Achieve Goals: Owning Wants and Struggles

3 min read
ownership = empowerment

How honesty can revolutionize your sense of self and growth

With many of our clients, we see that many people struggle with being honest. It isn’t that people lie to their coaches, it is more that they lie to themselves. This denial of truth can impact so many domains. In this blog, we will go through where this façade may stem from, ways to own your wants and struggles, and the benefits that come from this realization in helping you achieve goals.

Denying our Truths

Through our work, we start off with goal-setting. This exercise helps people identify what they want to work towards and achieve. Usually, this is in the context of the end-goal, but many people don’t think of all of the things necessary to achieve these end-goals. In order to achieve goals, people often need to give up something or change so

me behavior. For example, having a great body is a great goal, but are you willing to give up that hour you spend on the couch every night?

When we set goals for ourselves, it is so important to also identify the things we will ‘lose.’ What behaviors do we have to give up in order to achieve those goals? Accepting this truth helps us with appropriate goal setting. There is a catch though, why aren’t we honest about these things? Sometimes it is as simple as not knowing all the changes required to achieve a goal. This is why it is important to stop and recheck your goals, that way you are continually doing a pro/con analysis. Is the goal still worth it? Are you willing to sacrifice ‘X’ in order to achieve it?

This gets even more complicated when you introduce the idea of societal/external expectations. So many clients that we work with are torn because they are stuck thinking about what they should be doing. This concept of ‘should’ is dangerous because it inherently is inhibiting what they really want or think. We see this all the time in so many areas of our work. Here’s a small sample of things we hear:

  • I should have a girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • I should think school is important.
  • I should work harder at work to get that promotion.

The problem with ‘should’ is that it isn’t our goal, it is what we think society expects of us. You see this from childhood, all the way through to adulthood. Whenever I hear something like, “I should have more friends,” I always follow up with, “Why?” Humans aren’t as motivated by things they should do, humans are more motivated by things they want to do.

What about honesty over our struggles? In a lot of ways, it is similar to our goals. It is hard to admit struggle, and even harder when battling against the stigma of struggle. “Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses” sounds nice, but in actuality it is hard to admit the challenges we face. Think attention and focus, the same ‘should’ language can interfere with reality. “I should be able to work for one hour straight,” is a statement that is riddled with guilt. Instead of inhibiting our wants, this mindset prevents us from addressing our struggles and moving forward. This is why we teach a problem solving paradigm.

Owning Your Wants and Struggles

So denying our truths is problematic, but what now? Learning to own your wants and struggles is not an easy thing to do. Here are a few tips to help navigating this radical honesty:

Owning your Wants

  • Use pro/cons lists with goal setting to acknowledge both the benefits and the costs of a goal – this way you aren’t just focusing on all the great things that come from a goal. It is important for you to own what you will have to change in order to achieve that goal.
  • Avoid Impulsive goal setting and put thought into each of your goals to make sure you understand as many of the ins and outs of achieving that goal
  • Revisit your goals to make sure they are still ones you want to commit towards achieving
  • Acknowledge your behaviors and think about what you may be giving up to maintain them

Owning your Struggles

  • Reflect on things not being completed to better understand what is getting in the way. Try and focus on your involvement, not external things that you can’t control
  • Make a strengths/weakness log of things that you know you do well and strong, versus things that are more difficult to you. Use this log to help inform your strategies (lean into your strengths and limit your weaknesses).
  • Accept things for what they are instead of focusing on what will be different tomorrow. Take this with a grain of salt, we are not saying to not make future plans that adjust your strategies, instead acknowledge what actually occurred in the past and identify clearly what you will do differently in the future

Benefits of Ownership

Through honesty and ownership of our goals and struggles, the real progress can begin. You will end up spending less time:

  • Making excuses
  • Trying strategies that are not suited for you
  • Feeling unmotivated

And you will be spending more time

  • Working towards things you actually want
  • Bettering strategies that are continually more and more designed towards your strengths
  • Problem solving
  • Feeling confident

Casey Schmalacker

Casey Schmalacker, Vice President at New Frontiers, is a seasoned leader in marketing, sales, and business development. With a dual degree in Government and Law and Economics from Lafayette College, he has spent the past 10 years coaching students, adults, and organizations to improve executive functions, soft skills, and workplace performance. Casey’s approach is rooted in strategic development and a passion for personalized coaching, emphasizing a culture of continuous improvement.

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