This semester it’s going to be different. I’m turning over a new leaf. I’ll start on Monday.
We’ve all made statements like these before. Whether it’s better grades or tighter abs, we’ve all made goals and new year resolutions. We’ve also all had certain goals that just didn’t stick. Blame it on the desire for instant gratification or just not having enough time. Either way, people often find pursuing their goals difficult and eventually give up. A lot of things contribute to the abandonment of a dream or goal, but I think that a lot of the time it has to do with our motivation. If you can find something that inspires you to action, then you’re more likely to continue pursuing whatever it is you’re after.
No matter what your goals are, here are some tips on pursuing them:
1. Find your motivation. In his book "Drop Dead Healthy," journalist A.J. Jacobs sets out on a quest to become the healthiest he can possibly be. He does all sorts of hilarious and crazy things in the book, but before he really got started he had to be motivated. His motivation was a combination of things from wanting to be around to watch his kids grow up to an aged picture of himself that he framed as a reminder that he needed to do it for “old A.J.”
2. Make yourself act. Before we can reach any goal, we need motivation. We need something that drives us forward when we really don’t feel like going for a run or eating vegetables. In the book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," Donald Miller talks about an “inciting incident.” This is something that basically forces a person to act. Want to start running? Sign up for a 5k or 10k and force yourself to train for it. Or you can do what Miller did and sign up for a cross-country bike trip. Hey, go big or go home.
3. Be patient. Remember that it takes around 66 days on average to turn behavior into habit. Don’t freak out because you skipped your morning workout one day. If you wouldn’t beat someone else up about it, there’s absolutely no reason for you to torment yourself either. It’s not easy to uproot old habits and replace them with new ones. It takes time.
4. Be realistic. By this, I don’t mean you shouldn’t dream big. By all means, dream as big as you can. Just don’t expect to defy science. You’re not going to drop 60 pounds in two weeks. You just aren’t. You aren’t going to learn everything there is to know about something in a night of studying. Don’t discourage yourself by expecting to be able to achieve the impossible. Start one small step at a time, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly those small steps add up to something big.
5. Have fun. Find creative ways to achieve your goal. Set up a reward system for yourself. Enjoying something just adds to your motivation. If you can find other people to join you, your time will be more enjoyable, and you can hold each other accountable.
Don’t be afraid to pursue your goal. Get motivated and go after it.
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