What does that line–one of the most famous in all of movie history–have to do with moving toward your goals? Because it’s as important to know what you don’t want as it is to know what you do want.
The right kind of negative statement can be powerfully motivating. In Gone with the Wind at the end of the film Scarlet is silhouetted in a blazing sunset with the ruins of her beloved Tara around her. That’s when she declares “…I’ll never be hungry again!”
Here is the full text of the movie quote: “As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to beat me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”
In those words, you can feel her steadfast determination and fierce resolve. We believe her and we’re positive she succeeded.
Your homework for today is to draw that line in the sand for yourself. Decide once and for all what you will not tolerate any longer. Write it down using language that is emphatic, filled with powerful emotion, and something that makes the steely strength within you rise up. Make the statement short and to the point; write it down and post it where you see it often. Say the words to yourself every morning when you first wake up and make those words the last ones you say before falling asleep.
For extra credit, rent Gone With the Wind and watch the ending scene over and over again. Absorb the force and intensity of the speech. Make it your own.
“The unexamined life is not worth living by a human being” ~Plato
What if you look back over these past seven days and find that your energy and enthusiasm has dwindled? What if Life has intervened in ways you hadn’t imagined so you’re not really taking any steps at all? What if you never really got out of the starting gate in the first place?
What do you do about this?
Is it time to pack it in, give up, and somehow reconcile yourself to the seeming fact that you’re just not one of the lucky people who can attain their goals and dreams?
The answer is: NO!
Don’t let these thoughts get to you!
It’s very common to find your drive and motivation flagging and it’s an all too usual thing for Life to mess up our best-laid plans. And, many people feel discouraged and disappointed from time-to-time.
When you evaluate yourself, be gentle. I’m positive you can look back over these past few days and identify little things you did do to help yourself and small steps you did take. Even if you’re at the very beginning point where you’re working on this in your mind, give yourself credit for the things you are doing. Even just the simple awareness that you want something better for yourself and you’d like to–or hope to–one day do something about it is a reason to celebrate yourself. Remember from previous posts that mind-work in the form of imagination, visualization, contemplation, and awareness is vital and valuable. Also remember that teeny-tiny steps are the foundation of the larger steps you’ll take later on
Your homework today is to celebrate the victories you’ve had this week, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. It’s hard work breaking steps into small pieces, overcoming resistance and inertia, pushing aside fears and anxieties, and moving forward. You did it, though!
“Wagons, ho!” This was a common phrase in the TV westerns of the 1950s and early 1960s. We can learn a lesson from it.
It’s important to make consistent, regular movement forward. You don’t have to take leaps and bounds; tiny baby steps are just fine. You don’t have to take a step daily, although it’s ideal to devote a little bit of time each day–even 5 minutes–to your goals and dreams. As long as you’ve earmarked part of your week or month to pursuing your goals and dreams–and you stick to this–you will succeed. Of course, it may take you longer to accomplish your goals and dreams than someone who devotes a few hours every day to theirs, but then, you aren’t in competition with anyone–not even yourself!
Wagon trains were capable of traveling 10 miles per day. Frequently, though, because of weather, terrain, attacks, and other factors, they moved much slower. But they still made it to their destinations in Oregon, California, New Mexico, and other western regions!
It’s the same for you. It doesn’t matter how big of a step you take or how often you take it. As long as you consistently and regularly take those steps, you will make it!
Your homework for today is to realistically look at your schedule for the next few days and assign time to work toward your dreams and goals. Search for those little pockets of time that we often overlook: while you’re waiting to pick up your children; instead of going out to lunch, brown-bag it and devote a few moments to a small step; rather than spending all evening in front of the TV or surfing the Internet, allocate 15 minutes or a half hour to working on your goals–you’ll still have time for other things.
So, in homage once again to the old TV westerns, head ’em up and move ’em out! Wagons, ho!
Here we are at the beginning of a fresh, clean New Year. It’s sparkling, glittering with opportunity and promise. We can do anything we set our minds to! We’ll knock it out of the ballpark this year, for sure.
From this vantage point, we believe that this year will be different for us. Of course we’ll follow through on our plans, goals, and resolutions. We have vim, we have vigor, and we’re confident we’ll keep driving forward all the way through the end of December. But yet, there’s a niggling uncertainty in the back of our minds…how will we actually do this?
Though, for some of us at the leading edge of the New Year, we have a different vantage point. Instead of seeing the brightness of possibility and good fortune, we may be experiencing the bone-wearying lifelessness of the deepening rut we’ve been in for years. We have no goals, we have no plans, and we have no resolutions. Our hopes and dreams died years ago. We have no expectations because we promised ourselves that this year we would not set ourselves up for the disappointment of not following through and the resulting humiliation of being in the same place–or worse–this time next year. Furthermore, it’s exhausting to even think about getting up the nerve and wherewithal to try–yet again–to make something different for ourselves. But still, there’s a small whisper niggling at the back of our minds saying that we’re made for something more, something greater, than this…but how do we actually do this?
The answer is: by taking one step at a time.
It sounds simplistic, even ludicrous. Maybe it’s insulting to be told something we’ve heard countless times before. We’ve already tried it with varying degrees of success and yet we’ve stood by helplessly as our excitement and drive fizzled out. Or, perhaps we’re crushed by the despair of not being able to summon the tiniest scrap of energy to take so much as a feeble limp, much less a step.
All these objections are saying one thing: the steps you are taking, or are imagining you must take, are too large. Break them into smaller pieces. Make them microscopic if you have to. Break them down to the point where the first step is something you believe is reasonable and achievable; something you can do. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing or have done. It doesn’t matter that the step you are taking is so small that even the most powerful electron microscope would have trouble detecting it. The only thing that matters is that you are taking action–moving forward.
So that first step–either the one you will take or the one you are imagining taking–break it down into smaller pieces. Break those into baby pieces. Then break those into teeny tiny pieces. Keep breaking them into smaller and smaller increments until you get to a piece that you know you can commit to doing.
To help you, repeat to yourself often throughout the day, emphasizing the word in italics:
I can do it;
I can do it;
I can do it;
I can do it.
Also repeat to yourself often throughout the day, emphasizing the word in italics:
Yes I can;
Yes I can;
Yes I can.
If one of these strikes a chord within you, then repeat that one as often as you can. Write it down, carry it with you, paste it where you’ll see it often, and refer to it throughout the day.
Your homework for today is to break your step into small, easily doable increments and do only one of those increments today. Or, when you imagine a step you might take if the world were perfect and if you had a stiff wind at your back, break that down into a very small piece that causes you to say, “Huh. I think I can actually do that one.”
For those of you who can take the small incremental step, go ahead and do so. For those of you who can only imagine it, then do that–trying to imagine it using as many senses as you can. Don’t worry if you get only a little glimmer of it. That’s good enough for now.
Congratulations! Pat yourself on the back because you did it! You took the first step! That’s all you had to do today so you’re done! You’re free to do what ever else you’d like to do.