A lot of us know how to set goals. Boy, can we set them. But we set goals and then something happens between start and finish, and our goals remain un-reached, despite our earnest desires and efforts. Why?
The answer I propose is that as we near a goal, we change. And this change in us triggers our ego’s comfort zone and, you guessed it, cue the self-sabotage.
You see, the reason people change as we make progress on our goals is simple. If we did not need to change, we’d already have the goal! The fact that a goal is called a goal implies that there is a tangible distance between us and the goal. Inherently, something separates us from the goal. Confronting that thing (whatever it is) between you and your goal is how you change.
We are not the same person after we’ve reached a goal, than as when we began our journey. And the change within ourselves can sometimes cause so much fear and anxiety, that we revert back to our old ways, despite the clarity and genuineness of our goal.
Let’s take an example of how we set a goal and begin to change, triggering a relapse and the potential for self-sabotage for the sake of comfort and the perception of safety.
I call this the “one step forward, two steps back,” effect. We can avoid it once we are aware of it.
The person in this example is me, and the goal is cooking at home.
The logic to reach the goal seems simple: I, Pearl, simply begins cooking. WRONG. Because I, Pearl, will do no such thing. The Pearl in question, this cooking Pearl, does not exist yet, and when she does, I will cease to exist (the Pearl who eats out all the time.) So you see, there is a change between who I was and who I will become once I reach my goal of being the version of myself who cooks at home.
I do not go from Point A to Point B when I change, and neither do you. Rather, I transform my self and arrive at Point B a different person than I was at Point A.
Now, back to my example and the concept of staying the course and avoiding self-sabotage. Let’s say I decide that I’ll cook at 4 PM. 3 PM arrives, and I feel hungry, and I get anxious because there is no food unless I cook it, and cooking is out of my comfort zone. I feel antsy. I crave the local burrito sop.
So what happens next? Maybe I stick to my guns; let’s say I do cook at home, for the sake of example. The next day, the same thought process occurs, and I choose again to cook at home. But by the third day, it’s nothing about cooking and it’s everything about my identity, and my ego is screaming, “I haven’t eaten out in days! This is so not me!”
And that, right there, is where a conscious change could occur. Or not. I could just go to Chipotle today because, after all (wink wink,) I did cook yesterday. And slipping away from your goals and into your safe habits is as easy as that!
What did I tell you? Two steps forward, one step back. That is the effect in a nutshell.
So when I say “stay the course,” I mean you, the unfamiliar, slightly, fearful you who is headed toward that goal, and you are headed there tangibly, and you feel yourself dissolving, and changing, STAY THE MFFFFFING COURSE.
Recognize that change is normal, and though it feels weird (read: uncomfortable,) there is nothing to fear.
Recognize that you can trust in your vision, your dream, your goal. Losing sight of the shore does not mean you are lost, it means you need to keep going. Do not turn back. Trust that your goal is there for you, and it is a soft place to land.
Your goal is your solid ground, so walk toward it, and stay the course.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. How do you find yourself reacting to internal changes? Do your positive changes within you trigger self-sabotage? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!