How to stick to your goals (even when things get rough)

By Follow Your Own Rhythm

 

Have you ever thought about why you do, achieve, learn, and accomplish things in your life?  Do you do it because it truly satisfies you?  

Or do you do it for the numbers, the money, the label, the recognition, winning, or fitting in?

The Only Driving Force You Ever Need

When I HAD TO learn how to drive a stick shift car, I learned the true meaning of satisfaction. After months and months of practicing and being majorly put out of my comfort zone accompanied by an unhealthy amount of fearful thoughts about stalling at an intersection and getting yelled at by the car behind me which would trigger my fear of rejection, I finally got to a point where I was comfortable driving a stick shift car.  

I thought I would be so happy about finally gaining the label of being a "stick shift driver" and getting praised by my husband who truly was so proud of me, but it wasn't what did it. 

As I was driving to work one morning, it hit me.  The overwhelming emotion of realizing that

I.

ACTUALLY.

DID IT.  

I actually learned how to drive this manual machine, and that most of all, I overcame this BIG FEAR of mine! I mean I felt so good about myself for persevering through this terrifying process, and that I not only learned it, but mastered it!

I realized at that moment, that there is no amount of money, praise, or external gain that can overpower the beautiful feeling that comes with accomplishing something that you never thought you could accomplish.  I realized that that amazing feeling of personal satisfaction is all of the driving force I ever need.

Yes, External Rewards are Nice...but

There is no doubt that accomplishing a goal like mastering a skill, starting your own business or getting a college degree and thus making more money, adopting a fancy new label, having people recognize your accomplishments, belonging to a certain community, and being a winner in that area doesn't feel good.  Of course it does.
 
But beyond all of that, there lies an even better feeling; a feeling that is a lot more powerful, deep, and true.  And that is the feeling of inner satisfaction. 

Because once the money, the status, and the praise wears off, what are you left with if your only focus was to gain these external rewards?  What keeps you going, what keeps you motivated, and what keeps you empowered when these external things are not available to you or fail you? 
 
Have you ever accomplished something amazing in your life, overcame a challenge, or learned a new skill?  Do you remember the feeling that it created within you? 

Do you remember how proud you were of yourself?  How amazed you were that you actually did it? That feeling of appreciation for how strong and courageous you were, how hard you worked, how many fears you overcame, and how determined and committed you remained?  That great feeling of putting your mind to something and actually accomplishing it despite the hardships that you faced?
 
That is the feeling of personal satisfaction.  Feeling good about yourself because you did it, you accomplished it, you faced it, you overcame it. 

And sure, praise, recognition and all of those other rewards that come with it are beautiful, but the most beautiful reward of all is how much self-respect, self-confidence, and inner strength you have gained from the experience. 
 
To me, there is no better driving force than that. 

And from this perspective, it is so much easier to enjoy the external rewards because you are not dependent on them.  You don’t really need them to make you more content; you are already perfectly satisfied with your own progress, your own growth, and your own strength. 
 

So as much as you can, when setting goals, try to focus on the internal rather than external rewards you will get.

Always ask yourself: What will I gain INTRINSICALLY?
 
My advice is that you go into any endeavor and any new experience, not for the physical rewards it will grant you, but for the primary purpose of satisfying your soul.  Do it because you want to, because you enjoy it, and because it makes you feel good.  Always recognize the inner value that you have gained and focus on that so that you don't become attached to external rewards; they just remain a bonus.  This way, you will have a much easier time actually STICKING to your goals.

Also, remember to give yourself some love!

Try to remember where you were a week, a month, or a year ago, and focus on how far you have come and how much you have grown, and be proud of yourself! Smile at yourself and say “good job.”  It doesn’t matter if the world recognizes your progress, your changes, and your growth, all you need is for YOU to recognize it. Soak it up and bathe in the wonderful feelings of joy, love, and satisfaction that it creates within you!


Did you ever experience a time when you did something and it was personally satisfying? How did it make you feel? Share it in the comments below!

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