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Sometimes it can be hard to do what you set out to do. For whatever reason, the values that you hold dear, like work ethic, are not doing anything for you at a particular moment. Maybe you set goals for yourself, but in the end, you feel like you are contradicting yourself because they never get accomplished. Perhaps you plan to be productive, or to gain the courage to do something important, but you end up falling into the same rut you said you never would. It can be hard not to fall prey to contradictions in your life, but there are always ways that you could change things and definitely step up your game!:

1. Combat cognitive dissonance with positive imaging. What exactly is cognitive dissonance, you ask? Well, it is the idea that your mind has a particular goal, but your actions speak as contradictions in that respect. For example, you might really despise lateness, but you are always running behind yourself. In order to overcome specific weaknesses in your life, you must be willing to go the distance to make your inner monologue and outer self match in values. By creating positive images in your head of your eventual success, a sense of inner motivation could be a strong catalyst for a change in your situation.

2. Write your goals down and post them somewhere as reference. This might seem like a simple, somewhat obvious way to remember what you mean to accomplish, but writing things down could be the tangible way you need to properly stack your priorities. Sometimes when the ideas are flowing through your head, any sort of distraction can cause you to lose focus from what you are planning to do. In order to make the most out of your time, it can be very useful to have everything laid out in front of you to instill subconscious motivation! I know that some people (like myself) are not very good at planning, but the very existence of a tangible goal list can be a helpful reminder of what you COULD be – and a core level of determination is all you need to get there!

3. Remind yourself of things you can look forward to. Sometimes the best events in life are ones that you have to patiently wait for. Maybe you are waiting for a trip to see someone you miss or have a few days off from work in order to just relax. If you make it so you have rewards or exciting prospects in the forefront to look forward to, it can be easier for you to be able to accomplish new things and be productive until those events arrive! Perhaps you want to teach yourself some of your favorite songs on your guitar or become more proficient at a certain aspect of your job. When you have something fun you’re waiting for, in the meantime, you can accomplish anything!

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4. Know yourself and set goals based on the way you think. If you know that you naturally wake up late and are on the run all of the time, then don’t try and change your internal clock! Working around your weaknesses and finding productivity around your already formed habits can be a much better way to improve your productivity. Why try to change something that is already fundamental to your being? The same goes with procrastination and the way you get your work done – sometimes what hinders others in the work atmosphere is something that is successful for someone else! Everyone has their own individual habits and techniques that they use to get through the day, therefore, setting goals should be a unique process built around the person, not the task.

5. Start small and build on what you can slowly accomplish. Taking baby steps towards your goals is the best way to go, as trying to accomplish too much at once can tear down the very wall of productivity you created! As a close family member uses as his humorous motto: “How do you eat an elephant? By breaking it into small chunks.” In order to get the most out of what you have done, you have to take it slowly and make sure you are not taking on too much at once. Having productive, realistic goals makes for the strongest results, so being slow and deliberate about life can have its advantages!

No matter what your core values are, the fundamental idea of bringing your inner motivation to the front of your mind is the best scenario for success! If you don’t naturally have that internal determination to accomplish tasks, channeling someone who has the productive bug might be the best bet for you. Try to spend more time in a lively, collaborative atmosphere where your ideas can be bounced off others and goals can be tweaked. Whether it’s a small personal goal or a lofty career move, it’s important to remember that the best outcomes come from internal motivation mixed with external action. Never forget the values you associate with yourself, as keeping yourself true to your methodology is what makes accomplishments what they are!

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