5 Ways to Kick Your Own Ass and Crush Your Goals

Some days you just don’t want to do what you promised yourself you were going to do.

There have been ofttimes when I just wanted to hang it up. At the same time I asked myself, “Why am I doing this anyway? What’s this all for?” Here are a few methods I used to push through the procrastination and knock laziness’s teeth out.

1. Seek inspiration
I used inspiration when I was learning to play guitar and was in the middle of my 60 day Rocksmith Challenge. I was in the gym locker room at 9pm after a good workout. I knew I had an hour of guitar practice ahead of me before I would be able to turn-in for the night. As I was getting changed, Eric Clapton came on the TV. He was absolutely shredding his Stratocaster. The image was humbling, I could only play a few chords and pick a few notes at that point. It was like the Universe conspired to slap me in the face with the original reason I wanted to play the guitar: to shred like a guitar god. To supplant any divine intervention from ol’ Slowhand, I now plug in YouTube videos of guitar greats before, during, or immediately after the guitar power hour. I YouTube (is that now a verb like Google?) Clapton, Yngwie, Jimi, John Butler, Michael Angelo Batio, Kottke, among others.

2. Visualize the result
This one is a little tougher, but it’s natural. When you first start any practice, before you start any new skill you think about the great moments. You dream of hitting the buzzer-beater like Jordan, draining the final putt like Tiger, or crushing the walk-off like Fisk. Use this vision to pull you to a new level.

3. Remember your initial enthusiasm
Do you remember when you first started? It was so simple, you were gonna be the best ever. Well, your journey has brought you down some hucked-out cobblestone paths and you’ve dealt with your fair share of gut punches. It’s refreshing to re-kindle that initial enthusiasm and realize why you started this journey.

4. Set something into motion you can’t control
This is the scariest and most gut-wrenching way to break-through and keep on track. Tim Ferriss calls it “Raising the stakes.” Do something or set something into motion that you feel like you can’t back out of. Like making a promise to someone you have to keep. This is the way I stay motivated in the gym. I visualize my personal trainer kicking my ass. The thought of his disapproval and my disappointment in squandering a session keeps me motivated to eat right and workout in between our meetings. The harder you are on yourself the easier the world will be on you. Loss aversion can be a great motivator. This method is highly effective and will short-circuit your procrastination with something more powerful, fear of resentment.

5. You can’t do it alone
It is imperative that you have a coach or mentor. Oh, you don’t have a coach or mentor? You can’t find one willing to take you under their wing and impart you with all the wisdom for free? I’m guessing you reached out to busy, A-List professionals in your field of study? Yeah, how’d that work out for you?


The truth is I get my mentor’s and coach’s advice, tutelage, and attention the old fashioned way; I buy it. I pay a fitness coach, a guitar instructor, and exchange my work for my writing/business coach. I’ll be writing more about the mentor myth in the future. If you are really serious you’ll find a way to afford it, like the iPhone 5s, $200 pair of shoes, expensive handbag, or other pricey piece of electronic gadgetry or misc. widget you just invested in. I can’t afford it loosely translates to, it’s not that important to me. [\rant]

What ways do you use to keep motivated?

Author: Jeff

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  1. Great article on goal setting.

    I love #2 visualization. I use it to set all of my goals. I picture my goal as having been already accomplished.

    I use all my senses and visualize my life exactly how it will be with that goal accomplished. I picture that moment with all the sights, sounds and smells and imagine it as right now.

    Already done and moving on to the next step…

    Great article on goals.

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    • Thanks, Mike!

      I like how you really drilled down the mechanics of visualization. I think other readers will gain valuable insight.

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  2. Great advice for goal setting and for successful completion of your goals! A very important part of goal setting for me, has always been to write things down. Once I get my goals down on paper, they usually end up getting accomplished, often without even realizing it. That along with the visualization that you and Mike mentioned, is a powerful one-two punch!

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    • Awesome tidbit! I also like to write down the “Why” when I set a goal. It’s great to go back and read that goal as well as an explanation of why I set it.

      “Because I wanna shred like Hendrix!”

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  3. Great post. I agreed with #2. We are in the middle of debt repayment and we are keeping our eye on the end game later this year to help keep us motivated.

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    • Thanks. Can you hear yourself on Ramsey? “we’re debt free!”

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  4. I always refer to number 2 when I am about to procrastinate or give up a goal. I have realized the end results(the big picture) is what really motivates me to achieve my goals. Thanks for writing this article.

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