I have a confession to make. I’m not good at overcome my own challenges.
While I’ve been successful at facing things that have happened in my life head on and dealing with them, when it comes to certain challenges that I’ve set for myself, I’ve failed, miserably.
Weight loss efforts, diet overhauls, month-long commitments to workout or blog or write every single day? I’ve had little long-term success with those. But if someone or something throws a monkey wrench in my plans, I can find a way around it and still get ‘er done.
Back in 2005 I was let go from my job, one student loan refund check away from homelessness, 3,000 miles away from home, and newly pregnant. At the time, I didn’t think my life could get much worse. With just a semester left of grad school I was facing one of the biggest challenges of my life: deciding what to do about my baby. Instead of collapsing into the fetal position and wishing my problems would just go away, I kicked into overdrive.
Once I decided I was having my son, I scoured the net to find free prenatal coverage, signed up for several temp agencies and started getting gigs, and focused my efforts on finishing my thesis. I was on autopilot and was able to handle every roadblock—no money, no insurance, being scared shitless—with ease.
But when it comes to setting certain goals and challenges for myself, I just can’t seem to stick with it long enough to see it through.
Can you relate? Are you able to handle whatever life throws your way but fail to meet your own goals?
I suspect our issue with coming through for ourselves has to do with accountability. When we have to be there for others, we will break our necks to get things done because we don’t want to let them down. Basically, we don’t want them to think we’re incapable of holding our own. But when the challenge is between you and your id, ego, and super-ego, things start to break down.
Recently I signed up for a Facebook group challenge to make 30 videos in 30 days. The project was created by Monique Johnson and aimed and helping us realize how video can be used to transform our businesses. Call it a lapse in judgment, a moment of temporary insanity, or a subtle nudge in the right direction, either way I’m not exactly sure why I signed up for the challenge. I mean, video a day—FOR 30 DAYS?!
(Check out my first vid. And yes…I can be your rap coach writing coach)
Deep down, though, I think I wanted an excuse to make videos. I’ve always said that I’d like to make a documentary one-day, and a few years ago I took a 2-day filmmaking workshop that was VERY inspiring. Although I’ve made a few videos in the past, like a lot of things I’m interested in doing but haven’t quite done, I haven’t fully committed myself just yet.
And according to Leo Babuta of the blog Zen Habits, my problem—and probably yours—is motivation.
After writing a post called “How to Start,” one of his readers requested he write a companion piece called “How to Finish.” Ironically, the post sat in draft form for a week before Babuta finished it. So what was his issue? Motivation.
For me, finishing is all about motivation. If you’re having a difficult time finishing, it’s best to look closely at why you want to finish in the first place.
If the task or project isn’t something you want to do, consider the consequences of dropping it. I’ve done this often and it’s a relief when I finally drop something I didn’t really want to do in the first place.
If you really do want to do the task/project, ask why. What do you get out of it? Do you love doing it? Is there some benefit you’ll get? Visualize that — it might get you going.
When I look back on my life, I noticed that when I haven’t stepped up to the plate it was definitely because I was unmotivated. For instance, although I’d LOVE to wake up tomorrow and be 30 pounds lighter, I haven’t exactly been motivated enough to stick with a healthy regimen. I don’t hate my body, I’m able to move around with ease, and until recently, I was cool with how I looked in my clothes, so despite wanting to lose weight (sort of like I want to win the lotto but never play), I didn’t.
What’s been the stumbling block for you when it comes to meeting your personal challenges?
If you really examine it, can you say you’re motivated to reach your goals and are you holding yourself totally accountable? Or despite saying you’d like to accomplish those things one day, you aren’t really pressed to get them done?
I have my ideas as to why we haven’t reached every, single, one of our goals (and it’s not because the man is holding us down), but you tell me.
Leave me a comment and let me know how meeting your own challenges has played out in your life and if you’ve really been giving it all you got.
*Watch my 30 Videos in 30 days journey on my Youtube channel