I’m not big on setting resolutions, but I’m a goal digger if ever there was one.
The distinction? A resolution is something you intend to do. Unfortunately for most, the seemingly profound act of setting an intention is not enough to effect the butterfly. The idea of a thing can stimulate us to be determined, but achieving what we’ve set out to do is only possible by repeated attempts to push forward, without moving backward. So what’s a goal digger?
A goal digger is one who approaches all areas of their life (personally and professionally) with an outlook that prioritizes self-examination, internal growth and evolution, determination, and bottomless motivation. Goal diggers go after what they want with a vengeance and don’t lose sight of their ambitions just because the going gets tough. It’s getting through the tough moments that earns you the beautiful things that await on the other side. They are part of a tribe that inches and sometimes leaps forward in life… towards their dreams: which become goals, which become plans, which become real. They’re committed to charging through any obstacles, challenges, or self-imposed walls that could be keeping them from the things they want most.
That’s what it means to pay dues, to earn your level up. Most people think things should be easy, that if things don’t fall into place without work then it’s just not for you. Goal diggers realize that you must take daily steps and make incremental choices in each moment that are investments in your own future. It’s taking responsibility for your trajectory in life. Sometimes, you can’t be looking at your feet, taking one step after another: you have to zoom out at the big picture and remember why you took off on this journey in the first place. It’s first, believing you can: but then applying what you’ve learned at the first opportunity. Intentionally. And sorry folks, but that is seldom easy.
You might ask yourself: Do I really have to do all of this work before I can really… get to work? Well, yes… and no. You don’t have to do anything. You can choose to be lazy, to say it’s too hard or exhausting, to project failure… but I warn you, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. We don’t all reach our full potential, and that happens because of what we tell ourselves we do or do not have to do. Growth is not guaranteed in any area of life, you have to make it so. You have to choose it.
So get to work.
Become Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable:
Growth means change (for the better – not all change is good), and well… change is hard. We are safe and secure in our current patterns, and growing means admitting to yourself a truth that you may struggle to accept: you are not perfect. You are responsible for outcomes. Things don’t just happen to you, they happen because of you. On an intellectual level, we understand that we aren’t perfect, any of us. But on a visceral level: spotting, acknowledging, accepting, and addressing personal flaws, weaknesses, or barriers – and then applying them to our lives by taking ownership of where we are contributing to our own demise… is a strike to the ego. Feeling this discomfort is unpleasant, so we may deflect and revert to the safety of existing, unproductive, or self-sabotaging patterns. But by doing so, we become stuck.
How can you soar to your highest potential towards your goals if you are stuck under a self-imposed glass ceiling of limitation? You cannot. The more secure you are with yourself, the easier it will be for you to accept areas of weakness and the more pragmatic you will be at establishing a successful inner growth strategy. This isn’t about blame of circumstances, yourself, or others. It’s about ownership. “This is what I *can* do…” is a liberating thought. It will feel uncomfortable to start poking at the hornets nest of our inner demons, but if you want to reach your goals you’ll need to learn how to get comfortable with this discomfort. You’re not weak because you have flaws; if you’re proactive you are evolving intentionally at the realization of them. The more comfortable you become with yourself, the less uncomfortable it will feel to admit your weaknesses, and the easier it will become to dive into evolving them. The process will start to feel safer. If you’re lucky, eventually it can become exciting. Discovering a new imperfection will start to feel more like an opportunity than a disaster. Perspective is everything, and guess what? We get to choose!
If you’re reading this, you have internet access, which means you have information about absolutely any topic right at your fingertips. We’re all born with the same knowledge: none. As children, our parents and caretakers teach us. We go to school and are provided general education to work and thrive, create and contribute. But then we become adults and the education is left up to us. If you don’t know what to do first or next, where to start, how to.. why to… well, let me Google that for you. Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to learn how to code? Maybe you need some help staying motivated, or aren’t sure how to break old patterns. Whatever your goal is, “I don’t know how” just isn’t an excuse anymore. I crave information and understanding. I all too often get stuck in a “Google hole” for hours researching topics that relate to the happenings in my life or skills I want to learn. I’ve taught myself HTML, CSS, Photoshop, and WordPress: all by researching those skills online: and then practicing! Somewhere between the blog posts, forums, and message boards, I discover the connecting thread… and am better equipped to plan, in real terms. I can make choices based on more information than I already have because as they say: If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.
Now that you’ve acquired all of this new information, you might think you’re ready to dive in. Hopefully, you’re feeling empowered, inspired, centered, and excited to start applying some of this newfound wisdom. But to be a goal digger, you’ve got to dare to dream, first. After all, you can’t be what you can’t see. Daydreaming about your goal acts as a kind of creative visualization. Don’t daydream about what it would be nice to have, daydream about how you would achieve it. Think about what success of your goal really means, imagine what it looks like. Envision and absorb the pride you will feel when you get there, or should you fail… the pride you will feel from having tried. It’ll give you what you need to try again. Imagine the security that comes with knowing you did everything you could. Consider what might be challenging for you, and daydream about what you’re going to do help yourself through the roadblocks that you are sure to hit on your way. Go overboard. Think big. Shoot for the moon: even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.
Okay, Now Go:
It’s never the right time. You’re never fully ready. It is going to be hard. You are going to want to quit. You’re going to look for and find reasons why you should give up, and they could very well be true. Or maybe not. But here’s the thing: you can’t know for sure if you don’t try. Now that you’re armed with more knowledge than you had before, you’ll have better results than you had before. Don’t listen to the justifications to give up. It’s the ones who ignore that lying little voice called F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) that find a new beginning within every obstacle. We all have that voice of self-doubt inside and we think it’s there to protect us, but really it holds us back. If you don’t fail, you will grow. If you do fail, you will grow. Fail harder every time!
Whatever we start, we start it with the hope that our venture will succeed. Unfortunately, hope alone does not equate effort. Arriving at the race doesn’t mean you’ll get to compete. Get in the car and DRIVE! When you find yourself in a pattern or loop, the only thing that will free you from it is making new choices. One new choice to make is to set it down entirely, but this gets you nowhere you wanted to be: since you ultimately WANTED to succeed. Another choice is to make mindful, intentional decisions at every pass that push past the patterns and take you somewhere new. We must recognize every moment as an opportunity, and bring our A-game to the table when it’s something that is important to us. You cannot advance on auto-pilot. Every individual who has achieved great things: Built great companies, found deeply connected and soulful love, created change that has affected the world… They didn’t give up. They didn’t listen to the reasons why they should. They didn’t believe naysayers. If they failed, they learned from it and they tried something new until it clicked. It does work! None of it was easy, but in the end, they deserved the bounty they found. It’ll hurt, if you fail. But failure doesn’t mean quit, it means try something else. Because I promise you: it will hurt more not to try, and never realize your own success. To always wonder what could have been, had you only bothered to stay the course.
An optimistic truth: everyone can do this! A sad truth: not everyone does or will. We all have incredible potential, but some let opportunities pass them by and others refuse to. Don’t be a victim of your own inertia. Shake it up and dare to dream. Do the work and revel in your success. When you get there, pass it on. Help someone else reach for theirs. It will come back tenfold.