We’ve all done it: Set a goal. Some of us have even reached that goal, but most of us don’t, or we do but it takes longer than it should, or we kinda get there, or when we do get there we wonder: What was all that fuss was about?
I’m a recovering goal setter because I’ve been a firey one for years. Oh man how I love both January and September. Mmmmmm cracking open a fresh journal, plotting out my quiet time to map out what I’m doing next, buying a new pen or finding just the right one with the best tip… oh boy. Who needs sex when you have goals? Truly, it’s weirdly almost that good for me. Did you catch it though? It’s the SETTING of the goal that’s intoxicating, not the doing of it. That’s why it’s knocked out a morning romp or an evening of candlelight for me – oh my poor partner, if he only knew when he married me that he’d be upstaged by a journal and a pen.
Why do we like to set goals more than achieve them? Because they’re fired up by the heat of our yearnings.
Why do we attend conferences and trainings and retreats only to come home and stay the same just different? Because possibility is a re-chargeable battery pack.
Why do we achieve goals, feel happy and then start all over again? What’s with this empty-full-empty-full cycle we all seem to crave? Because we’re feeding our external story instead of being nourished by our internal one.
I say all of this because today (as in right now) I’m in a retreat for my network marketing business and it’s January. Guess what we’re doing tonight? Yup… setting goals except I don’t call them that anymore, they’re targets instead. They’re focal points. They’re intentions. Why? Because goal fatigue kills business, and rah rah rah-ing some people’s pinnacle achievements creates a divisive culture, fractures teams and sabotages the very essence of what makes a team work: a common drive, togetherness and not individual achievements or goals.
Could I be talking semantics here – sure, but words are insanely important to me and I do my best to choose them wisely. The living story of the word goal these days shows up like a ‘line in the sand’, a ‘set point’, a measurement of ‘accountability’ – think the super popular S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Everything here is externally motivated. A SMART goal of mine for this blog might be:
It is January 10th 2016 and I am happily celebrating having shared this blog with 100 people.
So let’s say that all of the above happens. I wake up on January 11th, I’ve done my due diligence and I’ve nailed my goal. What happens now? How do I feel now? What is my take away now? What is fueling my next ‘goal’ now?
Well, I’m back at the beginning again aren’t I? I am starting all over. My take away is that I probably feel pretty good about myself for having ‘achieved’ my goal, but now, if I slow down enough to actually feel anything at all, I’m a bit empty, daunted and let down. How come I just achieved that goal and now I’m back at the beginning again? Damn these goals, they’re so elusive. Will I ever get there? So then the fuel for my next goal becomes hope, possibility, and the drive that one day, maybe, just possibly, I will arrive. It will stop because I will reach a celebratory finish line. I will raise my arms in the air, someone will notice this incredible moment other than just me and I’ll be handed a lifetime gold medal of having done ‘my all’ and I never ‘have to’ achieve anything again. I will be done.
As if right? And frankly, how boring and how demeaning to this incredibly complex and beautiful human experience.
Here’s my suggestion. Switch your goals to your yearnings. Focus on the deeper wants, the heart beat that comes without you trying, the dreams that wake you up at night with desire, the fire that never goes out instead. Here’s my example and creation:
Y.E.S. Goal: What is it you YEARN for? Make it your most EXCELLENT of work, and always SITUATE it for SUCCESS (or do-able).
What is it you YEARN for?
Make it your most EXCELLENT of work,
and always SITUATE it for SUCCESS.
Here’s my rewrite: Today I write a passionate and honest blog about goals vs. yearnings and I am personally committed to reaching 100 people by Tuesday January 12th because what I write, I care about, and what I share, I live.
Here’s the original: It is January 10th 2016 and I am happily celebrating having shared this blog with 100 people.
Which one would be worth your heart, effort and energy to achieve? Which one isn’t an achievement at all but rather a compelling decision to live fully?
Here’s to you and all that fires you up.