Goals are a form of targets we set for our life. It is important to differentiate between goals and to-do lists. While we use to-do lists to manage our focus, goals give us direction. We set the intention to achieve a goal, even if we have no clear path to reach it. We just make sure, that we connect our energy to that goal, and imagine the joy of reaching that goal several times a day. Opportunities to move to such a goal in our life will come. Of course, we need to spot those opportunities. But as long as we are not overly focused on to-do lists and task, we will be able to spot and grab such opportunities.
Why We Need Goals
Goals are for several reasons important for our journey through life.
- Goals provide orientation for us.
- They give us motivation and help us focus our energy.
- With the help of our goals, we can measure progress and assess the direction we are taking in life.
- Whenever we are hung in procrastination or rotate in a useless loop, well set goals will blow the whistle.
Each of those benefits provide a valid reason to maintain a carefully developed set of goals, and to review and adjust them regularly. But the combined benefits of a well-managed set of goals makes caring for your goals and polishing them every day about as important as brushing your teeth.
Who should Set Our Life Goals?
Our goals are so important for our life experience. Therefore, it is particularly important, who sets our goals. There are three possible sources of our goals:
- Our soul and mind
- Expectations from society
- And last, but not least people, whom we have accepted as authorities.
It is of course essential, that you yourself have the last word on the direction your life will take from today. Therefore, it is not negotiable, that you must reserve final authority about your goal setting process. If you own the results, you must also own the process.
But there are two mayor pitfalls.
Confusing Goals from Society with Goals from Your Soul
You might confuse goals coming from expectations of society with goals coming from your soul.
One example, where this went wrong, would be a person whose soul needs to connect very strongly with his hands to the earth energy, but became a dentist because of the prestige and money coming with this work.
Both, the dentist, and the gardener rely a lot on their hands. But repairing other people’s teeth is completely different from preparing the earth, growing a plant, and touching the tomato resulting from that work.
Although society will tell you, that it is much more desirable to be a dentist than a gardener, this is not always true. If your soul built this body, because she wanted to experience the energy coming from earth, sun and water and marvel at the miracles they produce in form of tomatoes, roses, and oak trees, you will never become a good dentist. And your success as dentist would be limited.
But you could become a famous and successful landscaper. Therefore, it is a good idea to listen to suggestions from society. But you should be aware, that society is talking, not your soul.
A good litmus test that does recognize goals pushed from society is to look for sentences like: “One must own a big car.”On the other hand, a sentence like “I would enjoy so much to see, smell, and hear ice bears in northern Canada” sounds more like a goal from your soul for your life.
A person having power over you might try to impose goals on you and offer sticks and carrots to make you go for them. One example could be a situation, where a child wants to learn a musical instrument, while the teacher demands that the child must write a lot to get faster in writing. The teacher implicitly threatens with bad grades, and those are potential hurdles for later success in the world.
If you have a closer look, you can of course reconcile those potential goals. Playing music strengthen fine motor skills, and fast writing is not possible without polished fine motor skills. So, the appropriate goal would have been: strengthening fine motor skills.
But if the child and the parents give in to the teacher’s pressure and skip the piano classes in order to have more time to practice writing, the child would become unhappy. This again would inhibit the improvement of fine motor skills. The child would neither learn to play piano, nor would he or she improve writing skills.
So, if a boss or another authority or person of power tries to give you goals, take them as suggestions. Ask that person to explain to you, why and how that specific goal would help you. And require from this “authority” to listen to you and to your reasons for choosing for yourself a different set of goals.
Outside influence is important
Please do not get me wrong: outside input for your goals is helpful and important. If you do not have a boss, or teacher, or spouse who can provide that input, you should urgently look for a coach.
It is a tightly held secret in the world, that one cannot see the label from inside the bottle. So, please do not fall victim to your own vanity and disregard all input from people around you.
The solution is to acknowledge outside influence on your life goals and to mark it in your mind as such. You should not reject it outright, but you should question it and match it with your inner aspirations.
Different Categories of Life Goals
If you want to create a fulfilling life for yourself, you should set goals in three categories:
- Goals for joyful and inspiring experiences
- Personal growth goals
- Goals related to help others, adding meaning to your life.
For all three categories, you should have goals you can reach easily. Every instance of reaching such a goal will strengthen your self-confidence and add to your energy.
But you should also have goals, which are difficult to reach. In fact, it is perfectly ok, if you do not reach every goal you set. Attaching your energy to such challenging goals will help you to grow. It will force you to learn doing things, you thought they were out of your reach. You will have to stretch yourself. And this is essential for growing.
Time Frames for Your Life Goals
You should also set for every goal a time frame. This helps you to measure progress. You should have a variety of goals, and different time frames attached to them.
Short Term Goals
Short term goals will prevent you from procrastinating and help you to realize when you are stuck. If you have a few short-term goals, and you do not find yourself moving closer to hit them, you know that there is something wrong.
And if you hit at least some of your short-term goals, the event of hitting them will give you an extra boost.
Long Term Goals
Long term goals help you to determine the general direction you are taking in your life. If one or more of those long-term goals are moving from your perspective more to the left or to the right, you know that you are about to change your direction.
There is nothing wrong with adjusting your direction from time to time, but you should do that consciously.
Another benefit of long-term goals is, that they are preventing you from running out of goals. The importance of long term becomes visible, if you observe how difficult it is for world class athletes to remain at the peak of their potential after winning the title of their dreams.
You must avoid setting conflicting goals. The energy lines you used to attach yourself to a goal will pull you in that direction. If you have then another goal pulling you into the opposite direction, it will be painful. At best, you will find yourself in that case spinning fast, but without results, in a circle. But in such a scenario it is also very possible that you become sick. You might suffer an accident, or the tensions coming from you conflicting goals damage your body directly.
Therefore, your goals must be in harmony to one another. If you have goals mutually excluding each other, you need to modify one or more of them in a way, that they can support each other.
It is especially important, that you set goals in your life very carefully. You should adjust them regularly. You should have goals for enjoyable and inspiring experiences, for your own growth and for giving your life meaning by caring for the world and supporting others.
Some of the goals should relate to the short term, while others should be long term goals. But all goals should support each other. Conflicting goals lead to stagnation, sickness, or accidents. If you find that some of your goals are conflicting, you must resolve the resulting tensions by adjusting and modifying them.
This was the manuscript of episode 19 of the podcast Success and Inner Growth. Episode 20 will appear by the end of March. After focusing such a long time on matters of energy and mind, we will now have a look at nutrition. It is a super important question, how we can provide our body with all we need, while keeping all and everything in balance.
You can find all episodes of the podcast here, and all manuscripts here
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