Take a fresh look at goal setting, and who it is you need to become to achieve the things you aspire to, in the flow of your life as it already is.
We all know what’s it like to be excited about seeing in a new year. We read countless articles entitled ‘New Year, New You!’ We set big, hairy, audacious goals on the 1st Jan, and intend with all our might that we’ll succeed, only to feel that by about the 15th Jan we’ve dismally failed.
Not only have we let ourselves down once more, but we also proactively set ourselves up for failure and deep down we know it. To keep some modicum of dignity, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off in a ‘mustn’t grumble’ kind of way, and carry on as before, because we believe we’re doomed to a life of ‘I’m fine’ rather than ‘I’m fabulous.’
The challenge of goal setting is that we have unfulfilled dreams and big ideas about who we could become, if only we could stick to the goals and intentions we set ourselves. As kids, we dreamt about being a rock star, an astronaut, or even the President, and then one day, we get subsumed into ‘the system’ that has us go for our Plan B instead. Why? Because Plan A wasn’t really all that ‘realistic’ or wouldn’t earn us a ‘proper living’.
We lose sight of who we thought we could become, and instead, we put a lid on our dreams and find a way to fit in, instead, into a state of mediocrity and what’s deemed acceptable by the status quo. Once a year, we dare to open up that box and dream big again for a short while, and then once again, we become fearful of what others may think, or if we might fail once more. And so back to the back of the wardrobe that box goes again, waiting to be dusted off again next year. Ultimately nothing really to ever change, despite our best intentions.
What we really need to succeed is a pattern interrupt. Let’s clean the slate and start afresh, because clearly, what we’ve done until now hasn’t worked.
So rather than one big hairy audacious goal that feels so outlandish and far-fetched from where we are today, that we set ourselves up for failure, why not start with the simple idea of committing to simple daily acts of evolution, that co-exist within the very flow of your life?
Take some time to ask yourself some of the questions below, get a pen and paper out and give yourself the space to make it meaningful as you reflect on the year that’s gone. It’s time to get genuinely truthful with yourself.
- What did you learn, and how did you grow? What was the impact?
- What strengths have you grown and developed?
- What experiences brought you joy?
- What patterns have consistently shown up for you this year?
- Where did you give your power away?
- Which challenges did you overcome?
- Who did you become because of these challenges?
Remember those dreams from yesteryear? Take an equal amount of time to write down who it is you intend to become, and what it is that you’re committing to achieve. Do you want to become someone who is courageous, calm and confident, perhaps? Or self-aware, sincere or strategic?
- What are you letting go of as you move into the new year?
- What is your purpose going into next year?
- How do you intend to be in different areas of your life?
- What do you want to do and achieve?
- What adventures do you want to have?
- What new skills and habits do you want to develop?
- Where do you want to be of service and make a positive contribution?
Now think about all the things you’d need to do to become that person. Ask a friend or mentor, boss or colleague, someone who inspires you. Break it down month by month, week by week, and get specific, I mean really specific.
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for!’?
Be specific, and state it in the positive so that you manifest exactly what it is that you want, not what you don’t want. Energy flows where attention goes. So, start with who you’d have to be, to be the person who could achieve the thing that you aspire to.
If, for example, I want to get fit this year, ‘get fit’ is far too vague.
Instead, decide who you’d need to become to get fit. Someone who is committed to their fitness, someone who is disciplined about their fitness programme, someone who is self-aware enough to know the areas where they might fall down, and so is courageous enough to create the support necessary to keep themselves accountable?
Once you’re clear on that, what is it that you aspire to? Is it to run a 5km race six months from now? Then find one on a date that works for you and put it in your diary. Find or create a six-month programme to arrive at the race line, able to give it your best shot! The more detailed and specific you make it, with a date in the diary, the harder it is to walk away from.
Repeat, a little every day, and reflect
Now make a commitment to yourself to take one simple step of self-improvement every day towards your goal. Set yourself up for success by putting daily reminders in your phone, and in your digital calendar, finding yourself a mentor, and creating an accountability group to help keep you on track, and who will inspire you to keep going through the highs and the lows.
What you’ll notice is that as you take simple, daily acts of self-improvement over time, they build up to great changes both in who you are, how you show up in the world and what you perceive is possible for you.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. So, let’s take one step at a time, and before we know it, we’ll be smashing our PB for that 5km race. And not only will you be someone who is more committed, disciplined, self-aware, courageous and accountable when hitting a running goal, those Character Qualities will spill over into other areas of your life too, and who knows what else may be possible as you become more of these, at work, in your relationships, your health and more.
At Entelechy, we believe that you can achieve more, quicker, and with greater impact through simple acts of self-improvement every day. We all have competing demands, caring responsibilities, work, and pressures of day-to-day life, and finding the time and space to dedicate to work on your own needs is tough. So rather than waiting for the perfect time, routine, and space to become who you want to be, we believe in finding ways to improve yourself in the flow of life.
If you would like to start your journey this New Year, contact us at [email protected]. We believe in you and will be there for you every step of the way!