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My answers to your questions on motivation & procrastination

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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.

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All right, let’s get started.

QUESTION #1: “How do I maintain motivation?”

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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 ramit@iwillteachyoutoberich.com.

QUESTION #2: “How do I stop procrastinating?” emailprocrastination1 emailprocrastination2 emailprocrastination4

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.

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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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56 Comments

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  1. I needed to read this today. Right this second as ironically I was procrastinating by checking my twitter feed, and stumbled upon this nugget of a post. Thank you.

  2. Here is a great motivator for you. Lose your home, job, savings everything dear to you. Now move in with the worst person you could imagine living with. Trust me, it will motivate the hell out of you to get your life back on track.Now have your “young enough to be my son” Asian father rant on you…and listen to what he says!!! It will eventually all come together. Ramit, I’m not there yet, but I can see the light.. I have not been able to afford any of your training classes. But I read your emails and the free stuff is good enough to be a game changer for anyone to use. I have found my “1k” idea. Earned a little over $1k last month. My product is featured in a national magazine. It’s called persistence.

  3. Oh and Ramit ……thank you!

  4. Did you really just sign off on your email with “Love and light?” Thanks for the best laugh I had all day! 🙂

    • Lol. I thought the exact same thing. I also loved that he said “If you were coddled as a child, please don’t apply” on the intern job posting.

    • I thought, oh how sweet, Love and light, from Ramit the Enchanted Fluff Bunny.

  5. Ramit,
    I’m interested in your course on following through. I believe it is a challenge I need to overcome. Please send me more information. My email is alexheidebreicht@gmail.com

    Thank you!

  6. I loved the tough love and look forward to incorporating these things into my daily activities!

  7. Hi Ramit,

    Yes, I’m interested in more info from the Finisher’s Formula. Thanks!

  8. Hi,

    I watched a TEDx talk by Mel Robbins. She made me realize that I will never really feel like it in the moment. For example, I decided that I want to have an AMAZING body but have responsibilities until late evening. So, the only time is 5:30 am before work. Most mornings, I don’t really feel like getting out of bed but, I do because I stopped waiting to feel like it and just started doing what I know will get me what I want.
    I started this by just getting up that early, then doing a circuit (just one, twice a week), and so on. The goal is 40 minutes per day and I figure by running season, I should be running a few kilometers before most people even open their eyes.

    She says; “It’s simple, but not easy”…I think it’s becoming pretty easy… 🙂

  9. Ramit,

    You are the wind beneath my wings!

  10. Nicole Turnbull Link to this comment

    Hi Ramit, I’d love to learn more about Finishers Formula. My address is nicoleturnbull2@gmail.com.

    Have a great day.

    • I don’t know why people are posting their email addresses, like I’m going to email you individually. Get on my list and you’ll hear from me.

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