Don’t Quit But Readjust Your Plans
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn
There’s a great deal written about goal attainment nowadays, I don’t wish outline those in this article. Rather, I want to focus on how daily action, irrespective of its size compounds into greater momentum. The problem or solution whichever way we think of it, is that we have a goal to realise by a specific date. I use the word problem or solution concurrently because from our current position our goal can be viewed through two lenses. However, one thing is for certain, we must move forward towards our goals irrespective of what is encountered along the way. The journey to reach our goals is seldom easy, in fact it was never meant to be easy. If we believe it is, I challenge you to confront the belief and investigate it further. Perhaps you are setting lofty goals or ones that are easily attainable. The purpose of goals is the personal growth experienced along the way. I’m not suggesting the final goal is of lesser importance, yet were it not for the growth that takes place, the goal is meaningless. It is the joy of the experience and who we become while pursuing the goal that makes it worthwhile. “If you leave your growth to randomness, you’ll always live in the land of mediocrity,” writes motivational author and speaker Brendon Burchard in High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.
To quit when the going gets tough is taking the easy way out, readjusting our plans however should be our primary focus. Abandoning our goals is akin to flying from one destination to another when our plane is unexpectedly stranded at a stopover. As a result, we return home instead of finding an alternative route to our destination. And yet this is what many people do in terms of their goals. They give up when the going gets tough because they lack the confidence in themselves to find a solution, or are frustrated overcoming the obstacle. However, that is the purpose of goals. To find new ways to reach them, gain new skills and discover more about ourselves. Can you identify with this narrative of wanting to throw in the towel on a project or goal? If so, how did you find the motivation to see it through?
Find Ways To Motivate Yourself
“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.” — Stephen Covey
Goals require constant motion and making informed decisions explains author Larry Weidel: “If you want to win, you have to keep moving forward. To keep moving forward, you have to keep making decisions.” To achieve our goals, we must establish firm habits as a framework to support us reaching them. Without good habits we are being controlled by external conditions and our internal world. I’ve coached many hundreds of people who say they experience a loss of inspiration while pursuing their goals. Successful people are like you and me and prone to feeling unmotivated from time to time. The difference however, is they have a strong framework of habits to fall back on. They don’t contemplate giving up or changing their goal, but will adjust their route to get there. Consider an author who wants to write an 80,000 word novel and encounters periods of being unmotivated. They know if they miss a day of writing, they will fall behind their deadline and soon enough their publisher will be on their back to complete the novel. Whilst projects and deadlines are good motivators, they can sometimes work against us depending on our motivational type. So if we respond favourably to deadlines, as long as we have sound habits in place, we will likely stick to our goals. Knowing this, what habits do you have in place to mitigate a loss of motivation? Do these habits work for you and how do you measure their effectiveness?
“The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it,” is the advice from authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. We must find ways to motivate ourselves, knowing conditions needn’t be optimal to tackle our goals. That is, we may wake up feeling tired or with a cold or flu and still pursue our goals, anyway. That’s why sound habits are important, especially when we are less inclined to pursue them. For example, when writing one of my earlier books I made a plan to complete one thousand words per day, in order to finish the manuscript in less than ninety days. However, there were days when life got in the way and I missed writing due to other pressing matters. Yet, through good habits I made up for it in the ensuing days by writing two thousand words or more. A strange thing happened as a result. The momentum of my habits pulled me along and within sixty days I completed over ninety five percent of the manuscript. I was ahead because my habits forced me to focus on the task instead of being dictated by external factors. At the saying goes: “Easy to do, easy not to do.”
Create Sound Habits And Stick To Them
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” — Zig Ziglar
In a similar vein, the advice from Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is one that should be followed earnestly: “Getting extraordinary results is all about creating a domino effect in your life.” I recall years ago when I was coaching clients with their health goals, many were frustrated setting goals with a specific end date. To their way of thinking, the goal seemed difficult to reach because there was a gap separating their desires from where they stood. Most times, the client had not formed habits in this area and it was my task to help them create the right ones to reach their goals. They were surprised when I set a plan that involved walking around the block twice in the first week and increased it over the coming weeks. I imagine they were looking for a magic nutritional formula, specific exercises and supplements to achieve their goals, yet it was much simpler than that. I wanted to first create sound habits they could stick to until it became second nature. It required focussing on building a solid foundation in the initial stages. When they were secure with their habit, the momentum was like a wheel rolling downhill; it gathered enough energy to keep it moving.
I liken it to consulting with an architect when planning on building a new home. In the initial discussion, they are unlikely to discuss the fittings for the kitchen or bathroom since that comes later on. It involves agreeing on the designs for the foundations and framework first, then the rest will follow. “Success is actually a short race — a sprint fuelled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over,” affirm authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan once more. That is the key principle of this article. Smaller steps become giant strides of momentum if we keep moving forward towards our goals. If we stop or quit, you must find the motivation to start again and create new habits from scratch. Quitting is not the answer, however adapting our plan should be the aim if we wish to reach our goals.