Sometimes goals are used as an excuse to actually avoid changing.
At first blush that sounds counter intuitive, doesn’t it? We set up goals or resolutions in order to change and improve ourselves. But, after some discussion I’ve been having with a client, I realized that we set some goals up, as excuses to avoid making change. It might not be consciously or intentional, but even so, we’re doing it.
As an example, suppose we have family members who are on our backs about losing weight or quitting smoking. We might not want to (even though we know they’re right) or we might not be ready or we might not believe we can accomplish our goals. So, in order to avoid dealing with the hassle of our family, we throw our hands up over our head and say, “Fine! I’ll lose the weight!” Then, we set up such an unrealistic goal that it’s virtually impossible to accomplish it so after a short while we can quit. When people say, “What happened?” We can say, “I tried. What else can I do?” and hopefully get them off our back. (To read a humorous post about use of the word “trying,” follow this link.)
In an earlier post I wrote about a “composite client” who I felt was making goals that were so large, he was setting himself up for failure. He has repeated “tried” (there’s that word again) to lose weight but has never move very far along his path. To help him out, I asked him to be more specific in his goals and to make smaller steps. In an update to me, he said: