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Could This Be The Reason You’re Not Achieving Personal Goals?
I’m challenging you, right now, to read right to the end…you’ll understand why when you get there 😉 .
I’ve written a lot of posts on achieving personal goals, including my monthly personal progress updates which chronicles my progress with each of the goals I set in January. But whilst these posts may be useful, entertaining and (hopefully) inspiring, you might still be struggling with actually achieving personal goals.
Resolutions and good intentions aside, we all know that it can be difficult to not just set goals, but to actually work consistently to finally see the outcome we’ve been striving for. On the surface we often say that we haven’t got enough time or money to be able to work on our goals, but sometimes it’s not about time or money, sometimes our lack of action runs much deeper.
This is the first in a short series of posts that will explore some of the less obvious reasons why you’re not achieving personal goals. Today I’m looking at one of these possible reasons. Carry on reading to find out if it resonates with you and what you can do about it.
You’re not achieving personal goals because…
You Spend Too Much Time In Your Head
Thinking, over-analysing, feeling under par, these are all reasons to stay in your own head, but the trouble with being in your own head is that your brain is constantly coming up with ways to keep you ‘safe’. And ultimately, being safe means not changing anything!
Unfortunately this is a paradox. If we want to get away from feeling so lousy or from over-thinking, we need to give our heads something else to work on!
You are experiencing a series of minor ailments which seem to drag on. You feel out of sorts, lack energy and motivation and are a bit fed up with it. You’ve seen your doctor who’s ruled out anything serious, but the feelings persist. They swirl around your brain, which then unhelpfully adds a few ‘worst case scenarios’ to the mix, making you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Does that sound familiar?
Related Post: 5 Tips To Help You Cope When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
When our circumstances aren’t what we want them to be, but we feel unable to improve them, we can easily drag ourselves down as we notice the aches and pains in our bodies, because it’s so easy to focus upon. Whilst these aches and pains may be real, the amount of focus we give them only serves to accentuate our feelings, which then makes us feel worse.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. Think of a time when you were so busy with other more important things that you were able to ignore the pulled muscle, the cold or the tiredness you felt. You powered through because you needed to finish the project, support the relative or go on holidays! In other words, you pulled yourself out of your head for your greater good.
So what can you do if you feel this way? Here are a few suggestions.
Get out of your own head and get practical:
• Write down all the things that are bothering you so that you can clearly see them in black and white. There’s a good chance that when you get the thoughts out of your head, there’s not as many things as you thought there were. Your brain was just ruminating the same stuff over and over.
• If it’s physical ailments, decide whether you need to see your doctor or whether you can take some proactive actions to alleviate the symptoms. This could include painkillers, exercise, nutrition improvements and/or vitamins. If you think you need to see your doctor, set up the appointment.
• If it’s not physical still consider whether you need to see a professional or talk to a friend.
• Once you’ve dealt with the two points above, for everything else, come up with one – two actions you could take to move you away from where you are now and towards the better outcome you would like to achieve.
• Prepare yourself to take these actions.
Related Post: Getting Out of Your Own Way
It’s really important to stop your head running the show sometimes!
The Layman’s Science
For those of you who enjoy knowing why we seem to tick like this and why taking some proactive action can be difficult but ultimately helps, here’s the geeky explanation!
Our brains have evolved over millennia and in the dim and distant past we were hard wired for survival. It was a case of eat or get eaten! There was little time (or use) for planning anything. We only needed to know where the next meal was coming from.
Fast-forward a few epochs and we’ve reached a stage of development where the urgency to find food has been replaced by agriculture and cultivation and our immediate needs are more easily met. Now we have time to plan, think ahead and put those plans into action and our brains evolved to include this new tool. Yippee!
But, there’s a small problem.
The ancient part of our brain is quicker than our newer planning centre, and if we don’t give our new planning centre a chance to intervene, we’re off down the rabbit hole before we can even get our Bullet Journal on the desk!
And we all know how that looks…
• I don’t feel too good
• I’m tired
• I’ll do it tomorrow
• What’s the point?
…and so on…
The good news is, it’s not your fault! Phew, what a relief, eh?
The bad news is that you must work at achieving personal goals. You’ll rarely just feel like it and you’ll frequently want to put it off to The Mythical Land of Tomorrow. And, if you manage to overcome those ancient brain excuses, it’ll send in the heavy squad, making you feel a bit under the weather, a bit listless and wondering well, what’s the point?!
So, it’s time to muscle up! Are you ready to take a chance that the science could be right and if you give your planning brain a chance you might just start to feel a whole lot better? The scenario above was just an example, but in real-life we’re all stuck with the odd minor ailment that challenges our resolve to get the right thing done.
Here’s the real-life example
I’ve got a sore throat. I’ve had it for a few weeks and have already set up an appointment with my doctor. When I woke up this morning it felt worse and I really did not want to sit down and write.
But I wrote regardless.
Do I feel better? The honest answer is that I still have a sore throat, but I now feel ‘lighter’ and so my sore throat is more bearable. I’m happy that I’ve been able to get over 1,000 words on to the page and I didn’t let my sore throat, or my ancient brain get the better of me. Neither of them care about my future, but I do and so does my planning brain!
Achieving Personal Goals Takes Work!
Achieving personal goals requires work, but the journey and the pay-off are so worth the effort. Learn to work with your competing brains, and know that you can get past the challenges that your ancient brain poses. Let your planning brain take the driving seat for a while and you will immediately begin to feel and see the improvements!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first in a short series of posts that will explore some of the less obvious reasons why you’re not achieving personal goals. To make sure you don’t miss the next instalment you can subscribe here (and get my latest downloadable freebie!).
If you’re ready to work your way through your challenges and take your life to the next level, you can check out my coaching programs which offer a range of cost-effective options for working with me to make lasting change in your life.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer a few recommended resources to help with getting out of your own head, you can try these useful resources I’ve picked out from Amazon.