Have you ever embarked on a life-changing journey or begun the process of a life-changing venture? This could be a new relationship, marriage, starting a new job, starting a business, forming a club or association with other people, saving up money for a major purchase or life event, beginning a weight-loss or muscle-building exercise regimen, or learning to play a new musical instrument. The list is endless.
Do you remember how excited you were, even at the thought of it, before beginning? I bet you pictured yourself by your man’s or woman’s side, taking the world by storm. You pictured yourself as the employee of the month, year and even decade at your new job; CEO one day, even! You pictured your new club or association becoming the talk of the town, carrying out so many social projects to meet people’s needs that it inevitably puts you and your friends in the limelight. You pictured yourself consistently putting away money every month, so that you had a huge pile at the end of the year to make that major purchase. “Of course I can do this,” you said to yourself. “It’s not hard. I just won’t be buying what I don’t need.” You pictured your slim or chiseled body and imagined all your friends asking what your secret was. You pictured yourself as a world renowned virtuoso, playing in a major orchestra. The imaginations are endless.
But after a while, after starting, reality began to set in. You started rethinking. You started becoming doubtful of how easy it was going to be. You doubted yourself even, wondering if you were capable of pulling it off, even if it was easy for everyone else. Maybe relationships and marriage are just not for you. Maybe you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship. Maybe you just don’t have the personality get along with people. Maybe you’re not a saver, you’re a spender, and you should live what you are, and not try to be like the savers out there. Maybe you’re naturally big-boned and can never become as slim as others who have no problem regulating their weight. Maybe you’re just not as musical as you thought, after all. The excuses are endless.
It is at this stage that you begin to consider abandoning your dream. It is at this stage that many people do, in fact, abandon their dreams. It is at this stage that the men are separated from the boys; the successful from the unsuccessful. It is at this stage that the stats make sense – that 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February.
It is usually not anything physical that stops us from going through with our goals and plans. It is usually all in our heads, or should I say, all in our hearts. It is an emotional ride that takes us from the highs of enthusiasm and optimism, to the lows of despair and desolation.
This ride usually comes in five stages, and it takes knowing and mastering each of those stages to be able to ride out the roller coaster and end up in a place of success and fulfillment, where you finally become all those things you dreamed of becoming at the beginning of your venture. Only this time, it will be more realistic than your imaginations and most likely not as glamorous as you pictured. But it will be more fulfilling than you ever imagined because of all the pruning that happened along the way, molding you into your better self. The self capable enough to handle all that success and yet stay grounded. So you would agree that it would do us well to examine those five stages of the emotional roller coaster ride, so we can embrace the ride itself and use the knowledge gained at each stage to increase our chances of a healthy change and manageable success.
And that’s exactly what we’ll do next week!