Why is goal setting and achieving so motivating and exhilarating while everything in the middle is so… not?
I think we’ve all felt this before, I definitely have. Especially a month into the new year on what seems to be January 793rd. (Seriously why does January go on forever??) Anyway we get so hyped and motivated to set new goals, maybe you write them down, and then we think “perfect, new goals = new me = better life = happiness = rich, famous and skinny”. Then on December 31st as we look up with dozens of discounted Christmas candy wrappers laying all around (because you KNOW I don’t miss the candy sale the day after Christmas) and we can’t even remember the goals we had set out to accomplish that year! Mainly because sometime around January 537th you hadn’t already lost 20lbs or your other goals that you set just seemed “unrealistic for you right now” so you threw that little scrap piece of paper away to be forgotten.
Why can’t we be happy and excited for the 1lb we did lose? Or if we mess up, why do we have to wait an entire year to start over?
It’s the same reason all diets start NEXT Monday. You might think it’s laziness but laziness is only occasionally a factor. I believe the source of all incomplete goals, forgotten dreams, and unreached potential is a fear of failure and disappointment.
That seems obvious but it’s SO true! Example:
In high school I was a BIG band geek. I absolutely loved music and playing my saxophone so I decided I wanted to go to college to become a high school band director.
Everyone who knew me then will tell you I was dead set on doing it. I wanted it so bad I could taste it. Riiiiiight up until it was time to record and send audition tapes to the schools I was applying to. I had never slammed on the metaphorical brakes so hard in my life. Quickly I readjusted and decided to go to school to be a history teacher (something I would still really love and enjoy!).
Why’d I change course at the MOST crucial moment in my original plan?? Not because I didn’t want to put in the time or effort to practice, I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I was afraid that I would send in my heart and soul only to receive a letter back saying “Thank you for your application, we regret to inform you…” we all know the rest.
So I quit on that dream and went another direction. I haven’t played saxophone since, and I kick myself for it.
What would have happened if I would have just auditioned? What would have happened if I faced my fears head on, knowing they could still reject me? Two things could have happened. I could have gotten in or I could have been rejected. That’s it! Nobody died anywhere in there!! But because I chose to give up before I even tried, I took my 50-50 odds and turned them into 0.
As humans we do this all of the time. We dream up exciting plans, get scared of what might go wrong, and we back out. But just think for a moment, what if everything goes *right*? Would the discomfort be worth it?
When times get hard if we could simply remember that there is a chance that whatever you’re shooting for can work out, I think we’d all push a little harder. In the moment where things are uncomfortable and your muscles are aching and quitting sounds sooo good, remember it could all work out.
Now I already hear the “Negative Nellys” in the back reminding me that just as much as things COULD work out they could also crumble. This is true. Businesses fail, rejection letters are sent, dreams sometimes fall apart. But if you don’t try and give it your all, you’ll never know.
God didn’t create humans to live a sedentary life. He created us with the desire that we would all come back to Him, that we would grow in this life, that we would become more like Him. We cannot do this if we are afraid we won’t be good enough.
Thankfully we have a God who is experienced in working with imperfect and flawed people. He anticipated our struggles, so He sent His Son to atone for not only our sins but our every weakness. Through Him we can be strengthened physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, etc. so that when things start to look scary we can keep pushing through.
So I’m practicing my end zone dance. I’m not giving up on myself, and I’m going to make myself proud. I will be bold and courageous. Because with Christ I can succeed. Because when I give my best and I don’t let fear hold me back, I can achieve great things.