By Arthur Menard, CEO of SPARTAN.
As January has come to an end, many of us start winding down on our resolution of getting in shape or losing 20 pounds. We start skipping a few gym sessions, eat less salad and more carbs and bury our dream of starting a new business under the small urgencies of daily life.
I am a strong advocate of transforming your goals (business or personal ones) into systems in order to make them more attainable. Instead of seeing the big end-goal, focus on creating repeatable tiny steps that will inevitably lead you towards this ultimate goal. For instance, if you wish to start a business, start by blocking three hours each Sunday to work on your product. If you dream of writing a book, wake a one hour earlier and start by writing one page a day. Break down your goals into a manageable system to remove the option of failure.
However, motivation in following your system will also dwindle over time. Below are two strategies I have recently used in order to stick to my new objectives.
Hold Yourself Accountable With a Goal-Buddy
As I created my last company, I started working out of my apartment, then in the office of a large company I was doing consulting for. In both of those places, I always had the same issue: No one was expecting me to come to work, so it was difficult to find the motivation to come in at 8 a.m. every morning in the long run. This all changed when I joined an incubator and had a couple of friends following the same rhythm as I had. It's easier to get out of bed when you have an early obligation such as a plane to catch or an early meeting.
Find a friend who has a similar goal and keep each other accountable for following your system. Go to the gym at a scheduled time with a friend or a co-worker. Get your partner on board with a new diet. Join an incubator or go to a co-working space at set times with another entrepreneur starting his business. My swimming buddy always motivates me to come and train as hard as possible when I feel down, and I reciprocate when he is the one under the water.
It will become much more difficult to step out of your systems when you effectively have someone waiting for you.
Prevent Quitting by Making It Expensive
Remember this moment during a time when you have been waiting what seems like forever for the elevator -- when you are thinking about taking the stairs but you have been waiting for so long that you feel it wouldn't make sense to turn away.
Think about giving up on your objectives the same way. Make quitting or not following your system painful enough so that it becomes the most difficult solution.
I used to belong to a low-cost gym because I simply need the machines to work out on. I was happy to save up money by not going to a high-end franchise. When my gym buddy (see the previous tactic) moved out of town, I started missing a lot of my scheduled training sessions. It didn't matter much, since I was only paying a few dollars a month in membership dues.
I couldn't find a new gym buddy, so I recently changed gyms for one that is painfully more expensive -- about 10 times the cost of the previous membership. I don't care about the fancier equipment but I wanted to have more skin in the game. If I miss a workout now, I now know exactly how much it will cost me. And I have effectively doubled my number of training sessions.
Commit enough money, energy or time to make it painful to quit. I've found money to be the most efficient driver. So buy a yearly priced membership. Or simply make a bet with your friends. See it as an investment in yourself and your future.
Arthur Menard is CEO of SPARTAN, the 1st high-tech undies that shield your nuts from cell phones. I write on improving your efficiency on www.arthur.business.