How Small Steps Towards Your Goals Become Giant Strides Of Momentum

Published on: January 28, 2018

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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, so 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 achieve 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. 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 itself is meaningless. It is the joy of the experience and who we become that makes it worthwhile.

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. 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 succeed?

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 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?

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, to finish the manuscript on time. However, there were days when life got in the way and I missed out on writing anything 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 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

I recall years ago when I was coaching clients with their health goals, many were frustrated setting goals with a specific end date. As they saw it, the goal seemed difficult because of the gap separating their desires from their current position. 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 increasing 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 to build 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. 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. With this in mind, consider a current goal that you want to give up on? What small steps could you take each day? Think small and remain committed to the actions required to achieve it. Recall my earlier example of writing a book? Whilst 1,000 words a day may seem like a lot of work, it could be chunked down to 500 words written in the morning and afternoon. The key is consistency. Quitting is not the answer, however adapting our plan should be the aim if we wish to reach our goals.

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