So here you are. You are ready to make a change. You’ve looked at yourself in the mirror, or at your finances, or at that habit you want to kick, or at your life in general, and decided you want to be better. Awesome. Now what? How do you go from wanting to change, to making the change, to being a success?
The first step is to realize that your belief in what you can accomplish is based far too heavily on what you have already done in the past. This is why so many adults reach a certain point, stagnate, and stop growing. When you keep doing what you have always done, you keep getting the same results. This creates a self-affirming habit loop that can create a less than optimal life.
Setting an impossible goal is not about unrealistic expectations. You are not going to suddenly grow 8 inches and play in the NBA next year. An impossible goal is one that, though you have never done anything like it before (lost 30 lbs, payed off your debt, saved up $10,000, started your own business, etc.), it is something you deeply desire to accomplish in your life. You may not remember a time when you were so ambitious. You’ve failed every attempt at weight loss so far. In fact, it may have made your overall weight just get worse over the years of trying and giving up. You may have more debt than you want to acknowledge, a mountain that seems will always be a looming presence in your life. You may think, based upon your perception of your past, you are destined to try and fail again. To repeat history.
These self-limiting beliefs are lies you tell yourself. Recognize this and tell yourself out loud: “That’s a lie that’s holding me back!” If you dig back more, you will find countless little wins you have had in your life. That is how anything is accomplished, big or small. It starts with building on one win, one day at a time.
Big goals, small steps. That’s how it’s done.
How do we focus on the here and now in such a way as to create a series of events that leads up to the big impossible goal?
If you are at a loss about where to even start, it’s time to do your homework. Look to those who have had success in what you are looking to do as well. This will not only give you motivation to see someone else who was in your similar position accomplish what you want to accomplish, but you can also get tips on how to get there.
“Success leaves a trail,” as Tony Robbins says.
The next step is to find a support group, a mentor, and/or a coach. This creates accountability, a sounding board, a team to help trouble shoot problems that WILL come up, and a source of support. Let that person(s) bolster your faith in yourself, even if you don’t have it yet. That’s ok. Fake it till you make it. And make it you will.
Be willing to FAIL FORWARD. Don’t be willing to not take the action today. No. Take the action, but be willing to not see the result right now you wanted to see. So you stuck to your meal plan, did your workout, drank your water and got your rest, and tomorrow the scale isn’t down like you wanted. It doesn’t matter. FAIL FORWARD. Make adjustments when needed to keep going in the direction you want, but realize the line forward is NEVER straight. EVER. Just let that go right now. There will be ups and down and stagnations. But in the grand scheme, over weeks, months, maybe even years, the overall trend will be in the direction you want. This is what really matters.
Focus on daily habits, but don’t get lost in the trees.
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times with out as much as a crack showing in it. Yet, at the hundredth and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it – but all that had gone before” – Jacob Riis