When the going gets tough…

Happy New Year!  I hope that your 2014 is everything you want it to be and that you reach all of the goals that you set for yourself.  It’s exhilarating to get a fresh year to create some amazing things, but often around the end of January we start feeling like it’d be easier just to give up, quit trying, and eat a dozen doughnuts.

We all go through this. You have an idea that you are passionate about and it’s so exciting at first. You make lists, talk to your friends about it, and possibly buy the gear (computer, running shoes, organizational tools) to do it. But then the work part comes – and it isn’t always easy.

But this isn’t the side of things that people talk much about this time of year. Right now is all about setting goals and intentions for your New Year. But, what good is setting goals if you don’t achieve them? I want to help you work through the hard part, the time when you stop caring, the time when your faith in your project has waned, the time when it just isn’t easy. Because when you work through the difficult parts, the real treasure is on the other side.

I would love to tell you that if you do what you love, every moment will feel blissfully effortless. If it were true, I would sing it from the mountain tops. But it’s not and that doesn’t mean anything about whether you should continue on the path or not. Just because you stop “feeling like it” in the moment, doesn’t mean you should stop. There are moments when everyone doesn’t feel like it any more, that’s because we’re human. We start to feel self doubt, tired, distracted. You are not alone in this.

Don’t quit on your dreams. – tweet it.

First, ask yourself how you would feel if you didn’t reach this goal. At the end of your life, if you looked back, would you regret not going for it? Or would you really not care? This is a great barometer of whether you should push through. Often it’s just self doubt that is standing in our way, but sometimes we truly don’t want the goal anymore. If it’s the latter – then by all means quit now and move on.

If you would be disappointed to not have at least given it all you got, then try these four steps:

  1. Take a break. Go do something completely unrelated. Move your body, get out in nature, go out with friends, get a massage. Give your project and yourself a little room to breathe.
  2. Reconnect to the reason that you wanted to do this in the first place. Did you want to be healthier, travel more, spend more time with your family, serve your community? Whatever the impetus was to creating this goal, put it front and center. Write it out and keep it in a place that you can see it daily.
  3. Get social accountability. Ask a friend to hold you accountable, or let the world know what you’re up to. It’s way harder to tell other people that we didn’t actually do the work, we quit, we gave up, then it is for us to just know this ourselves.
  4. Bring more joy. There is always the opportunity to infuse lightness and fun into every moment. Challenge yourself to see exactly how ridiculously awesome you can make it.

You can totally do it! When you’re in the depths of the work, be gentle yet firm with yourself and continue to move forward.

What are your goals and why? Write them in the comments below and then revisit them if you lose your gusto to get them.

It’s 2014, let’s do this!


Briana Borten and everyone at The Dragontree

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