Some people I meet are unable to define medium or long term goals. When I ask them, “What do you want to do?” their mind goes blank and they just shrug, “I dunno”.
Why is this?
We each of us have a part of our personality called the super-ego, you many also hear this called the ‘judge’ or ‘critic’. The purpose of this part of our psyche is to keep us out of harm, both physically and emotionally. If it thinks we’re getting into a situation that might be risky then it will start to send us warning messages. Often these can be feelings of anxiety or tension or stress and they’ll often be accompanied by thoughts like, “I can’t do that”, or, “I’m not good enough for this person”. Anything the super-ego can come up with to keep us in our box.
Now if you ask someone, “What are your life goals?” the super-ego will often panic! “A life goal? That sounds really risky, what if we fail? Then we’ll be a failure! What are you getting into here?”.
Bang! A mental block comes down as the super-ego goes into over drive and clamps down on anything it might think is a risk. It stuffs you firmly back into your box and slams the lid.
So what can we do about the super-ego, how do we unblock and put ourselves in a position to start setting goals for ourselves?
First let me say that there’s no magic cure for this. The super-ego is there for a purpose and it’s only trying to do it’s job, even though that may be limiting you.
To overcome the super-ego we must first become aware of its presence.
The next time you want to plan something for your future and you start to feel some anxiety look at your thought processes. If you’re doubting your abilities then that is your super-ego talking. Say hello to it, tell it you recognize it. If you feel it’s limiting you then you can even tell it you don’t need its input just now and see what happens to your anxiety level.
If you want to set ‘life’ goals; but are feeling blocked then I suggest you reassure your super-ego that everything is going to be OK and that you’d like it to be quiet for now.
Take a deep breath.
Now write your goals.