Ambitious Goals are a Psychological Trap

An interesting image.

Big goals, like losing 10kg of body fat, adding five figures to your monthly income, or fixing a screwed up relationship, are positive ideas — in theory.

The reality is that Big Goal set up don’t allow you to achieve them. They rely on hundreds of smaller changes and wins. And most of the time you don’t even get the step-by-step instructions how to make all these changes and achieve all those little wins. Sometimes the Big Goal is so monumental that you don’t even truly relate to it, you can’t really picture it happening to you.

Big goals are often too far in the future. The longer the distance, the more room there is to get distracted and give up. If getting rid of substantial amount of body fat includes radically cutting fat in your diet and going to the gym three times a week, more often than not you’ll have an unsuccessful week. Not getting done what you planned impacts your mood, undermines your confidence and tenacity. Which easily brings up a thought that there is no point to continue, because you’ve already blown it.

All this makes it even harder to realize Big Goals in your life.

Focusing more on the PROCESS gives you much better chances to succeed attaining your goal, than just focusing on the results. Focusing on the process creates space to see each “failure” as a challenge and opportunity to grow instead of a sign that you suck and never reach your goal.

Focusing on the next step in the process also makes you focus on the HOW, not the WHAT. That shift of focus helps you to think more of the positive stuff, not the unpleasant thing that you want to get rid of by achieving your Big Goal. Thinking more often how you can make things better gets you more excited than thinking of what’s wrong or lacking. Focusing on how you are going to do the next little thing you know that you are CERTAIN you CAN do, and then doing it, gives you a win every time, and develops your confidence and efficacy… and eventually leads you to your Big Goal too.

There is a lot talk about commitment and pushing through no matter what… but there is less talk about how often this leads to misery and giving up. When you only commit to do the next little thing taking you toward your wanted outcome — and actually do it — instead of mulling over your Big Goal, you’ll actually enable yourself to materialize it.

This is a system that works like wonders. You can use it now that you know it. I actually warmly recommend you to use it.  My coaching clients repeatedly express their wonderment on how easily their Big Goal realized itself, albeit they didn’t always even believe that they’d attain their goal. Like one of the Executive clients who wanted to start creating future for herself in advisory roles, but kept telling me how incredibly hard it is and most probably won’t happen. No point arguing that. What we did instead, was only find the next logical little move TOWARD this (impossible) goal. And then the next one. That’s all. This month she became a member of not only one, but TWO boards. And they are not just any Boards, they are from her list or organizations she initially wanted to get in.

To conclude: Set a goal. After that, focus on the process. Commit only for one next little move toward your goal. Nothing else.

Strategies and inspiration for optimal decision making and rapid result creation.

VIRPI TERVONEN  

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