Goals are great, and I always encourage my clients to set them to give them some direction, but like anything, there's a downside.
Ironically, our well-intentioned goals can blind us to what we really want in life. They can set us up for disappointment, even if we reach them.
Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, a book on “goal setting with soul”, says, “You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling.” By asking yourself just one crucial question you can give yourself the inner clarity that will guide you on not only choosing the right goals, but also better decision-making to get you closer to them. The question you should asking yourself is:
“How do I want to feel?”
If your goals lack an emotion behind them, there’s nothing to light a fire under your ass when the going gets tough. There’s little purpose to push harder, do a little more, be a little better. It's so much easier to stay on the couch and watch The Big Bang Theory than head to the gym.
For example, getting a flat stomach is a common goal. You could probably have it if you really wanted it and was willing to do whatever it took. So why don’t you have it right now? It’s most likely because something else took priority or had more of an emotional reason or reward attached to it. It was/is one of those “would be nice to have” goals. And that’s perfectly ok! No judgment.
My point is that it’s just super important to get to the crux of what you really, really want deep down and not just what you think you want.
Here's what I mean:
One of my Core Desired Feelings is Strong. I can feel Strong in a variety of ways -- physically (lifting heavy weights) or mentally (fighting temptation, overcoming adversity) -- and there are many ways of getting to that feeling.
One of my current goals is to hit 200# on my deadlift. That's a pretty lofty goal, especially considering I was stuck at 135-140# for most of last year. I've made smaller benchmarks along the way, such as lifting 1.5x my bodyweight (165#). I finally hit this just earlier this year.
I can't get too caught up in the numbers along the way to 200# though, because it may be a long time before I get there. I could drive myself crazy if I did! And the whole thing has felt overwhelming and next to impossible at times, to be honest.
And if I don't ever hit 200, or if heaven forbid I change direction, I can still have experienced that feeling of Strength over and over and know that I gave it my best effort. I won't have felt that I failed or wasted my time.
The reward is in the journey.
And when it's all said and done, we can't be too attached to outcomes. We have little control over so many of the aspects involved, such as genetics, demands on our time, family emergencies, illness or injury, life changes, etc. When one of those things happens to derail us from our chosen path, it can feel disheartening and frustrating to say the least. We tend to beat ourselves up and feel like failures when we are really just doing the best we can in any given situation.
We can only control so much. We just have to trust the process and focus on the behaviors and thoughts that will bring that desired feeling closer.
I challenge you today to think about what feeling you are chasing. Write down everything that comes into your head, without judgment or censorship. Let it all out. You may be surprised by what you come up with. Then write how you're going to go after those feelings and what steps are going to get you there and help you feel those things as often as possible.
I want to hear from you! Head over to my Facebook page and let me know what you come up with.