We tell ourselves lots of things that aren’t helpful.
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that we need a new tool or piece of equipment to reach a goal.
“I’ll write that novel after I get my new MacBook Pro,” said the unpublished novelist.
“I will get into shape once I order that new fitness DVD,” said the unfit house husband.
“I’ll start eating at home more often once Amazon ships me that new food processor,” said the fast food fanatic.
The truth is we don’t need new equipment to get started. In fact, we don’t need new equipment or tools to finish. We just need good daily habits.
I believe it is actually more productive to flip this kind of thinking upside down. By this I mean we need to tell ourselves that we will order item X after we meet a certain goal, not before.
Sell yourself on the idea that you’ll reward yourself with that DVD fitness tape after you walk for 30 minutes seven days in a row.
Tell yourself you will pull the trigger on the new MacBook after you draft 60,000 words.
Maybe, just maybe these will motivate you to work. And maybe you will find you don’t need after all, and decide to save yourself some money.
Quite often our desires for new equipment and tools are actually procrastination in disguise; these new tools may even distract us further. In some rare cases you may actually need a tool to perform the job, but I still think you will complete more if you force yourself to get it done without “the new” and build that much needed discipline of habit.
My new Macbook was suppose to arrive two published books ago, but I keep plugging away on this workhorse. I think I will order after I finish my next manuscript, or this blog, or something. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to reward yourself for every accomplishment either. Keep it special, infrequent, and worthwhile.
Examine closely the tools the professionals use. I think you will find they prefer the used over the new. I could cite many examples, but I love the story of Sci-Fi writer Ray Bradbury going to the library and paying ten cents an hour to type his short stories on the library’s typewriter. If you really want it, you will find a way.
Quit telling yourself you need that new thing to accomplish a goal. Find a way to get started right night, old school, Rocky-style.
You have all the tools you need, and the most important tool is habit.