It’s getting dark again in the mornings. It seems like just a few weeks ago the sun began to rise around 5am, bleeding hope into a world that seemed full of despair. Now it feels ominous as the world is still filled with despair and here we are, dark mornings again.
But as they say “It’s what you do in the dark, that puts you into the light”.
Big goals are shiny, sexy, and help us focus for a little while. Too often those big shiny goals wear off and the habits of old, come roaring back. Then the feeling of inadequacy creeps in. The feeling of self doubt. Wondering what you can do to steer this ship in a different direction, for good.
What if you stopped focusing on that big shiny goal? What if you stopped hanging the hat of what you define as success on one singular event?
What if you shifted your thinking about it?
This isn’t a new idea It’s an old one actually.
The trend is to take on something massive, announce it to the world, fill your social media with dramatic photos as the hope to “go viral” sits at the forefront (somewhat taking the place of the goal itself). The hope is that by doing so, the habits develop. The early mornings get easier, the work that is done in the dark becomes routine.
Until it doesn’t.
The truth of the matter, is that it’s often done in opposite fashion.
Rather than setting the big shiny goal as the end result, what if we set it out there and allowed it to just dangle for a while. Accept that whether or not it was achieved the journey towards it was still worthwhile? What if instead we focused on the little pieces. Mastering those, the pieces that lead up to that big shiny one in the distance? Additionally, what if you removed the dependent emotion that surrounded it?
What if you then came up with just three things to focus on, that would help you progress towards that goal in the distance? Just three. And you focused on those three things for a day, or even a week?
What would happen if you flipped the switch in that way?
It’s easy until you hit that first dark morning, where you have the chance to get the work done or stay in comfort. Some days we need the comfort, but more often than that we need to roll out of bed and get the work done in the dark.
Let me be clear, the dark isn’t always the early morning hours. The dark involves those times when it’s easy to walk away from what you committed to. Whether that’s early mornings, late nights, when it feels too hard… the dark is different for all of us. It’s what lures you away from what you are focused on.
If you get lured to the dark, do you throw the towel in? Or can you bring it back the next time? That’s a question only you can answer.
This week consider the goal. Whether it’s athletic, academic, career, family, all goals are good ones. Let it dangle out there. Remove your self esteem from it. Then develop those three actionable items. Make them possible. Hone in on them. If you don’t hit them today, start over again tomorrow. If you don’t hit them tomorrow, try again the next day. In a week, reevaluate and consider that you may need to shift the three things altogether.
So shift then.
And when you come up against the dark, maybe that big shiny goal in the distance provides some light to lead the way through. Allow it to illuminate the three things you are focusing on, and allow yourself to “get to it”.
Let’s check back in a week.