What is one goal you wish you could accomplish? Chances are, you have no problem naming it, so what holds you back from achieving it?
Life has a nasty habit of interrupting the best-laid plans, but more often than not, it’s our own minds that get in the way of our goals. We make a litany of excuses for why those goals don’t get checked off our lists, and we become our own worst enemies.
Let this be the end of all that.
Here are a few suggestions — and a dose of tough love — from TED speakers to help you reach your goals.
1. Define your fears instead of your goals.
Think about what you’re putting off for the “right moment.” What holds you back? What are you afraid of? Write down the worst things that might happen if you fail, suggests investor and author Tim Ferriss. Then think about what you’ll do if they happen and how you could prevent them.
Tim calls this “fear-setting,” a practice that can help you break the cycle of self-paralysis. “I can trace all of my biggest wins and biggest disasters averted to fear-setting,” he says.
2. Banish the word “fine.”
Why are your goals on the back burner? Maybe because of the F-word: “fine,” says motivational speaker Mel Robbins. That dirty word lulls you thinking that subpar situations — feeling unfulfilled at work, carrying an extra 50 pounds, having a ho-hum relationship — are good enough that you can put off the effort to change them.
Consider this your wake-up call: it’s time to stop settling for “fine” and set your sights on “good” or “great” instead.
3. Approach your obstacles with curiosity.
You may find yourself sidetracked at times by a little voice that asks, “Wouldn’t it be more fun to watch Netflix for the next six hours?” That’s not a feeling to fight — it’s a feeling to examine. Curiosity is your best weapon against distraction, says psychiatrist Judson Brewer.
When you find yourself procrastinating, look at what’s going on in your mind. Are you bored? Scared? Frustrated? That insight can help you figure out what you need to resolve to get back on track.
4. Embrace your near wins.
Behind every triumph, there are countless near wins — those times when you come close to success but don’t quite get there. Those are valuable, says historian Sarah Lewis. They show you what worked and what you can improve, and they give you a chance to iterate.
“Mastery is not a commitment to a goal but to a constant pursuit,” she says. By embracing your near wins, you can push yourself to attain more than you ever imagined.