Why people don’t achieve what they say they want

Many of us don’t achieve what we say we want. This is often because although we may be committed at a deep level to our objective, on a minute by minute basis we are not actually committed to what we think we are. We are more committed to an anti-goal.

An anti-goal is a goal which acts against the goal you have declared as important, and sucks your energy and effort away from your declared intention. Anti-goals are often hidden below the surface where you cannot see them – they are not goals that most of us would want acknowledge ourselves as having, let alone tell anyone else. They also seem to put themselves first in the queue for action, even though you may not be aware that they are there.

Here’s an example of an anti-goal: you have declared yourself committed to getting a new job (the goal). However, you find yourself being stuck, apathetic, hesitant, or frantically busy doing something distracting, and not moving towards your stated goal. If this is the case, you are probably running an anti-goal, which if you are honest with yourself would be something like ‘I am more committed to remaining safe with the devil I know, than risking being disappointed by trying to get work which is fulfilling’.

A good way of spotting anti-goals are when you find yourself in situations where you are feeling a bit stressed, and your concern (or real goal in that moment) is focussed around making yourself look good, stop you looking foolish or stop you being exposed to criticism – your anti-goal has become the priority in the moment.

Anti-goals are part of the protective mechanism of your character, designed to keep the status quo and keep you safe within your comfort zone.

Being aware that they are likely to be there is a great step forward in reducing their impact. Distinguishing what they commonly are for yourself is an even better tool.

Be honest with yourself – if you think you might be running an anti-goal, acknowledge it (‘actually right now I am more committed to staying safe by…..’), and recommit to the goal you do aspire to. You might have to do this several times to rid yourself of all the anti-goals you may be running, but once you have done so, you are able to create that which you desire with considerably more ease.

If after you’ve tried that, you’re still stuck, give me a call – I am really good at spotting them quickly, and dissolving them!

About theclaritycoach

Paul Stonehouse is an experienced coach, educator and speaker, and is completely committed to helping people perform at their best. His particular passion is helping people move forward when they are stuck, enabling them to live and work a in a way which is a confident expression of their true selves.
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