Every time I conduct the Goal Achievers Program, my students must learn strategies to handle the arrival of unexpected events. For instance, one students goal was to learn to play a song on the harp. Having set the goal and preparing to take action, he discovers he will not be able to get a harp for several weeks and becomes frustrated and deflated. Another person signs up to do an art class to fulfill a goal she has had since childhood. The night before the class is to begin the course is cancelled!
What kinds of thinking do we need to do so that we do not abandon our goal when life exerts itself?
How many goals have been abandoned because we give up all actions when some small event, unexpected and out-of-place, got in the way of a few actions?
Through the Goal Achievers Program, we have learned some useful thoughts and actions to focus on when life exerts itself.
Things to think about:
• Time will pass whether you do anything or not.
• Not being able to take a lot of action is not a good enough reason to take no action.
• Not being able to take any action is never a good enough reason to abandon all future action.
• In most cases, this life exerts itself and in time will be a vague memory in a few months.
• Think in images and make pictures of getting back on track with your actions.This allows you to keep the goal as a part of your daily experience even when you are not taking action. It can create anticipation for getting back to it and that is a very useful emotion for motivation.
• Focus only on that which is relevant. When life gets crazy and important things (like action towards your goal) are not getting done, it is time to consciously re-prioritise. Cut out all the excesses and waste.
Things to do to stay on track with your goals
1. Plan and pick a date to re-start. If you are working on a long-term goal, unexpected events are more likely to happen. When they do, make a date to revisit your plans. Keep setting an intention to restart.
2. Celebrate your ability to take very small actions again. Don’t think about where you were, think about where you are and where you are going.
3. Seek alternative actions that are still aligned with the goal. There are usually many facets to a goal and there are activities that can be done during as life exerts itself in time.
4. If you’ve had a long break you will struggle to initiate action again, so just start. The hardest thing to do after a time of absence is to start again. Just see it happening, look forward to it, start doing something again.
5. Do not re-evaluate the value of the goal! When something unexpected happens that interferes with your goal it is not a good time to re-evaluate whether it is a good goal to pursue as the answer will almost always be no!
Whatever your goal, life will often exert itself and there will be justifiable reasons for you to abandon taking action towards your goal.