The Secret to Achieving any Goal

We are getting ready to wrap up the end of the year. Maybe, like me, you are reviewing the year to see what went well, what didn’t go well, and what you can change next year.  One of the areas I’m really focusing on in my review is where I took massive action and where I took passive action. You may not have heard those terms before, so I thought I would share them here.

Massive action gets you closer to your goal. The thought of doing it makes you want to throw up. It gives your inner critic a shot of espresso and generates some strong emotions which invokes the stress response. You want to run, avoid, do something else, do something pleasurable, you name it. 

Passive action keeps you stuck exactly where you are. It feels like it’s productive, but deep down, you know it’s not. It’s things like taking another class to learn a little more before you feel comfortable doing it, reading more books so you look like you know what you are doing…basically anything you are doing to make you feel safer before you take massive action.

Are you aware that you do this? 

It’s totally normal as our default programming is to survive by avoiding pain, conserve energy, and seek pleasure. The brain cannot tell the difference between true danger and fear of danger.  The thought you have about the massive action and the feeling it generates invokes the stress response which is to fight, flee or freeze to some degree. Biologically, the body produces cortisol and adrenaline and activates the sympathetic nervous system.  Your heart rate goes up, you get tunnel vision and tunnel hearing all of which enables you to fight, flee, or freeze.

Think about how many times you have wanted to achieve a goal and you just could not bring yourself to do what you knew needed to be done. It was because something you were thinking made you feel unsafe, that it would take too much effort, or that it wasn’t fun. Once you understand that we are all programmed this way, you can now do something about it and override your default programming.

So how do we override our default survival programming to take massive action so that we can thrive? We find a way to make our massive action fun, easy, or safe. 

  1. Recognize when you are in the stress response and avoiding taking the action you know you need in order to move forward.
  2. Question yourself and figure out what you are thinking that is making you feel that the action you know you need to take is unsafe, unpleasant or not fun. Write down all your thoughts and really get curious as to what thoughts are causing fear, unpleasantness, or perceived difficulty.
  3. Experiment with ways to change what you are thinking about the action you need to take to be safe, fun or easier.
  4. Be willing to be uncomfortable. It will pass.

This is something we all have to practice over and over again. Our default programming is our default programming. Once you are aware, you can take steps to override it and go out and accomplish any damn goal you want.

PS: If you find yourself stressed and anxious and have tried everything to get it under control, come on over to The High Achiever’s Stress Management Collective. We share our tips for managing stress and anxiety and have weekly lives to discuss a relevant topic.  We would love to have you! I will shortly be announcing a date for my free webinar on The Secret to Reducing Stress that will be exclusively for my group members!

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