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Why We Can’t Make Good on Promises to Ourselves (Goal Achievement)

Goal Achievement: For most of us we want to make big changes in or lives at some point in time. We have big dreams and make big goals but as time moves on we either loose sight of these goals (due to being busy, overwhelmed or stressed) or we make a conscious decision to do things different. Why is this? Why do we make goals only to not attain them?

Goal Achievement-lot’s of planning, difficulty with execution

I always have multiple goals. The one that inspired this blog was my desire to have a full time private practice. I’ve known since I was 10/11 that I wanted to be a therapist. I wanted to help others make big important changes in their life. Everything I did, every choice of job was related to this goal of being a therapist. To learning as much as I could about how to help others. Passing my licensing exam in 2015 was the culmination of two decades worth of hard work.

Through my education and the different jobs I had I found my passion. The area of specialization I wanted to focus on. With this came the desire to have my own private practice. Trauma work is fulfilling but also exhausting. Knowing this meant that I need to make sure I always took good care of myself in order to be the best for my clients. So private practice was the best route for me. I needed be flexibility of the scheduling and the ability to structure sessions in a manner that would benefit my clients not necessarily the higher ups at the agencies I worked at or whatever the insurance company I was dealing with wanted.

So soon after licensure I decided that I was going to focus on my practice. I was working a full time job and so there was no rush. I started off part time and found the time spent with clients to be wonderful. There have been a couple transitions for me during the past year and as I’m feeling settled again I’ve decided to make the goal full time private practice not part time.

Now I’ve made this goal and have found myself unable to focus on it. There are other things occupying my brain but not enough that I cannot achieve my dream. I mean in all other goals I’ve set for myself I have achieved them so what’s holding me back? This makes me think what holds any of us back.

It’s easy to say the fear of failing as a cause for not achieving goals but I think it runs deeper than this. What’s I really took the time to mode deeper into the fear of failing I realized that the fear of failing was really about a loss of my precious connections which challenged me. Without having that challenge in my life in the present moment I lacked confidence in my abilities to get things done. To be a good therapist. This of course is silly because my clients have only said positive things to me about what I have offered them. I know this and yet the fear is still present. Now that I’ve realized that the problem is I know how to tackle it.

The action plan is to connnect with other trauma therapists. I am apart of an NMT group so I can reach out to them. I am also in a buch if therapist groups on fb and I can reach out to people there. In need a consult group too strictly for people doing trauma work. My hopes is to find something that challenges my thinking or causes me to see things differently (maybe that’s the same thing). I would like to have my trauma therapist community again a place where we can be authentic about our experiences as healers. That’s the piece that is missing that keeps the fear the piece that drives my choices.

So for others out there struggling with goal attainment here’s a couple of suggestions to get to the root of the problem:

1) What’s your goal and why do you want to achieve it?

2) How does this goal add value to you as a person? To your life?

3) What is keeping you from acting? What are you afraid of? What is missing? What do you need to make his goal a reality?

4) You’ve discovered the root now create an action plan. What steps can you take to make this goal a reality?

5) Make your goals measurable and check your progress regularly

6) Don’t be afraid to reevaluate your goals and your action steps and make necessary changes.

7) This should not be a burden but something rewarding. There will be challenges but don’t loose sight of why the goal was important in the first place.

Good luck!!

Skipping along the water with the sun beating down=heaven

Goal: The path we take to find joy and peace in this life. Feels good

I know that being afraid of failing is there but also I worry about my abilities. When I was doing my passion-trauma therapy which I stopped doing in march of 2016 and started doing other stuff I began to loose my confidence. In addition my connection to trauma was lost. Other clinicians who did the same work and worked with me in cases was gone. There is nothing around me currently that keeps me fresh and engaged. Feeling like I can do it. So fix one related to this is to get connected with a trauma consultation group.

Jessica Lang

Jessica Lang

A young jewish woman born and raised in the bay area who recently made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel. My passion is helping others who've been impacted by childhood abuse. When I'm not doing that I enjoy spending time with loved ones, my dog, reading, knitting, and traveling.

1 Comment

  1. Courtney on April 12, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I had to chuckle at the questions, in a sad bitter-sweet way. I struggle with what you write about – it must be fear of failure, right? Others tell me it’s fear of success. (huh?) I get what you’re saying about taking it deeper, it makes sense. If I don’t have the entire world against me, OMG, what the heck would I do??!?! Who would I be? That’s how my world was modeled and I unknowingly dug those neural pathways for many years before things began to shatter.

    “I don’t know what I don’t know.”

    I DO know what I “should be” – that crashed and burned as my immune system … not sure if dysfunction was always there low grade and unknowingly living in a condo full of mold for 10 years tipped the scales … or if “whoever I am” that’s stuffed way down in some corner caused the genes to express. Neuroscience is showing stress causes the latter. Hypervigilance from my earliest memories is quite an unrelenting stress. Pile on encephalitis, confusion, losing job, home and other investments, health, retirement, all in a 2-3 year span. I’d say the dam finally broke.

    Not being seen as individuals, being born to meet both parent’s unmet emotional needs and failing (because the past is … well … the past!), this pattern stops with my brother and me, ironically. Early and mid 40’s, never married, no kids, both single, neither looking, neither homosexual. No coincidence.

    I think the work is finding who we really are and how to make meaning in our life with gifts we have, but have stuffed. Snippets of storyless rage – with plenty of awareness and space as it is happening, it’s taken a LONG time for me to even feel anger – always seem to wake up a creative hankering in me later that day or the next. Then the world is against me again. I accept it and stopped fighting back. At least I feel less “borderline” about life. No borderline d/x, but adhd yes.

    Listening to our inner voice. Well, first realizing we even HAVE one, not the critic, or the critic behind the critic, or the eyes in every window watching my every move with scorn…. (meaning I’m judging my every move THAT intently, and projecting it on the world as hypervigilance). That small stammering voice in the background, if we’re quiet. Or our therapists helping us identify “just a yuck feeling” as boundary violation and anger, and appropriate. Oh. Nuances like jealousy – never had a word for, it was just a ‘yuck.’

    I say in my painter’s pallatte stack of colors, the fan of the rainbow in all hues? Yeah, my “pallette” is Black, White. Identifying nuances in “yuck” I think of as adding various shades of gray to my fan-deck. It’s still missing the full spectrum of color, but there’s more depth now. I think as we find ourselves, our “calling” (what makes time pass unnoticed while completely engrossed in a passion, not a corporate deadline) would like to reveal itself.

    So where I laughed in your post, hehe, is when you got tho this part:

    4) You’ve discovered the root now create an action plan. What steps can you take to make this goal a reality?
    5) Make your goals measurable and check your progress regularly

    LOL! I thought we established I/we can’t keep our own word to ourselves, meet any of our own goals, and they’re all just “chores” anyway! 🙂

    Yep, still stuck!

    Sorry for the ramble, until I find myself I can’t seem to make any meaningful points and ramble endlessly. That’s the illness. My therapist views mind and body/illness as one and for months wouldn’t validate all these negative lab tests coming back, new auto-immunes developing, no antibodies being generated, hair falling out related to yeast/fungus/inflammation, not hormones or genes, and he WOULD NOT give me any confirmation that he thought my body was sick. We had a healthy “have it out” – I can’t trust someone who doesn’t believe me, he could feel the distance growing, then he realized he needed to share his personal view. (“all in my head” for years…..years!)

    Anyway, thanks for the insight on failing. Like anger *usually* isn’t what’s going on, it’s something under anger. Depression/pain/insert whatever here. It’s that which lies beneath. (obsessed with my subconscious, if only I could pull out those files directing my life!)

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