5 Tips to Sustain Your Effort

The challenge for many of our true, ‘make a difference’ aspirations in life is to sustain our level of effort and focus, day and and day out. Most people aren’t able to do that, but that creates an opportunity for someone who’s serious about achieving something and is able to find a way to stay focused to rise above the crowd.

Still, it’s a challenge to do and there are things we can do to help ourselves maintain that level of consistency and attention. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Create a simple 8 1/2 x 11″ page with the object of your focus written down, and put it somewhere you can’t miss every day (preferably morning and night). Having something that you see continually will help bring your attention back where you want it. Without that, there are just too many distractions for most of us.
  2. Enhance your 8 1/2 x 11″ page described above just slightly, and create a grid of task(s) you want to do each day to make progress toward the goal down the left side, and list the days of the month (1 – 30) across the top. Every day, mark an ‘x’ in each box if you competed that task. See my page that discusses Jerry Seinfeld’s advice on this topic, too.
  3. Send yourself reminders. If you’re plugged into the electronic age, setup a recurring appointment in Outook, Yahoo calendar, Google calendar, etc. that sends either an email or an SMS text message to your cell phone reminding you of that day’s task or activity. Sort of an electronic, virtual tap on the shoulder to help remind you of what you’ve decided you should be doing, just in case you get distracted (which we all do).
  4. Tell people. Peer pressure and/or accountability is another great tool to help insure you stay true to the promise you made yourself. Of course, it’s generally preferable to pick people who will be supportive. I’ve read about some people, though, who tell their most despised critic, knowing that the embarrassment and humiliation of having that person chide them for failing to follow through will provide the kind of negative motivation that they will respond to.
  5. Plan rewards. Select your first reward for reaching some milestone (2 weeks of consistent activity, for example), decide what your reward will be, and make sure it’s waiting for you. If a dinner at the best steak house in town is that reward, go purchase a gift certificate (refundable), put it in a drawer somewhere and promise yourself you won’t touch it until you reach the milestone. You’ll be surprised how well you’ll remember your own reward, and how it can help keep the task at hand in your awareness.

There you go, 5 suggestions to help you do what you need and want to do. If you’ve got others, feel free to contact me and tell me what they are.

Good luck!

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