Harness Your Motivation, Even if You Believe It’ll Disappear

Person standing on bike frame, holding on to handlebars, with a bunch of balloons around the upper body.We’re about to be inundated with all the tips and tricks of starting New Years’ Resolutions and how to stick to them. The counter culture to that usually declares that New Years’ Resolutions are a waste of time, that they’re fluff, and so why bother?

Again, I’m in the middle. I’m as guilty as the next person for not remembering my New Years’ Resolutions by the spring. I’ve picked up some habits now to help with that (more on that in a minute), but let me ask this question:

What is so wrong with harnessing that motivation at the beginning of the year to try and reach your goals?

It’s like riding a bike uphill. Some have the endurance to just keep going, while others need to stop and take a pause. Of those taking the break, some will get off and walk, and others will push down on the pedal and feel that initial surge of power that comes with that extra strong push, and they’ll keep riding up the hill. Their inertia will continually decrease until they stop again, push on the pedal, and start riding again. Even if they, too, give up and just walk, when another hill comes, they’ll likely first try riding up it again.

Why must New Years’ Resolutions be 100% successful 100% of the time?

I  started thinking about my goals for 2015 back in November. I picked up a tip from Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles: write your goals down and carry them in your pocket. I bought a tiny Moleskine notebook that’s maybe 2 x 3 inches, and it goes with me pretty much everywhere. I review my goals often throughout the day. At night, I review the goals while stretching (I stretch before going to bed), and the booklet sleeps on my mightstand, waiting to live the next day in its second home, my pants pocket.

I’ve found a few benefits to carrying my goals with me:

  1. I don’t forget them.
  2. If I’m stressed, feeling down, or overwhelmed, I pull them out of my pocket and they automatically help me refocus.
  3. Because my goals encompass several aspects of my life, reviewing them also ensures that I don’t become too headstrong in one area (e.g., career) and let others (e.g., family) fall behind.

Many of our goals are big. People often want to lost 50, 75, even 100 lbs. (and some even more). Others want to double their income. Starting a new meditation practice is, I believe, also popular. These are challenging goals, and they should be: that’s how we stretch ourselves as human beings. I do firmly believe that every step we take towards those goals, even if we eventually falter, is a step closer to achieving them. As I’ve written before, every little bit helps. If I’m back to my old habits by December 2015, then I’ll simply start again. Only by then, I’ll have had a year’s worth of experience to help me start again in a smarter way.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Happy New Year! I’ll be back in January with my next post.

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