I’m often what the Japanese call a 3-Day Monk – a person who picks up a cause, a subject, a skill, or an idea, pursues it passionately for a while, and then gets tired of it and moves on to something else. Most of us suffer from this syndrome. The resolutions we take when the going is tough which are conveniently forgotten when things ease up are telltale signs of the 3-Day Monk. I have these sudden bursts of desire to get something done which whimper out after sometime leaving a trail of unfinished commitments. When I started blogging in 2009, this is what happened. I blogged for a while, then stopped, after a year, ’suddenly realized that I had a blog, wrote one-two posts and again stopped, finally letting it die in 2011. Not limited to blogging but, I’ve seen this in other aspects of my life too. No wonder I got so very little accomplished. I wanted to know if I could do something about it. So I sat and wrote myself some tips:
- One step at a time is good walking: Over ambition leads to pressure which leads to discomfort which leads to abandonment. When I was a kid and was often worried, I found help in Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to stop worrying..’ book. One key take away from that book was “One step at a time”. I needed to apply what I knew. Think small, start small (ex: Instead of 20 posts a month, chose 8. 2 posts a week). Build momentum slowly. Remember Rome was not built in a day.
- Habit: I see this everywhere I go these days – Jerry Seinfeld’s advice – Don’t break the chain – If you want to improve writing – you need keep writing every day consistently. If you want to exercise – you need to do it everyday. Do it for whatever amount of time works for you – 20 minutes/30 minutes each day, but always show up. If you can show up every day, and not just do it for a few days, you can create meaningful change.
- Discipline: In the book ‘The Road less travelled’ by Scott Peck, he writes that most neurosis occur because people are not willing to bear discomfort long enough to get them through solving their problems. So next time you feel like giving up – hang on. Pull yourself through that discomfort.
- Silence the doubts: Van Gogh once said, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Self doubt can be crippling. Next time your voice says you cannot do – Just do it. Only by doing so you’ll be able to build a persistent mindset.
- Celebrate success: Treat yourself for every small milestone crossed. Dangle a carrot & eat it in regular intervals. Many a time we’ll not have an audience to pat our back. So please do those honours yourself. A little celebration goes a long way to add motivation.
So next time you feel like giving up, think small, act small & push yourself to do it regularly. I started my journey with these steps. Hope they help you too…