There is an art to staying motivated that is much simpler than people realize. The Goldilocks rule taps into this motivation by helping you find the right challenge to attack. Some too many people have no pursuits or challenges in life. On the other end, there are too many people who have these grandiose dreams, and they have no idea where to get started.

The human brain loves a challenge, but only if it is within an optimal zone of difficulty. - James Clear

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Why You Need to Stay Motivated  

Its the motivation to wake up and continue working towards one thing that will define your success. It's not about having these flash of pan ideas that you think will make you rich. The idea is a small part of success because after the idea comes to a lot of execution. 

Only the motivated have what it takes to keep work on the same thing when things get boring or hard. The easier thing to do would be to find something else to do that is exciting and more fun in the moment. 

Motivation is what gives on the ability to go the extra mile. Sometimes success is about the person who is willing to do extra. Willing to ask more people, hear more rejects, wake up early, and stay up late. None of these things will be accomplished without motivation.


The Key to Staying Motivated - The Goldilocks Rule

Think about kids playing a new sport for a second. They almost always put the kids in age groups. Why is that? Why not let all the kids play in huge groups together?

A big reason for this is obvious, but it runs much deeper than many people realize. If you put little kids with big kids, they will lose all motivation because the challenge will be too much for them. Knowing they are facing kids that are much older than them.

On the other end of the spectrum, the older kids would get bored. If you're 14 years old but your playing football against a 7-year-old, you won't be challenged.
If sports followed this model, youth sports would crumble right before our eyes as we have come to know them. Very few kids would want to keep playing from young kids and work there way through the youth system.

The key to staying motivated shows up in the Goldilocks rule because you need to have the right level of challenge in your life. The difficulty needs to be there, but it can't feel overwhelming.

The Goldilocks Rule

For motivation to remain at peak levels, the brain needs a manageable challenge. This means it must not be too hot or too cold like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

If the challenge is too hot, its like the young kids playing youth sports with kids much older. They know that they can never win. They will never get a chance to play or get coached well because the other kids are so much better.

If the challenge is too cold, its like the older kids playing youth sports much younger. They know that they will always win. There will never be any worries about the younger kids beating them, so they will not have the motivation to work hard.

If you want to stay motivated, half the battle is choosing the right hill to climb. It turns out that people with too much challenge and others with too little challenge are left unmotivated.

I think you see this often in the pursuit of money. Going from being broke to a million dollars is too hard to believe for most people. But if you only aim to make 100 bucks, that is too little. The perfect challenge lies between making $10,000 -$100,000 to get started.

If you have not been motivated recently, maybe look at what you're aiming for. Think about the Goldilocks rule and make the proper adjustments in your life. You have to be honest with yourself and admit that you're aiming too high or too low.

Track Your Results

The second part of all of this is tracking your progress. Find ways to make the things you're aiming for quantifiable so you can always know where you are relative to your goal. 

You want to be able to track results because it helps with staying motivated. Suppose you see that you're making progress toward what you ultimately want. Its harder to stay motivated if you never know where you are. 

The Two Things You Should Track

  1. Progress to Your Goal
  2. Daily Habits

Let's say you want to save $10,000. That is a great quantifiable goal, and you can easily track how close you are to achieving that goal by watching your bank account. But you need more than that. When you track your daily habits, you make sure that your behaviors align with your goals. That may look like saving a certain amount each day. 

You can apply this methodology to anything you want to do. Start with your goal and set a quantifiable target. Then from there, think through what actions will ensure that you move closer to that goal. If you want to write a book, for example, and write 500 words a day, you will eventually have a book.

Don't Make Success Complicated

Don't make this more complicated than it needs to be. Goldilocks is a simple story. It's easy to understand, and so is the path to success. There is no reason to overcomplicate it.

You need to have challenges that push you to be better, but you need to believe you can overcome it. Only you know what you believe you can do. This is not the time to fake it to make yourself look good.

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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