The road less traveled is typically a long and windy one. Many times it feels as though we find ourselves back where we started. You know exactly what I’m talking about if you ever went after any sort of goal worthy of your pursuit. You kick off from the start because you’re excited about a dream you have, and before you know it like many relationships we hear about, the honeymoon phase fizzles away.
Well, there’s hope because your goals are kind of like relationships. It takes work if you want to see it succeed. You can’t just decide on a dream and pretend like you’re never going to hit any bumps in the road.
Unless you’re intentional about preparing for those rough patches, then just about every obstacle you hit may knock you right off the horse.
Here we highlight 7 ways you can keep the spark alive with anything you pursue:
1. Have a Mission Statement and Recite it Often.
Actually, I would recommend you repeat your mission statement every day. This simple little statement doesn’t have to be a manifesto but a simple one-liner that has enough power to ignite your passion every time you read it. It’s important to understand why you do what you do. The intensity of our reason can mean the difference between making it or not. It’s the ones with the strongest reason that will usually weather the storms that are inevitable and every seasoned entrepreneur knows the storms will always come.
If you have a statement that reminds you of ‘why’, it’s going to be really hard for most storms to stop you.
2. Be Engaged, and Keep Distractions Out of the Way.
When you take your significant other out you want to give her your undivided attention. You don’t want to be the guy or gal that is texting the whole time while the other party has to find other ways to amuse themselves. That person should be treated like they are your whole world and when you’re together you make sure that’s the case.
In the same way, we should give our goals our undivided respect. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work. Put all that would distract you away and just go all in.
Not only does it keep your mission top of mind, but the focus you give feeds the fuel that you need to keep pressing forward. Distractions will take your attention away to the point that you’ll eventually lose the spark you once had that could have propelled you through some of the hard roads ahead.
3. Selfishly Schedule Your Work Ahead of Time.
Everything and everyone may be battling for your attention, but you should see your time as valuable. You have value as does whatever you give your attention to. When you choose to give your attention away to something, make sure that something is worthy of your attention. It sounds selfish because on the surface it is. But at the end of the day, because of your selfishness to be choosy, you’re actually being selfless by giving what’s worthy of your attention the service they deserve.
Not only that, but by scheduling ahead of time, and living a life of discipline and accountability that adheres to your own schedule, you are locking yourself into seeing this mission through no matter what challenges you might face.
4. Work Outside of Your Home.
Someone I know used to be a real estate agent and she would always remind me, “Location, location, location!” How true that is. For me, separating where I work and sleep is important, but for some, this can still work. When I’m in the environment where I normally relax, guess what naturally comes over me? If you guessed relaxation, you’re on it! When it’s time to work, I don’t want to relax; I want to get things done. So I do what I have to do to go put myself in places where I can get things done.
A coffee shop with a Wi-Fi hot spot is a prime example. Whenever I’m there, I always feel pumped up and ready to work. It doesn’t even have to be a coffee shop either. I used to have a specific waterfall I would go sit at, just to write. It was tranquil, inspirational, conducive, and everything I needed to write productively. Find your comfortable spot, it can be somewhere else in your home, you decide!
5. Try New Things, Get Creative When you Work, and Make it Adventurous.
Just like a relationship with your significant other, you want to do the same with your goals. Nothing has to be the same old boring routine. Get creative, be spontaneous and try experiencing different places or different ways of getting your work done. Perhaps working on a boat may be just what you need. Or perhaps you could start video recording yourself doing cool stuff while you’re working. The kind of things normal people don’t do and would make things a little more fun for you.
Only you know what that could mean for your goals, but for me, it’s always something cool and adventurous that would spice things up. I love being on the road, so if I had the chance to write from a mountain top, believe me, I’m going to take advantage of that. Be different and do the opposite of what everyone else does. Also, try doing the opposite of what you would normally do. You might surprise yourself.
6. Do One Nice Thing For Yourself Every Single Week.
Speaking of trying new things, you could try doing something new for yourself once a week as a reward for persevering through all the hard work. You could go on a hike to a place you haven’t been, or if you like to fish go do that. It doesn’t have to be sky-diving worthy, but something that you can always have to look forward to when your week is done.
It’s powerful motivation to have something that rewards our small incremental successes. The journey to where you want to go is typically too long to wait for any sort of reward.
Can you imagine only promising your significant other just one honeymoon or date night every 10 years? Sadly, I truly believe that goes on, but nevertheless, you don’t want to do that to yourself in the pursuit of your dreams. If you do, the questions of whether or not this is worth it will come up more frequently.
7. Have a Great Attitude, Have Fun, Appreciate What You Do, and Acknowledge the Good.
Every positive note you could drum up to make this an exciting process needs to be on your agenda. When you work with a great attitude, you’ll have fun no matter what, and when you have fun, you’ll appreciate what you’re doing, and when you appreciate what you’re doing it’s much easier to acknowledge all the good that you’re doing. Your attitude can make or break you as it sets the tone, and feeds into everything else you’re doing. When the attitude is great it creates a ripple effect of greatness which circles back around to keep your passion ignited.
You need this, it’s your fuel, and with this fuel, you’ll always keep pressing forward towards the arrival of your dreams come true.
Having these boosts to help keep the spark in your dreams will be extremely useful, but just remember that when you’re paddling across that ocean and you can’t quite see your island it’s going to feel like you’re going nowhere, but don’t lose hope. Every paddle or movement forward is progress. The ocean is just so vast it’s hard to tell. It all seems so minute and pointless, but it’s not.
You are moving forward, you are making progress, and when you start seeing even a glimpse of land, I guarantee you those paddles are going to start intensifying and you will find yourself having arrived before you know it; victorious.