Dr Samuel Johnson: “Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another.”
During my Osteopathic degree, I found that the difference between the students who quitted (which was a whooping 50%) and those who didn’t, was the type of goal they focused on. Those who quitted, would only think about the end result. They felt overwhelmed by the long laborious path ahead of them, which they did not think they could handle, so they threw the towel in. I don’t blame them, I mean who wants to commit to years of unrewarding work.
Those who finished the degree, were those who were short-sighted. They broke a large goal down into smaller steps, each with a mini REWARD. Ensuring that their effort is rewarded, gave them a tangible purpose, a powerful why to act. Mini-rewards gave them hope that effort gets rewarded. Their small wins, not only gave them more faith in the process, but it also enhanced their own self belief, giving them an enhanced feeling of confidence.
Now these rewards do not have to be financial, or even material. What matters is what the reward means to us, not what we are supposed to value. So many of my colleagues would go out for drinks to celebrate, handing in a tough essay. They simply scheduled in time to give themselves a pat on the back, to be grateful to themselves. This celebratory self-gratitude served to positively reinforce tough actions. In other words they appreciated the progress of how far they have come, so they felt that they were in control.
“Gratitude is the best attitude” according to strength coach, Charles Poliquin. Because being grateful for small gains, is the secret to consistency. Of course consistency is not the main goal, but for a means to an end to be effective, consistent action is required.
So in order to gain a feeling of control and appreciation, the step by step process my fellow students taught me is to schedule after every task, regular mini-celebrations of the 1% gains, to gain what all humans desire: - Feeling in control of the process - Being appreciated.