It’s common to believe we can attain goals with hard work. However, the most difficult block to achieving goals is our underlying personal identity. 

I know how to set a goal. I know what I really desire. And sadly, I even better somehow know, unknowingly, that I can sabotage my desired goals. It’s frustrating. Is this frustration familiar to you?

Do you ever wonder why? 

It’s often been said desire alone will not accomplish the desired outcome of a goal or goals. 

Why? Shouldn’t desire and a plan to accomplish a desired goal be enough? 

Desire alone is not enough, but why is this?

To begin, it is important to give some attention to reality. Not every goal we have has a thread of chance. For example, it would be quite difficult for a little person to become an NBA star. When playing basketball, height is an advantage. Though there have been shorter-than-average basketball players who were successful in the NBA. Though even then it took extra work and skill to achieve that goal. And a person who wants to be a professional singer needs to have some skill and usually training. Training will not help a tone-deaf person achieve this goal. The reality is one’s goal needs to be reasonably attainable and worth the work. So, when setting goals, there’s a benefit to being reasonably reasonable. As well, belief in the attainability of a goal is also important. Though it’s not impossible to achieve a goal you don’t believe is possible, your belief or doubt can greatly affect the outcome of a goal. 

However, the purpose here is not to put the attention on personal belief. Rather the purpose here is to help understand personal underlying thinking that reasonably interferes with the ability to attain goals. 

We bring with us into our lives many and several past thoughts, actions, experiences, and events. All these thoughts, actions, experiences, and events become our way to interact with our life world. Some of these identities that we create come into our realm at our own hands and choices. Yet, most of the past identities that we carry around in our world are not our own. We carry with us familial, cultural, ancestral, and societal ideas and beliefs (known and unconscious) that are as much a part of our identity as are our physical attributes. All these beliefs are completely out of our knowing, and seldom in our conscious awareness. Most thoughts and actions are very automatic. This automatic response is a part of our survival; it both benefits and hinders us.

We have many automatic responses based on who knows what reasoning or purpose. Automatic responses can keep us stuck when we desire change, yet they can sometimes also be a very valuable survival mechanism. And learning something new, with even very little repetition, can become a pattern. These patterns are, at times, essential in navigating everyday life. For example, imagine what life would be like if we could not retain certain learned things, like buttoning a shirt, brushing our teeth, or other everyday tasks. How would we manage a day without these learned responses? These learned responses make daily tasks easy and automatic. 

As well, these automatic responses keep us doing the same thing again and again. Have you ever stopped at a stop sign or traveled home from a familiar place the same way without thought? Then when something changes, like road construction that keeps you from following the familiar path or a stop sign is removed, you find even with the road work this familiar patterned route will still stop automatically where the stop sign used to be even though it is no longer there. Then it is frustrating to follow a pattern that is no longer helpful. Yet remember we all have several behaviors we automatically do. These are patterned behaviors that can be either helpful or no longer beneficial. 

Even though we understand how these patterned behaviors can have benefits or may be detrimental, it’s not hopeless. Understanding our underlying identities helps us plan and adjust our patterns so goals and success are more attainable. 

So where do these automatic responses come from that become our underlying identity? What makes our best plans so complicated is that these identities come from multiple places and in many ways. 

The more easily identified are the ones we’ve learned. Whether self-taught or taught by another, once learned and practiced enough, these things become habitual behavior. Since these behaviors are initiated by us, understanding how to unravel the set pattern is less complex. When we are the one who sets the underlying pattern into our identity, we better understand the steps initiated to develop them and thus how to work with and change the identified pattern. 

Thus, far more behaviors are not self-initiated. In truth, most behaviors we are born into or with. How often has a person said, “This is the way my family has always done it or done it for years.” Many familial patterns originated well before the family raising you because your family members adopted them in their underlying identities. 

It’s important to remember, that not all are a hindrance, rather most are a benefit, at least initially. Coming into this world with a prior set of identities helps us navigate our world with order, thus reducing chaos. It is up to you to decide which holds benefits and which are not beneficial and need change or adjusting.

One way to become aware if the underlying identity is an old family practice is to reflect on the length of the identity in your life. All your life? Who told you this or how did this particular identity come to be? When you can say “all of my life,” it is a clue that it’s been acquired not through your own choice or personal development. Through reflection, you can determine if there are other ways, manners, and identities that have come to you from the past. 

As well, another manner in which the past has come into your present life is through past life experiences that became a strong influencing factor in the present, bringing underlying thoughts to become an integral factor in this life identity. These identities are often so familiar to the individual that they seem a part of the person, yet they are not a common family view. Sometimes the family description is to explain this is not common to family thoughts, values, or actions, just a part of the individual. 

Remember many factors make up a person, with parents and school the primary influencing factors. But we also bring past life, inherited, societal influences, and more into this life. We are complex individuals with many varying and different underlying identities we’ve taken on as our own authentic. Some fit and some do not. You are the only one to decide.

When one wants to create a change in their life, known and unknown factors can stand in the way of effective change. There are though a few techniques to try to help sort out where the originating obstacle comes from to help move around that obstacle.

The first suggestion is to spend time reflecting. Begin your reflection on what and why you desire a certain change and clarify what is your desired outcome. It’s important to evaluate what you want to change. More than what you want to move away from, focus on what you are moving toward. 

Focusing on your desired outcome is the next important step. How connected are you emotionally with the outcome? A weaker connection does not automatically mean it’s not a desired change. It may mean at this moment the factors to overcome feel too overwhelming. When this is so, you need to dig deeper for reasons and motivation. When you can, it is a viable desire. If you cannot, then it’s important to rethink and evaluate the desire. 

Identify what is holding you from achieving your desired outcome. Is it believable to you? Is it too ambitious at the moment? See if you can identify what’s holding you back. Are there others who do not believe in what you desire or who are trying to sabotage your outcome? As you gain clarity on the reasons that are holding you back, decide if this is still your desire to achieve this goal. At any point, it is perfectly alright to choose to change your direction.  Permit yourself to change your mind if you choose because it is your choice. Though make sure it is your choice.

Now, since you’ve done your background work on clarifying and identifying your desired change and outcome, you are more ready to achieve that goal.

Sometimes, it’s important to include in your plan a stage of progression toward your desired outcome. Maybe taking steps will make the outcome and manner to get there kinder, easier, and more manageable. One step done well is better than going from barely walking to failing an unplanned marathon. This is one good reason to take your change process in steps and manageable stages. 

Even with all this preparation, you still have underlying identities that can and often will attempt to change your progress. The more you understand about yourself in your process of change, the more power to give yourself to achieve success. 

With clarity, focus, and desire, you can use your preparation to help you face and move around blocks. Each of the blocks you face you can then handle differently. If the block is from an action you undertook, you use your underlying wisdom to help you change the block to a new achievable outcome. 

Being able to sort out self-imposed blocks from those inherited from family history, parents, school, society, or other outside sources gives you a powerful ability to understand how to release them. Setting those blocks aside, even though they may be ingrained and practiced by you, becomes easier when you have the foreknowledge of knowing they originate from others and are not intrinsically your own. 

However, past life experiences and understanding how and why those areas became a block is more challenging. Past life work often is the best way to find out how one action in a past life has become so influential and intrusive in this life. 

There are many ways to become familiar with your underlying identities, how they behave, and how they are influencing your present life, as well as affecting your desired life to be lived. Use all the tools available to create your life to be your own. Gain your clarity, focus, insights, investment, and preparation to bring to you your desired life. Live your authenticity.

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