The Tyranny of Tomorrow

It is already time to audit your New Year's resolutions. If you are human there is a good chance that by now you have disappointed yourself on some of what you promised yourself barely a week ago. Why does this happen year after year, week after week? The culprit is that diabolical word we tend to insert into our resolutions: Tomorrow Starting from tomorrow... from tomorrow I will and so on. Using the word tomorrow leaves a time gap between the energy in the moment of inspired resolve and the time of its implementation. This time gap dissipates the energy of resolve and cools it down. Resolve is an idea on which we feel inspired to act. Inspiration is energy and should be measured in degrees like heat is measured. Not how inspired or motivated am I but rather how hot am I about this idea? We are at our hottest when we are first inspired. From the moment of inspiration onward we cool down, until our idea, though still crystal clear in our minds, has lost its energy. When we act on an inspired, hot idea, the inspiration converts from energy into tangible action creating a pathway in our psychological operating system. This pathway makes the action  easier to repeat a second and a third time even if our inspiration cools down. Action converts an idea into an experience. When we act we immediately feel benefit from our action helping us drive forward even when we no longer feel as inspired by our initial resolve. By maintaining the activity regularly for 30 days, the action gets more deeply wired into our operating systems and becomes second nature, something we do on autopilot with much less resistance from the tyrannical forces of lethargy and inertia. In Your Problem Isn't Motivation, Peter Bregman explains the difference between lack of motivation and lack of follow through and suggests that once you are motivated you should stop thinking about it. The step from inspiration to action is not a step that needs the mind. The mind interferes with follow through and thinks of all the wonderful reasons why follow through at this time might not be the best idea! Successful follow through depends on thoughtless action rather than further analysis. In my terminology follow through needs heat, it needs energy; thought and analysis cool resolve. Putting something on your ToDo list is not an action. ToDo lists are refrigerators of hot ideas. If the only tangible action you are able to take at the time of resolve is putting your idea onto your ToDo list, at least preserve something of your energy and passion in the way you word the task. Also take care to give it a measurable form and a dedicated time in your schedule for starting. Instead of Register at the gym, you might write: To recapture the exhilaration of fitness, call xxx.xxx.xxxx to set up an appointment with a trainer, and allocate the task to a time in your schedule, if possible later that same day. Tomorrow is another word for never. If you are serious about your intention, avoid the word tomorrow and replace it with action, now. A small action that begins implementation translates an idea from a thought into an experience. Action, even a small action, provides a feeling of satisfaction that takes over from inspiration as the force that drives you forward.
  • Resolve is an idea with energy; the energy to implement it.
  • Resolve can quickly evaporate and then you are left with an idea that has no energy.
  • An idea without energy, is not resolve; it is a cold thought.
  • Once you are resolved, find a way to immediately translate your resolve into a tangible, measurable action.
  • Feel the satisfaction, even the pride, derived from your speed of execution and use that feeling to drive continuity.

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