Lower the bar.
You have goals. I get it; who doesn't?
One trap that we can all get caught in (and that I've fallen into more than once) is waiting to give yourself credit until it's all complete.
We wait to feel satisfied until we get the relationship we've been wanting.
We wait to feel proud of ourselves until we get the promotion we've been working hard for.
We wait to say we did a good job until there is nothing left to accomplish.
And then, along the way to our goal, we get stressed, discouraged, and many times the weight of disappointment of not having what we want yet (and feeling like we should already) causes us to just give up.
I know you. You have plans to accomplish something important to you, something that you know is good for you, something that you completely understand will make your life better.
You've likely already read books or watched enough YouTube videos to understand the how. You've got your why. Now all you need is for you to follow through.
I'm here to tell you the secret to continuous effort. Are you ready for this?
It's basically the opposite of what you've been taught. We've all been told to just "grind" and "grin and bear it" through the pain of growth. That we've got to stay hard on ourselves. But, what REALLY encourages you to keep going is this:
Yeah, I said it! You've got to find satisfaction with yourself with what you're doing.
You're probably saying to yourself, "What? But then, I'll just stop. When you're satisfied, you don't act - right?"
No, Karen. When you're satisfied with yourself, you're CONFIDENT.
When you think to yourself , "Self, we did good today!" you feel good. You feel powerful, a sense of control, and you gain belief in your own ability. You start to notice that you are effective, you are powerful, and you get shit done.
And when you feel confident, in control, and powerful, how likely are you to want to do MORE of whatever the task is?
Uh huh. The answer is "Very." You are much more likely to want to continue to strive toward your goal when you feel capable and confident in your ability versus when you feel like a failure and you're beating up on yourself because you didn't achieve your goal (that you probably didn't have a realistic time frame for anyway).
It is very simple, my friend.
The way that you increase your confidence, achieve your goals, and actually start doing what you said you would do is...
Just lower the bar for what you are willing to be proud of yourself for.
You had a plan to run 5 miles, but you ended up not going? What did you do?
Did you take a walk today? Did you finish a task that you have had on your plate for awhile?
Think of what you did accomplish today, and focus on that for just a second.
Allow yourself to feel pride in simply keeping your life going. For paying bills, for meeting with friends, for keeping your appointments. Acknowledge what is going well.
Then, check in with yourself. Knowing that you had something you wanted to get done today, can you take 5 minutes to just start? Or, can you commit to an appointment tomorrow?
If you revisit your commitments to yourself after you've acknowledged yourself, from an emotional place of feeling achievement and pride, you will be more likely to follow through with them.
This is a little hack that I use on myself every day. And, while I don't always accomplish everything on my To-do list, I accomplish more tasks that seem daunting, scary, or just plain old hard.
Like writing this post for you! Sometimes, I worry that people won't appreciate what I have to say and I worry that I'm just not good enough to write relevant, effective articles that people can use. Then, I think of all of what I have accomplished already. I reflect on how much I appreciate all of the articles, YouTube videos and courses I have taken that have changed my life and all of the people who braved their own fears in order to create them for me.
I'm here to do that for you. You are so important and helping you matters so much to me that I'm willing to risk sounding like a goof so that maybe you will have a better day tomorrow.
Now, I'm going to finish my salad (I made good dietary decisions today, yay!) and then relax and play some video games!
What can you acknowledge yourself for? Leave a comment below, and see how you feel reading other people's comments!