Have you ever committed to action you believed was important, only to not follow through with it? Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve taken time to reflect on the goals I set for 2017. I also looked at the actions I committed to taking, in order to accomplish them. Sadly I must admit, I flat-out dropped a couple of good ones after the first quarter of the year.
If the goals are important to me, why didn’t I follow through with the actions that would help me achieve them? Well that’s the million-dollar question, right? What is it that gets in the way of changing our routines and behaviors, even when we know the benefits would be real?
Fear, yes. Uncertainty of the outcome, indeed. Avoidance of the discomfort that comes with doing things differently? You bet! These “derailers” thwart our progress over and over, even when we thought we were truly committed to action.
Intellectually, I know my derailer stems from my tendency to be an introvert. It’s true. As much as I love speaking, facilitating meetings, and presenting workshops, I do not like walking into a crowded room with no specific agenda – not at all. At big gatherings, I’m the one off to the side talking to someone I already know, and I will most likely sneak out early without saying goodbye. This has proven to be a huge barrier to growing my professional network and becoming more involved in my community. (Two goals I mentioned earlier.)
IF my goals ARE important to me, but fear, uncertainty, and the avoidance of discomfort have held me back, what can I do?
Here’s what I did:
- I analyzed whether each goal is truly important to me and, if “yes”, what makes it important? (I gave myself permission to let it go if the reason was not compelling for me – no “should” made the cut.)
- I wrote out “what will happen if I don’t…” and “what is likely to happen when I do…” for motivation.
- I re-committed to the actions necessary to achieve my goals, but I chunked them down into realistic bite-size pieces – which in some cases are actually experiments for me.
That’s it? Too simple. Simple yes, easy no. Commitment and consistency are required, but I decided I am willing to push through some discomfort, in order to make real progress toward achieving my goals. (Discomfort – as in “wow, this is outside my comfort zone” – not actual pain. I would not recommend actual pain.)
As I wrap this up, I have three questions for you:
- What are you committed to accomplishing?
- What makes those things important to you?
- What can you do this week that will move you closer to those goals? Or, if that’s too scary, what can you experiment with that might bring you closer?
In the two weeks since I (re) committed to taking new and improved actions, I am already realizing super-positive results, and I know you will too!
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