Antonio Calabrese

build habits

Motivating Yourself & Building Habits

If you plan on achieving the goals that you’ve set, you’ll need to build good habits. But building habits isn’t all that easy. Think about the last time you tried to establish a good habit. It may have been to…

Work on your side business before or after work.

Make 10 extra sales calls each day.

Go to the gym 5 days per week.

Eat healthy every day.

Quit smoking.

Put x% of money into savings.

…you get the point.

It’s like on New Year’s Day when everyone has their resolution plastered on social media and within 1 – 2 weeks, they’re right back to where they were on New Years Eve.

Why is that?

It’s because motivation is short-lived. Although motivation is the foundation for building those habits, you need consistent motivation until you can develop a habit.

So, how do you motivate yourself to do anything?

A few years back I was into fitness. I still am, but back then, I was really into fitness. Like you could “use my abs as a washboard” into it.

I knew that in order to achieve my fitness goals, I’d need to build habits that would allow me to achieve those successes. That meant consistently getting to the gym before my workday started and eating healthy 90% of the time.

If you’ve ever tried to get in shape, you know that it’s easier said than done.

The first thing I did was build the habit of getting up 1 hour earlier than I normally did.

This meant 6am.

Although I can now get up at 5am without a problem, this was a difficult task for me then.

Just like the New Year’s resolution, the first few days were simple. But once the initial burst of motivation ran out, I needed help.

That’s when I used the sound from a motivational video as my alarm and then immediately watched that motivation video upon waking up.

“Rise and Shine” is the video that I watched every single morning.

It may sound ridiculous, but it worked.

I’ve learned that good habits can often be used in multiple aspects of life. Below I’ll outline steps that you can take to build habits and you’ll see how they can be applied to both fitness and your professional life.

Let’s dive in.

Change Your Perspective

Fitness: Find a reason to workout that doesn’t directly relate to fitness and nutrition. For example, if you have children and you want them to see you as a healthy and fit role model so that they mimic the path you’ve taken to care for your body, use that as your reason to stay consistent.

Business: Instead of chasing the almighty dollar, do your work for the reason of good. Meaning, don’t work more to sell more and ultimately make more. Do great work that is truly beneficial to others and the rewards will follow.

Set Short-Term, Realistic Goals

Fitness: If you want to lose 100 pounds, you’ll need to set smaller goals before achieving that. Try setting a goal for every 30 days, such as losing 5 or 10 pounds within that window. It’s more likely that you’ll hit it, which is motivation in itself.

Business: The same above applies here. If you need to grow revenue this month by 10%, figure out what that number is and break it down to the week or even day. Instead of it meaning “I’ll need 12 additional sales this month”, it could mean “I just need 3 additional sales this week.”

Start at the Same Time

Fitness: Just like getting up and going to work or school at the same time each day, you need to do the same for your workouts. This will help drive consistency as you’ll build fitness directly into your daily routine.

Business: If you work a 9-5 job already, this may be a no shit suggestion. But if you have a “side business” that you’re trying to grow, then apply this to allocate the proper time needed to accomplish tasks. For example, if you typically wake up each day at 7:30am and leave for work by 8:30am, start getting up at 6:30am to give yourself an additional hour to work on your side business or other tasks that need to get done.

Write Everything Down

Fitness: Perform an exercise? Write it down. Eat something? Write it down. By keeping a log of everything you do, you hold yourself accountable. Want to know why you gained 2 pounds? Check back to the log 4 days ago and see “ate entire package of Oreos.” Bingo.

Business: I personally keep a journal next to my bed and write down 3 – 5 successes that I had for that day, no matter how small. This helps to keep your mind in a good place – no matter the obstacles you may have faced – and mentally prepares you to keep moving forward. Write down your wins.

Partner Up

Fitness: Find a friend or family member that has similar goals to you and workout together. You’ll hold each other accountable and keep things competitive.

Business: If you happen to be freelancing or working on a business project alone, it sometimes helps to find others to work near who are doing the same. It can relieve the feeling of loneliness and reduce stress and anxiety. It’s one of the reasons that coworking spaces are on the rise.

Listen to Music

Fitness: Not slow music, but tunes that get you moving. Get pumped up and jam out (no, I didn’t mean this) before and during workout sessions.

Business: This will ultimately depend on your preference for music and sound while you work. Either create a playlist that helps you focus or create unique combinations of sound using Noisli.

Change Up the Scenery

Fitness: Getting bored at a gym? Go to a playground, or beach, or your living room. Change up your surroundings while you workout to keep things fresh.

Business: Bored sitting in a cube or home office? Find a coworking space, a coffee shop, or anywhere that is different that will still allow you to focus.

Put Money on the Line

You’re more likely to follow through with something if you’ve already paid for it or if there’s a chance you’ll lose money.

Fitness:  Hire a personal trainer, buy a custom nutrition plan, or get an online subscription. Pay first, train after.

Business: Give a friend or mentor $100 to hang on to and only get it back if you do the exact tasks that you say you’ll do. It doesn’t mean that you can’t fail in achieving a goal, but it forces you to take the steps required to potentially achieve that goal.

You Have to Want it

Fitness & Business: Ultimately, none of the above matter if you don’t want it badly enough. Tell yourself everyday that you want it. Literally. Out loud.

Bonus Tip

Fitness & Business: If you “don’t feel like it” one day, commit to exercising or working through a task for just 5 minutes. More often than not, once you get going, you’ll follow through with the rest of your session.

Your goal is to get to the point where small boosts of motivation will lead to good habits.

Have other tips or want to share success that you’ve had? Let me know in the comments!

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