Goals are important because they give us a direction to head.
But I think that sometimes we set goals from a place of increasing future happiness because our life is somehow lacking right now.
The point of having goals is not so we can achieve them and be happier than we are today. The reason to have goals is because our purpose on this planet is to evolve to be the best person we can. And there is something about the rebirth and renewal of spring that brings forth big thoughts.
Maybe it’s the metaphor that we have to bloom in a bigger way.
I already said that goals give us a direction to head. What I didn’t tell you is why this is so important.
Our brains like to work on auto-pilot, thinking thoughts that it has thought in the past. The thoughts may not serve us, may even hurt us. Or even keep us going in a direction that is not healthy. Our brain will consciously seek out information that proves that thought was accurate and we should keep thinking it.
A goal gives our brain something else, something very positive to seek out instead.
I truly believe that you can predict where your life is going by telling your brain what to think about.
You are going to create results regardless, so you might as well create the results you want!
So how do we do this?
Macro Goal Setting Process
First We Have to Dream
A lot of people don’t dare to dream because they are too busy putting out the day-to-day fires to plan the results they want to create.
But a darker reason is that they have dreamed in the past from that space of something is lacking in their life right now.
The gap between “what I want and what I currently have” brings up a lot of negative emotions, even pain. And who wants that?!?
So we need to conquer that. Here’s how.
Make a list of 25 things that you want.
I would lay money on the fact that everything you put on that list is something that you do not have. Over and over again, my clients come to me with a list of things they currently don’t have.
And I send them back.
I tell them that I want every other thing on that list to be something that they want, that they already have!
Why? Because we need to start thinking of wanting from a place of abundance.
Trick your brain by making a “want” sandwich. Squish a want-but-don’t-have in between two want-and already-haves. For example, I can say “I want a house in the country, to conduct a public workshop and my own business.”
Now the goal of conducting a public workshop doesn’t bring up all the feelings of lack because the brain knows I have the other two already wrapped up.
Goal: Getting Specific
Now is the time to put some meat on the bones of your dream.
Make it first person and as specific as you can. Dates, timelines, who, what, where, when – in fact, everything but the how. The more specific the better.
My goal may look like ” I want to conduct a Situational Leadership workshop on 26-27 September at the Columbia Center in Troy, MI”.
And once it’s specific, WRITE IT DOWN!
There’s crazy research about why to write it down, but the one I like best is because you can read it every day.
Reading it every day is good and I encourage you to do that. But it does come with a warning.
The minute you start “making it real” (particularly if you’re stretching out of your comfort zone) fear, doubt and shame will surface.
This is normal and expected because you are asking your brain to stop thinking its’ efficient thoughts of the past and start thinking new, as-yet-inefficient thoughts. Your brain will not like this.
It’s not what you get from achieving the goal, it’s who you become.
For help in getting through this hard but necessary part of goal setting, see my post The Brain-Result Connection.
The Action Plan for the Goal
Once you have your specific goal written down and you’ve worked through all the negative emotions that came up just thinking about it, it’s time to put yourself into the future as someone who has already accomplished that goal.
From that place, you can develop an action plan. I like to mindmap the steps so I don’t get constrained by trying to think of everything in the proper order. Get steps down and organize them logically later.
If you don’t know how to do something, make that a step “learn to do X”. As Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figure outable!”
There is nothing that you genuinely want that you can’t have. What you want is really important information. In fact, I think what you want is the GPS direction to the life that you’re meant to have for your very best self.
I invite you to dream as we enter the season of renewal. I invite you to be really specific and write it down. Allow the fear, shame and doubt to come up. Write down the thoughts that come up that are obstacles in your way of achieving your goal, and take all of those thoughts and put them on the side burner while you go to the place where that goal is already achieved. Then break it down into an action plan, and then pimp out that action plan by taking actions.
This is how we each evolve to be the best person we can be.
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: I’m really, not into spring cleaning. Come to think of it, I’m not into summer, fall or winter cleaning either!