Happy New Year! It’s time to start another trip around the sun (in case you didn’t know…:) so I thought now would be a good time to do a mini-series on setting feel-good goals. I’ve been consciously setting goals for the new year for as long as I can remember, and I’ve learned a lot about what to do (and not to do!) along the way. In addition, I’ve spent a few years at this point coaching people on their big goals and I’ve noticed the same common goal-setting mistakes crop up.
Now, I love goals, but I know not everyone shares this love. If goals aren’t your thing and you feel strongly about this that’s fine; feel free to skip these posts. One thing I will say though is that goals don’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) this stressful, pressured, not-good-enough source of tension in our lives. If they are, you’re doing it wrong. Also, not wanting to set goals for yourself? That’s a goal. Just sayin’… :)
The taller a tree will grow, the deeper its roots need to be. The higher the building, the lower the foundations. So in this post, I want to start with those foundations: the principles of setting feel-good goals.
This post is an excerpt from my ebook ‘You Are Already Enough: A mini-guide to setting goals that feel uplifting and inspiring’ which you can get for free alongside 10+ other workbooks, video classes and audios when you join the Becoming Who You Are Library. If you want to set feel-good goals for 2018, this workbook is a great place to start!
(I will always keep your details private and you are free to unsubscribe at any time.)
1. Feel-good goals start with asking “What do I really want?”
One of the most common goal-setting mistakes is this:
We commit to goals we think we should work towards without stopping to ask what we want, or what’s best for us right now.
With every decision you make and action you take, your motivations fall into one of two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivations include those which are to do with your fulfilment, integrity, and growth. Extrinsic relate to what you think you should do, external validation, or how you think other people will perceive you. The focus might be on wanting to impress or please other people. Alternatively, it might be on making certain decisions to avoid conflict with others.
With any goal, it’s natural to have a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, but it’s important to make sure the former outweighs the latter. Get conscious of all the reasons you want to do what you’re doing and focus on the things that align with your personal values and needs.
2. Feel-good goals sometimes look more like challenges than goals.
A lot of us self-sabotage our most important goals with the weight of pressure and expectation. As soon as you fall behind with a goal, you start feeling guilty and cross with yourself for not sticking to your original plan. This can lead to all kinds of unhelpful self-talk that is more harmful than helpful to our eventual aim.
Rather than thinking of goals as the be all and end all, try thinking of them as a series of challenges. If you have negative experiences with goal-setting, saying “I’m challenging myself to write a novel this year,” feels more inspiring than “I have a goal to write a novel this year.” It’s a subtle difference, but can be surprisingly effective.
If you’re struggling to gain momentum with your goal, you can also try turning it into a 30-day or 60-day challenge (or an annual challenge, like the 2018 personal growth reading challenge!). One or two months will fly by in an instant, and you’ll be surprised at the results of your daily diligence.
3. Feel-good goals focus on what you can control.
Where you place your focus has a huge impact on your experience working towards goals. This can play out in two ways. The first is you try to control things way outside of your control. An example of this is a goal like “I want to find love this year.” As meaningful and important as that goal is, you are only 50% of that equation! It also requires someone to love you back, which isn’t something you have power over. Things you do have power over include:
– How you show up in social interactions
– How many extra-curricular activities you get involved in
– How many dates you go on
– How much we work on your own self-awareness and self-responsibility for when you meet someone.
And so on.
The second way we misalign our focus on what we can control is by giving too much control away.
A common example of this is waiting to be found, recognised or discovered. For example, if you want to start blogging, taking the “If I build it they will come” mentality, setting up a blog and expecting people to find and flock to your fledgling website won’t work. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to find you and pursue opportunities to get your writing in front of more eyes.
With every goal you set this year, check in with yourself. Are you focusing on what you can control without giving too much power away or trying to manage things out of your sphere of responsibility?
Read more in the Setting Feel-Good Goals 101 series:
If you have a big creative goal for this year and would like to work towards it in a way that both feels good and gets results, I would love to support you! I’m a certified digital coach with Coach.me, where I help creatives show up and do the work they need to do to make their projects come to life. Find out more about how coaching can support your personal and professional creative goals here. Use the code HANNAHBRAIMEWEEK to try your first week for free.