Unintentional Goal Challenges and How to Circumvent Them

by Jill L. Ferguson

When was the last time you took a good hard look at your goals from a 30,000-foot or higher viewpoint? Many of us set very similar goals every quarter and each year. Grow our businesses by increasing sales and finding new customers; expand our social media presence; hire a new employee or several to fill in some "gaps." So often our new goals become extensions of previous goals that we haven't either fully reached or that we have reached and now want to expand. Other goals are those we've held for years: learn a foreign language, visit a particular country, take a month-long vacation, go back to school. These types of goals may become a bit of a bucket list as opposed to things towards which we actively strive. For those times we do not reach our business or personal goals, one of the following scenarios may be holding us back:

Words and Deed Misalignment When was the last time you said you wanted to do something and then took no steps to make it happen? For example, plenty of people have said they've wanted to write a book and yet have never written a word of the story. Others have said, "hey, I had that idea" for a product or a business, and yet never tried to bring it to market. People give into fears that keep them even inching forward. John C. Maxwell said, "People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude." For goals to work, your words, your heart, and your deeds must align. Coulda, shoulda, wouldas have no place nor does negative-speech.

Attention Doesn't Follow Intention or Goal Life is very busy. Most of us do many jobs and wear many labels: parent, partner, yogini, enthusiast, companion to animals, employee, owner, driver, exerciser, etc. Our daily lives are filled with things vying for our attention all of our waking hours, and because of this, our attention gets diverted and we may not consciously realize the shift is happening. Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said, "Those people blessed with the most talent don't necessarily outperform everyone else. It's the people with follow-through who excel." In other words, paying attention to the goal paves the path to its realization.

A Previous Goal Failure Has (Un?)Consciously Blocked You Sometimes not reaching one goal causes our confidence to plummet and causes conscious or unconscious fear that we are "off our game" and will continue to not do well. Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter said, "You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don't win, at least you can be satisfied that you've tried. If you don't accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, you don't branch out, you don't try - you don't take the risk."

Setting Goals That Are Too Big Sometimes we set a goal that seems awesome, until we realize it is difficult to execute. Author and HR expert Laura C. Browne said, "Sometimes, we procrastinate on our goals because they seem impossible and we get overwhelmed. Instead, break them down into very small pieces. Ask yourself, 'What one thing can I do this week for just 15 minutes that could get me closer to my goal?' When I decided I wanted to go back to school, it seemed too difficult and I had no idea where to start. For that first 15 minutes, I checked out my company's reimbursement policy and that was it. Taking tiny steps made it much more manageable for me."

Jill L. Ferguson is the author of seven books, an artist, and an entrepreneur. She's the founder of Women's Wellness Weekends (www.womenswellnessweekends.com).

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