Teen Space

What lies between your goal and you?

Man looking out over a calm lake

Do you ever feel directionless in the real world? As if in a dream or a zone? You think you’re working hard, yet aren’t getting anywhere? You’ve given it your best but it hasn’t shown results? Striving towards a goal is good, but the right recipe is also essential in order to make a perfect tasting dish. If you haven’t spent time on figuring what you want, you’re not likely to get it. But also, if you know what you want, yet have no clue on how to achieve it, you still will not get to it. So what’s really occupying the space between you and your goal?

Based on the age and stage of life, our goals and targets comprise doing something that we know is good for us and we’ve been overlooking, or about stopping something that we agree is harmful or counterproductive, yet have been unable to resist. Teenagers frequently set goals focused on diet, exercise, studies and friendships; but in no time, they fizzle out. Is there something missing in our target that we need to attend to?

Behaviour drivers

Motivation is the energy that pulls us towards a goal, or rather pushes us to actions that help achieve it. If you resolve to ace the final examination, there could be several motivators driving you. Could it be true that you…
… just want to avoid the furore of your parents?
… were promised a new bike if you did well?
… are very keen on a scholarship?
… want to prove that you’re really smart?
… like any challenge, and want to be successful?
… are ambitious and like to excel in everything?
… feel it’s your duty at that age to study hard?

No matter what the ultimate target, there are external drivers as well as an inner momentum that feeds into the desire to stick to the path and resist temptation to falter. But we are human, and we can slip. Do you notice any of the following factors that may have contributed anytime to your slipups? Think about them.

Lack of control
By design, human beings are not immune to temptation. It takes a good deal of self-awareness to maintain focus and not lose sight of the goal we’ve set for ourselves. Temptation works its charm by blurring the distant vision to blur the target and make it seem unimportant for the moment. The enhanced near vision in return, allows the tempted object or action to look enticing, attractive and harmless. That’s when we lose self-control. We watch the movie instead of studying, chat on the phone instead of doing homework, choose the burger over a salad, and skip exercise to sleep in late. Without self-control, every distraction can lure you and you are less likely to resist it. Always keep the target in sight, use reminders, posters, alarms and notes that help you remember why you started out so you’ll know why you should stick to your path to reach the goal.

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Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.