This is the time of the year to talk about it, isn’t it?
Goals can take many forms. Goals may be those new year’s resolutions that are so infamously broken or the unshared wishes that you secretly hope materialize in the new year. Whatever the form is, goals are meant to reflect what you want to achieve. But how often do your “goals” align with what you really want in life?
Even before we start the discussion, I want you to notice what “goal” means.
As per Oxford dictionary, a “Goal” is defined as follows:
The object of a person’s ambition or effort; An aim or a desired result
The phrase “desired result” is the key and I want you to keep this is mind as you read through.
Steps to setting the goals you LOVE –
Ask yourself WHO desires this result.
More often than not, you are unconsciously setting goals based on what is expected of you. It may be your parents’ ideas of success, your spouse’s hopes from you, your friend’s seemingly effortless life, or the unspoken societal pressure. But is that really what YOU want? If you let others define who you should be, your goals will translate who they want to be – NOT who you want to be. This will be the major hurdle in keeping you from trying to achieve such goals and feeling satisfied even after you achieve those.
Action step: This year, try to do it differently. List as many goals, hopes, and plans from the past as you can remember. Add to the list those you may have in mind for the upcoming year. Now go through the list and start marking each goal as “My” or “Others” based on who really desired it. The key here is to analyze the motivation behind deciding to set that goal. If the motivation was others’ apparent influence or silent effect on your psyche, the goal is not yours.
For example, I am totally fine with my weight. So if I have a goal of losing weight because my favorite aunt said I will look more beautiful in my cousin’s wedding, that is going to be in the category of “Others”. On the other hand, I want to be healthy. If I decide that translates into losing weight, that goal certainly would be “My”.
If you are unsure about which category to mark, just write “Unsure”.
Define WHAT you really desire.
If you did the step 1 right, you will realize that there are more goals marked as “Unsure” than you had originally anticipated. That is perfectly normal. It means you are doing some serious thinking here! That is why we have the second step of finding out what it is that YOU really want.
Throw out every goal that is marked as “Others”. There is no need to waste your life on trying to be a person you don’t want to be. Period. But before you throw those out, see if there is a pattern there. Is there a common thread between some or all of these goals that may define what you do NOT want. Knowing what you don’t want is as important as knowing what you want because it eliminates your distractions, and helps you say “No” to what does not matter. It then is much easier to say “Yes” to what you really want.
Use these to detect a pattern which is sure to exist. The pattern is that of a feeling. These goals would tie into one or more desirable feelings that make you want them. How would you feel when you achieve these goals? Try to label the feelings. Think beyond just “happy”. It can be “free”, “respectable”, “healthy”, “limitless”, or anything else that comes to your mind. No right or wrong answer here. It is this desire of wanting to feel a certain way that defines who you want to be in life. All your plans and goals should support getting to feel that way as frequently as possible. The list may change as you explore more. But for now, this will form the base of your aspirations.
Does it make sense?
While researching on this, I came across a video that talks about exactly this but much deeper. I highly recommend that you watch this video.
Now that you have the list of feelings, check each “unsure” goal against it. If it will make you feel one of those feelings when achieved, keep it. If not, throw it out. Easy breezy!
I challenge you to find time to finish this exercise before next Monday. Next week, I am going to talk about the experience you will go through after making this list.
Disclaimer: It is going to be confusing and uncomfortable. Why and how to get over it – I will share next week.
All the best to making the new year, the year of YOUR goals!
Thanks to Varun Kakde of Aperture Adventures for the picturesque photo.