10 Surefire Ways to Sabotage (or Realize) Your Personal Growth Goals
There is a profound magic in the setting and accomplishing of goals. Goals offer us a more focused direction and purpose for engaging with others, or for the benefit of self-challenge and generating more enthusiasm in daily life. Most people carry a native cynicism about goal making, always citing the negative reality of goals ending up unrealized.
That’s understandable. Goal making, along with achievement, has a dismal track record.
A recent survey found 9% of Americans were serious and committed to achieving their New Year’s goals; 51% don’t make New Year’s resolutions and of those that do, 7% have no real plan for achieving them.
Ultimately, our lives revolve around the many choices we make every day. Choice determines the quality of our lives, presenting the opportunity to empower or enslave, to create safety or challenge, to invite love or loneliness. Through the perspective that we choose, we uncover a primary and powerful tool for improving our lives.
Therefore, in support of freely choosing your own path, I submit:
10-Surefire Ways to SABOTAGE Your Personal Growth Goals
1. PROCRASTINATE Your goals aren’t going anywhere. They’ll be there when you’re ready. What’s the rush? Are you going to be controlled by a timeline? Don’t be so pathetic. There are so many other things you can do, and remember: procrastination can a practical strategy. You call the shots! You’re in control! Do it when you’re good and ready! Who needs more pressure?
2. MAKE A LONG LIST OF ALL YOUR GOALS—WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING! You have just two or three little goals and you think you’re dreaming big? I know a guy that’s got 25! Think about that! And if you do get around to making some goals, make sure to list only what others want you to do--or things you feel guilty about not having done.
3. FORGET “MANAGEABLE” GOALS Managing goals sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? And, painfully boring! Who has the time? Truth is: manageable goals are for wimps. Reach for the sky! Go extreme! Dream big!
4. LOSE THE “GAME PLANS” Come ‘on! Do you really need your hand held? Or a map? Smart people wing it. Don’t get so neurotic about achievement or organization. Sometimes you just gotta leap into the void, not step. Remember: “Baby steps” are for people with little feet...
5. KEEP ‘EM SECRET And why should you blab about your goals to anyone that will listen? Do they really need to know your personal business? Are you that insecure that you need to broadcast everything in detail? Do us all a favor: keep it a secret! Then, if you screw up, no one will know! Play it safe. Don’t show your cards. See, smart advice...
6. DON’T TAKE UP OTHER INTERESTS Suddenly, you want to take up another hobby? Isn’t this just a time suck? Hobbies are for people who have nothing to do. And, in the long run, you end up learning USELESS information and wasting a lot of time you can’t afford to waste. Do you really need this? Be in the moment—more to learn there. Stop doing things!
7. WATCH LOTS OF TV The major network seasonal lineup really looks good this year. You don’t want to miss a lot of good stuff and of course, food always taste better in front of the TV, right? With the remote in hand, you are “King/Queen Surf”—you go wherever you want. Don’t miss out!
8. SPEND MORE TIME AT WORK Approval requires major sacrifice. Show and prove your dedication. If you work, you make money. Very simple, right? Money allows you to choose the life you want to lead. It’s practically everything! Work hard, makes lots of money, spend it. That’s the real deal. So, spend more time at work so you can get more stuff. That’s the bottom line...
9. IGNORE YOUR HEALTH You’re fine! Stop being such a baby!!! Let go of all the complaining and nonsense theories about what you should or should not be eating and enjoy whatever your beating heart desires—and for as long as you want, too! You only live once, right? Sure, you might get a bit tired, but you can work all that out later. Get your butt in the gym! There’s certainly enough to feel deprived about in other areas of life, why always drag food into it? You’ll die when you’re ready, so drop the dietary rules and obsessions. It is just fear trying to control you. Besides, look around you: so many people are in worse shape! Seriously. Hey, take a break! Have some French Fries. Relish some cheese dip. Sit on your couch. Be at one with your cravings.
10. DUMP DISCIPLINE Restriction is for kids—or those in the military. I’m not sure about you, but I have all the discipline I can handle right now. I don’t need more self-imposed tests that deprive and create stress. If I wanted more discipline, I would join the Marine Core. Dump “discipline.”
You’ve now completed the 10-point plan for self-sabotage.
New Year, New You!
The value of making goals is to help us determine our priorities and in that process, we become more organized, develop stronger personal worth and grow how we challenge our self-imposed limitations. While there are many positive results that come from creating and the accomplishing your goals, making unrealistic resolutions can add stress, and foster feelings of being a failure.
To make successful lifestyle changes require knowledge, time, and commitment. I’m sure you heard this before (maybe from that annoying high school Principal who loved to lecture students) but it’s the truth: leaping for change before doing the necessary prep work is a sure-fire recipe for failure. Rather than expecting ourselves to make a change right away, we can instead learn about the necessary and foundational steps to make a successful change. Those steps are the path to where we want to go.
With that said, I give you:
10-Surefire Ways to Realize Your New Year’s Goals
The difference between a wish and a goal is the written word. --Anonymous
1) REFLECT! What was this previous year about for you? What kind of theme did it have? Were you focused? Did you achieve your goals from last year? Did you make goals last year? Reflect on what you’d really want this next year to be about and how you want to grow.
2) LIST 2 TO 4 GOALS IN DIFFERENT CATEGORIES Create two to four goals in each area: Health, Relationships, Work, Finance, Home, Creative, Emotional, Spiritual, Educational, Physical, etc. See Part Three of this article for examples. This is not root canal therapy. Dare to dream. What do you want? What do you need to overcome those stuck places? To remain inspired? To have more fun? To communicate better? To be a more self-realized individual? To be healthier? Think!
3) LIST YOUR GOALS AS IF THEY’VE ALREADY HAPPENED! Before listing the goals in a particular category, give a one or two-line explanation of the goal, in past tense, as if it has already happened. Example: “I am enjoying my new job as Las Vegas’ most popular Tex-Mex Elvis impersonator, “El-Vernio.” Or, ”I bought the guitar of my dreams and no longer have to fake it—I finally took lessons and can play—5 songs!” Write in past tense.
4) MAKE A STEP-BY-STEP GOAL ACHIEVEMENT PLAN Type it up clearly and print out several copies. One for your file and one as a working copy. One of my clients, a photographer going pro made one of his goals go commercial with his fine art photography. The steps he mapped out to take, were: a) Setting up a web-site for displaying his images; b) Expanding the memory on his computer; c) Purchasing the new edition of Photographer’s Market and examining at the market potential; d) Expand his image base (which means to be more conscious about events that he wants to shoot, the creative projects he’s currently involved with, and new ones to develop); e) Purchasing one of those long lenses that look like a bazooka for distance shooting; f) Getting a list of all city galleries and composing an introductory letter with samples of his images.; g) Getting on Instagram and work other forms of social media. These steps led him to having a greater bank of images to sell, making more valuable gallery contacts and becoming better known. A step-by-step plan makes his goal of more exposure attainable and easier to realize.
5) GIVE YOURSELF A TIME LINE Don’t break your neck doing it, but just give yourself a practical deadline on how long a specific goal could take. A little pressure won’t kill you, but a lot of pressure can weight heavily. That’s why the hallmark of health has always been moderation! Push...but, make a deal with yourself that if you don’t accomplish your goal, or get closer to it after a deadline passes, that you’ll just drop it—and make another! Flexibility is the key.
6) MAKE ACHIEVABLE GOALS First make sure that you have some passion behind what you want. If one of your goals is to have all your wisdom teeth removed, you may find secret joy in procrastinating with this one, so make sure you have passionate commitment behind what you’re planning. This is supposed to be fun, adventurous and something that adds another dimension of excitement to your life, not dread. Be specific on your goals.
7) BLAB TO FRIENDS & FAMILY Don’t keep your goals secret. To those that matter, share your goals; find out if your friends have their own. Ask their opinion on the best way to achieve these goals. Sharing this part of yourself is about openly declaring your choice to expand your horizons. However, if World Peace is on your list, you might get a lot of flak for this...
8) MONTHLY SELF-MONITORING Each month, take another look at your worksheet and consider what you’ve accomplished--or what steps your taking from your list. Think about how you can do this in a more focused and productive way. Remember to give yourself credit for whatever movement you’ve taken in this direction.
9) SHARE GOAL SETTING Share with your Mate, Partner or Close Friend. There’s nothing like having a supportive partner or buddy. There might be a goal or two that you both share as well. Check in with each other at an appointed weekly or monthly time and talk about your progress or stuck places.
10) CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES! For any accomplishment reward yourself. Last year, one of my goals was to begin a more consistent biking routine. After I had some steady workouts for a month, I bought a great pair of riding gloves. Small gift, fun reward. Ultimately, goal setting is really not about accomplishing a list of tasks. That’s for grocery shopping. Real goal setting is about confronting what you’re willing to risk for self-challenge.
How well can you consistently discipline yourself to accomplish without becoming obsessive? To what degree can you let go of all the negativity associated with deserving and manifest your what you really want?
"May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow
to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy."
- Victor Hugo
Now, on to Part Three—
“This year, I wanna be perfect...”
“New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.”
— Mark Twain
Face it. Goals have gotten a bad rap over the years. Seems like no one can really keep maintain their goals. People make them, break them--and then joke about them.
May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions! — Joey Adams
One of the reason goal-making has become somewhat of a farce, is because we really don’t understand how to make attainable goals that still challenge us, help us move beyond our limitations, or create more value in daily life. Instead, if we make an attempt at goals, they’re usually too ideal or grandiose; often, we’re not aware of the practical steps that need to happen in order to realize these goals. If we fail, we inevitably blame “will- power” and our self-confidence takes a beating. So, we joke about it:
“A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
The Six Rewards of Goals
A goal is a well-defined target that can offer you clarity, direction, motivation, and focus. Changing the stagnated and negative aspects of our life is the first step toward enhancing our emotional and physical health.
Goals can be regarded as tools that offer six positive rewards:
They help you to move your life in a positive direction.
They help form new habits, or change existing ones.
They help to improve or develop a skill, talent, or ability.
They help you to realize a dream, or other important outcome.
They improve your performance on a task, or activity.
They help you to feel more control and confidence in your life.
But, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Making your goals happen is not about will power. It’s about three things—and three things only:
• Knowing the importance of making goals – Value.
• Knowing how to make them – Technique.
• Knowing how to stick with them – Emotional Insight.
#1. Importance: Making resolutions can be an annual cleansing ritual, which requires careful life self-assessment and some brutal personal honesty. It requires a willingness to look at parts of your life that work, and parts that don’t. It also requires patience and know- how to create an organized plan. Then, you can navigate your way through it with a sense of joy, adventure and self-challenge.
The very act of opening yourself to change and making new commitments can be seen as an act of emotional courage—one that reinforces humility.
A Zen Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog stand and says: "Make me one with everything.” The hot dog vendor prepares a hot dog and hands it to the monk, who pays with a $20 bill. The hot dog vendor puts the bill in the cash drawer and closes the drawer. After a moment, the monk asks: "Where's my change?" The hot dog vendor eyes him for a moment and finally replies: "Change must come from within."
#2. Theory and technique. In a perfect world, theory and technique are marriage partners. You understand the importance and value of theory, but it’s useless without technique. It’s like having a map, but no way to get to your destination. Believe it or not, there is a technique! The goal strategy, how you systemically work toward realizing your goals, is what fuels passion and motivation. We commonly think in terms of making one goal for New Year’s. In fact, every January 1st, you see a TV news piece where the anchor does a man-on-the-street interview and randomly asks people, “What goal did you make for New Year’s?” As if they all attend the same goal club, everyone seems to have one goal. One! Just One!!!
—“I’m going lose all my cellulite.”
—“I’m going to get a new job.”
—“I’m going to wash the dishes for my wife.”
—“I’m going be a better father.
—“I’m going to stop drinking...”
This may be why America is called the Land of Promise; some goals seem like an impossible stretch, others a definite challenge, and some, very small-minded. But, just one? Is there only one area of your life that needs attention?
What about: Finance, Health, Relationships, Education, Job, Home, Creativity, Exercise, Emotional and Spiritual categories?
Sometimes the fear of failing keeps us from ever challenging ourselves. I used to have a southern friend who was a dynamic salesman. His personal war cry was, “Dare to Dream! And his favorite saying was: “If you wait until all the lights are on green, you’ll never get out the door...”
Dare to dream! What would you add or subtract from those areas of your life? When you begin your new year with organized and step-by-step plan complete with timelines and desired outcomes in mind, you set yourself up for awesome success.
#3. Emotional Insight. This is, for many, the proverbial pink elephant that sits in the middle of the room. Your internal roadblocks that you label ‘resistance,’ ‘overwhelm,’ or ‘procrastination,’ may just be the result of your own programming--or blockages from childhood. Deep-rooted fear, of rejection, of failure, or of just being mediocre, can be paralyzing. Becoming aware of your emotional limitations is really the first step toward overcoming them. Start small, set achievable goals and celebrate as you accomplish each goal.
Toward A Happening New Year!
And now...the process:
Before your New Year begins, give yourself the gift of a new year that will challenge you to a more inspired life. When you finally sit down to do this, it will take about 20 minutes of your time. Not a bad deal: twenty minutes...a great year...
How to Begin!
TAKE TEN SHEETS (or use the work booklet attachment for this article) of paper and title each with one of the following topics:
• Finance - Make more? Pay some debts? Invest? Help someone? Get help?
• Health - Better your health? Lose weight? Get a consult? Keep a diet record?
Learn to cook? Choose healthier restaurants.
• Relationships - End, start or better one? Take a class together? Be more attentive? Cultivate new friends with similar interests.
• Job - End, find, or change Jobs? New projects? Rearrange your office? Buy some plants? Become friendlier? Rearrange office? Decorate?
• Home - Build, rebuild, move, buy, and clean up? Make more comfortable?
• Creativity - Do something artistic? Dance? Photography? Learn an art? Brisk walk, bike, workout, stretch more regularly.
• Exercise - Brisk walk, bike, workout, stretch more regularly. Get an exercise
• Emotional - Take more emotional risks. Express your feelings. Listen more.
• Engage! - Articulate your feelings. Stop being afraid—it ruins intimacy.
• Education - Start language lessons? Consider new interests. Take a course? Find a group to meet with.
• Spiritual - Start meditating. Read inspiring material.
Make two or three goals for each category. And, for each category, make a sub list of steps that might need to be done to accomplish that goal.
Example: Health Category Goal.
1. “I want to lose weight and feel better.”
• Stop eating late at night by eating less and more regularly.
• Have some hot non-caffeinated tea after a meal (it stops the appetite).
• Go easy on the oils, fats, nuts, sugar and meats.
• Get a Consult and Follow-Up with a nutritional counselor.
Ideally, your goal list should excite you. All are possibilities for growth. What if, just what if, you could realize many of these goals, this very year? Wouldn’t that be great? How would you feel about yourself?
Create your list, begin your work and make it all right to not realize certain goals, if it turns out that way. Just put them on the following years list. Make this a fun exercise, do it alone, with your partner, or a friend. Each month, take a glance at your goals and revamp, or get re-inspired.
This is your life.
YOU are the architect.
Happy, Adventurous and Prosperous 2017!