New Year, New Goals, No Nonsense!
Almost two months into 2014, I thought it would be good to check-in on what we expect for the year ahead and how we approach the coming months.
The number one thing standing between you and your goals is the nonsense story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve them.
I’ll say that again. The number one thing that is standing between you and the things you want to achieve is the story you tell yourself. Everything you think is true about you is only true until it’s not.
Telling ourselves stories
Our lives are made up of stories, and the most powerful stories are the ones we tell about ourselves, to ourselves. If you’re telling yourself you can’t adapt to a new culture, start a business or embrace change because you are afraid or have no willpower, then surprise, that’s your reality.
Achieving goals comes down to changing your habits, one step at a time, but the first important step is to change your story.
I will share something with you about how changing your story changes the outcome. I spoke at an event a couple of years ago and I went from "I hate public speaking!" to "Holy ..., I can do this." What we think, we become.
Fear of failure
Fear that you aren’t good enough. Fear, of course, of what other people will think. So much time is spent in fear - in prisons where we forget that we are the ones with the key to our cells.
So often it’s easier to give in to fear and to that little voice that tells you can’t have what you want. Fighting fear is exhausting, right? For an expat, a new country is fearful enough: the culture, the people, the day-to-day stuff... the list goes on. Trust me I know. That is another story.
But seriously, that is not what you want to do.
Setting goals for change
If you had wanted to play it safe, you would have never left your home country. If you were content to simply color inside the lines of life, you would not be here. Ok, so you braved the first step and now you have to make the commitment to setting goals.
Goal-setting is not for people who want to continue in the same old routine. It’s for people who are tired of their own baloney stories and excuses for why past goals have gone unmet.
It’s quite easy to give up on goals because you say to yourself you don’t have the time / energy / money to do something new in your already busy life. At which point you’re all, "The hell with it. I’ll just see what happens!" Sound familiar?
Ready for some real talk? Listen up.
Identifying what you want and how to get it doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out saga. It can be straightforward and simple.
How can you stack the cards in your favor? How can you make it more likely that you will be consistent with any changes you make? What would you like to see happen over the next 12 months that would make you so freaking happy?
I don’t advocate setting goals for the sake of setting goals, or living life from some arbitrary checklist of stuff you think you need to do to be happy.
I’m a firm believer in the process of figuring out what you truly want and what steps you can take to get you there. That’s why I have ditched the term "goal-setting" and prefer "kick-butt" strategies for making things happen.
First, stop worrying about what people think. Do whatever you want. No one cares, and it’s Glorious! Seriously, it’s all about optimization, not maximization.
I would like to share some advice that’s shaped the way I view goals: don’t overcomplicate things! Getting what you want is a straightforward equation, like 2+2=4, but some people think they can maximize everything, burn the candle at both ends and try to convince themselves that 2+2=Something Magical.
Alert: 2+2 doesn’t equal Something Magical. Translation: if you want to dedicate two hours a day towards achieving a goal, that means you have to spend two hours a day less messing around on the internet. Less time spent doing the things that don’t matter = more time available for the things that do. The end.
Get out of your own way
Here are six goal-setting strategies that you might want to tattoo on the inside of your brain.
› Identify and change your story
Write a new story and start committing to activities that move you from one to the other.
› Keep promises to yourself
The promises we make to ourselves must always come first. Private victories before public ones.
› No energy vampires allowed
You know the type: whine, complain, drama. They start a sentence with, "Oh my god, you’ll never guess what happened." Surround yourself instead with like-minded people who give off positive energy.
› Challenge yourself
Every time you have a problem, it is actually an opportunity in disguise. It is life’s challenge to you to see how badly you want something. The way you look at and deal with a problem dictates if you see the opportunity or not.
› Stay focused and on your game
Keep your mind focused on the positive. Decide what you will focus on and your mind will follow. Do NOT focus on the past or what will happen tomorrow. Focus on NOW because that is reality.
› Take action
If you’ve got a good idea, take action on it right away. Too often good ideas slip away, either due to momentum or just forgetfulness. When you have a good idea, do something to turn it into a reality. Go for it and see it through to completion.
Focus on your needs
No matter what your goals are, comparing them to those of others can cause you to have a difficult time focusing on our own needs. Understand and accept that your life’s path is not the same as that of the person next to you. You may share the same goals, but your means of getting there will be different. Work with what suits you.
Yes, ask for help. Sometimes you need to get rid of the superman / superwoman cape! Some things cannot be accomplished without help. Reach out to someone you trust who supports you. If nothing else, have faith and confidence in yourself. You can do it!
It’s not going to be easy, but once you start putting these strategies into effect, you will begin to experience a life with less nonsense. Now go and create the happiest and most successful 2014 ever!