“Yes, I have goals and I’m working towards them” or “No, I don’t really have anything planned right now” are two of the most popular answers I get when the topic of goal setting comes up.
Although we may all agree that goals are important not all of us feel equally at ease with the process. Here are the 4 most commonly asked questions regarding goal setting:
- It’s not the right time for me.
- I’m afraid I won’t make it. I won’t succeed.
- I’m not very clear about what it is I want.
- I want to do something different but changes make me feel uncomfortable.
A good way to answer each one of those questions is to see how they may influence our everyday life. Let’s take for example two very significant areas of our life – work and personal relationships.
The first question deals with timing: “It’s not the right time for me.” So what you really mean is that although you’re in a job you hate now is not the right time to look for another because you believe there’s some security -even though it may be a false one- where you currently are. And although you’re in a bad relationship you put up with it because you have two small kids and now is not the right time to think about yourself.
“I’m afraid I won’t make it. I won’t succeed” is the second question. This one has to do with your self-confidence. What you’re saying here is that you’re in a job you actually don’t like but you prefer to stay where you are because you’re afraid you won’t find another. Or you are in a mediocre relationship but you prefer to stay in it because you’re afraid you won’t be able to express your feelings clearly or make the first step towards finding a solution, let alone moving out.
The third question, “I’m not very clear about what it is I want,” is all about clarity and direction. So what you mean is that you’re in a job you don’t like but you prefer to stay where you are because you’re confused about what you think you may actually want. Or you are in a mediocre relationship but you prefer to stay in it because you are not ready to commit even though you don’t like being single, you’re a bit bored with your partner and you don’t know what you want at this stage of your life.
The fourth most commonly asked question regarding goals has to do with your willingness to get out of your comfort zone and move on: “I want to do something different but changes make me feel uncomfortable.” So what you mean is that you’re in a job you don’t like but you prefer to stay where you are because you think this is stability and you’re afraid to change your work environment. Or you are in a mediocre relationship but you prefer to stay in it because even the simplest thought of going into the dating process again scares you.
I’m sure you’ve heard that life is happening to you while you’re busy making plans. So, yes, you may be confused about what it is you want at this very moment. You have every right to be and there’s no need to feel guilty about it. A serious issue of safety or practical difficulties may indeed exist. And yes, change can be scary because it gets you out of your comfort zone. On top of that, it’s not with the same ease that each one of us copes with change.
However, there’s a big BUT in all this. And that’s the fact this is your life you’re talking about. You may come up with endless reasons -or excuses- to act or not, to move on or not. There’s one question you need to ask yourself though: “For how much longer?” Think: How much longer will you keep on allowing your doubts and fears to be in charge? How much longer will you keep on postponing decisions about your life and the life of your children? How much longer will you keep on blaming others and harming yourself?
If you want to make changes in any part of your life the right time is Now! To be in control of your life you need to set your own goals and dare to do something different. Yes, it may be scary but If you don’t dare, if you don’t try your best you’ll never know how well you can make it. Janis Joplin has said it beautifully: “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got!”