Goals, Motivation, Excuses and Why We Fail
I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse — Florence Nightingale
One of the most frequent problems we human beings struggle with is lack of willpower, and many of us by February or March have failed to achieve some or most of our goals. In fact, studies show that a massive 95% of us have broken our resolutions/goals within a couple of weeks. We use excuses and justifications to let ourselves off the hook, so maybe we need to look at goals and resolutions differently.
I no longer use the word ‘goal’ when considering my intentions or desires for the year ahead. This word has never sat comfortably with me, probably because I associate the word with past failures! The actual word ‘goal’ is derived from the Old English word ‘gal’ which according to records means obstacle, barrier or to hinder, not exactly positive or motivating words. I think we should scrap the word ‘goal’ and replace with something more useful.
What Are Your Dreams, Desire, Aspirations?
When I have an idea of what I want to achieve for the coming year, I set them as ‘non-negotiables’ (an example of a non-negotiable is brushing your teeth daily), or you could use; desire’s, dreams, wishes, missions, aspirations and intentions. I also associate emotions and feelings to my intentions to anchor them in my mind and body. You will feel different emotions for intentions set for work, health, exercise, new hobbies etc. so by connecting a feeling to each desire, you will be able to associate that emotion within your intention which will make it more powerful.
Last year I felt an overwhelming desire to climb a mountain, and I knew I would need to train for this. I didn’t think of it as a goal; it was more of an intense desire of wanting to be at one with nature and seeing it from a different perspective, plus an additional bonus would be increased fitness.
I Could Blame The Prosecco Or The Stilettos!
Exactly one week before Christmas I broke my ankle (I would love to sound sporty and tell you I broke it while skiing, however, stilettos and prosecco were involved!). If I’d initially seen this as a goal, my broken ankle could have made me think this is no longer achievable as I would be just focusing on the result and decided this set back was a perfectly good excuse to scrap my goal. Instead, I now have the intention, discipline and determination to strengthen my ankle, as my desire to climb that mountain is still emotionally connected with that intention. Maybe the mountain will need to be a smaller mountain but hey, negative beliefs lead to negative results, so I will aim to go high as possible (literally).
Discipline Is More Important Than Motivation
Focusing on the behaviours that will help us achieve our desires will be the process that keeps our intention powerful. Motivation is not essential; it’s more about discipline, knowing what you have to do and making it happen; enjoying the journey, the here and now, not just the destination or the result, or put another way the end goal.
Challenges Are Inevitable
We can spend our whole lives planning on living our dreams, yet taking no action. February has arrived, so what are your visions, what excites you and compels you with strong enough reasons and emotions to not make excuses when challenges arrive; which inevitably they will!
As I write this blog I am still chained to my house as my dog Daphne ended up with spinal surgery the same day my cast was removed, so caring for a temporarily disabled dog and a week later my other dog Dawson had intestinal bleeding (both dogs doing well)!
Challenges can be testing to us all but conquering these and still acting on your dreams and desires will make them feel even more victorious, so, act on your dreams today, focus on the journey and not the destination this is where real happiness and joy is found.