Since I started my business 15 years ago what saddens me most is when people I’m working with set goals they don’t want to reach.
You may ask why would someone set him or herself up for failure? It’s a good question! Actually, I don’t think anyone does this on purpose. Let’s look at it for a moment.
In a coaching interview with a client what really matters is what truly lights up a person. If someone says their goal is to make more money, sure I can help with that. But If someone says to me they want to make more money, and then quietly lean in and reveal an even deeper desire that totally lights them up, I can DEFINITELY help with that. And, what’s more, THEY can help with that! They can help themselves reach the goal, because they WANT to reach it! I know because when they light up they are inspired.
To win my kids’ cooperation, I literally set the task I want them to do in the path of their desire. For example, “You can play Minecraft now and on your way to pick up your iPad, please pick up the trail of shoes and pencils on the floor.”
Learning to set goals around what is in sync with your true ambitions and desires is tricky. How do you do it? First, be curious about your curiosity! What do you research in your free time? What are you obsessed with? What do you daydream about? Answers to the above questions are clues to your natural reservoir of curiosity, or energy. Create goals that move you in this direction, because this is the direction you want to go.
Are you starting to get the picture? When you set a goal to avoid your pain rather than in pursuit of your pleasure, it just doesn’t stick! If my sons only had the goal to pick up all the shoes and pencils on the floor, they would never do it! Life for them would become meaningless. Without Minecraft in the equation, no goal is worth reaching.
This works with self-talk too. But first you have to recognize when you are not setting inspired goals. For example, if you experience pressure to pay off a particular debt and you set financial goals to pay off the debt. You are very unlikely to be successful. Reaching a goal to avoid pressure (pain) is just not inspiring and diminishes our energy and motivation, rather than the other way around.
Losing weight is similar in that if you hate how you feel and how people look at you, you may force yourself to go on a diet. You are unlikely to reach and maintain that goal as well. You are pressuring yourself to avoid your negative feelings and it is not a fun way to live.
Since the start of a new year is usually time for ambitious people to make a change, it is the most common time for people to push themselves in a direction they don’t really want to go. Statistics show most New Year’s Resolutions fail.
I don’t speak of these follies lightly and in no way intend to discourage you from setting goals. Hopefully, forming a more realistic outlook will help you fine-tune and dig a little deeper when you are searching for a goal that you can actually achieve. You will achieve what you WANT to achieve. So what do you WANT?
If you want to enjoy successful achievement, choose a goal for your own desire, not just in response to what you think others are judging you for. Trust me, most people are more interested in judging themselves than in judging you. So, don’t worry about what people think! And, don’t force yourself to agree with the public opinion. Others have no idea what you want or what you are capable of.
Instead, pay attention to the natural current of your desires. It may take a few moments of quiet before it surfaces. But it is not far below the surface, and it is only for you to know and see, not everyone or anyone else. You may choose to share it, however. That is your prerogative.
Maybe it is money that inspires you at a deep instinctual level. I have found roughly one third of people I interview are intrinsically motivated by money. For them, money goals work great, and they are very likely to be successful and wealthy.
Or, instead maybe for you the juice in life is in connection and appreciation, or winning and conquering a great challenge. Imagine different scenarios involving each of these qualities and see which one excites you the most.
Be honest! If you follow your natural flow of curiosity, you are likely to be successful in all areas of life. You may value power over money, or vice versa. Or you may value peace over either one. Your game will be very different in that case.
Relationship is a hot topic for many people’s New Year’s Resolutions. Someone may want to end a relationship, start one, or improve the one they’ve got. In almost all cases, they are trying to escape pain. If someone is looking to start a relationship, they are trying to solve a loneliness problem. If they are trying to improve the one they’ve got, well, it goes without saying there must be pain, or they wouldn’t feel the need to improve it.
All these are wonderful goals, and having a goal (even an uninspiring one) is better than nothing at all. But you won’t reach a goal if it’s not your top priority. Find a goal that accesses your true desire and you have found a goal you can be successful with.
Here is a personal story that gives an example of a goal you can be successful with. When I decided to take a year off from having relationships, I made the goal to find a community of like-minded people where I could form friendships and be accepted as a mom as well as a businesswoman. Soon, I became so busy, involved in PTA and other non-profits, participating in church and other social events and projects, that I didn’t even miss dating!
When finally I was ready to seek a relationship, I had already a much richer social life, more confidence….and more to bring to the table in my partnership. During previous times in my life that I was searching for a partner simply out of loneliness, those relationships were always doomed…and often painful.
In this most recent case when I was able to identify my true desire (connection and belonging) I could create a goal that was easy to achieve…because I wanted to achieve it! Truly and deeply! Indirectly it helped with loneliness and helped me be ready to find a really great partner when the time was right.
So to help you choose your goals, keep in mind the question ‘what am I measuring?’ Seth Godin mentions several common ways to track if you are reaching your goals. You can measure ‘smiles, comments, traffic, cash, media response, friends, peers, insiders, outsiders…’.
Looking at it this way; what do you consider a win? Being at the top of a money game or a power game? Or, simply being connected with lots of loved ones or fans …these are all different games.
And, if you want to be more successful in your business or career, take heed to Brene Brown’s words that ‘your creativity and art is what is in your soul to share’.
Conversely, I say that whatever your soul wants is what you need to set as a goal.
If you want success in reaching your goals this year and to learn how to choose the right goals for yourself, you can choose one of Dana’s My Coach long-term programs. Click here for a description of the Soul of Entrepreneurship Coaching Program. A step-by-step way for you to be the architect of a great career or business…one that incorporates all your talents, desires and personal mission.
Or, if a more harmonious and cooperative family life is your wish, click her for a description of The One Minute Parent for Life Coaching Program.
If you are like so many who decided to really tackle their health this year, but you also know a diet isn’t going to address your issue, take a look at the Healthy You for Life Coaching Program. It is a year-long exploration, growth and learning in the area of all around wellness, confidence and balanced health.
If you are not sure what you want, or what is right for you, please contact me directly: Dana@DanasMyCoach.com to set up your free mini coaching session. We’ll find out together!
“True happiness and true freedom come from living a life of purpose.” Leah Iny