Stalled Out on the Way to Your Goal?
Facing the possibility of failure can be daunting. Too often, our default is to cling to the familiar even if we’re dissatisfied with our current situation. Pessimism about possibilities offers some comfort, which is why we can find ourselves thinking, “I have to accept that I’m destined to be stuck in a low-paying job” or “I’ll never find the time to learn how to sing, and anyway, what’s the point? I probably have no talent.”
Those are not thoughts that will get you to where you say you want to be.
In brief moments, you might feel the pain of longing, but without the courage to risk trying to reach your goal despite the possibility of failure, you might decide that abandoning hope is the sensible, safe thing to do.
Maybe it is. Maybe you’ll never make more money and have a job you love, but you can’t know that. Maybe you’ll never be a great singer. But who knows what your life could look like if you pursue your passion?
Have you started on the road to what you want to achieve only to lose momentum? Have you stalled out on the way to your goal? If so, and it’s bothering you, maybe it’s time to access your unconscious and remove any blocks to success that are hidden from your awareness.
The truth is that there may be a part of you that’s afraid of moving forward. You can dialogue with that part of yourself. If you do, you might become brave and optimistic enough to get moving again.
What might this part of you say if you were to ask it what’s behind your resistance?
Maybe part of you doesn’t value the goal enough to tolerate the discomfort of slow progress and setbacks. Yet some things that take time and commitment are worth doing even if you don’t achieve your original goal. For example, you might find that if you take singing lessons, you won’t end up with a recording contract, but you enjoy singing so much that you continue—and even become good enough to start singing before audiences.
Maybe your goal is too intimidating for you. What if the part of you who resists your forward movement knows that and has some insights about a better goal for you?
If fear of failure is holding you back, taking small steps toward your goal might help. You might also try writing and repeating to yourself a new, more positive story, such as “I don’t know where I’m going with learning these new skills, but maybe it will lead me to a better job or a side business, even a business that turns out to be lucrative.” Or, “I’m not yet able to sing well, but taking private lessons is building my confidence. Plus, I’m loving the process of developing my voice.”
However, there are other possible reasons for stalling out on the way to your goal and being overwhelmed by the challenge of staying the course. By dialoguing with the resistant part of yourself, you might find that your unconscious offers you unexpected and helpful insights.
Let’s say you set your intention to have this dialogue, enter into a meditative state, and ask the resistant inner you some questions:
Why do I resist staying the course toward my goal?
What am I afraid of?
What would it look like if I had the courage to keep trying? What would I experience?
What do I need to let go of right now?
What do I need to bring in?
What more can you tell me about my resistance to my goal?
The answers might come to you as words or an inner knowing. They might come as symbols or sounds. If you don’t understand the messages you are receiving, don’t try to analyze them. Just pay attention, trusting that later, everything will make sense.
Before you end your dialogue, thank that part of yourself for being honest and for offering you insights that aren’t necessarily making you comfortable. You might journal about the experience or dialogue further to get more information.
You don’t have to give up just because it feels as if you’ll never get your momentum back and your goal is unattainable. Let your unconscious wisdom help you get moving again—toward your original goal or a better one.
If you would like to learn more about shamanic and Jungian techniques, including expanded-awareness practices, that can help you reach your goals, you might want to read my books Change Your Story, Change Your Life and Change the Story of Your Health.
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD, is a retired clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst, a businessman, and a shamanic practitioner, author, and philanthropist funding over 60 charities and more than 850 past and current Greer Scholars. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and been on staff at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being.