In Layman’s terms, life is what you make of it. And just like our opinions vary on literally anything, so does our perception about life. So, for some, it’s a dream to achieve their goals and make the world a better place. A smile from their loved ones is all others live for. It’s what gives their world meaning. For some, its race. A race to put a meal on the table. A race to put a roof over your head and that of your loved ones. A race to put millions in your bank account. For others, it’s all about survival; staying alive as they fight for their country. And while life for some is summed up by their daily struggle to keep warm at night with tattered blankets while laying by the roadside, daily partying at the local pub is the epitome of life for the lucky weasels.
And despite all these differences, one thing is clear: We have a pretty good idea of what we need to do to achieve whatever goals we have set. It’s not rocket science. If you have your objectives well-defined, you subconsciously know what is needed to get to that point. You know that you need to be more disciplined. You know you need to put in the work. You know you need to be more persistent, have patience with your project, embrace failure (don’t fight it), be more focused, be more industrious, be confident and believe in yourself for Christ’s sake while you are at it. Yet this is not the path we seem to follow in most cases. Knowing what we need to do and taking it into practice are two distinct attributes. And in the case of humans, it’s easier to have the know-how and sit on it rather than execute.
How do we get to this point is simple. Tell me if this sounds familiar. Your long time goal is to lose weight but its easier to enjoy a bowl full of ice cream or more junk foods at the moment rather than worry about your weight loss journey. You aspire to be a kingpin in web design but it’s easier to play video games right now rather than perfect your skills. You want to be a writer but rather than getting your next piece done, it’s easier to watch random videos on YouTube that you not only don’t care about but also makes you feel terrible for watching afterwards (A personal struggle for me this one). You see where I’m going with this. Two struggles are evident. One; having long terms goals that conflict with your short term desires. Two; giving in to distractions that offer short-lived “satisfaction”.
The way around this track is pretty straight forward. Simply engage in short term desires that conform to your long term goals. Find something that you really love doing that supports your long-term goals. Some enjoyable in its own way and that which brings you great pleasure. But also something that will help you master your craft in the end. Then get hooked on it. Yearn for it every day. Perfect example: Let’s say you decide on taking up jogging an hour before sunrise every day; your end goal being to be physically fit. It’s quiet in the morning, peaceful, invigorating, and more so extremely enjoyable which gets your days off to a good start. The results are immediate. You feel positive, energized, and ready to face whatever life shoves your way that day. Just thinking about how calm and rejuvenated you feel after a good run will give you the desire to do so often. And in no time you have a new little habit. In the long run, this little habit supports your long time goal of becoming physically fit.
Starving your distractions is easier said than done. Like I said, making a decision to do something is one thing and getting your hands dirty is another. Having that in mind don’t try to fight your distractions. And if you do, chances are it won’t work. You’ll still scroll for hours on Instagram or Facebook. You will still take your daily dose of therapy on Twitter. You will still spend an ungodly amount of hours on YouTube and, of course, keep up with your favourite TV shows. The ploy is set aside an hour or two during the day where you get fixated on what is it you’re trying to achieve; drawing, painting, videography, writing, reading, learning, you name it. Make it a habit. With time that one hour of web design feels quite short that you wanna make it two and those two hours of coding feel so inadequate that you want to double it. With time that scrolling or whatever it is that distracts you becomes less and your mind gets fixated on your achievements. Make the transition. Slow and steady. It’s a trade that requires a strong spirit to pull through. It’s not for the faint. Nonetheless, it is feasible.
For every long term goal you have in mind, there exists a more enjoyable way around it that is not only more delightful but also engrossing. Figure out what it is. Get fixated on it and let yourself truly delight in doing it. Then slowly and steadily starve your distractions.
Be positive. Be true. Be you.
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