Is there anything more thrilling than unwrapping a shiny guitar; flipping through the pages of a new journal; buying a piece of exercise equipment; signing up for a self-help program?
You feel a tingle of excitement as you imagine yourself slaying songs; penning notes for your sure-to-be-bestselling novel; flexing your freshly-formed biceps in the mirror; being your best dang self day in and day out. This is going to be the thing that changes you. This is going to be awesome.
But, before long, the guitar sits in the corner untouched; the pages of the journal go unfilled; the gym equipment gathers dust; and darn it if you didn’t even make it past the first online challenge you were all psyched up to tackle.
When we conjure up what it will be like to start a new practice, form a new habit, knock an item off a bucket list, we see the fun but not the work. We see an image in which all the drudgery has been edited out, and only the montage of rewards left in.
This might be the part where you expect a call for greater effort; if you want to achieve some goal, grind for it, dude!
But what your goal-setting needs isn’t greater discipline, it’s greater discernment.
People fail to achieve their aims less because they’re flunkies when it comes to dedication, and more because they fail to understand what they really want, what they truly enjoy, the unique areas in which they find pleasure in what others consider a pain.
So do write that bucket list. But as you weigh a potential entry, ask yourself whether you like the idea of something more than its reality. Then, only add it if grappling with the unsexy means, that lead to the sexy end, is actually your jam.