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How To Accomplish Your Goals During Lockdown

by SUSAN PASCAL

Finding it hard to stay motivated during the pandemic lockdown? Internationally renowned therapist Marisa Peer offers advice on how to eliminate procrastination from your psyche, so you are able to be much more productive in your life. She gives  life-changing tips to attain dreams one goal at a time.

1. So many of us have said, “If I only had the time, I’d X,Y, Z.” Now that we do have time, many are saying they just aren’t motivated to do anything. Why is this happening?

We always believe if we had more time we would get more done, but suddenly we have so much time and many of us are getting nothing done at all because it’s not time that makes you do things, it’s motivation. There’s a saying I love that says, “If you want something done, give it to someone who’s busy,” because someone who is busy is motivated and the biggest fail people create for themselves is waiting for motivation to arrive in order to do the things we need to do. Waiting for motivation doesn’t work. You must take the action to become motivated. For instance, I am not motivated to go to the gym, but after I work out, I become motivated. If I begin to write, motivation follows, so do not wait to find motivation because it will not appear. You must start something and then you will find you are motivated to continue. Take action every day without waiting to be motivated. It is a habit of success that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

2. You say that structure is very important, especially now. Why is that?

Structure is important because we respond better to structure. It gives us a set timetable to adhere to and allows us to feel a sense of achievement as we go through that. All schools have a time table, most jobs have a time table. Human beings are naturally wired to do things on a list or go for goals that are written out. The structure steers you in the right direction. Without structure, you will simply drift and flounder. Teenagers and children love structure and are much better with it than without it.

3. What are the steps for getting motivated? (goals, rewards)

The best step for getting motivated is saying to yourself, “I want to do this; I have chosen to do this.” Even if that is not true, it becomes true. Very few people are motivated to do taxes or clean their houses, but if you use the magic sentence, “I have chosen to do this and have chosen to feel great about it, and after I’ve done it I will give myself a reward or a treat,” such as screen time or something delicious to eat, you’re likely to accomplish it. If you take the reward after the task, the sense of earning it is very good for humans and it gives you something to focus on.

4. Can you offer a sample day for someone having trouble getting up (and out)?

When you wake up in the morning have some really exciting music to wake you up. Say something like, “I love my life,” “I love today,” “My life is great.” Think about what is good about every task you are doing, focus on your gain. If you have to get out of the house, make a yummy coffee and take it on the car ride. Tell yourself you’ll have breakfast after you get to work and accomplish something else, because these simple actions make you feel more motivated. When I wake up, I listen to music and then tell myself I will have a great coffee, and I reward myself throughout the day, and that’s how I motivate myself. I may say I’ll exercise for an hour and then I’ll watch something on YouTube. I’ve earned something so I do not feel guilty that I’ve wasted so much time or that I’ve procrastinated.

5. How will this information help us move forward after we are out of the crisis?

People who are very successful always leave clues. They really only do 5 things differently than someone who is not successful. #1.  They take action every day in the direction of their goals; #2. They always do the things they do not want to do to get to where they want to be; #3. They always do those things first; #4. They have an interesting dialog with themselves. They say, “This is a Challenge and not a nightmare.” They set goals all of the time, little goals and big goals. It’s not just achieving goals that makes them happy; it’s the work they do on the way to the goals to make us feel fulfilled; #5. They delay gratification and reward. Their language states things such as, “I will work out now and then watch the film,” “I will do that work and then eat a lovely dinner.” Human beings need reward, in a world where many of us are self employed without a boss to praise us, we need to build our own praise muscle. If we give ourselves the reward before we take the action we will not do that. You must wire in the habits of success and you will be surprised to find you will become way more successful.

This Q&A was featured in the May 17th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.

SUSAN PASCAL

Susan Pascal is editor of The Sunday Paper. She lives in Los Angeles with her two kids.