It is important that while you pursue your goals you tune out distractions and self-defeating thoughts. Let your hunger for your goals propel you on a dead-ahead course. I had goals of losing some weight because my blood-pressure level was up and my cholesterol level was high. When I’m on a diet—or as I prefer to say, “When I am managing my food choices”—those little diet demons try to take control and sidetrack me.
And all too often, I’m ashamed to say, I give in to them! I am weak in the presence of edible temptation. I’m the kind of guy who very carefully peels all the skin of his fried chicken, but then I eat the chicken and the skin, too! Those diet demons are devious.
I really do have to work on my motivation for dieting. I thought I had it going not long ago when I saw a performance of the Alvin Ailey Dancers. I saw the way women reacted to those guys up there onstage with their washboard stomachs and I decided I was going to have a washboard stomach too.
After seeing all those women in the audience making eyes at those skinny guys, I was MOTIVATED. I went to a fancy sporting-goods and fitness store and bought myself the best jogging suit they had. I bought some of the best workout shoes. I topped my fitness outfit off with a state-of-the-art orthopedically approved, ergonomically correct sit-up board.
To make sure I made good use of that sit-up board, I put it right beside my bed so that could roll out of bed and right onto it and do my three sets of fifty repetitions first thing every morning.
But it didn’t work! My stomach got fatter instead of flatter! It looked more like an outboard than a washboard. So I put the sit-up board back into the box and took it right back to the fitness emporium.
I walked up the salesman and said, “I want my money back; this sit-up board did not work.”
He looked at the board. He looked at me. He looked at my stomach.
“Did you even get on it?” he asked.
“Yes, every day, and it didn’t work at all,” I said.
“Well, we have never had this happen before,” the sales clerk said.
And I got my money back.
That poor sales clerk. I told him the truth. He just didn’t ask me the right question.
You see, I did get on that sit-up board every morning. He should have asked me what I did when I got on it.
I ATE ON IT! Buttered pancakes and sweet rolls in the morning! Some sweet-potato pie at bedtime.
Oh, those diet demons. Every time I try to lose weight they remind me of a story I read one time. They say, “A skinny guy was hit by a truck and killed. If he’d had a little more weight, he might have lived. So have a bucket of chicken. Have a barrel of fun. Les!” And I DO!
That distracting inner voice can be awesome, but if you have true hunger you can stand up to it—although you may have to stoke that hunger every day with little pep talks about the importance of your goals. I do that by writing down my most vital goals—obviously, getting in shape is not yet on the list—and reading them every morning when I get up and again at night right before I go to bed. That buildings strong hunger.
After I get up in the morning and review my goals I start writing out ideas. (When you are hungry for your dreams, you have to get up REAL early to get everything done.) I jot down ideas that might enable me to reach my goals and I try not to judge their merits too much at first. I just write first and evaluate later. Sometimes I write fifteen or twenty. Some days it is more difficult than others. “Some days, my most powerful idea is to stay in bed and sleep a couple more hours.) But I get up because I know that one idea can change your life.
With a powerful hunger for your dreams driving you, you will be surprised at the idea that will come, at the people you will be able to attract, at the opportunities that will unfold. You will be able to see things that you won’t believe you couldn’t see before—things that may have been there right in front of you the whole time.
Excerpt from Live Your Dreams by Les Brown