Often the difference between success and falling short of our aims lies in pacing. It’s natural to be invigorated by the surge of adrenalin that accompanies a new project or idea, and to start off with a bang. Perhaps you wake up in the morning feeling all fired up by your fresh project, work late into the night, and, yes, you may be quite productive as well as thrilled… until your internal rocket fuel is depleted.
Just as in the fable of the tortoise and the hare, where the steady plodding of the turtle won out over the energetic but unfocused hopping about of the rabbit, you can best continue toward your determined goal if you learn and adapt to your most effective pace.
How does this apply to you at this point in your life? What is that goal that you’ve had, for a day, a week, or perhaps even months or years, which you just haven’t brought to fruition yet?
First, ask yourself:
Who am I doing this for? Myself? My partner? My children? Parents? Whose idea is this, anyhow? If the answer is someone other than yourself, you are less likely to have the motivation to stay the course. Sure, at times you are seeking to help someone else, such as attending night school so as to attain an advanced degree and help provide for your family. However, in this case you are still doing this for yourself, too, because you value your family.
Can I envision the end product? Does this image inspire me?
What sort of time commitment does this entail? Is this feasible?
What do I need to do this week to move ahead? Take some time, perhaps 15 to 30 minutes, to organize your thoughts and write down some short-term goals.
What do I need to do today? Again, determine and write down your action item for today.
When will I have time to attend to today’s task? Generally, the sooner in the day, the better, so that you minimize the time and energy spent ruminating and perhaps worrying about the project. Instead, you can maximize the time you spend feeling relieved and confident that the task has been completed. For instance, a daily brisk walk or run may be important to you, to enhance your physical health and clear your mind. If you set out in the early morning you’ll not only feel a sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day, but there will be less chance that another activity would come up that might interfere with your exercise plan. Think of your daily task as building a mental and emotional muscle, the muscle of “I can, and I did”!