Goals, schmoals! For the longest time, the topic of goal setting bored me to death. I wanted nothing to do with them and I refused to go through the discipline. But then I learned how important they are.
The year my travel business had a major turning point (more than doubled our sales) was the year I sat down and articulated very specific goals. I can remember it so clearly. My business partner and I went to a local pub for lunch on December 31st with a blank notebook in hand. And when our tall, cold beers arrived, we went to work. We started with the end result – how much money we wanted to make that year. Then, working backwards, we figured out what revenue sources would get us there. Finally, knowing what business would get us there, we created a marketing plan.
These were very loft goals. Some cynics might say they were unrealistic. Perhaps they were. But at the end of that year, we had not only met those goals, but exceeded them.
Ironically, our path to getting there looked nothing like what we had mapped out…but we got there, nonetheless. Many things happened during the year that we could not have predicted – opportunities that we had the courage to jump at – because we had our eye on the finish line.
This is a crucial, but often overlooked piece of goal setting. When you set clear goals and track them, you see opportunities in a different light and have a better time knowing if they are keeping you on track or bumping you off.
This year, however, I could not get myself “in the mood” to sit down and set my goals. I was in a funk. I didn’t know why and couldn’t shake it off.
In perfect timing, a friend forwarded a fascinating article discussing a different way to set goals. It illuminated the very reason why I was feeling in a funk. I was skipping a super, important step that no one discusses. Not in any class or article on goal setting, have I heard someone articulate this gigantic piece.
What I learned from the article is that the essence of our desires is a FEELING. In other words, we may think we are chasing a goal, but what we are really chasing is the feeling we get when we achieve our goals.
“What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life?”
This concept felt right. I finally found the inspiration to set my goals. I promptly took out a piece of paper and wrote down topic headings: Home; Love and Relationships; Finances; Career; Health; Spirituality. Then under each heading, I wrote down feelings I wanted with respect to that part of my life. With my list of feelings in hand, I was able to articulate goals for 2013, and these feel so much better than forcing something on paper I had no connection to.
Looking back upon that last day in December when my business partner and I wrote our goals, we DID start with our feelings without even knowing it. We began with an end result of an income we knew would make us feel proud, successful, and free. It was these FEELINGS that powered our goals and moved us forward all year. This is how I have only just discovered that most goal setting systems fail to harness the most powerful driver behind any aspiration: your preferred feelings; and they foster an uptight determination that can keep us from the vitality we crave.
Set goals for 2013. But start with your feelings you want to possess this year. Then create your goals around what will help you to achieve those feelings. Each day for the rest of the year, tap in to the feelings you desire and watch the magic unfold.