I’ve just finished writing the previous blog post, and I want to keep going. I would love to get caught up tonight (though I realize this might not happen). But if not, a hefty chunk would suffice.
So here’s Day 16:
I don’t like goal setting books or blogs that don’t ever talk about our emotions. It’s fun to pretend we’re robots, carefully crafting goals and then marching through them with cold, hard efficiency.
But the truth is, we’re not. We’re humans, full of emotions and fears and hopes and dreams. The reality is our emotions impact the way we accomplish our goals. One of those emotions, especially at this stage of the game is shame.
When you miss a goal or flat out ignore it, shame tends to wake up. Shame’s goal is to convince you not to try again. It wants you to give up and uses this last failure as proof you shouldn’t even bother next time. If you ever feel that way about a goal I want you to do 3 things:
1. Remember that shame is a liar. Are there things you should feel remorse for? Are there mistakes you should own? Without a doubt. That’s part of being responsible. But more often than not, shame is not telling you the truth. Be very careful about what it says to you.
2. See if there is a pattern. Often there’s a pattern to your shame that you can start identifying and eventually dealing with.
3. Tell someone. Most of my advice ends this way because relationships are so critical. Tell someone you trust and take their advice when they give it to you.
If accomplishing goals was easy, everyone would do it and it wouldn’t be special. But it’s hard, which means we’ve got to work together on stuff like this and be honest.
Don’t let shame win the day!
I have learned this so much from the preceding month, and overcoming my tendency to beat myself up when I make mistakes (ie let shame take over) may be what I am most proud of from this process. Do I still feel shame? Absolutely. Do I still get down about it sometimes? Of course.
But what I no longer do is let it stop me in my tracks. Once again, I must reiterate that I am so grateful to have learned and come to understand that failure does not mean you should stop. It means that it’s time to get back to work.
In the past, I would let shame overcome me to the point where I felt like it was pointless to continue trying and striving. I think, I think, that I have finally quit doing that. I’m really happy about that.
Today, we’re going to create our own mantra.
A mantra is just a simple phrase or idea that helps us stay focused on what we are trying to accomplish.
Author Todd Henry wrote about one that I really liked. His friend asked him what the most expensive piece of land in the world was. Most people guess Manhattan or an oil field, but his friend said it was the cemetery. It’s so expensive because it’s full of unwritten books, un-started businesses and unfinished dreams. Henry went home and wrote “Die Empty” as a mantra. (That’s also the title of his book, which you should check out.)
Here are three things your mantra should be:
1. Personal. The mantra has to be yours. It has to mean something unique to you, not just a series of motivational words.
2. Short. No one can quote a long mantra. Will yours be as short as Henry’s? Maybe not, but don’t write a paragraph. Aim for 5-10 words at most.
3. Memorable. Die Empty works in part because it’s easy to remember. Yours has to have some degree of catchiness.
What are some other examples of mantras? Well, I wrote the subtitle to my book Start as a series of mantras. Did they work? One of them did. I can’t tell you how many times someone says, “I read your book ‘punch fear in the face.’” That one worked well.
It’s your turn now and this is the kind of thing that would be awesome to share on the Facebook group!
Argh. I came up with a great mantra and never shared it with the Facebook group. I’m bummed. It’s probably too late to do so now, lol. But here it is:
Honesty, not perfection; be the subject, not the object.
This mantra goes with my twin desires for this year: authenticity and intentionality. The latter is where “be the subject, not the object” comes from. “Subject” and “object” are two parts of a sentence. The actor of a sentence is the “subject”; the thing acted upon is the “object.” I want to be the actor in my life, rather than the thing acted upon. Thus “be the subject, not the object.”
Let’s talk about something most people ignore when they chase goals – over hustling.
Last night someone at an event asked me, “How do you know when you are working too hard on hustling and ignoring other things that matter?”
Great question and here are four answers:
1. You overstep boundaries. For instance, I write for an hour before my kids get up for school. When they come down stairs I need to shut the computer down or I am overstepping that boundary. Hustling is awesome but so is being a dad.
2. Your spouse or friend points it out. God bless a spouse who is willing to call you out on the hustle. And friends can do the same thing if you’ll keep them updated on how much you are actually working.
3. Your hourly rate is low. If you’re getting paid for what you’re doing, calculate the hourly rate you are earning. Chances are if you are over hustling you are getting paid garbage.
4.You have broken some promises and commitments. This one is self explanatory.
Hustle is awesome. I love hustle, but not at the expense of life. Be faithful to your whole life, not just your goal.
Haha. I have yet to over-hustle. At least, not this year.
The only time I have a tendency to over-hustle is when I’m on a knitting roll. Sometimes I can knit so much that I ignore housework, the need to cook, my writing gigs, and so on. I found a Facebook post last month that labeled certain people a “procraftinator” – i.e., someone who procrastinates on their necessary tasks because they’re too busy crafting. That was me.
I’ve gotten better. I swear.
Time to sprint!
One of the best ways to knock out your goal is to occasionally sprint. What is that? It’s exactly what it sounds like.
A sprint is where you cram a few days of effort into one day. For instance, if your goal is to write a blog, one morning you get up super early and write three posts in a row.
Why do sprints work?
1. They break up your rhythm and force you to work in a different way.
2. They create momentum. Using the blog example above, you know that once you write one, you’re in the zone and it’s easier to write a second.
3. They build up goal stamina.
Now maybe you’re thinking that your specific goal is not sprint worthy. I’d challenge you on that.
If you want to lose weight, sprint cook and fix three meals for this week in one afternoon.
If you want to start a business, sprint research and figure out who your three biggest competitors are.
If you want to go on more dates with your spouse, sprint hire a babysitter and get three dates on the calendar for the next 30 days.
Everyone can sprint!
Post how you will on the Facebook group.
I have yet to figure out how I can spring with a budget. I suppose I could read a budget book? Three chapters of a budget book? I don’t know.
(I mention the budget book because I downloaded a free e-Book about budgeting that looked interesting, so I suppose I might be able to make reading that book my “sprint.”)
Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Chasing your dream and knocking out goals always involves making lots of decisions. Recently someone asked me how I make decisions and I shared one simple tip with them that I will now share with you.
Whenever I need to make a decision, I always check to make sure fear isn’t the fuel.
One of the worst reasons to decide something is out of fear. Not writing a book because you’re afraid of what people will say is a bad decision. Not losing weight because you’re afraid of looking silly in the gym is a bad decision. Not going back to school because you’re afraid you’ll be the old guy in a college class is a bad decision.
A lot of our bad decisions in life are fueled by fear.
So today, as you face decisions with your goal, ask yourself that simple question, “Is fear the fuel?” If it is, pause before you complete that decision. Aim for decisions based on integrity, courage and hope. Those are the kind of decisions you want to make.
Something interesting I notice about this is that all the bad decisions that Jon talks about here, fueled by fear, are negative decisions – that is, deciding not to do something. Which made me wonder if we ever make bad decisions that are positive decisions, but are fueled by fear?
I suppose I can think of a few. For instance, staying inside your house and/or spending every spare second with your children because you’re afraid of crime. Or marrying the wrong person because you’re afraid of being alone.
I did once, relatively recently, come close to making a bad decision because I was afraid. My daughter had complained about a bad bus experience, and my knee-jerk reaction was to yank her off the bus unless I had reassurance that the bus driver wouldn’t do the same thing she had done on this occasion again. (The bus driver had stopped the bus until some unruly kids settled down.)
After talking to some friends, though, I came to realize that the bus driver’s decision, though it had freaked my daughter out, was the right one, and the safest one. I then withdrew my objection to the bus driver’s actions and talked with my daughter about how she might make her bus experience more pleasant.
Since then I don’t think I’ve made many decisions fueled by fear. It is something I will try not to do in the future.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow to finish catching up!