Did you watch any of your goals die on the vine this year? I almost did. Keyword: almost.
I’m the one, that for years absolutely would not set goals that made me the slightest bit uncomfortable. Most of the time, goal setting meant a side of ‘fear of failure’. Why would I want to set goals when there was a possibility I’d not achieve them? Not achieving them, for way too long, meant I had failed.
Failing is learning, and goal setting only encourages us to experience movement towards the things we imagine for ourselves. Crossing our fingers, and hoping for best will not create the movement we need in order to achieve what we desire. Wishing on a star for our dreams to come true is not an effective method when there’s quite a bit we can do to actually see our dreams become reality.
How do we effectively create goals for ourselves that stretch us without paralyzing us? It’s not as hard as you might think. You create goals that are emotionally attached to the outcome you want. I know what you’re thinking. But how do we emotionally attach to the outcomes we want? I’ll tell you.
You get really honest with yourself about why that outcome is important to you. Below are some questions you can ask yourself that will allow you to begin to uncover why possible results have meaning to you. These questions, if you let them, can create an emotional connection that makes the outcome a heck of a lot more important than any possibility of failure along the way.
1. Why is having/experiencing/achieving this outcome important to me?
2. If fear wasn’t in my way, what might I do to begin moving closer to achieving what I want for myself?
3. What might be different if I were to experience this outcome?
4. Why does this goal scare* me?
5. If I wasn’t scared* of this goal, what would I feel instead?
(*Insert any word to describe an emotion that may be standing in your way: scare, worry, confuse, concern, paralyze, etc.)
Goals can scare us for a few reasons. Sure, fear of failure is a big one. Perhaps fear it’s not realistic or truly attainable? Maybe it’s too big? There might be a little fear of what people might think? Or my personal favorite, the fear of actually succeeding? Also known as: the fear of it working out and opening additional doors we’ve dreamed would open for us.
Have you ever set a goal when you really didn’t care if the outcome was achieved or not? What about getting signed up for a goal that held zero importance to you? Goals without an emotional connection to the outcome not only allow fear to get in the way, but it also makes feeling motivated to achieve it that much harder. Clearly understanding and connecting to why the goal is important to you will set you up for success. Spoiler: if it’s not important to you, you won’t do it anyway.
We deny ourselves the opportunity to feel accomplished, or proud, or even worthy when we allow the possibility of our failure to hold more importance than the possibility of our success. Remove yourself as an obstacle in your way, give yourself permission to deeply care about the outcomes you want for yourself and begin to watch yourself move closer to achieving them.
I dare you.