Creating Goals and the Fear of Falling Down

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, June 10, 2020
By Ricardo Sardina , LMHC

I remember almost four years ago, I was making the decision on leaving an agency that I was involved with for over 15-years. I had a lot of great memories, friends, and received a lot of experience during that time.  When it was time to move on, the concern of failure began to overwhelm me, and the fear, as a man, of disappointing those around me, especially my family, grew.  Negative thoughts began to run in my head and I began to believe I was unable to accomplish my dream of going into private practice.

Many of us have probably experienced something similar in our lives.  The fear of falling and failing can be paralyzing. A lot of times when we feel this way, we tend to not move forward in our lives, and we settle with what is comfortable. When this occurs, we are simply missing out on the opportunity of achieving our goals and dreams.

To do list

It was not until I took a step back and began thinking of all the other times I’ve fallen down, that I realized what an amazing opportunity this would be. We all have our share of disappointments, making wrong choices, being picked on, or simply being hurt by those who we thought cared. In reality, not only are these experiences painful and devastating, but these experiences teach us how to get up and keep on moving forward. At the time, we might not realize these negative experiences are learning experiences, teaching us how to stand up and keep moving.  I also began thinking we always have a choice.  We can choose to settle with comfort, or we can choose to keep moving. I chose to keep moving. If I had decided to remain comfortable, I would not have reached my goal and accomplish much more than what I expected.
Below are some suggested ideas that help in moving forward.

  • Goals: One of the best ways is setting up small goals. This will help guide us in the direction we want to go in life. By having these small goals, you get a confidence boost and the feeling you are heading in the right direction. Most importantly, when you achieve a small goal, you are one step closer to the larger goal you want to accomplish. For instance, it’s like high school freshmen overworking themselves because they need to do well in school in order to attend a good university. Instead of thinking that far into the future, it’s easier to have a small and more realistic goal…like taking it one semester at a time.
  • Be Positive: It’s so easy to think negatively to the point we believe we’re not going to reach our goal in life, or that we do not deserve anything good, or that we are simply going to fail. When we think positively, it’s a great way to maintain the confidence we need to keep moving forward and closer to what we want to achieve. Our negative thoughts are powerful, and at times overwhelming.  However, I am a strong believer that there is always something positive that will help us keep moving. If your negative thoughts keep you from thinking positive, consider speaking to a therapist or psychologist who could help guide you in the direction you are aiming for.
  • Be Patient: One of the main things to remember is that, in order to succeed and keep moving forward when accomplishing your goal, you need time and a lot of patience. We can’t hurry the process of success. By moving forward and being patient, we get to see our mistakes and learn from them.
  • Have a backup plan:  Better known Plan B.  If plan A doesn’t work out, having a backup plan can help you feel more secure about moving forward or getting up again. As I mentioned before, we learn from our mistakes and there are times that our goals in life change.  Having a plan B might be the real goal you were meant to accomplish. My major in college was teaching and I always wanted to work with children. I wanted to make a difference in their lives.  However, I realized I disliked the classroom setting, and dealing with 30 or more kids at a time was not for me. I began to become overwhelmed because I didn’t know what my next step should be, in terms of a career choice. A friend of mine brought to my attention my minor, which was psychology, AKA my plan B. It’s safe to say that switching to Psychology was my true goal.

As we all know, it hurts when we fall, but always remember that just because you fall it doesn’t mean you can’t stand up and keep moving. Learn from your mistakes and try again. It’s all part of the course in reaching our true goal.