You are excited and you should be. You’ve mapped out a fantastic plan for your future. You’ve got measurable, attainable goals. You’ve got a plan to achieve them. You’re ready to leap hurdles and tackle roadblocks. You’re on a mission, and you’re headed toward success. The one thing you may be lacking is patience. You’re in it for the long haul (assuming the long haul isn’t all that long!).
Overnight success is a misnomer, however. These things take time. How do you hang tight and maintain enthusiasm when progress is slow?
There’s a reason a football field is measured in 10-yard increments. Once in a blue moon, a receiver will grab hold of the ball and run down the length of the field in a single drive. The fact that it has happened before makes fans cross their fingers and wish fervently that every kick-off in a tight game will yield such a play. It’s much more likely, however, that your team will make its way down the field a few yards at a time, piecing together downs to inch themselves to the goal line in 10-yard increments. Your goals should be a lot like that. If you’re ultimate objective is to become a published author, set smaller, measurable goals for yourself. Write and polish a chapter a week. Finish a first draft in three months. You’re not inching closer to your umbrella goal: you’re checking off micro-goals in an enviable fashion.
The final countdown
When we look down the field, the distance from where we are to where we’re headed can seem insurmountable. From time to time, take a moment to glance over your shoulder and see how far you’ve already come. Working on an MBA? Don’t get bogged down in how many classes stand between you and graduation. Take a moment to appreciate how many credits you’ve already racked up. Your program may require you to complete 60 credits from start to finish and you still have 36 credits left to go. Focus instead on the 24 credits you’ve already completed.
Make it visual
Have you ever tracked fundraising progress with a hand-drawn thermometer marked with numerical increments? As you collected money, you’d color in another section of your thermometer to illustrate your progress. Do you remember the thrill of seeing the color spread up the graph? Create something similar to track your current goals. It doesn’t have to be a poster-board thermometer. Drop a quarter in a mason jar for every pound you lose. Contribute a dime to that jar for every minute you spend exercising. Create a spreadsheet listing the courses required to complete your degree and mark off the ones you’ve completed with your favorite color permanent marker. Start a tower of books in the corner of your work space and add a new book for every chapter of your new manuscript that you complete. Find that tangible tracker that helps keep you pumped and moving forward.
Enlist a cheerleader(s)
Sometimes you need external motivation. This is a great place for your mentor, friends, and family to step in and take up your case. Share your goals with them. Share your progress. They can help keep you on task and moving forward. They can celebrate your milestones, and help move you through the set-backs. Need another hand? I’m here to help. Contact my office for a chat: 917-992-2928. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org