The only way to get to where we are planning to go is to know where we are. We have to know where we are starting from and also know where we’ve already been to determine what we liked and didn’t like about the place. We can read all the reviews from those who have been there and done that, but unless we experience it for ourselves, we will not really be able to make an informed choice.
Our definition of success is a very individual thing, but what has become universal, is the desire to be ‘happy’. That too, will look differently to each person based upon what it takes to invoke that emotion within us. That is important…to acknowledge that happiness is an emotion. It is not a thing, person, or even a destination as it has been described and depicted in those posters of mountains, beaches, and open roads traveled by expensive, fast cars with names you can’t pronounce.
To understand emotions is a major part of the goal process because our understanding of how we feel and why we feel that way will determine our actions and actions are required to set and attain our goals. Emotions can change in an instant depending upon how we interpret the experience that we are having or expect to have. There are all kinds of meters and graphs that indicate the distance between ‘bubbly’ and ‘bitch’ and how fast it takes to jump from one state to the other.
We all respond to ‘triggers’. Most of the time we think of a ‘trigger’ as something that begins a downward spiral or a step backward that will make it almost impossible for us to resist engaging in the very behavior that we are trying to change. However, a ‘trigger’ can also work to help ingrain a new behavior or pattern if we relate it to a positive result. Emotional reactions determine the effect a ‘trigger’ will have.
In order for me to figure out what went wrong, I am looking back on what was going right. I was charged up, felt better than I ever have and was very excited about the results I was getting. People who have a tendency to self-sabotage need to examine what it is that allows them to do this. Do they feel undeserving of the happiness that reaching their goal will provide or are they afraid that even after they achieve that goal, it will not give them the gratification that they were expecting? I think this is why immediate gratification has such an edge over long term goals.
Then there is the thrill of the pursuit of a goal. Have you ever planned some major event in your life and felt totally consumed by the process? Think of a major holiday or a wedding when the preparation is so exciting and all of your energy is focused on the outcome only to feel rather deflated once the event is over. There is an underlying feeling of, ‘now what?’. If the long term goal is monumental enough, we might find ourselves wanting the wanting to continue. Desire is a powerful emotional drug. We need to consider the fact that maintaining the result is often just as all consuming as the initial achievement. Some things will require a life long commitment if we want to continue to enjoy the reward and that will require the same amount of effort if not more.
Having been successful in the past is proof positive that I can and will be successful again. Maybe I have gained enough insight to understand what went wrong by going back to what I was doing that was right and doing it wiser. Knowing what ‘triggered’ the fall allows me to instill a counter ‘trigger’ that will help prevent a reoccurrence, but there is also the knowledge that striving for perfection is counterproductive. That kind of thinking makes no allowances for being human…and I am…I think.