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How Do I Stick With It?
Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach

"How do I stick with it?" is a question I hear over and over and over in my business. Getting excited about a project in the beginning is one thing, but about half way through that organizing or exercising project (yes, I'm probably being optimistic!), your will-power fails, and you begin to wonder just what you were thinking. Sound familiar?

But it doesn't have to be that way. You CAN stick with it, and here are a few ideas that can help.

1. Examine the choices of your life for the fun factor. Choose goals that make you *smile* now, not "when I get it", or "when I weigh less", or "when the kids grow up". If the goal makes you smile every day, you are able to enjoy the journey and not just the destination. A goal that's truly yours will light you up, make you grin, or at the very least, give you a sense of peace or uuummmmm good (like a warm fire on a cold day). LIGHTEN UP - put the fun back into your goals.

2. Make sure that your goals haven't evolved into a "should", or "ought-to", or "boy it'll be embarrassing to tell people I don't want to do that anymore". What your parents think of you - or your kids, or even your friends - should mean a lot to you. But what you think of yourself is just as important. A key to motivation is that it matters to you. A key to motivation is the MOTIVE. It has to be something that keeps you moving in the same direction over and over and over.

3. Give up the idea that every day will be perfect. It won't be! Remind yourself constantly that it doesn't mean that you won't get knocked off course once in a while. But what it does mean is that when you get knocked off course, you have the faith and persistence in yourself to self-correct, and get back on course. Even when the goals you have are stressful, as long as you find them interesting and exciting deep inside, the motivation will usually follow. As long as you're captivated by the goal, even on the days that you "give up", it'll be easier to get back to it.

4. Focus on the details. The big picture and the motive behind it is the PULL that helps you remember why you get out of bed every morning, above and beyond the immediate desire to pay the electric bill. But the details -- the persistent, consistent, small steps -- are what help you manage the big picture without feeling overwhelmed and creating self doubt. Keep your eye on the task right in front of you.

5. Make yourself accountable. Grow up. Get real. Decide that this is what you really want, and take on the challenge. This is either your desire, or it's not, and if it's not just admit it and forget it. But if you really DO want it, you're going to have to make yourself accountable for your decisions, and follow through with what needs to be done.

6. Practice. Practice. Practice. It has to become a new habit. We have a very hard time just "quitting" something. You need to replace an old habit with a new habit. Perhaps you have a habit of tossing your car keys wherever they land when you come in the door. Then every morning it's a frantic search for them. Now imagine that you're tired of that habit, so you say, "I'm not going to do that any more". At this point, you must decide what you're going to do instead, and practice, practice, practice the new habit.

7. Almost everybody needs some outside motivation from time to time to stay the course. When it happens to you, enlist the help of a friend, a spouse, or a coach to help keep you moving forward. The key here is not to get dependent on them for your motivation. Just like the myth of will-power, using other people for motivation won't work for long. Use them to help you get back on track and remind you why you do what you do. Then get moving again.

The bonus to sticking with a project is that when life throws you some difficult challenges -- and it will -- you'll feel a confidence from having accomplished the other goals.

Professional Life Coach Kathy Gates is the author of several e-books and e-courses. If you liked today's article, you'll LOVE this step by step manual, guaranteed to be a complete guide to establishing a foundation for the life you want to live. Read about "7 SECRETS to a Great Life" at www.reallifecoach.com

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