Challenging Goal? Add Leverage to Create Momentum

Have you ever found that you set a goal, one that makes you stretch,  then found yourself forgetting to chant about it or finding reasons why you don’t want it after all? You might develop doubts that you can ever achieve it. You have encountered the normal resistance we all face when we start to grow. I discussed this in my last post, “Steps to Making Personal Changes When Chanting for a Goal.”

Ask, Why Do I Want This Goal?

Ask yourself , “Do I have strong reasons for setting this goal, strong enough to make it a determination rather than just a wish?” Did something happen in your life to push you set this goal? For example:
 Did you set a goal to become fit because you had a health scare?
 Do you have a strong desire to contribute to the world in some way, to accomplish something important to you?

Man Hand writing What Is Your Reason? with black marker on visual screen. Isolated on background. Business technology internet concept. Stock Photo
 Are you facing a serious problem that you must solve?
 Are you trying to forge a new, expanded identity?
 Do you want to overcome a weakness?

Remind yourself of all the reasons you set this goal to begin with. Write them down to remind yourself. A strong non-negotiable “why” can make all the difference when you hit your resistance to change.

Add Some Leverage    

Man moving up graphic with help of lever. Metaphoric

Since you wanted the goal initially, create some leverage to get yourself back on track.

Leverage can come in many forms and gives us the additional boost we need to keep us from slipping into old patterns. Leverage can help us overcome the reluctance to move forward. Some examples:
 Put a list of your reasons for setting this goal on your altar.
 Share your goal with a partner or your Buddhist group.
 You might announce that you are setting this goal at a discussion meeting and then report back once a month on your progress or lack there of.
 Ask a friend to hold you accountable for taking steps.
 Set a challenge for yourself like signing up for a race or attending a class at the gym. Maybe you have to hire a trainer or an online coach to hold you accountable
 Set a drop-dead date by which you will have completed your goal.
 Reward yourself after taking a step that is a challenge

My Experience

Before writing my first books, I had a history of loving the beginning of a project, but then losing motivation and follow through. When I wrote my first books, I had strong non-negotiable reasons for writing them. My writing critique group gave me the leverage I needed to write on a regular basis, provided regular deadlines for submitting my work, and encouraged me. My chanting practice kept me on track by giving me topic ideas. My prayer kept my end goal in front of me. Short daily Buddhist readings showed me what I had to address in myself to be successful.

All of these things gave me the boost that I needed to keep moving forward when I engaged with my resistance to the personal growth required. Leverage can help you
too and then you will experience success with that difficult goal.

Excited, happy girl giving thumbs up showing success, isolated on pink background.

  • Pam McLellan says:

    Very helpful article! Thanks for the practical tips for those of us who are new to the practice.

  • Stephen Hardman says:

    Often, what enables one to achieve a goal is perseverance. So, by using these leverage techniques as you suggest, it makes sense to me that I will be able to strengthen my resolve, and thereby achieve what I set out to do. It is so easy though, to allow a goal to fizzle out. So I welcome anything that facilitates completing the task.
    One of my goals, at the moment, is to learn to play the guitar well enough to be able to entertain people and also to pass on what I have learned. My reason for this is that I see music, (and particularly guitar playing), as a way to facilitate joy among people. It is also something that neither family nor school were able to provide. So, I see it as a way of stretching mine and my family’s limits. So, there is my leverage.
    Thank you for your support.

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      You mentioned that goals fizzle. My last post 6 Steps to Making Personal change might help to explain that and give you some more ideas to keep going. At the beginning we are excited about our new goal and then the reality of what it is going to require sets in. We can start to doubt our ability or give it up as too difficult. That’s when having leverage becomes so important, to keep us going.

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      Great. Do it. I’m sure you will.

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      Good for you. Go for it and follow through until you get your goal.

  • Ron says:

    I’d like to know how to write a goal.

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      Hi Ron,
      You set a goal by looki8ng at the positive end result you are hoping for. Your job is to set the goal. The universe will work out the path to get there. You also need to make a decision that you are going to do it no matter what and keep chanting until you get it.
      You might be interested in my book, Stepping Stones, Workbook and Guide to Buddhist Practice. There I lead you into the practice step by step and have a chapter on setting goals. You can get the book through my website or at Are you a practitioner or coming to Buddhism for the first time? If you are coming to it for the first time I think you would be interested in Your Path to Unshakeable Happiness where you can see how the practice works in the life of an individual and learn the basics.
      Sincerely, Margaret Blaine

  • Rewa says:

    Brilliant guidance – it’s addressing all hiccups on the path to achieve goals … Thanks so much Margaret , shall report my victory to you in August, my target to achieve visible goal 😊👍🙏🙏

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