Your goals in life and habits can quickly become routine and stale. The same workout. The same eating plan. The same dates. At this point you’ll hit an enthusiasm dip. The proverbial rut.
Credit: Seth Godin
After riding the initial high of a new endeavor, it becomes harder. Harder to motivate us to show up again to the gym. Harder to continue working to get out of debt. Harder to stick through to the end in medical school. This is where many give up. The true test of willpower and perseverance is in the home-stretch of any dip where you just want to pack it in and peace-out.
In relationships, we’ll hear the cliched story of how the relationship was so great in the beginning but then one, if not both, people in the relationship stopped trying and things got stale before ending it. That is when the real ‘work’ begins. The word ‘work’ has gotten a bad rap...it is not a dirty word! There is great satisfaction in a job well done. The thought goes, “Ugh, I have to keep planning dates, finding new ways to be romantic, continue working on my communication, and keep being vulnerable forever?! Best to just break up and be single again.” Plus, it’s all their fault of course! Yeah, then you do it alllll over again.
Apply that thinking to any endeavor that involves obtaining tighter abdominals, passive income businesses, becoming happier, cooking like Gordon Ramsey, or adopting a consistent spiritual practice.
Bring The Party to Your Goals in Life
Goals and habits will not always be sunshine and rainbows. If you have an expectation for goals/habits to be awesome all the time, you’ll be in for a rude awakening.
I recently had one of those days where you get home from work and feel like doing nothing. Energy is low. The Debbie Downer monster is strong. And it’s gym day.
I surely could have skipped. That was until I remembered my girlfriend got me this t-shirt:
I usually dress pretty conservatively in the gym, so wearing this t-shirt was like a mini-Halloween for me. I felt enthusiastic going to the gym, others smiled at the t-shirt, and mentally yelled “Get to the choppa” about 100 times, which made me feel stronger channeling my inner Mr. Universe.
That’s all it took to make my workout fun and prevent me bailing.
What if you took this attitude to everything you do with a simple question: What will I do to make this thing fun?
Where are you experiencing the dip right now?
When you hit a dip exercising, what if you created a new playlist? Tried a different routine? Tried exercising with a buddy?
When you hit a dip with The Five Minute Journal, what if you crossed out the questions and made up your own for the day? Or drew pictures instead? Or wrote future gratitudes?
What if you worked on your new side business at a cool bar/restaurant in your city instead of at home?
You are the master of your own fate. YOU are responsible for making s**t happen.
This is empowering because it means almost any endeavor you do can be great. Instead of wasting time on thinking “why does this thing suck”, you think about a million reasons why this project is awesome. Simply changing the conversation in your head can make everything seem a whole lot more enjoyable.
Work through the dips. Get outta of the rut. Enjoyment just does not happen, nor should you just expect it. Get out there and do some good work. And keep going.
It is of immeasurable importance to acknowledge cultural differences in values and happiness. However, while there are some cultural universalities, there are also individual differences we need to rely on in shaping our happiness.