So here we go again. Another year, another round of new year’s resolutions and goal setting that inevitably happens. Don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year. The feeling of freshness. The clean slate that emerges ready for us to write our year long chapter on.
Most of us won’t achieve the goals we set on 1 January
The truth is though, most of us don’t achieve the things we set out to at the beginning of the year. Whether we’re struggling to stick to them by 31 January, it’s all too hard by March and by June they’re long forgotten. Then every year, December comes and we realise another year has passed, we haven’t achieved what we wanted to and nothing in our life has changed – except we’re a little bit more jaded and a bit more resignation to life has crept in (oh and our age has changed, why must that change every year?!).
How do we set goals that we can actually stick to?
There’s a lot to be said about the traditional method of setting SMART goals. Goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound. Many of us won’t drill down into these specifics; we’ll keep at the vision board or the grandiose intention setting of New Year’s Eve. We’ll say we want to ‘get healthy’, ‘change jobs’, ‘meet the one’, ‘grow our confidence’. All great things. However our brain is powerful machinery, to make the most of it’s extraordinary capacity, it does like some of the details filled. It’s hard for our brain to keep at a vague idea, it wants something clear to go for.
Now here’s the the thing, setting a SMART goal is a long way from turning our intention into reality BUT there’s a further step which I think is equally important that is often missed. We need to tap into the feeling we want underneath the goal we’ve set.
Every goal represents a way we want to feel.
Over my journey I’ve realised something. Every goal we have is actually a representation of a feeling we want to feel. Let’s look at some examples; we want to ‘lose weight’ so that we feel confident, sexy, desired or beautiful. We want to ‘get a promotion’ so that we feel successful, proud or to feel admired. We want to ‘have more money’ so that we feel free, abundant and good enough. We want to meet ‘the one’ so that we feel adored, taken care of and loved.
Do you catch my drift? Every goal or resolution that you set at this time of the year is because you want to feel the way you think achieving that goal will make you feel. Knowing this is a life changer. Add this step into your goal or better yet, identify that your goal is actually that you want to feel something and then have your SMART goal underneath that as one of the many ways you could actually achieve it.
Knowing that your goal is actually to feel something, rather than have or achieve something, means that your closer to achieving it right now. How much easier do you think it will be to go for a promotion, knowing that you already feel confident, successful, proud and worthy. How much easier will it be to improve your financial situation from a place where you already feel free? How much easier will it be to be at your ideal weight, if you already loved your body, felt beautiful and nourished?
This step is the one we so often miss in our goal setting process, we don’t even realise that we we ACTUALLY want is a feeling. As humans, we are driven by feelings. We’re emotional beings and for most people knowing that achieving our goal is going to bring the feeling we want, well, that changes everything.
So if you want to achieve your goals this year and in a much faster way, dig a little deeper. Is the goal really what you think it is, or is it simply to feel a certain way? Make that the goal and watch how quickly you can achieve it.
7 Steps to setting goals you’ll achieve this year
Here is my seven step process to guide you through the process of tapping into the feelings of your goals and set goals you’ll actually achieve this year. This process can be done ANYTIME you set new goals, not just at the end or beginning of a year. It works all year round.
Reflective questions to review your year and feel into your vision for life.
- What did I achieve this year? What am I proud of?
- What have been the lessons?
- What can I let go of, that I thought I wanted and no longer feels right?
- What’s important in my life right now?
- What do I want to prioritise?
- What do I REALLY want to achieve?
- What needs to change to enable that?
2. Letter to Myself
Write a letter to your future self to read the same time a year from now (or at your next goal setting time). Simply writing about where you are, what you’ve overcome and what your hopes are is powerful.
When you read this a year from now, it will be such a great reference to see how far you’ve really come. A year is a long time, when we look back we can underestimate and forget where we were.
3. Overarching Word
It’s very common to have a word that is your theme for the year. It can become a beacon for decisions and a guiding light throughout the year. I couldn’t narrow it down to one this year (and went with 3 lol) but the process of leaning into what you want and setting a word to define the year for you. Phew, amazingly potent.
4. Core Desired Feelings
I’m a big fan of Danielle LaPorte and her work on identifying your core desired feelings (if you haven’t checked out her work, its so good, your welcome!). In a nutshell this is 4-5 words that represent how you want to feel during the year.
For me they become like a day to day mantra and I regularly check in and ask myself how can I feel the way I want to. I take action most days that makes me feel aligned to my core desired feelings. This was a gamechanger for me in 2018.
5. Vision Board
There are loads of resources on the web to help you create a vision board. It’s a visual representation of the feelings and things you want to create and achieve in the year (or beyond). There’s a whole bunch of neuroscience that validates the effect this has on your brain.
I created mine digitally using Canva this year and plan to print and laminate and put on the wall next to my bed, so I see it everyday, morning and night.
This is the first time I am doing scripting. After reading, Evolve Your Brain by Joe Dispenza, I see the science and the power of the brain that I can harness through this process.
Scripting is basically writing out a script for the year in past tense, tapping into feelings and describing how things happen. Again there is neuroscience to back this up (which I won’t dive into here), our brains just have so much power when we explain to them how we want things to happen.
An example might be…. In February I was thrilled to receive my end of year bonus, it was more than I was expecting and allowed me to become debt free and completely pay off my credit card. I was elated at the feeling of being debt free and cutting that card up and cancelling it and that feeling of freedom really propelled me into March.
SMART goals that turn all of the above into traditional, practical goals that you can take action on. I’ve set goals that are quite a stretch to aim for this year.
So that’s how I went about setting my goals this year. Does that resonate for you? If you love this, please share this article on Facebook and let me know, your favourite step.