What is something that has been on your “to do list” for more than a week, month, or even a year? If you’re like most people you can name several goals that you’ve been meaning to accomplish, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.
Time is the number one reason people mention for putting things off. We have other more pressing things to attend to and our priorities shift based on what we are doing in the present moment. Motivation is also part of the equation. Immediate gratification often gets behind the wheel and takes us for a ride while our best intentions end up in the back seat! Although this happens to all of us, there are some proven methods that can help us slide back into the driver’s seat. Here are a few ways to reach our destination.
- Get out your calendar and write it down. Studies show that when we write down our goals we are more likely to follow through.
- State your intention out loud with a specific date, time and place. Ex. “I will lift weights at 6:00 Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the YMCA.” Speaking out loud embeds our goal(s) to a greater degree in our subconscious mind and helps us remember more. In fact, if you have a tendency to lose (certain) things, state out loud where you are putting the object in the moment. I have started doing this with my car keys and am amazed at how effective this simple strategy is.
- Take baby steps. It’s much easier to be successful when you start out by tweaking actions slightly. Do this by breaking a task into several components. For example, if you want to learn how to play a musical instrument practice for 5 minutes per day the first week and add 5 minutes every week thereafter. Tweaking times, schedules and daily rituals will be less of a jolt to your psyche and will help you build confidence and motivation while developing new habits.
- Remember to keep in mind that accomplishing goals and learning something new takes time and is NOT an upward projectory. It’s more of a zigzag! Just by virtue of trying you are on the path of success. It isn’t easy to forge a different trail. Climbing any mountain requires perseverance. Success is not just about numbers and getting to the top of the mountain. It’s about the experiences we have along the way and our ability to “be” in each moment during our journey that help us create a new reality.
- Give yourself and others a break. Once we start to make progress, it’s sometimes easy to assume that if we can do it, so can everyone else. It’s not just about changing our mindset. Self-awareness is essential, and even when people understand the reason for their actions or lack thereof there are still components that are deeply embedded in our psyche that subconsciously drive us toward decisions. Research indicates that at least 90% of our choices are made at the subconscious level! Reaching deep inside to access these thoughts and feelings isn’t always as easy as it seems. Even though we “know the steps” required, creating change is a process that requires time and a genuine desire to change not just at the conscious level, but at the subconscious level too. When this occurs new habits will take root and grow within, becoming a part of who we are.