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How Cognitive Tunnelling Could Be Stopping You Reaching your Long Term Goals

Do you ever wonder why your long-term goals feel so unattainable? Even the most motivated people can find themselves focusing on their short-term tasks and goals with little long-term direction. The culprit? Cognitive tunnelling.

First thing's first - why do you need long-term goals?

Long-term goals can be intimidating. Who knows what the future holds? However, they're vital for giving you direction and maintaining motivation. No long-term goals doesn't mean you won't achieve some success, but you won't be making the most of your full ability. You'll take far fewer wrong turns on your journey with a sense of direction.

An end goal also keeps you motivated and striving forward. When daily motivation is lacking - as it can for all of us - knowing where you're headed and the rewards you'll reap can keep you on track.

With all these benefits in mind, it can be shocking to know that 92% of people never actually achieve the goals they set out for themselves.

So where does it all go wrong?

Cognitive tunnelling is the term psychologists use to describe the moment you get overwhelmed by all the options and choices in front of you and so only focus on what is easiest.

It happens to all of us and is a natural human response to stress. But why do we find it so stressful? Three key fears are to blame:

  • Fear of starting

  • Fear of failing

  • Fear of success

These three fears often work in tandem to hold us back from getting started. If you're always waiting for the 'right' moment to get going, fixated on it all going wrong, or even scared of what it could mean if it all goes right, you might never take the first step.

At Projects that Deliver, we want to dispel these fears. How do we do it?

Getting Started

Take the Fear out of Failure

Failure doesn't need to be a dirty word. Simple triumphs can lead to complacency, but mistakes and challenges are prime opportunities to learn and grow.

Learning from past mistakes is key for success but obsessing over them is holding you back. Living in the past and focusing on what went wrong with previous projects can heighten a crippling fear of failure. Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the past can leave you stranded, afraid to do anything for fear of it going wrong.

Understanding the benefits of failure for growth, learning and opportunity helps you stay in the present. We all want to make our work a success. Failure is never the goal, but without a balanced approach to failure, you'll hurt your work more than you help.

Celebrate the Success

It might seem illogical, but fear of success is remarkably common. Achieving your goals can be just as scary as failing to. What happens after? Where next?

It can seem easier to always be working towards your goals rather than fear you've peaked. However, we believe there is always opportunity for growth and improvement. Hitting the goals you set now opens up a whole new world for the next stage of your development. Change might be scary, but it's the only way forward.

Still struggling to reach your long-term goals, or don't even know what they are? Keep your eyes peeled for next week's blog with our best practical tips for setting and smashing your goals!

Or, for a specialised approach, book in for one of our free sessions to see how we can help you hit your goals.

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