Benjamin Franklin is widely attributed to have said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” I thought of this quote as I languished one Saturday morning. I could not determine what it was that I needed or wanted to accomplish that day. Benjamin Franklin was such a prolific writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, etc.. I wonder what prompted him to originate this maxim.
I do not have my hands in nearly as many areas of life as Benjamin Franklin, yet I have discovered his adage to be accurate. If I do not have a game plan for making a day successful, I will flounder with a lack of focus. Failure to organize my thoughts makes accomplishing anything of value difficult. Unless I intentionally set out with the goal of rest and relaxation, a day without accomplishment leaves me unfulfilled.
Here are four tips I find helpful when I find myself stuck without a plan and lacking motivation.
- Exercise. Get active. I am a runner, but overcoming the resistance to get out and run is sometimes the hardest obstacle. In almost every case when I push through the resistance and take a run, I come back pleased that I made the effort. In this blog post, Michael Hyatt elaborates on three benefits of exercise. Although he relates these benefits to entrepreneurs, I think the applications are good for all individuals.
- Do one thing. I picked this tip up from Craig Jarrow, the Time Management Ninja, in his blog post about the subject. I love the last line of his piece, “One-at-a-time. That is how progress is made.” Yes! There is no need to keep waiting for something to happen. Take that first step. Start by doing one thing.
- Procure proper rest. With the birth of a new child, both my wife and I are lacking in the amount of sleep necessary for peak performance. I find that lack of rest leaves my mind sluggish and unable to focus well. This article on WebMD reveals ten side-effects of sleep loss that range from minor (forgetfulness) to severe (serious health issues and increased risk of death). A Gallup survey in 2013 indicated that 40% of Americans get six or fewer hours of sleep a night. This figure was largely unchanged from a survey from 1990 but drastically different from 1942 when only 11% of those surveyed indicated they slept six or fewer hours a night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Be intentional. As detailed in item 3, the necessity of rest is an important aspect of life. I want to make sure that a decision to rest and relax is being made intentionally. Choices are seeds that are being sown for a future harvest. The decisions I make should lead to my desired outcomes. A result foisted upon me by a lack of purposeful action has the real possibility of being unpleasant.
Failing to plan leads to lack of productive behavior. Slipping into patterns that lead to failure are not where I want to live! What will happen if I plan to succeed? I may not make it all the way to “success”, but I will certainly be on a better path than when I had no plan at all.
Question: What are some ways that you plan to succeed? How do you overcome times when you lack motivation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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