Sometimes when I write I surprise myself. “How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?” The other day I was writing about “Hidden Goals” – a topic that popped into my head fully formed – and I found myself typing about the goal to “Never Pass Up an Opportunity to Eat Sugar.” This is to be filed under the category of NOTE TO SELF.
Later, my husband read the post and shared it. We talked about it for a while, and he said he thought most people have hidden goals and aren’t aware of them. Simply talking about the avoidance of physical, social, emotional, financial, and intellectual risks may be too broad and abstract. I started to wonder what other hidden goals there might be, and figured I’d just get started and see what came out of my keyboard today.
First, the original list:
· Avoid publishing to avoid one-star reviews
· Keep all the awesome stuff and keep adding more
· Never pass up an opportunity to eat sugar
· Buy everything I want
· Avoid “depriving myself”
· Fear of Missing Out
· Avoid leaving the house/stay in bedroom or living room as much as possible
· Avoid meeting people
· Avoid company of frenemies
· Avoid confirming suspicion of new medical condition
· Avoid uncertainty about sketchy leftovers by just waiting until they grow spores
· Continue to indulge in behavior even when it is contrary to my best interests
· Get coworkers to leave me alone
· Avoid confrontation
· Prove someone wrong
· Sit in the corner and lick my wounds
· Get sympathy
· Be excused from demands of daily life
· Preserve block of uninterrupted High Quality Leisure Time, even at cost of adequate sleep
· Stay in dead relationship to avoid emotional risk of looking for a new one
· Preserve illusion of perpetual youth
· Look smart
· Try to get everyone to like me
· Conform to stereotypes
· Deny knowledge of mortality
· Prove I’m right and you’re wrong
· Control others
· See if I can actually grow roots that attach me to the couch or computer chair
· Drink all the booze
· Eat all the food
· Manipulate neurochemistry
· Demonstrate autonomy – “You’re not the boss of me!”
· Replace people with furry friends
· Live in a fantasy world
· Dissociate mind from physical/emotional self
· Pretend body does not exist from neck down
· Avoid bodily functions
· Defend self against knowledge of life metrics (bank balance, credit score, blood sugar, etc)
· “Give in to feel good” – temporary mood repair via procrastination
· Look cool
· Keep lid on volcanic personal power that may erupt and change everything
There are other reasons why we don’t do the things we truly want to do. Why, when we have passionate goals, do we let the years go by and not carry them out? Why wouldn’t we just gallop directly toward those dreams? Hidden goals are one reason, but simple lack of knowledge is another. We don’t know the next steps to take. We don’t know the right search terms to put into Google. We don’t know whom to call. We don’t have any friends who have done it whom we could ask for advice. We may not be aware of anything other than a vague, niggling desire to make a change – but to what? Those are topics for another day. Nothing else can hold us back quite as much as self-sabotage.
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.