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Frustrated with your lack of progress? Read this.

focus goals less stress productivity Jul 18, 2021

Have you ever felt like you’re not getting anywhere? Have you gotten impatient or frustrated with yourself?

This happens to a lot of us. 


We’re just way too hard on ourselves. 


It’s difficult to find the balance between being motivated and flogging yourself. Between pushing yourself and setting yourself up to fail.

I used to set myself up to fail day after day after day.

I’d make an impossibly long to-do list and even if I’d finish 17 out of 20 items, the day was still a “failure.”  

Or I’d plan to clean my entire house from top to bottom… in an hour. 

Or I’d say, “I’m not going to say a single negative thing today.”

Or I’d not set any specific goals for myself, but still at the end of the day feel like I hadn’t accomplished “enough.”


I constantly set myself up to fail and I’d end every day feeling like a loser.


Any of this sounding familiar?

How motivating is it lose day after day after day?

Not. Motivating. At. All. Past Mel was convinced it was the only way, though. 


Past Mel was certain that if she didn’t continue to push herself impossibly hard, she would just quit.


Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I consented to try this advice I’d been hearing about: The 3 Things List. This is where your daily list only contains your top 3 most important tasks and as long as you did those 3, the day was a win. (You could do more if you finished those 3, but those were bonuses.)

Truth: I thought it was a dumb idea and I was certain once I finished my 3 things for the day, I’d quit.

But lo and behold… I did my 3 things and then I did a few more. Huh. So I tried it for a few more days… and then weeks… and I started to feel different. I started to feel BETTER. My Unlock Your 5-Star Future DIY coaching clients have reported similar results, so I know it’s not just me.

I started to think things like:

I always finish my most important stuff.

I’m great at getting things done.

I’m making a lot of progress over here.

I started feeling more and more motivated to continue working hard. 

I felt like a winner.

So I tried this positive reinforcement thing in other areas of my life, like my health. Instead of setting ridiculous weight loss goals, I started setting a goal I could actually control… like hitting a certain protein intake every day. Instead of deciding I was going to write 4 newsletters in one day, I made the goal 1 newsletter. If I wrote more that was awesome, but I crossed the finish line at 1. Yay, me!


Winning is motivating.


It’s why sports teams on a winning streak tend to keep winning. It’s why a wide variety of apps, from Headspace (meditating) to Duolingo (language learning) will tell you how many days in a row you’ve done that thing and will encourage you to start a “run streak.” 

They’re trying to get you to string together some wins because winning is motivating.


So how can you win every day?


Step 1. Set realistic goals for your day.

If this is a struggle for you… if you’re bad at estimating time or you have a life-long habit of setting yourself up to fail (like Past Mel)… use the 3 Things List like I was describing before. Pick out your most important 3 tasks and as long as you accomplish those, the day is a win! You can do more, of course, but don’t move the finish line. And don’t put things on the list that are a habit, like “take the kids to school” or “feed dog.” Make sure you put things on the list that move the needle towards your goals.

NOTE: If you are in full-on overwhelm, parenting 1,000 kids, or in a time of trial, make it a 1 Thing List. 


Step 2. Acknowledge your wins.

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP! Really, this only works if you acknowledge your win. How can you do that? Maybe you get a sticker in your planner or on your calendar for every day you win. Maybe you give yourself a pat on the back (literally… this works for me) or you brew up your favorite tea as a reward. Maybe you tell your partner or a friend what you did and why you feel good about it.


OPTIONAL Step 3. Create a run streak.

If you’re tracking this in your calendar or planner or with stickers, then you’ll start to see your wins stacking up. This is added fuel for your motivation tank! 


Repeat after Mel… I intend to win every day because winning feels good.


You’ve got this!



Your 5-Star Life Coach ⭐️

P.S. Winning helps you stay motivated. Instead of setting yourself up to fail with an impossible to-do list and goals, get realistic and start acknowledging your wins. You’ll feel better and better (and more motivated).

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