Yeah, it’s that time of year, every guru under the sun is talking about goal setting. How to set smart goals, how not to set goals, how to set goals that you’ll actually achieve, blah, blah, blah.
I’ve been in the goal setting business a long time. As a fitness expert and Life Coach goal setting has been a huge part of my work with my clients. And the reality is when we set goals one of two things typically happens:
- we don’t reach the goal.
This one is really tricky because it can send us into a downward spiral of self hate, self pity, self loathing, all sorts of stuff. And if you feel like you consistently set goals and don’t reach them then this is likely really relevant for you.
2. we reach the goal and it doesn’t change our life the way we thought it would.
Are you freekin kidding me? All that work, all that sacrifice and I don’t feel much different than I did before? This is more common than you probably think. So, since that goal didn’t give us what we wanted we either go after another goal or quit all together.
So what’s the solution?
A lot of the goals that people set this time of year revolve around making some pretty significant behaviour changes that aren’t that enjoyable (at first). Most goal setting that we do is done looking at external goals. I want to lose 20 pounds, I want to run a 5k race, I want to get that promotion. All external things that require big changes in how we live our life.
What if instead, we chose to spend more time doing things that make us feel great?
This solution comes from influence of Markus Buckingham and Danielle LaPorte, two life changing people whom I have learned so much from.
Markus talks about changing how we spend our time so we spend more of it in things that fill us up, recharge us, strengthen us. Because when we are in that space, we have more energy, more motivation, more drive. All things that we need when we are embarking on changing how we live our life.
He redefines strengths as not necessarily things that you are good at. It’s more about what’s happening to your energy levels when you’re doing a particular task. The example I use is that I love to paint. I lose all sense of time, I love mixing the colors on the canvas, the feel of the brush, all of it. In Markus’s definition painting is one of my strengths. But if you actually saw my painting……wow, you would likely said it’s a weakness. But what’s important when we look at what we fill our life with, is how we feel when we are doing things.
Now enter the work of Danielle LaPorte and her Desire Map process. In this process you figure out what she calls your “core desired feelings”. These represent how you want to feel in your life, not just a singular event like getting a promotion. If you haven’t done her work you can even just sit and think about how do you want to feel?
Ok, so how do you put this together and actually use it?
Let’s use the most popular goal this time of year, lose weight. Here’s how it could look:
You want to lose 20 pounds by the end of March
What are the kind of physical activities you could do that you really enjoy, that fill you up, energize you? Go do those things!
How do you want to feel in your life? My core desired feelings are connected, inspired, calm and cherished. So I would ask myself, how can I use those CDF in my quest for weight loss:
- connected – be active with important people in my life. Use that time to connect with them
- inspired – pick an activity I have always wanted to do but never tried
- calm – choose an activity that brings me a sense of calm
- cherished – if I cherished my body, what kind of food would I eat?
So this year, instead of setting goals the crappy old way that we usually do them, consider setting your goals around things that fill you up, that energize you. Things that allow you to feel the way you want to feel in your life. From there you can still reach all those external goals that you have, but you can do so in a way where you enjoy your daily life experience, not just that singular event that you are working towards.