What’s the biggest thing that holds you back when making changes in life and moving ahead with your goals?
Is it money? Fear? A sense of feeling overwhelmed? All three plus more?
I bet you could name at least one thing you’ve been struggling to achieve for years. Perhaps it’s a book you’ve always wanted to write, an extra 20 pounds you’ve been wanting to lose, or a career change you would love to make. Go ahead…think of something big you’ve been wanting to do but, for whatever reason, keep putting on the back burner.
So…what has stopped you from making any forward movement?
On the surface it may look like the practical things: time, money, resources. But whilst these reasons may be valid challenges to overcome, they aren’t the main thing holding you back.
How staying still is serving you well
When we stay stuck where we are it’s because for whatever reason it serves us well. Let’s take the example of writing a book. Say you’ve been wanting to write your story for the past decade but still haven’t made any headway; how is not writing that book serving you well?
For a start it means you don’t need to clear your schedule and let go of other things in your busy life. Putting it off is easier. Secondly, what if you fail? Not writing the book may be easier to handle than the perceived failure of not finishing, or finishing and not having your words read by others.
There’s always a benefit to not moving forward.
But there’s a high price to pay too.
The price of standing still
We all know the price of not going after the things we want: resentment, frustration, regret…the list goes on. We also like to think there’s a never ending well of time that we can draw on when the need arises.
But you know as well as I do that one day the well will run dry.
So where do we start? How do we make the changes we so desire but find incredibly difficult to implement?
This is a question I’ve struggled with my whole life. I have many great ideas and goals but find them all so difficult to implement. My quest is to discover why and what can be done about it.
First step: Ask “Why?”
One of the first things to be clear on is the why of a goal. Why do you want to lose 20 pounds or write that book? If the why doesn’t come from somewhere deep inside you may struggle to make the change.
You have to want the change more than you want the comfortable status quo (tweet that!)
Next step: focus in
I have a tendency to look at the big picture. For me that means looking far into the future and determining all the things that need to be done to arrive at the place I want to be. I see myself having having achieved my goal, which is great, but then typically I start to think about all the things that have to happen for me to get there.
This is not good.
Looking at the big picture can be like looking at a complicated map. We see how far away the destination appears to be and all the different routes we need to take to get there and it seems like a long haul. But with the map, and with anything in life, the biggest question needs to be, “What’s the next step?”
Have you ever driven through thick fog? A little scary, isn’t it? You can literally see only a foot in front of you. You hope and pray everyone else is going just as slowly and has their high beams on. At least I do. I think in life sometimes that’s all we need to see—that lighted area just ahead. We want to see further, but looking far into the future and trying to figure it all out can be debilitating.
So today I want you to think of that one thing you’d love to accomplish. What’s the first or next step? What’s in that small lighted area just ahead? Right now, that’s all you need to think about. Forget the rest.
Writing challenge: fill your bucket
When I think of the things I want to accomplish in my life I try to break it down into areas that are important to me. I look at each of them as important components in filling my life’s bucket. These are the main areas that matter to me. Begin this week’s challenge by noting yours.
Relationships: Life partner, children, extended family, friends
Career: Current work life, desired career, schooling
Spiritual life: Beliefs, spiritual practices (prayer, meditation, yoga, mindfulness)
Giving: How do you contribute to the world? What gifts do you have to offer?
Passions: What do you love to lose yourself doing? What lights you up and makes you feel alive? If nothing comes to mind, what are you curious about?
Personal growth: I know you’ve heard it before but life is about the journey, not the destination. So what are you adding to your bucket that helps you grow and look at life in new ways?
Health: How’s your nutrition? What are you doing to keep your body moving?
With each of these areas (or the ones you have determined matter to you personally) rate how you think you’re doing on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest. Whichever area needs the most work, start there.
With that one area what is one thing you would like to change? Next, ask yourself, “why?” What is driving that desire? Note whether you want to change something for other people, or because you think you should. Write your thoughts in your journal.
Now close your eyes and picture that image of driving through the fog. you can see just one foot in front of you. What is the first step? The one thing you can do right now?
Using your journal, gradually work your way through each area, describing the changes you’d like to see and the first steps you need to take.
Like I said, this issue is tough for me, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s a change you’ve been wanting to make but haven’t made forward on? Why do you think that is? Share in the comments!