Often our expectations well exceed our capabilities, even when we know deep down we are not yet capable of what we want to achieve.
Maybe upon starting we’ve realised how far backwards we have really slipped and now the goal post suddenly appears so much further away than we expected? Maybe we haven’t yet accepted the fact that the road is going to be long and treacherous? Maybe we were completely naive to the level of work required? Maybe we have just gotten lazy and remaining lazy is just so much easier? Maybe we are terrified of looking stupid or completely fearful of failure of any degree?
Your major goal is always far away at the time you decide on it, that’s why it is called a goal. If your major goal was to be accomplished in just a few short weeks it surely wouldn’t be anything of major importance, it would just be called a job or a task. But for some reason many people forget that.
I’d confidently assume that over 90% of people underestimate how hard it is going to be when they kick off on day one. There is that stunned look of shock, you may turn a little green, sweaty palms and armpits, and you’ve barely even begun.
“WHAT AM I DOING!!??”
“I CAN’T DO THIS!”
“THIS IS TOO HARD, I’M GOING TO HAVE TO PICK SOMETHING ELSE, SOMETHING EASIER.”
I believe that we SHOULD set high expectations of ourselves. We SHOULD aim really high with our goals, to even seemingly unachievable levels. We just need to realise that we are going to fail a few times along the way. You should be failing several times. You will probably fail hard a few times too. And that is good! You don’t learn much when you succeed, but you certainly learn a tonne when you fail.
You should also realise that you may not completely land on that goal as expected or planned. And that is totally okay too. Throughout the journey towards that goal our values and perceptions will most likely change. Most of the time it is important to change with them. If we remain 100% committed to our original goal, will it bring you the joy and satisfaction you desire? Maybe before it did. Maybe it won’t now.
Along the road to our goal we will come across these obstacles, these failures or potential failures. Sometimes it is something as simple as getting sick or over indulging on a holiday. These obstacles are going to cause trouble. Whether they makes us feel doubt in ourselves or our plan, fear that we are doing it all wrong, a severe drop in motivation, sadness, the ‘it’s all too hard’ feeling, or the ‘ I know it will help if I get back into it but I just can’t’ feeling. We’ve all been there at some point. It is a crummy place to be.
When we feel this way it sends us searching for easier routes and easier outs… “Maybe this method will work better?”, “maybe I don’t actually want it anyway?” When what we probably just need are to do 2 things:
1/ To re-look back over your current goal, assess what is going right and what your biggest challenges are that are holding you back, then make some minor tweaks and changes.
2/ Just show up
Forget about how far you have to go. Forget about how many steps you just took backwards. Remind yourself that no pathway exists without setbacks and failures. Lower your expectations of how well you have to perform today. Just show up.
Who knows what today may bring. If you show up with lowered expectations you will get something done. You may even get onto a roll and make some decent progress. But I’m sure by now you know how much is achieved when you don’t show up at all.
By continually showing up, you will experience some periods of high performance and take large leaps towards your goal. Realise that that isn’t permanent, it is always going to flow up and down. But being consistent by just showing up is going to help keep that flow going. It is going to help create the required habits to ensure the success of your goal.
A major goal is just a collective sum of all the tiny little parts you have chipped away at along the journey. That includes the days you aren’t feeling it. On those days, remind yourself why you are doing this and why it means so much to you. If you don’t overcome these difficult moments, you won’t achieve your goal.
When you do achieve your goal, make sure you look back on the journey. I guarantee you the fondest memories will be filled with many of the hardest, darkest, most challenging moments of the journey. Even more so than the actual achievement of the goal itself.
Enjoy and embrace the journey!