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Over the past year, I have worked really hard with my therapist to change many aspects of my life. I’m pushing myself to be more social and gain some new friends to hopefully make me feel happier. I just get frustrated that things are not happening as quickly as I want and I am having to face the fact that I may never hit my goals. Why is this so frustrating, and what can I do to keep my motivation up so I can be more successful in achieving what I want?

In the society of instant gratification, of course most of us struggle with feeling impatient. We want what we want when we want it, and it needs to be as soon as possible. I don’t think anything ever really happens fast enough for us. Although often unrealistic, we want our efforts to accomplish something to be quick, easy, and painless.

Even if it is somewhat absurd, these are normal desires. Of course, it would also be illogical to want to overcomplicate things. It wouldn’t make sense to cause our intentions to become more difficult to achieve than they need to be. Unfortunately, there are times when we become frustrated because things are not happening in the way that we want them to unfold or progressing during our accelerated timeline.

When we get frustrated or try to rush through a process, we may also risk some potentially undesirable outcomes happening to us. These strong negative emotions or shortcuts may decrease our rates of success or motivation to keep working towards us achieving our wants or desires. It may also cause us to throw an adult-sized temper tantrum about how unfair life is and lead us further into just wanting to give up.

The most important thing to keep at the forefront of your mind is that the process of change generally takes a while, and usually longer than we want it to take. Working to change perspectives, modify behaviors, and improve situations that have been in your life for many years requires time and a significant amount of effort. You cannot expect to undo something you have grown accustomed to doing in your life by focusing on it for a few short moments.

You don’t get buff after working out for a week, and you don’t learn how to be an amazing snowboarder by only watching videos about it. You must act to make something happen and keep working at it until you are successful. It takes dedication, focus, consistency, and unfortunately, time for the change process to unfold. Each day that you work on modifying something, consider it a success. You are working to convince yourself that doing something in a different way is preferable to the way it’s always been done before. It takes practice, patience, and a lot of energy.

We get so comfortable with doing things in particular ways. It’s so easy for us to do these over and over. It’s basically a well-ingrained process that we have played out many times before. These can be so deep-seeded in us that our actions just seem to be instinctively drawn to them. That’s why sometimes when we drive the same way to work daily, there are times when we really don’t remember doing it. It can be so automatic.

Compare these repetitive patterns to tire tracks when driving through the snow. These trenches get so packed down in the middle and built up on the edges that it is easier to remain in the rut than to drive out of it and change lanes. Doing things differently or changing the way we think, feel, or act has little difference to driving in these pre-existing tracks.

Many times, it is simply more comfortable to remain doing the same things in the same ways so that we don’t feel uncomfortable doing things differently. Changing it up can make us feel that we are doing something unnatural. It is also not uncommon to revert back to old patterns because we know them. They’re comfortable for us, even if we don’t always like the outcomes.

There are often multiple ways to successfully engage any problem that we want to solve. It’s about finding the right solution that will get us what we want with as little disruption as possible. Changes in our life are no different. Consider a variety of ways to address some elements that are causing us to feel unhappy or unfulfilled. If one way of attacking these issues doesn’t work, try something else. Try a bunch of other things. Talk to trusted people in your life about what may have worked for them in the past.

Gathering information can be helpful so you don’t have to be the only one developing possibilities. Be creative in your planning, but feel free to utilize the experience of other people as well. Since there is not one right way to do almost anything, don’t worry about finding the perfect method to accomplish your aim. Just keep trying and working towards being successful. The worst thing you can do is to give up.

Admitting defeat only serves to reinforce ideas that you won’t or can’t change something you want. For the most part, we are able to be successful and accomplish most things that we truly desire. Maybe you won’t be an astronaut when you grow up or make a zillion dollars, but it’s important to continue working towards your goals relating to personal growth and improving your life. Most of these are attainable, but it’s important to make sure they are realistic.

Also, don’t be afraid to change your goals, the order of their priority in your life, or the timeframe in which you hope to achieve them. Hopefully you’re not on a huge time crunch or feeling desperate. Be careful about telling yourself that things need to be accomplished quickly. Deadlines are important when you are working on a special project for your boss, but many life changes take the adequate time required to modify those things you want. You are not always able to forecast how long it will take or foresee every potential challenge.

Remember that we don’t have a fast-forward button on our lives, and things may take longer than expected. There is nothing wrong with setting a desired goal to achieve something, but allow yourself the ability to modify it if you need more time. There is no need to cause yourself more frustration or bash your self-esteem unnecessarily.

You may also choose to focus on different things and re-prioritize what you want to work on. Feel free to place some things on the back burner and just let them simmer for a little while you work on cooking something else. You can always come back to them later. Just don’t forget about them.

To summarize all of these ideas and perspectives into one cohesive thought, consider this. Change is not easy, so get over it and quit expecting it to happen without difficulties. This statement may seem a little harsh, but it challenges ideas that often only serve to demotivate us.

Don’t expect your progress to come quickly or feel effortless. Most likely, you will become frustrated at times. However, through successfully navigating this process, you can expect that the more you truly put your heart into your efforts, the better progress you will make. You can walk away from the struggle with feelings of pride and accomplishment that you have worked your butt off to achieve your goals.

Don’t forget to surround yourself with positive, helpful people, use the tools that you have at your disposal, and have faith that things can be different in your life. You are strong enough to cause those changes. Never give up. Never surrender.