Last weekend I had such a blast with my nieces and nephews. It was one of the first nice days that we’ve had this Spring here in the Chicagoland area. We all gathered at my sister’s to celebrate her birthday.
So when the kids said, “come on Aunt Missy – please play tag with us,” of course the only answer was a resounding, “YES!” How else would I maintain my hard-earned status as the “fun aunt?”
Off we went to the back yard, and of course I was “it.” And would you believe, I could not catch those little rascals for anything! Even my seven-year-old godson ran like he was the very wind itself.
My sides were bursting – mostly from laughter.
As one would guess, I woke up the next day with my legs reminding me that they had ventured into unchartered territory.
I was a little surprised because I do work out four or five times a week just so I can be prepared for an occasion such as this. I do squats and lunges, and I jog a couple times a week. But apparently, I wasn’t prepared for sprints around the swimming pool!
Now I know I need to step up my game a bit.
So why all the details? What does this have to do with personal development? You probably wouldn’t guess that this blog is about reaching your goals.
Here’s the thing, one huge reason people do not follow through with actions to reach their goals is because they don’t have what I call a burning platform. They don’t have strong enough connection to the reason they must act now, or else!
For me, bonding with my nieces and nephews is vitally important. The thought of losing connection with them is emotionally painful. This is my burning platform: “there would be an empty space in my heart if I didn’t have these loving connections in my life.”
I use this burning platform to remind me why I must exercise and take good care of my health. Playing with these super fun kiddos, chasing them around, and throwing them in the pool are all ways I maintain a connection with them. These activities are critical to creating a bond with them. I know I won’t be able to do those things forever. But I want to maintain these physical activities for as long as I can.
When I have a burning platform, I’m much more likely to follow through with the activities that help me reach my goals. In this case, that means going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week, eating high-quality, nutritious foods, and get plenty of rest. These are the activities that drive me toward my goals of maintaining optimum health and energy.
Creating your burning platform.
Having a burning platform means having a reason to reach your goal that is so critical, anything less than success is unacceptable.
Here are three tips to help you develop your burning platform. Once you have your BP, it will help you stick to your guns when it comes to taking action.
Emotional connection. For your burning platform to be effective, it must have a strong emotional component. You have to connect to your BP emotionally. For me, having loving relationships with my family is hugely important and emotional. I would be crushed if I didn’t have these relationships in my life. When I don’t feel like going to the gym, I remember how rewarding it will feel this summer when the kids ask me to throw them in the pool in those sweet, little voices yelling, “higher, higher!”
Consequences. Remind yourself of the pain points of not following through with your action steps. If you were literally standing on a burning platform, what would be the consequences of standing still? Your life is at stake. When developing your BP, use the statement, “I must act now or else….. (fill in the blank) will happen.” For example, “I must act now (lose 10 pounds, build endurance, etc.) or else I won’t build these lasting memories with the kids, and they may not feel connected with me as the years go by. They are only this young age for a very brief time.”
Crystal clarity. Make sure you have crystal clarity about what your BP is. Make sure it’s strong enough to motivate you through times when you don’t feel like taking action toward your goals. How do you know if your BP is strong enough and has high emotional intensity? Answer the question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how strong does this feel for me?” Anything less than an eight or nine is an indicator that you’re in the danger zone of consistent follow-through.
So if you want to achieve a goal, or if there something in your life that you feel like you’ve started 1,000 times but never followed through, create a burning platform.