You’ve likely heard the phrase, “you are what you eat,” meaning the health of our body is largely dependent on our food choices. But when it comes to goal realization, I believe a similar sentiment is also true: we are what we do. To realize any goal—especially those big, long-term, scary ones—we need to become the goal.
Let me explain. When I first set out to write my novel, although I did spend some time at my desk writing, I spent even more time doing other, less essential tasks. I’d let fear and doubt take hold and take over, get distracted by thoughts like I can’t or I’m not good enough, and rather than powering through, I’d run away from my computer to do something easier. Something I could complete, control, and cross off my to-do list without having to deal with feelings of discomfort or vulnerability.
My husband and I had moved during this period and so I used that as an excuse for a stretch of time. I became a packer and unpacker, a painter, an organizer, a landscaper. But even after we were mostly settled into our new home, I found many more clever ways to avoid writing. And in the midst of these months and years of little to no progress, I was still adamant that I wanted to be a writer, and many days, even claimed I was one. But if I was being truly honest with myself, I’d have realized that the only thing I was successfully becoming was a procrastinator.
So how did I turn things around? How did I finally start achieving my goals and subsequently finish writing the novel I’d wanted to write? Simple. By actually becoming the writer I wanted to be. What that required of me was adopting and embracing three important traits: courage, commitment, and consistency.
- Courage. One of the most difficult things to overcome in goal realization is fear. Fear of failure, fear of appearing foolish, fear of rejection and criticism and judgment. There is so much uncertainty that goes along with stepping out of our comfort zone to do something different and make a change, but doing so is almost always a prerequisite of reaching a goal. And unfortunately, the courage we need to do that usually only comes AFTER we’ve taken that first step. The good news: courage begets courage, so once one step is behind us, we’ll have developed more courage to take the next. But courage is not enough. We must also possess a certain level of commitment.
- Commitment. What we want to achieve is what we will make time for, but that desire is not enough. It must be accompanied by the motivation, determination, and endurance to stick with it for the long haul. Much like a marriage, if we truly want to achieve this goal, then we must be devoted to it. We must give it the time and attention it needs to grow and progress even on the days we don’t really feel like it.
- Consistency. Progress creates progress which creates more progress. The more consistently we do something, the more it turns into a habit. The more habitual the work on our goals becomes, the more those goals (and our growth and development and effort in reaching them) becomes a part of who we are.
Courage + commitment + consistency = the pathway to becoming our goal, and this equation is the next step in The Rainbow of Goal Realization. Go ahead and take it.