Ever notice how goals seem so achievable at the beginning, but next to impossible after some time?
We’ve all been there. For many of us it comes around every January 1. We look to our New Year’s Resolution as a way to set a goal for the upcoming year. It could be a weight loss goal or a business related goal…it could even be to spend more time with family or involved in a hobby. But how often do your find yourself setting the same resolutions year after year? When we find ourselves setting the same goal time after time, it’s a definite indication that we did not accomplish our goal when we originally anticipated. So why are we failing? Why are we so set on making a change, only to find ourselves back at square one again and again?
I think the problem can be traced back to how we start. More often than not, when we decide to take on a goal or resolution, we crank ourselves up to level 10 and decide we’re in it to win it…it’s all or nothing! …and as long as we’re on level 10, we’re loving it. We can see our new future that awaits and how happy we’re going to be with the changes we’ve settled on. But we forget that we can only run cranked up to 10 for so long before we simply run out of steam. Then, before we know it, we just don’t have the energy to stay motivated on the task we’ve resolved to do. It’s very much like watching a seasoned runner. They know that they can’t launch out of the starting gate at a sprint or they’ll burn out before the race is over. They do everything they can to conserve their energy for a burst of momentum at the end of the race!
What if were to look at our business and personal goals the same way? For instance, let’s say I want to lose fifty pounds this year. Does it make more sense to sprint and lose 25 pounds in January, only to be burnt out, stressed, and discouraged if I’m not able to lose another 25 in February…or, would it make more sense to stride around 4-5 pounds lost every month? Which of these is healthier and more sustainable? It’s no different for our photography or business. Too often we set goals that require us to run at level 10 for an extended period of time, and the reality is our body, mind, and spirit just isn’t able to maintain that kind of momentum. If we want to be in this business for the long haul, we need to learn to pace ourselves and look for ways to set “milestones” in our business. …and don’t be afraid to reward yourself along the way when you hit a milestone! It doesn’t have to be extravagant, it just has to be something to remind you that you’ve achieved part of the process and that you’re a step closer to your goal.
Staying motivated is a process. It’s easy to be motivated when we’re on level 10, but not so much when we’re on 1. Success doesn’t come from planning, it comes from persistence. If we hope to persist in our goals and to stay motivated, sometimes we just have to dial it back a bit. Strive to run at a lower pace but for a longer amount of time. This will also allow you that burst of energy needed at different times in life where we need to run at full speed for a bit…just remember not to stay there too long! Find some time this week to set aside just to reflect on your goals. Are there any ways that you can break them down into smaller milestones? How can you pace your progress so that you can balance your faith, family, life, and business while still maintaining the motivation to persist in your goals? Have you set any unrealistic deadlines? Sometimes a steady jog will get your further than a sprint ever could!