Talk About Stressful

This article was originally published in www.womensnetworkaustralia.com.au

Working Women Magazine Issue Winter-Spring 2017

For years we have all followed the traditional model for setting goals. But for some women it simply just doesn’t work. In this article CELINE HEALY explains why.

Expectations can be a happiness killer!

Have you ever had an epiphany and decided this is the year you will finally, once and for all, set those goals AND this year you will actually achieve them?

Have you ever wondered why, in previous years, you haven’t achieved your goals?

Stress is the basis of all failure.

Evidence indicates that as soon as you set an expectation, a goal, a desire or a wish that is external to your control, you place yourself in a continuous circle of chronic stress.

This sounds sacrilegious! Surely this cannot be true! If so, it would mean that what you have been doing forever is now called into question.

If you have attended any courses, seminars or ‘success type program’, you’ll know that a standard blueprint goal-setting formula is used. It usually included:

  1. Deciding what you want to achieve
  2. Working out a plan to achieve this goal and adjust accordingly, and
  3. Taking action.

It sounds logical and in fact, most people have been following this blueprint since 1937 when ‘Think and Grow Rich’ came on the scene. It seems plausible and it sounds simple.

But what is really happening here?

If you are coming from a position of stress you need to exert enormous willpower to achieve your goals. Goal setting is going against your subconscious which has been charged with the task of trying to protect you and keep you safe since your arrival on this planet. It tries to keep you where you are because it feels safe.

The issue is what do you have control over when you set a goal? The only thing you have real control over is how you feel.

You generally ask yourself:

  • What do I want to achieve right now?
  • How will this change my life for the better?
  • How will it make me feel when I achieve this goal?

At the same time you ask yourself these questions:

  • When I think of this goal what do I fear will happen?
  • How will my life be worse off if I do not achieve this goal? and
  • How will I feel if I don’t achieve this goal?

Goal setting always involves a conscious and subconscious weighting up process. If the positives outweigh the negatives, we generally decide to go for it.

The problem is that goal setting tries to move you from where you are now to a more preferred position. It needs a conscious effort and requires willpower. The other issue is that the subconscious, which has been charged with keeping you safe, is at least a million times more powerful than your conscious mind and it will actively try to keep you where you are now. And the reason for that is all of the beliefs, emotions and patterns of behaviour that you have built up over the years which govern how you view the world. These issues are the basis of your stress and can keep you from being successful.

So, what is the solution to the dilemma of goal setting?

  • Firstly, only set a goal once and then let go of focussing on the end result and whether or not you actually achieve it.
  • Reprogramming your conscious and subconscious to deal with the hidden underlying issues which are the real cause of your stress.

Next, your only job is to work towards your goal in small steps.

How you do that is by breaking your day into half hour units and completing tasks with appreciation and gratitude. This retrains your conscious and subconscious and helps you move to a more positive state of mind.

Remember, you only have control over how you feel! If you continue doing what you have always done you will get the same results!