order to get on the varsity sports team, I had to train. That’s why I changed my attitude to this workout. Yes, every second is painful, but it takes no more than 15 minutes. If you think about it, it’s not that long.
Before I started the warm-up, I told myself, “The next 15 minutes are going to be awful. But time doesn’t stand still. Before you know it, it’ll be 16 minutes and it’ll be over.” I tried not to think about how hard it was for me and imagined that sixteenth minute of freedom.
- “I’ll feel so much better when I do this.”
After this warm-up, I was like in seventh heaven. I felt fast, strong, and most importantly, free.
I use this approach in other situations as well. For example, if I am going to exercise before work. It’s very tempting to take an extra half-hour nap. But I know that I will feel much better if I make myself get up and work out.
This method is not only good for sports, but also for work. At the end of the day, it’s more pleasant to feel productive rather than looking at the to-do list that you never got done.
Don’t put off unpleasant tasks. You’ll feel much better once you’ve dealt with them.
There are six great ways to overcome all the barriers.
They will help you become more persistent and get to your goal.
- Set a big goal
Someone who has conquered a high peak is not like someone standing at the foot of a mountain. It’s not enough to just set a goal. You have to conceive of a grandiose accomplishment.
You can’t just set a goal. A goal taken “from the ceiling” will fall apart like a house of cards.
The more serious the goal, the more confidence and persistence we have in achieving it. We are willing to try when we are aware of our responsibility for others: family, friends, clients.
The way of thinking in which motivation depends on external factors is called “antelope psychology. The antelope runs fast, but only slightly faster than the lion that is chasing it. When the lion stops, the antelope also slows down.
A big goal creates intrinsic motivation and switches the brain from “antelope mode” to “lion mode.
- communicate with people who have already done it
Perseverance is born in you. You have to believe that anything is possible. The best way is to communicate with people who have achieved results on your chosen path.
Do you think you’re too old to learn a foreign language? Yes, the world is full of fifty-year-old executives who do not have the same energy as when they were young and have no free time. But they learn to speak a foreign language.
Do you think bad genes keep you from losing weight? How about overweight people who lose more than 20 pounds in a year?
Think about Roger Bannister and his record-breaking run. Before 1954, no one would have guessed that a mile (1,609 meters) could be run in less than four minutes. Just one year later, the record was repeated. It became such a familiar accomplishment that more than 20,000 people were able to boast about it, with even school children among them.
There it is, the power of confidence and suggestion. If you know that someone has already accomplished something like this, then you are confident that it is possible. When you have a clearly defined goal, an affirmation that you can achieve a result, you trigger the reticular activating system. It helps the brain determine what information to focus on and what information to discard.
The result is that your attention will be directed to the right things.
Look for a teacher, mentor or interest group, a responsible partner. That way you’ll get farther than you would on your own.
- set yourself up for growth.
An obstacle on the way to our goal is our ego. Once you stop proving something to those around you, the problem of protecting your ego recedes into the background, and the energy is devoted to pumping up your skills.
Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University and author of “The New Psychology of Success,” calls it a growth mindset. Unlike people with a fixed mindset, who need success to confirm their status as a smart person, people with a growth mindset benefit from challenges and see failure as a catalyst for development and a key to new opportunities.
After 20 years of research, Dweck concluded that a growth mindset helps build happy relationships, achieve success and confront adversity.
- Make a schedule.
Kevin Kruse studied the successful habits of billionaires, Olympic champions and entrepreneurs. And he found that when talking about their accomplishments, none of them mentioned a to-do list.
According to Kruse, lists have weaknesses.
Lists don’t take time into account. When we have a list of tasks in front of us, we tackle the ones that can be done quickly, and the items that require more time to complete, we put off for later. And we don’t do them. A study by iDoneThis company found that 41% of tasks on lists go undone.
Lists don’t show the difference between important and urgent. Again, we instinctively try to tackle tasks close to the deadline and overlook the important stuff behind this chase (by the way, have you had a fluoroscopy lately?).
Lists provoke stress. The Zeigarnik effect is known in psychology: unfinished tasks cause obsessive thoughts about them. It is not surprising that we end up feeling terribly overloaded during the day, and suffer from insomnia at night.
- Teach others.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to retain what you’ve learned is to immediately put knowledge into practice or teach someone else.
- Take an interest in
Why do people quit dieting after a month and then never go back to what they started? Because there is no punishment for breaking it. You won’t get fired because you ate a piece of cake. You don’t expect to incur tangible losses in the near future. And you give up what you started.
However, if you put something on the line, for example, to determine the cost of your failure, it will be easier to stick to the goal. Find a person, such as a special app, who will monitor you, and send money to charity if you fail to meet the terms of the agreement. That way you’ll be making progress toward your goal and making the world a little better.
As for setting deadlines, studies show that the closer the deadline, the faster you’ll get to work. And scientists also note that for every negative motivator, we need three positive ones, so apply the carrot and stick method in that proportion.
Going toward a goal, especially a big one, is easier than we think. Big plans, the support of those around you, persistence, and you’ll get there. Just keep going toward what you want to achieve.