Frustration and despair are the natural results of blocked, unachieved goals. In trying to improve our prospects, goal-setting can actually become our nemesis as our lack of situational self-control renders unheralded and void our bold plans for change, again and again. Could it be a trap to look too far forward?
Goal-setting, instead, might better be viewed in reverse:
Hope not so much for what might yet be achieved.
Celebrate instead that which has already been accomplished.
There are two compelling reasons to view our goal-setting from the opposite viewpoint.
The Difference of Peace
When we can focus positively by celebrating what we have already accomplished, the pressure for what is yet to be achieved is diminished. We keep the goal in perspective.
When we give up smoking or resolve to lose weight, we gain confidence even after a few days—for what we have already achieved. But we also become discouraged as we see the journey ahead in fear. All we see is the sacrifice and hard adjustments to make. This makes living in the present a test of endurance; nothing enjoyable.
There are few times in life when the present should be a test of endurance; grief is one of these times. But working towards achieving a goal should not induce grief.
There is a difference of instant peace we notice when our outlook is safely positioned from the hope of accomplishments already experienced.
A Better Chance of the Change Sticking
When our focus has shifted from that which we haven’t yet achieved and onto that which we have, our achievements just continue to grow. As time goes on, confidence begets confidence as the weight of our achievement balloons.
When we have so much to gain by continuing this path, and very little to lose, the changes we have so dearly sought to make have a better chance of sticking.
Staying a non-smoker or keeping the weight off is our biggest challenge. The sustainability of the change we are seeking to make is our biggest test. How much better to look back after one month, after one year, and after ten years having maintained the initial resolve!
We do this best by enjoying the fact that we are achieving our goal each and every day.
When we hope not so much for what might yet be achieved, but instead we can celebrate that which has already been accomplished, we feel like winners. Full of hope for what has been achieved we go on and continue to achieve. Now there is no more fear. Now there is no more to lose.
Looking back on what we have already achieved buoys our hope and confidence.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.