In our last article I Think I Can – I Think I Can – I… Oh… Pt I, we looked at how easy it is to fail before we even begin. OK, so it’s not the most inspirational thing I have ever posted, but it is a reality. We’ve all seen our goals and resolutions lying in tatters as we achieve another failure. So what went wrong? I’ll tell you this, it is easier to explain than it is to fix.
Did you really plan your purpose? We live in a world where instant gratification is king. Willpower is easily broken when an easier option comes along, or the desire for chocolate is stronger than the desire to be healthy. Willpower is unreliable and it will let you down. That’s not to say that self-control or willpower are a bad thing, or that they can’t get you through times of high emotion or temptation – they can, which is how you made those first few days of meeting your ‘new you goal’. The problem with willpower is that it is a crummy way of life, and it isn’t sustainable indefinitely. Eventually it will fail, and when it fails it takes a part of your being with it.
So what can you do to achieve your goals, and keep them for the long haul?
You need to think of the purpose – really visualise the future and ask yourself these questions:
1 – What will be different if I do meet my goal?
2 – What will be different if I don’t?
The second question may seem pointless, but think on it a little. If your goal is to quit smoking and you don’t change your lifestyle, are you sure nothing will be different? Or if you’re struggling with addiction and on the edge of losing everything, are you sure things will be the same 5 years from now?
These two questions will help you think about the positives or negatives as a result of your choices and actions. One thing is for sure, things will not be the same in the years to come if you do nothing.
Finally, here is the big question to consider to help you get back on track when screw up:
3 – What will I do when I fail?
I’ve met many people in life who have said things like “Failure is not an option”. You know what, they’re right. It’s not an option, it’s a built-in feature of life. It will happen.
The important factors are not to think about whether it will happen, but how prepared you will be to limit the damage, and how will you pick yourself up when it happens?
In our last article we looked at why we fail. In our next article we will give a few practical steps on how to set a foundation for long-term success.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Know what you want to achieve. Not in a SMART goal kind of way, but in a practical, life-impacting kind of way. Visualise the future and find the purpose.
2 – Think about the consequences, good and bad for meeting or not meeting the goal. Remember, whatever you do, in five years you won’t be where you are today. What are you working towards?
3 – Have a plan for when that piece of cake or cigarette happens. The goal isn’t ended. Terminal failure isn’t imminent. Take your assessment of success and failure away from whether you had a slice of cake, or a cigarette, it doesn’t matter in the overall scheme of things. Outside of a very serious medical condition, one piece of cake won’t make a difference in a year’s time.
Tomorrow is a new day. In fact, a minute from now is a new minute. Whatever your goal, and no matter how badly you may have missed it, you can start again right now.
Part III of this trilogy is here.
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