I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world than having succeeded at some large goal.
That moment when you send in your last mortgage payment? It’s magic.
That day when you sign the papers to get your first novel published? Unparalleled.
That day you managed that ten minute or eight minute or six minute mile? Incredible.
I wouldn’t trade the feeling of achieving a large goal for virtually anything else in the world. Almost every great moment in my life – save the birth of my children – was the culmination of a goal.
It feels so incredible because the achievement of that goal is built on the back of a lot of hard work. You’ve worked and worked and worked to make this thing happen. Now that you’ve actually seen it grow to fruition, it’s amazing.
Beyond that, as you move forward from such a success, you can always look back on that achievement and feel good. It becomes a constant warmth that you can look to any time you need motivation or a positive feeling in your life.
In fact, for me, working toward goals has become something of a healthy addiction. I find a ton of value in filling my spare time with progress toward personal life goals.
An example: when I work toward financial goals, some of the power in choosing not to spend money comes from knowing that when I achieve that financial goal, it will feel incredibly good, far better than almost anything I might spend my money on.
Another example: when I work toward a health goal, some of the power in choosing not to drink a soda or eat something unhealthy comes from knowing that when I achieve my health goal, it will feel incredibly good, far better than that treat I might gobble down.
The recipe here is simple. Define your big goal, then break it down into little actions you do each day. The key is that when you’re making that little action or little decision each day, think about how good it will feel when you reach your goal. Imagine, just for a second, how great it will feel to send in that last mortgage payment or to reach six figures in your investing account.
You’ll get a little burst of joy when you think about it. Then, recognize how much bigger that joy will be when it actually happens and compare that to the much smaller joy of buying something unnecessary or eating something you shouldn’t (or whatever goal you’re trying to achieve).
For me, that’s plenty of motivation to make the right choice, and if you make the right choice over and over again, it becomes the natural choice.
The next time you’re tempted to spend money on something silly, don’t punish yourself to deny it. Instead, think about the rush of achieving your big goal and then walk away with a smile on your face knowing that your chain of good choices will get you there.