The Tricky Part of Goal-Setting

How to become an action-packed go-getter

I admire your goal-setting bad self, but I really love your action-packed, goal-getting badass!

It’s one thing to set a goal. Anyone can “set” a goal, but it’s a whole other thing to go after that goal in a no-holds-barred kind of way.

Everything is possible, yet nothing is possible with little to no follow through.

See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them. — Jerry Seinfeld

Same goes for goal setting. You need to hold that goal near and dear to your heart because anyone can “set”, it’s the “getting” that trips us up.

Back in my mid-twenties, I was a corporate cog thinking of how I was going to make it in a career as an accountant when I knew, as soon as I hit the “real world” work scene, that this type of conformity was not for me.

I was working at Pepsi and I remember walking into the building while the Pepsi jingle would play, lulling you into a light trance. Whenever a co-worker would place your call on hold, there would Britany “ba ba baing” you while you waited. It was subconscious brainwashing I remember telling my parents.

I couldn’t even drink Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for fear of disapproval from lowly bosses, do-good employees, and C-levels. (Having your open space cube butted up against the common walkway turned your desk into a roadside attraction.) I had never been more miserable. I knew a life of big corporate rules, and numbers were not what I aspired to do, so I needed to figure something out.

Even thinking about achieving a goal sets the brain in motion. It wants to solve problems, that’s what was designed to do since the beginning of time. And having a goal with no clue as to how to achieve it is like catnip for the brain. It won’t stop working on it until something, anything presents itself as a solution. Setting a goal and then walking away from it to make a sandwich isn’t using this archaic attribute to the best of its abilities.

Present your brain with a goal, and allow it the time to think, ruminate and experiment with possible solutions. Think things through in and out and I bet you, you and your brain can come up with a solution, if not a multitude of them.

When I decided that being a corporate cog wasn’t on my bucket list, I knew my goal was to avoid this at any cost. And your brain is amazing at avoiding pain. (Wonder why sitting on the sofa instead of moving your body until it sweats is easier to do? Why eating a bag of chips over a plate of broccoli isn’t even a conversation your brain will endure? The brain hates pain!)

I allowed my brain to do it’s work and came up with an idea that took guts but I knew if I didn’t try it, I’d be stuck in corporate for a very long time. I decided, without many consults with anyone, to quit. I knew I had to do something drastic, and dragging it out while working on cultivating new skills didn’t seem to work with me. And this was back in the day when dial-up and flip phones were trending.

No online course to help navigate the unknown. Pretty sure was the only well-known job site out there. So I hit it hard and gave it my best to follow my heart and see how a career in graphic design could be for an ex-accountant.

Not an easy transition. But what the heck I thought. I can figure this out.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible — Tony Robbins

Set a scary-ass goal, and then let the brain do its work. You should notice pretty quickly that it will begin to try and lead you toward a solution if you allow it. Once you know your goal, this will lead to research, which brings you to another idea and next thing you know you’re knee deep in data, trying to figure out a solution while learning what your best first step is… and usually it’s pretty simple.

Here’s the trick: Don’t take the whole big lofty goal all on at once!

Your brain will work it out, if you let it, what one little step in the right direction may look like. And then you take it, see where it leads and continue on from there, building off each little step. It creates huge ripples.

My goal to get into graphic design wasn’t easy, but little by little I built up a portfolio (which in hindsight was totally embarrassing and pathetic!) while working in a restaurant as a bartender. This pathetic portfolio then lead me to a job in publishing for a daily financial newspaper working not on the numbers, but on the layout. Imagine that. My first job in graphic design!

The job was in NYC, and surprisingly, it was for the same company, in the same building, and on the same floor where my sister worked. How cool was that? I had no idea until I told her I was going in for an interview.

Life works in funny ways.

Set the goal, allow your brain time to work on it, and then take action. You don’t set and forget. You go and get! No matter how obscure or impossible it may seem. We don’t know our true talents, or how deep our grit runs until we allow it to show up and guide us.

I sometimes refer to that as our superhero mindset which allows us to be that amazing and daring person we want really want to be. To do something bold and daring, which can mean simply taking one small initial step into the unknown. Nothing is impossible if you’re willing to go and get!

And in case you were wondering, I’m no longer a graphic designer. I did that for eight years and then I realized I wanted to work in wellness. So again, I presented my brain with a goal and here we are, making a go of it!

If you’d like to learn how 5 strategies to achieve your fitness goals, without breaking a sweat, you can get that here!

AM Costanzo lives in Westchester NY with her two rambunctious boys and her all-around awesome husband. She is a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and works hard to help women feel strong, powerful and downright fabulous in body and mind!

I write about wellness, weight loss, and creating healthy habits. The ability to have a healthy and happy life lies within you!

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