How we unknowingly sabotage our own goals.
If you were to ask me at this moment all the things I’ve always wanted to accomplish, I would most certainly write a list long enough to deter you from reading it. You may assume after seeing such a long list that I’m an overly ambitious individual with many interests. What you don’t know is that I’m a victim of my own mind and that a lot of those personal goals have been either in progress for far too long or never even started. My usual excuses for not completing or starting my goals are just ways to make myself feel better about it. Deep down however I know that they shouldn’t make me feel good at all. Every day you and I fight a battle with our mind that sometimes we can be seemingly unaware of. Our excuses make us feel something is alright even when it’s not and our fantasies make us feel as though something has actually happened, giving us a false sense of accomplishment. Every day we fight a battle, and if you’re not aware of it, you’ll be carrying that list of goals with you every day.
Now I don’t want anyone reading this to assume I haven’t accomplished anything in my life because I’ve actually done many things I’m proud of. I’m actually referring to specific goals that appear larger and will take longer to accomplish then some of the smaller items on your list. Goals that have so much detail and preparation to them that you feel overwhelmed on how to start accomplishing them. Because they become so overwhelming in thought, we put them aside for later. We eventually get satisfaction from that unaccomplished goal by just enjoying the finished thought of it. How it would look, feel, happen. Once the fantasy is there, it’s like the goal already happened. Although this may satisfy for now, eventually your goal will appear again as something you wish you would have accomplished already. As you can probably determine, the cycle will repeat itself.
This cycle personally annoys me as I’m someone who likes to get to the point of the matter. But I’m not wired any differently than the person next to me and regardless of the excuses I effortlessly come up with, it’s my job to be more truthful to myself. I’ve even gotten into the habit of hiding and never sharing my goals so I wouldn’t feel so disappointed if I didn’t progress further into them. This year however, I’ve taken the initiative to share some of my goals so that if anyone asked for an update about them I would purposely feel embarrassed and push myself to better represent my work ethic.
A personal example that I will use is my goal to open my own online shop with my drawings. Everyone in my life knows I’m a graphic designer, but very few know I can actually create art with my hands. Graphic design wasn’t an option my high school counselor gave me because I happened to mention that I enjoyed art class. It was my choice since 8th grade because I loved competing for art show placement and awards. While all my friends played for their awards, I spent my time creating them. Now that time has passed, I draw less and less. My excuses have been because there isn’t enough time left in the day or that I’ve lost the spark and skill. I know deep down that these excuses are actually a lie and that if I pushed myself to just sit down and draw, I could accomplish my goal.
I write this blog post to not just bring awareness of how we deter ourselves from our goals, but to let others know that we’re all struggling together. Start with one goal and share it with your friends and team members. The next time you say you’re tired and deserve to clock out early for the night, actually make yourself stay up an extra hour to work on what you really want. Fight those excuses you’ve unknowingly created and effortlessly use. Together we can win the battle against our own mind. Be more honest with yourself and you may just be surprised at the results. But always remember, not every goal is easy! Stick to it and you WILL reach the finish line!