How can I accomplish goals even though I am a quitter?
The key to accomplishing my goals—meditation
“What happened to you?!” asked my high school buddy at a friend’s wedding. Twenty years ago, I was never passionate about anything and did the bare minimum required of me. I was timid and depressed, and I rarely smiled. Now people describe me as a positive, sociable person who smiles often. I cannot easily recall the last time I was stressed despite having a demanding job as an attorney. I have been succeeding at what I’ve set my mind to. My life turned 180. How did that happen?
As a child, I wished for many things: good grades, lots of money, popularity and respect, and to be first pick for the class soccer matches. But I never exerted myself to pursue any of my goals. One time after watching an Olympic swimming competition, I started taking swimming lessons, but I quit after a few weeks. I couldn’t overcome my desire for comfort and endeavor to practice. The same thing happened to me with Taekwondo–but in a matter of three days. This happened over and over. Lacking determination and resolution, I wished, but I didn’t follow through. Then, I would get disappointed and frustrated that I was not reaching my goals. Those minds built up within me, and I slowly became preoccupied with stress and unhappiness for not accomplishing anything. The mental anguish affected me physically as well: I suffered from frequent shortage of breath. I was running around this cycle of wishes, inaction, and unhappiness with no end in sight.
Fortunately, I found a key to solving my issues and a booster shot for my productivity: meditation. As I meditated and reflected on my life, I was able to see my delusional mind. How nonsensical is it to expect great results without any efforts? By meditating I have eliminated those delusional wishes, which enabled me to live in the moment. Instead of being disappointed and impatient for not reaching my large goals, I have become appreciative of even small improvements. Meditation also helped me see my obsessive yearning for success, which had accumulated as I had seen my parents and friends praising successful people. Wanting to be respected, I had constantly reinforced that obsessive mind throughout my life. So instead of living in the world, I was dwelling on my thoughts, which caused anxieties about failure. By eliminating the source of stress and anxiety, I have become lighter and happy. I have freed myself from my habits and body, too. Instead of procrastinating or avoiding difficulties, I now act immediately and wholeheartedly exert myself.
I am still amazed by my newfound life. Without the noisy mind and obsessions, I have the true mind full of happiness and peace. I used to be happy only when I reached my goal or something good happened to me, but that feeling was fleeting. Now my happiness is no longer tied to external conditions and is lasting. I am just happy. I enjoy every moment of work instead of dreaming about how my work will pay off in the future and being burdened by what I sacrificed. When I used to study, I hated the labor, couldn’t fully concentrate and took frequent breaks (not because I needed it, but because I wanted to dodge challenges). Now my mind stays fully engaged in what I do and I give it my best shot. What used to be a negative cycle has been replaced by a positive cycle.
Consequently, I have accomplished many of my goals and enjoyed each step in the process, which I couldn’t have completed in the past. When I worked on a complex computer program for my research at MIT, I was able to endure a tedious debugging process for more than a year and put all my efforts into making the program work. As a result, researchers in my lab use that program for their research—a rewarding outcome. At work I get challenging matters for multinational corporations in a highly intense environment, but I diligently research and analyze issues and resolve those issues. Contrast to my failed attempts to be good at sports when I was young, I routinely practice for and participate in cycling competitions (though certainly not at the Lance Armstrong level). I am very thankful for meditation that helped me accomplish my goals and be a happy person at the same time. Meditation is the best thing that happened to me.
It all comes down to one thing. To accomplish a goal, we must focus on that goal and do our best. It is as simple as that. It may take time and patience, but if we continue to strive towards a goal, we will accomplish the goal. Ask any successful athlete how many hours they practice a day. Why can’t we do that? We are too often distracted by our thoughts and don’t fully exert ourselves. We also have self-doubts and worries about failing that discourage us.
There is a way to change that. I have done that. Who wouldn’t do that? Nike knows that: Just Do It. Below I share with you the first step towards accomplishing your goal.