How to Find Your Second Wind on a Big Goal
Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about. ~Author Unknown
It’s a pretty amazing feeling when you muster the courage to commit to a big goal or change in your life. Maybe it’s starting your own business, or heading back to school for an advanced degree, or finally writing (and publishing!) that first novel. Regardless of the desired end result, there are 2 distinct attributes almost every big objective has in common:
1. It always takes longer to accomplish than we think it will.
2. Somewhere along the journey you’re likely to get weary and probably a little discouraged, because no matter how much progress you’ve made up to that point, there always seems to be so much more to do.
Finding Your Second Wind
The second wind is a concept most often associated with exercise, particularly running, where an athlete who feels out of breath and too tired to carry on suddenly finds the energy to continue. It’s not too difficult to see the parallel if you consider that any major goal you set for yourself will require you to maintain a certain level of commitment and energy for an extended period of time; an undertaking that may find you working harder than you’ve ever worked before, and that you may not always feel up to.
The key to avoiding major delays or a full derailment is to anticipate that the bigger your goal, the greater the likelihood that you will have one or more periods where you will need to re-energize yourself.
Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. ~William James
Cultivate the Habit of Self-Motivation
As nice as external support can be, there is not always going to be someone there to motivate you precisely when you need it most. Everyone is motivated by different things. Don’t wait until you experience a set-back to learn your own motivational triggers. Understand what excites you – what makes you feel like you could conquer the world. This is how you will fuel your own determination, whenever you need it.
Acknowledge You Have a Problem
Self awareness is the key to recognizing that you’re motivation in declining. The longer this malaise is allowed to continue the great the danger that pesky negative internal influences will begin to raise their ugly little heads and start seriously undermining your efforts. Once you begin second guessing your decisions and choices, it will be much harder to get back on track.
Regularly Revisit Your Ultimate Goal
Very often when working toward a big goal we break it down into many smaller steps, which helps us to make progress without feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the undertaking. The problem is that over time we can begin focusing so much on the tasks at hand, we become disconnected from the passion we once had for the ultimate goal. To retain this connection and your commitment, regularly revisit your ultimate goal and remind yourself why you wanted to achieve it in the first place.
Acknowledge and Appreciate How Far You’ve Already Come
Next take a good look at what you’ve learned since you started working on your goal. This exercise will be a lot easier if you can get into the habit of keeping a journal and jotting down even the small things you learn and accomplish as you work toward your goal. Pick out a few key triggers that create a positive emotional response – they don’t need to big achievements, just something you struggled with and that gave you a sense of pride when you overcame it.
For example, as an author one of my triggers is thinking about the first time I formatted and published a book to Amazon. I cannot stress enough how absolutely clueless I was about the terms and the technology, or how discouraged I felt when it took me nearly a week to finally work my way through that project. Just last week I completed a revision for one of my books and it took me a little over half an hour to reformat the document and publish it to Amazon. To be sure it’s a relatively small achievement, yet thinking about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned helps me to off-set knowing how much farther I have to go to achieve my goals.
Take a Break
Once you’ve acknowledged the problem and re-centered yourself, it’s time to take a break before getting back to actively working on your plan. Don’t worry about losing momentum; consider this invaluable time to re-energize yourself.
- Determine how long a break to take. If you think a week will do the trick, block off a week in your calendar and then make sure that you write in your “return to work” date.
- Decide exactly what a “break” means. Does it mean you will consciously avoid all thoughts of your goal while doing something completely different, or just not actively working on tasks associated with the goal? Or will you simply avoiding certain aspects that you find more taxing than others?
- Give yourself a pass on any guilt trips. Every time you feel guilty remind yourself that the break from your project is temporary and your intention is to come back stronger than ever.
- On your return date, before you pick up where you left off, take time to review your long term plan and strategies to determine if there are any changes or course corrections needed. It’s far better to do this once you’re refreshed and motivated again.
Now it’s your turn. Have you ever felt the need for a second wind? If so how were you able to achieve it?
If you enjoyed this article I hope you’ll consider contributing to the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing this post with your friends! In fact I’d love to connect with YOU! To follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., just click here.
I also hope you will consider joining the IGG Community! It only takes a couple of minutes to sign up, and then each new article will be conveniently delivered to your email inbox … and of course you’ll also receive your free copy of my Welcome Gift for Subscribers - Believe in Yourself!
To learn more - press here.