Einstein said, “If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” While almost all of us (except perhaps the diehard cynic!) would agree with Dr. Einstein, there are times we get stuck and believe, “I’ve done everything I can and nothing changes.” But what if we’re wrong about that and we began to think, “I just haven’t found what will work for me yet”?
Choose something you want to change or improve in your life (at home, work, health, income, etc.). For this post, I’m going to use the example of “losing weight” and you can substitute your specific goal as you read on. Here are three ways to create the momentum you want:
Focus on effort, not results
Yes, results are important—there’s no doubt about that. If we don’t get results we’re tempted to throw in the towel. However, because results are important, your emphasis needs to be on the journey and your effort along the way. Be respectful of yourself and give yourself credit for your effort and you’ll be more likely to tweak what you’re doing to get the results you need.
For instance, you can tell yourself, “I haven’t lost weight in the past three weeks and I’ve given into poor habits a bit. But I’m still in the game and I’ll give myself credit for that and use that positive energy to do more of what works this week.”
Be happy before, not after
In my book on happiness I define happiness as any positive energy you feel about yourself or the progress you’re making in your goals. Happiness (Any feeling of positive energy) is the fuel for the effort you need to make to achieve your goals. Gasoline fuels your car but your mind, body and spirit all need fuel as well—the fuel of feeling happy (peace of mind, fulfillment, meaning, gratitude, love, connection with others, confidence, etc.).
Be happy now—don’t wait until you’ve shed another pound to be happy with your body. The positive energy of self-acceptance and giving yourself credit for what you do (instead of beating yourself up for what you don’t do) will give you the emotional energy you need to make healthy decisions along the way.
Make it ridiculously easy to succeed
When it comes to exercise, changing our eating habits, too many of us demand too much too soon. We join the gym when it would be more effective to start walking around the neighborhood. I had a client who said she was going to lose weight by stopping television, joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer.
Instead, I suggested she stay at home and watch all the television she wanted. And… to use the commercial times to “walk in place,” at first. Then when she was ready she could add raising her knees higher while walking in place, then add jumping jacks or body squats and so on.
She was offended, saying it was too easy and didn’t require enough from her. I agreed with her that it was “too easy” and also suggested that’s why it would work. And for her it did—it was the easy start she needed and she kept adding to that start all the way to losing her fifty pounds. You can make something hard or make it easy. Taking it easy is being smart, just like the tortoise who beat the rabbit to the finish line.