Don't get me wrong, I still have goals and to-do lists written down, but ever since early this year I've found something that does light a fire under me, so I want to share it with my fellow Warriors, in case someone else might find it useful as well.
My method: At the end of each day, I write down a list of what I didn't do that day.
Now, some might say that doing so is bad for positive thinking and good karma, but my purpose for keeping track of what I didn't do is to make me stop and think about how much time I wasted with other things. Again, not as a self-punishment device to make me feel bad, but a self-disciplinary one to help me see where I need to improve.
It forces me to think, "Why didn't I do this or that?" And usually it's because I allowed myself to get distracted by less important things, or things that really could have waited. And so then I ask myself, "What was it about this or that, that I didn't want to face, which made me do something else?" And by asking myself such questions, I can drill down to the core reason(s) that I avoided certain tasks.
You might ask why I simply don't carry over the unfinished tasks to the next day's list? Because that doesn't help me become more disciplined. How easy is it to just say to oneself, "meh, I'll just push this over to tomorrow and worry about it then"? Too easy! Those tasks were supposed to be done today, so I need to be accountable to myself as to why they weren't. Writing them down means being accountable, and taking responsibility for my inaction.
For years, whether IM related or not, to-do lists and writing down goals were, for me, just words on paper. They never seemed to have a pull on me; they're just reminders of what needs to be done.... someday. Maybe you are like that? If not, and I suspect most people aren't, then good for you! But if you are like me, perhaps using my method will help you. It certainly helped me, and I've been able to focus better than ever, and am seeing good results in my marketing efforts for the first time in a long time.