When we think about goal setting, we get excited about how we will feel when we reach that goal: joyful, proud, happy, accomplished, etc., but we don’t always feel those same emotions on the journey to reaching those goals. People often say they don’t feel these positive emotions because they haven’t reached the goal yet. Instead, they might become stressed or impatient. This is unfortunately a very negative and counterintuitive way to approach the goals we have set for ourselves. The journey to accomplishing our goals is just as important – if not more important – as the end goal.
When I help my clients with goal setting, we talk about and plan much more than just the end goal. I always use the metaphor of the new moon’s journey to a full moon – reminding them that the moon is beautiful at every phase of the journey.
With a new year and everyone having the opportunity for a mental “fresh start,” let’s talk about goal setting for 2021!
What is your why?
When you are goal setting, whether it is goals for a new year, for a new month, for a new hobby, for a new business, personal development goals, spiritual practice goals, or something else – take a step back and make sure that you understand why you have these goals. Do you get really excited and happy when you think about accomplishing your goals? Are you looking forward to all of the steps it is going to take for you to get there? If you don’t, these goals may not be what you truly want. When you set the right goals, you get excited for the process that leads you to achieving that goal – the journey.
Set your goals out of love and designing your dream life. Understand that you are the creator of your life and you can do anything you truly want. Never set your goals out of fear. Make sure they are your own goals and not anyone else’s – not society’s, not your friends, not your partners, not your parents. As we grow up, we become programmed by our environment and society, as well as who we spend our time with. It is unfortunate that sometimes the goals we set for ourselves are based on what other people want, not what we truly want for ourselves. Speaking from personal experience, I used to think I wanted to climb the ladder at a small business until I was making a comfortable amount of money – working a steady 9-5 job. The reality is that these were the goals that society made me think I wanted, the goals that many of my friends and family had, but they weren’t truly my goals. Once I genuinely looked deeper, I realized I wanted to do much more with my life.
Set those goals!
If you already know the goals you want to set for yourself, write them down! Put them somewhere that you will be reminded of them during your journey of reaching those goals. If you aren’t sure what goals you want to set yet, or you want to add to them, look at some of the different areas of your life. Consider your career, your relationships, your friendships, your home, your finances, your recreation, your health, and your personal development. Assess what changes you would like to make for yourself, and turn them into measurable goals. Organize and break down your goals into specific tasks and prioritize those tasks in a way that leads up to your end goal. It’s also great to set milestones for yourself, so that you can continue to celebrate your progress and reflect on your journey! You will need to create a detailed plan of attack, including a timeline, and determine what you will need to do daily in order to achieve your goals.
Visualize your goals and enjoy the journey
Picture yourself reaching your goals. How do you feel? Hopefully you said you feel amazing! (If you didn’t, go back to figuring out your WHY!) This practice of picturing yourself reaching your goals is called visualization. Visualization is using your imagination to create a mental mold of your desires. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined, so when you visualize, your subconscious encodes this new picture as if it actually happened. By feeling the emotions of reaching your goals while you are working towards them, you put yourself in alignment with your goals. This builds your confidence, keeps your mind focused on your desired goals, and paves way for you to intuitively move in the direction of your goals.
When we have negative emotions around our goals, it creates a negative environment and causes stress. Your subconscious mind will make this your reality. Your negative thoughts will create all the misfortune you experience.
Your thoughts create your reality. So, by changing your thought patterns and focusing on what you want in your life through visualization, you have the power to create the life you have always dreamed about. This is why loving the journey is so important – because by focusing on it and being excited about it, you can attract and create it.
Staying on course
Sometimes it’s hard to accept that we need to make changes in our life in order to be healthy, be happy, and feel fulfilled. But, change is uncomfortable, and change takes a lot of time and patience with yourself. You are programmed to stay in your comfort zone because it is easy. Change can sometimes bring up uncomfortable feelings and emotions, especially the fear of failing. When this happens, people give up on their goals and go back to what they are used to. This happens when we use our past failures to predict a scenario where we won’t accomplish our goal, and then we give up.
This is why it is so important to really do the work before you set your goals: figuring out your why and creating a detailed plan for yourself. If you truly desire to reach your goals, you won’t let yourself give up. When you use visualization and feel the emotions of reaching your goals, you are able to quiet your mind and the negative mental chatter, and stay focused. The journey does not have to be stressful, it does not have to be negative, and it does not have to be difficult. The journey to reaching your goals is beautiful and requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Your mindset about this journey you are going to take is everything.
Working with my clients on setting goals, helping guide them through those goals, and being there when they celebrate their success is one of my favorite parts of holistic life coaching. If you would like to work with a coach to get help with accountability or any other aspect of your mindset, life, or personal development, please reach out – I would love to be your coach!