Making Excellence Routine

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Often credited to Aristotle this quote was written by Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers when he analyzed an excerpt from Aristotle. Check it out here!

 

I read this for the first time in the exploration of a friends house. Simple words, hanging on the wall. I didn’t understand them then. They seemed silly, when I thought of all the feats I wanted to accomplish. Those words still hang there and it surprised me that they came to me while writing this blog. Except, it makes so much sense. I wish I could go back to fourteen year old me, sit her down, and have a long talk about that quote. I may have been a lot further along in my life than I am now.

As a child I thought of all the things I wanted to do, all the things I wanted to be. I would weave intricate daydreams of bringing peace to foreign lands, leading people to prosperity and happiness, learning the secret of life. Always it was one moment, one great feat that I would accomplish where the world would cheer me on and I could finally feel proud.

I’m twenty five. I’m mostly unemployed and I’ve never been out of the states. Finally, that quote is starting to make a little sense. Excellence isn’t one great action. It isn’t a daydream, or something that happens over night. Consistency, routine, and discipline are the stepping stones for greatness. No magical epiphany leads to all of your dreams being achieved.

Instead we must pluck away at the routine, we must greet greatness and bring it in our homes. We have to host it, care for it, feed it so that it will stay, grow, and become larger than life. How do you maintain the motivation when all you want is your dreams to come to you?

Here are a few ways.

1. Think of a moment when you accomplished something. Remember how that felt. Wash in that moment. Your brain is crafty, but you can trick it to do what you want. You want to have that motivation, and you want to get that To Do list done. The brain wants to feel good. It can be like a small child that you’re trying to appeal to. It is screaming in your head sleep later! Eat the burger! Watch more TV! Because these things make it instantly satisfied. Leaving you up against some serious competition. What does getting the laundry done have in comparison to binge watching three more seasons? If you warm your brain up though, you might just have the upper hand. Find a moment in your memory where you had the entire house clean, remember how fantastic you felt while you lied in your fresh sheets, and bathe it. Roll around in that emotion like you rolled around on that freshly made bed. Focus on that phenomenal accomplishment, the excitement, the pride, the pure joy. Now your brain is intrigued. You’ve given it something to look forward to, and it wants it. Don’t just think about how great you’re going to feel, inner monolouge’s don’t do crap. Create it, taste it, become it. Now, start moving.

 

2. There is a back up plan to step number one because, truth be told, sometimes we can get deep into survival mode. Sometimes we don’t take the time to push ourselves. It’s easy to stop. That is when you have to call in the back up. Another human. I know, no one wants someone nagging them. Never mind how hard it can be to admit to someone that you’re not doing as great as you want. If you have someone you’re comfortable talking to though, and having help push you, use them! People (hopefully) want to see their friends and family do well. Just ask them if they can help. Have them call you in the morning and tell you to get to the gym. Or go grocery shopping with you and call you out on the junk you’re putting in the cart. Ask you if you wrote today, every single day. Simply having someone that you’re accountable to, or someone to help remind you of what you need can move mountains in motivation. Reach out! Your loved ones love you, let them show it with support. Plus, motivating you will probably help motivate them. It’s a win-win.

 

3. This is the hardest step by far, at least for me. Self discipline and routine. You can have spurts of energy that move you, and those are great for diving in. Still, you need to know how to swim. You can learn as you go, this is just metaphorical water and you won’t really drown. But you need to learn at some point. I hate swimming and routine, so metaphorically and literally this is difficult for me. Finding some kind of routine though, and finally feeling accountable for making my own routine, has allowed me to plug into an endless supply of motivation. It is so much easier to do yoga when I do it every morning. Writing is simple when I make time for it every week. It cuts out the anxiety, the whining, the excuses. I did it yesterday, I’ll do it today, I’ll do it tomorrow. Make your excellence a habit. That’s the cut of it. Do it now, and do it the next day. And when you mess up and skip a day don’t beat yourself up. Just do it. Every moment is a new opportunity, don’t waste it complaining how you missed the last. Put the time and effort in to make your great acts habit, and greatness will follow.

 

Three simple, but sometimes intimidating steps to help you move forward. If you know more, please share! And always remember, life is a practice. You don’t have to get everything right the first time, you just have to come back to try again.

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