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.
They’re catchy and tuneful, memorable and easily get stuck in your head. You hear the first note or two and instantly your mind knows what it is. You’re snapping your fingers and tapping your toes, and all day it goes ’round and ’round in your head.
You can do this for yourself with your own personal motivational statement. Just think how powerful it would be to have a statement or a song that, to you, has power and energy in it–and have it looping in your mind throughout the day. It’d be jet fuel, for sure!
For inspiration, think of your favorite company taglines, such as “Just do it” (Nike), “Where’s the beef?” (Wendy’s) and “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” (M&Ms). Also, think of your favorite jingles, for example “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!” (Alka Seltzer), “My bologna has a first name it’s O-S-C-A-R…” (Oscar Mayer), and “Mm, mm good, mm, mm good….” (Campbell’s Soup).
Your homework is to create a tagline and/or a jingle for yourself. If you’re having trouble coming up with something original, then rework a famous one (since it’s for your own personal use, it isn’t copyright infringement). Have fun with this! And don’t worry about making a mistake or not doing it right. All that matters is that it’s meaningful, memorable, and fun for you.
You can even re-work one of your high school’s cheers or ones that your favorite professional team’s cheerleaders do. If you can’t think of any, feel free to use this:
Naturally you want to do the best job you can. And of course you must be prudent and do sufficient research and planning before starting out. But don’t let these honorable traits turn into a straightjacket that prevents you from moving forward.
Planning and research are an important and a vital first step in any undertaking. Give yourself a deadline for completing these, though. Then take that one step, trusting in not only what you’ve found out but also in your native intelligence and common sense, in your life experience, and in the fact that you probably have other resources at your fingertips. Remember, you can always Google it or ask your friendly librarian or a friend or read a book on the subject or talk to someone who you know has more experience or knowledge in the area than you do. Don’t be afraid to “draw a line under it”, under the research and planning stage, and declare that good enough is good enough. Then go for it–take that first incremental step!
This is where the benefit and the power of breaking your steps into itty bitty fragments comes in. You’ll be able to take that little step by the deadline because you’ve broken them into teeny-tiny parts that you know for sure you can easily complete. And, because you’ve also categorized them into time chunks, you know that if you only have five minutes to devote to your dreams that deadline day, you can look under that category and choose a piece.
So, set that deadline for finishing your research and planning phase and select a little step that you’ll be able to do at that deadline. Now you have a plan. Isn’t this great? Don’t you feel proud of yourself? Don’t you feel a surge of energy as well?
WooHoo! This is awesome stuff! Now you can see the reality that you can actually do this–you can achieve your goals and dreams!
WooHoo! Go you!
Your homework for today is to revel in the positive, empowered feelings you’ve just created. DON’T SKIP THIS HOMEWORK!! All too often, we forget–or pooh-pooh–the small, often tiny, victories and achievements we have. You MUST honor yourself, your hard work, and the bravery and courage you’ve poured into every little bit of forward movement.
You can do it! Go you!
I am so very proud of you! I knew you could do it!
Honor yourself and your commitment of making this year different for yourself by putting you first.
You took the time yesterday to work with the steps you need to take and you made them into small increments that you are sure you can do. Honor this by scheduling time in your day to actually do one of the steps. I’ve found the best time of the day is first thing in the morning.
When the alarm first rings, get up. Don’t hit the snooze button. I know it’s tough to get out of a warm comfy bed, especially if it’s dark and cold. I know it’s tempting to say you’ll hit the snooze only this once…. Don’t do it–don’t hit that snooze button! Get up instead. You’ll be very glad you did, I promise. Remind yourself that you’re getting up because you are in the process of building something better for yourself this year.
You don’t have to get up hours and hours ahead. I’m sure you hit the snooze button several times in the morning. Snooze periods are from 4 – 9 minutes, depending upon which brand of clock you have. By getting up with the first buzz of the alarm, you’re gaining an extra 4 – 30 minutes (or more!) in the mornings. That’s perfect for completing a step!
Choose one that will take only a few minutes to complete (when you’re beginning a new routine, start small and simple. As your momentum gathers, you can increase your time). This is another one of the benefits of breaking your steps into teeny tiny increments. Not only does it create the belief that you can do that little piece, but the bits are small enough that they can be done in a few minutes.
When you put yourself first each morning, you’ll be surprised and amazed at how much better you’ll feel. Soon, you’ll have a spark of energy that you didn’t have before. You’ll also begin to feel more confident about yourself and more positive about the day ahead. And it won’t take months to feel this. With regularly putting yourself first in the day, you will quickly feel empowered.
For those of you who are unable to take an actual step, spend a few minutes first thing this morning imagining the little step that you could take if everything were lined up perfectly. Engage as many of your senses as possible. Don’t worry, though, if you have only a vague sense of things. That’s good enough for now.
Your homework for today, in case you haven’t already done so, is spending a little time going through your list of teeny tiny steps and categorizing them into ones that will take 5 minutes or less to complete, ones that will take 5 – 15 minutes to complete, ones that will take 15 – 30 minutes to complete, and so on. In the evening before you retire for the night, go through your list and select an increment you’ll complete first thing in the morning. Then go to sleep with the peace of knowing you’re all set for a terrific start to your day.
You did it! You got up when your alarm first rang and you also took a small step first thing this morning–whether you actually did something or if you spent time imagining it (PS: categorizing your steps counts as taking a step!)
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.