When I was a kid I remember a time when I was driving in the car with my dad, having one of our deep discussions. I am not sure what the discussion was about, but I vividly remember telling my dad that, “I’m always going to do what I want to do.” Then him telling me, “Son, you can’t ALWAYS do what you want to do.” Boy, did I show him!
For most of my life I have done what I wanted to do, even to my detriment. I have partied my life away. Spent time and money on frivolous things. Wasted some great opportunities. And even lost some relationships. All for the sake of always doing what I wanted to do.
This is one of those life lessons that takes forever and a day to learn. And it is one of those life lessons that many people never learn.
You see, sometimes we may actually want to do something we seemingly don’t want to do. Why? Because by doing so, it leads us to what we really want to do. Take an athelete for instance. Many of us have no desire to train like professional atheletes do. And I guarantee you that there are days when they wake up and don’t want to do what needs done that day either, but they do it. That is what makes them true champions.
To overcome this inertia we have to ask ourselves a few things. We have to ask ourselves why we are more content sitting on the couch with our bag of potato chips munching away watching Family Guy than we are getting our big bodies in motion and exercising. We have to ask ourselves if we really want to be in shape, feel healthy, BE healthy, and look great. If you want all of that then there are some things you have to do that you probably don’t want to do.
This is just one more thing that stands in our way of achieving what we want. It’s like a raging stream that is stopping us from getting to the opposite shore. The opposite shore being the thing that you say you want to do, but haven’t yet, because you have yet to do the things you don’t want to do to get there. To cross the stream you need some stepping stones. Here are your 7 stepping stones that lead to success:
Stepping Stone #1 – Decide that you really want it. There is nothing better than a solid decision to point you in the way you want to go. Many people don’t accomplish what they want to do because they never actually decide to do it. Making your first step means this is something you really want and are willing to go after. Being intentional about doing what you want to do is necessary to get past the things you don’t want to do.
Stepping Stone #2 – Recognize things for what they are. These things that you don’t want to do won’t kill you, won’t make you deathly ill, or cause you to lose an arm or a leg. Or maybe they will. So what? You’re trying to accomplish something, aren’t you? 😉
Stepping Stone #3 – Know that nothing changes unless you move. If you never chance crossing the stream, you will never leave the shore you are on. Is that ok with you? Maybe it is. Maybe you don’t want to be on the other shore anyhow. Who knows if you really want to work that hard to win a gold medal, have a great marraige, lose weight, or stop smoking or drinking. On the flip side, you can never really know how wonderful it is on the opposite side until you are there.
Stepping Stone #4 – Find the momentum to move. Often times we don’t move unless we start experiencing a significant amount of pain. We stare at the other side longingly, but keep fearing the rushing water beneath us. Sometimes it takes an enemy right on our doorstep to get us to move. Only then do we move. I think that is sad. How much time do we waste doing that? Do we really need to wait till the brink of divorce, the moment we can’t see our feet anymore, or the moment we crash our car after a night of drinking? How about the moment the doctor tells us we need to carry around an oxygen tank to breath? It is said that the fear of loss is more powerful than the hope for gain. I would suggest using that idea to help you scare yourself into doing what you need to do.
Stepping Stone #5 – Once your moving, don’t stop! Getting momentum going is half the battle. Maybe it is more like 80 or 90 percent of the battle. In either case, the other part is maintaining it. Just don’t stop. If you find yourself slacking, remind yourself of where you were and where you are now. Look at how far you have come. You can start using the law of sunk costs to your advantage. This is why some people who play with stocks lose it all. Instead of cutting their loses, they ride that stock all the way down to nothing. If you think you don’t really want what you are after don’t be afraid to cut your losses. At the same time, don’t use that as an excuse to quit. Go all the way to the end. Keep that momentum going…
Stepping Stone #6 – Focus on the prize. You are almost there. Don’t stop now. You can see the finish line, right? This is the hardest part. So many people stop right when success is at hand? Why? Because that is when it hurts most. I have ran a marathon before. Let me tell you. The 24 and 25 mile mark hurts a lot more than the 26.2 mile mark. You really do feel a lot better at the finish line. This is the point when you just have to put one foot in front of the other. One of my good friends who was a long distance runner in high school gave me this advice. He said when you are tired, just stay close to the person in front of you, and watch their feet. It will draw you in and you will automatically maintain their same pace. When the time is right, pass them. This is the time to narrow your vision onto the goal at hand.
Stepping Stone #7 – Embrace the new you! You have changed, and changed for the better. Make it yours to keep. Don’t look back. Don’t think about your old lifestyle. You have crossed a stream, a river, a lake, or even an ocean of things you did not want to do. All for the sake of getting to that one thing that you really do want to do. Going back is easy, but it is just as hard to cross back over again as the first time. So enjoy your hard work. You deserve it. The next time you set your eyes on doing something you want to do that has many of the things you don’t want to do in between you and it, you will hopefully not hesitate to do them.
Most of what is holding us back in life is ourselves. We say we want positive change, but then we don’t do anything about it. We are not living up to our true selves. We are not living lives of integrity when we say one thing and do another. I know I am just as guilty as the rest of us. However, I think if we bring things out into the open we can deal with them better. We need to realize that many times, what is keeping us from success, is the fact that there are certain things we need to do that we don’t want to do.
What are some things in your life that you are not doing that are keeping you from the success you desire?
* Image By 4StringsGood @ Flickr.com