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3 ways to remain true to your goals, like The Dread Pirate Roberts (AKA Westley) from The Princess Bride

Being tasked to write a sustainability BLOG post with the inspiration of ‘Pirate’ is unsusual.  I struggled with how to link pirates back to the goals of the ALIA Sustainable Libraries Group and to sustainability in general.  But then, inspiration struck via my favourite movie – The Princess Bride (apologies to those who have not watched it).  Even the romantic lead Westley was kidnapped by pirates and became The Dread Pirate Roberts, he remained focused on his goal of returning to his one true love, Princess Buttercup.  How can you too remain focused on your goals like Westley and achieve success.

1. Write your goals down

Research suggests writing your goals down really works and is a key indicator of success.  A biological process called encoding occurs when you write it down, according to Mark Murphy writing for Forbes.  “Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive travel to our brain’s hippocampus where they’re analysed. From there, decisions are made about what gets stored in our long-term memory and, in turn, what gets discarded” (Murphy, 2018). By writing your goals down, you are increasing your chances reaching your sustainability goal by improving this encoding process. 

Tumisu from Pixabay

2. Tell people about what you are trying to achieve and why

Broadcasting to family, friends and colleagues that you are working towards something important to you ensures your commitment.  For example, if you proclaim you are no longer accepting single use coffee cups because of all the obvious environment reasons, but then go ahead and have a takeaway coffee, you look foolish and uncommitted.  It forces you to remain true to this goal.  You have the added benefit of modelling sustainable behaviour and perhaps convincing others to make similar choices.

Floraf on Unsplash

3. Check in with yourself regularly, and celebrate

There are many ways to celebrate success, and like any worthwhile goal, your sustainability achievements are worth celebrating.  Marina Khidekel (2021), from Thrive Global suggests taking a gratitude pause, among several other celebratory suggestions.  Pausing to reflect and appreciate your efforts can bring a greater connection to what you are trying to achieve. 

If you haven’t seen The Princess Bride, I suggest you do yourself a favour and go and watch the movie immediately!  The second thing I suggest is to remind yourself that it is worth remaining true to your sustainability goals, just like Westley remained true to Buttercup; try writing your goals down, telling everyone about them and then celebrate when you are successful.

By Avril Cross, ALIA Sustainable Libraries Group member


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