“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”
- Peter Drucker
1. Love the journey not just the destination. Why do anything if you can’t enjoy the process of doing in-and-of-itself? Do what you love and love what you do.
2. Take pride in the small steps. Every step along the path should be seen as an accomplishment. Little accomplishments add up to bigger ones; and every snowman starts with but a single snowflake.
3. Realize persistence is key. Don’t be fooled by marketing schemes that offer a magic pill to fix all your problems. Nothing of value comes without a bit of hard work and dedication, whether it is making money or losing weight.
4. Have a sustainable routine. Persistence comes through dedicated consistency. If you can’t handle your workload then you need to adjust it until it is something you can see yourself doing everyday.
5. Commitment builds character. You aren’t just working on whatever you are committed too, you are also working on yourself. Therefore, every action is also an action of self-improvement.
6. Achieving your goals is gratifying. The feeling of accomplishment alone often makes it worth the effort.
7. Believe that you were made for this. We don’t commit ourselves to sudden whims, but the things that we believe have been boiling up inside of us for years, perhaps even since we were child.
8. Find encouraging friends. As I recently read in Daniel Goleman’s book “Social Intelligence,” good feelings are contagious, when we surround ourselves with positive people they usually have a positive effect.
9. Don’t forget that quitting can feel awful. Just as accomplishment can feel good, quitting feels equally painful. Don’t ever quit on the things that you truly value in life, you are only selling yourself short.
10. Notice the little improvements along the way. Be mindful that, no matter how frustrated or angry you may be in a given moment, things are always getting gradually better.
11. Create an affirmation. Write down an encouraging phrase to repeat to yourself every morning and night before bed. This little mantra or autosuggestion can help motivate and inspire you to keep pushing yourself forward.
12. Do something for the greater good. When we align our interests to something greater than our own self, we are that much more empowered to stay committed to our goals.
13. Stay enthusiastic and curious. Be weary when you begin to lose interest in the things you are committed to. It may mean you have forgotten what is really important about what you are doing.
14. Use your frustration as creative fuel. Why waste your energy on negative thoughts and emotions when you can transform and re-direct towards something more beneficial and uplifting?
15. Don’t be afraid to adjust. We aren’t psychics, we don’t know what the future may bring. That is why it is important that we adapt in the face of new information and new experiences.
16. Give yourself little rewards along the way. Maybe once you finish half your paper you can treat yourself to a quick Starbucks outing with your friends. Or, once you have reach $10,000 a month on your new business you can treat your family to a small vacation.
17. Allow times of rest and leisure. Knowing how to spend some time relaxing is key to replenishing yourself and staying energized throughout the day.
18. Keep a journal of your progress. We learn a lot more from our experiences when we allocate time towards reflection.
19. You only live once. Even if you believe in reincarnation you probably won’t be remembering your past life anytime soon – might as well live it to the fullest now!
20. Meditate and re-focus your intentions. With all this busy-ness and chaos that often runs our everday lives, it is important that we don’t forget what we originally intend to accomplish through our actions.
21. Put an encouraging quote up on your wall. This is just another effective way to integrate greatness into every aspect of your life no matter where you may be.
22. Find empowering role models. Sometimes the most inspiring thing we can do is pay attention to the actions of others, whether they be family, friends, musicians, or movie characters.
23. Prioritize your to-do list. Having a well-thought out to-do list can make all the difference between getting your stuff done by 4pm and getting your stuff done by 6pm. Practice planning out your day to maximize efficiency.
24. Ask for help in times of need. Although we like to take pride in our independence, the fact of the matter is most of us require the cooperative hands of others to help us achieve our goals. We are interdependent species, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
25. Be happy for no reason. Be happy for the sake of happiness itself. It’ll make everything you do that much more meaningful.
26. Stay educated about your craft. Education is key. Don’t let your skills dull because you are too busy or lazy. Your craft is your livelihood – be the very best at it that you can be, and this includes constantly improving upon your abilities.
27. Be realistic and don’t overestimate your abilities too much. Basically, don’t try running before you can walk. There is often a learning curve we must follow before jumping right into the big leagues.
28. Learn from your mistakes early. Don’t ignore your flaws. Instead, attend to them as soon as they come into view. The quicker you address the issues in your character or business plan, the sooner you can get towards fixing them.
29. Don’t obsess over every potential obstacle. It is not worth worrying about every single possible obstacle, you will only be wasting your energy coming up with alternative plans for each one. Instead, just focus on the main ones, the ones that are more likely to arise, and that way you can come up with a Plan B and a Plan C…but all the way to Plan Z would certainly be overkill.
30. Read inspiring lists like this. Hey, why not? Isn’t this getting you in the mood to further commit to your aspirations?
31. Challenge someone. Some of us are motivated most when we are competing against another person. If this sounds like you then why not challenge someone? Maybe the first person to hook up with a girl wins twenty dollars, or the person with the highest grades at the end of the semester gets treated to a night of drinking.
32. Be patient for that Eureka moment. During a book signing, one of my favorite authors Jonathan Safran Foer one time said something to the effect of, “99% of the time I am not sure what I am writing about or how it all fits together, but then there is that 1% of the time where it all meshes together beautifully. And those times make that 99% all worth it.” Sometimes we aren’t sure how things are going to end, but if we remain persistent we are bound to experience our “eureka” moments where everything begins to make sense.
33. Have fun with it. Things that give us pleasure are easy to commit to. You don’t often see people not able to finish their favorite book or videogame. Make your days too fun to want to quit.
34. Be grateful for this opportunity. Most of us are very fortunate to live during the times that we do. We have more freedom, prosperity, and opportunity now than ever, and that is something to be incredibly thankful for.
35. Every now and then push yourself to an extreme for the sake of learning. Are you a musician or a painter? Have you ever tried just having a 6-hour jam session or a whole day painting? Just as an experiment, think of different ways you can take your commitment to the extreme and see what you learn from the experience. This is a great method for bringing your attributes to a new level.
36. Watch an inspiring movie. Feeling a little down or dreary? Sometimes there is nothing like putting on an uplifting movie to get your head back in the game, loving life, and driven to succeed.
37. Know that it will be worth it in the long-run. At times you may feel lost in the dark and not sure where this all is heading, but know that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
38. Have a vision for the end, even if it is far away. As a frame of reference, having a vision of what your future looks like is important. As long as you don’t get too obsessed with everything going exactly as planned, having something to strive can be an empowering tool. Maybe you are an actor, in which case you can envision yourself giving an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards. It is just a way to get your mind having fun and thinking ahead, but don’t take it so seriously where you just let yourself down.
39. Recognize yourself as the hero of your own destiny. Not everything is in your control, but you are still responsible for your actions – so be a hero about it. Be triumphant, surpass people’s expectations, and say “fuck it” to mediocrity.
40. Ask questions to those who have been on a similar path. You have potential resources all around you and you never know who will give you the next idea. Never be afraid to tactfully probe people for their perspective, especially those who already have experience with what it is you are trying to accomplish.
41. Always be prepared to do more work than you originally expected. When we first come up with a rough blueprint for our goals, we often underestimate the amount of work it will take. Obstacles will pop up that we couldn’t have expected, and those will require extra effort to overcome. Don’t be alarmed when these things arise.
42. Nothing valuable comes easy. This is just about sheer will and dedication. If we want to rise above others, we need to go that extra mile, plain and simple.
43. Dedicate time each day. Frequency creates consistency. Doing work each and everyday, even if it is just a little bit, will separate you from the crowd. Not to mention getting some of your daily grind on over the weekends enables you to do less on weekdays. This is one thing to consider when creating a pace you are comfortable with.
44. Build a comfortable workplace. Don’t surround yourself in a prison. Your environment is important – make it interesting, inspiring, and fun to be around. Aim to impress people who visit you.
45. Do a bit of physical exercise to increase your energy. Once I started working out I noticed I had more energy throughout the day to get more done; I became more productive. Getting exercise is also a great way to relieve any stresses and anxieties.
46. Listen to motivational music as you work. Give your life its own soundtrack. This is your movie and you are the starring role.
47. Ignore the little things that don’t matter. Don’t waste your attention and energy on things that you can’t change. If it is out of your control, it isn’t worth worrying about.
48. Reflect on past achievements for inspiration. Use your memories as source of encouragement. Recall times where you did something really great, and use that as proof that you can do even more wonderful things.
49. Take it moment-by-moment. Slow and steady wins the race. We only have the present to act upon our decisions. The past and future always come secondary, focus mostly on the things you can do right now.
50. Plan a celebration for when you finish. Because you deserve it!
Discover more tools to daily growth in the digital guide The Science of Self Improvement