Contributed by CEO Coach Henna Inam
You’ve set your New Year goals. You’re highly motivated to achieve them. And then something happens and you lose steam. Meet the culprit. It’s called resistance. And it lies in each of us. The fact is the #1 factor standing between us and achieving our goals is ourselves. We often search for the culprit outside. It’s the economy. It’s my mom’s chocolate cake. The gym doesn’t have the right equipment. Sound familiar? Here are 5 steps you can take to manage your resistance so there can be greater flow in meeting your goals.
1. Make Resistance Your Friend.
Acknowledging that there is resistance inside of you and it is what keeps you from meeting your goals is the first and most important step. You stop looking on the outside and start looking on the inside. A corollary to this step is to not beat yourself up for having resistance. It’s like tooth plaque – somewhat undesirable but we all have it. When you beat yourself up for having that chocolate cake that sabotages your diet, what happens? You feel guilty, and then go for that second piece of chocolate cake. So fighting resistance creates more resistance.
2. Re-Evaluate Your Goals.
Take a step back. If you are losing steam on a goal you have, ask yourself a series of questions: “How important is this goal really to me?” “Why is this goal important to me?” “How does this goal inspire me?” “Is this a goal that I really WANT to achieve or something that I think I SHOULD achieve?” “SHOULD” goals are usually driven by external expectations rather than internal motivations. One great way to distinguish this is to take a deep breath, close your eyes and feel into the goal. Does it make you feel excited or is there a feeling of dread or confusion? If the answer to that question is the latter, you may want to determine if the goal is truly authentic. Finding a way to connect the goal to something that is intrinsically important to you will create more energy to overcome the resistance. It’s hard to achieve a goal we truly don’t want.
3. Use Resistance to Look Inside.
Resistance is a great tool for us to increase our self-awareness, which will eventually get us to a more effective way to meeting our goals. Once we’ve determined that a goal is important we look inside to determine what are the beliefs or habits that are causing us to undermine our goals. For example, I know a leader who is an extremely talented individual. Her goal is to get to the next level but she feels uncomfortable asking others for help or promoting her own work. She will need to do both of these in order to get to the next level. She has a belief system that in order to “earn her promotion” she has to get there on her own and anything less would be “unfair.” Examining our resistance without any judgment or blaming ourselves allows us to become aware of limiting beliefs, and to work with these limiting beliefs and reframe them.
4. Use Your Strengths and Energizers.
Each of us brings great and unique strengths to our goals. We are often unaware of our signature strengths or don’t proactively use them in meeting our goals. Utilizing our strengths also brings us great joy in accomplishing our tasks and creates positive energy. When we are fully energized, that energy is contagious and makes us more optimistic and able to overcome barriers and habits that don’t serve us. Use the resources here to determine your signature strengths and energizers.
5. Take Baby Steps & Focus on Positive Progress.
When you initially face a goal that is daunting, breaking it up into baby steps can make it easier. You may have limiting beliefs about your ability to accomplish a goal. Worse, you may have even failed at that goal before. Breaking it down into baby steps you KNOW you can accomplish creates positive energy and momentum. For example, your goal is to get more mentors at work and you are terrified of asking someone to mentor you. Start by just making a list of people and reward yourself for doing that. Then ask one of these people to lunch. That’s all. Then reward yourself for doing that. Constantly ask yourself “What is working well in meeting this goal?” When we focus on the negative, we beat ourselves up. When we focus on the positive it creates tremendous energy.
I hope you can use these five strategies to help you meet your goals and I wish you much success. Do comment and let me know which of these strategies worked for you or if you have any strategies that you’d like to share with others.
Henna Inam is a CEO Coach focused helping women become transformational leaders. A Wharton MBA, and former C-Suite executive with Novartis and P&G, her passion is to engage, empower, and energize women leaders to transform themselves and their businesses. Sign up for her blog at www.transformleaders.tv.