Blog Post #11: Goal Setting is Broken
We all have things we would like to accomplish. Better health and fitness, more money and success… but if the traditional means of goal setting was effective, don’t you think more people would have more of what they want in life? And when people do accomplish what they want, aren’t they often still unsatisfied and unhappy?
My feeling, based on my personal experience, research and work with clients, is that goal setting in its traditional form, is broken. The core reason for that is the basis for the goal itself. We often want to accomplish certain things because we are told by the world around us that those are the things we should want. The other flaw in the foundation of most goal setting is that we think we will be happy when… rather than making it a priority to feel appreciation, gratitude, self-acceptance, joy, etc. now and along the way.
So, the number one question to ask is WHY… Why do you want this? Are the desires you have to reach a certain weight, lift a certain weight, make a certain amount of money, attain a degree, write a book, drive a Porche, about YOU? You reaching your potential, you following YOUR dreams, you understanding and knowing what you want from life? To be able to answer that question honestly, you have to be able to separate your desires and values from your parents, your neighbors, consumerism etc. Those things shape us in so many ways that it takes time and intention to know yourself and your dreams apart from outside influences. Breathing, reading, journaling, meditating, reflection on what truly brings you joy, is imperative to effective goal setting! You can’t have what you want until you know what you want. That may change 1000 times, and that’s wonderful!.. as long as it’s coming from you.
The next question to ask is why not be happy and enjoy life now? The silly thing about goal setting is that we want the outcome in order to be happy but unless we can be happy without it, we almost certainly will not feel happy having achieved it. Happiness is not a function of achieving goals (although feeling accomplished and useful certainly helps). Happiness is a state of mind that is achievable through chosen focuses, perspectives and care for one’s self (mind body and spirit). Although happiness cannot be summed up so simply, there is a lot to this simple focus. If you do not love yourself because you are overweight, you will not love yourself thin. If you do not appreciate your life with few possessions, you will not appreciate it with many. Self-loathing and lack of gratitude are states of mind, not conditions of the body or the bank account.
It may seem much more simple to set a weight loss goal or a financial goal than to set a goal of loving yourself and appreciating your life. The former seems more concrete/doable, maybe even more motivating. The later seems esoteric and “airy fairy” to some… or perhaps, simply too much harder to accomplish. But this is what I am absolutely sure of…
Happiness is the foundation of health and fulfillment is the foundation of success.
People can accomplish goals, lose weight, make money without this mindset… but the happiness they hope to find at the other end of that goal isn’t there. And often, the weight comes back and the money slips away. If you make it your goal every day to take steps towards loving and knowing yourself more, loving and appreciating your life more, everything will come. Not only will it come, but it will stay and it will grow. It is not a linear process of course. I’m not suggesting you love your life, your body, yourself 100% perfectly and THEN get what you want. I’m saying when you make an effort to love and accept yourself more, healthier choices start to come more naturally. As you see and feel the results of that process, OF COURSE your motivated. No shame in that! If you feel gratitude for your life as it is today people will be drawn to your energy. More opportunities will arise. Inspiration, determination, courage and faith will better fuel the path to your goals. And OF COURSE gaining wealth in the process can just help you to enjoy more in that state of mind! The process feeds itself
So that is my humble opinion on goal setting. I hope that it contributes, in some way, to you accomplishing your dreams and potential. I am working on the same every day my friends.
Cheering you on from here and sending that big time sister love to you always,