Encouragement is priceless

TLDR: Next time someone tells you about their personal goals, take them more seriously than they’re taking themselves.

All of us have set personal goals at some point. I’ll start going to the gym, I’ll pick up painting as a hobby, I’ll learn to skateboard. And many of us are not that great at following through on these plans. I’m particularly bad at keeping myself motivated beyond a few attempts (and am working on it!). You might relate to a lot of this.

You see, people who know me know by now that I’m not great at working toward my personal goals. So when I tell them I’m thinking of doing something new, they don’t take it seriously. Jokes are made about the last time I went through the motions and didn’t follow through. Words of caution are uttered. And I’ve worked very hard to earn the ridicule.

I sometimes do this when someone tells me about their personal goals, and maybe you do it too. I’m going to make a conscious effort to stop.

 

Following through on personal goals is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you’ll do it, your chances of doing it improve enormously. Conversely, if you don’t, you won’t, and all the fitness apps in the world won’t make a difference.

How do you build this belief in yourself? Well, you could make a habit of “finishing”, and then you’ll know you can do it consistently. But until you make that habit, knowing someone believes in you goes a long way to help you believe in yourself.

The “scalable” way of increasing encouragement in the world is to help others build this belief. Take them seriously. Don’t laugh off their new year’s resolutions. Next time, I’ll keep that joke to myself. Your friend with a shit track record tells you they’re doing something new? Encourage them. Show them you think they can work at it and actually do it. It’s a small thing, but helps enormously.

I realized making a joke in that moment, reminding someone that they’ve failed in the past – is actually a reflection of me failing in the past. Pointing out someone else’s flaws makes me seem less flawed relatively. It does nothing about the flaw itself. Short term I look less bad, but long term I lose out.

 

Be an “encourager”. Provide constructive feedback. It costs nothing and the outcome could be fantastic. Encourage someone and you’ll get encouraged in return.

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