As I was putting together my vision and goals for 2019, I started to reflect on the factors that actually contribute to me continuing and progressing in achieving my goals and dreams and I was in for quite a surprise. Here is what I found :
I am disciplined, a very hard worker and very dedicated to any task I set my mind to. You would think these (3) would be the perfect recipe for continuation! Surprisingly, time and time again, these same values that drive me to get things done are the same values that hinder my progress……..unless I balance them with the 3 Cs of continuation:
Whenever I have a goal to achieve, my default is to be so result and achievement-oriented that I almost expect myself to operate like a machine. My motto is “Get it done then have fun!”. I prepare a perfect plan and expect myself to work perfectly according to the plan. I do not intentionally account for rest time, fun time, times where I will just do nothing, times when I do not feel up to doing what I am supposed to be doing, or times where I will just be unproductive and my mind will draw a total blank completely against my will.
Well, guess what, whether I account for these times or not, they happen and when I don’t plan for them, embrace and invite them, I start feeling very guilty, which makes things even worse and means I produce even less as I go into a vicious cycle of self-blame, beating myself up and losing motivation.
The paradox is that when I do enjoy the times I cheat on the plan, and actually plan them and look forward to them and don’t feel guilty, it gives me a breather so I go back to my plan with more energy and drive !
Things go wrong all the time. I make mistakes. I fail. I start off on a very high note, and then cannot keep up the same momentum beyond a week. And unless I consciously allow time to accept all this and be o.k. with it, I give up and believe it is hopeless and then leave the whole plan and start constructing another one in the hope it will work next time ! And guess what, the next time is no different…
The only time I keep going is when I accept all that happens knowing it is meant to happen, when I learn from every fall, when I give myself time to heal when I feel down, and when I let go of the all or nothing bias and remind myself that every small step counts!
I feel good and things progress when I am grateful for every step as it is, not as I want it or expect it to be, and when I just make sure I give my 100% every day, even if my 100% on one day is 10% of another day. I don’t compare and I don’t judge !
In line with my motto of “Get it done then have fun!”, I also tend to celebrate the big achievement when all is done and I can see a big tangible result worth celebrating ! And I tell myself that will give me the motivation to keep going till I have something worth celebrating.
Well guess what, it’s frustrating and no fun when I do that ! What I have learnt is that I need to live and celebrate every quick win and every failure and every effort and and every learning along the way. For one, it gives me the boost to keep going. And the ultimate truth is that life is all about the journey not the destination. When I only celebrate when big things are done, I end up missing to live in the moment, I almost forget to feel and live all the little things along the way which make up the whole journey of life ! In essence, I forget to live………
Many of us have big dreams, but why is it that so few of us actually achieve them while the rest of us get constantly distracted by our daily tasks that don’t seem to end and never get around to working on our dreams?
Without realizing it, many of us underestimate the effort it takes to achieve a dream or big goal. As a result, it can be easy to have an expectation that starting that business, writing that book, getting out of debt, or achieving that target should unfold more easily than it actually will. Then when months and sometimes years pass without any progress, we become disappointed and frustrated.
The critical question to ask yourself this year as you put down visualize and write down your big dream for the year is to ask yourself “What will I have to let go of or give up to achieve what you want? What is the required compromise?”
You may find you will need to give up certain people, or it may be certain tasks, or work you wanted to take on, or it could be social time, a habit or even a much-awaited trip. Whatever it is, unless you are willing to compromise, you will not move forward.
Whatever it is you need to give up, keep in mind that you may not have to give it up forever, but be disciplined enough to give it up for as long as you need. You cannot have it all………..and you have to learn to say “NO” to the good and advantageous in order to say “YES” to the best !