Keep Swinging – You May Be Closer Than You Think

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

Well, the weekend is over and it’s Monday again. For most of us, that means a new week at work and a morning of facing all the things we didn’t get done last week. I guess there’s a reason so many of us aren’t overly fond of Mondays. But on the other hand, it’s a new week full of opportunities to do some of the things we’ve been putting off and start crossing them off the list.

I’m not talking so much about things you do at work. Trust me, somebody will be there to remind you about them, especially if you start falling too far behind. But what about those things you’ve been planning to do for yourself? You know, the ones that seem to slip from one week to the next, and by Friday, you’re just saying, “I’ll get started on this next week.” Well, it’s next week.

One of the problems with personal goals is that we go into them with the best of intentions, and we tend to aim high. Maybe a little too high. And when things don’t happen exactly the way we thought they would, we beat ourselves up and set the same goal again, only this time with a little more admonition than conviction. And trust me, friends, that admonition can wear you down fast.

It’s the same issue with New Year’s resolutions. We vow to make some huge change in life over the coming year. Part of our brain says we’ve got a whole year to get it done, so what’s the rush? But when February comes, and then March and April and May, and we’re still no closer to getting it done, it begins to wear on us. By June, we’ve pretty much given up. Besides, there’s always next year.

But what if we were to re-define success? What if, instead of actually attaining the final goal, “success” was simply movement in the right direction? Putting the goal firmly in front of you, establishing the mindset that you really can do this, planning a course of action, and then taking the necessary steps to make it happen – regardless of the actual results, isn’t that something worth celebrating?

It’s like chopping down a tree. You make the decision. You look at the tree and think, “I can do this.” You sharpen the axe, decide on a plan (like, which way you want it to fall), and take the first swing. A small chip hits the ground, but the tree is still standing. So, you swing again, and again, and again. Before long, the results of your effort begin to show. It gives you hope, and you continue.

Now, imagine that you’re swinging that axe blindfolded. You can feel the axe hitting the tree, but you can’t see the chips falling. Your arms are getting sore and blisters are forming on your hands. You begin to wonder if you’re even hitting the right tree. But, as any lumberjack will tell you, there’s no way of knowing which swing will finally bring the tree down. You just have to keep swinging.

We’ve all felt the same frustration with things we’re trying to accomplish. We put in the effort, but nothing seems to be happening. So, we re-assess our plan and move to another side of the tree. Maybe the wood is a little more “friendly” on that side. We swing several more times and the tree is still standing. Finally, in frustration, we move on to another tree or leave the axe to rust in the rain.

Progress isn’t always readily apparent, but any action you take toward your goal gets you closer. And, much like taking chips out of a standing tree, you never know when you’ll start to hear the welcome sound of wood fibers tearing away as the tree begins to fall on its own. From there, success is inevitable. The laws of gravity and physics take over, and all you have to do is get out of the way.

Meanwhile, you’ve been building up your arms for that next tree. You’ve learned a thing or two about how to swing an axe for maximum effect. Your experience tells you which side of the tree to hack away at first if you want it to fall in a certain direction. And, when you face that next tree, there’s little doubt in your mind it’ll eventually fall. Success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

With each step you take toward a goal, you’re not only wearing away at the final objective, you’re building the person doing the work – you’re transforming from the kind of person who can imagine a goal into the kind who can accomplish that goal. More importantly, you’re becoming the kind of person who can accomplish ANY goal. And that, my friends, is the true definition of success.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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