We're heading into the second month of the year. Now is a good time to contemplate where you are with respects to your 2009 goals. Are you making a bee-line straight for your goals, or are you going in circles wondering when you are going to get there?
If you feel like you are not making as much traction as you would like, I want you to stop and ask yourself if you are taking the fastest and most direct route to your goals. If you decided today that you were to make a trip across town, one of your first thoughts would probably be focused on how you can take the quickest route there. If the reason for your trip were time bound, you definitely would seek to avoid any sightseeing or lallygagging at all costs.
When you think about a goal you want to reach, you should plan as if you were taking a trip going across town. You'd ask yourself, "what time do I want to get there?" "What's the fastest way to get there without running into any traffic or detours?" If you don't know where this place is, then you seek the counsel of a friend or family member who's familiar with the area. You may even research the driving directions online. Once you've decided where you want to go, you usually get there in the amount of time you've estimated with little or no obstacles.
I want you to think about the process of reaching your goals as a literal destination you want to get to. When do you want to get there? What is the absolute fastest way to get there? Do you want to take the quickest route?
Most often we know what the quickest route looks like but we somehow end up taking a detour a long the way. With a road trip, even if we run into detours, we work feverishly to make our way back to the main highway the minute the opportunity becomes available. Sometimes with our goals, we allow ourselves to travel at slower speeds through the back roads unsure of when we will get to our intended destination.
Decide today if you are traveling 75 miles an hour to your goals or going 40 and hoping you get there on time. Don't allow yourself, to waste gas and energy taking a road that leads to no where. You can make it back to the highway staight to your destination as long as you see the signs and chose to get back on track.
In my previous post I shared a video where a man encouraged his viewers to begin each day an act of courage. His suggestion on how to do it was to take cold showers. One reason why he suggested cold showers is so we can overcome the need to instinctively want to seek the comfort of a warm shower first thing in the morning. In fact, we normally tend to seek comfort in much of what we do throughout the day.
I've been taking cold showers for the past week or so. The act of choosing step into frigid water in the morning is one of the most difficult things you'll ever have to do. Your first instinct is to flee the very moment the water hits you. If you don't remain steadfast in your decision to follow through in your cold shower, you will quickly revert to pacifying yourself with warm waters.
The great thing about cold showers is that the longer you stand under the cold water, the less painful the experience. Your body increases blood flow to help raise the body temperature. Soon you find the the excruciating feeling of standing in cold water no longer holds the same value. All of the sudden you are able to handle the experience and what follows is worth its weight in gold. There is nothing like coming to the realization that you have overcome the voices in your head that tell you to run quickly into the arms of warm soothing water. A rush of excitement will fill your senses as you find that you've conquered the demon that is cold water.
Mental toughness is the ability to push through even when you do not feel like it. Its knowing that the discomfort you are feeling is only a representation of fear and not worthy of your attention. Mental toughness is not a trait that one can develop overnight, it comes from making choices that normally don't come easy for us. Not only is mental toughness difficult to develop, its even harder to maintain. That is why making a choice to do something that challenges your mind every day is crucial.
For me, developing mental toughness comes in the form of a cold shower. For you mental toughness can be getting up at 5:00 am every morning. You might decide to workout every morning to toughen your mind. Whatever it is, I encourage you to take on your act of courage in the morning before your day begins. When you do so, you are sending a powerful message to the mind that you are willing and fully able to take on challenges without so much as even a flinch. You've already conquered your most difficult task of the day and everything else is just a bunch of details. Decide this moment what actions you will commit to doing daily as a way of challenging yourself. By adding mental toughness to the ever growing list of your character traits, you're allowing yourself to take on the world with a whole new set beliefs about what you can and cannot do.
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2009 is upon us an I am extremely excited about this time of year. To me the new year represents an opportunity to assess where we were, where we are, and where we're going. This time of year is ripe with potential because everyone is given a new chance to start over. By starting over, I mean that we can decide to create a different reality for ourselves starting right this moment.
Hopefully you already have a couple of intentions you would like to see materialize, but if you don't, now is the perfect moment to decide upon them. In order to avoid being overwhelmed by your goals, perhaps you want to try to follow one major theme for the year as opposed to 5-10 different goals. You might find yourself trying to remember what your goals were by April but if you chose one major theme for the year, that message will stay with you every day. Your mind will not likely let you forget your chosen theme for the year.
For me, the major theme I plan of focusing on is courage. I was somewhat inspired after watching this video. Living every moment with courage means that I will chose to do that which feels slightly uncomfortable to me until I no longer experience the discomfort in the circumstance. Courage can be as simple as calling up a friend I haven't spoken to in ages or it can mean confronting my manager about a decision that I do not agree with. As I continue to increase my level of courage, I will also focus on creating the courage to challenge myself to say yes when I would normally say no.
This year is laden with potential and our intentions should be to experience all the opportunity that lays within it. The reason I get so excited about the new year is partly because I can look back at some of my previous intentions and realize that I am now experiencing what I desired. This creates even more excitement within me to continue to dream bigger and bigger. Every start of the year I always say to myself that this year will be the best year ever, and it always turns out to be the best year ever. Is it because I went into the year with positive expectation? Absolutely!
Take some time today to create and focus on your major personal growth theme for 2009. For those of you who need a little inspiration to get you started, take a look at this video and allow your positive mind juices to start flowing.