Ah, those lofty attainable goals we have for ourselves.
Whether it’s to retire by 40, to lose 25 pounds by our sister’s wedding, or to even learn French, chances are there are some things you want for yourself that you just can’t seem to get started on.
Why is that? When we want something, why does it seem so damn hard to get?
We make it too difficult.
That’s right—much like why New Year’s Resolutions suck, our minds are conditioned in a way that make goals unattainable. This faulty thinking is for two reasons.
The first is that we buy into crap puritanical societal conditioning that says we’re not getting what we want because we’re weak or lazy, which is bullshit. You’ve been working your ass off your whole life and sacrificed a shitload in your marriage, only to have things fall apart. So that whole nose-to-the-grindstone thing is bogus.
The second is the flip side of it, which I call the Disney Effect. It’s from that the whole sugarly song from Pinocchio.
When you wish upon a star, makes no different who you are.
Anything your heart desires will come to you.
Okay, so do you really think that sitting and hoping for things to magically improve as long as you hope and dream? Cut the crap. It doesn’t happen like that.
Hope is not a strategy, people. You need to make your goals realistic and achievable.
Okay. Now that we’ve established that we’ve been going about it wrong, how do we make any progress? Does that mean we have to accept the status quo and deal with it? Heck no.
The only way you’ll get out of your rut and make your goals realistic and achievable is start reframing it to the following mindset.
What is something you can do that:
Doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed?
That you can actually manage, time-wise and financially?
That’s actually fun? Or at least doesn’t feel like you’re getting your fingernails pulled out with pliers, or being forced to watch golf or sit through an opera.
I like to call this exercise the Goal Achievement Test. When you start something, you need to make sure you can answer yes to those three short questions. Because if you cannot answer yes, then attaining that goal won’t happen.
That’s not to say you’re doomed and you walk away—you don’t get off that easily. Instead, it just means that you’ll need to reframe your goal and really narrow down what you want to do, to something you can actually manage.
Let’s run through this exercise and let it be a starting point for you to start reframing your goals into something realistic, with a greater success rate. And remember, if you answer “no,” it’s not the end of the world. It just means you have to narrow down your goal.
Proposed Goal: I want my confidence back.
Does it make you feel overwhelmed? Yes. Kind of. I’m not sure what I need to do to feel confident.
Revised Goal: I can start feeling more confident when I start feeling better about my body. I can’t fit into my old clothes anymore, which makes me feel even worse now that my marriage is ending.
Does it make you feel overwhelmed? A little. What am I supposed to do to start with this goal?
Revised Goal: I would like to start being more physically active, which I haven’t done in a while.
Does it make you feel overwhelmed? No. It’s something I need to do that I know I can do.
Can you manage it, time-wise and financially? Yes. I can start going for walks around my neighborhood. I can start with 10-minute walks, 3 times a day. There’s also an affordable gym near my house that I can visit a few times a week.
Is it fun, or at least, not torture? Yes, I think so. I’ve always liked taking walks to clear my head. And I do like the elliptical trainer at that gym!
See how easy that was? Goals aren’t a zero-sum game like we’re conditioned to believe. But remember, you must define them in a realistic, manageable way in order to reach them.
A word on those of you who say, “I don’t have time!” or “I can’t afford it!”
I’m going to say this as nicely as I can. Those are BS excuses and you know it. If something’s important to you, you’ll make the time. Simple habits can be formed in 5-10 minutes a day.
And when something is really important, you’ll find a way to pay for it. It’s call investing in yourself. Because if you don’t, then who will?
So, what are your realistic and achievable goals? And what steps will you take to start acheiving them right after you read this post?
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