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Stepping up to the Plate

Nose to the grindstone.

When push comes to shove.

Choose whatever expression you like, the real implementation of change and improvement takes both long-term persistence and surviving do-or-die moments. Like a rocket reaching escape velocity to get beyond the pull of earth’s gravity, launching your plans requires a period of fierce effort I call the “intensity push.”

After this period, you will have new habits and routines that ease the burdens of change. You will have seen some payoff for your efforts and received helpful, encouraging feedback to keep your momentum going. But during this period, you have no momentum, and the time and effort you have to expend may seem overwhelming not only to you but also to others in your life.

Get Through It

First, remember that this is a temporary situation that will probably reach its peak not at the moment of take-off, but once you’re well into the implementation process and the gravity of all those changes is working hard to drag you back down.

For example, if your goal is to move to New York and work as an investment broker, it’s not when you’re loading up the moving van that you really have to push your intensity. It’s after you’ve been working in New York for a year, dealing with homesickness, still trying to adjust to the city’s pace, and thoroughly hating your tiny apartment. That’s when you suddenly find you need to work more hours to finish a big project and get the promotion you want. That’s when you need to intensify everything.

Ignore the Voice of Reason

It’s quite possible that the same moment you start your intensity push will also be when your support system collapses. Put simply, all your changes and super-focus may make the people around you freak out.

To return to our New York scenario, when you tell your parents back home you need to work more hours, they may question whether your goal is taking too much from you and make comments about wanting grandchildren. You discuss your concerns with the person you’re dating, and they make comments about not seeing you enough. You turn to an old friend for support, and they make comments about what a horrible place New York is and how you should come back home and hang out.

Plead Temporary Insanity

Remember that this is your life. If the people around you can’t see the point of your actions, that’s on them. And perhaps you will lose a relationship or two. You’re becoming this new person, someone you want to be, not someone other people want you to be. Some people won’t want to accept the new you.

Intensifying your efforts to get through a difficult time is about making difficult choices, saying no to distractions, and removing all unnecessary time expenditures from your life. Doing it right may look a little crazy to others. But then, they’re fixed on their own goals, not yours.