I’m a goal setter. I have been for a long time–maybe I have always been one. The formality of goal-setting started when I was in my mid-twenties sitting around a patio with a group of like-minded friends drinking bloody marys and talking about what we wanted to accomplish in life. Ten years later when I was home with three toddlers, setting goals, working toward them, and checking them off my list gave me a sense of satisfaction–a sense of fulfillment–I was craving.
Somehow in the last year I have fallen off my goal setting wagon. I think I’ve been in a place of unknowns and “have to’s” that I just didn’t take the time to ponder the steps I could be taking to create the life that I wanted. It was less about the mountains I wanted to climb and more about digging myself out of the ditch I was in.
Listen to how those two positions sound: climbing mountains vs. digging out of ditches.
A lightbulb went off for me. The language we use when setting our goals is vital to our enjoyment of the goal-achieving process. In fact, the process itself is an integral part of the goal!
Looking back, I realized that many of my goals that I focused on and built out in a strategic way (with deadlines, smaller steps, measurable results, etc.) were around my weight and my money. “Lose 10 pounds by April 1.” “Pay off credit card debt by June 1.” For years I was trying to lose weight and get my finances under control. Why?, I asked myself recently.
Ultimately, I had a shitty body image and an unhealthy need for security. Shame and fear. YUCK! Who wants to set goals around shame and fear?! So I thought…what if I change the language around my goals. That inner voice–the way we talk to ourselves–plays a large role in the life we create. Goals sound so serious–and I don’t want to always be serious. I want to have fun!
What if, instead of: “My goal is to pay off my credit card debt”, I declared this “Adventures in finding financial freedom!” That sounds a hell of a lot more fun! I can still tack an end date, measurable steps, and focused tasks to get to my desired outcome, but when I’m reviewing my “Adventure Plan” there is a lightness of spirit around it. The fear goes away.
What if, instead of: “My goal is to lose 10 pounds by Thanksgiving”, I declare this “Adventures in mindful choices for vibrant living!” That takes the shame out of the picture and changes my definition of success from a number to feeling healthy and alive and full of energy.
What we focus on is what we attract in to our lives. As I sit down to get my upcoming Adventures on paper, I’m going to be conscious of the words I use so this process of creating my dream life is crystal clear in my own head, in my own spirit, so I’m pulling in energetically what I want while taking the steps (or shall I say the skips, hops, and jumps!) to manifest the pieces that make up my whole.