I previously wrote about goals and the specificity required to chart out a strategy around them. This is enough to set them, but it is hardly enough to achieve them. While most spend the beginning of the year planing, setting goals, I like to spend it in retrospect. Why? Because over the years I realised, that most new year’s goals I break within the first weeks. As do most. 🙂
So instead of getting frustrated, and abandoning everything with a dramatic sigh, I try to see where I have failed. What do I need, to be able to keep my goals in focus, and walk the path of life I set myself on? One reason I often find, is a lack of some kind of competence or skill. Something I am not fully grasping, or still needs developing. Why can’t I be nicer to other people? Do I lack empathy? Or just fail to externalise my feelings? Or am I simply a judgemental prick?
Going down such a train of tough will usually help us find the spot, where we can intervene. This can be our internal belief system rooted in our family or society, our communication skill, or even our listening skill or perception of the world. All these can be developed, if we spend the time to recognise our shortcomings and call them by their name.
Our interpersonal goals are predestined to fail or succeed, based on the way we listen, speak and perceive the relationship. As J. B. Peterson is stating, what we perceive of the world is defined by our intent, which is defined by our internal beliefs. More simply put, in an interpersonal context, if my internal goal is to prove, that people are not inherently good, I will only perceive the parts of the relationship that confirm my belief. I will only see and hear the doubt, disbelief and negativity in every relationship I enter.
This is very comforting, if we want to keep the status quo. However, when we come to the point, that things are not that simple, we might start to realise, that there is more to life than what we let pass through our first filter. This is the point, where we can start practicing cognitive and emotional flexibility. Where we are willing to change out point of view in response to the environment or the people we are surrounded with. Our absolut truths are becoming less absolute. And this is where the goal setting becomes important. Is it my true belief, or just a wish? Do I really believe, that I can touch every person in such a way, that I make them better, or it’s just a nice to have, that people find me agreeable? We fail, because we set our goals based on false truths and hidden intentions.
Our career goals are predestined to fail or succeed based on our consistency and responsibility. When we fail, we can almost always find a reason, that is independent from ourselves. But if we truly want to succeed, and if we truly believe in what we are doing, many small steps will take us far. We need to acknowledge our own responsibility and act on it with every decision we take.
Our personal goals, may that be physical or psychological well-being, fail or succeed, based on our resilience and decisiveness. Setting a goal, to get healthier or happier, is not a decision exclusively designed for January 1st. It is a decision we take over and over, each day after the other. Life is too complex and unpredictable nowadays, so we need to stop feeling like a failure, whenever we slip off the set path. We should allow ourselves to acknowledge our failure, but bounce back to where we know we have been before. We fail, if our well-being goals are only the byproducts of other goals or intentions.
When faced with goals that come up over and over along the years, without getting closer to them, it’s worth taking some time off to reflect on the “why?”-s. Every hurdle we face, can be diminished to a molehill, if we put things in perspective, and develop ourselves in recognising our own self-sabotaging mechanisms.