If you are human, then you have likely experienced your fair share of setting goals only to miss the mark after a short-lived streak of motivation. If you are anything like me, then you probably hit a wall of confusion every time this happens because you know that your motivation to hit your goal is so very real.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it inevitably leads to misplaced self-criticism. If the goal is noble and the motivation to hit the goal is genuine, then something must be wrong with the person pursuing the goal, right? If only we had more willpower, discipline and self-control!
Wrong. This thought pattern risks perpetuating a dangerous cycle of self-pity and insecurity, which just exacerbates the gap between where we believe we are and where we want to go. But here's what the "goal-crushing gurus" don't tell you:
Motivation is a myth.
Willpower alone will never get us from point A to point B. When the initial excitement of moving toward our goal wears off, this does not mean that we want it any less. It just means that the intricacies of reality—the fact that we are creatures of nuance and depth—set in. This is why accountability is so important. However, enlisting accountability does not mean becoming fully reliant on external sources for your own wellbeing.
Until we are our own biggest moderator, no one else can give us the accountability that we require.
Yes, enlist others along your journey. Share your goals and ask others to check on your progress. But first, we must first practice showing up for ourselves, time and time again, until our actions consistently align with our words and intentions. The more often we push ourselves to practice, the more easily we will be able to check what is stopping us from going full force.
This does not mean being hard on yourself or pushing your body beyond its capacity. Rather, imagine how far we could go if we were to challenge the mental roadblocks that reactively position themselves between us and our desires. More often than not, our mind limits the extent to which we show up for ourselves. Not our bodies, and not our talents or skills.
There is a way to do this from a place of love. When we hold ourselves accountable from a place of kindness, generosity and respect for ourselves, we position ourselves to turn our innermost dreams into an outward reality.
There is a single decision standing between us and our dreams: whether we rise to the occasion or cut ourselves short.
As you practice holding yourself accountability to show up for yourself, be aware of the fact that most of us don’t really know our actual limit. We cut ourselves short out of self-protection, fear, ego, and many other things before we can even observe our capabilities. This week, or whenever you are reading this, I encourage you to actually push yourself. It's becoming popular to give ourselves a free pass under the guise of "gentleness".
However, pushing yourself does not mean ignoring your needs, and being gentle does not mean being your own biggest pushover. Go full force at that thing you’ve been wanting to accomplish, that feeling you’ve been wanting to feel, check that one lingering thing off your list.
Give yourself the chance to surprise yourself.