About eight years ago, I lived my life day by day. I did not have much direction besides making enough money or become more successful so I can have a comfortable life. Goal setting helped me have a plan for my future. It inspired me to dream bigger, make better choices every day because I had something specific to work towards to. But when I did not have much experience with this practice, I ended up disappointed or stressed about my goals all year around. When I achieved something and did not take care of myself, I felt empty. When I did not reach a goal and gave myself up trying to get there, I felt worse. Have you ever felt this way? The tips I share here are the lessons I learned in the past and enabled me to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled all year around while I work towards my dreams.
In the past, reaching a goal meant more to me than just an achievement. It was proof of my abilities and gave me a sense of worth. Accomplishing my goals defied me and my survival depended on them, not only financially but emotionally too. The only way I could let this go was by learning to accept and love myself for who I was. I learned to value myself regardless of my achievements. Understanding my worth brought a lot of positive changes in my life, relationships, and health too.
Recognizing the small victories
When we set goals we focus so much on the desired results, that we lose sight of the present moment, concentrating on what we lack or have not yet achieved. Small achievements go unrecognized which makes us feel dissatisfied and not enough or not having enough. I created a practice to notice every single effort I make towards my goals. I write those on a piece of paper and collect the notes in a big jar. Before I set my goals for the new year, I take time to reflect and read all the entries. I find this crucial because achieving a plan starts with taking daily actions. Recognizing those and being appreciative of the steps we take helps us to embrace the journey, be more present, satisfied and stay more connected to ourselves, values and needs.
Understanding the intention of goals
Understanding the following about goals gave me clarity and helped me to adjust my expectations. I believe that there are three different types of goals:
- The first level is: “Survival goals.” We need to make enough money to have food on our table and roof over our heads, pay our bills and take care of our basic human needs.
- The second level goals I call the “Mental Survival goals": Those satisfy the idea about the image we have about ourselves or what we expect from life. Lot of times these goals meet the expectations of our environment and society or our picture of how things should be. Achieving these won’t necessarily make us happy, but will give us momentarily satisfaction. Both, first or second level goals give us as a sense of survival. Achieving these most of the time come with neglecting our health, our basic physical and emotional needs. They come with the separation from our truth and make us feel empty or disconnected.
- And there are the soul level goals. I believe this is the path of the soul; called the purpose or spiritual path. These goals are in aligned with who we are and the goal is not the accomplishment itself, but being in integrity and alignment with our truth. When we walk our purpose, we bring the best of the best out of ourselves by focusing on our talents and owning our uniqueness. Walking this path comes with joy, ease, and service. I believe that this is the path to fulfillment. On this level, we take care of ourselves emotionally and physically. We don’t need to sacrifice our health or our integrity for survival.
There is no such a thing as being in a good or a wrong place when it comes to our goals. We are where we are, and we do what we need to, to survive and grow. Honor your journey, but understand the dynamic of these goals to help you adjust your expectations. Today most of us fall into a mistake thinking that achieving success or making enough money will make us happy. We reach our goals ending up feeling dissatisfied, moving onto the next target, hoping finally it will make us happy and full. But unless we reach our goals tending to our basic physical, emotional needs and recognize what we already have, we can't achieve fulfillment. Contentment and happiness come from within, and we can only experience it living from our hearts and in our truth.
If you know that you set goals from the first two levels, and you want to be happier and have more joy in the future, I have the following tip for you: Learn about your primary physical and emotional needs and work on adjusting your life to fit those. Don’t accept to feel tired, overwhelmed or burned out. Don't agree to be in pain or struggle. Know that there is a way to feel better when you make the necessary adjustments in your life. Know that no matter how hard your life seems, you have the power to change it, even when it does not appear that way. Setting higher expectations for your well-being can help you find a solution to have a more fulfilling career. Make your emotional and physical health a priority to set yourself up for more joy in 2018. Join me for a free webinar if you want to learn more about how to Thrive and Succeed in the New Year. I also want to invite you to listen to Konnect & Elevate Podcast about goal setting.