Don’t Quit But Readjust Your Plans
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn
Daily action, irrespective of its size compounds into greater momentum. We must move forward towards our goals irrespective of what is encountered along the way. The journey to reach our goals is seldom easy, in fact it was never meant to be easy. The purpose of goals is the personal growth experienced along the way. I’m not suggesting the final goal is of lesser importance, yet were it not for the growth that takes place, the goal is meaningless. It is the joy of the experience and who we become while pursuing the goal that makes it worthwhile. Have you achieved a goal in the past and noticed the improvements in your confidence and self-esteem?
Quitting when the going gets tough is taking the easy way out, readjusting our plans however should be our primary focus. Abandoning our goals is akin to flying from one destination to another, when our plane is unexpectedly stranded at a stopover. As a result, we return home instead of finding an alternative route to our destination. This is what many people do in terms of their goals. They give up when the going gets tough because they lack the confidence to find a solution, or are frustrated overcoming their challenges. However, that is the purpose of goals: to find new ways to reach them, gain new skills and discover more about ourselves.
Find Ways To Motivate Yourself
“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.” — Stephen Covey
To achieve our goals, we must establish firm habits as a framework to reach them. Without good habits we are being controlled by external conditions and our internal world. Goals require constant motion and making informed decisions explains author Larry Weidel: “If you want to win, you have to keep moving forward. To keep moving forward, you have to keep making decisions.” I’ve coached many hundreds of people who lose inspiration while pursuing their goals. Successful people are like you and me and are prone to feel unmotivated from time to time. The difference however, is they have a strong framework of habits to fall back on. They don’t contemplate giving up or changing their goal, but will adjust their route to get there.
Consider the example of an author who wants to write an 80,000 word novel and encounters periods of not being motivated. They know if they miss a day of writing, they will fall behind their deadline and soon their publisher will be on their back to complete the novel. Whilst projects and deadlines are good motivators, they can sometimes work against us depending on our motivational type (intrinsic vs extrinsic). So, if we respond favourably to deadlines, as long as we have sound habits in place, we will likely stick to our goals. I value the advice from authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan who write in The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results: “The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it.”
We must find ways to motivate ourselves, knowing conditions needn’t be optimal to pursue our goals. That is, we may wake up feeling tired or with a cold or flu and still pursue our goals, anyway. That’s why sound habits are important, especially when we are less inclined to pursue them. For example, when writing one of my earlier books I made a plan to complete one thousand words per day, in order to finish the manuscript in less than ninety days. However, there were days when life got in the way and I missed writing due to other pressing matters. Yet, through good habits I made up for it in the ensuing days by writing two thousand words or more. A strange thing happened as a result: the momentum of my habits pulled me along and within sixty days I completed over ninety five percent of the manuscript. I was ahead because my habits forced me to focus on the task instead of being dictated by external factors. At the saying goes: “Easy to do, easy not to do.”
Create Sound Habits And Stick To Them
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” — Zig Ziglar
Some years ago, I was coaching clients with their health goals and realised many were frustrated setting goals with a certain end date. The goal seemed difficult to reach because there was a gap separating their desires from where they stood. Most times, the client had not formed habits in this area and it was my task to help them create the right habits to reach their goals. They were surprised when I set a plan that involved walking around the block twice in the first week and increasing it over the coming weeks. I imagine they were looking for a magic nutritional formula, specific exercises and supplements to achieve their goals, yet it was much simpler than that. I wanted to create sound habits they could stick to until it became second nature. It required focusing on building a solid foundation in the initial stages. Think about the habits you have in place? Are they serving you? How might you change or adjust them for a better outcome?
When they had established their new habit, the momentum was like a wheel rolling downhill; it gathered enough energy to keep it moving. I liken it to consulting with an architect when planning on building a new home. In the initial discussion, they are unlikely to discuss the fittings for the kitchen or bathroom since that comes later on. The initial discussion involves agreeing on the designs and framework first, then the rest will follow. That is the key principle of this article: smaller steps lead to greater momentum if we keep moving forward towards our goals. With this in mind, consider what small steps you can take to work towards your goals. What is the smallest adjustment you can make in your habits for greater impact? If we stop or quit, we must find the motivation to start again and create new habits from scratch. Quitting is seldom the answer, however adapting our plan should be the aim if we wish to reach our goals.