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Patience and Long Term Goals
Thirteen days ago I cut dozens of foods out of my diet including a lifelong favorite--sugary breakfast cereal. I now have a vegetable/ fruit smoothie in the morning and instead of wheat I’m discovering all kinds of interesting things to do with quinoa and brown rice.
So far all is well--except for one thing. I keep wishing that it was one year from now so I could see the results of all of my hard work. A strong desire can be an asset when setting and achieving goals. But since it is impossible to physically leap into the future, what I need right now is the ability to wait for the outcome.
When you are pursuing long term goals like adopting a healthy lifestyle or changing careers it is important that you develop patience. Being able to delay gratification, maintain your motivation and stay the course despite obstacles will be the key to your success.
Right now I am strong in my resolve to not eat Lucky Charms, but what will happen if one day, a few months from now, my patience wears thin?
I did some research and came up with these patience building tips:
Distract yourself with another project
The other day when I found myself wishing I could blink my eyes and have the next 50 weeks fly by, I turned my attention away from my food goal and focused on something else.
“Distraction is a tool you’ve probably used intuitively all of your life,” writes Beverly A. Potter in The Worrywart's Companion: Twenty-One Ways to Soothe Yourself and Worry Smart.
Instead of trying not to think about how I want the project to go faster, I can simply redirect my attention. “Especially effective is concentrating on a lot of details. The distraction crowds the worry out,” says Potter.
Have a clear vision of yourself in the future
While I can’t step into the future today, I know from years of writing this column, that I can in fact visualize what life will be like one year from now if I stick to this diet. This morning when I was doing my power walk around a nearby park, I pictured myself, not just a year from now, but decades into the future still strong, vibrant and joyously eating nutritious whole foods.
“Staying motivated toward long term goals is not an easy thing to do. It takes discipline and passion to transform your previous mode of existence,” says Jonathan Mead on Pickthebrain.com. Mead says while it is not easy to change previous habits, it helps to create rituals to reinforce your new lifestyle. If your goal is to lose weight Mead says “every time when you wake up, or before you go to bed you look at pictures of the body you want... review your diet plan and journal about why health is important to you.”
Detach from the outcome
Worrying about how things will turn out will not help my situation and according to the proponents of the Law of Attraction, my anxiousness may even push my goal further away!
“Detachment is being okay with things being exactly as they are now,” says an article on Applying the Law of Attraction website. “Detachment is feeling hope that you will get what you want, but still enjoying the process that takes you from where you are now to where you want to be. When you enjoy where you are now and live as if you already have your desire, the sooner your desire will manifest.”
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