“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” Maya Angelou
It happens! We set goals for ourselves from a place of high motivation. We want to lose weight. We want to make more money. We want to find the perfect partner.
We are excited and start to take action toward our objective. What happens to the majority of people is that they very quickly lose their drive; giving up on their goal often within days or weeks of starting.
A few weeks later we muster up the resolve to start again only to once more give up. Are we addicted to pain? Are we insane for continuing to subject ourselves to the same goals over and over only to get the same result? The answer lies in the simple fact that our very human nature is to resist change. When we embark on any goal in our lives, we open ourselves up to a cornucopia of change. From creating that new schedule that has us waking up early to go to the gym, to spending extra hours every week on a side business to create more revenue, to going out on blind dates when we would rather be watching Scandal; all of these things require change and change is often so uncomfortable that we are seduced back into our previous ways of being only to get the same results.
Rosabeth Moss Canter, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, identifies the key reasons why we resist change.
Five of these include:
• Loss of control
• Excess uncertainty
• Surprise decisions imposed on us
• Everything seeming different
• Concerns about competence
In other words, when life starts to change, even if it is for the better, our defense mechanisms go up and at this point we can either embrace this change or we can subject ourselves to staying ‘comfortably uncomfortable.’ The latter is where most people choose to reside – living a life of anger, frustration and overwhelm; exhausted and hopeless.
The key issue is that change means that we must embrace something new; a new schedule, new habits, a diet, a new mindset and quite possibly – new people in our lives. The brain does not like ‘new’ and associates ‘new’ with danger. The protective mechanism is to bring us back to ‘safe.’ Inherently we know the change is good for us however our mind is initially going to resist. Going for a goal requires us to be stronger than our mind and often that battle is one of the toughest we will ever face.
If you find yourself in the position where you know you are creating some self-sabotage, here are 5 tips:
1. Understand that any goal requires change and that change is initially uncomfortable. Over time, all things that are good for us and yet uncomfortable will eventually become second nature.
2. Ask yourself how you will feel if you do not achieve it? By reflecting on the pain of not living into our potential we often find a catalyst to move forward.
3. Create support. Find one or two people with whom you can share your goal and ask them to support you.
4. Keep a progression log. Write down everything you are doing to advance toward your goal. This can be very helpful when you do not feel like doing something. Even 3 actions taken daily toward the pursuit of a goal will add up to 1000 over the course of a year.
5. Know that setbacks will happen however this is not an excuse to give up. Setbacks teach us what our self-sabotaging triggers are. Use them as a tool for improvement.
Lastly, any goal worth going for is going to cause us to face some challenges. There isn’t one person who achieved anything great that didn’t have to overcome resistance in some form. Know that you can achieve your goals however that will never happen if you give up.
Susan is a balanced living expert. She is an author, speaker and self made millionaire. She has appeared on ABC Family, the CBN, written for Dianne Magazine, Oxygen Australia and many more. Susan dedicates time to philanthropy and projects that benefit women and girls all over the world. She is married to her best friend, Chris, and together they have five beautiful children.