Why We Don’t Feel We Can Achieve Big Goals, and What the Real Barrier Is

Why We Don’t Feel We Can Achieve Big Goals, and What the Real Barrier Is

Why we don't feel we can achieve big goals, and what the real barrier is. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Here is a person beginning that journey, with their footprints in sand.

Why we don’t feel we can achieve big goals and what the real barrier is. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Tao te Ching) Image: Il Vagabondo on Unsplash.

Why we don’t feel we can achieve big goals

In this post, I explain why we don’t feel we can achieve big goals and what the real barrier is. I’m inspired to write this explanation because of a wonderful request from a soul-colleague:
Can you talk around big goal setting and money please? I feel like there’s a big hustle culture these days and large goals which feel unobtainable. I get the law of attraction and it’s good to aim high, but it can also keep you stuck.
I asked for clarification about what it is specifically that “keeps you stuck” from this soul-colleague. They replied:
    • Why we don’t feel we can achieve big goals
    • What is the real barrier here?
    • How incremental goals build your self belief
    • Linking into that, how structure brings about the steps towards the bigger goal.

They also offered a story:

A bit of context, about 15 years ago I got inspired by this “regular guy”…who became a millionaire in a year using the law of attraction….I set the same goal, but I was sick with fear most of the time, had no plan then didn’t reach my goal. I had a lot of shame and self-hatred after that.
Let me take this wonderful, important question step by step.

So, why don’t we feel we can achieve big goals?

Short answer:

Because we are “small,” regular, normal people. This is how we see ourselves.
So we simply require re-seeing ourselves as normal people with big goals that are a normal part of being normal people.
Like: we are the gods we think are “other people.” We are those other people!
This answer is short so I can move onto the nitty-gritty detail that will help you see yourself this way.

How incremental goals build your self-belief

My soul-colleague understands me well–or already knows that “incremental goals build your self-belief.”
Like my soul-colleague, I too have a story of getting inspired by someone who had huge goals and getting sick (feeling bad in my body). And not making my goal because I trust my body, so I stopped pushing myself.
I took a back seat, and a step back.
And began seeking a path of integration. I have continued since that time last year experimenting toward reaching an income goal that feels very big to me, yet eminently doable, and won’t make me sick. My body keeps guiding me. No more sick. More big steps. So far, so good.
Trust your body

The path is incremental.

The pathway (for me) is incremental. This is what I recommend to the people who read and put into practice what I write, teach, and recommend.
It’s just so much easier and so much more doable.
Incremental goals are where it’s at for me.
There is nothing ‘specially glamorous about incremental goals. This may be why the are the path not chosen, the path least considered.
But they work.

An example

For example, I asked this soul-colleague (who is coaching with me 1:1) to chunk up their long-term income goal from the making and the promotion of their art into a near-term income goal. And I specifically gave them the homework of doing this homework three times:

I propose you do this in three stages:

    1. Allow whatever answers come up immediately in the first stage.
    2. Meditate and then reflect on the questions in the second stage, possibly coming up with a second answer to each.
    3. Meditate and then allow yourself to integrate and come up with a final-for-now answer to each question in order to ground your answers a bit more but still have time to send them to me 24 hours in advance of our [first coaching] session.
And the answers, as you might expect, were similar–but more refined and more realistic each time.
I like this.
This is what I mean by “incremental”: realistic. Body-based. Embodied. Underpromising. Achievable. Unlimited–but easily achievable in the near-term. Unachievable now is unachievable in the future. Yuck. It has to feel good, and doable.
In order to achieve a big goal, it has to feel achievable now.
This is what changes our view of ourselves.
This is a big piece in what makes the huge goal suddenly much more achievable. Because we see ourselves achieving something important. This is all-important.
Once you see yourself achieving something important, you can keep right on doing it.

You may still feel queasy at times.

Let me with compassion avow that you may still feel sick even though you are setting–and achieving–incremental goals. You may still feel fear. I do.
The body takes time to catch up. Sick feelings come because they have developed to protect you and you haven’t had a chance to grow out of them yet. This will come. Get used to feeling queasy sometimes, is my recommendation. Not full-on sick. That’s not ok, pause and rest if that’s what’s happening. If it keeps up: chunk it up even more. Get more incremental.
But a bit queasy is ok.

Structure brings about the steps towards the bigger goal

So the final point is that you can structure your success. You can structure your achievement of the bigger goal. You just make it up! That’s how I do it. I invent a schedule of times, at particular days of the week, like a course I am creating for myself. (Which is what it is.)

And then I follow that course.

I do this because it makes me feel less queasy and sick. It reassures the parts of me who are hesitant that I know what I’m doing, I’m taking it slow, and I’m not just talking a good game about incremental–I’m acting on it.

Here are some resources for “chunking up” and structuring your progress toward the bigger goal you’ve set. Feel free to experiment, modify, and make it your own. Of course, keep progressing toward your bigger goal, and altering the course you’ve set yourself to reflect that. You’ve got this. If you’ve ever studied anything, you understand how to do this. (If you have questions, ask me! I love questions. They’re what inspired this blog post).


So honestly, this is what I know about why we don’t feel we can achieve big goals, and what the real barrier is. Please write me about how this goes for you. It will help me improve my advice, and my writing and videos. Thanks!
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