Have you heard that phrase failure to thrive? It’s a term used to describe a baby or young child isn’t getting the nutrients they need for their body to grow and mind to develop properly. You may feel you are failing to thrive in your life. It may not be your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs. The way you are failing to thrive and accomplish your goals is you aren’t getting the mental calories you need. You are depriving your brain of the positive thoughts you need to grow through the challenges you face in your life. I have done this several times in my life. There was a time when I was not thriving in my life, but one thought changed that.
During November of 2002, I was living in basement apartment. Living below ground meant there wasn’t much natural light and it was cold. Something that made it even more cold during the winter is the heat barely worked. I didn’t even think to say anything to my landlord because my mind was occupied with other things. I was going through a divorce from someone I had to get an Order of Protection against. There was a close family member that died a few months after my marriage ended. I also had more debt than income and gained back 100 pounds I had previously lost. My mental state during this time was of depression, defeat and failure. The routine in my life was come home from work, walk down the stairs to go into my apartment, go in, put on my pajamas and go to bed. I did this for a month because I couldn’t deal mentally with the things in my life. It took every amount of physical and mental strength I had to go to work each day and function. When I got home, I couldn’t deal with it anymore. That’s why I would immediately go to bed to escape.
A month later something changed. When I got home, I went into the kitchen and picked up a pot, placed some water in it and put it on the stove. Before I turned the stove on to boil the water, I said, “I’m going to be ok.” Nothing was different in my life. I was still in debt, still dealing with the situation with my soon to be ex-husband, grieving the death of a loved one and still had weight to lose. Nothing changed on the outside, but something happened on the inside. That one declaration of, “I’m going to be ok” was the one mental calorie I needed to start thriving through the challenges I was facing.
What challenges have you faced in your life that made you want to quit? Challenges that made you feel like accomplishing any of your goals were impossible. Here are three things you can do to thrive through life’s challenges and achieve your goals.
Identify the goals you have, and the challenges you will face while working towards your goals.
Everyone loves focusing on goals. It’s that spark you need to stay motivated to accomplish them. Then a challenge is thrown at you and you forget about your goals. Identifying your goals will keep you motivated; identifying your challenges and planning how to work through them will ensure success. Write down your goals on a sheet of paper. You may be a person that likes to type things on your phone, but I recommend writing it down. When you use pen and paper, it’s like writing those goals in your sub-conscious mind. On that same piece of paper, write down the challenges that may make it difficult to accomplish your goals. One of your goals may be to get out of debt. A challenge you face is your income barely pays the living expenses. A way to overcome that challenge is get a second job or sell items you don’t need. Keeping your challenges in your mind makes them seem bigger than they are. When you review the challenges you face, you will realize there aren’t very many. When you keep going over the same challenges over and over in your mind, they seem more and bigger than they are. When identifying your goals, identify the challenges you will face.
Focus on one goal during the challenging time in your life. I’ve heard the saying geniuses focus on one thing at a time. My version of this is, “a genius focuses on one thing at a time. I may not be a genius, but I can do what they do!” When focusing several goals at one time, none of them will get accomplished. Think about new year’s resolutions. Many of us make at least five new year’s resolutions and none of them get accomplished. One reason why your resolutions don’t get done are your time and energy are going in too many directions. Choosing to focus on one goal at a time increases your chances of accomplishing them. It also gives you the confidence to overcome the challenges that are thrown at you in your life during this time. Make the choice to focus on one goal during a challenging time to make sure you get it done.
Schedule time to evaluate your progress.
You are a busy person. You have work obligations, family to take care of and a life to live. Scheduling time to stop and look at your life is a part of accomplishing your goals and thriving through challenges. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting something to change is the definition of insanity according to Albert Einstein. You are trying so hard to get your goals accomplished and deal with life’s challenges, but it feels like nothing is getting done. This is the time to stop, schedule time to be alone, and review your progress. Ask yourself if the goal you are working towards is too much for you right now. It may a goal that might be for a different time in your life. Ask yourself, do I have the financial resources I need to accomplish this goal? One last question to ask yourself is, do I have the time to focus on this? Adjust your plan, if needed, and continue working your plan. Schedule time to evaluate your progress.
4. Celebrate Your Success
After overcoming these challenges in my life, I wanted to celebrate. I had a group of friends that knew what I was dealing with and would share with them when I overcame a challenge. Celebrating your success will motivate you to overcome other challenges you will face (there will be more to come!) You could celebrate by buying yourself a particular item you always wanted. Another way to celebrate is to go out for a nice meal. You could also celebrate by sharing with your friends on social media what you did.
That one mental calorie I had so many years ago, created more so I could thrive in my life. Remember to identify your goals, focus on your goal and evaluate your progress and then celebrate. There will always be challenging moments, but you can thrive through them and achieve more than you ever thought possible.
About Gwen Alexander