How Goal Setting Can Be a Scary Business

How Goal Setting Can Be a Scary Business

If only 3% of the population have time stamped, written goals, what stops the rest of us?

In talking with many clients over the years, it seems that FEAR is the #1 reason. So I’m thinking, “Okay, I’m a goal setter and I write goals down, what can be so scary about that?” And then I remember my early ‘official’ goal setting days and recall that I stumbled when it came to putting timelines on them. What happens if I don’t meet the deadline? What was I afraid of?

How Goal Setting Can Be a Scary Business

Well, the first thing most of us think of is fear of failure. Well, nobody likes to fail mainly because it is a belief system put into our wee brains when we were children. “We must not fail in school!” I know a parent who taught his kids that if they didn’t have at least one failure every month he would be very disappointed. It would mean his kids were not stretching, not opening themselves up to learn, not attempting things.

If you don’t try you can’t fail. What does that mean to you and where does that put you? Nowhere. On the other hand, if you try and you fail it at least shows you are courageous. Seems failure is the greatest teacher.

So I chose courage over stagnation and started putting deadlines on my goals. Did I meet them all? Of course not. What did I do? Just stuck another deadline on them!

Here’s the thing: The first fear is thinking you are not going to get something you think you need. The second fear is thinking you are going to lose something you already have. Golly, we human beings make life tough for ourselves, don’t we?

In order to deal with the fear we have to acknowledge it and define it. Often a material thing we think we need, the item on the goal list, is really just a symbol of the REAL need which we are afraid we wonââ,¬â,,¢t get. For instance, you set a goal for a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle. Ask yourself how you would feel if you could not have it. You must be honest and maybe have to peel down a few layers to find it.

Now I would have to take a guess here, but perhaps you would feel unworthy? Unworthy of what? Acceptance? Maybe the real goal here was to be accepted by a group symbolizing strength, accomplishment (Harley’s are expensive!), freedom, etc. So if you don’t accomplish your goal you might feel weak, unaccomplished and stuck. What you really need is acceptance.

Remember, failure is a great teacher. What did you learn? In this case it may be the lesson that if the Harley doesn’t sit outside your house in all itââ,¬â,,¢s chrome-shining glory, that you will still be here. What changed? Nothing, the earth didnââ,¬â,,¢t swallow you. You are no worse off. And you are free to try again and this time with some experience behind you from your first attempt.

So you might as well set the goal, put a timeline on it, go for it and if you donââ,¬â,,¢t reach it nothing has changed and if you do accomplish it, you will feel accepted! As to why you feel the need to be accepted by anyone other than yourself is a subject for another column, but today we are dealing with fear.

Fear is what we get into when we think feelings of acceptance, joy, love, peace come from a place outside of ourselves. By knowing who we are and simply giving these things to ourselves by granting permission to have them, we are setting ourselves up to attract more of the same.

Fear is not real, it’s your fantasy. If it manifests it makes no difference at all.

You can heal your fear by substituting the word ‘adventure’. Adventure inspires life, makes it exciting. When life is full of adventure and excitement, there is nothing to fear.

Your life was meant to be joyful. Go ahead and choose those goals that will contribute to that happiness and joy. There is nothing to be afraid of.

By Jacob Leech

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