[Excerpt from Empowered – by Nicolette Brink]
It is that time of year when we all set our goals for the coming year. Straight up truth – the successful person has had this year’s goals planned out probably over a year ago, and since then, they’ve held planning sessions on a regular basis and made little tweaks to the timeline and requirements for achieving those goals.
Since you might be learning how to set small goals and are still figuring out just how to make them happen, let me give a different method to test out. It works.
Say you are starting a new job. Perhaps it is not your dream job, it might even be a temporary means to an end while you are creating your dream career or are simply in between good jobs.
Maybe you want to try a new yoga or spin class. Or want to volunteer at your child’s school or in the community. You may have been dabbling in a new hobby and want to see what would happen if you invested more of your time and resources into it.
Whatever it is you have going on, stick it out.
There are intrinsic, priceless lessons and values to be learned, built and honed by sticking out something for an extended time frame.
Successful people know this, and they give themselves time to learn, adapt and adjust to new things before simply deciding they are ready to move on to something else more challenging.
Let us use that new job example. Maybe you are fresh out of college, just moved to a new city or got laid off. Maybe you even got fired. Doesn’t matter.
Find something that will require a bit more out of you than what you are used to.
This new job may involve standing on your feet instead of sitting down all day, or it might be more of a service job than technical. You may be required to step up and speak out, or stand down and remain quiet. The point is, make yourself a fish out of water and learn to adjust to what this particular job requires of you. The job may be a step down, a step out, or a step up. Set yourself a designated ‘Enough is enough’ date to simply quit and walk away and make a newer, better change in your life. And until then, resolve to stick this one out.
Return to the example of trying a new exercise class or gym. You likely do feel like a fish out of water. This is sooooo good for you! The people that attend know the place like the back of their hand, they are fit, they are strong, they know the routine and they are good at it. Many are terrified of going to the gym for fear of looking like a fool, messing up, and simply not knowing what to do and how to do it.
Guess what. Every single person in that gym (or class) started out the same and every single person there experienced the same anxieties and fears you have.
The difference – they decided they were worth it and they stuck to it.
Every single athlete has to learn the steps, the movements, the skills to be able to be fit, strong, and know how to play their sport. Every single class instructor was also a beginner. The athlete simply fell in love with the fun of their sport. The instructor – fell in love with the hard work, with seeing others working hard and getting better, and decided they too wanted to be part of that inspiration.
I can tell you why all the diets fail. They are short term. The 7 day, 21 day (three week), 3 month plans all fail because they do not have a long enough time line for you to work on and develop the traits for long term success. There is something to be said about sticking things out.
So just how do we stick it out. How the hell do you stick with something for one year when you haven’t been able to do it for three months or even a week?
Part of switching gears to long term thinking and achievement is a personal learning curve. I can sit here all day and tell how we (successful) people do it, but you have to actually do it yourself and go through it in order to truly get it and grasp it.
If you really struggle with seeing things through, set a goal of sticking with your new plan for six months. But I will also tell you that you are selling yourself short. Here’s why. Anytime you achieve something that you have personally claimed as a big achievement (in this case doing something for six months) there is a stop, celebrate, and now what phase afterwards. And if you are one that really struggles with seeing things through, you likely won’t start it again, and if you do, enough time will have passed that you will pretty much be starting all over again.
That extra six months builds your resolve and discipline to get up and keep showing up regardless of what is going on in your life.
Part of the personal learning curve is learning your own personal weaknesses and strengths and learning to observe yourself. What it is you actually do and what you do not do, both of which start out as decisions. Nobody can or will know this for you. You have to learn how to observe and adjust as you go. Your strengths are someone else’s weaknesses and vice versa.
Maybe showing up is the easy part for you, and you struggle with wanting to quit when it gets hard and painful. Maybe you struggle with getting there, but once you do, you are a powerhouse example for others to follow. Maybe you are very emotional and get worked up in your own unnecessary chaos. Maybe you allow yourself to make every excuse under the sun.
The thing is, to achieve long term goals and big dreams, which often require a time frame of a few years, you’ve got to train your mind to think, plan, believe, and do long term. There is no start, screw it up, start over, mess it up and restart in achieving success.
Success is about giving yourself the chance to try something enough times to learn how to actually do it and do it well.
Learn the success definition of the word failure – giving yourself the chance to see what doesn’t work, to learn your weaknesses, so you can learn what will work and what you need to work on to make it work.
There is no quit, stop and give up option.
It is simply put forth effort, observe the results that effort brought you, adjust, put in a bit more effort the next day and repeat.
Success (those long term goals and big dreams) involves believing big (and long term), putting in the best effort you can each day, observing what is and isn’t working, adjusting, and continuing to put forth your best effort every day. That effort improves over the long haul, it gets stronger and wiser. But it takes time. That is why you must accept that you are capable of setting a long term goal and sticking something out for a long time.
There will be days you don’t want to. There will be days it sucks. There will be days you have to make tough choices and sacrifices. There will be days of real struggle.
There will also be equal number of days where you will want to.
There will be days it will be fun.
There will be days when you learn new skills.
There will be days when what once seemed difficult becomes easy.
There will be days of real solid progress.
There will be days when you look back and wonder why in the hell didn’t you start sooner and why on earth didn’t you finish the things you tried before.
There will be days when you see and feel the difference in who you are now compared to the person you were on day one. When you get to the end of that one year goal, you will see yourself separated from most people.
You will reach a day when you come to the realization you can pick yourself right back up again and again, unshaken, undeterred and more focused than before. You will realize you are capable of doing so much more than you ever realized.
Most people can’t stick anything out at all. Most people can’t pick themselves up and stand on their own two feet.
So do it. Set it out for yourself to stick with something. Something that is new, different, challenging, and will require you to learn, grow and become someone other than what and who you are now.
When you look at champions and business owners and wealthy retirees, you will look at them with a new sense of respect and appreciation. They figured out how to stick it out, and in sticking it out they developed the character of what it takes to be a champion, to be a business owner, and to retire wealthy.
Are you ready to begin creating and achieving goals?
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