Once we make up our mind to do something, we start. This is the easy part.
The hard part is to keep pushing to our goal. To push ourselves when it hurts, to push ourselves when our mind is making up excuses to stop, to push ourselves when no one else thinks we can do it. This takes determination.
Inspiration and will power play a role but there is something down at the core of all of us that allows us to withstand the pain and achieve our goal. I’m talking about that feeling inside that makes us take another step, to not give up, to overcome.
What is it we are overcoming though? Who is really standing in our way. Here’s the kicker: It’s you. Yes, the person that is trying to get you to give up is yourself.
When we are improving our code, human body or software, it is hard. We are trying to break out of routines, habits, and behaviours that we have spent years developing.
How do we change this? How do we overcome this internal conflict and help ourselves achieve our goals?
Let’s start by firing this coach. Yeah, he/she is terrible. List off all the bad things that your coach does and fire them. Done. Good bye. Gone. You can throw away this list now.
Now make a list of all the things your new coach will do to encourage you. Right down some of the positive feedback you’ll get when stick to your routine and follow your plan. What you are doing is building up a positive energy cycle to build new habits and behaviours. You must practice determination. To get better at anything you must do more of it. This is true for TDD, for public speaking and for determination.
Secondly, make some goals for yourself and then raise them a notch. Yes, don’t make them lower. Make them higher. You can do much more then you think you can. Once you start doing amazing things you will start to believe it too. Track these goals. Measure your progress. Encourage yourself for continuing the effort. You work towards goals, it’s not about accomplishing them the first time out. You are building habits and behaviour and creating new pathways in your brain that have a little engine saying “I think I can, I think I can”.
Thirdly, you need to be with people who reinforce you. With all the technology we have today, you can keep in touch with people anywhere in the world. Make an effort to keep in touch with the people who inspire you, believe in you, want you to succeed. You need a community of determination all around you.
Be determined, let yourself be inspired and believe in yourself.
You can do it!