Trying to start a new way of living? Wanting to reinvent part of your life but feeling tired? Four simple steps give you a reality check to help your feelings of whether and to what extent you are making progress towards your goals. Picture a big uphill learning curve. The first parts are the hardest, inertia works against you and much of what makes this hard is lack of momentum. The important thing to remember is that you may have taken on a long process, if so, any ONE period of time will not be significant. What will count is how you put them all together. Let me tell a story about myself that illustrates this point.
In July 2008 I started a big international online project to help change the face of education. Now I have no idea whether it will succeed, but I was desperate to start reading stories about what people were going to do rather than about what was wrong with the current system. All through the fall I had small successes, and the momentum kept going. By December, it seemed like everything had stopped. I had “the blues”. Let’s look at the simple steps we can take to can help us tackle these kind of blues.
- Find examples of folks who have gone before you and have been successful.
- Research and read everything you can about all the topics that impinge on your goals.
- Keep track of where you have been and where you are going.
- Decide where your boundaries are.
First, others have gone before you. Even when we tackle a completely new field or type of technology, we can find models for how others have overcome hardships similar to ours. These are the reasons support groups work, they give us perspective and hope. When discouraged, go to the library or search on the internet for blogs written by people facing the same challenges you face. While you are at the library or on the net, research all the topics that cluster on your project, or the way in which you wish to reinvent yourself. As an example, losing weight clusters with information on nutrition, exercise, social support mechanisms, self esteem, fashion design, etc. My project on the future of education clustered with international issues of literacy, group process, online social networking, web design, previous research, etc. It lightens our emotional load to broaden our minds. Third, pull out a calendar and begin to keep track. Looking forward can be discouraging when all we see is a mountain range we have to cross, but we may have lost sight of the plains we have already traversed. Chances are there has been progress, you have made shifts and they have started a positive momentum. The force may not be enough to carry you along towards your goal, but it is worth preserving. For instance, the dieter has gone to the store and changed the food in her house from those laden with sweets and carbohydrates to fruits and vegetables. Those steps are important. Finally, it is good to have an end date in mind. When discouraged about the Future(s) Project, I realized that I was committed to facilitate the first teams to completion. Three months later a graduate student had decided to use it for her dissertation, prolonging that commitment to keep the project going for a few more years. Without realizing what had happened momentum started and without thinking I was able to extend the parameters of what I thought was possible. Life happens like that. The blues are a test. Can you make it through the hard bits, keeping the faith in yourself and the fact that growth is meant to happen? If you can, the universe will likely support you.