It’s that time of year where we toss last year’s goals in the trash and promise ourselves we ABSOLUTELY will do better next year.
Honestly! Next year will be different!
Alas, that’s not how this works. Simply proclaiming that next year will be different won’t actually change things — you need to actually take different actions. (Remember the definition of insanity –doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)
I’m going to share those actions in a moment, but before I do that, I want to set the stage by digging into the 3 of the most common reasons why you haven’t made progress on your goals yet. Because only when you understand what’s stopped you in the past will you be able to make the necessary changes to help you succeed in the future.
1. They aren’t your goals
It’s difficult enough to turn goals into reality — when they’re not your goals, it’s nearly impossible.
There are actually two versions of this: they’re someone else’s goals or you’re not willing to do the work. I’ll start with someone else’s goals.
Maybe you grew up with a mother who pushed you to be a lawyer or a father who assumed you would take over the family business. It didn’t really matter what you wanted, they knew what was “best for you.“ Or maybe you grew up believing part of being an adult meant you needed to get married and have children. Or maybe you felt a lot of shame around your body because it wasn’t “thin” enough and you’re forever trying to lose weight that just refuses to come off.
All of these are examples of internalizing someone else’s goals, whether it’s from another person (such as a parent) or from our society.
Either way, they’re not your goals. They’re goals you likely feel you “should” be doing, but they aren’t yours.
The other version are those goals you think are really cool, but you’re not willing to do the work. For instance, everyone would love an extra million or two in their bank account. Are you willing to do the work to put that money there? Lots of folks would love to be a professional athlete. But not nearly that many are willing to get up at the crack of dawn each morning to work out, much less spend hours and hours each week on boring (but necessary) drills.
If you’re not willing to do the work, they aren’t your goals. (And, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have only so much time on this planet — there’s no shame in not spending hours and hours on goals that aren’t yours.)
2. Your identity doesn’t match your goals
Mark Manson talked about this in his book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life.” You want to be a non-smoker, but your identity is a smoker who is always trying to become a nonsmoker.
I actually think there’s a deeper level to this, and that’s what I call Love-Based Goals. Your soul wants you to transform into the person you’re meant to be, and Love-Based Goals are whispers from your soul to help you transform. Because when you become the person your soul is nudging you to be, those goals will fall into place.
Any sort of “wannabe” may fall into this category. If you’ve been saying for a long time “someday I’m going to open my business/write that book/quit my soul-sucking job” your identity may be stuck on some sort of future version of your self that never comes true.Because if it came true, you would lose your identity. (Paradoxical, I know. But, there are many things in our life that don’t make any sense and yet somehow, that’s what is controlling us.)
3. You have a fear or a mindset block or “resistance” or something else that’s stopping you.
(Note, this can also be tied into #2 — you’re blocked around your goal, and over time, your identity gradually changes to a “wannabe.”) This can look like any number of things.
For instance, you may have a fear of visibility or being seen, which translates to you not marketing your business enough and your business fails. You may have a fear of success or a fear of failure (which clearly would impact the success of any endeavor your take on). You may have a fear that your partner will leave you if you become too successful. Maybe you can’t bear the idea of making more money than your father. Or maybe you find yourself constantly distracted or procrastinating every time you sit down to work on your goals.
All of these are examples of what can happen when your subconscious (which is 95% of your brain) is not on board with what your conscious mind (or the other 5%) wants to do.
Now, if this is you, take heart!
3 steps to break through and start achieving your goals
Now that I’ve given you some clarity on why you might not be achieving your biggest goals, let me give you some tips to help you turn things around:
1. Identify your love-based goals (versus any “should” goals or any other goals that aren’t yours)
One way to do that is to imagine a perfect day in your life. What precisely are you doing during this perfect day? Be as descriptive as possible. In that day are the clues to help you identify your Love-Based Goals.
2. Identify precisely what is blocking you
Write down all your fears or all the reasons why you can’t possibly be working toward your goals. If you find yourself writing a lack of time and/or money, dig deeper. That’s your
Look, it’s completely possible to start working on your dream in as little as 15 minutes a day. What could you give up? Would you be willing to get up 15 minutes earlier? Spend 15 minutes over your lunch?
If you’re still resisting, pay attention to your excuses. The fear is likely buried somewhere in there.
3. Be prepared for your blocks to come up and have a plan in place for dealing with them.
There are a lot of tools that can help — meditation, journaling, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping) are some of the top ones. Depending on deep the block, you may want to look into some coaching to help you work through it.
In addition, be prepared for a lot of different uncomfortable emotions to surface as you work toward your goals. You may feel anger or resentment that you’ve wasted so much time. You may feel fear that you’ll fail and lose everything. You may even feel grief, which likely doesn’t even make sense to you.
I’m not going to say it’s easy, because if it was easy your goals would have already come true. But, it IS doable.