A Slip, A Lapse, A Collapse

I ran across the post by Capt. Chadwick Ackison, a clinical psychologist and chief of the Resiliency Element, on SMART goals (here) .  He talked about setting goals and also about getting sidetracked – experiencing slips, lapses, and collapses.  These are the realities of moving forward on dreams and goals.


Capt. Ackison describes – a slip as a slight deviation from the plan or a mistake that is not consistent with the end goal.  A lapse is a series of slips, and a collapse… well… that is back on the couch.  As Capt. Ackison says, if we quickly identify the slips we avoid both lapses and collapses and not derail our goals.


To correct slips (and yes even lapses and collapses) it is important to know the why of our goal.  The why is the intrinsic motivation.  The why is what value and benefit reaching/completing the goal has for us.  Are the benefits greater than the concerns?  The concerns can be time, money, energy, fears (yes, being scared to take the next step in the unknown), or even a simple as disrupting our current routing.  The benefits – the value to move forward – are our reasons for doing it  (not anyone else’s’ reasons).


Even with strong motivation staying on track can be a challenge.  Fear and survival kick in.  It is tough to do the uncomfortable or the unknown because that may not be “safe”.  Our self-protection is initiated and dissuades us from taking the next step because we are unsure what the result may be.  It is scary and the “what ifs” raise their ugly faces.  As in the SMART goal system you need to be specific.  In addition, breaking the goal down into steps a backwards flow plan.  Asking what has to be done right before the goal is achieved and before that – who, what, when, where – needs to be done to the tiniest step that you can do today.  A little step is easy to see as being doable.  Fear is out-smarted and you can take a step.  Forward movement creates an energizing effect that perpetuates movement.  Hooray!


Another challenge that can interrupt our movement and dissipate our commitment is feeling all alone in our pursuit.  We are humans and connections make a difference.  Having a buddy or a support team provides encouragement and accountability.  Someone to take the journey with us provides the opportunity to – be understood as we struggle;  be held accountable; have a celebration for progress; brainstorm ides for obstacles; and for you to do the same.


Yet, a side trip may have its advantages also.  First recognize you are off the most direct path.  Then look at the factors surrounding the change in route.  Is it fear, hesitation, lack of energy; or is it curiosity, new interest, an augmentation to the goal, a more fined tuned niche, an unexpected connection, or a leap in the goals direction?  If it is one of the latter, integrate it into your plan and run with it or define it further seeing where it takes you.  Parallel paths are acceptable.  Refining the goal and pathway is part of the journey.


Remember slipping, lapsing, and collapsing are not an end all.  Heighten your awareness and your strategies, and keep stepping.  What goals are you working on?  Who is your support?  What is your plan?  What is your next step today?

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