Burn The Ships
Whether it’s wanting to complete a project, achieve a life long goal or even just getting out of bed in the morning. All of these require you committing and sticking to doing what is necessary.
We have all been there, we set goals and some we reach whilst others just fall by the way side. What makes the difference between ones we stick to and ones we don’t? Well one of the keys to reaching your goals is to eliminate any escape routes, stop creating excuses for yourself before you have even started. An easy example of this is getting out of bed at a certain time, the alarm goes of and you consider whether to snooze, even having the snooze as an option has given you an excuse and guess what, when tired and tempted by a warm, cosy bed, then chances are you will snooze and sleep later. It is tempting to retreat to safety and comfort when challenges and difficulties arise, or you don’t feel like don’t what you have to, and if you already have some nice escape routes, then that becomes the easiest path. To avoid turning around and abandoning your goals, you must make going forward more compelling than going back.
Don’t give yourself the option
When striving towards a goal, you must focus on what you want to obtain and avoid the impulse to go back to what you know or what is comfortable. When Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in Mexico, one of his first orders to his men was to burn the ships. Cortez was committed to his mission and did not want to allow himself or his men the option of going back to Spain. By removing this option, Cortez and his men were forced to focus on how they could make the mission successful.
Burn the ship, not your bridges
Eliminating an escape route creates a compelling reason to focus on the goal and to keep moving forward. However, it is important to keep in mind that although Cortez had his men burn the ships, he did not have them burn the food and supplies. Cutting off an escape route to increase motivation and create the desire to press on where you might otherwise give up is totally different from throwing caution to the wind and taking undue risks. Reaching your goals still requires prudent planning and managing. All goals contain a certain degree of risk, but it isn’t necessary to create undue risk and stress by not properly planning and thus lacking the necessary tools and supplies to achieve your goal. Take risks, but don’t be careless or foolish and simply hope that everything will be okay.
This is also important in relation to your Mental Wellbeing, we want a good balance between the motivation towards your goal, the positive feeling from reaching your goals (however small they may be) and the physical, mental and emotional strain that reaching your goal takes. If the strain starts to outweigh the benefits, then this will not be good for your wellbeing so I suggest you rethink they goal in mind.
Get your ducks in order
Before you decide to burn your ships, make sure you have the supplies and tools necessary to achieve the goal. Something like quitting your job might sound like a good way to close the escape route, but it might also be a fast way to bankruptcy if you don’t have resources to carry you through. Creating a savings account or having a journey job (a job that is a stepping stone to what you really want) allows you to take the risk of leaving your current job without creating undue risk.
In summary, make your goal compelling enough that you want to move towards it and give yourself an even better reason for moving away from where you currently are. Close off the escape routes and don’t give yourself a choice of any other way. However, at the same time, be mindful and make sure that you plan for the risk and have the tools, supplies and resources you need to achieve your goals. You can’t eliminate risk but you can plan for it. Don’t just jump in without thinking through the process and having a solid plan for moving forward.
Remember goals are anything you want to achieve, whether it’s better health, less stress, better wealth or less chaos – they all require :
- Making a decision about WHAT YOU WANT
- Making it compelling enough for you to want to move towards it
- Get a plan in place on how you are going to do it
- Eliminate the escape routes
- Commit to going for it
Your mental wellbeing is your responsibility so you need to plan and commit to taking care of it.