Today I was thinking about those moments in our past that have a hold over us in the present. You know what I mean, right?
You can pretty much tell this is going on when something in your life isn’t working, and no matter how much you practice positive thinking, set goals or “work on it”, you just can’t turn it around.
It’s frustrating when you’re doing everything you can, and things don’t change.
And it’s magical when you can time-travel in your mind … go back into the past and find the moment that’s holding you back. You can look that moment in the eye, bring it out of darkness and it loses it’s power over you.
It’s a powerful method, and one of my favorites for helping people move forward. So I thought I’d tell you a story about the way something like that happened to me.
Why I Couldn’t Set Goals
I tell my clients to dance with their dreams, and part of that dance, part of making dreams come true is setting goals. For more than 25 years I’ve helped people set goals and work toward them and I know it works.
Yet for a long time I was less structured with my own goals than I taught others to be. I liked mine less firm, more fluid, more imaginary. And I hated deadlines.
I was always okay with that. I accepted it. “It’s just the way I am.”
Then one day I was with a group of counselors having an animated talk about goals, and I started feeling RESISTANCE and CONFUSION. It took me by surprise because I thought I was so clear about this!
But there I was, having a light-bulb moment as I realized the resistance and confusion were telling me to go looking for something deeper than, “It’s just the way I am.”
I love mind-body magic, so I actually got excited as I realized there must be a disconnect between what I know about goals and something I once learned to believe about them.
I dove into memory to look for the “moment” and found it right away. I was a teenager and my parents created a goal for me when they said: “You have to get better marks (grades) on your next school report card or you won’t be allowed to go to band practice any more.”
My parents, bless them, were trying to motivate me to improve my schoolwork.
But band was my link with sanity, the one place in the world where things made sense, where I knew what was expected, where I knew what to do. Band was music. Band was where I belonged!
I was scared.
And I was motivated.
I went to my room and pulled out my books to study, only to realize I had no clue what to do next! Every page turned into a blur in front of my eyes and when I thought about the whole chapter, and more chapters after that, I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t learn a thing.
The truth is I didn’t know how to study because until now school had always been easy for me. Now I was confused and upset and I felt like a failure.
That moment is when the belief got created and it went like this: “I see the goal and I can’t get there.” And with it came a feeling of defeat.
No wonder I didn’t like concrete goals! I felt defeated before I even got started. But now I had looked the moment in the eye and the spell it held over me was broken.
I started setting clear goals and taking the same step by step actions I taught other people. Was it a challenge to change the style of a lifetime? You bet! But I wanted to move forward faster than dreams and imagination alone could take me.
Here are a few things that helped me get started in my new-for-me goal-setting style.
7 Keys for Achieving Success with your Goals
- Make your goal specific and realistic and give it a time-line.
- Write it down and say it aloud, with confidence, every day.
- Visualize yourself in the future with your goal accomplished.
- Break down big steps into smaller steps and take it one step at a time.
- Realize mistakes are not failures, they’re part of learning. It’s okay to mess up.
- Celebrate every success along the way, no matter how small.
- Life is fluid. Change your goal to adapt to changes in needs.