A quick internet search reveals this quote attributed to everyone from George Harrison to Lewis Carroll but no matter who said it first the meaning is pretty clear. In fact I thought it was ‘if you don’t know where you’re headed you’re already there’ which neatly sums up the point of today’s post (and this month really).
As we round the final bend to the end of the year, in between bouts of festive cheer, we tend to start thinking about the new year ahead. This leads some to start making resolutions (personally, I’m not a fan, any day is a good day to start something new..) but the stats are pretty telling that more often than not they fail in the first few months. Does that mean we are a world full of louts and laze-abouts?
Sticks, Carrots and Quizzes
Maybe. But it seems to me that perhaps the problem is that we are not tying our goals and resolutions to anything that actually motivates us. We know we should be healthier, so we resolve to go to the gym, eat more healthfully and stop going to the pub.. but what fun is that? All we see is restriction, it’s all stick and no carrot. We *know* we should be healthier but until our unhealthy lifestyle actually starts to impact on our lives in some way it’s much easier to just carry on carrying on. And so we do.
But what if instead of the stick we focused solely on the carrot? I’m sure there are loads of books and articles on this and I’m not the first person to come up with this thought but it hit home for me when two things happened…
The Good, the Bad and the Googled
First, I sat down to write something for someone else. After years of people telling me I needed to start a blog or get back to writing, I dusted off the dictionary and sat down at the laptop. Nothing came at first. And then when it did start flowing it was awful, and I deleted the whole thing. I walked away, came back the next day, and it was still awful, but maybe slightly less awful and then a little spark in me lit up. I remembered what it was like, the creative process, letting ideas tumble over themselves in your head, trying to sort them out, put them into words, failing, trying again, failing again and so on and so on until you hit on that one phrase (usually not even an entire sentence) that starts to make sense.. and you’re off. I remembered what it was like and I remembered that I LOVED doing it. So why had I waited so long? (But I am still a little rusty so please forgive any dangling participles, split infinitives and excessive use of alliteration…)
Second, I took this online quiz. (Don’t judge, how many times have YOU procrastinated trying to find out what your elf name is or somesuch?) It’s by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and revealed my tendency to be a rebel.
No, I don’t have blue hair, I went to school, got straight A’s, graduated and got a job and have never done anything too outwardly rebellious but there is one thing that rang true – I don’t like doing what I’m ‘supposed’ to do. It doesn’t matter who asks, tells, cajoles or beseeches, as soon as I feel that I’m bound or obliged, I flake, run or disappear. Sometimes all three. I was a terrible employee. Practically unemployable. Honestly. An HR woman once angered me at a job and I quit, walked out, went home and didn’t answer the phone for three days. Without going into whatever deep-seeded emotional trigger this reveals, it certainly made immediate sense to me…as well as the correlate, tell me that I can’t do something and, well, it’s a newfound fascination.
I’m sure that I’m not alone in this but the point is clear, if you don’t set the right motivation then the mountain seems.. insurmountable!
The Road Less Travelled
Whether you want to climb Everest, enter the Great British Bake-Off or simply be a better person, unless you have the right motivation it’s going to seem impossible. So this December we’re all going to get #omthesamepage with a bit of Discovery. Discovery of who we are, what makes us tick and most importantly what lights you up? What makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, fills you with energy and makes you want to dance all night and get up the next morning and do it again?
Intrigued? Good! Because now is as good a time as any to (write that book/learn that language/go to yoga..) and let’s do it together. x