Fear around setting goals

dream audaciously.

Between developing my Set Goals, Get Organized and Take Action e-course and publishing my Mighty Life List, I have been thinking about goals a lot lately. Specifically, how it can be really scary to set goals. Which is weird, when I think about it, because really they’re just goals. What’s so scary about writing down a bunch of things you want? But it can be!

Then I thought, am I only one that feels scared about setting goals sometimes? Is this a thing? Thanks to Google, I found “fear around setting goals” is VERY common. I mean, I could have guessed that, but if the internet is good for anything, it reaffirms I’m not alone in silly feelings like this. 🙂

Reading through some of the posts and watching a few videos, I was reminded of this:

When we listen to what we want and set goals for ourselves, no matter how big or small, we prepare ourselves for the next step.

Now you probably already have an inkling of what you want, and hopefully you’re even getting better at listening to those faint whispers and if-onlys. Now the next step is to write them down and create some measurable goals with those desires in mind. However, sometimes this easy-breezy act gets cut short by our inner-critic/ego voice piping in with questions like:

  • ‘What if it never happens?’
  • ‘What if I fail?’
  • ‘I don’t know how to do (insert goal thing here)… how can I set a goal for something I don’t even know how to do?!’ Oh, yes… thanks logical mind. 😉
  • ‘Who am I to ask for this?’ or ‘Who do I think I am that I could get that!?’

What other fears come up for you?

Listening and dissecting our fears is the key to dissolving them. That said, the more work you do recognizing where your inner critic might be sabotaging you, under the guise of protection, you can simply storm right past those fears, throw caution at the wind and start scribbling down your fabulous dreams and goals like a mad-man/woman!

And this is what it’s all about: What have you got to lose? Seriously, you’re not going to die. Nobody is going to laugh at you. You don’t even have to show anyone. And furthermore they’re not set in stone forever. The goals you make now may be irrelevant in the next few months, and that’s OK, too! These are *your* goals. This is *your* life, and therefore it’s a living, breathing list that you can add to or change at any time! So dream BIG! In fact, make it an experiment (my favorite tactic for tackling scary things). Dive into it with the perspective that you’re new to this whole goal-writing thing, and therefore you might need practice; just like learning to swim or ride a bike.

Why set goals?
To quote the talented Helen Jane, who was my first guest on WilloToons Connect,

“If you do not spend the time figuring out what you want, you will not get what you want.”

Do you like where you are in your life right now? I like where I am pretty well, but as I grow older I am starting to get this sneaking suspicion that I have more control over my experience in this lifetime than I originally thought. 🙂

When you start to realize and take responsibility for the fact that YOU have had a hand in every single part of your experience in this life, you start to realize that you can have a hand in the experiences yet to come.

Realizing you can create your life can be daunting, but it’s also exciting. In the beginning, writing down your goals might be scary or difficult, but be patient and kind with yourself. It’s ok, little one… it’s going to get easier. You’re going to get better and better at this, and pretty soon you’re going to be REALLY good at setting goals. Or heck, maybe not… maybe it’ll always be challenging and make you face your fears. That’s ok in my book, too! 😉

No matter where you’re at in your life, or your business, it is helpful and necessary to make time to set goals. If you don’t know where to start, or simply want to work with someone in guiding you through the process so that it happens (instead of another week/month/year going by without getting clear), then I invite you to join me for my upcoming Goals e-course.  I’m still putting the finishing touches on it now, but if you sign up on that page, you’ll be the first to hear about when it goes live.

Do you have any tips around setting goals? Do you always set goals or are you someone who never does? What’s the process like for you? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Leave a Reply 7 comments

erin / dfm - September 21, 2011 Reply

such an inspiring read – thanks, willo! 🙂

Catharina - September 26, 2011 Reply

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My weekend at the mighty Mighty Summit! | WilloToons - December 8, 2011 Reply

[…] Fear Around Setting Goals – recent post by yours truly […]

Fear and My Personal Mission Statement | Digiblend.com - November 25, 2012 Reply

[…] part of my reading on the topic I came across a great article on fear around goal setting, written by Willo O’Brien of WilloToons.com, which is worth a quick read. Here’s a […]

Jon - November 25, 2012 Reply

Hey Willo, thanks for the great article! I was just putting together my first post on my blog, “Fear and My Personal Mission Statement” and after coming across your article decided to quote you – hope you don’t mind 🙂

For me, one of the difficult things has been how I’ve always excelled in setting goals at work and then typically found it more difficult to set personal goals. One of the things that I usually find helpful (both at work and in my personal life) is to break my goals down into smaller chunks or actionable steps with a time frame for completing each step along the way.

That way I can more easily hold myself accountable and avoid getting overwhelmed.

I look forward to checking out more of your posts!

    Willo O'Brien - November 25, 2012 Reply

    Awesome, Jon – thanks!

    I agree, breaking them down into small steps is key. That works for me, too. Loved your article, and am honored for the quote & mention.

    Keep up the great work!

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