Monday, December 17, 2012

A Candle in the Wind

As we approach the New Year, people begin thinking about a new start - goals, resolutions and just things we'd like to do differently. One of the keys to success is motivation. With every goal, there will be times when you falter or fall, without motivation, you won't get back up. With it, you can keep moving and eventually reach your goal.

True motivation is always internal. It comes from within you. It doesn't come from family, friends, church or self-help books. External motivation is always temporary and fleeting.

Let's say you light a candle in your front yard. It's a bright sunny day. Winds are light to non-existent and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Your candle is burning strong and bright. As the day goes on, it starts to get cloudy and the winds pick up. Now, your candle is flickering. Soon it starts to rain. At this point, even a light drizzle is enough to extinguish the flame.

What if you had lit the candle, not in the front yard, but inside of the house? Now, the winds can pick up and it could rain cats and dogs but your flame would still be burning brightly. Are there things in the house that could put out the candle? Yes. But it won't be as easy to do.

Your motivation operates the same way. When I conduct goal-setting workshops, I have people come up with an initial  list of possible goals. Next, I have them go through that list and cross out any should goals. Should goals are goals that are on your list solely because you think they should be and not because you want them to be.

Should goals are like that candle in the yard. You might be motivated for a minute but these aren't truly your goals because someone else wants them for you more than you want them for yourself.

To find out if you are truly internally motivated, ask yourself one question: "Why?"

Why do you want to succeed with this goal? Your answers should begin with "I need ..." or "I want ...". They should not start with "I should ... ", "I might ...", or "Someone wants me to ...".

A strong reason why is critical to lighting the fire within - the fire that will sustain you when times get hard. It's a fire that will light the way to goal success!

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