How often do you complete what you started? It is challenging even for the best of us to stay motivated long enough to finish a goal. When I finished my University degree I remember how good it felt to receive that diploma. I stuck with something long enough to complete it and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that came with.
Many people will fail even before they begin something. It is as if they have already made up their minds about the outcome and figure they shouldn’t even bother. It is a common condition and I think it is because we always want to preserve our self esteem. If we don’t try, we won’t fail and therefore we won’t feel like a failure. But if we don’t try, we won’t put ourselves in a position to succeed either.
How do we cross the finish line and complete what we have started? I’ve outlined five steps below to help you stay the course long enough to achieve your goals:
1. Don’t let the past dictate your future. If you have made some mistakes in the past or have the tendency to not follow through with your plans, that’s okay. Let it rest in the past, just because it happened doesn’t mean it will happen again. Besides, you know more now than you did then and you are reading these guidelines!
2. Have a plan and stick to it. What is it that you want to create, achieve, or pursue? Write it out very clearly then outline a plan. How much time will you put into it? An hour a day, a week, or a month? Block off time in your calendar and do it, don’t let anything get in the way. Some days you will not feel like it and other days you will- just keep focused on your plan.
3. Expect emotions. Remember the high that you felt when you thought of this amazing idea, venture, or project? Well, it won’t last. Sorry to burst your bubble but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t an idea worth pursuing. It just means that the emotion of excitement will eventually pass. Don’t let that stop you, emotions will come and go. Sometimes you will feel excited and other times you will feel doubtful and even fearful of the process. If this is something that commonly throws you off track then # 4 is for you.
4. Get supported. A support system helps you navigate the ups and downs and keeps you on track. What does a support system look like? It could be friends, family, co-workers, a coach, or a counselor. It must be someone who knows your plan and will follow up with you and encourage you to continue through your challenges. Why do you think running groups are so successful?
5. Check in often. Check in, check in and check in. Your initial plan might need a little tweaking here and there. Don’t toss the baby out with the bath water. As you learn more and experience more you may realize that your initial goal wasn’t exactly what you wanted. That’s fine, in fact it’s great! This is what growth is all about. Set up a feedback system and see what is working and not working. Journal on it so you know what that is and then make a plan to accommodate it.
What have you been trying to achieve but keep struggling with?