When I started my three month shopping ban, I had visions of my bank account becoming flush with extra zeros pretty much immediately.
When I started running, I thought I’d be able to do a 30 minute 5K in mere weeks.
When I started trying to cook more and eating healthier, I dreamed that I’d have delicious dinners at home nightly, tasty lunches to bring to work daily, and a slimmer waistline within days.
None of the above happened how I imagined.
My bank account, while in a better state than it was before my shopping ban, still doesn’t have the extra zeros I envisioned. My strength and stamina are vastly improved than my pre-running days, but I’m not going to win any accolades for speed anytime soon. My track record for cooking dinner and bringing lunch to work is much better than it was before, but I still need to work on healthier eating habits.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m very proud of the progress I’ve made so far on the goals I’ve set for myself. I set them with the intention of improving my overall happiness, health, and well-being, and even though they are all still works in progress, I’m already reaping the benefits. But I still struggle with wanting these goals to be accomplished immediately, because some days I find myself wondering if I will ever be able to achieve them fully.
Patience is not my strong suit. It never has been, and I doubt I will ever truly become a patient person. (The most I can hope for is to become more patient than I currently am.) However, saving money, exercising regularly, and eating better all require patience if I want to see tangible results that last.
Since I’m not a patient person by nature, I’m trying to find ways to help boost motivation and give myself incentives to continue working towards these long term goals. That’s crucial for me, because otherwise I’m likely to bail on my goals out of frustration for not having achieved them already. I know that isn’t exactly logical, because if I quit a goal for not having achieved it soon enough I’m definitely not going to achieve it ever. But impatience often has no logic.
To that end, I’m putting myself on another three month shopping ban (surprise!) from October to December. I’ve registered for a 5K in November. I’m bookmarking new-to-me recipes that focus on healthy ingredients and result in tasty meals. And I’m really, really excited about these upcoming challenges… including the shopping ban! I know these will all contribute towards me achieving my big goals, and that is the motivation boost I need to keep working at them every day.
Instant gratification and immediate results can be great, but often they don’t amount to much in the long term. As much as I want things to happen right now, usually that’s just not feasible. I need to remember that big goals don’t get accomplished overnight. It’s my hope that by continuing to find ways to keep me motivated and determined as I work towards becoming the person with good, healthy habits that I want to be, I’ll eventually be that person forever, and not just for the time being.