Do you experience chronic physical pain, tiredness, anxiety, depression, headaches, hormonal issues etc but have no logical medical reason why? In the same breath, do you have goals you want to accomplish, dreams bundled up inside and it seems impossible to make your life vision a reality? Do you think for one moment these two scenarios listed can be inter-connected? I have concluded that many people are suffering from a lot of chronic diseases and unexplained illnesses because of unknown sources of stress. The sources are in plain sight. I did a small survey within my group and found several women suffering from various physical ailments including fatigue, body aches, getting sick easily, headaches and anxiety. They all related these ailments to the fact that they found their goals where elusive. Maybe my question was leading so the evidence could be biased. Therefore, I went to research the topic to go a little deeper.
I stumbled upon a study that was done by the University of Liverpool and the University of Exeter. They asked a group of depressed people and another group of people who were not depressed to list their goals.
They found that the depressed individuals had less specific goals, as compared to the controls.
The researchers came up with the following conclusions:
- Reduced specificity of goals is likely to undermine motivation
- “…an inflexibly abstract construal of personal goals may underlie depression.”
In other words, not having specific goals can lead to depression. This is a very significant finding in my opinion and if you think about it, it’s common sense. Feelings of failure are overwhelmingly depressing, while feelings of success have the opposite effect. If a person has a long history of failures whether large or small, it is easy to think negatively about one’s own abilities and to avoid committing oneself to future targets. In other words, an individual does not avoid specific goals because she’s depressed. Rather, she’s depressed because she avoids setting specific goals (and thereby deprives herself of the opportunity to experience feelings of success).
Setting very general goals is a way of not setting goals at all. Some people set very generic goals like I want to grow my business or I want to get a promotion but obviously, these goals are very vague and would not come to fruition unless broken down into smaller, more detailed goals. For example, if you want a promotion you should first ask yourself what would be needed to get you too that next level to be considered for the promotion. It may include you completing your studies in that field, improving in a area or simply having a candid talk with your boss about your objectives. Whatever it is, you need to first identify what is needed and then break it down into what steps will get you there.
In discovering this how can one get rid of feelings of depression, anxiety and other illnesses because of not accomplishing or setting specific goals. The answer is simple yet most people miss it.
1.Set a vision for your life. A very specific vision. Write down exactly how you want your life to look. If you are still thinking “it makes no sense writing this down, it can’t happen for me” this is exactly what is causing the stress in your life. When you look at the big vision and get frustrated or angry because you can’t see yourself their *yet* it leads you to feel sick, anxious and depressed. However, the key is to focus on changing that mindset and simply take all emotions out of it and write the vision that you want to see happen in as much details as possible. Also picture the vision is all its glory, colour and vibrancy in your mind’s eye and hold that image and feeling in your heart and soul.
2. Pick the very first thing you need to do, and that you *can* do right now. Just the first thing. Not a list of ten things not your top three goals. Just pick the first thing that you can do now that will take you one step further to your vision. And here’s the catch, lean in let me whisper the secret to you……“actually do it”. Yes, that’s the big secret, just do the one thing that you can accomplish today that would take you one step closer to your vision.
3. Celebrate your first little success and then rinse and repeat every single day. It’s honestly going to be very hard to get depressed or anxious if you are making constant progress every single day to your vision and taking the time out to celebrate that progress daily.
No complaining, no negative thoughts, no stress…just constant momentum and self-love every day.
When you celebrate yourself, endorphins are released inside your body and you feel incredible. When you accomplish something, and don’t take the time to celebrate, you are robbing yourself of an important feeling that reinforces your success. As we discussed earlier so much of what you do in our life, career or business is driven by your psychology. Celebrating your wins not only feels great physically, but it reinforces the behavior you want to show up when you face a new challenge or opportunity. On the other hand, if you fail to celebrate your many accomplishments, you are training your brain that what you are doing isn’t all that exciting and important. Simply put, the lack of celebration will lead to a feeling of emptiness that will then cause feelings of depression, anxiety and illnesses. It’s a negative cycle that you can avoid and overcome.