Most goals usually set off on a high note. At the beginning, you are self-driven and motivated to achieve them. You diligently adhere to your plan. When you do, you feel terrific. You are on an upward momentum and the possibilities of what’s next excites you. For a while, you look forward to what’s next.
But then after a period of time, the momentum wanes. You think about the goal, but you don’t feel like working on it. You become rooted by inertia and you start to procrastinate. Frustrated by the lack of results, you begin to resist your goals. You subconsciously turn to other activities as avoidance.
When Goals Stop Working
I’m an advocate of goal setting because it works. Goals are important and they serve their place. If you don’t already set goals on regular basis, here are 6 important reasons why you should do so.
But there are times when goals don’t work. Such as:
- When you no longer feel motivated by the goals.
- When you dread/avoid working on the goals. You see them as a chore, another “task” to be completed. You have to literally force yourself just to do them.
- When your goals make you feel lousy about yourself (more than they inspire you).
- When you feel your goals are like a burden.
- When you don’t even remember why you want those goals in the first place.
There are times when I feel burdened by my goals. For example, I set targets to write a certain number of articles and guest posts every month. If I don’t achieve them after the goal date, I would feel lousy. Then for a period of time, I would be dancing the tango between trying to accomplish the goal ASAP and getting nowhere in it.
I have learned from experience that forcing myself to write is the last thing to do when I feel uninspired. Doing so brings me nowhere. Not only do I spend a copious amount of time and effort just to get the words out, the end result is unreadable. The writing is convoluted, the words are empty, nothing connects in the writing with the reader – you can easily tell it’s written in an uninspired state. Articles I write when I’m uninspired never get to see the light of the day. Whatever writing I manage to churn out gets deleted/trashed, and in the end I’m back to the drawing board (or in this case, the WordPress editor). Now that’s a whole load of time and effort wasted and I feel even worse off because all my effort went down to the drain.
Likewise for some of my clients, there are times when they have goals which they are no longer inspired by. Initially they would be enthusiastic about their goals, sticking to the plans they created and making good headway. But after a while, they begin to slip. They feel bad about it and try to pick up the pieces with limited success, making them feel even worse. They become weighed down by their goals, as if they are a ton of bricks.
If you find this happening to you, that’s means your goals no longer inspire you. That means it’s time to relook into your goals list.
Relooking Into Your Goals List
The very reason why you set goals is so you can achieve more than you would without goals. Yet, if your very goals are putting you off, making you feel crappy and causing a misalignment inside you, then your goals aren’t exactly helping you to achieve more. In fact, they are probably making you achieve lesser than normal since it’s stirring up all these negativity in you. You are too busy resisting and battling these stray thoughts that you are too tired to do anything else. That’s red alert that something is wrong.
There are various reasons why you may be uninspired by your goals now:
- You became attached to your performance of those goals. When you didn’t achieve your earlier milestones, you became weighed down. This snowballs into a bigger burden over time and repeat encounters.
- Your goal was just a way to achieve your desired outcome, which should be your real goal to begin with. (Read Principle #4 on Objective vs. Activity Goals.) It has since become irrelevant as you know of other, better ways to achieve your envisioned outcome.
- You lost touch with why you wanted these goals or there is no longer a reason to achieve these goals
- Your priorities/interests have changed and you are no longer interested in achieving these goals
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Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man a Rooster in disguise.
OK, jokes aside, rising up early has been advocated by numerous Time Management and productivity experts out there. You will scores of blogs talking about how to become an early riser, giving you challenges to become an early riser, give you benefits of rising early etc etc. Around 1400+ years ago, Islam instituted the Fajr prayer which is performed just after dawn and before the sun rises. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) made the following dua (prayer) for the people of his Ummah (his followers):
“Oh Allah, bless my Ummah in the early part of the morning” (Tirmizi)
The folks at ProductiveMuslim.com have come out with a great animated video on praying Fajr (and staying awake after it)! It highlights perfectly the productivity boost you get by the early morning start, with the spiritual calmness that praying Fajr gives you. In addition, you get to take advantage of the dua of the Prophet (SAW)!
It is not an easy thing, requires making changes in your life (sleeping early for one!), and needs strong will power. However, I can say from personal experience that the prayer I enjoy the most is the Fajr prayer in the masjid. Moreover, the day that I sleep through Fajr time, my day is always tired and lazy. I am still not at the level that I manage to stay up after Fajr (even after going to the masjid!) but that is because I have been unable to change my sleeping habits to turn in early at night. May Allah make me and the rest of us among those who pray Fajr in the masjid and make us among those who stay awake after it. Aameen.
This article is taken from another website. Views expressed in this article are those of the author and may or may not be the views of From The Pulpit and DiscoMaulvi
The author, Saiyyidah Zaidi-Stone is an executive business coach and founder of non-profit organisation WorkingMuslim. She lives in London with her husband and two children.
‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ is a question my mum used to ask me all the time. The naive six-year-old me said, ‘I want to be happy’. I’m sure that there are psychologists out there that can deconstruct that answer.
So is the 38-year-old me happy? It’s a small, simple question but one that makes you think. I have managed to get to the top of my career as a female working in the construction industry. I am one of only 10 female Fellows of the Association for Project Managers. But does status bring happiness? I am married with a son and daughter, but am I happy?
Ask them and most people will say they are fairly happy. Happiness is a complex equation with various ingredients in different proportions – it’s not a simple Victoria sponge cake! Good health, a loving family, a good job, a decent wage, living in a ‘nice’ house, believing in God… They’re all ingredients in the cake of happiness. We can debate the last one, but it’s been proven by psychologists that a belief in God does increase happiness. Dare I say it? I am a happy headscarf-wearing Muslim woman.
"I turned down a six figure job in order to do this, and am I happy? Absolutely."
Muslim women are portrayed in the media as oppressed, unhappy and downtrodden. Well, can I refute that stereotype please? I am no different to any of you reading this article. We all smile when we see a cute dog running in the park or get annoyed when we left our umbrella at home. I recently decided to leave my job and move onto pastures new. I wanted to try different things and explore how I can fully utilize my skills I have. I want be a pebble that creates some waves! I turned down a six figure job in order to do this, and am I happy? Absolutely. But at the same time, there is always the odd bit of anxiety that creeps in and makes me wonder if I made the right choice. It’s that self-doubt that can kill happiness.