The Loaded Goal (#695)

Creating results in the world is fairly straightforward.  If I want to lose weight, I take in less calories than I burn up, regardless of which diet, eating plan, or “lifestyle choices” I make in order to do it.  If I want to accumulate wealth, I spend less money than I create (regardless of how much I create or what I do to create it) and keep the rest.  If I want to write a book, I put words on a page repeatedly until they tell some semblance of a story or create the opportunity for the reader to learn and transform.

These formulas are common sense, fool-proof, time-tested, and will work for every single person that uses them. So if you’re consistently not achieving something you say you want to achieve, it’s probably not because you don’t know how.

It’s because that goal, whatever it is, has become loaded with so much extra significance and meaning that you can barely face it, let alone achieve it.

The loaded goal is that goal which seems to be your most important and longest standing one – it’s the one that “for some reason, I don’t seem to be able to make any real progress on” and “this year, I’m finally going to handle”.

What makes the loaded goal so frustrating is that it seems as though it should be easy.  “After all”, we tell ourselves, “other people are able to lose weight, make more money, find a partner, write a novel, get fit, etc – why can’t I?”

The reason why it’s so much harder to reach a “loaded” goal than a regular one is that your focus isn’t really on the result you want to create – it’s on you.

When your goal is loaded…

  • Getting fit isn’t about being fit and losing weight is no longer about weighing less (if indeed it ever was) – it’s about “overcoming your essentially lazy, good for nothing nature and proving that you CAN do it” or “if I lose weight, that will show that I’m ‘good enough’ to attract a man”.
  • You don’t just want to have more money (though that would be nice too) – you want to prove to your spouse/parents/colleagues/self that YOU do have what it takes and YOU will triumph in the end.
  • Writing a novel isn’t about telling a story, it’s about “being an author” or “fulfilling your potential”

As a coach, my clients consistently try to convince me that what we should really be focusing on is their loaded goal, whether it’s winning an Oscar, losing weight, or becoming the first non-Asian leader of China.  (Yes, those are all real examples!)

But what I know is that in order to create results, we need to stop talking about what’s wrong with you (your issues) OR about what’s right with you (your self-esteem) and put our attention where it will make the biggest difference – on the results you most want to create in your life and in the world.

And the simplest way to do that is to literally “take a load off” your mind and put that loaded goal off to the side. Take a few weeks, months, or even a whole year off from trying to deal with it. Enjoy your life. Have some fun. Stop working on yourself and that particular goal for awhile.

What will happen, counter-intuitive though it may seem, is that everything else in your life will start working better and better.  Oh, you’ll still be able to work yourself up into a lather about your loaded goal – after all, it’s loaded up with all your favorite hot-button toppings.  But if you’re willing to keep putting it back down and get on with something else you actually want to create for its own sake, at some point, you’ll look at your once-loaded goal in the context of your increasingly wonderful life and wonder what all the fuss was about.

This is our psychological immune system in action – when we let our problems sit for a bit, they are as likely to dis-solve as be solved.  When they don’t, chances are we never actually put it down long enough for it to heal, picking at it in our minds like a really yummy scab.

So that’s today’s experiment, and if you like, it’s one of the best experiments I can suggest for 2010:

Make this year the year you DON’T achieve your loaded goal.

That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and create all sorts of wonderful other things in your life.  Just let that one go (for now), and we’ll check back in later and see if it still matters to you.  The only thing you have to lose is a lifetime of stress, angst, and struggle.

What you stand to gain is beyond measure or compare…

Have fun, learn heaps, and enjoy your life!


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