Goals are useless
Be ready to be blown away by this...
I have many many times in the past formulated SMART goals and I achieved almost none of them. I used to get so frustrated at myself, and blame circumstances and people around me. Until the time I got a coach and they asked me a question that would change all that. “Who do you want to become?”
Identity. Your identity is the key to achieving the goals you set. Your identity is who you are. Your identity comprises the beliefs, values, and attitudes you hold about yourself and the world around you. It shapes your thoughts and behaviors, which, in turn, influence your ability to achieve your goals. To be able to achieve goals it requires a change in identity. Focus on this one thing…your habits.
If you are someone who has low self-esteem/low confidence these are the habits you may have:
Negative self-talk and self-criticism
Self-doubt and fear of failure
Avoidance of new experiences and challenges
Comparing yourself to others
Seeking validation from others.
Struggling with low self esteem is hard, and you do want to build your confidence, so you create a SMART goal: “I will go out and network with new people at least twice a month for the next six months”. So you start, the first time is easy, and you are motivated, of course. The goal is fresh in your mind. Second time, all good, you meet a few challenges here and there, and maybe someone you were talking to didn’t seem interested, so you create a story in your mind: “I am just not interesting enough, or I don’t look as good as the rest of the people here.” By the time you get to the third time, it’s a hassle, you don’t want to do it, and you fall back into old habits of negative self-talk and feeling inadequate.
In this case, you are focusing on the outcome without first addressing the identity issue. If you believe that you are not good enough or capable of achieving a particular goal, you are more likely to sabotage yourself or give up when faced with obstacles. So what do you do?
Drop the identity of a person struggling with low self esteem. And pick up these new habits:
Positive self-talk and affirmations
Acceptance of imperfection and mistakes
Stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking risks
Focusing on your own progress and growth, rather than comparing yourself to others
Setting boundaries and prioritising your own needs and well-being
Start embodying the identity of the person you want to become. Start behaving like that person. Consider what they would do/think/say in whatever situation. Your current identity doesn't have to define you. You have the power to change and grow into the person you want to be.
Personal growth and development can be challenging, and I want you to know that you are not alone in this journey. I have my fair share of unlearning and learning.
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