Heidi Grant Halvorson published a great article on the Harvard Business Review called How to Become a Great Finisher. I found this article to be particularly relevant and accurate in my own life.
If we focus more on how far we have left to go, ‘To Go Thinking’, motivation is not only sustained, but it’s heightened. However, if we focus on the how much we have accomplished so far, ‘To Date Thinking’, you actually undermine your motivation.
I think this falls in line with not broadcasting your personal goals. It seems the kudos and congratulations that you receive from friends and family give you a feeling of accomplishment – even if you haven’t yet started your journey. I told a few people about my cycling goals when the winter frosts were melting away, and I got a lot of ‘atta boys’ and ‘good luck’ wishes. It made me feel like I had some huge accomplishments before I had even pulled my bike out!
I am experiencing a plateau in my own life with my personal weight loss goals. I have now lost more than 50 pounds. I still want to lose another 20 pounds. It seems I have reached some invisible ceiling with my goal where I now hover at the same weight (give or take 4-5 pounds). I hear the little voice in my head telling me it’s ok. “You’ve already lost so much weight!” In fact, I hear the same from my family. “You may not be losing any more weight, but you’ve done so well already!” Their words are filled with encouragement and love, but Heidi’s article reinforces my thought that it is demotivating.
I am committing to focus more on ‘To Go Thinking’. I now have personal ‘To Go’ goals related to cycling, exercise, business, writing, blogging, photography, entrepreneurship, and a few other things. But at least for now, I have 20 pounds to go till I reach my personal goal weight.