Whether you are following Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, or Tony Robbins’ Unleashing the Power Within., they all have something in common — they are strategies for accomplishing your dreams and goals.
Robbins addresses some issues of related to mood and action, but all of these approaches are still open to how much you decide to follow through with whatever plans you have for the day.
So how do you keep moving forward even on the days that don’t feel like making progress?
Here’s seven tips:
Tip 1 — Do Manual Labor
Are you tired from thinking job, lack of sleep, or just emotionally exhausted?
Search your to-do list for mindless things to do.
Part of the impetus for this post was my desire to move forward last night despite feeling exhausted. Looking at my list I found some mindless tasks and got them done:
Change out the cat litter, clean office, clean out car, pay kids allowance; no real thinking was involved. All I had to do was keep my hands and feet moving and I knocked four things off of my to-list.
Tip 2 — Shorten Your List
I’ve written several times about shortening your list into a simple five item to-do list — Something you’ve been putting off, something your spouse or boss will appreciate having done, something you want to do, something that will move your top goal forward, and something that you can get done quickly.
Tip 3 — Exercise
Tony Robbins addresses the issue of state and talks about how important it is to get in a peak physical state if you want to stay in a peak mental state. I’ve found that even though losing five pounds is a lower priority goal for me than this website or writing that occassionally, I need to take a short run (about a mile) in order to wake my brain up.
Not a runner?
Jump up and down for 20 seconds, chase the cat around the house, challenge your son to a game of one-on-one basketball (but only to 10 baskets so you don’t use all your time to get things done), set the timer for 10 minutes and dance — there are an unlimited number of quick exercise options that can get you back on track.
Tip 4 — Eat a healthy, yummy snack
I prefer eating a snack with a little bit of sugar to get my body moving forward. Some people will argue that this will lead to a sugar crash, but as long as you are avoiding candy bars and that sort of thing, you should be fine.
Grapes, cherries, and yogurt are my three favorites.
Tip 5 — Do it with someone else
Look through your to-do list and see if any of those items can be done with a friend (or enemy!). This is an especially good one if your goals are exercise focused. If so, then call a buddy to workout, extend that one-on-one game with your son that I mentioned above, or bring the whole family in the car with you and divide up your grocery list at the store between everyone.
Tip 6 — Get silly
Do you remember when you were a kid and you could simply change moods and feel like the world was at your fingertips as your imagination ran wild?
It still can. That part of your brain is alive and well and waiting for you to come play.
One thing I’ve picked up from Robbins is that acting goofy can change my state. If I start to get too introspective or I’m just wiped out, I’ll locate on of my unsuspecting family members in the house, leap into the room, and do my best end-of-gymnastic-routine by throwing my arms in the air and bowing to the judges.
Or all run through the house like I’m being chased by invisible gremlins.
Or I’ll stand outside the room where they are watching TV and add my own commentary until I provoke a laugh
Tip 7 — Pick one thing
If the short list above was too much then look at your to-do list and decide you’re going to get at least one thing done today so that you can call it a triumph. Yeah, it may be ugly, but at least you are moving forward.