It's 4.15am. The boiler has kicked in. It always does before the alarm goes off. Don't really know why we bother with the alarm because I awake with the boiler. It's Sunday morning. Nobody should have to get up at 4.15am on a Sunday morning...
There's something magical about the psychology of performance and the motivation that milestones bring. There's a sense of movement, bearing, direction, and progress when we have a clear milestone to reach. I'm not big into goals, like most personal development presenters are, but I am into milestones - those waypoints on the journey.
Birthday's are milestones for the vast majority of us. Nature offers her own milestones - the circuit of the Earth around the Sun each year - giving us the seasons, the circuit of Moon around the Earth each month, the circuit of the Sun around the Globe each day - giving us the clear markers of dawn, midday, and dusk.
Then come the invented Milestones: the days of the week, our goals, and the alarm going off at 4.15am on a Sunday morning.
Invented Milestones need something added to them to give them credibility. They need a "Why".
I know that my Dad, in retirement, can lose the rhythm of the week. My Mum is similar. So, Sunday lunch with my sister or down the pub can help create a Milestone. Others might choose Church, or a weekly appointment on the same day with the hairdresser. All these things are good for us.
Let me share, in her own words, the trouble with Alice in Wonderland...
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where–" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"–so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
Like too many others, I have experienced Alice's dilemma. I remember inventing some milestones: a certain number of views on Flickr was one. It didn't mean anything on the grand scale of things, I just found it interesting, and therefore motivating. Fascinatingly, the journey was very engaging but once I hit the target, I completely lost interest and motivation. Like Alice, I had invented the Anti-Milestone - the void.
Milestones - Natural and invented - help us. They give us a sense of Overview, Structure, and Control. They give us a rhythm to life, perhaps even being a part of The Rhythm of Life. When I stopped setting milestones, I lost interest in life.
Therefore, set milestones!
...and assign a "why" to them. Our alarm goes off at 4.15am on a Sunday because Lady Penelope works on Sunday. Working early means she finishes early, so she is able to weave this benefit into the story she tells herself about why this is worth it! It's too early but it still has value because it is a milestone set on purpose.
What new meaningful milestones could you set for yourself?
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