Endless Unfinished Projects That Need To Be Done? Or maybe, it is time, (it will be the last time), to finally shed that Covid 10 pounds you accumulated this past year..... Here are my tips to make it happen.
I’m looking out my window at 4-5 inches of snow still blanketing my front lawn. My one hope, as I write this, is that spring is only a month away.
Spring is when life returns and everything feels, smells, and sounds fresh and new.
Spring is, therefore, the time for fresh beginnings and new starts, arguably even more so than New Year’s Day. It seems to me our ancient ancestors were onto something when they started their new year with the spring equinox.
So what new hopes, ideas, or projects are you storing up for spring? Now indeed is the perfect time to set them into motion – at least if you want to seem them become a reality in the months ahead.
If you don’t want your springtime plans to go the way of the dodo bird or it’s distant cousin the New Year’s resolution, let me suggest three quick, easy steps you can put forward right now to raise the odds of real success.
Be Specific About What You Want
This might be easier with some practical projects, say building a new deck on the back of the house. You generally know what you want, what it should look like.
But firm up that idea as much as you can. What building material will you use? What color will it be? What specifically will be the size or dimensions? And so on. Imagine it with as much clarity in your mind so that you actually “see” it before you build it.
Other goals – physical fitness, for example – can be trickier. You can say, “I want to lose weight, get my ‘beach body’ back before summer.” Specifics will mean the difference between success and discouragement. You may say instead, “I need to lose 20 pounds by May 31.” That’s just a little over a pound each week. Doesn’t losing one pound seem much more achievable than even 20?
The point is, specificity has its advantages. It gives you a vision, a target of time, and often manageable steps to success.
Summon Your Support
Once you know what you want to do, look for people who will back you up. They may partner with you and work alongside you. Or they may simply stand on the sidelines and cheer you on. Both are necessary for success.
I can hear someone saying, “I’ve managed just fine so far by myself.” Truth is, there’s really no such thing as the self-made man or woman. We’ve all helped along the way.
I could easily fall into that trap, that I’ve arrived here alone. Until I take time to assess my support system – too many people to list in any one place. But that list includes parents who encouraged and motivated me through high school and college, good teaches in mentors throughout my career(s), a wife who listened to me and backed all my plays.
Who do you need beside you in this particular goal you’ve chosen? Keep the nay-sayers at bay and surround yourself with people who are solid with their experience, generous with their wisdom, and sincere with their enthusiasm for your success.
And, saving the best for last....Step 3.
This is always my favorite piece of advice to clients undertaking an assignment or task: Reward yourself… and often!
We all need a pat on the back for a job well done. Whether or not we get that from someone else, how much more so from ourselves?
For example, when I’ve led couples through pre-marital counseling, I would ask them to complete an assignment in communication and problem-solving. Regardless of the outcome, I would advise them to congratulate each other for taking that risky step in vulnerability and then go do something fun together.
The point is, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? When we stay too long focused on the task, it becomes drudgery. That’s when giving up becomes a powerful temptation.
Another example. Recently I was following a doctor-guided diet to get in better shape. Diets are tough enough, but the following one relentlessly is almost doomed to failure. That’s why the doctor recommended a “reward day” each week. Not a “cheat day” – a term that carries a weight of baggage-laden connotations. Instead, he said, offer yourself a little more liberality with common-sense food choices. The idea was to ease the burden and elevate the will to persist to the final goal of weight-loss.
So design a fitting, recurring reward for your commitment to the task at hand. In other words, pat yourself on the back. It’s like a reset button for the soul. Take a day off. Hang out one evening with friends. Go to dinner or a show with a special someone. Attend a party. Hike in the forest. Get your mind off the job and remind yourself why you undertook it in the first place.
And of course, when you achieve your goal, celebrate BIG!
And Now For The Breakfast Of Champions Playlist:
If you want to feel like a champion-start with some music: