We’ve all been there. We have set goals only to see ourselves slipping after a couple of days. What happens? We have good intentions, we research, we plan, we visualize reaching this goal, we’re confident and we’re hopeful. Where do we go wrong? Are goals the right way to go about it? Is this goal really what WE want or is it what we think we’re supposed to do?
Goals are just a way of changing your daily habits. According to James Clear a well known teacher/writer of the best selling habits master class; “Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.” So what if we just change some of our unhealthy habits?
“We get so emotionally attached to a goal that we’re setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment,” says business advisor, author and speaker Stephen Shapiro “The key for success is, if you have somewhere you’d like to be in five years, don’t be so attached to it that it drives everything you do.” Goals in themselves aren’t bad, its how we look and treat them. Goals can get you to work harder, focus more, and perform better. But they also can make you more likely to cheat, kill your creativity, and make you less likely to thrive.
Some say we set ourselves up for failure by focusing on the outcome and not the process. We place unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to save money to buy a house. According to famous/fundamental Hindu text by the Bhagavad Gita, written 2,200 years ago; “Those who are motivated only by desire for the fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the results of what they do.” Setting ourselves up for a goal may not be the best in the long run. Instead we can reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to a schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals. According to James Clear “when you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.”
Try to remember that we want these habits to continue on for the long term, not just until the goal is met. Its been found that many people stick to a goal and then when they reach it they feel like they are done. Take training for a marathon. You train for months and as soon as you run the marathon, will you keep training just as hard? Probably not. Goals are short term.
“Use goals as a compass, and not as a GPS,” says Lisa Ordonez, vice dean at University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, “If you allow goals to guide your general direction as a compass, then when things change, you can realign much easier because you know that goal. Or if the weather changes, and now there’s somewhere else you want to be, you don’t have to miss those things.” Another way to think of it is as a hike, says Alexandra Freund, a University of Zurich psychology professor who researches goal pursuit. “Of course, you want to get to a certain goal; you want to end at a certain place” she says. “But if you just do that, you will probably not enjoy the hike very much. It’s almost the opposite of what you want to do when you go hiking. Mostly, hiking is about enjoying the movement, enjoying the particular challenges and enjoying the landscape. “In other words, “prioritize the journey (the process) not just the destination (the outcome).”
Set goals but don’t let them destroy you, make you unhappy or keep you from other important things. Set a goal to eat healthier to live a longer healthier life. Set a goal to work out more so you can have more energy during the day and to sleep better at night. Set a goal to save money to have a backup when something unexpected arises. Set work related goals to obtain happiness at work. Those are some goals I can get behind.
My goals for 2018:
Cut back on sugar to help normalize my hormones, stress, and weight.
Be more active daily so I can in turn help my dogs live healthier longer lives by keeping them active.
Save a little money from each paycheck instead of going out to eat multiple times a week.
Read more to stay creative
Listen more instead of talking
Reach out to those who are important to me more, no matter how busy life gets
Always take “me” time