What is your motivation?
No matter what your reason is, results, like many other things in life, don’t come without effort. For any goal, you have to be aware that it is not achieved simply by joining the local gym. Quite the opposite. Achieving goals is a lot of work. This can be frustrating at first, and will be for new goals to come. Some things will get easier over time, but don’t expect them to be easy right from the start, especially without the right motivation.
I am not trying to be all negative, not one bit. I want to be realistic, and for that matter honest with you. Be honest with yourself and your goals.
The pain we take
When you went to school for the first time, how long did it take you to learn how to read and write? A week? Months? Or even years? So, why would you expect to be good at another activity right away?
It is like this with everything you don’t know how to do yet. If you want to get better you must sustain continuous effort through small increments. No world-class performer goes from zero to sky high at first try. The question you should ask yourself is “Am I willing to dedicate myself to achieve my goal?”.
The pain they took
You might find yourself looking at one of those glamor magazines and feeling that you want to be like the celebs shown in there. All the Hugh Jackman and Angelina Jolies with their perfect bodies. But no thought is given to how they got those bodies, how many hours in the gym they have to invest and to fight for every fibre of muscle gained and every gram of fat lost. Trust me, they went through hell and continue to do so in order to be the person they are. It is their job. If it happens that you don’t trust me, look up their diets and workout routines! (no guarantee of the accuracy of the above links!)
I learned Spanish mostly self-taught in less than two years, to a degree that I can have conversations. What seems impossible to many people came to me easily. But what one doesn’t see is that I learned Portuguese for four years before that. I only had to do transfer work, and not start completely from scratch. My point is, don’t measure yourself against others, they had/have the same underlying struggles that you are facing, maybe even worse! 🙂
It is about the what
You have probably heard of the 10k rule. This “rule” says that in order to master any craft, like playing the violin to a level that fills concert halls, you have to practice at least 10k hours.
What the rule doesn’t say is that it matters at least as much how you practice. Just moving the bow back and forth randomly for 10k hours won’t prepare you to play first fiddle. There needs to be a plan, there needs to be somebody that points out your errors and there needs to be consistency and repetition in your practice to correct them.
Back to your goals, and why you struggle to achieve them. Writing down the same sentence over and over again won’t get you anywhere, except if your goal is to become the person that writes this particular sentence very well. The same goes for your any other goals: get a routine, but alternate your exercises from time to time. Go in with a plan. Don’t just go to the gym, chat with your BFF for a while, then tell everybody how going to the gym for two hours at least three days a week didn’t get you anywhere and how you are not made for sports. Be realistic.
Find something that you like to do. If you find it hard at first, don’t give up right away. Continue as long as it is fun and try to get better gradually, step by step, until it does not feel alien any more. If you overcome the first obstacles, you will find that what you like to achieve can become addictive and you won’t ever like to go without it.
If you can’t get any pleasure from what you are doing, what is the point continuing the same way?
- Set yourself a sensible honest goal.
- Ask yourself (and/or others) what incremental steps you should take in order to achieve your goal.
- Make it measurable, and measure yourself against your own abilities and not others’. You don’t know their story. Sometimes it is not under your control.
- Check regularly if you are still on the right track and, if not, where you went wrong and what can help you to further improve.
- Ask somebody else (more advanced) for tips and help. You are most likely not the most objective person to judge your own abilities and errors. Repeat step 4.