Last month, you set your goal, put a plan in writing, and examined some of the potential obstacles that may stand in your way of success. Nice work! However, now comes the challenging part: how do you keep your momentum and enthusiasm high so that you follow through?
Success in this phase separates the extraordinary from the ordinary.
I work with a growing number of individuals who are discontented with their lives. Through Success Coaching and Hypnotherapy, I guide them towards achieving their “ideal self.” They want so much more: a new job, a new body, fewer fears, the ability to meet someone, etc. Yet, they have experienced a genuine resistance to change thus far. It is easier and safer to do nothing except wish they were different and complain that they’re not. The excuses pile up as they rationalize their inertia to everyone, including themselves. They believe that there are very legitimate reasons why they could not succeed at changing.
Keep your momentum strong by examining your excuses, overcoming excuses, and understanding the pain vs. pleasure principal that may sabotage your progress.
“Those who want to succeed find a way … those who fail find an excuse.” –Leo Aguila
Here is a list of typical excuses, but the list is endless:
1. “Oh, it’s not worth it.” “I can’t seem to do it.” Progress slows or halts. It’s common to stop seeing quick results and get discouraged. For example, you are trying to lose weight. Results are rapid in the first few weeks and then it slows down. Perhaps you lose nothing or even gain a few pounds back. Once this happens, it’s tempting to quit; motivation has worn thin.
2. Something derails you. (i.e. weather conditions, injury, events)
3. Lack of persistence Timing wasn’t right
4. What I tried didn’t work (i.e. patch for smoking, Atkins for weight loss, headhunter for career change).
How do you battle the excuse syndrome?
1. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Remember your goal and why you want to achieve it. Remember the power that lies within you.
2. There is a whole school of thought that believes that we attract our own stumbling blocks to avoid that which we don’t honestly want to do. Events, injuries, or broken down cars hinder us as a result of our own thinking. This theory asserts that your thoughts magnetize your life’s’ events. Understanding what you are focusing on – success or failure – will help you attract events, people, and circumstances into your life that are congruent with your goal.
3. Patience- Learn to enjoy the journey of change, because even after you have achieved your goal you will still be on a path of never ending self-improvement. Let it become a way of life for you.
4. Persistence - As children, we understood the one way towards getting what we want: persistence. A child becomes fixated on something, a cookie, a toy… Whatever it is that they set their mind to, they pursue relentlessly until they have it. How often do you see children whose parents had just said “there’s no way you’re getting one more cookie” only to witness, ten minutes later, the child with not just one cookie but several. Kids know persistence pays off. Good salespeople know it as well.
5. Timing is never right. It is never a perfect time to change. Today is a perfect time to believe in you and become a champion.
6. Obstacles. When you wrote down your goals, you examined obstacles you would have to overcome. It seemed then like nothing could stop you. So what happened? You learned that analyzing obstacles is a whole lot easier than overcoming them. If you had a plan for overcoming your obstacles and what you tried didn’t work…it’s time to re-examine your methods. Why didn’t it work? What could I have done differently? Did I give one hundred percent?
“A ship in the harbor is safe but that’s not what ships are built for.”
Pain vs. Pleasure
Each time you do not succeed at a goal-step, ask yourself “why?” Evaluate your response honestly to uncover any excuses you may be feeding into. Even a “reason” as harmless as “the office was closed” can be used as an excuse to avoid progress. For example, if the Registrar’s office was closed, why not choose classes and register on-line? If this option isn’t viable, what can you do NOW to alter your schedule to make yourself available the first opportunity the Registrar is open? Look for alternatives, not excuses.
Whenever you work towards a goal, become aware of the pain/pleasure principal. The theory, as applied to goal-setting, purports that individuals will measure the amount of pleasure they receive from achieving a goal against the pain that it costs to achieve it. As such, one will choose the stronger of the two … maximum pleasure or minimum pain. For instance, how much pain will the sacrifice of unhealthy eating cost you? Will the discomfort of avoiding some comforting, tasty, craved foods be greater than the pleasure you gain by witnessing your waistline shrinking? Can you concentrate your focus so strongly upon the goal [the slim, healthy feeling you will experience] that this pleasure outweighs the pain of sacrificing poor eating choices?
By recognizing the pain/pleasure force at effect in your goal plan, you will be better equipped to position yourself for success. For example, you know you should get a new job. Which is greater? The pleasure of procrastination [the freedom involved in making no effort to prepare your resume, search for leads, or take action] or the pain of the job you hold? Let this force work for you. Focus vividly, and for a minimum of five minutes a day, on the pleasure you will receive in your new position. Allow this visualization to be so great as to overwhelm the pleasure you may gain from your current passivity.
Throughout the goal process remember: You want to change. You want to improve. You want to be happier. You want to reach your definition of success. And you are capable of doing it.