Setting Personal Goals: Reconcile With the Past

Setting Personal Goals:  Reconcile With the Past
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Have you ever set a goal – for the 2nd…or 3rd…or nth time!?  How frustrating!  Obviously, something is holding you back…or you really don’t want it very badly after all.  Unless the goal is totally unachievable for some reason, it’s likely that your obstacle is something from the past.  It could be in the form of doubts that you have – limiting beliefs that are holding you back. In order to liberate yourself from those doubts…and eliminate the frustration from trying the same thing yet again with eroded confidence…you need to find a way to put the past in the past.  This article explores how to reconcile with your past in order to clear the way for the future you’d like to create. 

This is the second of a series of four articles on “Setting Personal Goals”, where we explore some of the nuances that will put you on the path to achieving greater levels of personal success.  This article, Part 2 in the series, “Reconcile With the Past,” looks at ways of dealing with your past…to overcome the cynicism that may have crept into your thinking. Part 1, “Write Down What You Want”, looks at your desires as the first step – not the last – toward achieving your goals.  Part 3, “Lay Out a Path to Your Future,” provides a fresh prescription for setting your goals once you have clarity and have dealt with the past. Finally, Part 4, “Be Grateful Every Day”, encourages you to take on an attitude of gratitude in order to maintain positive thinking in the face of obstacles to achieving your goals.  

Making peace with the past frees you to move forward.

The first step in reconciling with the past is to look at what you wanted in the past year – or maybe even longer – and think about how it went.  You may have some victories – think hard about that and give yourself a moment to acknowledge that some good things have happened! And you may have some failures…where you fell well short of where you’d like to be.  Write enough to allow yourself to spill out any disappointment…and any reasons for the disappointment.

Here are three actions that can be helpful to putting closure to the past…to help energize you for the future:

  1. Accepting – Putting closure to the past involves a healthy dose of acceptance.  Whatever happened is finished; it’s over, in the past…and today is a new day. In writing down your explanations of how it went, do you see some areas where you have not yet accepted the outcome…where you are still holding on and dwelling on what happened?
  2. Reframing – In reviewing how you are thinking about the past…and what happened over the past year…do you see opportunities to think about things differently?  Were some things learning experiences, where you can move forward older and wiser? Reframing, or re-explaining what happened in a different way, can help you to not only accept it, but to derive something valuable from it that will help you move forward.
  3. Tapping a Hidden Motivation – Again, looking through your explanations of what happened last year, do you see some areas of substantial pain?  What bothered you the most? Therein may be the hint to what you most want…and to what you are most motivated to do.

Before firming up on your goals for the new year, spend some time thinking about the past year and make peace with it.  In doing so, you may find the keys for success at what you most want for the new year.

Have you taken the time to make peace with the past year…and close that chapter?

This Post is Part of the Series: Setting Personal Goals

These articles explore some of the nuances that will put you on the path to achieving greater levels of personal success. 

  1. Write Down What You Want
  2. Reconcile With the Past
  3. Lay Out a Path to Your Future
  4. Be Grateful Every Day