If you are reading this, you are most likely a goal-oriented person. Me too. But sometimes goals bring pressure, self-criticism and perfectionism. I prefer to approach achievement as a game and combine it with an abundance of playfulness, self-compassion, and a sense of fun. Playing games can help you learn strategy, skills, and attract friends (why else would video games be so popular?). Best of all, games make learning and achievement fun!
In essence, games are goals that give you energy.
You may already be asking yourself if your 2020 goals give you energy. If they don’t, fine! Luckily, it’s only January and you have time to recalibrate your journey for this year. Maybe you persuaded yourself to adopt a goal that sounded good, but wasn’t right for you.
For example, in a society based on consumerism, there is constant pressure to spend money. Humans are highly suggestible. We may hear someone say they want to increase their annual income and think, “Oh, that’s a good goal!, I’ll do that too!” The pitfall in this case is if it doesn’t give you energy, it may be difficult to achieve and even more difficult to enjoy. You need to learn how to spend your time as you earn more money. Otherwise, the goal will not likely be satisfying nor even attainable for you.
Learning how to spend your own time doesn’t cost you money, and you can start right now! Most of our time gets spent for us by other people (and their agendas for us) or, and I don’t know which is worse, our time spends itself. Instead, learn to direct your own time. Imagine how it feels to earn, say, an extra $250 every month this year (or $2,000, or any number that works for you). Try to see and feel in great detail how your life will be different. Maybe you believe your anxiety will decrease if you earn that money. Or, maybe you will treat yourself and/or your family to a weekend getaway.
You know what? If decreasing your anxiety and spending time on get-aways is what you desire, then make that the goal! These are both measurable and achievable things to do, and likely lead to you enjoying your time more. Attaining your income goal, on the other hand, will not guarantee these things will happen. If you are committed to a stated goal (e.g. decrease anxiety, spend a weekend away) you can guarantee it will happen.
You may be more likely to reach a money (or any other) goal, if you put at least as much importance on fulfilling your heart’s desire. It’s hard to believe, I know. If you don’t believe me, try it! Set a goal for yourself to attain something that thrills you and brings you joy. At the same time, monitor your income and watch what happens. Just watch.
Be honest with yourself. If earning more money doesn’t give you energy, it doesn’t have to mean you are destined to earn the same income year after year. But rather, if you want something else even more, commit to pursuing what you really want. That way, you gain energy, instead of lose it. Playing a game that gives you energy increases your vitality and inspires new habits, therefore new opportunities open up. An indirect result may be more money! In fact, if you are able to decrease your anxiety and experience the joy of getting out of town with your loved ones, the increased confidence you feel may inspire you to apply for a new job, ask for a raise, or sell your products (if you have your own business). But first, fulfill your heart’s desire.
Learning to discern what we really want from what we think we want, or from what someone else tells us we want can be tricky. Seth Godin recently wrote a blog about hunger and thirst. If you are thirsty, all the food in the world will not help you. If you are hungry, gallons of water will not help you. Similarly, if you are thirsty and you set a goal to have more food, you are not helping yourself.
As a former mentor once said, “Please yourself by being true to your own desires. Stop yearning to live your desires. Live them. Earn money. Spend time. Have some fun. There isn’t anything more important. You are what matters. Get what you need. Live your dream. It’s a mistake not to.”
How often do you think you are able to diagnose what your heart really needs, and then set a goal to achieve it? After reading this blog, I sincerely hope your percentage goes up!