What to do when you want to give up on your goals

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By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE

The first quarter of the year has already passed. Crazy, right? How are you doing on what you set out to accomplish this year? If your answer is “not that great”. Giving up on your goals is not the answer. 

So many times we get pumped up about our goals at the New Year or at the start of a new semester, making plans to go after what we most desire.

And then when the bright, shiny new year fades and we are mired in the real work – the rise and grind – day in and day out – we lose sight of our goals, of what we truly desire.

It’s easy to allow ourselves to become derailed from the path of our dreams. It’s easy to forget why we were motivated to take action, to build rest into our schedule, to become healthy …. (insert your desire).

And then what happens when we fall off the path?

We berate ourselves. We make excuses. Or we say to ourselves things like, “Well, that didn’t work” or “I can’t do that.” or “That’s too hard.”

And we give up.

If this is you… I want you to know, my friend, that you are not alone. In 2016, only 9.2% of people felt they were successful at achieving their new year’s resolution.

Instead of giving up on your goals, try this.

FIRST:

Ask yourself:  What did I set out to do this year? How did I want to feel? Who did I want to be

Then ask yourself these questions:

1. How do I feel after the first quarter?

2. What went well the first quarter?

3. What didn’t go so well?

4. What might I have done differently in the first quarter?

5. What will I take away from the first quarter to make my second quarter even better?

And by the way, you can do this reflection monthly, weekly or even daily. The more often you reflect and make adjustments the more likely you will accomplish all that you desire.

 

SECOND: (This is where it gets fun.)

With your reflection and desired goal in mind, create a personal Board of Directors.

They are your sounding board when you’re going off the rails.

They are perfect for those times your ego wants to play small yet you want to go for it.

For instance, if you want to be published this year yet you fear rejection, your lizard brain whose job it is to keep you safe, will have you put off writing because if you don’t write you can’t submit your manuscript.

And if you don’t submit your manuscript, well then, you won’t be rejected, right?

Safety achieved. Problem solved.

Yet, you really do want to be published.

What then?

Having a personal Board of Directors to consult is a motivating strategy to get around your lizard brain.

This is what you do:

Create a personal Board of Directors whose members inspire you and if consulted would hold you accountable to go after your dreams.

If fear is holding you back, ask yourself what would they do in that situation.

If negative beliefs are holding you back, ask yourself what would they do in that situation

I’ve been having a great time with the diverse 2017 Board of Directors I created.

I consult them and feel empowered to take action.

This is my Board of Directors for 2017:

Rosa Parks: She disrupted the status quo wiRosa Parksth one action, refusing to give up her seat to a white man. She said she “was tired of giving in.”

She created a movement and history was made. I have consulted Rosa in my mind when I’ve been fearful of speaking my truth.

If she were alive I believe she would tell me to get on with it.

She would say, ‘If speaking your truth DOESN’T cause waves than you aren’t digging deep enough. Quit giving in.’

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”  I love Abe! So much that I scheduled my dissertation defense on his birthday.

Abe failed time and again yet refused to give up. And well, we all know that it worked out pretty well for him. 

I regularly consult with Abe.

You see, fear of failure, of not being enough, and looking like a fool, are my triggers.

If I allow it, these fears hold me back from going after my audacious dreams.

So, when I am fearful of moving forward with an idea or when my ego encourages me to play small, I consider what Abe would do.

And you know good and well what he would tell me. 

Brene BrownBrené Brown: “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” I use Brene’s vulnerability, shame, and courage work to develop my own courage, to grow stronger so that I can accomplish goals that scare me.

Being vulnerable with others comes naturally to me but I often fall as a result. Getting back up when this happens is another story. While every day it’s becoming easier to get back up (perhaps because I have a lot of experience with falling😊), it can be an agonizing process.

When fear rears it’s ugly head and I try to hold back from being all in, Brené shows up and tells me, “Get in the arena, show up, do your thing and don’t be afraid to get your ass kicked a little bit.”

I’m feeling a revolution bubbling up inside of me. While it scares me a bit, I know Brené will give me the courage to “Rise Strongly”.

Martin Luther King: “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but Martin Luther King Jr.whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

This about says it all, right? The way I see it, not moving forward = stagnation. And I am not into stagnation.

I am all about striving to thrive rather than merely surviving because what fun is there in simply surviving? I can measure my level of thriving by how much I’m loving on others and not stuck in my own little universe.

When I want to spew ugliness about a situation or person, when I want to hold bitterness or ill feelings in my heart and mind, I consult MLK. And he tells me, “Stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

When I’m tired and unsure, leading me to feel sorry for myself he reminds to consider, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question, what are you doing for others?” Following this with “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

So, I get up and get to work for others and I have faith that I can accomplish what needs to be done.

It’s not easy but what worth having is ever easy?

Beth Beischel (my daughter): She is intelligent, empathetic, quick-witted, fun. Being a clinical counselor, BeGiving Up on Goals is not an option with Beth on my personal Board of Directors.th is devoted to caring for children with mental health issues.

She listens well to others as well as to her own heart. Beth knows her limits. She knows what she must do to be the best version of herself.

She knows that she must care for her body, mind, emotions, and spirit to sustain her work of service to others. And she makes no apologies for this.

Beth knows she requires 9 hours of sleep. She goes to bed.

Beth knows she needs to calm her mind and her anxiety. She meditates and does yoga.

Beth wanted her body to be at peak performance. She read books, listened to podcasts and studied nutrition and fitness. From this, she became a vegan and has adopted a routine of running.

Beth has been teaching me how to be a better person for 30 years. For this, I am thankful.

 

The inspiration that will move us to where we want to be and into being who we desire to be is all around us.

We only need to reflect on what it is we really want and how we are going to go after it, and to build support systems that will motivate us to get it done.

 

What did you find in the reflection of your first quarter?

Who will be on your personal Board of Directors? 

Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

 

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