Beginning is easy. Continuing is hard.
We love January 1st. It’s a natural boost that we can rely on to get to where we want in life.
The problem is that only 8% of people succeed in achieving their new year’s resolution. So the odds are against our innocent hopes of doing something new in our lives. But that doesn’t matter. When the odds are against us, that’s when our best self needs to come out.
Beginning is Easy
The thing with beginnings is that progress is easy to see. You’re going from 0 to 1. That’s impressive. From nothing to something. From 1 to 2 is also amazing. Because you’ve proven that you can replicate the first success.
But as time goes on, that new thing you started isn’t that impressive. Going from 20 to 21 feels… ordinary. You’ve done it before. Or worse, you reach a point where being at 30 is taking longer than it took you before. That first sense of achievement is never comingback, because now you’re in it.
Continuing is Hard
Anytime we try to achieve something there will be obstacles. If there weren’t obstacles, it wouldn’t be an achievement. So we decide to wake up an hour earlier, but we stayed up late the night before because we had work to do. Or you decided you wanted to cut your sugar intake in half, but it’s your son’s birthday on January 6th. Or maybe you wanted to read one book every month, but when you sit down to read you fall asleep if you find the time to read at all.
Obstacles come from anywhere. Some common obstacles are:
- Time. You never know where your day went.
- Interest. The January boost starts to weaken. It’s comfortable to keep things as they were.
- Money. This new thing costs more than you expected.
- Direction. I don’t know how to plan this to make it work.
- Influence. The people around me are not interested in this new purpose, and I lose momentum.
This is the short list. You probably have your own. From family, geography, psychological, physical and relational obstacles, it’s understandable that things get difficult.
So here’s the cold, hard truth. Overcoming most of these obstacles is impossible. At least not without a plan. And that’s what this article is about.
Today’s excuses are tomorrow’s regrets in disguise
Excuses are annoying. They look so perfectly justified. They sit there, waiting for us to pick them up when we most need them. “Oh, I was too tired from last night.” “It can wait. It isn’t that important.” “I don’t know.” But the moment we pick them up and make them part of our language, we’ll stop calling them excuses, and start calling them reasons.
And fake reasons will become regrets sooner or later.
This plan works by identifying your roles, your goals, and your obstacles. And to do that, you’re gonna need to dedicate this some time. But the main thing to keep in mind is that the better prepared you are, the easier it will be to overcome your obstacles.
Put it on Paper
Make three columns in a piece of paper. In the left column write some of your roles in life. Roles like: parent, student, employee, manager, friend, boyfriend, husband, etc.
In the middle column write a goal for that role. Make sure the goal makes you nervous, but it’s doable. We didn’t say possible. We said doable, because you’re gonna make it happen.
In the third column, write the obstacle for each goal.
Now that it’s on paper, look at it. Notice which obstacles you can overcome. The thing with writing things down is that they’re no longer inside you. The longer your problems and obstacles stay inside your head, the stronger they become.
Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. -Carol Dweck (Mindset – The New Psychology of Success)
The problem with our goals is that we don’t count progress. Every small step counts. Every time you go to the gym is a victory. Every minute you work towards your goal is a victory. Reaching the goal isn’t the only thing that counts. Every step matters. So keep track of your progress.
Sometimes it’s hard to recognize progress. So you need to make an effort to be aware of what happens in your day. Remember, you are looking for progress, not completion.
Put a Vision to It
The vision for your goal is more than a mental picture. We’re not talking about ‘envision yourself piloting your private jet’. We’re talking about putting a value or an emotion you will achieve by reaching that goal. This value or emotion must be attached to the positive impact to people. Money for the sake of money is dumb. Success in itself is worthless unless you use it as a force of good.
- I want to make more money because I want to help my parents in their retirement.
- I want this business to succeed because I want to give great jobs to a lot of people.
Every day you put off working on your goal, the longer you’ll have to wait to see your vision come true.
This is my favorite tip here.
Our team at Tiggley takes this to heart. We meet every week to talk about what we’re going through in life, and business. We check-in with each other every day to make sure we stay focused. When we have bad days, we have our team to remind us who we are and why we’re doing it.
All this time I thought self-development was something you did on your own. It isn’t. It can’t be. We are human. We need people. Our personal goals cannot be pursued alone. So find a great group of people to have your back. Set up weekly meetings to talk about solutions. Assume the best from each other, and grow together.
That’s how you keep going.
The Next Level
We have an unfair advantage. We are surrounded by professional coaches, so we learn science proven ways to get things done. But you can have that advantage too. Talk to a professional life coach and see how far you can go. Contact us now to setup a meeting.