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Goal Achievement

How Not to Self-Sabotage Before You're About to Win Big

Author: NeuroGym Team | 2017

You've set your big goal, made a plan, and taken all the necessary steps toward reaching your dream. All of the details are aligned for your big win!

Then suddenly, something goes wrong . . .

What happened? Why couldn't you reach the top?

The likely culprit: self-sabotage.

It happens all the time. On the road to success, you caught a glimpse of your authentic self . . . then you heard a whisper (from your non-supporters and inner critic) of your potential failure.

You think: What will others think of me if I suddenly become a champion? Near the end of the journey to goal achievement, you tell yourself that it was all a lofty dream . . .

And convinced that your passions are silly, you start to fear that you'll look strange to people whose opinions you respect; that you're somehow screwing up if you reach our full potential. This is how fear of success is born

Unfortunately, this is a typical occurance for many people. You see, our brains are wired to protect us from danger and discomfort. A lot of us are also programed to become embarrassed of the audacity in believing we're special.

So, it often happens, that when we're about to escape our "fictional self" and reconnect with our true self, our friends and family hold us back . . . to the way we were. They want us to be the person they've always known and loved. And this comes through when they respond to our goals and dreams with skepticism .

When there's no support for our big win, we are much more likely to lose to self-sabotage. So how do we approach goal accomplishment with this in mind? How do we get past the finish line?

Let's start with how we should define the goals we set.

According to Dr. Jeff Spencer (founder of the Champion’s Blueprint, creator of the Goal Achievement Roadmap, and author of Turn It Up! How to perform at your best for a lifetime), there are three types of goals, and he believes that "not all goals are created equal." Spencer wrote in a recent blog article:

To a champion, there are average, gutsy, and "Champion Goals." Each one comes with its unique qualities, requirements, and reward.

If you want to be a champion, you've got to behave like one until you win! Follow the below method of goal achievement to set yourself up to win before you begin. 

Here's how Dr. Jeff Spencer breaks down the three types of goals.

AVERAGE GOALS

These are the goals that are achievable within your comfort zone. There's little to no stress (or much passion) for achieving them. Accomplishing run of the mill goals is just a formality requiring little discipline, a short amount of time, and minimal effort. You have the skills needed, and the risk level is low.

Average goals are uncomplicated, anticipated, and the most common of goals.

GUTSY GOALS

These targets take things up a few notches, and are just outside your comfort zone and reach. There’s an element of risk, causing them to be invigorating. Gusty goals have an above average potential return that once achieved gives you a real sense of accomplishment.

Not knowing any better, society often views gutsy goals as dangerous and the achievement of them as "heroic." Makes sense given the general perception that anything bolder than an average goal must be significantly more challenging and rewarding. But an element of risk is not the same as putting it all on the line, right?

Gutsy goals are inspiring, challenging, and require persistence, new skill development, and the help of others. And, for many, achieving gutsy goals will be the pinnacle points of their life.

CHAMPION GOALS

For all the champs out there, gutsy goals (and common goals) can be a bit tortuous and tedious since they don’t bring much passion to the table. But if seen as a labor of love or spring board, they can lead to something much bigger and better . . . "Champion Goals."

These goals move you into the courage zone . . . way outside your comfort zone. The reward you receive upon achievement is exponentially greater than gutsy goals, as is the risk. But achieving them will make you one of the best in the world.

Champion goals can be intimidating because of their risk, complexity, commitment, and lack of support. What's with all the deflating “pragmatic” advice from colleagues, friends, and family?

But champions know before starting a pursuit, that any goal is achievable.

The competitive nature of champion goals requires you be tenacious and enlist the support of others to achieve them. You won’t be able to do it alone . . . ever. The fulfillment you’ll experience though, celebrating with those who’ve supported you in doing, is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences.

THE TYPES OF RISK, CLARIFIED

  • A reckless risk is pursuing a goal at all costs. Pursuing a goal without vetting the requirements and consequences in advance, and continuing to do so throughout goal pursuit exposes you and others to huge downside risk and high probability of failure. This type of risk is entirely preventable.
  • A responsible risk may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Champions tend to perform better when the risk of failure is high because a high level of risk tends to increase their focus, awareness, and development of readiness. This, in turn, equals better performance and outcomes.

If the risk is too small, champions tend to doze off--causing sloppy and inattentive performance, which results in amateurish, avoidable mistakes.

Too much risk and you’ll tend to hyper-focus. Not only developing a peripheral blindness to alternative or better options but also ignorance or avoidance of other important life areas. You may reach a goal while simultaneously sacrificing others and your long term credibility and legacy. Responsible risk means vetting before, during, and after each step of the process in achieving your goal, perpetually developing a state of readiness, and maintaining (or increasing) what you’ve achieved in your health, your relationships, and other life areas.

Here's some more valuable insight we learned from Dr. Spencer about how NOT to biff it before you win big:

  • know your goal intimately;
  • understand the risks associated with your goal; and
  • know which action steps lead to goal accomplishment.

There’s an art and a science to goal achievement, and one of the first things you must do to prepare for your journey toward success (after you decide if your goal is average, gusty, or champion) is to know your dream from the inside out.

Start by asking yourself: Why do I want to accomplish this big goal? Next, define what your “win” is with clarity. To your brain, a lack of clarity is a lack of results, so get clear; visualize the details in great detail every day of the week.

The bottom line on how NOT to self-sabotage:

  • know what type of goal you're setting: average, gusty, or champion;
  • know your goal from the inside out;
  • understand the risks;
  • know what action steps will lead to your success; and
  • make sure you have unconditional support.

If you want to be a champion, you've got to behave like one until you win, right? Follow the above method of goal achievement to set yourself up to win before you begin.

What's next?

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About The Author

NeuroGym Team

NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.

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