I just got back from a half hour of rucking (which is hiking around with a backpack full of weight – in my case, 55 lbs). I’ve been doing this almost daily for three weeks straight, heading into my fourth. The training I’m working on has eight weeks of this in the menu before I get back to “regular” weight lifting. For whatever reason, I’ve found rucking to be the most consistent fitness effort I’ve ever put forth. It has me thinking about habits and motivation. This is important to your business and ownership pursuits. I’ll talk you through it.
The Motivation Habit
Yesterday’s newsletter (Do you get my newsletter?) was about the fact that motivation takes work, and that it must be assigned to you by yourself to carry on your missions and efforts. If you’ve read anything about motivation and willpower, however, you’ll know that they’re kind of the weaker links in our ability to get more done. Habits are the power player.
Habits are those recurring actions we take. If you’re not a Buddhist, you’d assign some of these as bad and some of these as good (we Buddhists don’t tend to dwell much on “good” and “bad”). I prefer to think of habits as either useful or not.
- I eat too fast – not useful
- I read too fast – sometimes useful, sometimes not (sorry, Jacq!)
- I extrapolate ideas – always useful
- I write 2000+ words daily – useful
- I just quit sugar (very useful)
As this applies to motivation and work and the stuff you have to accomplish in any given day, I’m driving to a point. You must make motivation one of your daily habits. Daily. Teeth brushing level. Self motivation, by the way. There’s no one but you assigned to the task of motivating yourself.
I believe there are two ways to do this.
Mental Practice – I’ll be honest. The real word is “mantra,” but people get weirded out. The idea is simple, if you break it down. You say stuff to yourself in your head every day. Most of it is negative, sadly. Replace it with a quick list of phrases and sentences that remind you of your goals, build you up, and set your brain up in the right direction. Do it daily. First thing in the morning.
Build Strong Habit Plans – Going out rucking is now the first activity on my schedule most days after my other morning rituals but before “real” work. By locking this in, I’m accomplishing the task more regularly (nearly daily). When I say a habit plan, make something repeatable that you can work from. Like a project plan. Rob Hatch would call it Putting Success in Your Way. For instance, the ruck sack is ready, my shoes are ready, my clothes are laid out. My headphones are charged. I’ve got a bottle of water in me first thing so that I’m hydrated for the work.
Those two details can apply to everything you’re working on with regards to habit and motivation.
There’s only one more piece missing.
Motivation is Finite
We humans have an incredible misunderstanding of how much we can take on at any given time. If you try to tackle many challenges at once, you will fail. You can only manage so much motivation at any given time. Instead, your goal is to focus on what work really needs doing, break it into projects, build habits and mental practice around those projects, and invest your motivation there.
(This is why we created the 20 Minute Plan JUMPSTART, but that’s related/besides the point).
With this in mind, what will you change?