Do not get halfway and give up
I was struggling with what to do to achieve the goals I set a few months ago. And the motivation to keep going as things get difficult.
We all have hopes and dreams. Here are two of mine:
Write a book.
Run another half marathon.
For many of us, we have been thinking about our goals for a long time. I know that I thought about writing goals for years before writing a single word.
But, we fear what people will think. We fear failure. We fear that we will not be at the height of our expectations.
Moreover, it is so difficult to interrupt the rhythm of life to add a new goal. What about my daily work? And my children? What about all the details of life? Do shopping and wash dishwashers and dogs looking for a walk?
And then, with a combination of luck, discipline and motivation, let's start. We write the first page. Let's run the first mile.
Then over time, things get darker. You wrote an entire chapter. But then the children got sick and your counseling client once again increased the scope of your project. Time is tight. Also, you were not exactly sure where you would go next. What would you have written for Chapter 2 anyway?
Or, you've started your half marathon training plan and you've come to 8 miles. But then you pulled a muscle. You had to take a few days off. And now you feel like you've had a relegation. Now you can not run more than 6 miles. How will you ever at 13.1 at this rate?
This is when we all start losing steam. We were able to start the journey towards our goal. But then we do not finish. It becomes hard and cloudy. Life intrudes.
This is where I am now.
But, I've been here before. And I gave up first. Except now I know. The truth is:
the disappointment I feel in myself when I give up a goal. It's uncomfortable as the feeling of uncertainty I have now.
So this time, I'm not going to do it.
I will allow myself to feel uncomfortable.
I am about to be confused and groping in the darkness. But I'm going to move on. That's how.
Remembering my "why" to push me to act
There was a reason why I chose these goals. To write a book. To run 13.1 miles.
Your because it's personal to you.
I chose to write because it fills my heart and clears my mind. And the connection with others who share a similar experience is something that can not be beaten.
I run to manage my anxiety and keep myself healthy in body and mind.
And I have specific goals for everyone. Because I am a happier person and I have more to make a contribution to the people around me when I am challenged by a new goal.
Even with a big "why", I struggled with the motivation to run recently. Darkness creeps up every morning. It's so hard to be inspired to run early in the morning with a lit lamp.
The thing is, I have to get to the door. Once I'm out there, I'm always happy. I should start implementing Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule. Its rule is:
If you have an instinct to act on a target, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.
So when I can not remember what the point is. When I get confused and the path seems hard. I remember why I have goals. And remembering mine because it gives me enough instinct to act.
I can not be paralyzed to understand the next "right" thing to do
I focused so much on how to get started. I thought only the first step was the scary one. I thought it would be all a sweet after that.
I thought the way forward would be obvious.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that the path to your goal will have many new challenges along the way.
Every time you win something you do not understand. Or something that you fear that others will judge. You will fight.
Every day of delay, I struggled to understand the best way to put my writing in front of a wider audience. Who, how, what?
Sometimes there is no "best way". You have to try something. And if that does not work, try the next thing. If you engage in the idea that achieving your goal requires you to try many different things. With the implication that you will fail on many things. That your path will not be the same as anyone else. And you'll have to find out as you move forward. Then it takes a little pressure.
There is no perfect way to reach your goal. The perfect path is the one that takes you to the end.
There is no wagon to turn on or off
This is the perfectionist vision of the path towards a goal.
If you are a perfectionist (like me), you have to write a certain sum per week. Or follow every prescribed course perfectly. If you do not do it exactly, you're out of the wagon. And then you could even give up.
But while I feel my way forward. I realize that part of the journey is trying to balance these goals with the rest of my life. There will be times when I can not go on. Days or even weeks when my most important goals are secondary to the practical parts of life. The last few weeks have been a good example.
But it's not a reason to stop.
Give up your preconceived ideas about how fast you should reach your goals. I know I need to do it. My mind always tells me to go faster, faster.
Accept that you will trip along the road. But stumbling does not mean you're going slower than you should "suppose" to go.
And you will not stumble into a ditch after falling off the wagon. Never get up again. Because the wagon and the ditch exist only in your mind.
Choose a micro-step and plan a reward for success
Choose a step forward. Something nothing. I will apply to write for a new website today. I will do 5-4-3-2-1 my way out of bed for a run this week.
And do that thing.
Do that thing and then reward myself for doing it. A pat on the shoulder. For me, it will be a trip to the bookstore to buy a new physical book. I joined a new book club and I look forward to getting started. But I will save it as a reward for this task.
Remind yourself that it's okay that it was hard, but you did. And you can do it again.
And keep going.