Setting goals at the start of the year is good and necessary. Yet our goals often seem tinged. While we may say things like, “This year, we will increase sales by 20%,” or “This year, I will lose 20 pounds,” we often can sense a pang of doubt. We aren’t sure, are we? Maybe the goal is too big. Haven’t we tried and failed at this before? So we start discounting or even disowning our results even before we’ve started.
Sometimes we may be tempted to override this doubt with bravado, puffery, or pasted-over positivity. These declarations of certainty don’t work because they only hide our doubt. Other times we may try to evade the doubt by constructing smaller goals based on plausible assumptions and doable activities. But here we’re simply building a discounted goal from discounted, doubt-ridden parts. Or we may throw up our hands and forget all about hitting goals. Frustrating, ya?
Let’s get to the bottom of this.
Notice that the real issue is not goals but doubt. Doubt holds us away from goals. Focusing on the doubts, we miss the opportunities, connections, and ideas that will help.
But aren’t we justified in our doubt? Doesn’t an uncertain future mean we must discount our desires and accept a lesser fate? Can we as rational, intelligent, caring people find a workable alternative to doubt? Can we succeed as we dream to?
Nope. Nope. Yup. Yup. Here’s how.
First, we set compelling goals. If they aren’t compelling, if the reasons why don’t make sense, then the goals aren’t worth it. Let’s go for something with meaty meaning.
Second, we change how we see the future. We doubt because we believe that the uncertain future is filled with unknown, unknowable, lurking threats. Yet because the future is unknown, unknowable, and uncertain, we are just as right to believe the future is filled with lurking rewards, opportunities, and delight. We can choose to believe either.
Third, we raise our buzz. Seeing a future full of threats feels bad and lowers our buzz. Seeing a future full of delights feels great and raises our buzz. Whenever we feel bad, even that wee pang or tinge, we are either regretting the past or seeing threats in the future. We can train ourselves to catch thoughts of regret and threat and replace them with better feeling, buzz-raising ones.
Fourth, we help others (all those who matter) achieve their goals and seek their help in achieving ours. We can’t do it alone. Neither can they.
Fifth, we act as inspired. When we feel good, the next best tasks become obvious and simple to do. We become happily productive.
Next thing we know, we’re hitting our goals.
In your corner,
PS: Please avoid the inherited temptation to justify the belief in a threat-filled future based on experience, statistics, the past. Really, focus on the past only distracts us.