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Friday, December 9, 2011

Resistance and procrastination: Ways to identify and overcome these goal stealers

Everyone finds at certain times that they just can’t move forward, they are stuck...has this ever happened to you? It may mean that you need to reformulate your goals. It might be helpful to go back to brainstorming or other goal setting basics. This can also be a sign that it’s time to get creative and find other more enjoyable ways to get where you want to go. Getting help from others can be particularly useful at these times.

Internal roadblocks that keep you from advancing towards your goal can stem from temporary lack of focus or fear. Outside distractions like too much partying, TV or computer games can also stop your forward momentum. Some people distract themselves with extra long “to do” lists of unimportant tasks that take up time that might be better spent focusing on high priority items.

However, resistance and procrastination may be a sign of distress stemming from deeply held programming or blockages from childhood. Another possibility is that you may have a deep-seated fear of success and the responsibilities that come with it, or you may fear failure so much that you don’t even try anything. When you encounter obstacles such as these, it is useful to get support from a therapist or other professional. A professional can help you explore your internal motivation so that you can release what gets in the way of your creating a life you love to live.

1. List obstacles in your journal: Writing down both inner and outer obstacles to reaching your goals can help you to become more aware of what is getting in your way. And it can help you overcome them. Often just being conscious of the difficulties helps you to find creative solutions.

For example, your goal may be to develop a successful business that nets you one million dollars in 3 years. Examples of external obstacles you might face in reaching this goal could be; recent challenges in getting a bank loan; a lot of competition in your type of business; or family members who are unsupportive or negative about your idea. Inner obstacles might be: your own belief system, that says; “you will never succeed with your own business”; a belief that you don’t really deserve what you want; or fear of failure.

Writing such obstacles down takes them out of your head and puts them on paper where you can get a helpful degree of objectivity.

2. What are the payoffs for not reaching your goal? One payoff for not reaching your goal may reflect a part of you that says; “I don’t want to change. Attaining this goal will force me to become a new person and I’ll have to move out of my comfort zone”. Or, “reaching this goal might put me in a position of power and I don’t like giving orders, directions or commands”. It might also be that, “reaching this goal will require me to have to work much harder than I do now, I may have to take risks or do things I’ve always been afraid of.”

You might become so successful that you could lose friends. So another payoff for not reaching your goal is to keep your present friends. Yet another payoff for not reaching your goals or having “problems” is that you get to play victim and have people feel sorry for you. You may get extra attention for having a problem. It’s human nature to want to keep the status quo of comfort and security.

3. Ways to release negative feelings: In your Goals Journal, write down anything negative that comes into your mind. Keep writing until you have a sense of completion. If you find that the negative feelings you face repeat over and over like an obsession, consider getting professional help.

4. Explore inner and outer conflicts: When you start losing energy or passion for your goals, explore any conflicts you uncover. Ask questions in your journal with your dominant hand and answer with the non-dominant hand. See if this helps bring clarity into the issue you’re facing. You can also use your Goals Support Group to help you understand your motivations. Sometimes you may have a conflict with another person that is somehow impeding your progress, at other times you actually have a conflict inside yourself. You may find that the answer is simple and only requires tools that you will find here or…you may find that you need professional help.

5. Take action on things you’ve been putting off: Make a list of all the important things you’ve been putting off and start doing them. These things may not necessarily be directly related to your goal. Put them on your “to do” list. Denis Waitley, a well-known success trainer, says that he writes down the five most important tasks that he has put off for the last month and then makes sure to take steps towards finishing them. You break out of being stuck by doing and taking action. Willingness to take action creates the energy to do something. This is an extremely powerful technique that will really help remove resistances and catapult you ahead!

6. Find your “problem areas” that may be holding you back: The concept of “problem areas” is that you may have a weakness in a certain area or a lack of skill which holds you back in other parts of your life. For instance, a salesperson tells the story of being reasonably successful but hating cold calling and prospecting. Once he made the commitment to focus and overcome the resistance and fear he had about taking action, his sales career really took off. Not doing this was holding him back even though he was quite successful in his other work activities. Figure out what your “problem areas” are that may be holding you back in your desire to reach your goals. Start taking action on them today!

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