Have you started chasing a goal but given up halfway? It happens to all of us.
When you begin, you’re all geared up to achieve what you set your eyes on. But as time goes by, the enthusiasm starts to dip slowly. For some reason, the target does not appear as awesome as it once did. What seemed like a delicious chocolate sundae seems like plain vanilla over time. Finally, when your motivation dies, so does your dream of achieving the goal.
So, how do you keep yourself high on energy to chase your goals? The answer is: introduce adventure.
How Adventure Makes a Difference
Try to recall the most recent vacation you went on. How did you feel when you left your house to get into your car for a road trip or on a plane to get to that distant city. You felt a tingling sensation in your body you couldn’t explain, didn’t you?
Take a step further and analyze some of the adventurous activities you did on the holiday like hiking up a steep mountain or attempting sky diving or bungee jumping. Was fear lurking somewhere in the back of your mind? Sure, it was. But you were on your toes that morning with goosebumps all over your skin thinking how the experience would turn out.
Can you guess the reason why that happens? It is because adventure gives you something to look forward to.
In his best selling book, Drive, Daniel Pink explains the 3 key factors behind intrinsic motivation. They are mastery, autonomy, and purpose. As human beings, we yearn to get better at something or the other and we’re more inclined to do things when we have a reason behind it which resonates with our heart.
So why not introduce adventure into your goals as well? Wouldn’t it be awesome to wake up from your bed each morning excited for the things you have to accomplish that day? You might consider that as a page torn out of a fairytale story, but it’s much easier to make it happen in real-life than you think.
3 Steps to Introduce Adventure Into Your Goals
You can add some adventure to your goals in 3 steps…
Step 1: Gather Information
Most people aim for a goal purely looking at the outcome. Planning to start a business is one such example many employees working at a 9-5 job have. With all the rags to riches stories floating around the internet, entrepreneurship seems like the easy way to enjoy life while making loads of money.
The truth is, most entrepreneurs go through years of hardship only to fail. No one hears about them because only the success stories get the limelight. I am not saying everyone should stay away from entrepreneurship. Rather, it is important to know what the whole process entails and not just consider the fanciness of the outcome.
Irrespective of the goal you’re chasing, you must find out what the entire journey looks like. The simplest way to do that is to talk to people who have attempted chasing a similar target before. You’ll get a better picture if you find out both sides of the story. Therefore, do not only get in touch with people who succeeded. You’ll gain far more valuable information by hearing the tales of those who failed trying.
Once you understand the ground reality of the path to your goals, you can ask yourself if that is something you’d mind enduring to reach the outcome. Not everyone enjoys the struggle involved and that’s OK. You can make a compromise or choose a different goal altogether.
For example, if your goal is to have chiseled 6-pack abs, you’d assume you need to work out and control your diet. But if you talk to those with ripped abs, some will tell you that they had to starve for it for weeks. Maintaining them is another struggle altogether. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can aim for a muscular body with a flat tummy instead.
Step 2: Incrementally Challenge Yourself
What happens to a person who attempts to run a 10K marathon without having any prior experience? I am sure you can guess how that’d end. Unfortunately, most people try to achieve their goals with a similar approach by making drastic changes. For example:
- Trying to workout 5 days a week without having any habit of exercising before
- Attempting to save thousands of dollars each month being a spendthrift for life
- Hoping to work 12 hours a day after being lazy for years together
You might have read an article where someone pulled off exactly such a feat, but those are anomalies.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains in his book, Flow, the feeling of happiness when you’re working on a task that is at the right level of difficulty. The right task will challenge you such that you feel excited trying to accomplish it. At the same time, it isn’t so difficult that you give up right away.
Whatever your goal is, take it one step at a time and stretch yourself little by little out of the comfort zone. When you use that approach, you’ll lose track of time because you’re enjoying yourself while getting things done. That’s exactly how I am feeling writing this article.
Let’s look at those examples again from an incremental perspective:
- Aim to work out in 30 min sessions 3 days a week
- Try saving a few hundred dollars a month to begin
- Find ways to pull off 2-3 productive hours in a day to kickstart your dreams
Such changes are easy to make because your mind and body have a far easier time adapting to the change curve. Once you’re comfortable with your new style of life, increase the difficulty a little more. Keep repeating the process as a lifestyle.
Step 3: Use the Feedback Loop
If you were on a trek, how would you approach your climb to ensure you reach as per schedule? If you were running late, you’d attempt to go faster and if you were ahead of schedule, you’d allow yourself a breather. Simple, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, we fail to apply the same logic while chasing our long term goals. One set of people relentlessly chase their target as per their original plan. Another set of people procrastinate their goals for the future.
The right balance is to start small and measure your progress frequently. Watch your actions and results stepwise to adjust your course accordingly. That way, you’ll try new things and keep your adrenaline high.
You’ll find yourself thinking, “Will this work? If not, what can I attempt next?” Such deliberate changes will provide you the answers you’re looking for and you’ll inch closer to your goal, one step at a time.
Adventure does not necessarily mean chasing audacious goals like scaling Everest. You can introduce adventure even for a desk job if you challenge yourself the right way.
So, find out about the hardships of achieving the goal beforehand, start small and take it one step at a time. Challenge yourself and give your body and mind an opportunity to grow. Not only will you get the job done, but you’ll also relish the journey in the process.
About the Author:
Maxim Dsouza is a self improvement blogger. He has been a part of multiple failed start ups and learned the hard way. On his blog, Productive Club, he provides unique tips and tricks on productivity, time management and entrepreneurship from his real life experience.