For a while we do really well moving towards this. And then something happens.
We lose interest. This seems too hard or too boring. We get side-tracked by another bright shiny thing.
Why is it soooo hard to stay focused on goals?
- Change is hard. If moving towards your goal means changing – your behaviours, how you’ll see yourself in the future, anything you’re doing – and it’s too far from where you are now, your brain will set off an alarm. It’s dangerous for us to be too different from the way people know us. We’re social creatures and we need the approval of others. If we change too much they may not want us as part of the tribe anymore.
- We need to stay true to ourselves. If we don’t stay true to our self-concept there are more alarms that ring. We’re constantly evaluating our self-concept. If reaching our goals means our self-concept changes (e.g. from invisible overweight to noticed by the opposite sex or from Aussie battler to International Playboy) one of two things happens. We either can’t see this new version of ourselves and our subconscious brain dismisses it. Or we can see it and the parts of our brain that keep us at our ‘self-concept set-point’ convince us that it’s better to stay where we are.
- We don’t have our brain on board. If we don’t have a good reason for achieving a particular goal, if there’s not enough meaning built into it, if the goal is what someone else wants for you, if we haven’t mapped out a clear path to it and we don’t have reward spots along the way, your brain will not be on board and will not be working for you. Then it will be easily distracted, easily bored, and won’t give you the motivation to push through the hard bits of achieving your goal.
Stay tuned for how to overcome these obstacles to really getting what you want.