When clients tell me they are struggling with a certain area of their life whether it be career, health or relationship goals, they are often surprised at a possible answer as to why they are failing.
They will deny this is true at first but with a little digging, it can often be the “holy grail” as to why they end up yet again not succeeding.
Sean – “I want you to help me lose 3 stone in weight.”
Miranda – “ I want to be a successful singer for a career.”
Tony – “I can’t find a partner no matter what I do.”
The reality is that the above clients don’t really want the those goals to happen. They either don’t want them to happen at all or there’s a conflict somewhere and for now the mind is happier keeping a pattern of “trying” and “failing.” This is much safer according their minds than reaching their goals and the consequences that come with being successful.
Sean’s mind doesn’t really know what being slimmer and healthier is actually like as he’s always been heavy. If he drops down in weight, he no longer has the excuses he has to hold himself back in areas of his life like career, health , socially and relationships. Despite the continual self hatred, his little self created prison means he is “safer” than the uncertain world awaiting for him out there. He is also being tricked very nicely by his mind into seeking short term feel good rewards of sugary carbs. These provide a dopamine hit in the brain which feels very nice indeed. “Depriving” himself of sugary foods and exercising feels too much like hassle and hard work.
Miranda doesn’t want to really sing for a career, she just wants to sing more often to people. This conflict was down to really wanting to start a family which was her actual dream. No wonder she sabotaged going to auditions or recording herself on the net. Her singing dream had been fed to her with the story “don’t waste your talent,” by well meaning family and friends. The pressure to “not waste her talent,” just made her feel guilty that she was failing with something which she “should” have been good at and made happen.
Tony has very little dating experience and doesn’t like the way he looks. This terrifies him as he thinks he will be judged by prospective dates. When searching for dates, he limits his search through having specific types of people he says he is into. He also somehow manages to attract “dates” who don’t turn up and are quite flakey. This quite nicely feeds the “story” that dating is too much trouble. He also gets to keep his life the way it is, nice and controlled.
The reality is this and you do have memories to back this up; when you really really want something, there is no stopping you and no matter what comes your way you work through it and make it happen. You always have done with things you really want. The problem will always be with things you don’t want enough.
So what’s the answer?
Here’s a few things that could help:
Bringing down anxiety and stress levels can make it easier to see long term goals in a healthier light.
Assess the real consequences and impact of reaching a desired goal. What are the negatives and the positives? Seeing a therapist / coach can help you work out if this something you “truly” want or is it something you can just let go?
Conflicts can be worked through with therapy. Sean’s mind is focusing too much in the short term which doesn’t help him in the long term. The reality is that he needs to be lighter for health reasons and if he wants love and to create a family in his life then he has to make changes and invest now. Working through conflicts and letting go of “stories” centred around not being good enough in favour of what is the truth about you can help move your forward more confidently into new territory
After all life is too precious and too short to struggle when in reality it can be something very simple to let go of or change.