In the comments of "Two Videos on How to Do Time Tracking," I got this question from Rohan -
Hi Seb, i too am doing this kind of life tracking but i am not able to do it consistently, a week or max 10 days n then i leave it for weeks...also i dont feel the same energy, for the task that i marked as 'To Do Tommorrow',as i felt when i wrote it! It happens esp on my off days.Its not that i m not disciplined or lack willpower but still.. i read tons of self help books but the motivation doesn't last long.. what shall i do
Also what do u think is the real purpose of our life, i want to live a life like no one ever(just diff, simple and worth a life) but i feel like one among the herd! Same things!
why am i born?
Okay, so there's two basic questions here.
1. I start off motivated, but then my motivation/program falls off over time. How do I overcome that?
2. What's the meaning of life?
Let's start with #2, because I have a shorter answer to it - I don't entirely know. Or rather, I'm pretty sure there's no externally defined meaning of life... you have to define that for yourself over time. Now, I think there's plenty of good things you can do while you're still not sure about what your key purposes are, and I offered some thoughts on that in this post - "Don’t know what you’re doing with your life?"
So let's get to point #1.
"i too am doing this kind of life tracking but i am not able to do it consistently, a week or max 10 days n then i leave it for weeks...also i dont feel the same energy, for the task that i marked as 'To Do Tommorrow',as i felt when i wrote it! It happens esp on my off days.Its not that i m not disciplined or lack willpower but still.. i read tons of self help books but the motivation doesn't last long.. what shall i do"
Motivation is fleeting. This is something I've just come to terms with. People like the idea that after you find a cause and get some good habits, then everything takes over on autopilot and success comes.
Nice idea, but not true.
Rather, I think you need to constantly re-energize and recharge yourself, re-motivate yourself.
Eating one large meal doesn't mean you're nourished forever. One weightlifting session doesn't keep muscle forever.
Likewise, getting very motivated once doesn't mean you'll be motivated forever.
This used to bother me. Why does my motivation keep falling off? I'd get a new program, read a book, watch an amazing movie, something like that. I'd be juiced up and ready to go... and then a few weeks would pass, and I'd be pretty much back to normal.
That used to bother me until I realized that that's fundamentally how life is. The things you do will have small permanent impacts on you, but the big rush of motivation will fade. Thus, it's important to constantly be re-motivating and re-energizing yourself.
I'm assembly what I call my "war counsel" - a group of people to swap notes with on topics that are important to me, so we can keep each other on track. Likewise, on the daily tracking you'll see that I've got "Listen to audio" on there - I try to listen to some smart or inspiring audio every single day, because I find that helps.
Likewise, good books. Likewise, history. Likewise, studying the lives of people who I'd wish to live like. Likewise, studying why people lose and the consequences of that, in order to avoid it.
I think there's also something to be said about shipping projects as quickly as you can, getting something out there so you get a tangible win. It's hard to keep going without seeing external progress for a long time. It's good and in fact, it's necessary for some of the most expansive world-changing things. But hard to do. Ship a lightweight version, or measure your improvements, or something. And celebrate regularly.
Beyond that, I tend to have lots of false starts with my habit changes. Usually it takes me anywhere between 30 days and 2 years to change a habit. For instance, once I decided I wanted to track my daily spending, I didn't really start doing it fully until three months later. Quitting sugar/sweets took me about a year and a half. I started tracking in January 2010, it went great, and then I inexplicably quit for five months for no good reason. Still couldn't tell you why.
That's just the nature of things. I aim for a 70% success rate with my habits or goals at any given time, which I think is a good mix to be having mostly successes, but also to be at my threshold and continuing to improve. But failures and false starts in the beginning is just the nature of things.
As I wrote in "Conceding Defeat – The Internet is Stronger Than I Am," I want to scale my internet surfing time way down.
I did great at first after resolving it, sticking with my program or coming really close for the first two weeks. Massive quality of life improvements, productivity improvements, general well-being improvements, connecting with more people, doing more interesting things, reading more, much better life... well, you know what I didn't anticipate? I didn't plan for when I'd be too exhausted to do alternative activities. I came down a little under the weather after a long delayed train journey, and I found myself going way over the internet surfing time.
What the hell?
Well, yeah. I hadn't planned for when things go wrong, and things inevitably go wrong to some extent sooner or later. Now I'm gameplanning on what I can do when exhausted/tired/ill/in a bad mood/etc and I don't have the energy to work, read, exercise, or socialize. Y'know, I've normally got lots of energy, so I didn't plan for that. But then I came down low energy for a while, and got off track. Oh well, it happens. I'll get back on track as soon as I can. (I'll write an update on the Conceding Defeat too, once I get more data as time passes)
So yeah, false starts and failed attempts at change happen. It's normal.
Keep trying. Maybe start smaller so you can get some wins.
Motivation? It's fleeting. That's normal. You'll want to identify what motivates you, and regularly mix some of those elements into your life. Over time, look to be connecting with people who inspire and motivate you, work on inspiring/motivating work, read inspiring books, etc, etc.
Yes, it's fleeting and temporary, but that's the nature of things. Just like you need to eat regularly to be nourished, you need to motivate yourself regularly to be motivated. After identifying that, then it just becomes a matter of doing it, and you experience greater levels of motivation.