We’ve all been there before…we find a goal that inspires us and we commit to doing the work—until life derails us. Whether it was that vacation, your assistant suddenly quits, or there is a death in the family, the truth is life sometimes distracts us from our goals. Dealing with the disruption is one thing; getting back on track can be another.
Here are four tips for sticking to your goals and getting back on track.
Tip #1: Focus on the Reward—Not the Work
Wise sages advise us to “be in the moment,” but let’s face it—you don’t always feel like running that last mile. You’re human; sometimes you lose your motivation in the middle of having to do the work.
If you’re losing your motivation, switch your focus on the reward. Focus on the good feelings of having accomplished your goal and how much easier it will be the next time because you will have broken through another limiting belief.
“We only learn our limits by going beyond them.” ~Unknown
Tip #2: The Have-Tos Sometimes Turn into the Want-Tos
The work involved with achieving goals can feel like a “have-to” in the beginning, but they often turn into a “want-to” by the end of the process. They become a positive habit —a healthy way of being—while the work part eventually melts away.
This happens because it’s not always about the end result—it’s about the person you become as a result of the process.
When you learn a new way of living—a way of living that better represents and supports your true potential—things that used to be a “have-to” transform into a “want-to.”
“Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” ~Charles A. Jaffe
Tip #3: It’s Who You Become in the Process
The person you woke up as today may not be the same person you wake up as tomorrow, or the day after that, or next week or ten years from now.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly who you’ll be in the future, it’s a safe bet that you will not be the exact same person.
Life is a process of constant change and transformation. Each day we learn more about ourselves, which results in greater clarity of our true desires. The path between where we are and where we want to be becomes more clear and focused, creating a deep and focused desire to see the process through.
Setting goals—and the work involved with achieving them—is not so much about the end result as much as a deep, and often indefinable, desire to fulfill our greatest potential: To grow, to expand, to become all that we can be.
The person you end up becoming by the end of a journey (the process of goal setting and achieving is most definitely a journey!) is not the same person who started the journey. Achieving goals teaches you that you had what it took to achieve something you maybe weren’t sure you could in the beginning.
The process teaches you that you had more than you thought: more guts, more stamina, more determination, more commitment, more skill. The process shifts your perceptions, increases your self-esteem, confidence and boosts your mindset—all of which changes how you feel about the “work.”
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~Zig Ziglar
Tip #4: Do You Want to Start Over Again?
When you realize that each decision could carry a consequence, you can begin to make better decisions. If you spend energy and time doing the work, it doesn’t take too much “undoing” or “starting again” before you discover you do not want to do something twice or three times if you only have to do it once.
We see this time and time again in people who unconsciously (sometimes consciously) sabotage their hard work. They take two steps forward then three steps back. They go to the gym only to go home and overindulge in a bowl of ice cream. They run five miles each day for two weeks only to spend the next six months being sedentary. They quit smoking for one week only to avoid kicking the habit for another year.
When you realize the amount of work that goes into achieving your goals, taking two steps forward only to take three steps back hardly seems worth it.
Each day is a new opportunity to make better choices. The next time you’re tempted to renege on your promise or detract from your success, stop. Stop and ask: “Do I want to undo the work I’ve already done? Do I really want to start over again?”
“All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world are the result of definitely directed thought.” ~James Allen
Above all, remember that life can sometimes come at you unexpectedly. There is no failure in temporary distractions as long as you get back on track, headed in the direction in which you desire to go.