“It’s so easy to slip.” Lowell George, founding member of Little Feat
Complacency is the root of all backsliding. Have you ever accomplished something you thought was a big challenge, felt great, then found yourself somewhat down a few weeks later? Not uncommon — even astronaut Buzz Aldrin reportedly got depressed after walking on the moon. So what can you do to stay at or near the top of your game? Here are some strategies:
• Have a Daily Morning Ritual Make sure you review your Mission Statement, state your Affirmations and Visualize your goals on a daily basis. This keeps you focused on your intended purpose, keeps your self-image high and reinforces mental pictures of exactly what you want to accomplish. Daily, by the way, means seven days a week — taking two days off will kill your mental momentum, and success is all about maintaining momentum.
• Keep learning The mind is like a muscle — it needs exercise. Reading, listening to motivational/inspirational/educational audio programs and attending seminars/webinars/teleseminars in your field will keep your thinking sharp. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn. (Sorry — sit-coms, reality shows and crime shows do not qualify …)
• Physical exercise Your body IS a muscle, or actually, a network of muscles that need regular workouts to provide the energy you need to succeed. If your only “heavy lifting” involves lifting chocolate donuts to your mouth, it’s time to get back to the gym.
• Review your weekly progress Take time over the weekend to evaluate how you’ve progressed during the past week. Then take time to schedule your upcoming week based upon your goals. This is the best way to stay on track each week, and you’ll sleep like a baby on Sunday night.
• Evaluate your month At the end of every thirty day period, total your score on the goals you set. This means you had to quantify your goals in the first place. Then reset your goals for the upcoming month.
• Quarterly report Take a hard look at your progress for the three-month period you’ve just completed. How does that measure up with what you wrote down you as your year-end goals?
• Annual evaluation Sometime just around Christmas, do your annual evaluation — how was your year overall? Did you get where you wanted to go? If so, GREAT! Give yourself a high five, and find a way to celebrate. If not — get feedback from a peer, mentor, boss or coach on what you did well, and what you could do better.
• Set the bar for the coming year By New Year’s Day, write down what you want in all areas of your life by December 31st to make sure you have new goals that feel energizing. Revise your Mission Statement accordingly. This is the best insurance against starting the year on a downhill slide.
Keep in mind that success (and happiness) is not a destination — it’s all in the journey. Get complacent and you’ll go downhill faster than you could imagine, sometimes without you even noticing until you crash at the bottom. The habit of setting, evaluating a resetting your goals will keep your journey interesting, and keep you pedaling in the right direction.