Goal setting

A new year, and a new beginning . . . for me too with this my first newsletter!

At this time of year people tend to commit to resolutions.  After the excesses of Christmas there’s an urge to wipe clean the slate and start afresh.  But often there are musts and shoulds woven in.  I must lose weight because I don’t like the way I look.  I really should cut back on the alcohol as my liver could do with a rest.  These guilt-tripping commitments to change challenge us in making a lasting transformation.  A few weeks later old habits have crept back in.  

Resolutions that read like strict rules lack meaning and purpose.  When I was 24 I decided I should give up chocolate.  I was convinced I was addicted as I would eat some every day.  I kept to my rule.  But 9 months on I didn’t know why I was doing it.  I’d proven that I could live without chocolate – but what had I achieved?  So I went back to enjoying chocolate (every day).  I’d decided I didn’t need to deprive myself any longer. 

Since then I’ve realised there are better ways to set my goals.  I now approach the process differently.  I imagine it’s the end of the current year.  So let’s time travel to the end of 2007.  What would I like to have achieved this year?  I allow myself to dream.  Anything is possible and I give myself complete freedom in my thinking. I think about how my goal has enriched my life.  What will I have to show for it at the end of this year?  Do I feel I'm pushing myself to the finish line, or am I plugging into joyful feelings that carry me there?  I go for whatever feels the most joyful outcome. Those positive feelings will sustain me as I plan my steps forward and take action. 

Let’s turn to you.  What one improvement or result would give you huge personal satisfaction this year?  Where can you find greatest happiness and more peace?  It might be something you acquire, but how does this make you feel?  Does it provide you with greater security like a new home would?  Or do you find yourself relishing the thought of being more creative in mastering a foreign tongue?  Focus on what positive feelings achieving your goal will give you as that is the essence of what you're trying to create. Understand what difference gaining these positive feelings will have in your life.  Take time to savour over your choices as if you were looking over a delicious menu or standing in a toy shop viewing all the things you might like to play with.  With each option you’re figuring out what is its meaning and value to you personally.

Pick one goal.  Then refine the detail of it.  How can you improve on what you first thought of?  Are you limiting yourself in anyway because you don’t feel you can manage?  Use a release technique like EFT or this month’s meditation to release any self-limiting beliefs about what you allow yourself to achieve.  How can you make your goal more desirable for yourself.  The more uplifting it feels, the more committed you will be to it.  Are you able to see yourself achieving it?  How do you feel emotionally at the thought of being successful?  If it’s joyful then you’re going to be motivated.  If you’re aiming for a goal because you feel you ‘should’ then your attempts will be lack-lustre and heading for failure. 

How will you know you have achieved it?  It's helpful to jot down specific indicators that which you're aiming to go for so that you don't lose sight of the goal posts. You can always change these if need be, but aim for clarity.

Is your goal vague and negative, like I want to be healthy and not have to deal with my asthma. Or is it focussed and positive like My lungs are healthy and allow me to breathe deeply and clearly.  Clarify your goal until you know it like a friend.  Refine it until you get plenty of positive thoughts about it as these will keep you going over the coming weeks as you work towards achieving it. 

Spend time over the next month figuring out what your goal is.  If you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about what goals you’re aiming for!  My goal for this year?  To have a thriving national and international healing practice in which I help 10 or more people a week and teach classes. 

In the coming months I’ll take you through the next stages of achieving your goal.  Next month we’ll look at planning to take action.



Article Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007

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