I’ve accomplished some really tough sh*t. I’ve also been an epic quitter.
And what I’ve realized is, no matter how big or small your goal is, no matter how motivated you are, no matter what tools, time, or “accountability partners” are available to you, if you don’t have the commitment to getting to the end result, nothing will get you there.
But isn’t that what we’re all searching for? How to STAY COMMITTED?
That’s the hard part, the task we are hoping to achieve isn’t THAT difficult if we really think about it. There’s so much information on HOW to accomplish something- weight loss, writing a book, running a marathon, making a million dollars- but all the information in the world doesn’t put that unwavering determination into place.
After feeling for many years that my life was a series of unfinished dreams, things I started and never actually completed, I knew enough was enough. I was tired of explaining to people who were excited about my ideas that I had shared with them that I had put that plan on the “back burner” or that it was “coming along”, knowing that I hadn’t worked on it in months. The worst was telling people that I was, yet again, “starting fresh”.
Starting fresh. I hate hearing that. Most of the time, we don’t need to “start fresh”. We need to KEEP GOING.
What some of us do in our goal seeking is make a mistake, quit (or just do it here and there), and then feel really bad about it and vow to start over.
When you screw up, do NOT go back to the beginning. That’s like driving to a friend’s house for the first time and every time you make a wrong turn, you just drive all the way back home so that you can start over fresh. Get back on the correct freeway and KEEP GOING!
Here are the 5 Steps I use to achieve all of my goals (like the time I ran two 26.2 mile marathons two weeks apart from each other and fainted in the middle of the second and had to be carried into an ambulance by 4 hot Marines.)
1. The Clear End Result
What, exactly are you going to accomplish? Set that down. That very, very clear result you desire. Do not make it unclear, it must be VERY specific.
This is an example of unclear: I want to lose weight. Here is clear: I want to fit into a size 4, I want to weigh 140.
Unclear: I want to travel more. Clear: I want to go to Spain in May 2014.
Unclear: I want to get out of debt. Clear: I want all of my credit cards to have a zero balance and my credit score to be 740.
2. Work Backwards.
Most people want to run at their goal from the start line. Well, when I was running my marathon, even though I hadn’t run the course yet, there were markers directing me where to go next, how far I’ve gone and what I’ve accomplished. There was also a course map provided to give me an idea of the elevation I would hit, the hills ahead of me, and bathroom and water stations.
Why don’t we do this for business? And for weight loss? And for wealth goals?
Starting with the end in mind, plot backwards. What is the one thing that has to happen immediately before you reach your goal before it happens? What has to happen for THAT last step to happen? What “mile markers” are there for you along the way to your goal that tell you that you’ve made progress? WHat will it take to reach each of those indicators?
When you have a clear map of how to get there (from the end point), you end up right where you are now: at the start. But this time, you know where to go.
3. The Routine
Commit to a schedule. Hey, you don’t skip meals very often do you? I mean, maybe you have a bad day and forgot to bring lunch to work on the same day that you were running out and couldn’t grab breakfast. But you’re right back at it the next day, like clockwork, eating your weird little tuna sandwich and coconut water.
“That’s silly Monica, we need food consistently to survive, to have brain power, to have energy.”
Well, why is it so important to feed your body if you’re going to starve your goals?
Give your dreams the DAILY nourishment they need to survive, have power and energy to be accomplished.
Every day, without fault, you should be doing something that moves you forward. It should feel WEIRD to not feed your goal on an off day. You should feel starving when you miss a day.
4. The Mantra
The one thing that keeps me going each day to reach a goal is my mantra. I usually pick 3 words or a sentence. When I am running, I say a phrase over and over in my head (and it eventually becomes real words, I know people on the street think I’m talking to myself) . I say something like, “You can do this, run more, keep running. You can do this, you can do this. Just to the tree. Just to the tree. You can run to that tree.” Over and over and over, I obsessively fill my head with encouraging chatter, the same variations of sentences over and over and over. And it pushes me. Then when I get to the tree, I don’t want to stop there. I then make more dialogue in my head to drown out the fatigue, the “I’m fat”, the “ok I think I went far enough for today” chatter. “Go, go, go, you’re fast today. Keep running, keep running, look how close we are. Just to the stop sign, just to the stop sign. Hello stop sign, just to the light pole just to the light pole”. I find a rhythm and it becomes addictive and almost euphoric.
5. The Heart
Use your tears to give you a reason to keep going. The depression. The hurt. The anger. Did you really feel this hurt just to give up NOW? Really?
Did you work this hard this past week restricting yourself of food or social media or buying things just to give it all up?? When it gets tough to keep going and you want to break down, think to yourself, I am not going to quit because I’m crying. I’m going to cry to keep going. The pain is the point that means you are ALMOST clear of the addiction to a passive lifestyle. The pain is the end of your old habits physically being transformed into new, amazing behavior, which will get you that goal.
Let’s Keep This Momentum Going.
Come hang out with me on Facebook so I can motivate the hell out of you to get organized and get going.