Norton: Set a goal, stick with it, and don’t let detours along the way discourage you (column)
A couple of months ago, many of us made our commitments to our New Year’s resolutions, or our goals for this year. Law of averages and historical data tell us that there is a certain percentage of us who have already abandoned our resolutions and goals. Can you believe that? Of course you can’t, because that is not you, it is not who you are.
Maybe it is a friend of yours, or maybe it is someone from work: Those are the people who set aside their dreams and goals and have decided to wait again until next year to pick up the chase. But it certainly is not you. You may have had a temporary setback, we all do, but you realized that a temporary setback is all that it was, and you are once again in the pursuit of your own success.
A slight slip up in your diet, a day or two missed from the gym, a little extraordinary spending or a chapter or two missed from writing your book … no worries. For others, it might be a problem; for you, you are resolute in your commitment, you have already jumped back in and are charging hard again, or you have realized where you fell off the path and you are committed to starting again today. It happens to us all, and it is OK.
Believe it or not, there are even people who have determined that setting goals or trying to live up to New Year’s Eve commitments isn’t reality at all. They believe that only other people have the ability to set goals, have dreams and do what is necessary to achieve success. It can’t be for them, as success and winning are only for other people.
But that is not you. You stand firm in your desires and how you define success. You are driven with purpose and know that you are one of those people whom others only talk about when it comes to achieving greatness.
When given a rope, there are some people who use that rope to pull other people down. Instead of climbing the rope or holding onto the rope to be pulled forward, they exert all of their negative energy and try to pull others down as they give up on their own goals and dreams.
That is not you. You are the one, who when passed a rope, you pass it along to the next person because you are already beyond any need for the rope. You are the one who uses the rope to lift others up so that they, too, can meet and exceed their goals and dreams.
Oftentimes people give up too soon. They only set far-reaching, long-term goals. So, when the first obstacle comes along, it seems like a barrier that they cannot get around, and they have already been defeated. They see their goal as being just too far away.
This is not you. You have set near-term goals and milestones that you know pave the way to future long-term success. Any obstacle or barrier seems like only a pebble on the path of achievement, and you step on it and crush it as you press on.
Although many people do set their goals or commit to resolutions on the first of the year, many will submit to the first temptation that takes them off course. That first doughnut or bagel brought to the office, that first chance at having a beer after work instead of the gym, that first chance to ditch church and instead hit a powder day. (OK that one might be forgiven, just as long as it is a powder day.)
Again, this isn’t you. You have a very clear path, a strong sense of willpower. When you are looking back weeks or months from now, you will embrace and cherish the sacrifices that you have made in order to remain on your journey of success.
Others quit. You stay the course. Others make excuses. You own your setbacks. Others can only see what’s right in front of them. You see all of the successful tomorrows of your life.
So how about you? Whether you made New Year’s resolutions or set goals for yourself or not, I would love to hear how you are doing and how you stay on the path of success at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we can stick with it and stick to it, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.