Are you one of those people who make great new years resolutions every year, only to find that you feel overwhelmed and stop doing them after a few days? You know you want something really bad and you set off with the best intentions, only to find that all of a sudden you just stopped doing it? And then you probably start beating yourself around the head over it too?
Well, you already know this… You’ve been setting yourself up to fail!
I’ve taken a new approach to goal setting this year and I feel totally different. I feel inspired, I feel harmonious and I trust that these things that I want will come to fruition in a way that is beneficial to me, everyone around me, my environment and the planet. And I am willing to take action, I’m willing to change.
I used to set well defined goals with smaller, achievable stepping stones along the way. I’d make my goals really clear so that I knew whether I reached them or not. I would set a time frame to them, set up some form of tracking system and off I would go. The way I used to set goals is often referred to as SMART goals: your goals should be Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Timely.
Well, if you’re anything like me, that formula doesn’t work. And you know what, I don’t know why exactly, and it just didn’t do it for me.
When I looked at the goals I set myself using this formula, all I would feel was stress and pressure. And tell you what, I very rarely achieved them either. Even though I might have followed my plan to the T, at the end of the specified time, I still hadn’t reached my goal.
Looking at what I set out to do, I would instantly start asking myself questions like: Is this really what I want? Should it be more/less/different in any way? Can I do it in this time frame? What’s realistic and achievable? How do others do this? I don’t know anything about how to do this, so how can I ever get there? etc. etc.
The negative self-talk would take over and looking back at it now, I think that is definitely one of the major reasons that ruined the whole thing for me.
Only now that I have done it differently did I realise I was never inspired by those goals. I never really trusted that I wanted it in the first place, or that I could get there. I was setting them from a mind-frame of lack, coming from what I didn’t have and therefore focussing already on the negative. I was looking at where I wanted to be and setting all the little stepping stones only confirmed to me how far off the mark I was. Not once did I look at all the things I already did great and focussed on creating more of that.
I also never worked with getting rid of thoughts, actions, old beliefs etc. that was contradictory to what I wanted to achieve and I never looked at how I could remove these obstacles before beginning my journey.
I set daily and weekly actions that I thought would take me closer to the goal and I followed through, I did do all those things I thought would create my desired outcome. Still, at the end of the set time frame, I was not where I wanted to be.
Since then I have come across some different ways of setting goals that were new to me. There are a few common denominators between all of these.
Firstly, they are all about connecting with myself and setting goals that stem from the inside of me, not coming from what looks good from the outside. This might seem glaringly obvious and this is hopefully what other people using the SMART goal formula are doing. I never did. I just kind of randomly picked a goal that looked good, applied the SMART formula to it and set off to not achieve that goal! I never took the time to really look inside to find out what I truly wanted.
Secondly, they look at what is currently standing in my way of already having these things that I desire. Is it the way I look at myself and my abilities? Is it that I actually lack a skill set that I need? Do I have old limiting beliefs around this area that I need to get rid of? Do I need to change behaviours and habits? And then they all use different ways of clearing these obstacles that I have identified before I get to work on the actual goal.
Thirdly, they leave room to move in the way that the goal is formulated. In this type of goal setting it’s ok to use words like “around”, “more than” and “less than”, and simply what I have previously deemed as fluffy terms, such as “abundance” and “happiness”. So there is an inbuilt trust in these goal setting ways that leaves room to improve on the result I have wished for. There is a trust that there is room for the universe/god/my subconscious (whatever you want to call it) to attract to me situations, people and results that I could not imagine at the time I set the goal in the first place.
Let’s look at an example:
- SMART goal: I attract new business to the value of $2000 every week from 1 January 2013.
- New goal: I have a successful business where I make enough money each week to sustain my desired lifestyle.
I don’t know about you, and they feel totally different to me.
The second one leaves a lot of “wriggle room”. What is successful? The way I see a successful business today might be a lot more limited and smaller than what my real potential of running a successful business is. So I’m leaving room for development of the concept, I’m leaving room for the universe/god/my subconscious to bring me opportunities that I could not think up for myself. The same goes for “my desired lifestyle”. This concept will change and develop over time and I think it’s really important to not set a limit to what my lifestyle could look like by what I imagine as possible in this moment.
Does that make sense? Well, it does to me. And I’m so glad I’ve discovered this, for lack of a better word, “softer” way of setting goals. It’s about going inside, it’s about looking at what would screw me over if I didn’t address it, addressing that and then setting a goal that leaves room for a better result than I can imagine at the time of setting the goal.
If you feel so inclined, have a look at the goals you set yourself for 2013 and re-word them as per above, and see which one you feel more inspired by. Then work with that one.
Here’s to new beginnings and to you reaching your goals this year, in whichever way that serves you best!
Happy Feng Shui Friday,