From time to time when working toward a specific goal we may encounter feelings of negativity and deprivation. As we complete our short-term goal, or begin to gain confidence in our ability to master the longer-term goals, the intensity of these feelings will fade, and become virtually non-existent.
No matter what your goal may be, it will require you to rearrange your life to some degree
One good sign we are adjusting to our goal is the ability to feel somewhat indifferent to the pull of the old way of life, and more comfortable with the new lifestyle, whatever that may entail.
It can take some time to reach the point of indifference. The time frame varies according to the task at hand and the personality of the individual working on the goal.
If education is the goal, your social life may suffer. When training for a marathon, family time may get sacrificed. Saving for a sweet vacation will require you to give up date night out for many months.
Quitting smoking or changing our eating or drinking habits can cause feelings of extreme deprivation in the beginning.
Your comfort zone is going to get turned upside-down.
Something’s gotta give. Maybe it’s your attitude. There must be numerous positive aspects to the goal or you would not have set it in the first place. So why does your mind keep focusing on the negatives?
Simply put, it is our brain at work. Our brain remembers the pattern of the old ways easier, and our brain loves a good comfort zone. So, for a bit, your brain
may probably will naturally focus on the old way of doing things.
Once you can create some new pathways/patterns in your brain by continually repeating the new behaviors, the old patterns begin to fade away. It has nothing to do with willpower, but everything to do with brain function. Basically you are to rewiring your brain by re-training your brain.
Until your brain re-trains, you need to keep your eyes on the prize, and really focus on the positives of your goal.
Here are a few tips to help shake feelings of deprivation and negativity:
Create a pros and cons list of your goal. I bet the pros outweigh the cons. Run through this list when feelings of deprivation get you down.
Keep in mind, negative feelings are just negative feelings. You don’t have to pretend they are not there, and your new life is all rainbows and unicorns. Acknowledge the negative or deprivation feelings, feel them, take action if necessary (through a positive outlet such as journaling or exercise) and let them go.
Feelings have a lot less power when we take time to notice them and actively deal with them instead of pushing them to the dark corners of our mind where they tend to fester and gain strength.
It may help to look at the feelings of derivation as a gift in helping to build our “muscle” of delayed gratification instead of picturing our goal as the enemy.
See how easy this positive thinking stuff is? You can do it! Here’s another idea.
Sit back, close your eyes, and picture yourself as having already achieved the goal. Think about this for a minute or two. Make it as real as you can in your mind. Use all of your senses. You are crossing the finish line, you are graduating, you are a non-smoker. Now feel those good feelings of success. Let them wash all over you. And whenever you are feeling deprived, relive the positive vibes of your visualization.
Don’t forget the power of your positive support network! Strategies to Stay Motivated and on Track with Your Goal-part 3
And here’s my fave. Establish a short-term reward system. This idea works best when you use it on a weekly basis. It is the grown up version of a gold star. It doesn’t have to be a huge deal. A nice little treat for yourself.
Maybe buy a good bottle of wine with all the money you have saved from not smoking for a week, and celebrate the return of your taste buds. Kept up with your run training all week? How about a nice new cushy pair of running socks. Followed your healthy eating plan you and your health-coach worked out? A new fashion magazine to check out the new styles you will choose when shopping for the new shape you are sculpting. Just a small luxury can work wonders.
If all else fails, please don’t forget you have a sense of humor. Use it to laugh in the face of the feelings of negativity.
Have faith the dark feelings will soon fade into the shadows, and the warm glow of success will shine down upon you as you bask in the glory of a well-achieved goal.
You got this…