This is a picture of Shanghai: 1990 vs. 2010. The transformation is amazing and seemingly impossible.
We all have that one seemingly-impossible goal: To make more money while working less hours. To have more flexibility so we can spend more time with our family. To start a charitable foundation and make a difference in the world.
It’s all possible.
But when you stand at the beginning and look all the way to the end, you can’t picture yourself ever getting there. And with that thought, you start to feel hopeless…and frustrated…and pessimistic.
The first step toward accomplishing your dream is to realize that it IS possible. That vision you have in your head, of that future you? That can really happen.
The biggest obstacle that stands in your way is the lure of instant gratification.
Beware of instant gratification
In the age of Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon, we've grown accustomed to receiving instant gratification. Movies, television shows, music, and every product under the sun can be ours in just a few clicks.
But when it comes to accomplishing your One Big Goal, the pursuit of instant gratification is your worst enemy.
Great accomplishments—like building a sustainable real estate business—take time. When you’re in the mindset of wanting things to happen immediately, it will make you feel overwhelmed and hopeless about your abilities to make it happen. Don’t do that to yourself.
Beware of habits that feel good now but hurt you in the long term. These are habits you might turn to in moments of stress, when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some quick distraction from the pain. For example, if your goal is to lose 100 pounds, don’t let yourself alleviate stress by binging on junk food. As a real estate agent, if your goal is to add 1000 new prospects to your People Portfolio this year, don’t skip your hour of scheduled prospecting because you’re “just not feeling up to it” one day. That hour of not doing work might feel good at the time, but it will only hurt you in the long run (especially if you continue to break routine).
Here’s some advice on how to avoid the lure of instant gratification:
- Set incremental goals. Your big goal can seem overwhelming, but breaking it up into smaller bite-size goals can be easier to stomach. Set weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals.
- Celebrate every accomplishment...even the small ones, like meeting your weekly goal of 50 email follow-ups. Acknowledging the small successes that will eventually add up to reaching your One Big Goal will keep you motivated along the journey.
- Develop a routine that consists of sustainable habits. Then stick with it, even on weekends.
Achieve Long Term Success
Too often in our lives, we overestimate what we can accomplish in a year...and underestimate what we can accomplish in 5 years, or 10 years, or 20 years. It's that overestimation—that feeling of being in a race to the short-term—that causes people to quit and ultimately stay in the same place in life week after week, year after year, decade after decade.
Don’t be seduced by short-term satisfaction. Think long term, and focus on your One Big Goal. Go slow, my friend. We'll walk with you.