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The 4 demons that stand in the way of aiming high

Let's talk some more about discomfort. Aiming high and achieving our goals requires us to do some hard work. But it also requires us to become VERY used to living with uncomfortable feelings.

Let me explain.

  • Fear 
  • Uncertainty
  • Doubt 
  • Shame


These are some feelings that we encounter when we want to achieve something meaningful in our lives.

When we first begin on the journey to actualizing our potential, we think that if we are feelings these things, something's wrong. We may think that either we are on the wrong path or that we are ill equipped to take this journey.

What if I told you that EVERYONE (well, mostly everyone that various studies have followed!) feels fear, uncertainty and doubt when embarking on something ambitious and/or meaningful to them?

I remember that when I was writing my book last year, I became very familiar with what I began to call 'the demons' of fear, uncertainty, doubt and shame. These demons would make me want to give up on a daily basis.

I learnt...

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Between discomfort and delusion

Goals outside our comfort zone challenge us and encourage us to give it our very best. They create the right amount of stress to help us perform our best.

There is, however, a fine line between discomfort and delusion.

Delusion means that the goals are so unrealistic that they are highly unlikely to be realized. Delusional goals are not only outside our comfort level, they are wayyy outside our current skill set and available resources.

Goals in the delusional zone set us up for failure, leaving us feeling defeated, frustrated and discouraged.

Let us take health goals. Committing to a non-negotiable regimen of daily movement maybe outside our comfort zone if we do not have a regular program of movement and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Setting and achieving a goal of regular movement will require us to make commitments and develop habits which will very likely be uncomfortable in the short run.

Setting a goal of running 10K outside every morning in the winter at 6am in Eastern...

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Aim high when setting goals

Let us talk about career and personal goals for a minute.

You may be tempted to play it safe when you are setting goals. You may want to set targets that you can easily reach to avoid feeling the emotions that come with failed attempts at reaching your goals.

While easy goals may cause some satisfaction and feeling of achievement in the short run, (it feels sooooo good to tick off something off that list, doesn't it?) they do not lead to major progress or growth in the long run.

Your goals need to be outside your comfort zone to cause you to stretch and grow.

In other words, aim high. Get over playing it safe. No one who achieved anything significant in life did it while playing it safe.

Let the adventure begin.

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You will not meet all the goals you set this year

Here is your daily dose of Wisdom for Living Your Best Self!

You will probably not meet all the goals you set this year.

Most likely not.

Even with the the best intentions, the right plan and consistent effort, you may not meet all your goals.

So what?

Realistically speaking, with some smart goal setting and positioning yourself for success, you are likely to meet about 70% of the goals you set.

Of course, it is also possible that you may exceed some or all of the targets that you set for yourself.

And without concrete goals . . . .

Well, you already know what happens to all the new Year Resolutions that you have been making in the past.

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What was your lowest score?

Unless you are living an amazingly well-balanced life, there will be one or two areas in your assessment which stand out as having a significantly lower score than the rest.

These areas of our lives are easy to ignore because it just seems very difficult to make a change in these domains.

But here's the thing: these are the very areas in your life that are calling out for attention.

The good news is that even a small positive change in these areas will improve your life satisfaction greatly and lead to success in other areas.

Let us take an example. For me, the area with the lowest score currently is my physical health. And because it is so low, I don't want to deal with it.

On the other hand, I also recognize that dealing with and making improvements here will have a MAJOR impact on all the other domains of my life.

Get the picture? So for yourself, identify the one or two areas with the lowest score in your life assessment. It may be relationships, finances or mental/emotional...

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Process and outcome goals

There are some changes that we desire to make in our lives are habit related, for example, to exercise "more", eat "healthy", go "less" on social media. These are mostly the kind of resolutions that we make.

We will refer to them as 'process goals' because these are permanent changes that we wish to implement in our lives. Things that we want to give up or new habits that we wish to adopt fall under this category.

Regular exercise is a great example of a process goal. This is something that ideally we would like to become part of our lifestyle.

There are other goals which are outcome related, such as "lose 20 lbs", "read 10 books", "make 1,000 sales" etc. Goals like these are accomplished when the target is reached.

Of course process and outcome goals can work really well together in many areas of our lives. In health for example, a process goal would be to exercise 6 times per week and an outcome goal might be to achieve a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or better. The outcome...

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You need goals to be happy

Ancient philosophers believed that human beings are naturally oriented towards achieving goals. Today modern science confirms this. There is an innate drive within humans to reach for a target, to better ourselves and to progress in various areas of our lives.

Setting goals and achieving them is one of the secret habits of happy people.
People who are less satisfied with their lives on the other hand, tend to wander aimlessly.

I believe it was Alice in Wonderland who said, "if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there". In other words, if you do not have a goal or an aim in life, you really don't need a plan or a path. This is generally not a recipe for a meaningful life.

So, do consider setting some concrete goals this year. Even if you do not achieve all of them you will be further along than you are now.

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Recharge

As we struggle to get end of year tasks completed and deadlines met, it is a good idea to remind ourselves that taking time off at the end of the year is not a luxury – it is a necessity.

In Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore writes, "We seem to have a complex about busyness in our culture. Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don't."

The busyness that Moore talks about does not end with the workday. There are always tasks that need completing, people that need our attention, emails that need answering. The list goes on. The continuous demand for our energy and attention is not going away anytime soon. In fact, as one wise person said, "on the day that we die, our inbox will still be full".

What this means that we have to be intentional about taking time to recharge. It will not happen automatically.

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Unsubscribe

Part of my new end of year ritual is to make room in my life by letting go of what is no longer serving me.

How many things are you continuing to do because they once made sense but no longer do?

Today I unsubscribed from a bunch of services, email newsletters and notifications that I realized are causing me more anxiety than joy. Things that were meant to be tools towards productivity, creativity or joy but were now mere tasks to get through. It is so easy to get stuck doing the same thing without pausing for a moment to check whether it still makes sense.

So, go ahead. (not from the Daily Wisdom, I hope!)

You will be glad you did.

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Stop and fill up your car

I have a confession to make. I hate filling gas in my car. I would rather just hurry up and get to my destination. I consider stopping to fill up the tank a nuisance and a waste of time.

Now you might be thinking: “that is ridiculous! Obviously if you don’t stop to fill up, you will run out and stop in the middle of the road”.

Well, before you are so quick to judge me consider this: is there an area in your life (a “domain”) where you are too busy driving to ‘fill up the tank’? Do you wait until the ‘warning light’ comes on, and sometimes even fail to pay attention when it does, resulting in a mini crisis (who me?).

Are you ignoring your health, your relationships or your spirituality? Or just ‘cruising’ in these areas without taking the time to renew, rejuvenate or refresh?

Is this so very different from being too busy driving to stop and fill up the car?

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