Updated: May 8, 2019
What is the first step of achieving a dream?
What does it mean to be driven?
When is the best time to start?
Around the same time, I moved to Utah I got a job at a shipping company. It was the first job that I found once I got to Salt Lake, and I jumped on it.
The job required that I wake up at 2 A.M. and be there at 3 A.M. and work until 9:30 A.M. That’s a lot of A.M.s, and I am not talking about a desk job, this was a moving heavy stuff and a supervisor breathing down your neck for you to move faster kind of thing. Not saying that this is a bad job, hard work is good for you, or at least that’s what my Dad says every time I talk to him. It's just that waking up early just wasn’t doing it for me.
A few months in I got a different job and the schedule was 10 A.M. to 6:30 PM, that was more up my alley, and from then on, I was anti early morning anything.
After a while I started to gain some weight from sitting at a desk all day. I was sleeping in a lot and found myself being less and less productive with any of my goals. I enrolled in college and failed a few classes because I was sleeping and playing video games rather than studying. I was not motivated to do anything, and I fell into the same complacency and regress of growth that I had fallen into back home in South Carolina. What I didn’t realize was that waking up early and working hard before I started my day was the main thing that was making my day successful, I had lost that when I switched jobs.
Then I saw a video of Admiral William H. McRaven addressing the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. He later wrote a book titled “Make your bed: Little things that can change your life…and maybe the world.” I highly recommend this speech and book, and you can find the links to them below.
In the speech Admiral McRaven talks about making small goals and checking them off the list one by one causes you to feel accomplished and changes everything, before you even leave your room. This hit me hard because at this point, I was feeling useless and like a failure. So, I started to make some small changes, and over time, things changed in a big way for me.
What I did first was write down some goals, I’m going to be honest with y’all, I didn’t accomplish any of them. However, I still made them and wrote them down, and that’s a good first step, a goal not written down is just a wish. Then I started incorporating other things, like going to the gym, making my bed, and reading a chapter out of a book every day.
I started to notice that once you start making small goals and consistently doing them every day, they start to pile up. When I got good going to the gym, I decided to start doing it early in the morning because I noticed it helped me feel better throughout the day. I started getting up at 5 and going to the gym, then I would go to a park close by, and read a chapter of a book while the sun came up, then prepare for the day and be at work. Then I added more, I woke up even earlier, went to the park to read a book and meditated, then went to work, and so on. Little by little I add more to my routine. This is all focused on getting a few things done before the day starts so I stay motivated and I feel accomplished.
I push myself.
A few years ago, I was watching the summer Olympics and they did a segment about the U.S.A. swim team. They asked the athletes, what the most difficult part of their training is. From what I remember they all said that the hardest part of their day, is getting in the water. Some of the greatest athletes in the world, people like Michael Phelps, when they start their day, they don’t want to get in the water.
These athletes push themselves, they jump in, or just sink into the water. Either way they get in the water. Once you start, it gets easier to keep going. You need to push yourself every day. The hardest part of my day is waking up. Below is a break down of a regular day scehdule for me.
3 A.M. - Wake up.
3:45 A.M. to 5:30 A.M. – Gym
5:30 A.M. – prepare for the day, meditation, reading, spiritual reading.
6:45 A.M. - Breakfast.
7 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. Go to work.
(Insert poser gym photo of myself below.)
Once I get home, I usually have a snack and start brain storming things for this blog and the podcast. I also look over my goals I have written down on my phone and change anything I need to. Sometimes I take a nap, or watch T.V. While this is not productive, I believe it’s important to procrastinate.
Yes, you read that right, procrastination, is one of the best ways not to burn out and allows you to remain consistent. This might seem unorthodox, but I feel that achieving goals is a long-distance run, not a sprint. If you go too fast, you’ll burn out, lose interest, and never finish the race, or just end up walking the whole thing while people pass you by. There is a healthy balance. The reason why people choose to get in the water and swim all day to train for the Olympics is because they pace themselves, they have a deeper cause. dream, and motivation.
The way I get it done and stay consistent is my desire, my why. Desire equals Motivation, or I should say Desire creates motivation. Once you have a desire to change, the motivation to stimulate change comes naturally. So where does desire come from?
You might have to dig deep for this one, most people know what they want in life, a big house, tons of money, happiness, cars, loving family, and so on. None of these are bad but why we all want them might vary from person to person. If you want to lose weight and get in shape, ask why? If you want to make money and have a good livelihood, ask why? If you want to travel the world and experience a wide range of cultures and connect with people from around the globe, ask yourself why?
Why do you want it? Don’t just skim the suffice, dig deep down all the way to your values and your character, to find what really is within you.
This is the way to find if it is just an itch, or if it’s really a burn. What I mean by this is, if it is an itch, it wont really take you far. You have a weak why, when the going gets though, when you have your first or third failure, when you get told no. It will just fade, you’ll lose interest and you won’t follow through. Anyone that has tried a fad diet, will tell you they were just itching to lose weight. A burn is different, people with a burning desire to accomplish something will keep going no matter how long it takes and how difficult it is to get there. Anyone who has lost weight, gained it back and then lost it again will tell you the same.
If you have a burning desire, your purpose is deeper, so ask yourself if your dreams are just an itch or if they really burn within you. If you are burning to be something that you are not already, what’s holding you back?
I’m going to let that one sit for a bit before I start getting into fear, and the reasons we choose to not act on our dreams.
In conclusion, being motivated doesn’t mean being perfect. There will be days where you just don’t want to. It’s ok, it takes practice. Start slow, build momentum, and make your dreams come to fruition.