When we start making positive changes in our lives we often get a burst of excitement. This is especially true if results are yielding quickly. But this is a temporary state. The real test comes in staying the course once this ‘honeymoon’ period is over. Results may have peaked and then dropped back. Our excitement gives way to negative feeling as the nature of the task sets in. This is a critical time. If our self-sabotage mechanisms are well-developed we’ll probably give up at this point. It is precisely at this time though that the real champions are made.
If you’re in it for the long haul rather than just the quick buck (or some other immediate gratification) you’ll find a way of pushing yourself through this middle phase. This is when the discipline of the ‘workmanlike’ approach kicks in. This is based on accepting simply that there is a job to be done whether you feel like it or not. Those who only make the effort when they feel like it will always give up when it gets challenging or as soon as the immediate enjoyment passes. We’ll tell ourselves that we just need to feel motivated or inspired, or some other reasonable sounding rubbish. Of course, with essential tasks we don’t have a problem with this. It’s only when we are not fully appreciating the importance of our task that we waver.
My first business was a mobile car washing service. I operated this from my old push bike. In the warm months it was quite enjoyable. But when it got cold and the mornings became dark it would often be downright painful. But this was my business and I valued my clients so rain, hail, or shine, I was out there at 5am on my bike. Of course I would have preferred to stay in bed, but it was a choice between the comfort of bed or the health of my business. The choice was easy to make.
One of these days I was on my way to see a new client and I had a major mechanical failure. The crank snapped in two while riding up a big hill. This was before mobile phones so I couldn’t call and warn them that I would be late or offer them an alternative time. Anyway I walked then rest of the way with my kit on one arm and bike on the other. I was late but I made it in spite of the setback. I think they were pretty amazed that I came actually. This was a demonstration of character and they became one of my best clients and I had the privilege of serving them until I ended the business.
The point is in order to go beyond the honeymoon period, you need to keep two things in mind. First, remind yourself of how valuable the goal is for you. Not for other people – I mean for you. This is important! Then the second thing is just to take the workmanlike approach. Make things simpler by taking away the need to be rewarded immediately. You’re in it for the long haul and that’s what matters most.