The second article in a five-part series exploring the mindset of reaching your work goals.
“I think in life you should work on yourself until the day you die.” – Serena Williams
THIS IS BLOODY HARD
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Goals. Are. Hard. To. Achieve. Sit with that for a while and get comfortable with that fact. You will encounter things, and people, who will provide you with ridiculous excuses to give up. Recognize those instances for what they are: your brain’s easy out.
Guy Winch, Ph.D., notes the trick to set your self up for success is to make the goal meaningful. He observes that “setting meaningful goals forces us to consider the possibility of not achieving them, which activates a wily and powerful foe — fear of failure.”
What to do
When you encounter your first hurdle, recognize that your inner voice will say to you that attaining this goal will take more effort than you anticipated. You may even tell yourself that it’s really not worth it. Resist. I once heard someone quote a Buddhist saying that translates loosely into, “You can invite that thought into your house, but it can’t stay for dinner.” So, you can have the thought, but you can’t let it set up shop. Note it. And then tell it to buzz off.
By attributing meaning to your goal, you are actually investing in the reward and the effort it will take to reach it. Guy notes, “Consider that the relationship between effort and meaningfulness works both ways. The more meaningful a goal is, the more effort it may take to achieve it But the more effort you put into reaching the goal, the more rewarding, satisfying and empowering achieving it becomes.” Full circle.
To make sure that your goal is meaningful, to you, write down why. For example, it’s one thing to want a promotion, and it’s another thing to understand why you want that promotion. Why do you want to start your own company? Why do you want to go back to school? Get clear on what is motivating your desire to achieve this goal. By the way, it doesn’t have to be lofty — it just needs to represent your truth. Finish this simple statement, “I want [a promotion, to start my own business, etc.] because this will give me/make me feel [describe your psychological state or your world once the goal is achieved].” Keep this somewhere handy (Google Keep, Evernote, on your desktop) and read it every day. Having this declaration handy will help to remind you of ‘why’ you are doing this and give you the boost that you need to make it through the tough days.
Next up: Pushing Procrastination to the Curb