What’s stopping from you from being more successful than you are? More importantly, what is success to you? Knowing what your values are is a good start. If you value love and family yet feel alone despite having an incredibly good job, that’s not exactly success is it?
Values are things like: love, family, friends, health, spirituality, parenting, recreation etc What do you need to include in your life to be living according to your values? Is one of your values honesty yet you are married and having an affair? That will cause a lot of inner conflict and will minimise true success. Deep down, unhappiness will shadow you until you begin to live in accordance with your values.
Goals are important too – we all need a sense of purpose. Make a list of 2-3 short term goals, 1-2 mid term goals and 1-2 long term goals.
Look at past goals that you have set yourself. Are there goals you have shelved or even given up on? Why? What’s stopping you from pursuing them?
Common barriers to achieving goals:
Are you listening to your fearful thoughts? The ones telling you you can’t do it or the ones that put also sorts of obstacles in the way?
Thoughts are just that – thoughts. Don’t listen to the thoughts that fill you with self doubt. Dismiss them and go for it anyway. As long as you have done a reasonable risk assessment, tell the “what if” thoughts” to get lost. Don’t focus on them, acknowledge that they are there and then focus elsewhere. Don’t pay them attention.
Notice the thoughts, name the story, thank your mind, acknowledge ‘Here’s reason-giving’ or ‘Here’s judging’, name the demon/monster/passenger. Recognize this is ‘Radio Doom & Gloom’ broadcasting, or simply let the thoughts come and go like passing cars.
Acceptance strategies: name the feeling, observe it like a curious scientist, rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, commit to allowing it, breathe into it, make room for it.
Are you being reasonable with your goal setting or have you set yourself up to fail? It’s okay to break the bigger goal down into smaller steps and take it one at a time. Forget the “all or nothing” thinking, success can come in smaller more manageable steps. Keep going in the right direction, one step at a time. Do you need to update your skills or do you lack the resources to achieve your goal? Ensure that goals are realistic and feasible. It’s unrealistic to want to be an astronaut if you haven’t researched the requirements.
Realistic goal-setting: if you lack skills, set goals around learning them; if your goal is too big, break it down into small chunks; if you lack resources, brainstorm how you can get them; if the goal is truly impossible, e.g. due to health or financial issues, or external barriers over which you have no direct influence, then set a different one.
We all want to avoid discomfort. Unfortunately, most personal growth and development involves a degree of discomfort. There’s fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of humiliation and so on. When we overthink, we can invent all sorts of future problems that may never happen. We avoid discomfort and in this way we never get to reality test whether the threat is as bad as we think it wil be. We also never get to test whether we are able to cope. Get used to discomfort.
Losing touch with what’s important
Embracing values: connect with what matters to you about this goal. Is it truly meaningful? Is it aligned with your values? Is it truly important? Is it moving your life forward in the direction you wish to go?
Finally, ask yourself this question: am I willing to make room for the difficult thoughts and feelings that show up, without getting caught up in them or struggling with them, and take effective action, in order to do what matters, deep in my heart?
If so: go ahead and give it a go.
If not, consider these questions:
Does this really and truly matter to you?
If it does, then what is the cost to you of avoiding it or putting it off?
Would you rather have the vitality-draining pain of staying stuck, or the life-enhancing pain of moving forward?
The Willingness and Action Plan
My goal is to (be specific):
The values underlying my goal are:
The actions I will take to achieve that goal are (be specific):
The thoughts/memories, feelings, sensations, urges I’m willing to make room for (in
order to achieve this goal):-
• It would be useful to remind myself that:
• If necessary, I can break this goal down into smaller steps, such as:
• The smallest, easiest step I can begin with is:
• The time, day and date that I will take that first step, is:
Life gets busy, there are a lot of distractions and it’s easy to go off track now and then. We can all lose sight of what’s important to us. Society pushes us in one direction, our family and friends push us too…if we aren’t strong and centered we can easily get lost.
Keep your values and goals close to you and take the time to re-assess where you are in your life regularly. Are you mostly happy or is there an underlying anger/resentment simmering? When we feel at peace, we are on track. If you don’t know what to do with your life, take some time out and discover what’s important to you. Think about what you enjoyed doing as a child before the world tried to ‘program’ you to be someone else.
Don’t take your thoughts too seriously, just get stuck in, take action – don’t overthink. Embrace the discomfort – see it as proof that you are evolving.