I hear everyone talking about “setting goals.” I don’t really think I have any resolutions or goals for the New Year. Is that bad?
How do I know what I really want?
I agree that the concept of “goal setting” is often thrown around haphazardly and people just get tired of hearing about it sometimes. However, having goals actually does serve a purpose. And a good one too.
I believe the reason we set goals is in order to move forward in a direction we want to go. Goals provide our brain with information to focus on instead of spinning in circles and feeling like life just happens “to us.” Goals are simply tools that allow us to channel our energy in a direction that has meaning to us and aids in personal fulfillment. They provide us with structure to make those things possible.
I love the analogy of imagining you’re on a vacation. You have a limited amount of time to take in all the sights, sounds, and experiences of this new destination. In order to make the most of your time in this new place, you do your research and figure out exactly what you really want to do and see. Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t run into other interesting things along the way… of course you will! Having goals does not limit the adventure, as there will certainly be bumps in the road and new twists and turns that you were not anticipating. Having goals simply provides you with direction to get what you want to out of the experience. You definitely don’t want to leave your vacation and realize that you didn’t make it on the adventures that you longed to do.
The truth is that many of us spend more time planning for our vacations than we do planning for our life. While I am not saying life feels like a vacation 24/7, I am saying that we are all given a limited amount of time to pursue the experiences we want and then before we know it, it’s time to go.
You may argue that knowing you have a very limited amount of time when you are traveling typically makes you more focused on what you really want to get out of your trip. But, just ask any person over the age of 40 and they will tell you the same thing about life… it all goes too quickly.
In order to get the most out of your precious moments of life, you have to acknowledge what you want. Now, I can’t stress this enough: your goals will change and that’s okay!!! You will add new ones while dropping others that no longer serve or excite you. It doesn’t mean that anything has gone wrong, and it doesn’t mean that your original goal was worthless. I know way too many people who spend years thinking about their “perfect goals” and before they know it, that chapter in their life has passed. You will evolve, and your goals will too.
Another bonus in setting goals is that you get to celebrate your dedication, courage, and ability to overcome fears along the way. When you achieve a goal, no matter how big or small, you provide yourself with evidence in your ability to follow through with your commitments and get things done. As fluffy as it may sound, the truth is that it’s not what you actually get from achieving a goal, it’s who you become in the process that is the precious gift.
Okay, so now you are sold on goal setting, right? Of course you are. J Let’s begin this process.
What you want is really important information. Do you dream? Do you allow yourself to want? Believe it or not, many people never do. Please know that you are certainly not alone. Many of us are caught up in the drama of everyday life and are too busy reacting to everything that’s going on and we fail to plan. Just like 99.9% of things in life, it’s is a choice. And yes, we have time to do it.
To begin, I encourage you to dream in a state of abundance. I fully understand that you may be saying “I am stressed out and sometimes feel like everything could fall apart at any given moment and you are asking me to set goals by pretending that I have everything I need?”
Yes and no. I am not asking you to pretend. I am asking you to acknowledge that you ALREADY have a lot of good things going for you.
A fabulous way to do this is to write down a list of 20 things you want AND… every other thing on your list must be something that you really want but you already have. This requires you to acknowledge that you have wanted so many things and already have lots of them (this is abundance, my friend).
Here’s a sneak peak at my list:
1. I want to be a mom. (I have three kids!)
2. I want to travel to Italy.
3. I want to be in good physical shape. (work in progress)
4. I want to eventually go back to work full time.
5. I want to live in a house that is warm and feels like home. (I do!)
6. I want to be more patient.
7. I want to help my daughter, with special needs, maximize her potential. (Work in progress :)
This process is different than just being grateful for what you have. It takes a different kind of energy and focus to really want what you already have. So, go to 20 and alternative back and forth with something you want that you already have and something that you want that you don’t have yet. Yes, you have to write them down. Having your goals in writing lets you revise them often and also allows you to read through them as much as you like (daily is best).
This process should be enjoyable. If your goal doesn’t excite you, it shouldn’t be a goal. If you are not having fun with it, come back to it a different day.
At this point in the process, we are just dreaming. We are not censoring or judging. We are not telling ourselves all the reasons that we believe our goals are unrealistic and out of reach. We are allowing our mind and soul to want from a place of abundance. Don’t worry about the logistics of anything. Give yourself the space to dream.
This above exercise is the first step, and it is the one I am going to focus on today. In the future, we would dive deeper into the next steps in the process which include things like getting specific about our goals, dealing with all the doubts and insecurities that may surface, creating action plans, etc.
We set goals in order to grow in a way has meaning to us and to ensure we are creating a life we actually want. Dream, my friend, dream!
Stuck? Here are some additional questions that may stir something up for you:
-What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
-What’s your favorite part of your day?
-What inspires you?
-What are you naturally drawn toward?
-What would you be proud of yourself for doing?