Being able to maintain motivation and momentum is challenging when pursuing goals. Our preference is for things to be easier and to achieve our goals fast.
However, is it better to achieve goals really easily or should they be challenging?
The starting point is to know the purpose of setting goals. While the actual achievement a goal is a benefit, the real purpose of setting goals is for us to go beyond our comfort zone and challenge ourselves to grow.
When we set goals that are challenging, it’s inevitable we’ll face hurdles or obstacles, which can slow us down. This was the case for me when I was preparing for my TEDx presentation.
To speak on a TEDx stage, there are a number of iterations to go through before being deemed ready for the stage. These include drafting an outline of your presentation that satisfies the TEDx guidelines, having an interview with a member of the selection committee, recording yourself presenting your talk, and finally doing a full dress rehearsal on stage. As the presentation has to be less than 18 minutes, I found myself really struggling to stay under the time limit.
My previous presentations were longer than 30 minutes, and while trimming it down to 18 minutes may sound simple, I had to ensure the structure and flow of my presentation was of a high standard. It took me over three months before I was happy with my presentation.
That’s a long time to take to craft an 18-minute presentation, however the fact I started slowly, helped me give the best presentation I had ever given. Therefore, it was a blessing to have a slow start.
Why Starting Slow is Better When Pursuing Goals
If you ever find yourself discouraged by the fact that your goals are taking longer to achieve than you expected, here are five reasons why a slow start can actually be a good thing.
- It forces us to look at weaknesses we may have overlooked. When something isn’t working out, we’re forced to examine the reasons why that’s the case. On most occasions, we discover it’s something within us we need to address — whether it’s a limiting belief we have or whether it’s a lack of knowledge or skill. Once we address these weaknesses, we’ll reap the benefits for all our future endeavours.
- It challenges us to tap into resources within ourselves we didn’t know we had. Any challenge we face gifts us the opportunity to draw upon our inner strength. We all have it — it’s whether we’re consciously activating those resources that are currently lying dormant, waiting to be used.
- It expands our creativity and problem-solving abilities. We’ll find throughout history, some of the greatest inventions were spurred by a major problem that had to be solved. Think of how travel or communication have evolved over the centuries. Wherever there is a big problem, there is also a big opportunity, which is also an opportunity to be more creative.
- It makes us handle failure or disappointments better. We will not always succeed in everything we do. The more things we try, the more we’re likely to fail, however, we’re more likely to succeed as well. A slow start can force us to change our approach to things and develop a higher level of resilience.
- It helps us grow personally and develop a higher level of competence. The main benefit of a slow start is we grow personally or professionally, and in the process, we acquire new knowledge, develop new skills, and form new habits and behaviours. These all support us in having more competence in the area of our choosing.
Whenever a goal takes longer to achieve, we shouldn’t feel discouraged. Instead, if we’re aware obstacles and distractions are all part of the process, and if we stay committed to what we want to achieve, our goals will eventually become our reality. And in the process, we’ll increase our capacity to handle anything that comes our way.
Action Step: Review your goals regularly and for any goal you feel is progressing slowly, look for why that may be better for you by going through the above five points again.
Question: What do you prefer — achieving a goal easily or being challenged while achieving a goal? Why?