Acknowledging the mental side of goal success is a new concept for me. Up till this point, much of what I’ve written about details the physical side of things. For instance, how to:
- Set goals
- Plan your days
- Be more productive, etc.
In other words, I’ve put a great deal into covering the aspect of doing the work. However, the idea of believing in what you’re doing isn’t something I’ve put much thought towards. In my mind, as long as you set yourself up physically, that’s all you need.
But, my perspective has, frustratingly, changed.
The cause for frustration
Let me clarify why I’m frustrated. Simply, it’s the fact that every time I learn something new – either of myself or the world around me – it feels like whatever I’ve published up to that point has suddenly become obsolete.
Like I learned a better way to teach math or whatever. Is that really the case? Probably not.
My old way of teaching “math” was great.
It’s just that… now I know this new way to teach “math” and I feel like I’m doing my former students a disservice. But I can’t (or rather, won’t) go back and revise my 100+ articles, so I do my best for you today. Sharing what I know so that you can update your system to match.
It’s a new way of thinking
I mentioned that the mental side of things is a new concept for me. So please take that into consideration before applying the lessons of this post to your life.
And I’m actively taking steps to better understand the mental side. But for our purposes, let’s just assume that I’m only a step or two ahead of you right now. Not at the top of some mountain, but just a smidge ahead along the path, urging you along with what I know thus far.
That said, you’re probably curious as to the change that I alluded to.
Well, I always figured that, so long as you set things up right physically, that’s all you need to do for goal success. Meaning that, if you write your goals down, keep fulfillment in mind, plan out your days, and do the work (plus a few other things), goal success would be guaranteed.
But I’ve learned that’s not always the case.
Because even if you have everything set up physically, if you neglect the mental, if you don’t believe that your goal success is possible, no amount of planning or intentionality will get you to where you want to go.
More meat, less bread
One of my current goals is to consume less than ten net carbohydrates a day. I’ve written a fair deal about this goal already so I won’t go into it too much again. Really all you need to know is that, for the most part, I’m not eating carbohydrates.
Instead, my diet consists of mostly meat and cheese.
But recently, I caved.
I had been at it for some time with no break. Which is fine. I don’t mind putting in the work when I’m seeing results – weight loss being the desired benefit in this case. However, it was when I consistently put in the work and didn’t see any benefit, in fact when I saw a weight gain for the week, that my mental side fell apart.
I stopped (temporarily)
Instead of feeling confident and remaining patient, my mind suddenly began yelling: Give up. Eat cookies. Give up. Eat cookies.
So that’s what I did.
I caved, paused all my goals for the day, and ran through as many sweets as I could find. Initially, I was disappointed with myself but came to realize that the break was needed. I had been too rigid and a reset was the only thing that would help.
And it did. Tremendously.
Uncovering the root
So where did things break down? Did I give the scale too much importance? Did I let negative self-talk creep in? Or is this goal that I’m pursuing unsustainable?
Let’s start with the last one – sustainability. Is the goal sustainable? Can I see myself doing it long-term? Certainly, assuming I continue to find new foods to try (otherwise it gets boring). So sustainability isn’t a problem.
What about the first two – the scale and the self-talk? I believe that’s where the problem lies.
The power of self-talk
At some point, I allowed negative self-talk to creep in.
To cause doubt. To think poorly of my efforts. And when the time came to weigh in, when I stepped foot on the scale and didn’t see the result I wanted, the voice got louder, and louder, and louder. Until that’s all there was.
But there’s more to the story… because at the same time, I also wasn’t getting the results for QuickBooost (my blog) that I wanted either.
One after another
I had the same negative voice discouraging me in that case too. And when I did the equivalent of stepping on the scale for QuickBooost and didn’t see what I wanted, the voice that had been growing louder and louder suddenly became a shout.
And thus, I caved.
These things happened within the span of a few days.
First I didn’t see the weight I wanted, then I didn’t see the QuickBooost results I had hoped for, which resulted in my taking the entire next day off from my goals and responsibility in general.
I’ve consumed many books recently on the virtues of positive thinking. Books like:
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
- The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Each book is different, but there are similarities. One of which is belief. Belief that you can attain, achieve, or master whatever it is you desire. That with belief anything is possible – good or bad.
If you assume the worst, that’s what you’ll get. If you believe the best is coming to you, that’s what will occur. Regardless of each author’s explanation as to why this is the case, the takeaway is the same: what you tell yourself is powerful.
It can either lead you to positive things or negative.
It’s my fault
Looking at my own experience and keeping the above in mind, my theory on the matter is this (make of it what you will): I consciously allowed negative self-talk to take hold. And in doing so, I welcomed negativity and that which it brought into my life.
In other words, by being negative I brought about negativity.
Or, at the very least, caused my rigidity and subsequent caving.
Conversely, if I remained positive and encouraging, would I have stayed strong? Would I have continued on with no issue? It’s possible. But more importantly is the realization that I had the next day (as in, the day I resumed my goals).
There was a lot of good
I woke up sour. Annoyed. My day off was great and now I was back to reality. And nothing had changed. I was still angry.
It wasn’t until later in the morning – when I was fuming in the car – that it came to me: though I didn’t get the results I wanted, there were some great things that came about during the time in which I was positive and visualized what I was after.
For instance, I did manage to lose some weight. Not a ton, but some.
And on the QuickBooost side, I was featured on Entreprenuer.com as well as in some big publications on Medium. Things that wouldn’t have been possible had I entirely let negativity win. So, there’s something there.
There’s something to positivity and believing.
What I’ll do differently in the future
Moving forward, I’m trying new things – like visualization, like rejecting doubt, like staying positive – I’m open to it. Because belief that you can and will seems to be equally, if not more, important than doing the work.
You need to both do and believe in order to attain the goal success you’re after.
At least, that’s how things look right now. Here’s to a bright future – for both of us.