What Was True Last Time: The Schedule, The Cheerleader, and The Deadline

I’m having so much fun developing my favorite questions to use in coaching people to reach goals or to develop in some way. Twice this week, I used the question, “What allowed you to motivate yourself the last time you achieved a goal? What worked?”

I love this question because it alerts us to the conditions that were true the last time we were able to do something we were truly proud of—whether achieving a weight loss goal, meeting a writing deadline, or reaching some other personal development goal.

What was true the last time? What fostered success before? Can we do that again?

By looking at this question, I’ve realized how much I value committing to a schedule of work whether I’m motivated or in the mood. That works for me: it’s a kind of routine that I do whether or not I want to, like brushing my teeth or emptying the dishwasher or making my bed. I just do it without asking if I want to.

That’s one thing. But another thing is the role of encouragement. Every time I’ve finished a project or reached a fitness goal, there’s always been at least one person cheering me on and invested in my success. Isn’t that interesting to note? I work best with a success-maker beside me. This means I have to find that person and ask them to encourage me. Why not? I like to do this for other people, and I’m finding I have friends who like to do this in my life. This person either regularly asks how the project or goal is going, and they celebrate milestones, offer insight, and just care about what I’m doing.

Finally, I’ve learned that I love deadlines. I just love them! I need them! I invent them for no reason. They work for me, and I need to remember this. I just called my editor and asked for a firm deadline on this one proposal because I work best this way.

A schedule, a cheerleader, and a deadline. These work for me. I hope the question, “What worked the last time you were successful?” helps you think of what you need, too.

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