Win every time: Internalizing your goals

Photo: Jonathan Bean

Most of the tasks we set out to accomplish are only somewhat under our direct control. When we externalize our goals, we place the power in the hands of the external world — not a very reliable source.

I’m going to knock out my opponent and win the fight.
Everyone at work is going to love me.
My wife will never get angry with me again (right?).
Every light will be green on the way to work.

Do you hear how insane this sounds? We’re totally setting ourselves up for failure. But really, these are the types of goals we set for ourselves many times throughout every day of our lives. No wonder we’re such an insane culture. Always pissed off and unfulfilled even though we have everything at our fingertips.

Where was I? Oh, right…

When you internalize your goals, you set yourself up to win every time.

Let’s see how the above goals look, internalized…

I’m going to fight my best fight, no matter the outcome.
I’m going to bring my best self to work every day.
I’m going to be the most loving, sex-godly man I can be.
I’m going to enjoy my drive to work and the downtime it affords me.

These are things we have full control over. This is where we need to place our focus.

I know, I know. Sounds totally Pollyanna. But it sure beats being a bitter, angry, stressed-out a**hole, doesn’t it?

Besides, what’s funny is, when we internalize our goals and drop the external result, we give ourselves a higher chance of getting less stressed, emotional, nervous, etc. — and actually achieving the external results we desired as a byproduct.

Frame your goals in a way that set you up to win. Not necessarily over the world ‘out there’. But over yourself, the only true opponent there is.

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