Many of us have verbal and often written goals to work towards in adult life – both personal and career goals. The basis of a healthy relationship with goals is keeping in mind that the key intention in setting and working towards them is to be aware of how you want to feel when you achieve them.
Where my own goals are concerned, some have been achieved, many were not. Whilst it is always quite satisfactory to cross an achieved goal off a list, the real feeling for me in the past was often more of a sense of relief than exhilaration at reaching the goal. With the un-achieved goals on lists over the years, on reviewing these, I sometimes managed to convince myself I didn’t really want to achieve that goal anyway, because if I had, I would have carried out what was necessary to achieve it. I justified to myself that there was a valid reason why I didn’t make it and often changed the goal to something else. Recently I examined my feelings on goals and realised that because I hadn’t articulated my own sense of purpose prior to setting goals that perhaps I wasn’t setting the best goals for me i.e. goals that would result in me feeling how I wanted to feel.
Goals, because I worked on them before I articulated my beliefs and became clear about my values frequently did not have a sense of purpose that resonated with me – often felt to me like something I “should do”. Goals can be an ego trip for some people. Goals that seem important pump up our self-image. Whilst having goals is useful, I don’t believe it’s the first place we should start when planning life, happiness and reaching our full potential in our personal and professional lives. Pursuing goals without meaning saps energy. Goals are wonderful when backed by clear values and a sense of purpose. To quote Danielle Laporte author of “The Desire Map” “Shouting goals at yourself deafens your truth – goals with soul will energise and keep you on track”.
When working on goals, I would suggest taking two steps back and firstly, working out what you really value in life; how your daily actions honour these values, and next, when you are clear on your values, articulate for yourself a purpose statement that resonates with you, makes you feel great and that you fervently, happily believe in.
“Purpose” is defined as the reason which something exists: the reason for doing something which gives meaning to actions. Purpose is unique and personal, we don’t measure it, yet it hugely influences goals which we measure all the time. Purpose is felt in the heart.
To find your true sense of purpose, you need to take time, giving yourself the space to get in touch with how you really, honestly feel about your life; what you believe in and value and crucially how you would like to feel on a daily basis – what makes you feel great. Give yourself permission to find what’s authentic within you to allow yourself to progress through life.
When we are crystal clear on what we value most in life, then we have in our hearts what we need to define our sense of purpose. Clarity about what you value is essential to develop a healthy relationship with your goals. Don’t censure or disapprove of what you want. Don’t resist the feelings.
Fulfilled, successful people and businesses in life are those with a purpose – a clearly defined purpose. Goals with meaning are goals that are achievable – the only type of goals to have.