My answers to your questions on motivation & procrastination
February 04th, 2014 - 52 Comments
All right, people. Yesterday I told you I was launching “Therapy Week with Ramit,” a week of tough love with my characteristic lack of emotional sympathy paired with insights so piercing they make you reconsider such facts as gravity and euclidean geometry.
I asked you to send me your questions. I got thousands of them, largely ones that made me want to hurl my laptop through my NYC high-rise window. Alas, I have a soft spot for people who want to improve their lives.
So here’s how this week is going to go:
1. I picked out a few of the best questions and answered them below.
2. I’m also hosting a LIVE Ramit’s Therapy Session this afternoon on Twitter. Follow @ramit on Twitter to ask me anything from 4-5pm EST today.
All right, let’s get started.
QUESTION #1: “How do I maintain motivation?”
Notice anything in common with these questions? THEY’RE ALL UTTERLY DELUSIONAL! They all ask “how to find motivation,” as if it’s a Where’s Waldo book.
Insight #1: If you’re asking about motivation, you’ve already lost. Motivation is fleeting and undependable. It’s almost like asking, “How do I find inspiration to start a new business?” See how ridiculous that sounds? And yet our entire media uses the word “motivation,” as if you can walk outside, look upwards, and let it rain down on you.
Insight #2: Forget about finding motivation. Build systems instead. I guarantee, if you ask any of those people above, “So you want to do X? What are your next steps?” they would have no idea. Instead of doing the hard work to decide (1) What they want and (2) What it takes to get it, they’re actually taking the lazy way out by waiting for motivation to strike. This infuriates me because it’s all we’ve been taught — and waiting around for motivation gives them an excuse to do nothing. A better approach is to write down the answers to the 2 questions above — even if you’re wrong! — then systematically work down the list.
BAD EXAMPLE: “I want to get fit.” How many millions of Americans say this, then beat themselves up for doing nothing? No, no, no.
GOOD EXAMPLE: IWT readers do it differently: “I want to lose 10lbs.” Better yet, I want you to be specific: “I want to eat 3 healthy meals per week and go to the gym 2x/week for 15 minutes.” (Notice how I’m focusing on the process at first, and starting off conservative: Anyone can eat just 3 healthy meals in a week. And anyone can go to the gym for 15 minutes. Set yourself up to win, you weirdos.) Now make it systematic: On your calendar, set 1 hour on Sundays to buy 3 healthy meals and leave them in your fridge, packed and ready to eat. Also set 3 1-hour slots for the gym (leaving time for travel). Boom. You’re welcome. Hot people, send me your pictures directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUESTION #2: “How do I stop procrastinating?”
I can relate. When I wrote my book, my publisher gave me 9 months. It took me 8 months just to get the table of contents done. A couple months ago, I was supposed to have a sales page done at 5pm…but at 8am that day, I looked at what I had written, realized it was a piece of shit, and discarded it and started re-writing at the very last minute.
God, I hate procrastinating. I “know” what I should be doing…yet even if I have time on my calendar, sometimes I still don’t do what I need to do. Good news. Recently, I recorded a video on procrastination with my detailed thoughts. I wasn’t going to release it yet, but this is the perfect time.
UPDATE: It’s too late to get in on this round of the Finisher’s Formula, but sign up below for my Insider’s List and I will add you to the Finisher’s Formula waitlist.
You’ll be the first to know when I open the course for enrollment in the future.
Some of my insights about following through are only shared on my Insider’s List. So, if you’re not already a member, sign up here, free:
Sign up here for the waitlist for the Finisher’s Formula
P.S. I’m hiring a product developer. If you’ve ever wondered how we do our research to create new courses, I’m hiring one person to let “inside” to help us research future products.
This is not an easy role. You’ll be digging through huge amounts of research (competitive, surveys, emails, and other sources). You’ll be making sense of disparate data to help us create positioning, feature scope, and delivery methods. You should be extremely detail-oriented and willing to do hours of uninterrupted research to answer a single question. If you were coddled as a child, please don’t apply. This role is remote and part-time. Extraordinary candidates will be invited to become full-time employees with IWT. To apply for the product developer role, click here.
P.P.S. Don’t forget, I’m answering questions live today from 4-5PM EST on Twitter. Ask me your toughest questions about productivity, overwhelm, and laziness — or anything else you can think of. I’m @ramit.
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