I think the number one reason people fail in goal achievement is that it is HARD. Yup, if you look at when people give up it tends to be when:
- Something unexpected stands in the way of forward movement
- They look at where they are vs. where they want to be AND it appears farther away than when they started
- It’s more effort than they ever imagined
Instead of waiting until it gets to that point – here is a crazy idea. Think about what obstacles you are going to face WHEN YOU SET THE GOAL.
I know it sounds weird, but think about it this way for just a moment……
while you’re excited about the idea
jazzed up about what you’ll get when you achieve it
enthusiastic about the process of getting there
…… what if you used that positive energy and state of mind to creatively come up with ways around the obstacles you are going to face (because I don’t care who you are or what your goal is – you’re going to be facing obstacles along the way)?
As individuals we can probably identify off the top of our heads the top three things that we face when working toward a goal (it doesn’t matter what the goal is… I bet you can come up with a few obstacles right this second).
The worst time to try and use the creative problem solving part of our brains is once we’re frustrated. Especially if you’re someone who has banged their head against the wall a few hundred times before you’re willing to admit you’re stuck (you KNOW who you are!).
The best time to be really creative is when we’re excited! So work on those obstacles at the beginning, when the goal is new & sparkly. Not when the shine has worn off.
YECH – I hate that feeling, but instead of being stuck inside a labyrinth (no not the 1986 movie created by Jim Henson, starring David Bowie) of your own creation – take a deep breath and think it through by asking yourself:
- What do I know now that I didn’t know when I started on this journey?
- If I abandon my path – what is a different way to achieve my goal?
- When I look at where I am RIGHT NOW, what is the FIRST small step I need to take to get forward momentum toward my goal?
Now take that step!
Which leads us to – what do we do when it’s HARD? I mean really, really, really, really hard.
When the puzzle pieces aren’t fitting together and it feels like a better idea to put it back in the box (or maybe burn it) most of us consider it – at least for a fleeting moment (ok I’ll admit it I did burn a puzzle once that really drove me crazy…. not my proudest moment but at the time it sure was fun watching it go up in flames).
Goals are like that as well, there is momentary joy in giving up the hardship and extraordinary effort it takes to move forward. That momentary joy is not long lasting, most of the time we replace it with disappointment in ourselves which is no fun at all.
The instant gratification of giving up is the reason I have accountability partners and a support system for myself to make sure I don’t take the easy way out. Let’s face it a goal worth achieving isn’t going to be a snap to accomplish; rather it will take loads of effort (many times a combination of emotional, mental, and physical effort).
Don’t wait until you’re in overwhelm to look for support – create this at the beginning as well. Make sure that you’ve built in people who will cheer you on, help you keep moving, and believe in your ability to get to the end result you are working for.