One of my favorite quotes is: “Of What Use To Make Heroic Vows of Amendment, If the Same Old Lawbreaker Is To Keep Them?” Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote has a special significance for me. In the mid-1980’s, I began to aggressively set goals in my personal and my professional life. At the beginning of each year, I would be filled with excitement and optimism about the awesome things I was going to accomplish. And by early spring, in each of those years, it would be clear that I wasn’t going to even come close
to the goals that I had set. It was so discouraging!
Had I been too ambitious? Were my goals too aggressive?
Were there obstacles that were difficult to overcome? Maybe; but, about ten years ago, I had a huge breakthrough – and discovered what the problem really was. It was me! I was not yet the type of person who honored the commitments I made to myself! I easily lost focus. I procrastinated. I became tired and discouraged too easily. It became clear to me that the
problem wasn’t that the goals were set incorrectly. It wasn’t that the obstacles were too big. The problem was that I was the “lawbreaker” described by Emerson! When I really got a hold of this important truth, it was easy to understand what needed to be done. I needed to work on me! Instead of setting external goals, I needed to work on becoming the type of person who honored the commitments I made to myself; who followed through; who persevered; who maintained the energy and focus that my responsibilities required.
This was a tough truth to face. But – gaining this understanding was the key to every wonderful thing that has happened in my life over the last ten years.