6 Ways To KILL Complacency + How Killing It Helps Me Stick To My Goals In France

Does this sound familiar?

This is going to be the best year eeever.

I’m going to lose 10 pounds,

be a better person,

do the splits,

start a business,

write a book

and… and… and

Complacency Kills your dreams. it's a virus

Self Portrait Living In Montreal wearing my handmade sleeping mask. So tired

Sounds like your typical goal or New Years resolution doesn’t it? Oh YE of little faith. It may sound like yet another vague goal or passing fancy but it’s not.

Not this time. I swear. You’ll see


Everyone has goals in their life. Some we accomplish while others stay on our to do list forever. There are a lot of reasons why we don’t accomplish our goals. I just want to talk about one.


Complacency is like a deadly virus dormant in your system ready to kill your goals and dreams.  It has the power to rob you blind of of new experience, positive change and personal growth.

The worst thing about complacency is that the infected person is usually unaware that he or she is at risk because they feel no pain. Typically you’re in your comfort zone.  There are signs that you may be at risk, you just have to look for them, be aware of them and most importantly take action.

com·pla·cen·cy       noun                  \kəm-ˈplā-sən(t)-sē\self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies

So how do you kick complacency to the curb and accomplish more of your goals in life?

How do you really suck the marrow out of life?

I’m not sure how other people do it but i know how i am going to.

First: By Goal Setting: I use a strategy and road map which I created after i did lots of research on this topic.

Second:  I kicked complacency to the curb: Then I kicked it again and again and again until it was nothing but a bloody stump on the side of the road.


Catherine in San Francisco on Mothers Day. Getting ready to eat Dim Sum

Disclaimer *I’m Not A Goal Guru*

If this is your first time here, you should know that I AM NOT an expert goal setter. I struggle just as much as the next person but somehow i figure out ways to take action and get things done, just not all the time.

I accomplish the things I do because I convince myself I have to. That’s IT!


Rocket Science

Now that  the disclaimer is out of the way, I’ll get back to explaining how i am accomplishing more of my goals.

First: I Came Up With A Set Of Attainable Goals And Built A Strategy Around How I Am Going To Accomplish Those Goals.

Setting goals isn’t rocket science. Yet every year, thousands, maybe even millions of people like you and me do something pretty typical. WE SET GOALS and PROOOOOOMISE ourselves that we’re going to accomplish them only to fall short or fail completely. Myself included.

I wanted to give myself a better chance at achieving my goals so i set out to study the psychology behind why people suck at sticking to their goals.  I did lots of homework, research and tons of reading to understand  why so many smart, well intentioned people set goals and fall flat on their face. Then I built a system around combating those reasons most people fail.

You can view the system by going to this article: How I Put My Adventurous Goals on Autopilot + download sheet

Second: I Kicked Complacency To The Curb By Playing Mind Games With Myself

As I explained earlier, complacency is like a virus which can really hinder you from reaching your full potential because when you are complacent, you are comfortable or satisfied.   Sometimes when you are too comfortable, you settle for what you have even though you may want more.  The only problem is there’s nothing really motivating you to change or improve your situation.

To me this isn’t living to your full potential. I might even go so far as to say that settling is kind of like living in mediocrity. Sure your life is good but is it great? Are you excited to wake up everyday?

To motivate yourself, sometimes you have to create a self imposed sense of urgency to kick yourself into action.

Bye Bye Complacency: How We Killed Complacency

That is the situation my family is in now. Our  “complacency mentality” is gone and guess what? I feel a sense of urgency which has triggered in me a sink or swim, all or nothing mentality.

We are not in a life or death situation but my families financial security and to some extent our future happiness depends on the success of the goals I (we) want to accomplish.

Adding to our urgency is a time limit. we have less than 10 months to accomplish some of our goals.

Tyler Tervoon over at Advanced Riskology did something similar a few year back when he also eliminated complacency by removing his safety net. His goal was to motivate himself to improve his situation after he lost his job. Hint, it has to do with him not taking anymore unemployment checks. WOW.

So how exactly do you kick complacency to the curb and motivate yourself into action?  I have 6 ways you can do this.

Before I share them with you, let me first share my adventurous journey and how and why we put ourselves in the hot seat. I hope it helps you understand what lengths you can go to accomplish your goals.

Just remember there’s a balancing act you need to master and it’s going to be hard because it involves balancing risk taking and feeling safe.

If you prefer to skip our story than you can just scroll down to read the 6 ways you can kill complacency.  just scroll down.

Turning Point: A little bit of back story

son and brother in law washing windshield of one of the penske trucks

Son Kieran and brother-in law stop to clean a bug infested windshield on their drive across country to storage unit in Boston. Blake is in the other truck and I’m in Montreal waiting with my 2 other children.

Around the beginning of January 2011, my family was at a turning point in our lives.

Both my husband and I were unemployed (thank you bad economy) and we were living out of our suitcases like a pack of vagabonds on the east coast.

3 months earlier we left our California home and expensive lifestyle to look for jobs and a lower cost of living on the east coast. I sold some of our stuff on ebay or craigslist and got rid of other stuff. We put the stuff we wanted to keep in 2 Penske trucks and drove them across the country to a storage unit just outside of the Boston area. We decided to stay with family and friends until Blake could find a job and then settle down wherever that job was.

We really thought that a job was just around the corner. Before we knew it, 2 months turned into 3, than 4 and then we just resigned to living like semi-nomadic vagabonds.

To make matters even stickier, we had to road school the boys because we had no physical address.  We also had to lug around my sewing machine, and fabric because I was trying to run my handmade sleeping masks business on the road.

To say that we were busy is an understatement. It’s amazing how far you can push yourself when you need to.

The Pressure Gets To Me

Back to my turning point: In January after living like that for 4 months, it felt like we were just winging it. Hoping a job would materialize because that’s how it’s always been.

It was extremely hard to be in that position with a family in tow and the pressure was getting to me. Although i hoped Blake could find a job, deep down i knew we had to do something fast before it was to late.  I started thinking and asking questions like ..

Settle somewhere with no job?


If we do settle what if we still can’t find jobs?

Then What?

Do I Grow My Sleeping Mask Business?

Do we work at Starbucks?



The storage unit outside of Boston. WAAAAA!!!!

Than one evening after many nights of that endless loop of questions I finally had an idea. It was while my husband and I were siting up in bed reading. I quickly turned to face him and blurted out my idea. I must have been frustrated or just sick of living in limbo and vagabonding because I don’t blurt, not like that.

I said..……

Blake, let’s do something crazy.

No more searching for jobs for a while or working for the man.

Lets get a FRESH START.  Lets create our own jobs and rebuild our lives so that it’s more fulfilling.

And lets do it in France

To my surprise, Blake didn’t scoff or raise an eyebrow. I think I half expected him to tell me to shut up and go to sleep.

I could tell by his reaction and his expression that he was actually considering it which of course made me feel less crazy.

The next morning, I thought the novelty of it would wear off but it didn’t. After about a week we were still keen on the idea and by the end of January 2011, we decided we were going to do it.

We were moving to France for a year to get a fresh start.


It’s a map of France PEOPLE!!!

I was so excited, I felt like a cliché. I felt like I had found a new purpose and a new lease on life.

Naturally my mind was buzzing with all the possibilities.

Woo Hoo.  No more packing our bags or lugging our stuff from one relatives house to another. No more unloading and reloading the car. No more wandering.

We had the beginnings of a plan.

A whole year in France to work solely on building a better, more sustainable life while also exposing the kids to another culture. I had already lived abroad several times so I knew how exhilarating living abroad can be, especially for moral and motivation. At least that’s how it was for me.

Naturally I started making a mental list of objectives and goals we needed to accomplish while in France. The biggest of which was to be self employed or at least be able to telecommute to work. .

“Go for the moon. If you don’t get it, you’ll still be heading for a star.”

Willis Reed

Miscellaneous Goals I wanted to achieve while in France

    • Create a business: Become a innerpreneur. Basically I wanted to build a small business around my interests and talents. Preferably a business that helps others and one that I can run from anywhere in the world. This meant no more handmade sleeping masks for the moment. (2 months later this website was born.)
    • Stay in Shape: -Fit back into a bikini again and see if that six pack is still there. Ok, maybe just a four pack. These damn last 10 pounds are a bitch to lose.
    • Build a stronger relationship with my kids: -Just so you know, the teenage years are filled with angst. Just you wait. They don’t stay young and adorable forever.
    • Continue to build a strong relationship with my husband.
    • Experience and do more NEW things in my life. In other words, get out and do shit. Take more risks in life. Having kids and living in the suburbs kind of turned me into an overly practically and risk averse person even though my true nature is to be more adventurous.
    • Work on my bucket list -Try to accomplish all the things that I keep saying I’m going to do but never get around to doing because I created this unsustainable life that required me to work crazy hours to afford it..

That’s part of my list and all the things I wanted to do while in FRANCE


Even though I had already successfully lived abroad for extended periods of time, it was crucial to my business idea that we go as a family. I didn’t want to be one of those gurus who preach something that they themselves had no experience in. I hate, no I abhor that. It’s like all these internet marketers claiming they can teach me how to make thousands of dollars a month when they haven’t made a dime.


It was not quite as easy as we thought it was going to be…

  • Phase 1 of Operation “FRESH START” DONE!

    imageIt took us about 8 months from the time we decided to move to France until the day our visas were approved.

It was a huge undertaking both logistically, financially and emotionally for all of us.

We had to jump through hoops, do mountains of paperwork, take care of our belongings, find lodging, pack, get insurance all while we were living like semi-nomadic vagabonds and road schooling the kids. I could write a book about how to move abroad. ( I might just do that).

In the weeks leading up to the day our visas were approved, we literally almost gave up on several occasions. We argued, fussed, we were all irritable. Believe me when I say getting here was quite a coup and it truly does feel like a dream come true. I still can’t believe it. You can read about it by clicking here

Phase 2 Of Operation “Fresh Start” In Progress: Complacency is gone


If you have some goal you need to accomplish but keep putting it off, consider removing complacency to motivate yourself  into action. It’s like being in a hot seat where  failure is not an option. .

That’s where we are at today.

Our visas are good for one year. We  have roughly 10 more months left on our visas. It’s taken us a little over 2 months to settle and do things like get the kids in school, open French bank accounts, get supplies and other logistics etc.

I feel motivated to make stuff happen because we’ve essentially removed our safety net and have a time limit of 10 more months.

How could I NOT feel motivated. Kicking complacency to the curb is the best motivator

Don’t worry, there are less daring ways to kick complacency aside. I’ve rounded up a few ideas on how you can create an artificial sense of urgency thereby removing complacency.



Here are a few ways you can remove the “complacency mindset”: In other words, keep yourself engaged, interested and motivated.


Catherine Motivated to run fast. In front of our home in Belmont California

1- Join a support group:

A support group is an engaging way to share your experiences with others and get support when you feel weak, stuck or unsure and need a little boost. It also gives you a sense of belonging which can help at least get you motivated to accomplish your goals. I have never been in a support group. Theoretically it seems like it could motivate you right? Isn’t Alcoholics Anonymous a support group, Jenny Craig.

2- Create Or Join A Master Mind Group

The concept of the Mastermind Group was introduced by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900’s. In his book entitled, “Think And Grow Rich”

A mastermind group is like having your own little mini boardroom of peers. Each person has their own strengths and we all help each other with our objectives. As far as I know this is used primarily for business. To me, this seems very closely related to a support group for business.

I have first hand knowledge of the power of a mastermind group. It’s a great motivator and keeps me accountable in my business. I meet with 4 other people over Skype every 2 weeks. We share ideas, ask for advice, talk about issues or problems we are dealing with or just connect on a personal level

3- Competition

Create a competition with others or yourself. Get creative. This is a sure way to get your lazy bones into action.

I used to work for a company with lots of guys. Guys are always competing. It’s in their nature. 2 of these “upper management” guys were over weight and wanted to shred some pounds so what did they do?

They made a bet to see who could lose the most weight. Guess what, it was the motivation they needed and they each proceeded to lose weight, exercise and eat well. I was actually impressed.

4- Tell People

Telling people some goal you want to accomplish is a great way to get rid of complacency and motivate you. No one wants to look bad in front of other people right? Just make sure you tell someone whose opinion you actually care about. Don’t just tell the mailman.Telling someone who will kick your butt into action would be best.

5- Hardship

Hardship is a fantastic motivator that squashes complacency like a pancake.  Did you know that more people start there own businesses during a recession or after getting laid off than any other time?  I know this first hand. I created two home businesses during times of hardship. One was after my first marriage ended.  The second was when I was laid off. Before those two incidences, I really wanted to start a business idea i had been mulling over but I was just too comfortable making damn good money at a 9 to 5 job.

6- Set Goals And Reward Your Self

Lastly, setting goals can help you kick complacency but you have to stick to it. Rewarding yourself at intervals for each little success is a good motivator. This is exactly what I’m doing for my goals.

If you would like to see the system I use to make and follow my goals than read the next article.  I’ll also make and publish my goal setting worksheet for you too use or just eye ball it and feel free to modify it to suit your own needs.

Bye for now, I’m off to work on some goals. Below is link to the goals worksheet.
Next article- How I Put My Adventurous Goals on Autopilot– Download the SMAARTER GOALS WORKSHEET HERE Includes instructions

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