Setting and reaching goals is a bit like searching for and seeing a rainbow: first you have to know the rainbow is there, then you have to do what it necessary to find it. With goals, first you have to explore: what do you want the goal to be? Is is achievable? Is it true for you? Does it exist?
And then, once you find the rainbow (achieve your goal), what next? What's in the pot at the end of the rainbow?
Here's a little primer on setting and achieving goals.
- 1. The first thing to remember is that goals are achieved from the inside out. A good example of this is that New Year's Resolution you set about three months ago. How are you doing on that? If you aren't doing so well, don't worry. Simply setting a resolution rarely works. It's a very shallow inside step, but it doesn't go far enough. Go further by setting your consciousness. What is your ultimate goal? If it is losing weight, for example, don't just set a resolution to lose 30 pounds. First ask why you want to lose 30 pounds. Is it because someone told you to do so? If so, that's not a very effective motivator. Is it because you've been told your entire life that the ideal weight is 100 pounds? Ask yourself if that is really realistic. Search within to find the real motivation for wanting to lose 30 pounds. If you want to lose 30 pounds because that weight is limiting you in some way, or for a legitimate health reason, then go for it. Then go deeper. Going deeper means visualizing what it would mean to lose that 30 pounds. Imagine yourself needing new clothes, because the old ones no longer fit. Imagine yourself having more energy, and moving with greater ease, perhaps breathing a bit better, maybe having lower blood pressure. Imagine how good you will feel weighing 30 pounds less. Imagine enjoying that low fat meal, knowing how much your body loves it. Notice I didn't say to imagine how bad you feel now, or how tight your clothes are now, or how you can't walk up the hill without stopping to rest. Keep it positive. We really are what we think and embody, and we really manifest what we think and embody, so embody positivity, not negativity. Then align your thoughts with that vision. If the thoughts don't match the vision, change the thoughts. If you have a lifetime of thinking a certain way, this won't happen effortlessly, but it can be done. It may be a matter of changing one thought at a time, over and over again.
- Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done, or you aren't doing it right, or you've been 30 pounds overweight your entire life, what makes you think you can do it this time? Or anything else negative. That may be their perspective, but it says more about them than you. Remember the sage advice from Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book The Four Agreements: "don't take anything personally."
- Do find at least one person to support you in your journey. This may be a friend, mentor or coach. Call on them regularly. Set an appointment to talk at least once per week for the duration of your goal achieving journey. Follow through, and let them know how you are doing.
- When discouragement sets in, repeat steps 1 through 3.
When the goal is reached, when you have the pot at the end of the rainbow, celebrate! Give yourself a pat on the back, shout out your achievement, and take a moment to rest in that achievement, just as you would take a moment to simply observe the rainbow.
The bigger the goal, the more you will have to use these tools repeatedly, and the longer you will want to take celebrating the achievement before moving on to the next goal.
What have your experiences been with goal setting? I'd love to hear them!