Yesterday I attended a great workshop on goal setting. At the beginning of the presentation, the presenter provided some statistics. One of the statistics was that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their new year’s resolutions. The presenter added that this 8% is based on the total number of people who set new year’s resolutions. If you include the population of people who don't set new year’s resolutions, the percentage is even lower, around 6%.
The workshop continued and the presenter explored shortcomings of traditional goal setting approaches and shared some simple and effective techniques for achieving goals. While all of this information was relevant and helpful, my biggest takeaway from the workshop was gaining a new perspective. Specifically, I realized that I was focusing more on results and not as much on effort and continuous improvement. This focus has had the impact of waning my motivation and enthusiasm when results were less than desired. The shift in perspective I took away from the workshop was to focus on effort and continuous improvement rather than results. It doesn't mean that I won't monitor results and use the information to gauge and potentially modify my efforts, but I'm going to shift my focus to be more on effort and continuous improvement.
At the end of the workshop, I asked the presenter what he thought was the number one reason for people not achieving their goals or new year’s resolutions; his response was fear.
I thought this was fitting since I had already drafted a blog post for today on the topic of fear and have been posting daily this week in my closed Facebook Group, Empowered Lives, on this topic.
Fear is a powerful force. While it is designed to keep us safe, it often has the impact of keeping us stuck and playing small in our lives. I view fear as an indication of an edge or upper limit. If I want to expand my edge or upper limit and create something bigger or different for myself, fear is the barrier that I have to break through.
Below are five tips I use when working with fear:
1. Accept it. First, accept that fear is going to be along for the ride if you are going to try and do anything fun or exciting with your life or try to achieve something more or bigger than what currently exists. The presence of fear doesn't mean that you should stop moving forward. In fact, it probably means that moving forward is exactly what you need to do in order to expand your edge or upper limit. Accept its presence and hold space for it. Lots and lots of space. This is especially true if you are trying to live a big, bold life.
2. Connect with courage. Next, connect with your courage. To do this, maybe you need to think of someone that inspires you or consider how you want to be remembered when you die. Maybe you need to think about the idea of living with no regrets or consider how you would show up in your life if you were told today that you only had one week left to live. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but rather challenge you to connect with the well of courage that exists inside of you. You will need it regularly to get to where you want to go.
3. Feel the fear...and do "it" anyway. Now that you have accepted your fear and connected with courage, it is time to start moving forward. Think of feeling the fear and doing "it" anyway.
4. Progress not perfection. Imperfect action is better than no action at all. Keep it simple. Progress is better than perfection. Something is better than nothing at all. Remember these things as you walk through your fear with courage and take action.
5. Celebrate actions taken. Lastly, celebrate your progress. Maybe you need to write it down and share it with a close friend or family member. Maybe you need to do something specific to celebrate the actions you have taken. Maybe a simple reflection and acknowledgement is enough for you. Whatever it is, do something to celebrate and give yourself credit for walking through fear and taking action. Even if you only took baby steps, that is worthy of celebration.
Breaking through fear is usually not easy or graceful but seems necessary to expand our edge and increase our upper limit.
Your turn now... How do you deal with fear? Do you let it keep you stuck and playing small in your life or do you feel the fear and do "it" anyway?
Today, I challenge you to engage courage and do one thing that scares you to expand your upper limit and achieve your goals. Become more comfortable with the uncomfortable by confronting your fear and taking action anyway. Take hold of your fear today and stop it from keeping you from the life you truly want to be living.
In Ultimate Support of You!