I am so guilty of setting goals, devising and implementing a plan, and then, just before I get close to the end zone, I move the goalposts.
Or equally annoying, I achieve my goal, and instead of being over the moon with celebration, I minimize the achievement… “Yes, but it was easy.” “Yes I know, but…” “Anyone can do…”
It’s a sure-fire way to ensure I never reach a goal. She’s a very crafty sneak, my inner critic.
And if my inner critic is not busy moving the goalposts, she’s busy blurring the endzone, making the goal so vague it’s meaningless. Lose weight. Get fit. Write. How much weight? Ten pounds or 100? How fit? As in strong? Or cardio? Write what? A note? A blog? A book? By tomorrow, next week, or next year?
This is self-sabotage at its sneakiest and craftiest. Move the goalposts, blur the end zone and/or minimize the achievement.
And then my fickle inner critic complains about my indecision and inconsistency, then rants on about my lack of commitment.
If like me, you have an equally obnoxious inner critic, congratulations, you have a human brain and it’s working beautifully.
Our brain does this constantly. It makes vague sweeping statements that are not in the least bit helpful and then complains when we fail to grasp the nebulous, ill defined moving target. Our brain predicts the worst and under-estimates our chance of success, all in the name of keeping us safe from danger.
Enough already, I am on to you, my dear inner critic!
Shall we try another approach?
What is the point of setting goals anyway? We set goals because we wish to achieve some end point that we believe would make our lives better. Right?
As counter-intuitive as it seems, goals are not about the achieving, they are about who you become along the way. No matter what the goal – to get out of bed to exercise, lose 20 pounds, read a book per month – set that goal to serve you. Become the person who exercises everyday. Become someone who does not eat unless hungry. Become a reading fanatic.
When setting a goal, ask yourself, who do I want to become? Imagine that person as vividly as possible. What does she think? “Of course I can do this.” “I will succeed, it just takes time.” “Doing ‘x’ is a lot like self love.” How does she feel? Motivated. Encouraged. Inspired. How does she spend her time? Rather than muttering self defeating thoughts to yourself, you’re feeling encouraged and get yourself out of bed even though it’s cold and dark outside. Or you pass on the facebook scrolling, and open that bedside reading you’ve been putting off. And you celebrate the smallest step toward that accomplishment.
Shift the focus of your goal. Focus on who you want to become, not what you want to do. Then, watch the magic unfold.
You get to succeed every single day as you move closer to who you are becoming. There is no competition with others. This is about you becoming a better version of yourself.
Discover and become more of who you already are. Now that, is a goal worth pursuing.