How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things TODAY

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Resolutions don’t change bodies, minds, careers, businesses and lives, actions do.

But, without the right approach, it can be near impossible to take the actions needed to get where you’re desperate to go!

Behavior change—exercise, diet, meditation, changing careers or launching a business, writing a book, making art—it’s hard, really hard. Most people fail. Not because they’re incapable of doing what needs to be done, but because they don’t know how to do it right.

They don’t know where to find valid information. They don’t know who to trust. They don’t understand what it really takes to cultivate substantial progress and change. And they don’t know how to create the structures that absolutely must be in place to support the small daily behaviors that culminate in extraordinary change and achievement over time.

Here are 7 keys to successful behavior change and quest achievement:

1. Knowledge – You’ve got to know what the right behaviors, actions and decisions are. If you want to lose 50 pounds, you need to know what action will lead to that outcome. If you want to launch or build a world-changing venture, you need to know the steps that will make it happen (and more importantly the ones to avoid that’ll tear it down). If you’re trying to build a good life, you need to know what goes into that bucket and what needs to be tossed.

2. Support – On three levels, if possible: peer support, co-striver support and mentor support.

  • Peer support is critical as a source of inspiration, information and accountability.
  • Co-striver support (people who are striving to do similar things at similar times) adds the element of creating what’s called a “normalizing” experience. Knowing a tight-knit group of co-strivers are going through similar struggles, embracing tough challenges and working through them makes you realize you’re not alone and, although it’s tough, there are others right there with you and you’re all going to get through it together. Note, too, you don’t all have to be working on the same thing, project, quest or organization. It’s more about sharing the experience on the level of parallel play.
  • Mentors and coaches are people who are further down the road than you who can share wisdom and insights designed to help you correct course, avoid mistakes (though, some you’ll have to make yourself to get how to do it right) and accelerate your quest. Most important when finding and choosing mentors and coaches, too, is that (a) you trust them, (b) they’re genuinely qualified to help you, either through training or experience and (c) they’re invested in your success and genuinely care.

Collectively, these people come together to form your Circle of Champions. Research shows, having this group artfully chosen and fully-committed to your vision ups your likelihood of success exponentially and often shortens the timeframe and makes the dance far more enjoyable.

3. Motivation – Extrinsic vs intrinsic. You’ve got to have a clearly established “why.” If it’s a simple change or goal you aspire to, old school carrot and stick, i.e., extrinsic motivation will often get the job done. But for longer term, more complex, involved quests, a deeper, more intrinsic, internal source of motivation will be a stronger driver of consistent action over time, which is what determines success.

One key to intrinsic motivation is something I call “alignment.” When the behaviors you’re looking to cultivate or the quest you aspire to complete is poorly aligned with who you are and what makes you come alive, it makes the process so jarring to your system, your likelihood of doing the work to needed to succeed plummets.

When what you’re trying to build is so tightly aligned with all aspects of who you are that it feels like it’s an organic extension of your being, you’ll still end up working like crazy to get it done, but it will feel far more effortless. High-levels of alignment tend to jack intrinsic motivation through the roof. And they keep it there longer. Your “why” is more about DNA than packaging.

This can be a huge issue with aspiring entrepreneurs and career changers. In addition to personal alignment, you also need to align business model, mode of delivery, creative orientation, leadership orientation and a number of other “degrees of alignment” that will be specific to your quest.

When you understand how to tee it all up right, your quest sings. You don’t ever need to look for a reason to do the work. Problem is, very few people know how to do this well.

So, instead, they align their actions and vision with what they think will succeed, what looks good or “justifiable” on paper, rather than aligning their quest and actions with the fiber of their being. Huge mistake.

Because even if you end up building something the world deems successful, you’ll end suffering way more than necessary and will be significantly more likely to have built a business or achieved a quest the world deems a succes, but you experience as a miss or, worse…a cage.

So, really deep dive into motivation, especially the intersection between intrinsic, extrinsic and alignment.

4. Simplicity – Legendary Stanford professor, B.J. Fogg, has studied persuasion for years and devised his own model for behavior change. One of the big discoveries, simplicity trumps information. Take the complexity out of your approach and make it as easy as possible to learn what to do, then do it.

When it comes to action-taking, simplicity rules, complexity drools. Click to tweet

If you want to exercise every morning, leave your running shoes and clothes right next to your bed when you rise and have a running partner meet you every morning outside your door.

I meditate for 25 minutes every morning like clockwork, no matter how insane my schedule is the rest of the day. And no matter where I am in the world or how tired I may be when I awaken. One of the keys has been to prepare my meditation area before I go to bed. I set up my cushion, a glass of water, my timer, a blanket if it’s winter the night before. I remove complexity and, more specifically decision-making from the system. I don’t even have to open my eyes to.

What you’ll find, too, is that it’s not the doing that’s so hard, it’s the beginning. Once I’m on the cushion, the next 25 minutes flow with relative ease (okay, so maybe that took a bit of practice). But the research shows beginning a task or a process is a far greater challenge than continuing it once it’s begun. So make it as simple as possible to begin.

5. Measurement – You need to create a very clear picture of what success looks like. Because if you don’t, you wont understand what you’re aspiring to. Nor will you know when you’ve arrived.

Things like mission statements, painted pictures, perfect-day exercises, outcome visualizations, they can all help you understand where you’re going and what your personal metrics for success are.

But, when you’re in the part of any quest I call The Thrash, you often don’t yet have a clear beat on your metrics for success. But you still need something to strive for. To measure. To know if you’re moving forward, backward or sideways.

While you’re in this part of your journey (which is mandatory, btw), your Circle of Champions, well-chosen, can be a powerful source of guidance (and sanity) to allow you to divine and refine what matters and what’s worth measuring. Because they can often see things that, from the inside-out, you’re blinded to.

6. Framework – Once you have the first five in place, you need an action framework. A plan of action that’s not just some one-size-fits-all, but rather a simple to use methodology (again, if it’s complex, it won’t work) that allows you to:

  • Identify the daily, weekly and monthly actions needed to get from where you are now to where you want to go.
  • Memorialize them, either in writing or digitally.
  • Track progress over time (this, according to the work of Professor Teresa Amabile, is critical), and
  • Adapt to changing circumstances and new information, without losing momentum

There is no one-size-fits-all here. Some great approaches to explore include systems by Productive Flourishing’s Charlie Gilkey or Behance’s Action Method.

7. Ritual – Last thing, but maybe most important. Break the actions needed to fuel your quest into bite size pieces and turn them from behaviors into rituals. What’s the diff?

Behavior requires willpower, rituals happen automagically. Click to tweet

Rituals or habits are behaviors repeated in a systematic way over time that move from conscious choice to autopilot action. They literally move from one part of your brain to another, sliding from the frontal cortex back into the more automatic parts of the brain. The more you ritualize, the more you free-up brainpower and willpower, making it more likely that you’ll do the things needed to build what you’re trying to build.

Two other thoughts here. One, When you’re building behaviors and actions into rituals, if they’re behaviors and actions that require some level of will, you’re better off building the ritual into the earlier part of your day. Because willpower is a depletable resource and by late afternoon, your tank starts to run pretty close to empty.

If it’s a behavior you actually enjoy or are intrinsically drawn to, like painting or playing guitar or creating a product, business or service you love, the actions you’ll need to take will generally require far less willpower. So time of day becomes less important. BUT, time and energy management may still be a huge issue. so, from that standpoint, you’re still better off building rituals around mission-critical behaviors and scheduling them earlier in the day.

Amnesty and Action…

Does all of this take effort? Damn straight it does.

But, the cost of not putting in the effort is a life of futility, unrealized potential, of unexpressed humanity and unrequited connection. I’d rather do the work than muddle through life with my soul-tank, my body, my mindset, my relationships, my art, my potential perpetually on half-empty.

So, what’s the best time to reclaim your quest? To move your body, eat better, meditate, set the wheels in motion for a new career, start a venture, business, movement or make the art that’s lied buried in your soul for decades?

RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW!

If you committed to doing this as a resolution, but have already bailed, consider this your Goal/Resolution/Quest Amnesty.

And remember, your likelihood of success goes up massively once you’ve put the above keys into place. Do that. Find the people, the systems, the knowledge, the support needed to breathe life into your life.

Commit.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”  -W. H. Murray

Take THAT to the bank.

So, a question – Which of these do you have in place, and which do you need the most help with in order to make this year soar?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

+++

P.S. For those who’ve been asking when enrollment for the 2013 Good Life Project 10-month Immersion training opens…much coolness about to ensue this week! On a number of levels, so keep your eye on your inbox *Insert evil laugh*!

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32 responses

32 responses to “How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things TODAY”

  1. Murray’s quote is an absolute truth. I see this play out with many artist’s who I teach. The barrier to creating meaningful powerful art work has less to do with technical ability or finding the right gallery, but more to do with the commitment, the absolute conviction of the artist. Fantastic blog entry today…thank you.

  2. Diane says:

    Thanks for this outline to stay on track. I just listened to your recorded talk with Lissa and Amy. Great stuff. I look forward to learning more about how to keep my passions ignited and on track.

    Wholeheartedly,

    Diane

  3. Bill Graham says:

    Jonathan, You have put a book into 2000 words.

    You have put together a very impressive, common sense list supported by good research.

    Thank you,

    Bill

  4. Thanks, as always, for another great post!

    I’ve been interested in beginning to meditate and am wondering if there are any particularly awesome books on the subject. I know there are many out there, but I don’t know where to begin. Anyone?

    Take care,
    Anne

    • Wayne W. says:

      Anne,
      I suggest finding a meditation group or a teacher. Yoga books describe meditation and Thcich Nhat Hahn does describe meditation tools, but really you will have more success if you go to a group.

  5. Ann says:

    Spot on Jonathan!

    RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW!

  6. Kelvin says:

    A great read. Its where I’m right now, thrashing about unable to complete the next pages of my website, to generate real traffic. Also looking at health products to import while still holding down a full-time job.

  7. Karyn Wagner says:

    I never print out emails…. I PRINTED THIS EMAIL. Thanks for a great post. I sincerely appreciate the encouragement!

  8. Cynthia says:

    All these are so vital, and thanks for sharing, Jonathan. To me the most important of them is support. ALL of the big things I have done – turned my financial life around, written and published my book, built my business – ALL of the required lots of the right kind of support.

    If I had listened to the wrong people, none of this would have happened. Peers and people who have gone before (I call them Creative Ancestors) made all the difference.

    It’s a weird but effective blend of lone wolf + tribe support. It works.

    Love the picture…ommmmmmmm.

  9. Great post today, Thanks Jonathan. I love the 7 steps you’ve shared, what a comprehensive yet simple to understand overview of managing change for oneself (and resolutions should that be your thang)! The challenge I’m personally tackling is creating the framework and ritualizing practices. For me these seem to be happening in tandem, is that realistic?

    Lately I’ve had to keep myself in check from having expectations that are too high (like wanting to accomplish more then there’s time for or wanting to accomplish things quicker). I suppose that’s a common a challenge when the intrinsic motivation is there but the framework is lacking! I took your creative mindset audit report and the structure is where I need the most work to fully tap into my potential….

    Thanks again! Moving onward and upward on this journey 🙂

  10. Wow, this is the most comprehensive collection of all of your insight and Getting #EPIC Thangs #DONE steps I’ve seen in one place.

    Honored to have my pic from Boulder as part of it! Yowza. What magnificent mornings those were on every level. Things I will truly never forget. Good Life Project had such a profound impact on my life and career last year for just about every one of these steps you’ve outlined.

    Specifically as my sister Cynthia said above: Support. The Circle of Wisdom. To thrash it out in front of trusted mentors and peers, with all of us chiming in to mine gold from the muck… And then the tactical follow ups through you and your team. Hence, my new career, The Framework Manifesto, etc….

    Those sessions were gigantic for me. I’m on a plane as we speak, heading to L.A. to deliver a keynote and a training to our West Coast team…. Followed by meditation at Self Realization with KFS (from Good Life). Followed by a rock show in Chicago with Cynthia (my writing coach from Good Life).

    Can’t THANK YOU enough JF. Those next round of peeps better be quick on the trigger, cuz I may have to swoop up another spot for 2013.

    Hahahaha. Thanks brother,

    kc

  11. This is such an awesome article. It took me years to discover where my true genius lies and now that I have unearthed it, I am making strides toward my purpose. You have broken down everything I have needed to get to this point. Having the proper support, knowledge and knowing my why have been essential.

    You are right on about needing to make your purpose manifest. After a decade of treating patients with acupuncture and herbs and running into walls again and again with stubborn conditions, I witness the deeper sense of dissatisfaction of my patients lives as the source of their physical problems. In some cases, no amount of needles or herbs is going to change their condition. I have had to reevaluate how to address these deeper issues and the discovery process is amazing.

  12. Jon Chandonnet says:

    This so resonates. Love the simplicity, Nice!

  13. Louise says:

    i’ll be more committed

  14. Fantastic post, Jonathan. For me, #7 resonates the most deeply. Recently, I’ve gotten great results from “downgrading” some of my goals to simple routines. For example, “lose (or gain) X lbs” or “payoff Y amount of credit card debt” doesn’t seem so daunting when it gets reduced to things like “always cook for the week on Sundays” or my favorite, the “first 15 rule” (as soon as you get home, you unpack your bag, change and put away your clothes, pack your lunch and prep your bag for the next day.” These little actions done consistently over time are the VERY things that lead to the results we seek (in my example above, you wouldn’t BUY JUNK for lunch but instead, would be eating the same healthy meal every day – huge wins on both the fitness and finance front).

  15. Chris Willey says:

    I read each of your emails. I often watch the videos. Really enjoyed this last post.

  16. Cat says:

    Information overload can be such a drag when trying to get used to doing something new. Then you start trying all these different strategies, never actually stick to one, and can’t create a ritual or routine.

    I got into running by making a chart. I told myself it didn’t matter how much time, or on what incline, or how fast I ran (it could be a light jog for 5 minutes) as long as I did it every day for the 30 days in my chart.

    After that it became a habit, and I started modifying it to a system of less of what I felt like on a whim, and more structured to incorporate goals. But the hardest part was already complete, I had already committed to the run.

  17. […] I came across a blog post by Jonathan Fields called How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things TODAY. He saved me a ton of work organizing my own thoughts about the steps that we all must take on this […]

  18. Tom Bentley says:

    Jonathan, great work in weaving both the logical and the emotional threads together here, and providing a sensible (but not saccharine) sense of “You really can do this—one step builds on another.”

    Thanks for this and for all the goodies of the Good Life Project.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      My pleasure, Tom. So glad to be able to share ideas and make even the the modest different. Thanks, too, for being a part of this tribe for what must be a few years now. Always good to see your face and read your words here in the conversation!

      • Tom Bentley says:

        Jonathan, from your consistent generosity and the quality of your ideas over time, I think you’ve made a difference for a lot of people. I have a guest post on Firepole Marketing on Jan 24, and I use you as one of my prime examples of a guy who approaches his audience as a human being, and what a difference that makes. (And please forgive me that I call you an “intellectual adventurer.” Sounded good at the time…)

  19. […] Read more ‘How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things TODAY’ (Jonathan Fields) This entry was posted in Change, Inspiration on January 16, 2013 by Ade. […]

  20. This year’s BHAG is to record 300 songs. It’s a big deal to me, and while all of them won’t be originals (or original arrangements), many of them will be. It’s kind of daunting to do it, but it happens one day at a time in the “right now” of it all. So far, I’ve got 14 songs in the can. I’m on track, and I’m heading toward the sunset. Typically, the biggest challenge for me is support. I’m between coaches right now, so it feels like high-wire without a net. But I’m still working, understanding that the right coach will appear at the right time, and until then, all I can do is what I know to do.

  21. Circle of Champions . . . INDEED!
    Thx

  22. […] How to get your mojo back and do big things today. […]

  23. […] Did you make New Year’s resolutions? How are they going? I didn’t make resolutions but I did set goals and identify habits I want to develop. So far, so good. In case you need help, Jonathan Fields provides seven keys to successful behavior change and quest achievement in his post, How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things TODAY. […]

  24. Thank you for this inspiring article I feel as if my journey has just begun – again- cant wait to see where this path takes me but feeling as if I’m starting at ground zero.

  25. Maxwell Ivey says:

    Hello Jonathan; This was the first post of yours I’ve ever read. I was encouraged to visit your site by Robin Hallett. And I must say you packed a lot of information into one post. I agree with some of the other readers that we got a books worth of help in one article. One of my favorite quotes is nichi’s that goes with a strong enough why a man can manage any how. My family tells me they know i will eventually succeed because the site is my passion the reason i get up in the morning and the last thing i think about before i go to bed. The truth is i am not sure what I would do next if this doesn’t work out. I went from being the owner of a small family carnival to owning a few kids games to now being what I call an amusement equipment reseller meaning I help people sell amusement, concessions, and confections equipment. So, why did i mention this? its simple I’m wondering if fear comes into play with successful people. do they sometimes succeed because they either know they have no other option or because they aren’t sure what it would be if there was one? I don’t think about failure often, but this seams like an honest group; and I thought I’d bring it up. The truth is last year I sold more equipment than in my previous years combined and have hopes for even more this year. I know i can still do so much more and welcome the advice and suggestions of the group. thanks and take care, Max

  26. Reko says:

    Thanks for condensing all that material in something I can use as a checklist to success.

  27. Douglas Taylor says:

    Thanks Jonathon,
    Your calm, cool delivery comes through in these insightful 7 steps.

  28. Jess says:

    Great post, I specifically like support and simplicity. Joining a ‘mastermind’ type group a few days ago has made an immediate impact for me and your mention of keeping a daily, healthy routine despite being tired or any other excuses speaks volume. It hits home for me today, after being kept up due to loud neighbors. I’m going to get over the anger and go do a quick workout before having a healthy lunch. Thanks!