What stops us from achieving?

‘Goals’. I hate that word. For me it represents a target that you either miss or hit. Relationships aren’t like that. Life isn’t like that. We need to celebrate small successes and be kinder to ourselves. Outcome is a more appropriate term. It represents a description of what you are hoping to achieve. A direction you are working towards.  For example, if I have an exam and my goal is to achieve 90%, anything less than that I am a failure. An outcome would be to increase my marks between 10 and 20%, to exceed my last best score. In relationships ‘goals’ are in the traditional sense ludicrous. SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Framed help improve achievement and success.  A SMART goal clarifies exactly what is expected and the measures used to determine if the goal is achieved and successfully completed. By June 1st we will be kissing eight times a day for 5 minutes at a time. We are not robots when it comes to love and life. Businesses have goals, people have outcomes.

And even when we do have a clearly defined outcome, sometimes we are unsuccessful for the following reasons:

Insufficient Planning. Insufficient Knowledge. Ineffective Time management. Unrealistic Goals. Fear of Failure. Fear of Success.

Insufficient Planning:

When the steps to reach your goals are too big. Health is a process, love is a process, education is a process, CHANGE IS A PROCESS and not an EVENT. Swallowing a bottle of vitamins doesn’t make you healthy, one holiday doesn’t eradicate stress, a bunch of flowers and box of chocolates doesn’t mend a broken heart.

What information do you need?

How much time do you need each day or week?

How much money do you need?

Whose help do you need?

What resources or services do you need?

What would be the earliest sign you were starting to accomplish your goal?

How would you know you were well on your way to accomplishing your goal?

Insufficient Knowledge:

Good ideas are easy. Roll out and execution is the challenge. A lack of knowledge in the real life experience of what you are trying to achieve is the problem. To gain knowledge there are a variety of resources available to us in this age of information: books, internet, mentors and training. A perfect example and inspirational movie to watch on this subject is ‘Chasing Mavericks’. A talented surfer wants to surf the big waves or ‘mavericks’. The difference between what he thinks he needs and what he actually needs to achieve is vast.

Ineffective Time Management

Time is our greatest asset. We all have 24 hours a day. The difference between those that are successful and who achieve extraordinary results is their ability to make maximum use of those 24hours. To succeed in one area, you have to drop some balls in another. Three rules of good time management:

Prioritise: Write down all the roles in your life including the new role your goal requires of you and figure out which roles you are prepared to neglect n order to excel in the one you want success. E.g. Mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, coach, researcher, blogger, traveller, yogi, dancer, author, health nut, learner. When I wanted to write my book, it was so time consuming I had to give up yoga, socializing, coaching and time with my family. I made the decision to ‘shelve’ my authoring role until other roles in my life were less time consuming.

Make TO DO lists: Itemized lists identifying most important to least important tasks with a break down of daily, weekly and monthly ‘to dos’

Say “NO”: If you are a people pleaser and hate to disappoint others, your plan is most likely to unsuccessful because of the demands other people place on you. Agreeing to be helpful, supportive and present for other people on demand diminishes the time you have available for your own project. Figuring out what is a priority in your life and when to say yes and no is key to time management.

Unrealistic Goals

What are the odds?:  A basic rule of thumb: you need a better than even chance of achieving your goal, or it is not realistic. What are the odds against you of achieving your gal? 1000 to 1? 100 to 1? 10 to 1? Even? Better? Knowing what you do of human nature, your own personality, the way the world works, and probability, are the odds in your favour?

Do you have (or can you get) the prerequisites?If you are too short to play basketball, too busy for a relationship or not experienced enough for a particular job, it might be time to let go of that dream, for. Passion is a wonderful thing until it clouds your judgment so badly that you can’t discern realistic from unrealistic expectations. The venture capitalists in the BBC show ‘The Dragons Den’ invest in about 10% of the businesses pitched to them.  When five billionaires and experts in business give you feedback that your product is a waste of time and money, you would be amazed how many people tell them they are wrong.

Fear of Failure

The way to overcome fear of failure is to systematically assess the actual risk of failure. Determine the worst that can happen, assess the possible damage and coping strategies, and reduce your fear of failure to a reasonable level.

Complete a full risk assessment.  Identify the fear. Rate the probability of failure from 0 to 100%. Predict the worst possible consequences. Possible coping thoughts.  Possible coping actions. Evidence against the worst possible outcome. Some alternative outcomes. Re-rate  the probability of the feared failure. Remember, worry is a magnet to problems. Focus on what you believe you can achieve and imagine how it will feel to succeed- this attracts results.

Fear of Success.

This is when you want the good things in life but somehow don’t believe you deserve it. It is when you fear success will set you up for a bigger fall later e.g. Others will envy you and turn against you, or become too dependent and you will crumble under the responsibility. This one is linked to low levels of self worth and managed best with a coach/counsellor/therapist that can help you separate yourself from the negative self talk and reestablish new belief systems that will empower you. Regardless of what we have done or not done, we are all worthy of love, peace and joy, it is our birth right. Unfortunately many of us have childhood experiences that teach us we are not deserving or worthy.  This can be remedied by re-parenting yourself as an adult and creating new attitudes/beliefs that serve, inspire and empower you.

So there you have it. The information above has been drawn from the book ‘Self-Esteem’ by Matthew McKa y, Ph.D and Patrick Fanning. I have witnessed it’s accuracy with clients and in my personal life. Setting a course for change is about dreaming and then doing. Action and goal oriented change makes us feel strong and in control. A strong self-concept and sense of worthiness has two components: learning to think about yourself in healthy ways and the ability to make things happen. To see what you want, to go for it and then to achieve. This is what creating an inspired life is all about. If you are not achieving, it might be less about who you are and more about a lack of planning and strategy. As long as you are on a trajectory moving forward towards an outcome you are achieving. Sometimes development takes two steps back before it takes one giant leap forward. Be kind to yourself along the way. Take tiny steps. Failure is feedback on what you need to do differently, not the end of the journey. Remove goal from your vocabulary and focus on the objectives and outcomes you desire in your life.