Working towards a goal is scary business.
Sweaty palms. Racing heart. The dreaded anticipation of falling flat on your face in failure. All shortly followed by an awful concoction of humiliation, shame, and horror swirling within your psyche.
Who in their right mind would ever want that?
It’s so much easier to stick to the status quo. A comfortable and predictable routine. The wheels of our lives travelling in deeply imprinted grooves on the dirt path.
Why stray from safety and risk getting lost?
Unfortunately, many of us postpone our dreams and goals—sometimes indefinitely—because of our fear of getting lost. Of rejection.
And most scary of all—the risk of failure.
But what if I told you that summoning the courage to endure uncertainty and failure after failure is all worth it?
Because what’s waiting for you on the other side of adversity is the glorious victory of achieving your goals. Fulfilling your purpose Answering your unique calling.
The bravery of courageously fighting for your goals could never be defeated by the stings of temporary failure?
The hard truth about having big goals.
The cold truth about doing chasing your goals is that you risk failing.
You risk pain, and disappointment, and failure because nothing worthwhile is simply gifted to you. You must work to achieve it. You must work to deserve it.
And the faster you embrace this reality, the pill that is blood and sweat becomes just a little bit easier to swallow every day.
That is why I have upmost respect for bodybuilders. You can’t cheat your way to a solid physique. A healthy and strong body demands commitment and sacrifice. It requires a solid exercise regimen and nutrition meal plan.
The same goes for your own personal goals.
If you want to become a doctor or lawyer, that medical degree demands hours spent in the library with your nose in the books. If you want to become a writer, your daily dues require 1,000 words per day.
What is the tough work that you will put in today to bring you closer to your goals?
Escape the culture of instant gratification.
If you’re still averse towards the hardships and discomfort of having big goals, I understand why.
We live in a culture that promotes instant gratification. The widespread accessibility of mobile apps and social media delivers our hit of dopamine with a swipe of our thumbs.
Hungry? Download this app for one-hour delivery. Need something quickly? Here’s free two-day shipping. Feeling lonely? Here are a couple of dating apps.
Technology has certainly and revolutionized our lives in amazing ways, but it has also severed our attention span. We are slowly chipping away at a valuable virtue necessary for realizing our goals:
Patience to trust in the process. Patience to navigate through the haze of self-doubt and criticism. Patience to courageously face the pain of failure after failure after failure until you achieve that victory that made it all worthwhile.
Because I’m convinced that this is the secret to success:
Failing repeatedly but having the courage to pull ourselves up by our sword. Again, and again and again to fight for goals.
Still don’t believe me? Here’s a quote by a famous basketball player you just might know:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot, and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ~Michael Jordan
Celebrate your 1% improvements.
“It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis.” ~James Clear, Atomic Habits
In Clear’s new book Atomic Habits, he emphasizes the importance of consistent small wins. So long as you are making 1% improvements consistently, you are on the right track.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. 1% improvements is neither attractive nor worth celebrating.
But hear me out.
Think of victory as a hill that slopes at the slightest incline. Other parts of the climb may be steeper but the majority of it is at a barely noticeable incline.
At times, you may feel as though you’ve hit a plateau because you don’t see any progress or maybe you even tripped and fell backwards. But if you trust in the climb and you slowly and consistently put one foot in front of the other, you’ll look over your shoulder one day and see how high you’ve climbed.
It’s so easy to feel discouraged because you feel like you’re getting nowhere with your goals.
But remember to practice the virtue of patience and courage.
And if you’ve made some progress on your goals, even if it’s minor, pat yourself on the back. Congratulate yourself.
Because today, you chose ambition over complacency and that deserves praise.
– – –
Earlier, I mentioned that working towards your goal is scary business.
Even with all I’ve said, I know it can still be terrifying. Every single time I start a new project, learn a new skill, or start a new job, I am frightened beyond words.
Uncertainty and the possibility of failure always seem to remain obstacles for me.
However, we can’t let fear paralyze us. Because what is at risk when we allow the fear of failure to win?
Our dreams and goals.
So summon the courage to brace yourself. The road is not always easy. But the destination is oh so very sweet.
Dan Recio loves sharing tips on achieving your goals to build the life you want at Motivationalist. Set yourself up for a productive week with his free guide: 7 Sunday Habits to Conquer the Week.
Image courtesy of Victor Rodriguez.