You wake up. The room, initially dark, fills with light as you open the curtains. Ahh, it’s going to be an amazing day! You get dressed, make breakfast, and then sit on the couch.
I can’t wait to see what great things happen today!
You remain on that couch until lunch. Not doing much. Mostly just staring at the wall, or the ceiling, or the carpet. It’s going to be a fantastic day! You get up and make some food before returning back to your spot on the couch.
Any second now, something wonderful is going to happen!
Waiting for amazing
Wha- what’s that?! You hear a car honking a few blocks away. False alarm. But any second now, life-changing things will begin to materialize.
The sun sets as your stomach growls once again. Dinner already? Huh… Well… any second now something amazing is sure to happen.
You return to the kitchen for another meal. Post-dinner, you find your spot on the couch and resume patiently waiting for whatever great thing you expect. But the only thing you experience is your room getting darker as the dusk turns to night.
And there you are, sitting in a dark room, wondering why nothing came from all your believing.
Time to read
Ok, that didn’t work. Let’s try something else…
You wake up the next day and greet the sun. You get dressed and make breakfast. But this time, instead of your normal spot on the couch, you sit at your desk.
And right there in the middle of it all is a book.
Perfect. I’m going to spend today reading. After all, my reading goal won’t complete itself. You pick up the book and start leafing through the pages. You check out the back cover, the front cover, you read the small little copyright on the first page.
Ok, c’mon now. Let’s get reading.
Your self-talk isn’t lining up
You map out how many pages you want to read today. 50. You decide how long you’re going to read before taking a break. An hour. You have water nearby. You have snacks present. You’ve even gotten out your fancy notebook in expectation of copious notes.
But you have a problem.
You’re not reading. You’re just… sitting there.
Let’s go! It’s already been 20 minutes. I’m wasting time! You stare at the page in front of you. The more you stare though, the more you want to look away. The more you want to get up and go do something else. Anything else.
I miss the couch. Yesterday was so much more fun. I’m never going to read this whole book. I’m never going to reach my goal. What a waste of a day!
You go to bed that night having read nothing and feeling worse than the day before.
A change of dialogue
Let’s try this one more time.
You wake up once again. Day three. Today’s going to be different. I’m reading that book today and nothing will stop me!
You follow your morning routine like normal and once again find yourself sitting at your desk, book in hand.
I got this. I got this. Today’s the day. I’m reading today. I’m going to do it!
You set the milestone of 50 pages just like the day before. You set a timer for an hour. Snacks at the ready, water nearby, notebook with pen open. I am a reader. I am going to read this book today. And just like that, you start reading.
To your delight, a few moments later you hear the first whoosh of a turned page. I’m doing it! One page turns into two, to three, to ten.
Yes! I’m awesome! I got this!
Doing and believing
Erg, Erg, Erg. The timer goes off. It’s been an hour. Wow! That was fast. Your hand is sore from all the notes you’ve taken. Oblivious to the fact that time has passed, you check your progress in the book.
Yes! That’s awesome! 50 pages in an hour? Fantastic! I can do this! I’m doing this! This goal is mine!
You take a little break. After a few minutes, you return to your desk, grab the book, and bring it with you to your cozy spot on the couch. Beep, beep. You set the timer for another hour and get right back to it. This day is mine! Amazing things are happening!
You’ve combined believing in yourself with doing the work. And that is a good place to be.
I finished a book earlier today called The Secret. You’ve probably heard of it. It was very popular when it first came out in the early 2000s. The basic premise of the book is that whatever you think, you attract to your life.
Visualize positive things and positive things come to you. Visualize negative things, whether you are actively doing it or not, and negative things come to you.
As a recovering pessimist, so much of this book rings true to me.
The two sides of goal success
The idea of imagining what you want and really feeling it is powerful. The notion of steering your thoughts to positive ones, being grateful for all you have, and refusing to let self-doubt bring you down all feel grounded in something very real.
I may not fully believe or understand the why behind why this book works. But that’s fine. Knowing me, I’ll keep reading and reading and reading on the topic until I’ve uncovered it.
That said, I believe that believing is only half of the battle. Believing may rule the mental, but doing lives in the land of the physical.
And to achieve your goals, you need to do and believe.
90/10 applies to more than just diet
They say that to get in shape it’s 90% about the food you eat and 10% about the exercise you do.
I’m no nutritionist, but that sounds about right to me. Likewise, when it comes to achieving your goals, you can apply this same ratio. Except instead of food and exercise, it’s belief and doing. It’s mental and physical.
As in, to reach goal success, it’s 90% believing you can and will and 10% doing the actual work.
Here’s an example.
Aligning the mental with the physical
Near the end of 2020, my friend and I climbed a literal mountain. Over a period of 10.5 hours, we gained 5,500 feet in elevation and traversed 22 miles. It’s the kind of hike that most people do over the course of two days.
We had it done by sunset.
But I’ll tell you what, even for the good shape that I’m in, it was a challenge. It was hard. It was more than the physical though, it was the mental. It was the pain of looking up to the peak during the hike and seeing just how much further we had to go.
It was the negative self-talk that hit us both on the way back when we thought the end was right around the corner when in actuality we had several more miles to go.
The belief that I could
Yes, there was a physical toll. Yes, I had a limp for several days following the hike.
But the mental game was that much harder. The constant reassurance you had to give yourself to get through it was immense. Keep going. Keep going. You got this. You got this. And without a very real feeling of belief, a feeling of I can do this, neither one of us would’ve made it to the summit that day.
Yes, I needed my body to withstand the physical tribulations, but I just as well needed to believe that it was possible to do so.
Enhancing the mental
You can believe you’ll make it to the top of a mountain, but if you never leave your house, you’ll only get there in your mind. Likewise, you may be in the right shape for 5,500 feet in elevation, but if you don’t believe you can do it, your mind will force you to quit before lunch.
To achieve your goals then, to create a fulfilling, meaningful life for yourself, you need to both believe in yourself and do the work.
Consequently, when it comes to strengthening your belief, check out The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy or The Secret by Rhonda Byrne as mentioned earlier. *You definitely need to go into each with an open mind. If you can do that, I recommend them.
Both books have been powerful in turning my negative self-talk into positive, belief-filled self-talk.
Strengthening the physical
Additionally, when it comes to doing the work, context is important. Depending on the goal and what you want to do, there are a near-infinite amount of resources you can select from for help.
That said, I love reading and I love helping, so if you’re ever looking for a book related to a specific topic, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to suggest ones that have impacted my life for the better. Here’s my email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will say, though, that in regards to doing the work, it helps if you have a plan. Both for the goal that you want to pursue and for when you plan on working on that goal.
For help with that, see my goal success course here.
Moving forward with your two sides
When it comes to goal success, you need to both do the work and believe that you can achieve what you’re after. Do that and no goal stands a chance. Or, put in a more positive way, any goal you imagine is within your realm of possibility.
Take note of your thoughts, steer them in a more positive direction, and then do the work.
I’ll see you on the mountain.