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zen habits: Top 20 Motivation Hacks - #2

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Top 20 Motivation Hacks - #2

Quick intro: I first intended this Top 20 list to be in a single post, but I decided that breaking them into separate posts would allow me to concentrate on each a little more. So, I present my list of the Top 20 Motivation Hacks.

A number of people have commented that I must be dedicated to achieve some of the goals I'm going for: exercise, frugality, organization, healthy eating, etc. Well, I don't believe in someone being naturally "dedicated" ... it's all a matter of motivation. You can achieve anything if you motivate yourself enough.

NOTE: This series is coming to an end, and after I post the #1 Motivation Hack tomorrow, I will do a roundup of all 20 the next day.

Motivation Hack #2: Make a big public commitment. Be fully committed.

This will do the trick every time. Create a blog and announce to the world that you are going to achieve a certain goal by a certain date. Commit yourself to the hilt.

When I decided to run a marathon, I didn't just tell my wife or mom that I would do it. I didn't just write it down. I didn't just set mini-goals and rewards along the way. I did all those things and more, but I went a giant step further: I began writing a bi-monthly column in my local newspaper about my journey to my first marathon. It was huge. People I didn't know would recognize me in the supermarket and ask me how my running was going. People would honk at me as I ran and cheer me on. People emailed me all the time with encouragement.

Now I ask you: after all that, how likely was it that I would back down? Not bloody likely at all. And I didn't -- largely due to all that positive public pressure, I achieved my goal last December.

You don't have to write a newspaper column, but you can tell as many people as possible about your goal. Tell your whole office, your whole family, all your friends, everyone you meet. And don't just tell them about it -- keep them updated. Ask them to encourage you and remind you and pester you every time they see you. Start a mailing list of everyone you know and send them weekly updates. Post your results up in your office and house. Put daily or weekly results on your blog. Join an online forum and commit yourself there, and post updates frequently.

Be creative and do what you have to do. But the more positive public pressure you create for yourself, the more likely your eventual success. This is guaranteed.

None of us like to look bad to other people. To ourselves, sure, we can look really bad. But to everyone else, we hate to fail in the public's eye. Make this simple trait of human nature work for you, and help you achieve your goals.

Top 20



Anonymous said...

[...] Finally, rounding off this week’s edition is the article on Top 20 Motivation Hack - #2 at Zen Habits. This one discusses about making your commitment very public to use public pressure as a very positive force of motivation and encouragement. There are links to the previous motivation hacks on the list, at the bottom of the article. [...]

Dikshit Sindhwani said...

Using public pressure as a positive force is a great idea, but didnt the thought of public criticism because of failure haunted you ???

Leo said...

Hi Psychological Disaster ... well, it definitely pushed me to continue when I might not have otherwise. I'm not sure I would use the word "haunted" ... that implies that I was very afraid of failure, when actually (see Motivation Hack #1) I always remained optimistic that I would succeed. Sure, sometimes I had doubts, but I would push out those doubts and replace them with positive thoughts.

I'm very serious when I say that this technique of positive thinking is extremely powerful. It has helped me achieve a lot and it amazes me all the time.

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