Have you ever worked towards a goal and when you finally accomplished or completed it, you wonder if it was worth all the effort? That likely happened for one of three reasons…
- You were doing it for someone/something else instead of yourself
- The goal didn’t really address the problem you thought it would
- Your dreams/needs changed but you didn’t change course
Each one is complicated and difficult for it’s own reasons
Let go of goals that don’t serve YOU
It seems obvious to say it but when we are in the think of striving towards something to make someone or something else happy, it often does not feel as clear. Sometimes the solution isbetter (yes- better not just more) communication is the answer. For example, when a heterosexual couple is struggling, I often hear the female partner say she needs to change her physical appearance in order to be more appealing to her partner- even if he has not given any indication that he is not happy with her appearance.
It is also common to do this for work…. Pursuing a line of training or work that is not where you want to go long term. This could be because you are not in the right career or with the right company. The right company doesn’t want you to waste time and energy. If you are currently on a career path that is not serving you, it may be time to pivot.
Our families can also put pressure on us to work towards goals that serve someone else’s needs/fears. This can be particularly difficult to move away from because typically (notable exceptions apply) our family wants the best for us and want us to be happy. But at the end of the day, you are the one who is responsible for your happiness and you have to live in your skin with the choices you have made. If it isn’t what you want/need, thank you family for their love and let it go.
Oops.. that didn’t work
Something that I have run into that really makes me nuts is when I have gotten to the end of something hoping/expecting that it would solve a problem only to find that while the effort may have been for not- it did not have the impact I had hoped. The best option here is to have some self-compassion and ask yourself how to address your problem with the new info you have. The problem is still there…. Do you need to look at a new solution or do we need to rework/redefine the problem?
Yeah, that’s nice but I don’t care
I have a bad habit of being a bit stuborn so this one has gotten me a couple of times. Have you ever started something and for any reason realized you just didn’t want to do it anymore but felt like you started it so you just have to finish it? (Sadly, this did not happen to me when I considered running a half marathon but it has happened when I started a crap show on Netflix!!). Self-compassion is important here too. Pivoting/changing your mind or direction is not at all the same thing as failing. I try to think of it more like letting go of something that doesn’t serve me.
The truth is, time is the only thing in life that has tremendous value that you can never get more of. My time, attention and energy are more important to me than being stubborn so whenever possible, I try to allow myself the freedom to walk away from that which does not make me happy (or at least won’t in the future).
What to do instead
Before I start something new, I try to think about what I can reasonably expect to get out of it. It’s important to remember that no matter what the goal is, we are unlikely to get out more than what you put in and we can’t rely on something outside of ourselves to make us feel differently inside.
For example, meeting the goal of getting yourself out of debt is awesome!! It is also the first of many steps to take to become financially free, not the destination. Before you set out to start on your goal, know what you can and cannot expect to get out of it.
Be clear about the WHY! I have referenced it before but before embarking on something big and important, know what your WHY is as that is what will keep pulling your forward when you are ready to give up.
Step by Step
Break it down into smaller steps. It is very rare in life that something big, important or long lasting happens overnight. If you want to make a big change and have it last, it will likely take you a long time. That can get overwhelming and daunting so breaking it down into smaller steps helps to make it manageable.
Get a tribe.
I feel as though accountability partnering gets discussed so much that it is almost a cliché. But the truth is research shows us that having accountability increases the likelihood of meeting a goal. It is important to reach out to people who are supportive and who will be cheerleaders and NOT to people who while help you self-sabotage. For example, if you grew up in a family with poor eating habits and you want to make a radical shift there (unless your family has made big changes) they probably aren’t the best people to seek support from. Find people who are doing it or have already done it that will help encourage and cheer you on.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!