Do you ever notice that when you set goals, often times you don’t follow through? I think I can safely say that this is something that happens to all of us.
I went to a fun yoga workshop this weekend where we explored who we are, and what we want out of life. One of the things we touched on was reasons why we often don’t follow through with accomplishing a goal, or fulfilling a desire. We had to complete some pretty challenging, reflective writing exercises, but in the end, it proved to be very helpful.
I discovered, for example, that one of the reasons I don’t follow through with certain goals is because I get really caught up with trying to please others before I take care of myself. I also often make the decision to do things because I think it’s what others want me to do, as opposed to just doing what I know I want.
Fear is usually at the root of the problem. For me it’s a fear of feeling like I’m not good enough or like I’m not valuable. To avoid feeling that way, I’m constantly doing things that will please the people around me so that I can feel like they value me. Doing this makes me feel good about myself in the moment, but ultimately, it makes me feel bad about myself for not following through on the things I want to do.
I’ll give you a small example of how this might affect me in my daily life. If I have a goal to spend some time writing over the weekend, and then my friends invite me out for drinks, even though I might not want to go out for drinks, I’m still probably going to go. Why? Because going is what my friends want me to do, and I want to please me friends. If I don’t please my friends, I start to worry that they won’t want to hang out with me anymore (because anxiety). This could potentially take away from the time that I was planning to set aside for writing, and there goes my goal.
This is a small example, but the issue tends to play out most often in small ways like the example above, but it also affects me on a larger scale. And it could apply to anything.
So what do I do, and how do I overcome this?
Well, knowing is half the battle. Now that I’m aware of the issue, I’m more capable of making the necessary changes that I need to make to fulfill my goals. Anytime I catch myself making a decision based on what’s going to please others, I can pause, remove all others from the situation, and take a moment to consider what it is I truely want to do. It was also recommended that we come up with a mantra of sorts that will help us combat the fear that drives us to continue acting in a way that’s counterintuitive to fulfilling our goals. In the moment, when I pause to consider what it is I truely want, I can also repeat that mantra.
The mantra I developed for myself related to this issue is: I take care of myself before I take care of others, this keeps me healthy, happy and strong.
My mantra has an action – something that I am doing to combat what my fear wants me to do – in this case, it’s taking care of myself before others. The mantra also has a reason for why I would do this – it keeps me healthy, happy and strong.
I’m excited to apply this to my life and see how it helps me in accomplishing my goals. If you’re interested in doing this kind of work and applying it to your own life, consider reading The Four Desires, by Rod Stryker. In the book, he outlines everything that we did in the workshop. It’s hard work, but it’s truly fascinating and there are a lot of constructive tips for working toward and accomplishing your goals.
I will say this: the book was written for yoga practitioners, so if you don’t practice yoga or subscribe to any sort of yoga philosophy, it might be a bit out there for you. But I think it still might be something worth considering. If you’re skeptical, I encourage you to check out a review online for more information.
My current goal that I’m hoping this technique will help me with, is buying an AFFORDABLE house with my husband. This is a goal we’ve tried to accomplish at least 2 other times in the past, without success, for various reasons. If you’re interested in finding out whether or not I manage to accomplish this goal, stay tunned! Our hope is that we are able to purchase something before the end of summer.
Wish me luck!