When we set goals, and then set about achieving them, we usually feel a certain amount of resistance at some point into the proceedings because we will be stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zones. This is a natural feeling, although for a lot of people, the experience can be so uncomfortable that they give up on their goal believing that they are not doing the right thing for themselves (it just feels all wrong, they say). However, this just isn’t the case. As Jim Rohn points out in the quote above, in progressing and achieving our goals, we will actually become a different person. We will know more, we will have experienced more, we may have had to make some tough decisions about things which need to be dropped from our lives etc. Is it any wonder then that we initially feel uncomfortable with the changes?
As we know, change of any kind can be difficult to accept and then to integrate into our lives. Sometimes change is imposed upon us, and whilst we may fight for things to go back to how they were, this might not be possible. There could be unwelcome changes in the workplace resulting in a new boss or a change in our responsibilities, perhaps the children leave home allowing us far more time to ourselves and it feels strange, or maybe the perfect relationship we thought we had with our partner isn’t what it seemed and suddenly and unexpectedly it’s over.
In contrast, there will be changes which we will want to welcome into our lives, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that the resulting adjustments that we need to make to accommodate the change are easily negotiated. A new baby in the family, a promotion at work or moving to a new locality can all bring tremendous changes to our lifestyle. The event itself is welcomed, although the resulting changes will change our day-to-day expectations compared to pre-event. Making these alterations may be difficult as each affected person attempts to re-negotiate their place within the new arrangement.
And so it is with the goals we actually plan! Our goals are set as desired outcomes that we want for ourselves. They are good, positive intentions and we therefore believe that we will be able to accept the resulting changes into our lives with ease. But for the most part, this just isn’t the case! I think this is because we want to get from A to Z without negotiating all the other letters of the alphabet on route. But the reality actually requires that we meticulously work through all the life lessons that each letter (task) will require of us so that when we actually reach our goal, we will have grown into the person who achieves that sort of goal!
Imagine this: your goal is to become the editor of a famous magazine. In order to do this you will have to work through a series of tasks, experiences and life changes until, by the time you reach your goal, you will know how to live your life as an editor of a famous magazine. This potentially long journey will be messy at times and you will want to give up, but instead you persevere until you reach success.
Now, imagine instead that you set the same goal of becoming the editor of a famous magazine and tomorrow morning you wake up and you are that editor! Would you know what to do?! It’s very unlikely that you would and in fact, despite wanting this exact outcome, arriving at the destination without the necessary experiences required to live this new life successfully would be overwhelming and stressful.
So, whether we like it or not, we each have to make the journey to our goals, one messy step at a time! The personal growth which results from overcoming the difficulties which arise on the journey are not only there to test our resolve to continue, but also to mould us into the kind of person who can cope with the demands of the new life position we have achieved.
So with these thoughts in mind, does this strengthen your resolve to undertake what may be a lengthy journey to the successful completion of your goals? I hope so and I also hope that when you reach the messy, scary, demanding, unfulfilling and frankly tedious parts of the journey that you don’t think to yourself, ‘well, I must be doing something wrong because it feels so difficult’ and so you choose to give up. Instead, be assured that you are doing the right thing! It’s meant to be difficult and you are meant to grow as a result of the challenges presented to you.
Resolve to work through the difficult times and achieve your goals. In doing so you will make something of yourself and you will rise above those who have chosen to return to the comfort zone.
Go for it!
Are you in the middle of the messy part of your journey? Or maybe you’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Where ever you are in your journey I’d love for you to share your experiences…please leave a comment and let us all know how you’re doing!
Photo: Alicia Nijdam-Jones