Have you ever shared the goals for your life with anyone? Not the socially acceptable goals, not the goals approved of by your friends and family, but the dreams that live in your heart. Very few talk about these goals but we all have them.
You may have stomped them down and tried to forget about them, but they’re still there. The problem is there’s one thing that gets in the way of realizing these goals.
Fear has the ability to stop you from achieving these secret goals for your life. How many times have you missed an opportunity because of fear? How many times have you talked yourself out of wanting something because you were afraid it wasn’t realistic?
How many times has the fear of the unknown overshadowed the comfort of your current situation so you stayed with the status quo? Whatever your reasons, fear can keep you stuck and rob you of the satisfaction of achieving something you really want in your life.
Often fear isn’t based on facts it’s based on feelings. Our fear is based on feeling like we are going to be hurt, frustrated, or fail and the problem is you can’t argue logically with your feelings. There’s no right or wrong – they just are. So you give up before you start because you believe you’re keeping yourself safe.
I had a life goal to write a book and a lot of fear surrounded that goal. However, last year I saw this dream become a reality. Working through the writing process brought out every neurosis, fear, and insecurity I have.
Negative thoughts ran through my head every time I sat down to write the book. What can I possibly write about that hasn’t been written before? What if I write it and no one buys it? Or worse, they buy it, read it, and think it’s awful.
Some days I was convinced I’d have all one star reviews on Amazon or maybe none at all. I often thought, “Why bother? I should just stop now and save myself some time and agony.”
I quit in my mind a thousand times and actually stopped working on it completely at one point. However, I pressed on and published it in less than a year. Through that process I learned a few things about how to push through fear on the way to achieving a big goal.
So how about your goals this year? What can you do with fear when it rears its ugly head? Here are five ways to achieve your secret goals.
1. Write down your why. Michael Hyatt, New York Times‘ Best Selling Author, says when you lose your why you lose your way. With every major goal in life you are going to get to the middle of the process and want to quit. I’ve experienced it many times. When you lose your motivation to keep going it’s time to revisit why you want to accomplish this particular goal. What is at stake if you accomplish it? What could accomplishing this goal make possible for you? Answer those questions honestly every time you want to quit and it will push you forward.
2. Make It About Other People. Anything you achieve for yourself can be called success. Anything you achieve for others can be called significant. Make your goals not only about yourself but about others. Who will benefit from achieving them? If it benefits you and other people then you’re on your way to successful and significant achievements. That can give you the motivation to keep going when you want to quit.
3. Spend Time With Encouraging People. Business philosopher Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you’re surrounded by negative people who throw rocks at your goal, your chances of achieving it are slim. However, if you intentionally spend time with positive and encouraging people you’ll find it’s much easier to continue taking action toward your goal when the going gets tough. Think about Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, or other support groups. Their members are successful because of the power of a group of supporters. Use that natural power to propel you toward your goal.
4. Focus Only On What You Can Control. Most of the things in life you can’t control. You can’t control the weather, the economy, if others like you, or a myriad of other factors we all encounter. However, there are specific things you can control on the way to achieving your goal. You can control how much time and effort you put into accomplishing your goal. You can control whether you focus on positive affirming thoughts or negative discouraging ones while you work toward your goal. Ultimately, you can only control you. Let everything else go.
5. Take Action. At the end of the day this is what separates the dreamer from the doer. You may fail or you may succeed. However, you’ll never know unless you take action toward your goal. You don’t need more information, more time, or more money. You need more action.
Every goal is going to encounter obstacles and difficulties. That’s when fear begins to creep in. Yet knowing fear is natural, normal, and expected can go a long way to help you press on. The key is to focus only on what you can control and make the desire for your goal stronger than your fear. If you can do that, you’ll find fear loses it’s grip on you every time.
Question: What have you found helps you to push past your fears?