Featured Image

Why too big, too soon can cause your goals to fail

Don’t let burn-out block your goal

As human beings with human brains, achieving our goals can easily fall into a messy process. If doing what we set out to do was a walk in the park, coaching and self-help wouldn’t be the multi-million industry it is today.

One of the most common mistakes I see people make in trying to reach their dream is the ‘burn-out’ method. Let me explain how it works.

Too much, too big, too soon

We love massive transformation, don’t we? Before and after pictures. The overnight success. It’s incredibly seductive. It’s also trap. I often work with people who want to start a new business idea or change career. When they decide what they want, they enjoy an initial surge of excitement and energy. They’re researching, reaching out to people, making applications, or creating new things. They are high on the prospect of living their dream.

Their initial rush is usually followed by a dip. They’re tired. Their nervous system feels frazzled at volume of work they’ve done and fear starts to wade in with thoughts like “What if I never make any money?” “What if I never make it?” “Am I good enough?”. Their brain jumps ahead to worst case scenarios: being destitute, on the street, with no hope and prospects. As they’re imagining a future in those terms, no wonder they lose motivation.

The antidote

Harness the energy of the thrill of your big dream and ground it in daily actions. Lower your gaze to the small, consistent steps you can take to move yourself towards your goal. This is particularly important if you already have lots of time and energy constraints like a demanding job or family commitments.

A great question to ask yourself is: “what one thing could I do daily, which by doing it would make my goal an inevitability?”

What would that be for you? To reach out to one person every day to ask them about the work they do? To spend 30 minutes a day creating content for your new business? To practice your pitch or presentation for 15 minutes every day?

The power of reward

When you achieve your daily goal, give yourself a dopamine hit by rewarding yourself. One example could be ticking it off on your calendar (which gives a sense of satisfaction) and giving yourself a bigger treat after you’ve stuck to it for a week or a fortnight.

Crafting a consistent, enjoyable process for achieving your goal will make it happen so much more effortlessly as you’ll keep mind drama to a minimum. If your motivation drops off, reconnect to the big picture of what the goal is going to bring you. Consistency is far more powerful over the long term compared to short, sharp bouts of action that leave you exhausted.

Here’s a quote from habits expert James Clear which makes the point perfectly:

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it  – but all that had gone before”.

Help for goal-setting success

If you have a dream you want to work towards but overwhelm or fear is getting in the way, you’re very welcome to book in for my free Clarity Call. Together we can pinpoint what needs to change and see how I can help you succeed in your goals free from burn-out, anxiety or imposter syndrome.


1 June 2022