Dr. Carl Jung, psychiatrist, developed the term "shadow self" to describe the "id" or subconscious part of yourself that your ego doesn't want to recognize. The ego is the part of the self that is able to connect to all that we do well, the parts of us that are successful and receive positive feedback, the parts of us that are most like who we imagine we want to be. The id, or your shadow, is the part of you that is always there; ever present but unacknowledged. Often the most reactive part of yourself, it is the part of you that you are least proud of, the part unlike how you view yourself or want to be seen. It is the part of you that you want to hide, that you work hard not to be and that you defend against admitting is there when other people reflect it’s behaviors. When developing goals we often connect most with our ego. Our goals are lofty, play up to our greatest perceptions of who we want to be and negate those parts of us that we don't really like.
Take the most popular goal people set in the new year: weight loss. Most people set eating goals based on what "should" be: a 2, 000 calorie diet or less. You may consult a nutritionist or personal trainer and develop a regimen from there. Maybe you agree to have meatless Monday, work out 3 days a week in the morning and cut out all sugar and soda.
This plan sounds perfect. However, you work late hours, don't know where to get or how to prepare a meatless meal. You enjoy eating the random snacks available in closest proximity, don't belong to a gym, and don't like to get up early. Being successful with the plan set out means shifting a lot in your life at once, none of which are consistent with your rhythm of life. It is very likely that you agreed to this plan because you see the value in these changes and don't like to acknowledge the aspects of your personality that don't align with the plan. You may be telling yourself that you are just lazy and can get up early but you haven't had a reason to. You only eat the snacks mindlessly, you don't need them and you absolutely can cook a meatless meal. These are likely things your ego would like to believe.