Motivation, Taking It On

What is Stopping You from Reaching Your Goals?

You know how it is, you set your mind on a new goal and you are really excited to get started. Things seem to be off to a good start. You are making progress. Then…something happens. You hit a wall. It could be something as simple as losing motivation or something way more complex. Either way, bam the progress has stopped, the excitement is fading. Here is the deal though, no matter who the person is or what the goal is, this is going to happen, there are inevitably going to be setbacks. There are going to be to be forks in the road, obstacles that feel insurmountable, and distractions that seem to lure you away from your task at hand. These obstacles and setbacks are going to happen, they are going to happen regardless of the size of the goal or complexity. I know you don’t want to hear it, but these setbacks are part of the process.

These challenges, these rough spots along the way are where growth happens. This is where you decide to persevere or give up, where you figure out what is important to you or what isn’t. These crossroads are where you figure out who you are and what you are made of. This is where you have the opportunity to become your best self, or not, it’s up to you.

These challenges can be scary, but often the fear we are feeling is a fake out. It’s the brains natural reaction to the unknown. The brain likes the status quo, it likes predictability. When you enter a challenge or come to a crossroad you don’t know what is ahead and your brain tries to alert you to that fact.  If you get scared, this is when you have to pause and ask, what happens if I try and succeed versus try and fail? If you think about it, often the worst possible thing that could happen by trying and failing is that you end up a little embarrassed and back where you started. If money is involved, you might end up with a little less than you have today. And the best possible thing? Well, that depends on the goal. I am willing to bet it is something good, or you wouldn’t have set the goal in the first place.

The fact is you have to try.  If you try and fail you have at least faced the fear of trying. That may not sound like much but it is. It makes facing the fear next time that much easier. And that in itself is an accomplishment. Giving into the fear and not trying, letting fear win, that gives fear strength. You do not want to give fear strength, you want to give you strength and you gain strength by trying and doing.

I’ve been on all sides of this equation. I’ve tried and succeeded, tried and failed, and not tried at all. The only regrets I have are the ones where I didn’t try. When I went after my goals, I didn’t always know how things were going to work out, but hell or high water I was going for it. If I made a little mess along the way, like when I tanked my credit in college (a story for another day), fine. It didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was reaching my goal. I’d figure it out, I always did. I was often scared, but not trying wasn’t an option I would even consider. When I went after my goals I felt a sense of accomplishment, I learned I could rely on myself, I grew as a person, I built self-confidence. The more I pushed through hard times, the more I grew into a person I actually liked and was happy to be.

As things in my life got easier, more comfortable, as I started feeling like I had things worth losing fear saw an opportunity. Fear reminded me of all I had to lose and I started to give in and not try. I was scared to rock the boat. I would tell myself I was trying by making little gestures of effort, but I wasn’t giving my all. That is what happens when fear is allowed to win. It gets harder to try, harder to get past the setbacks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

What I ultimately realized is that regardless of life’s situations fear is still nothing more than a fake out. Regardless of our situation in life, we have to go after our goals. We need to take risks, we need to face fears, and we need to keep growing. For me, yes, I have more to lose, so the kamikaze approach of my youth as fun and freeing as it was, is no longer the best path forward. But there is still a path, multiple paths, there is never just one. And fear, it goes away when you confront it. The obstacles, the challenges, they may not be easy, but pushing through and finding a way is always worth it. There is only one way to move forward on any path and that is trying. The act of trying is a win in itself, so don’t hold back. Go for it. Recognize when you are at a crossroad, when the hard part is coming, when the distractions are luring you away and pause. Then brace yourself, remind yourself what you want to achieve, and keep pushing forward. Keep trying, that is how you will reach your goals and that is how you grow.



Motivation, Taking It On

The One Characteristic You Don’t Want to Have

Growing up, I wanted to escape my circumstances. In order to figure out how, I watched people. I noticed how people responded to things. I noticed how people who were where I wanted to be acted. I noticed how people acted who were not where I wanted to be. I noticed everything. And you know what, there were commonalities between the people who were where I wanted to be and commonalities between the people who were not where I wanted to be.

As I grew up and the people around me grew up, I watched and saw how these characteristics predicted over and over again where people would end up. There were several characteristics that seemed to be indicators, but there was one that stood out.

I don’t want to say the one that stood out predicts the have and have nots, because that is not exactly what it does. This particular characteristic is more of an indicator of stability, happiness, success, overall wellbeing and self-sufficiency.

The interesting thing is this one characteristic, which I tend to think of as a disease kind of like addiction is just like addiction. It is like addiction in that it is something that some of us may be more prone to and others less, but regardless it is something that can be conquered by doing the work.

You are going to be disappointed when you find out what it is. If you suffer from it, you might even get downright mad.  It’s a pretty common reaction by people who have this characteristic or disease. It is lack of personal responsibility, also called whoa is me disease.

Do you have it? Do you know someone who does?  I bet you at least know someone with it. I know quite a few.

It’s hard to watch. For me the hard part about it is seeing people who are capable of so much, make excuses after excuse. Watch and listen. The people who are floundering, the ones who can’t get traction, the ones who can’t get ahead, who can’t hold a job, who keep finding themselves in bad spots over and over…listen to their words. I guarantee it will be there. I guarantee you will hear over and over how it is not their fault. These things happened to them. If it wasn’t for these outside forces, they would be fine.

This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to good people. Horrible things happen. There are definitely things that are out of our control. We don’t choose illness, losing someone we love, and a thousand other things. The fact is no matter the situation we have a choice in how we deal with it. Even in the most horrible situation we have a choice. There is always a choice.

The whoa is me group, the people who lack personal responsibility, they look outward. They look outward to blame. They look outward for solutions. Others are to blame and others are the solution. In my experience this mindset leads to a difficult life. The life it often leads too is way more difficult than the alternative.

In my experience, the path to a good life is as easy taking responsibility and owning that there is always something we can do to impact our situation.

There is always something we can do, absolutely always.
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