WITI PERSONAL GROWTH
Why Goal Setting Alone Won't Get You to Where You Want to Be
No doubt you are intimately familiar with the concept of goal setting - it's all about defining WHAT you want to accomplish and "get done." While it's true that goals can keep you focused and on track there is also a little-discussed downside to goals. Because goals are by definition about the "what" they can seem a little impersonal and cold, and many times they are motivated by externals - what you think you “should” be going after. And as you focus on "what" it is you need to do, and all the steps it will take to make it happen, it can feel overwhelming. The better you are at goal setting, the more diligent you are in breaking down goals into the Action Steps necessary to achieve them, the larger your "To Do" list grows. Executing the Action Steps can feel like a "forced march" from one step to the next. You may take some small pleasure in checking items off your "To Do" list, but the pleasure is often minimal and fleeting as there is always the next step in front of you. So what's wrong with this picture? What's missing? Where did goal setting go wrong?
Somewhere along the way goal setting became distorted. It’s not that it’s a bad concept but what’s missing is the connection to what you are really after – and that is a feeling. We set the concrete “what” goals but we forget to define the real nature of the “success” we are seeking – what it will feel like and be like when we achieve our goals. Success in our careers and lives is not just about achieving concrete milestones and “getting something” (a new job, a promotion, more money, a new car, a new house) it is about feeling something – freedom, vitality, connection, aliveness, love, peace, contentment, etc. So if you really want to get inspired about moving forward in your life it’s time to try a new way of defining success. Instead of just asking yourself, “What goals do I want to achieve?” try completing the following sentence – “I will know how successful I am by how… (now fill in the feeling or state of being you are really after).” Below are some examples to get you thinking.
I will know how successful I am by how:
The Bottom Line
We humans are motivated by feelings. We are drawn toward positive feeling states and avoid negative ones to the extent we can. We make decisions based on feelings (advertisers know this!) and we form relationships based on feelings. Yet somehow when it comes to trying to create the lives we want to live, we tend to forget about the feelings we are really after and focus instead on setting logic-based “what” goals and defining the logical steps necessary to achieve them. There is a better way. Because feelings generate energy and excitement it can be a lot more fun and inspiring to first define what personal success looks like to you by picturing and describing the feeling states you are after, and then let the natural attraction of these emotional images pull you forward. Having an emotion-filled vision of the future you desire can help keep your head and your heart in alignment as you navigate towards your future, and insure that any concrete goals you may choose to set along the way will stay connected to the energy and passion of your true vision of success.