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Getting Unstuck

It’s about that time of year when we start making end of summer - back to school year goals. With the changing seasons we often feel a sense of renewal and seek a fresh start. Are you contemplating big goals that leave you feeling excited and motivated or several mini-goals that feel manageable?

There are a couple ways to think about those goals that will help kick things back into gear!

The key to success is self discipline.

Consider thinking about self discipline as letting your future self win more often than you let your present self indulge. A trade off in the present, to put your future self in a position you want to be. Either your present self wins by enjoying something in the moment (instant gratification), or your future self wins by being in a better position, because of a sacrifice your past self made. It’s a win-win situation, and there’s an element of sacrifice in both scenarios. Whether you let your future or present self win, you’re not avoiding discomfort, you’re just choosing it now or later.

So what does your future self want? What are you willing to give up now to allow your future self to be more comfortable? Is this a sacrifice you’re willing to make? If not, you may need to implement some motivation and commitment.

Motivation is a hard feeling to conjure up. Some days we have the energy and right attitude to accomplish anything, and other days we find ourselves in a rut. We can’t just wait around for the days when we are blessed with motivation, because they might be few and far between; it’s a rather fleeting emotion. However, motivation can come when we aid it with a little bit of momentum.

Maybe you have a goal to read a chapter of a book every day. One particular day, a whole chapter might seem daunting, but what if you decide just to pick up the book and read a few pages to see how that goes? Once you’re reading you might find that there is no reason to dread it, and the momentum you’ve gained by reading a couple pages will bring the motivation to keep going. Self discipline is needed to get the ball rolling, but after you take the first step the rest will come much easier.

Commitment means action.

Think about something that is really easy to be committed to. Showing up for your job is something you probably do no matter what, whether you’re super busy or you’re tired, or it’s hot outside. That’s because you know the consequences and benefits of going to work, and showing up when you’re supposed to is a reasonable and realistic thing to be committed to.

When you’re first getting into the swing of things with a goal, you need to make your commitments as reasonable and realistic as showing up for work. Make them something you would do no matter what. Starting small with your commitments and sticking to them will build self confidence in your ability to follow through. Before long, bigger (but still realistic) commitments will not seem so intimidating.

Get going on those goals again! You’ve got this.

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