Don’t fall prey to the deep swamp of despair!!!
Well, that’s the bad news. The GOOD news is that I’ve done a good bit of research and real-life experimenting about how to stay the course and have come up with a great way of mentally preparing myself for the journey so that I can give myself an unfair advantage and drastically increase my chances of achieving my goal. It’s all about thinking ahead and being prepared for what your (mostly predictable) emotions will throw at you along the way.
The first thing to know is that doing something different or changing a habit is not easy, so your brain will do everything it can to try to keep you SAFE and in known territory. That means, it will try to sabotage your efforts – sometimes obviously and sometimes very subtley. It will look a bit like this:
- “I’m off to a GREAT start!” With a hiss and a roar, you embark on more focussed activity than you have in a good, long while. It feels good; you feel productive and efficient; you begin to build some momentum; you’ve planned your work and you’re working your plan!
- “WOW- this actually works! I’m busier than I’ve been in a long time.” Right about now is when you’re likely to hit your first small hurdle. The great amount of focussed activity you’ve undertaken in the previous weeks has caught up with you and your time management skills are now being tested! For some, this will be a key time to pay attention to your support systems and get honest with yourself about how you prioritise your day and manage your diary. Are there changes you need to make – pronto – in order to carry on without becoming overwhelmed?
- “Uh-oh.” At this point, you may start to feel a bit tired from your first big push of activity. The key thing here is to remain in action and point yourself back to your “why” (the REAL, emotional reason you identified for achieving your goal in the first place). Maintaining momentum is of absolute importance here.
- “The honeymoon’s over.” At some point during the first 30-40 days, you’ll hit the wall. You’ll begin to realise that the fun part of your goal journey is well and truly over and you need to maintain focus on your daily actions to keep yourself putting one foot in front of the other. It is at this point you’ll need to tap into some key plateau-busting activities (reframe your goal, adjust your priorities, revisit your ‘why’ or re-evaluate your skill set and resources – read about them here: https://jfdi.co/4-plateau-busters )
- “I’m headed for the deep swamp of despair!” You’re reaching the point where, over the next 30 days, you’re likely going to feel like throwing in the towel. Your journey has begun to feel like a chore; like hard work. Now is the time where maintaining a positive outlook, maintaining focus on your daily activity, journaling about every small bit of progress you make and constantly reminding yourself of your “why” will serve you well in making it out of the swamp!
- “All is not lost!” Believe it or not, you WILL find your way out of the Deep Swamp of Despair (provided you stay the course as described above). When you do, you’ll begin to gain a second wind and start to feel a bit more ‘fun’ coming back into your journey. Grasp that second wind and run with it – you’ve got this!
- “I need to just freakin’ do it.” – You’re in the home stretch! You’ve come too far to go back now. Give it your ALL during the final stages of your journey, and you’ll come out on the other side with a smile on your face and a great sense of achievement.
- “What now?” Well done – you’ve made it! You’ve just accomplished something you’ve never seemed to be able to quite nail before. You’ll feel exhilarated and on top of the world. Now is not the time to sit back on your laurels and relax. Should you take time to celebrate? Absolutely! But don’t stop! The skills you’ve learned over the course of your journey will continue to serve you well when you tackle the NEXT goal, and the next and the next…