When [X] --> Then [Y]
Something I have observed over the years is our uncanny ability to meticulously plan the explanation of "when X, then Y". This sounds extremely simple, and yet, you might even not realize you're doing it. Allow me to explain...
Everyone has goals, right? Things like: getting promoted, getting married, losing weight, finishing school, buying a car, paying off those credit cards and so on. Your goals are absolutely perfect. However, they are not what you actually want. Most "goals" are just brilliant strategies to achieve something else, and that something else is a feeling.
MY PERSONAL GOAL: PAY OFF MY CREDIT CARDS
One of my goals for years was paying off my credit card debt. That is a completely reasonable goal. Who wouldn't want to be debt-free? Except, according to this post... that was just a strategy to achieve something else.
MY SUBCONSCIOUS EQUATION:
When (I pay off my credit cards) --> Then (I will feel like an adult)
This equation took me a very, very long time to figure out. I had to look really hard at some of my overarching "goals" and ask myself the question "when I achieve that, what will be different for me?" Most of the time, the answer is, "I will feel differently".
As my readers might have learned from past posts, I have always had a hangup about my age. I have allowed this thought of "I'm not old enough" to run my life for many years. I desperately want to be comfortable with my age. To feel like an adult.
That's where this goal steps in.
One of the clever ways I decided I would achieve this feeling of "being old enough" was by paying off my credit cards. I decided that "adults don't have credit card debt" and that once I was able to make enough money to pay off my credit cards, I would officially be an adult.
For many years, I carried around thousands of dollars of credit card debt. Paying every month, then treating myself by charging some, then paying some more, then feeling guilty about what I was spending and how much debt i had. This cycle proved me right. As long as I had credit card debt, I would continue to be protected by the thought of "not being old enough". [The universe loves to prove us right.]
The secret was, I didn't need to pay off my credit cards in order to be confident with my age, I was just using that as a benchmark. I decided that accomplishment would make me feel differently. When X, then Y.
A few other examples I can think of are things like:
"When I get a promotion, then the people will listen to my ideas." (Searching for respect?)
"When I retire, then will finally be able to relax." (Searching for freedom / choice?)
"When I lose 10 pounds, then I will look better in whatever I wear." (Searching for confidence or acceptance?)
"When I get married, then I will be happy." (Searching for connection / security?)
Now I ask my readers: What is your equation? Leave it in the comments here or send me an email with it. Don't feel bad if you don't recognize it right away, sometimes it takes a very long time to admit what you are really searching for.