by Paula on September 26, 2013

A couple of people have asked me if I am going to write a blog on mental strength and achieving goals following my winning a hard-fought personal goal at the weekend.

I have to admit I didn’t think I was going to. I put myself through it mentally to get there and felt that was a personal journey to me rather than one to share.

However yesterday I was reminded of a blog written by Chris Budd about goal-setting to which I responded that in order to have a more guaranteed chance of success, the over-riding important factor is that you “want it”. We all have things we’re working towards – call them goals if you wish – a lot of these are because we think we ought to, or someone else thinks we ought to. Progress and success can be achieved if we are focused and just keep plodding on.

But the goals that we really, really want and wake thinking about each day, are WAY more likely to be achieved regardless of the hurdles we have to jump along the way.

You see when you have a goal that you think you need to achieve, you see those hurdles, you feel those hurdles. You can see exactly what they look like, how high they are, how much they’re going to hurt – and the goal at the end is obscured by these hurdles to the point that the first hurdle almost becomes a goal in itself, and with no obvious steps between you and it, you can falter and get distracted and never build up the momentum for that first jump.

But when that goal is something that you want with all your heart, all you see is that goal.

Focus on the feeling

You can imagine what it feels like, you can visualise success, you can evoke the emotion you will feel when you get there and it becomes something that takes you over.

The hurdles are still there and are still big but they are just blurry shadows leading towards the bright light that is your goal. They are things you will not be phased by and you will jump over. You know when each hurdle needs to be jumped so you get over the first, build the momentum and keep your eyes on the shining light ahead.

So do sit down and analyse your goals. Are you working towards something but not seeming to make progress? Who are you doing it for? Do you really want it? Don’t for one minute think I’m suggesting that goals that your heart is not into should not be worked towards, just acknowledge the fact that they will be harder and will require more planning and more focus. To be honest every goal should really lead back to being something you really want, even if it might take a bit of adjusting to realise that.

For example you have a goal to finish building a wall in the garden. You never get round to it, it’s just a wall, it doesn’t even interest you that much. You can’t just not do it, it needs doing so what then? Change the goal! The goal is not the wall, the goal is privacy for you and your family, a safe place for your child to play, the smile on your partner’s face that it’s done. Focus on those goals and the actual building of the wall will just become a blurry hurdle on the way.

So what you can you do?

  • Sit down today and acknowledge your goals. Do you really want them? Why? Adjust the focus of your goals if necessary.
  • Really visualise what success feels like, play it over in your mind and absorb it. Don’t let go of that feeling.
  • Know that what stands between you and that fantastic feeling are just hurdles.
  • Start running!



Della Hudson September 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Firstly “congratulations” on achieving your goal.

I love the hurdling analogy. Have you noticed that hurdlers never look at the hurdle, they always look beyond. The hurdle is just something between them and the finish line.

Phil Collard September 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

Exactly Paula – I always try to analyse “why” I am trying to do something and your “build a wall” analogy fits the bill.

In this example, you tend not to start by saying “I need to build a wall” – you tend to start by saying “I need better privacy”. Somewhere along the line, it is easy to lose sight of what that initial goal was and, yes, it just becomes about building a wall!

The “why” is what will keep you motivated to succeed and I know that is what got you there so congratulations once again :-)

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