The New Year is a time when many people make resolutions and set goals. While goal-setting can help you accomplish something you set out to do, it can also work against you.
Have you ever set a goal and not met it? Of course you have! We all have. When this happens the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ may raise its head and quickly your inner-Persecutor pokes you for not achieving the goal. The Persecutor might say: “There you go again. Setting goals and not following through. What’s wrong with you?”
The Victim voice might say: “I don’t have the money to go back to school (or whatever the “resolution” is). My life isn’t easy like some people.” Then there’s the Rescuing voice who wants to be helpful: “I feel bad that I didn’t reach that goal. A little comfort food would make me feel better. Where are those cookies?”
Setting goals, while a good idea on the surface, can actually cause more pressure if you don’t perfectly meet or exceed your goals. In this 24/7 media environment, insult is added to injury if you compare yourself to the very best. If you are not perfect at everything, then you may feel like a failure.
Another pitfall of goal setting is the rollercoaster approach to action. You might work hard for a short while to reach the goal only to let up as soon as you get there. It is normal to backslide then and return to where you started. That is why so many New Year’s resolutions fail.
Focusing on progress over perfectionism is a strategy that will get you more of what you want in life. You leave behind the rollercoaster idea that if you meet your goals you will feel good and if you don’t, you will feel bad.
In 2015 we encourage you to learn the principle of “progress over perfectionism.” This is a fundamental concept that holds TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic)™ together. So often we face a situation that baffles us. Our brains want us to declare specific goals when we simply do not know the best approach. If we can avoid the seduction of setting goals and commit instead to continual progress we will see the next baby step that is right in front of us. This reduces our anxiety and gives us energy to keep moving forward.
Dedicating yourself to progress and not having to meet a certain goal will protect you from slipping into the DDT. This way of taking action removes the “I have to know what I am doing” trap. Instead you can simply focus on what is right in front of you, learn, adjust and take the next step.
Learning to live with progress and less perfection is a great goal for 2015!